Pregnant woman stretching at a birthing class

8 Different Types of Birthing Classes Available

Pregnancy is filled with an increasingly longer to-do list. You need to set up the nursery, get all your baby gear ready, and safely install a car seat. Although all these things are important, preparing for childbirth is another essential part of becoming a parent. For many expectant mothers and fathers, attending birthing classes is the best way to learn about the childbirth process, the various options available, and how to prepare for the big day. But with so many types of classes, it can be challenging to know which one to choose. Here, we’ll go over 8 different types of birthing classes available and what they focus on.


General Information About Birthing Classes

If you’re expecting, chances are you’ve been told by friends, family members, and maybe even coworkers about their experience with birthing classes. But what are they exactly? Birthing classes are designed to prepare expectant parents for labor, delivery, and the postpartum period. Their specific curriculum tends to depend on the type of class you attend, but they carry many benefits for both new and experienced parents.


What Do You Learn in a Birthing Class?

The specific topics covered in a birthing class will vary depending on the type of class and the instructor. However, there are some common topics covered in a birthing class.

  • Anatomy and Physiology of Pregnancy and Childbirth — this involves education on the stages of labor, how the baby moves through the birth canal, and the physical changes that occur during pregnancy and childbirth.


  • Coping Techniques for Labor — this goes over different relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, visualization, massage, and other coping methods to manage pain and stress during labor.


  • Positions for Labor and Delivery — your instructor will explore different positions for labor and delivery, such as squatting, standing, sitting, and side-lying, to help facilitate the baby's descent and make labor more comfortable.


  • Pain Management Options — it’s important to understand the various pain management options available during labor, including natural methods such as breathing and relaxation techniques, as well as medical interventions such as epidurals.


  • Medical Procedures and Interventions — this includes learning about medical procedures and interventions that may be necessary during labor, such as fetal monitoring, induction, and cesarean birth.


  • Breastfeeding — your instructor will go over the benefits of breastfeeding, how to latch and position your baby, and troubleshoot some common breastfeeding problems.

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  • Newborn Care — some classes also go over valuable information about newborn care, such as bathing, diapering, and soothing techniques.


  • Postpartum Recovery — finally, you may cover the physical and emotional changes that occur after childbirth, as well as self-care strategies for recovery.


Benefits of Childbirth Classes

The main benefits of childbirth classes are that they provide you with some information that can help make your pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum period easier without overwhelming you. Your instructor will walk you through everything in a calming way and can answer any questions or address concerns that you may have. They also allow you to connect with other expecting moms, form a support group, and increase your confidence in the entire process.


Who Teaches Birthing Classes?

Birthing classes are typically taught by childbirth educators who have received specialized training in prenatal, childbirth, and postpartum care. These educators may be certified by organizations such as Lamaze International, the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), or the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA).

In some cases, healthcare providers, such as midwives or doulas, may also offer birthing classes as part of their services. The instructors of birthing classes may have diverse backgrounds and approaches, but they all share a common goal of providing expectant parents with the knowledge and skills they need to have a safe, healthy, and positive childbirth experience.


Are Birthing Classes Covered by Insurance?

Every health insurance provider, policy, or plan is different. A few private insurance providers may cover birthing classes, but many others do not. It’s important to check directly with your insurance company or a representative for further information on your coverage details.


When to Take a Birthing Class

The best time to take birthing classes is during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. This gives you enough time to learn and practice the techniques taught in the classes before your due date. However, some classes may have specific timing requirements, such as starting early in the second trimester, so always check with the class provider for their recommendations.

It's also important to keep in mind that some classes may fill up quickly, so it's best to plan ahead and reserve a spot in the class as soon as possible. Additionally, if there are specific topics or techniques that expectant parents want to learn or practice, they can consider taking additional classes or workshops outside of the standard birthing classes.


8 Different Types of Birthing Classes to Choose From

Everyone’s pregnancy is different and how you approach your experience is your choice. That’s why several different variations of birthing classes have been established. While many offer the same basic core information, some classes will be geared specifically towards one birthing method while others may be focused on a mindset. Some of the most common types of birthing classes to choose from are as follows.


1. Lamaze

Lamaze is one of the most well-known birthing classes, named after the French obstetrician Dr. Fernand Lamaze. These classes focus on natural childbirth techniques while helping expecting mothers grow their confidence in their body’s ability. The class teaches breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and other coping mechanisms for pain management. It heavily focuses on movement during labor and tapping into your body’s instinctual knowledge of childbirth. Lamaze doesn’t discourage the use of medicine or medical intervention.


2. The Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is a method that helps mothers learn how to relax and release tension in their bodies during labor. This technique focuses on body awareness, proper posture, and movement coordination, which can help alleviate pain and stress during childbirth. It aims to help improve your balance and flexibility, which can be used during labor.


3. The Bradley Method

The Bradley Method is another natural childbirth method that emphasizes relaxation and husband or partner-coached techniques to help with pain management. It preps your partner to be your birthing coach. The class also teaches nutrition, exercise, and other techniques to help prepare your body for childbirth. It typically focuses on delivery without medications but does cover what may happen in unexpected situations.


4. The Mongan Method

The Mongan Method, also known as HypnoBirthing, is a relaxation technique that uses self-hypnosis and visualization to help manage pain and stress during childbirth. The technique teaches deep relaxation and breathing techniques to help you stay calm and focused during labor. This birthing class may also cover the consciousness of your baby before delivery.


5. Birthing From Within

Birthing From Within is a unique birthing class that focuses on the emotional and spiritual aspects of childbirth. It’s a bit newer and revolves around teaching mindfulness techniques, creative visualization, and other methods to help you connect with your inner selves and find strength and courage during childbirth.


6. Waterbirth Class

A waterbirth class is designed for mothers who plan to give birth in water. The class teaches the benefits and risks of waterbirth, as well as the best practices for laboring and giving birth in this environment. These classes are usually run by certified waterbirth experts.


7. Home Birthing Class

A home birthing class is designed for mothers who plan to give birth at home. It teaches all the different benefits and risks, alongside what to do in case of complications. Home birthing classes also go over how to prepare for a home birth in advance and different methods for pain management during labor.


8. Natural Birth Preparation

Natural birth preparation classes cover a wide range of natural childbirth techniques, including breathing exercises, methods of relaxation, partner coaching, and coping mechanisms for pain management.

If you’re interested in more than one different type of birthing class, try to see if you can accommodate them both into your schedule. There may also be options for hybrid classes depending on your location and interests. Ask your doctor for recommendations on birthing classes near you.

Everyone goes through labor and childbirth differently, but you can choose which mindset you’d like to adopt. The important thing is making sure you’re prepared and have created a birth plan with your OB/GYN. To help you on your journey into parenthood, Byram Healthcare offers insurance-covered breast pumps to new and expecting moms. Browse our breast pump comparison chart and place your order today.