Between Lamaze, HypnoBirthing & the Bradley Method, it's hard to know what childbirth class is right for you. Take this quiz to find out which fits your birth plan.
There's so much to think about when you're pregnant, especially if it's your first time. Like what do you do if you go into labor? What the heck do you pack for the hospital? And breastfeeding—how does that work? Good news: there's a class for all of that. Yep, trained professionals are just waiting to help you navigate your pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum journey. You just have to know where to look.
When choosing a childbirth class, Anne Wright, manager of patient education at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women in Houston, recommends starting by finding out what your hospital offers, if that's where you're giving birth. Hospital classes are usually customized, focusing on specific routines to expect there.
If you go with a class outside your hospital, Wright recommends checking that the instructor is certified by an external organization and uses a standardized curriculum. Also, insurance often covers childbirth classes, so check with your provider to see if the one you want will be paid for.
The class you choose should fit with your philosophy of childbirth, and feel comfortable to you. With this in mind, it's hard to go wrong: Most approaches—whether Lamaze, The Bradley Method, or Hypnobirthing—will teach you about having a healthy pregnancy, outline the signs of labor, cover common complications, offer relaxation techniques, and give you breastfeeding and baby care fundamentals.
To get a clearer idea for which class is right for you, answer the following questions, noting the letter of your choice to tally at the end.
What is your childbirth philosophy?
A. Childbirth is daunting, but with the proper techniques and education, I know I can do it.
B. Women's bodies were made for birth. It's a natural experience I can endure with the help of my partner.
C. Birth is an empowering, natural, peaceful experience for a woman.
How much do you know about birth?
A. In a word: nothing. But I want to know it all!
B. I've heard so many bad childbirth experiences from friends and family, so I know what I don't want.
C. I know it should be different from the clinical, impersonal experiences many of my friends have described; it's something I can even enjoy.
How do you feel about pain medication during labor?
A. I'm open to pain relief, but I plan to take the labor and delivery process at it comes, and decide then.
B. I want to have a natural childbirth.
C. Pain medication has no place in my birth experience as I am considering a home birth.
How active of a role do you want your partner to have during the labor?
A. I am definitely looking for support from my partner.
B. I am counting on my partner to be my birth coach.
C. I want my partner there with me. I'm considering using a doula as well.
Is a birth plan important to you?
A. Yes, I want to write a thorough birth plan ahead of my delivery.
B. My birth plan includes preparing my body and mind.
C. My baby may decide for me, but yes, I have preferences for how I want us to experience the amazing phenomenon of birth.
How much time can you devote to classes?
A. I can devote a few days over several weeks, or an entire weekend.
B. I want to start early and continue my childbirth education throughout my pregnancy.
C. I am very serious about my birth being the positive, transformative experience it was intended to be. It's not about time.
Do you have time outside of the childbirth classes to "study?"
A. Yes, some time. I want to be prepared.
B. Yes! The more information the better; workbooks, books, whatever. I'm game!
C. I am devoted to practicing visualization and relaxation techniques frequently pre-birth.
Do you plan to breastfeed?
A. I'm not sure, but I want to try!
C. Breastfeeding is an essential part of bonding with my baby. It's the first thing I plan to do after giving birth.
If you chose mostly A's...
A Lamaze class might be best for you. Childbirth classes that follow this approach focus on relaxation techniques like breathing and distraction. They neither advocate nor discourage pain medication. The belief is that childbirth is a natural process, and women should listen to their bodies to decide what's best for them. Prices vary based on where you live, and whether you choose a private or group class. You can take a class online, starting at $79.95.
If you chose mostly B's...
Childbirth classes that follow The Bradley Method might be right for you. With this approach, the focus is on the partner helping to coach the pregnant woman through the labor and delivery process. Pain medication is discouraged in favor of a natural birthing experience. In fact, having a healthy pregnancy from start to finish is a big part of this philosophy. The length of the classes is 12 weeks. Prices vary.
If you chose mostly C's...
Hypnobirthing might be right for you. Taught in the span of five weeks, for two-and-a-half hours at a time, Hypnobirthing is all about a gentle, calm, empowering birth experience, either in a hospital or at home. Pain medication is not a goal for women who choose this method. In fact, the idea is to embrace and even enjoy birth as a peaceful practice. Prices start at around $225.