Do you know what to expect during labor and delivery? Whether you're a first-time mom or a delivery room veteran, here's why you should take a childbirth education class.
By now, you've probably surrounded yourself with articles on childbirth and heard countless labor stories from friends and loved ones. But do you really know what to expect during labor and delivery? A childbirth education class can make all the difference.
Why should I take a childbirth education class?
Whether you're a first-time mom or a delivery room veteran, a childbirth education class can help you prepare to meet the challenges of labor and delivery. Consider the opportunities:
Are there different types of childbirth education classes?
Yes. Some classes cover specific types of births, such as C-section, vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) and multiple births. Refresher courses are available for parents who simply want to review the basics. Other classes focus on specific methods of childbirth. For example:
You may also find classes on other approaches to childbirth, including hypnotherapy and water birth.
What's the best way to find a class?
Childbirth education classes are offered at most hospitals and birthing centers. Some classes are available online or in video format. Ask your health care provider about available classes.You might also check with other parents who've recently had babies.
When should I take the class?
Childbirth education classes are often recommended near the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy - but anytime before you go into labor would be helpful. Typically, classes are offered as one- or two-hour sessions over the course of several months or as full-day weekend sessions. The earlier you register, the more options and flexibility you'll have regarding class dates and times.
How much will it cost?
That depends. Short courses may be offered for a nominal fee. More intense courses may cost $100 or more. Some insurance plans offer reduced registration fees or reimbursement plans for childbirth education classes. Fees at some facilities may be based on your ability to pay.
What is my health care provider's role?
Your health care provider is there to help you have a positive birth experience. With his or her input, use what you learn in your childbirth education class to create a birth plan. No one can guarantee how labor and delivery will unfold, but together you can design a birth plan that meets your expectations for labor, delivery and postpartum care - and that promotes the best care for you and your baby.