As you approach the end of your second trimester and get into your third trimester (or maybe even sooner!) the idea of actually having to give birth will be more and more real. For first-time expecting parents this is unknown territory —what will giving birth be like? What should I expect? How can I prepare? — this may excite you, but most likely it will also cause some anxiety, and that’s ok. The best way to fight that anxiety and prepare for the arrival of your little one is by taking a childbirth class. 

Tinyhood Childbirth 101: Learn About Labor Through Postpartum

Childbirth education classes will give you the tools to go into labor and delivery with confidence.  Birthing classes will not only guide you through the entire delivery experience —  including what to expect from your body, your baby, and your providers —but, it will also help you prepare for your postpartum experience as well. 

Some general topics you will learn about in most childbirth classes are: 

  • Signs labor is approaching
  • What to expect from each stage of labor
  • Birthing positions
  • Lamaze
  • How to manage pain
  • Tips for your support team
  • Vaginal and cesarean births
  • How to handle postpartum recovery
  • Packing your hospital bag

There are several different types of childbirth classes available to you,  each with their own pros and cons. Deciding which type of class to take depends on what you are looking for. Most hospitals offer birthing classes both in person or online. There are also in-person classes offered by third parties and then completely online classes such as our on-demand class Childbirth 101: From Labor through Postpartum that you’ll have access to throughout your pregnancy and even after birth. Let’s walk through each option, as well as the benefits and downsides to each: 

Hospital Childbirth Classes:
One benefit of a hospital class, especially those in person, is that it is often coupled with your hospital tour, allowing you to see where you will be giving birth.  You also can meet other pregnant parents in your area, and have a face to face discussion with the teacher. 

For so long, this has been the only option expecting parents have had. We often hear from parents that these types of classes tend to be less comprehensive and more “Old school,” structured around unmedicated childbirth and best case scenarios, which can often breeze over different forms of medical interventions and pain relief options. Plus, another downside is that you usually take these classes with other expecting parents and have to show up at a specific place and time so you can’t really do it on your own time. 

Third-party In-Person Childbirth Classes: 

These classes tend to be slightly more comprehensive that traditional hospital ones but can often be geared towards a specific interest (non medicated birth, c-section, etc). For example, many expecting parents have heard of Lamaze classes. And, while this method has been around for a long time, the pain relief techniques are guided to expecting parents who know they do not want to do any medication during their labor & birth and want to focus on only breathing and movement techniques to relieve pain. 

These types of classes are  great if you know exactly what you want. They’re not as helpful if you’d like to know all your options, and all the possible scenarios, or really have done no research into childbirth experiences at all. 

Online Childbirth Classes: 

Let’s start with the cons on this one, which are completely dependent on what you’re looking for. Obviously, if you’re looking for face to face interaction, and to meet other pregnant couples in your area, online courses pose a challenge. However, many offer alternatives that would fill those needs as well. Here at Tinyhood, we offer group sessions where you can connect with other parents in the same stage as you and get guidance from certified experts. 

As for pros, the list here is long. For starters, it’s convenient. No getting dressed and rushing out the door at a certain time once a week for 6 weeks, here. Online classes move at your pace, and start on your time, making them ideal for busy parents. It’s also easy to watch the class with other people, making it easy to share the information with as many support people as you would like. 

Another place online classes really shine is that you always have access to them, making it easy to refer back to the information time and time again (which, trust us, you will want to do!). 
Once your baby is born, or even before, questions or issues will come up that you will know you covered in your class but you might not quite remember the answer to.  Taking the pressure off yourself to remember every little bit of information the first time it’s presented to you because you can look back at it when you need to is truly a gift. Our Childbirth 101 online class is broken up into easy to digest and follow video lessons, which include downloadable handouts, making it easy to refresh your memory. 

In addition, our class is super comprehensive, and covers ALL the ways labor can go — not just the best case scenario. We’ll give you the information you need whether you have an unmedicated birth, have an epidural, or end up having a c-section. This way, you can be informed enough about all the different outcomes in case things didn’t go as planned. We’ll  also give you completely unbiased pain relief tips. The instructor (an experienced labor and delivery nurse) covers all the different pain management options available: pros and cons of epidurals, different relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and even different labor positions that will help you get as comfortable as possible— including which ones are possible if you do get an epidural (No, you don’t HAVE to labor on your back!).  We also go beyond the time of labor and delivery and teach you what to expect as labor nears, what to expect in your postpartum period, and what to expect in the first few days of baby’s life. 

Which Childbirth class should I take?
Overall, all childbirth classes will give you some beneficial information about the labor and delivery experience. But not all classes will give you ALL the information. Which one you choose is up to you. Consider your time, if you want to be in person or online, what type of information you want to learn and how deep into all the information you’d like to go. In the end, this is your experience, and just like parenting, everyone needs to do what is right for them.

For more information on what to expect from labor and delivery, how to effectively manage pain, tips for your support team, prenatal and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, common end of pregnancy monitoring, tests and more, check out our online course, Childbirth 101: From Labor through Postpartum, taught by seasoned labor and delivery nurse, Ashley Derderian Sousa. 

Tinyhood Childbirth 101: Taught By A Labor and Delivery Nurse