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Childbirth Classes

I always tell my patients that you wouldn’t run the Boston Marathon without physically preparing for the event, and you shouldn’t consider an athletic marathon like labor without doing the same! Fortunately there are several wonderful methods that can help you do just that.

We are going to take a look at the 3 most well known forms of prepared childbirth education and hopefully at least one of them will spark your interest. I have labored with women who have successfully used each of them. Those women believed that their bodies were strong, and able to do the work of labor. They worked hard to become confident in their ability to give birth with dignity and power. You can too.

HypnoBirthing can be done as a five-week course if there is a certified instructor near you, or individually by purchasing the HypnoBIrthing book which comes with audio exercises. This method uses hypnosis techniques to create a peaceful childbirth experience. It is designed to help laboring women avoid/deny pain through meditation and relaxation. You can learn more about HypnoBIrthing at http://www.hypnobirthing.com/.

Lamaze is one of the most well known methods of prepared childbirth and has been around the longest. It first started as a class that focused on breathing techniques but now incorporates different forms of comfort measures such as hydrotherapy, massage, position changes and others. A major component of Lamaze is teaching communication techniques to partners so that they can be supportive to laboring women. For more information on Lamaze you can visit https://www.lamaze.org/.

The Bradley Method is very similar to Lamaze but designed for women who desire an unmedicated birth. This course is 12 weeks in length, comes with a workbook and usually has small classes. It also focuses on the partner as a labor coach. The website for this method is http://www.bradleybirth.com/.

Each of these methods works best when practiced regularly during the last couple of months of the pregnancy. The classes usually provide lots of information about labor, birth, complications, breastfeeding, and early infant care. This increased knowledge can build a woman's confidence in her ability to give birth.

If you are serious about one of these childbirth methods you should search for a certified instructor. If you just want general information and to learn a few breathing techniques, most hospitals have “prepared childbirth” classes which will teach the basics and are fun to attend.

Dr. Cheryl Sharp, Chief Content Officer
Cheryl is a midwife and women's health nurse practitioner who has been caring for women, newborns, and families more than 30 years. She views the opportunity to journey with women through their pregnancy and beyond as a sacred privilege.