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Finding a Childbirth Class and Birth Plans

Creating a birth plan is a good way to begin conceptualizing what birth will be like
Finding a Childbirth Class and Birth Plans
Credit: lculig ©
Tuesday October 1, 2019

While it might be early to take a childbirth class, it is an excellent time to start researching what kinds of classes are available in your area and details about different childbirth philosophies. Unless you already know which method you want to try, it is best to pick a general birthing class that covers information on multiple styles and potential interventions that might happen should things not go as planned. The hospital where you plan to give birth likely offers this kind of class and could be a good jumping-off point for deciding which method appeals to you the most.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state that "hospitals and birthing centers are the safest setting for birth." If you are considering a home birth, we strongly encourage you to discuss this with your obstetrician and pediatrician. A home birth carries a significant risk (i.e., risk of approximately one neonatal death per 1000 normal live births, a 2-3-fold increase in neonatal mortality, and an increase in low Apgar scores and neonatal seizures). As you do your research, things to consider include different childbirth philosophies, types of classes, hospital tours, pre-registration, and creating a birth plan.

Credit: Tyler Olson ©

Childbirthing Philosophies

We recommend you begin by attending an introductory childbirth class with your partner to gain an understanding of the stages of childbirth as well as the traditional approaches you are likely to find in a hospital. From this point, if you wish, you can embark on exploring different childbirth styles and philosophies to see if any particular one resonates with your vision and desires. The more natural varieties include Lamaze, the Bradley Method, and Hypnobirthing. While there is no one best method for giving birth, it is essential that whatever option you decide to try includes some room for flexibility and potential change of direction as childbirth can be somewhat unpredictable.

Credit: Katarzyna BiaÅ‚asiewicz ©

Types of Childbirth Classes

Once you choose a birthing class that appeals to you, you should encourage your partner to attend all of the sessions if possible; as your childbirth wingman it's important he knows what is happening during delivery to help make important decisions, especially if you can't make them for some reason. You will both benefit from learning the ins and outs of what could potentially happen if things don't go according to plan.

Credit: Shao-Chun Wang ©

Hospital Tour

Taking a tour of the maternity ward is an excellent way to get the lay of the land and ask questions about amenities offered by the hospital. This knowledge gathering can help you prep for what to pack for the big day. Most hospital-run birthing classes include a trip to the maternity ward, but if you choose to take a course outside the hospital, you can still schedule a personal visit to get the lay of the land. Being familiar with the ward and how to get there can help alleviate any big day jitters related to finding the right place and checking in when you should be concentrating on relaxing and timing your contractions. Familiarity with a site can decrease anxiety and stress.


It is also a good idea to pre-register with the hospital where you plan to give birth. Submitting your paperwork and supplying information about your doctor and insurance ahead of time will help the process move smoothly come game time. It can be comforting to arrive at the maternity ward on the big day knowing you don't need to worry about any details besides a healthy delivery. Hospitals offer and encourage this kind of advanced planning and involvement as it is easier for everyone to process paperwork when there is no impending medical need.

Creating a Birth Plan

As the baby's arrival becomes imminent, not knowing how childbirth will unfold or what kind of birth you'd like to have can cause anxiety. A birth plan is a good idea, but it is best to avoid being too rigid. Because every pregnancy and baby is different, it is hard to say how labor and delivery will go until you get there. Understanding the various options and potential interventions ahead of time can help you make crucial last-minute decisions without losing precious time explaining your options. Discuss your birth plan with your partner and your doctor so you are all on the same page and can troubleshoot potential deviations from the plan ahead of time.

Reference Source

1.American Academy of Pediatrics - Planned Home Birth AAP Policy
  1. I'm Pregnant! A Week-By-Week Guide From Conception to Birth
  1. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn, Epidural Without Guilt, and Dream Birth

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