As I mentioned in the intro post for the Preparing for Childbirth: Childbirth Education week, I took many classes during my last pregnancy. I have also taken one during this pregnancy as well.
I personally feel it is a very wise decision to, at minimum, take a breastfeeding class and childbirth classes. If these options are not available to you locally, some methods have home study courses you can take and, of course, there are plenty of books written on both subjects. I’ll likely share more of those during the Childbirth Resources week as part of the Preparing for Birth Series.
Locally, we are lucky to have lots of options.
- Independent Childbirth Education classes offered: Hypnobabies, Mindful Birth, Instinctive Birthing, Bradley Childbirth, Classes by Carolina Doulas
- St. Francis Eastside offers the following classes: Breastfeeding, Caring for Your Baby, Birth to 10 Days: What to Expect, Childbirth Preparation, Comfort Measures for Managing Labor, Great Expectations*, Heartsaver CPR, Infant Massage, Natural Family Planning, New Family Celebration*, Sibling Preparation Class
- Greenville Hospital System offers the following classes: Prepared Childbirth Classes, Multiples Class, Breastfeeding Class, Breastfeeding Support, Siblings Class, OB Tour*, Friends and Family CPR, Getting Ready for Baby featuring Happiest Baby on the Block, Beginnings and Beyond
- Spartanburg Regional offers the following classes: Prepared Childbirth Series, Refresher Class, Sibling Class, Breastfeeding Class, Infant Care Class, Infant CPR, HypnoBirthing Relaxation, Infant Massage, Table for Two-Baby and You
I personally did not take any of the classes offered at our local hospital with the exception of HypnoBirthing. I took several at hospitals in the Charlotte area as we were going to be living there at the time (Breastfeeding, Infant CPR, Newborn Care). I also took Bradley classes in Charlotte as well. This time around I chose to take Hypnobabies classes.
For me, as far as childbirth preparation the Hypnobabies classes are hands down my favorite. It is a comprehensive program which covers everything from nutrition and exercises, to comfort measures and all the stages of birth. Of course, the best part of the program is the hypnosis program. You are given several CD’s to guide you into a relaxed state and even your birth partner gets their own special CD. Joyful pregnancy affirmations, visualizing your birth, fear clearing, and easy, comfortable birthing are just a few of the CDs to help you into that perfect, relaxed state and get you ready for your birthing time. If you don’t have classes local to you, they do offer a home study course and you can buy several of the CD’s on the website, (and 2 are free)!
I also enjoyed and greatly benefitted from the HypnoBirthing classes I took with my pregnancy with Marcella. If you are local, you can take this free at Spartanburg Regional. I actually loved the 2 relaxation CD’s I got with this program. The Rainbow Relaxation is so peaceful as is the CD that comes with the book. I listened to both of these during Marcella’s birth and they greatly facilitated my relaxation. I thought before my birth when I would watch a video of a women in hypnosis that there was no way I would be that calm during birth…but I was! I was so quiet I had to actually make a sound just so my husband and mom would know I was having a contraction. I have a very low tolerance for pain (in other words, I’m a big wimp!) so the fact I could relax through contractions and actually even sleep through some is a testament to how well hypnosis can work during labor. These classes cover If you don’t have classes local to you, the book is really good on it’s own and comes with one CD. If you want to buy the Rainbow Relaxation as well, they do sell it on their website.
The Bradley classes were probably the least beneficial to me, mainly because I had read Husband-Coached Childbirth already and knew a lot of the information beforehand. It is very comprehensive, however, if you don’t already know a lot about labor. It goes into exactly what happens during the different stages of labor (as does Hypnobabies) and what to expect. This really helps you have an expectation of what is normal during birth. It also covers nutrition and exercise. It’s a 12 week course (although the one I took was 6). If you don’t have classes local to you, you can buy the books, (Husband-Coached Childbirth and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way) and work through them with your birth partner.
Whatever you decide, I hope you do decide to take a childbirth class! You will greatly benefit from the information and know what to expect from your birthing time.