Natural Childbirth Classes AKA “Prepared” Childbirth Classes
Some HMO’s and health-care providers sponsor classes which take no particular school of thought. Some of these classes are offered by educators certified by the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) while others are taught by labor and delivery or obstetric nurses employed by a specific hospital or clinic. These classes go over “general” natural childbirth methods as well as teaching the soon-to-be parents about hospital procedures and what to expect in all types of birthing experiences – from natural childbirth to planned cesareans. You may contact ICEA at P.O. Box 20038, Minneapolis, MN 55420; 612-854-8660
In addition to the 4 listed above – many clinics and hospitals also offer specialized classes on cesareans, VBAC’s (vaginal birth after cesarean), breastfeeding, siblings, and infant care. Check with your doctor about the types of programs they offer.
With my first pregnancy I took a hospital offered prepared childbirth class. While I learned a lot about hospital procedures, it still didn’t fully prepare me for the event. I have since learned to read all I can on the subject – and this prepares me greatly. With my second pregnancy I sought out a Bradley Method instructor and took the Bradley Method classes. I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot. Unfortunately I ended up with an emergency cesarean – however I could still yet apply the knowledge from that class to the birth.
Before taking any class – be sure to discuss it with your doctor or midwife. Make sure that they will support you and type of education you will receive from these classes. Many hospitals and clinics offer childbirth classes – especially the prepared childbirth and Lamaze classes. With Bradley and possibly with the Grantly Dick-Read methods you’ll have to seek out the individuals who teach. There is usually a charge for the individually offered classes while there may be a minimal charge for hospital/clinic offered classes – a lot of times these are free of charge if you are registered with their particular hospital or clinic. Check with your midwife/doctor and hospital to find out if there are classes offered for you.