In the last post, I talked about why it’s a great idea to take a childbirth class, but if you’ve looked around, you’ve probably seen that there are hundreds of classes to choose from. So how do you determine which class is a good fit for you?
I can’t give you a definitive answer, but I can offer some things to consider when making your decision:
How much is it?
Childbirth education can cost anywhere between nothing and thousands of dollars. There’s a budget for everyone. For those who might not be able to afford a private childbirth class with Erykah Badu, you can find tons of great educational videos online, or a few great books at the library or your local bookstore (or Amazon). While those technically aren’t traditional classes, you can still find valuable, reputable information if you know where to look.
On the other end of the spectrum, private classes with local childbirth educators offer personalized information presented in a way that has been curated just for you. Some educators will even come to your home to teach you and anyone you might have to support you what you need to know.
What does it cover?
Classes can be a variety of lengths and cover a wide range of topics. Some classes go over the very basics of pregnancy and childbirth; others go into tons of detail. Classes can last for an hour, to weeks or even months, depending on the program. When looking into childbirth education, I would encourage you to take stock of how much time you have to attend or study the information. Maybe you realistically only have 4 hours start to finish to learn what you need to know. Maybe you’d like a more comprehensive 12-week course. It really depends on how much time you have and how much information you’d like to go over.
With that being said, if you are someone who wants to know allll the facts, be sure to budget that time into your life and the course of your pregnancy so that you’re not trying to cram a six-week course into the last four weeks of your pregnancy.
What is the format?
There are still traditional classroom-style classes, especially now that in-person activities are being rolled out a bit more than last year. There are also online classes. These classes can be hosted with live instructors, or they can be self-paced so that students can work through the material on their own time. When deciding what format would work best for you, ask yourself some questions:
Do you want to interact with other people in-person?
What needs to be done for you to get out of the house to take a class (do you have childcare, transportation, free time in your schedule, the energy or ability to leave the house)?
Would you be able to stay on top of the material on your own if you chose a self-paced class?
Do you want hard copies of the manuals/handouts, or would virtual copies be better for you?
Are you going to have access to a computer when you would need to join a live class?
The format of the class can be a huge deciding factor. Some people just don’t absorb information as well unless they can actually hold the book and manually highlight important information. Some people don’t want a huge book to lug around and would rather have it all on their tablet. Sometimes, you’ll even find that the format of the class affects the price. There's an added expense if the instructor has to print a 200-page workbook and mail it to someone, so oftentimes, classes that include hard-copies of the information will be a little more expensive than their virtual counterparts.
Who is the class hosted and taught by and what are their philosophies about birth?
The people or entities who host and teach the class are going to have their own unique ideas, experiences and understandings of childbirth. Is the class taught by a "natural" homebirth blogger or perhaps it's held at the local hospital? Their narrative about birth is going to influence how they present the material they choose to offer their students. Do your values, opinions and goals line up with the host and the instructor's? I suggest working backward to find out.
What do you want your birth to look like? Are you planning on giving birth at home? Are you someone who wants to be able to utilize all the drugs and technology available to you? Are you looking to incorporate religion into your birth experience? Does the host, instructor, and material line up with what you are looking to get out of this whole experience?
One last question to ask about the host or instructor is, do they know what they’re talking about? Where did they get their information and has it been proven to be accurate? Anyone can sell a class online these days. While there are tons of great classes out there, there are also some duds. Do a little research to make sure that you’re investing in a quality class. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask the instructor or host what their qualifications are, what certifications they have and how they determined what information they included in the class if you cannot find that information on their website or on the class brochure.
So those are my tips on how to select the best class for you! I hope that I’ve given you some inspiration to find a childbirth education class that will help you have the kind of birth you want for you and your baby <3