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best birth classes/teachers?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
There are so many birth classes to choose from and I'm having a hard time deciding which one to sign up for! Bradley? Hypnobirthing? The standard "preparing for birth" series at St. Joe's (where I'm planning to deliver)?

I'd love to hear any recommendations! I know that the particular teacher is as important as the philosophy, so if there's a specific person that you recommend, please let me know that, too.
post #2 of 19
Where are you? There are two St Joseph's in/near Milwaukee...
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Sorry for the confusion. I'll be at the Saint Joseph's in Saint Paul, MN.
post #4 of 19
I highly recommend Hypnobirthing! I took it at Woodwinds a few years ago. I'd also recommend a breastfeeding class. Is this your first baby?
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yep! First baby.

I was thinking about just going to a few LLL meetings before the birth instead of taking a breastfeeding class. What do you think would be better?
post #6 of 19
Congrats!!! Honestly, I would recommend doing both! Knowledge is POWER.
post #7 of 19
I also think both is a good idea, but if you can only do one, I'd consider going to some LLL meetings - and maybe visiting different groups if there is more than one you would consider attending, so you have found one you are comfortable with before your baby comes. I've learned that different groups can have very different cultures.
As to birth classes - I did a hypno-babies home study course. Hypno-babies differs from hypnobirthing in several ways - I don't remember all of them, but I was really pleased with the results - I used it with my second birth after realizing how totally unprepared I was for the first.
And although you didn't ask for book recommendations - I think reading Ina May Gaskin's newer birth book (I'm blanking on its title) is probably better than most generic hospital based classes
post #8 of 19
St. Joe's offers standard "hospital based" childbirth education taught by RN staff educators. (They may not have received ICEA certification or they may be certified, it's not required by the hospital with RN certification) They're good, information based classes, but if you're looking for something more holistic there's better options out there locally. These are offered in 6 weeknight sessions or Saturday sessions .

Hypnobirthing taught through Health East is available at Woodwinds and that's taught by a certified Hypnobirthing instructor. These classes are usually 6 week sessions.

There's childbirth classes taught through the Yoga Center of Mpls by a midwife named Sara Pearce. She offers 3 workshops meant to be taken once a trimester and then a Saturday session for mom and partner. The Saturday session gives you the process of labor as well as different breathing and positioning techniques to assist you during labor and birth.

There's also Birthing from Within classes and Lamaze based classes taught at Blooma in Edina. These classes are usually 4 or 6 week sessions.

It all depends upon your mindset regarding the normalcy of birth and where/how you feel like you need preparation. If you have a more holistic approach to birth you may be disappointed with the hospital based classes as they're usually based on the medical model (not the midwifery model). The other classes will offer you the same birth education with deeper holistic views and support.

Good luck deciding and congratulations on your pregnancy!
post #9 of 19
Originally Posted by cheenya View Post
And although you didn't ask for book recommendations - I think reading Ina May Gaskin's newer birth book (I'm blanking on its title) is probably better than most generic hospital based classes
Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth is EXCELLENT! It is wonderful. I did hypnobirthing to prepare for my first natural birth and to prepare for my 2nd I read Ina May's book and Birthing From Within. Both of these books were extremely helpful in helping me achieve the birthing experience I wanted.

Also, if you haven't seen "The Business of Being Born" yet, I highly recommend that as well!
post #10 of 19
Hypnobirthing is also taught at Blooma by Sarah Tracy. Four week session, two hours each class. My husband and I took it and really liked it. Sarah is very personable and very knowledgable; she's also a lactation consultant and a Labor & Delivery nurse!
post #11 of 19
Nancy Healy is one of the instructors that does the classes at St. Joe's and she was really pretty good. Op, are you planning on a hospital birth or a hb? If you are doing hospital, she would be good because she does the traditional teaching but with more of a natural birth edge, i.e. how to get the kind of birth you want while being at the hospital. If you are doing a hb, I would go with some of the other poster's suggestions.
post #12 of 19
I highly, highly recommend Bradley-method classes, which emphasize husband/spouse-assisted natural childbirth. I have to also highly recommend my Bradley teacher JoAnn Peterson, who is also a doula. JoAnn used to hold classes out of her house in the Lake Minnetonka area, but I think she was moving to Minneapolis. She is wonderful – such a pleasant, easy-going, comfortable style. JoAnn is such a fountain of knowledge about childbirth and natural/attachment parenting, including the practices of local hospitals. I loved all the interesting things we did in class, and I really loved all the videos we watched. (My best friend’s Bradley teacher is Karen Bruce, and my friend has fabulous things to say about her.)

