Parenting and childbirth classes are common in today’s birthing world. New parents often wonder if they are worth the investment of time and money or if they are necessary at all. The ultimate answer to this question comes down to your circumstances and experiences. As a midwife, I would always want to get to know a couple and their history before recommending they attend classes. Here are my top suggestions when considering if childbirth education classes are necessary for you.
Tarlia is a registered midwife, nurse, and hypnobirthing educator with over 12 years of experience. She has worked across all areas of midwifery but has a passion for holistic women-centred care, which allows for education and empowerment of women and their families.
She is the co-director of Avenir Life Midwifery on the Gold Coast. Avenir Life is a boutique holistic midwifery group practice committed to providing the highest quality of care for expecting mothers and their families. They focus on home birth and continuity of midwifery care with a collaborative approach. To find out more about midwifery care with the team at Avenir Life, visit www.avenirlifemidwifery.com.au
Founder and co-director of Avenir Life Midwifery
Hypnobirthing International Educator
Five things to consider before booking into childbirth education classes:
∘ 01 Is this your first baby?
If you are a first-time mamma, then I would almost ALWAYS suggest that you and your birth partner attend some form of childbirth education class. So many people don’t worry about it the first time because they don’t know what to expect or think it's not necessary. As a midwife and childbirth educator, I so often meet women who are pregnant for the second time doing classes because they had a traumatic experience the first time. Birth is unpredictable, but you will have a much easier experience if you are educated empowered and able to advocate for yourself.
∘ 02 Have you had a previous traumatic birth?
If you fit into this category, you should attend childbirth education classes this time. Not only do you have the opportunity to debrief about the traumatic birth, but you also have the chance to re-write those negative associations with positive ones, then heal and move on. Education is empowerment, and mamma, you want to be empowered to achieve something different from the first time around.
∘ 03 Are you and your partner on the same page with what you envision for your birth?
If your partner is anything like mine the first time around (think uninformed and thinking all birth is on your back on a hospital bed), then you should definitely think about attending classes. Childbirth education classes are great for birth partners for many reasons. They will meet other dads and can chat about all the manly things, but they will also gain a valuable insight into the real world of birth and postpartum. They will learn how to support and advocate for you and even learn practical tips like massage (that’s a win for you ladies). Most of the birth partners leave with a renewed understanding and desire to be the best support they can for the pregnant mamma.
∘ 04 What kind of birth do you want?
When thinking about this topic, one of the main things to consider is what you want your birth to look like? While for one person, the ideal birth might be at home in their lounge room, for another, it might be a planned caesarean section. You need to think about this when you are choosing classes as you might want to try and find one more suitable to your wants and desires for your birth. If you were choosing to have a planned c-section, you might prefer to invest that money into some good quality postnatal care rather than preparing for birth.
∘ 05 What kind of childbirth classes are right for you?
There are so many different kinds of classes, from hypnobirthing to calm birth to beers and bubs classes to hospital antenatal classes. It is essential to do your research and know what you want out of a class before booking it. Generally hospital antenatal classes will give you the bare minimum about the stages of labour and breastfeeding and tend to focus a lot on pain relief options. If you are wanting a more holistic approach then you would want to head more down the hypnobirthing, calmbirth, shebirths road or approach your local private midwife to see if they offer classes. Knowing what it is that you want to gain from the class will help you to decide which one is right for you. It is always good to read reviews and ask your friends and family if they have done any and what they thought? Also keep in mind that finding a good educator who is passionate about teaching makes all the difference when you are attending classes.
At the end of the day if you attend childbirth/parenting classes is totally up to you. As a midwife and educator I would almost always say it is a good idea and investment unless you are having baby number 2,3,4,5 etc and you have already done a great childbirth education class. In that case you can always go back for a refresher course or you can just read over your literature and familiarize yourself with the content again leading up to your birth. I truly believe that education is the key to empowerment and empowered women can achieve anything so consider the investment into a good childbirth class. You don’t want to be the 1 in 4 women who currently end up with birth trauma. Our mission as midwives and childbirth educators collectively is to change those statistics for the better!