In 2020, mamas-to-be had many of the pregnancy experiences they expected turned upside down.
Hospital appointments, shopping trips, and baby showers were all affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But if there’s one positive we want to keep, it’s all the new options for online birthing classes.
In this article 📝
- Are childbirth classes really necessary?
- What should I expect from a virtual birthing class?
- How do online birthing classes work?
- Best online birthing classes
- When should I take birthing classes?
Are childbirth classes really necessary?
Your body will know what to do when you go into labor, so is it really worth the time and expense of a class, even if you don’t have to leave your house to do it?
Learning about labor, understanding what will be happening in the hospital, and practicing breathing exercises not only gives you the best shot at a birth plan that works for you, it also means you can be crystal clear when telling your doctors or midwife about your birth preferences.
Most importantly though, it can help you feel more in control when the big day arrives.
And feeling in control means a better chance of giving your peanut a calm, relaxed welcome into the world.
So let’s embrace the change and take a look at what to expect from online childbirth classes.
What should I expect from a virtual birthing class?
A good online labor and delivery class should give you all the things you’d expect from a traditional birthing class:
- A rundown of the different stages of labor
- The lowdown on what to do when your contractions start and when to go to the hospital
- Pointers for pain management strategies such as breathing techniques or information about drugs and epidurals
- An explanation of c-sections and other interventions
- Info on what happens to your body after birth and how to look after yourself as you recover
- Basic baby care information, including how to give them their first bath and how to establish breastfeeding
How do online birthing classes work?
Online birthing classes usually consist of a live meeting which you join, or a prerecorded video.
Either way, the structure will be similar and will either be squeezed into one long session or split over several shorter ones.
The advantage of a live video meeting is that you can ask the instructor questions.
On the other hand, videos (either from a live class with actual mamas-to-be or recorded in the instructor’s office) let you stop and rewind to make sure you get all the information.
And what’s the best thing about online childbirth classes?
There’s one for every mama-to-be.
People are interested in different things and learn in different ways.
With traditional classes, your instructor might not go into something in as much detail as you want (your cervix is going to do what?) or leave out something relevant to you (like giving birth after a previous c-section, or multiple births).
Online, you can find a class that perfectly suits your needs.
Best online birthing classes
The best online childbirth class is always the one that’s best for you, but here are some options out there to consider:
Lamaze International: Their in-person classes are famous, but they’ve also put together plenty of online classes covering birth, breathing, and breastfeeding, which you can purchase alone or as a bundle.
Johns Hopkins: For mamas-to-be who want to feel empowered by having all the information, their Online Childbirth Education courses are written by obstetricians and cover the medical stuff in more detail than most.
Natural birthing classes
Every birth is natural.
For those of you who want some insight into vaginal births, here are some options.
Kopabirth: This organization wants to prepare women to have a drug-free birth in a hospital setting. Their courses show you how to advocate for a birth with as few interventions as possible.
Mama Natural Birth Course: These courses are led by a certified nurse and midwife who gives you all the information you need to prepare a birth plan. She also goes into how to have the most gentle birth possible even if medical interventions are necessary.
Free online birthing classes
There are also lots of free options for online labor and delivery classes where you can find all the information you need:
Pampers: This class is a series of nine videos from nurses with almost 50 years of experience. You’ll also hear from real parents.
Tucson Medical Center: These videos were created from their in-person class and helped a lot of mamas-to-be during 2020.
When should I take birthing classes?
Hospitals usually invite you to a childbirth class in your final trimester so all the information is fresh in your head when the time comes — about six weeks before your due date is ideal.
Of course, things are much more flexible with online birthing classes.
One popular option is to buy a video series that you can watch earlier on and then review closer to your due date.
And don’t forget, the entire Peanut community of mamas-to-be is also there for you online.
You might also be interested in:
Hypnobirthing: What It Is, How It Works, and Top Techniques
Tips for a More Confident Birth: 4 Things to Do Before You’re Due
Choose Your Own (Birth) Adventure: 3 Must-Ask Questions
Birth Plan Template: Tips & Advice
Your Guide to Having a Vaginal Birth