Before I attended Bradley classes, I thought I was completely ready for childbirth; initially, I didn’t really think I needed them because I already knew everything there was to know as I had read tons of natural childbirth/parenting books before and during my pregnancy. My husband and I decided to attend Bradley classes because my homebirth midwife Amy Johnson-Grass recommended them (although she said Birthing From Within classes were also great) and I wanted the rite of passage of attending childbirth classes. (Silly reason, I know!)

The Bradley classes were so helpful. I had planned on having a natural homebirth, but I ended up with a C-section hospital birth after an induction and 24 hours of pitocin-altered labor. I frequently tell people that while Bradley classes would have been helpful for homebirth, they were absolutely essential for a hospital birth. (And I never thought I would have a hospital birth.) In the four days of induction leading up to the active labor, Bradley classes (and of course my midwife, husband, and all my family and friends) helped me with keeping my spirits up, switching positions, moving as much as I could (while tethered to all the hospital machinery), eating and drinking, saying no to interventions, and hoping for a natural childbirth. Bradley classes also helped me in labor. While it seems that I had every other intervention possible, I was happy that I was able to labor (with Pitocin-induced contractions) for 24 hours without pain medication. My friends and family told me that it appeared that I was sleeping the entire time (which is so funny b/c I definitely was not sleeping!) That is a credit to how well the Bradley classes prepared me for relaxing and working with my labor.

Bradley classes were also invaluable to my husband. He was such a wonderful partner during the labor and he was a great advocate for me/us/our baby during our hospital stay. As labor became stronger, I could not communicate. He was the one who understood what I needed and communicated it to the nurses and doctors; he was also my advocate when I literally could not speak.

While I did not want a C-section, and looking back I so wish I could have avoided that induction in the first place, I am very thankful for my Bradley classes and JoAnn Peterson. The next time I am pregnant and planning for my homebirth VBAC, I plan on consulting or taking refresher courses with JoAnn.
post #13 of 19
Bradley classes are awesome!!! I took a hospital class for my first pregnancy, it was a joke! I wish I would have taken Bradley back then and I probably wouldn't be trying for a vbac right now. My husband, a RN, has found the Bradley classes very informative, and loves them. He hated the other classes.
post #14 of 19
do you have the contact info for JoAnn Peterson? I googled her and couldn't find anything... I'd really be interested in checking out her Bradley class.
post #15 of 19
JoAnn's contact info is here: http://www.minnesotabirthnetwork.com/educators.html. If you decide to go with her, you will not be disappointed. She is wonderful!!! Let me know if you need anything else!
post #16 of 19
I think also, in addition to classes you pay for, attend a few Childbirth Collective Parent Topic Nights. They are held on Mondays at Blooma at 7 and Vitality Yoga (downtown St. Paul) on Thursdays at 7:30.

They are free and you don't have to register. I think they are great as a compliment to a standard childbirth ed class.

a list of upcoming topics is available at www.childbirthcollective.org .
post #17 of 19
Originally Posted by irishmum View Post
JoAnn's contact info is here: http://www.minnesotabirthnetwork.com/educators.html. If you decide to go with her, you will not be disappointed. She is wonderful!!! Let me know if you need anything else!
I'll second that recommendation for both Bradley and JoAnn Peterson! We took Bradley classes from her with our 1st (2004) and a refresher for our 2nd (2008) and both births were so great. Very different, but both were achieved without pain medication (one a hospital birth with a pitocin induction (high blood pressure) and the 2nd a homebirth (midwife Amy Johnson-Grass, also awesome). We used JoAnn as our doula too, something else I'd recommend, regardless of what class or classes you take, having a doula was invaluable, both to me and my husband. Good luck!
post #18 of 19
I also second (or third or whatever it is) the Bradley Method. I took it about six years ago and it was invaluable. It inspired me so much, I became a Bradley teacher myself (although I am currently on hiatus). But you can find a bunch of great Bradley teachers in the area. Check here:


Also, please don't consider having a hospital birth without a doula. Trust me. You'll thank me later.
post #19 of 19
Where are the good breastfeeding classes offered?

I took the one that was offered by Fairview Ridges, and it was awful. I had already read the book "The Nursing Mother's Companion" and could have taught the class w/ more useful knowledge than what was doled out in the 2.5 hour class. Over 1/2 of the time was spent discussing nursing bras and breast pads. Oh, and how to cross your arms to cover your breasts if you accidentally leak in public.

Luckily, I was fortunate enough to be able to successfully bf my ds for 14 months in spite of this class.
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