Types of Childbirth Education

shapeimage_2Rochelle Matos, Health Foundations Childbirth Educator and owner of With Love.

At Health Foundations, our patients receive lots of education about childbirth throughout their routine prenatal care.  While the midwives at the birth center spend much more time talking with and educating patients compared to what is routinely offered in the conventional maternity setting, there is so much to learn about pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.  For this reason, we encourage our families to take childbirth education courses.

As a Health Foundations family, you receive as part of your care two education courses: one in Early Home Care (of everything we want you to know about postpartum) and another in Managing Complications.  You also have a breastfeeding visit with a lactation consultant in your third trimester.  However, the more you can arm yourself with knowledge, the better prepared you will be for pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.

Childbirth education is a great way to prepare for labor and birth, help you make informed decisions, learn how to relax and cope during labor, name and work through your fears, help partners understand how to support mamas, and more.  Additional preparation classes may focus on specific issues such as breastfeeding, newborn care, prenatal yoga/exercise, baby wearing, cloth diapering, etc.

Health Foundations offers a childbirth education series that is designed specifically for families choosing to deliver out-of-hosptial.  We have classes for both first-time families as well as refresher courses!  We are also fortunate to live in a community with AMAZING birth resources.  To name just a few, the Twin Cities is home to The Childbirth Collective, Blooma, Welcome Baby Care, With Love, and so many more great birth educators and supporters of families giving birth and raising children in our community.

There are many amazing childbirth education classes offered in the Twin Cities.  To help you determine what may be right for you, here is a brief description of some of the popular types of childbirth education courses offered here and around the country.  Note that some local businesses and birth professionals offer their own “brand” of childbirth education courses, which can also be terrific.   The Childbirth Collective also offers donation-based Parent Topic Nights, which focus on different aspects of childbirth.

Lamaze 

When many of us think of Lamaze, we think about a specific breathing technique used in labor.  Lamaze has changed a lot in its 50+ years, moving from a method-based childbirth program to an evidence-based philosophy of childbirth.  “Today’s Lamaze affirms the normalcy of birth, acknowledges women’s inherent ability to birth their babies and promotes Lamaze healthy birth practices.”

Lamaze affirms women’s ability to give birth naturally and free of routine medical interventions but does educate women on interventions that may be necessary in some birthing situations.

The Bradley Method 

The Bradley Method also believes that childbirth is a natural process that can happen free of medical interventions (in most cases) with proper preparation.  This method emphasizes the importance of the husband or partner to the birth process, discusses diet and exercise in pregnancy, and covers natural coping and relaxation techniques for labor.  Most Bradley courses are 10 to 12 weeks long.

ICEA-based classes

The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) “is a professional organization that supports educators and other health care providers who believe in freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives in family-centered maternity and newborn care”.  This organization certifies childbirth educators.  The ICEA doesn’t necessarily promote a particular set of techniques for managing labor, so you may want to ask the educator what will specifically be covered in the course.

Hypnobirthing® The Mongan Method

HypnoBirthing® is a childbirth education course that embraces birth as normal and natural and refutes the idea that birth must be accompanied by pain and suffering.  This childbirth education program emphasizes relaxation, visualization, and self-hypnosis techniques to help women and their partners achieve a calm and comfortable birth experience.  Mamas using this technique will often listen to hypnosis audio recordings during pregnancy to prepare for the use of self-hypnosis (with or without the recordings) during labor.  The class is typically taught in 5 weekly sessions.

Birthing from Within

Birthing from Within is a spiritual and creative-based education experience that sees birth as a rite of passage, seeks to prevent or minimize emotionally difficult births through compassionate and honest preparation, sees value in and recognizes the profound impact of women’s birth stories, suggests expressive means of preparing for childbirth, and supports holistic prenatal care that is informative and transformative.

Calm Birth

Founded in mind/body medicine, Calm birth is a method of meditation for pregnancy and childbirth.  The course covers the physical, emotional and other benefits of meditation before and during labor and birth and offers guided meditations to help women and their partners prepare for a calm and conscious childbirth experience.