childbirth classes

Childbirth Classes
Excerpted from "Baby in Me"
By Lori Ramsey

Fewer changes in life bring as much anticipation and awe as awaiting the birth of your baby - especially if you've never trodden this path before. Most of your entire pregnancy you are, no doubt, excited and looking forward to the day when you get to actually hold your little bundle of joy. But probably more than anything else you look to that day - D day - DELIVERY day with much apprehension and concern. For those who have the experience of already delivering a baby - the experience can still be just as anticipatory - but especially for first time moms - it's a day of much expectation - expectation and trepidation about what labor and birth is like.

It is the fear of the unknown that scares some of us the most. But with childbirth this doesn't have to be the case. In most areas - childbirth classes are offered. These classes help you to understand what will take place on that day - as well as offer ways of coping and dealing with labor and delivery. There is no reason to face this very important day - without being somewhat prepared. Even if you live in an area that doesn't offer childbirth classes - you can greatly benefit by going to a bookstore (online or otherwise) or even to the library and reading books on the subject. But if you are offered childbirth classes - it would be wise to take them - especially if this is your first baby. Even with 2nd and subsequent pregnancies - a refresher course would do you some good.

There are several schools of thought on childbirth.

Grantly Dick-Read

These classes combine relaxation techniques and prenatal education to prepare you for labor and delivery. This thought was originally from a nurse, Margaret Gamper who inspired Dr. Dick-Read to develop this method in the 1940's. These classes usually begin in the 4th month of pregnancy. You can obtain information on local classes by writing to : Midwest Parentcraft Center, 627 Beaver Rd, Glenview, IL 60025 or by calling 312-248-8100

Bradley Method

Also known as the original "husband-coached" delivery method. Bradley teaches nutrition and exercises to prepare for the big day. Classes usually start in the 5th or 6th month of pregnancy. This method is opposite of Lamaze in that it incorporates deep breathing and coaching the laboring mom to look inward and focus upon what her body is doing - opening up to allow her baby to be born. Bradley promotes drug-free births and is used by a lot of homebirth moms. For more information contact: American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth, P.O. Box 5224, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413; 1-800-4ABIRTH


Developed by Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze, teaches the laboring mother to look outside her body - to a focal point - while incorporating breathing techniques to ease through labor and delivery. You may obtain more information on Lamaze by contacting the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics, 1840 Wilson Blvd.., Suite 204, Arlington, VA 22201; 1-800-368-4404

"Prepared" Childbirth Classes

Some HMO's and health-care providers sponsor classes which take no particular school of thought. Some of these classes are offered by educators certified by the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) while others are taught by labor and delivery or obstetric nurses employed by a specific hospital or clinic. These classes go over "general" natural childbirth methods as well as teaching the soon-to-be parents about hospital procedures and what to expect in all types of birthing experiences - from natural childbirth to planned cesareans. You may contact ICEA at P.O. Box 20038, Minneapolis, MN 55420; 612-854-8660

In addition to the 4 listed above - many clinics and hospitals also offer specialized classes on cesareans, VBAC's (vaginal birth after cesarean), breastfeeding, siblings, and infant care. Check with your doctor about the types of programs they offer.

With my first pregnancy I took a hospital offered prepared childbirth class. While I learned a lot about hospital procedures, it still didn't fully prepare me for the event. I have since learned to read all I can on the subject - and this prepares me greatly. With my second pregnancy I sought out a Bradley Method instructor and took the Bradley Method classes. I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot. Unfortunately I ended up with an emergency cesarean - however I could still yet apply the knowledge from that class to the birth.

Before taking any class - be sure to discuss it with your doctor or midwife. Make sure that they will support you and type of education you will receive from these classes. Many hospitals and clinics offer childbirth classes - especially the prepared childbirth and Lamaze classes. With Bradley and possibly with the Grantly Dick-Read methods you'll have to seek out the individuals who teach. There is usually a charge for the individually offered classes while there may be a minimal charge for hospital/clinic offered classes - a lot of times these are free of charge if you are registered with their particular hospital or clinic. Check with your midwife/doctor and hospital to find out if there are classes offered for you.

Lori Ramsey is a published author and mother of 6 who also runs many businesses. Read One Of Her Books On Kindle: How to Get Pregnant by Learning How to Increase Fertility
Reproduced with Permission

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