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Choosing the right childbirth class

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Alongside with the preparations for the baby you might be thinking about booking a childbirth class. Or not? Some dads-to-be are worried they might have to end up panting and pushing, some moms-to-be are worried they might have to moan in front of strangers. Let me help you with making that decision.

There are a lot of classes in NYC and I am sure you can find the right class for you. Generally I’d recommend to book a childbirth class, a newborn care and breastfeeding class and a CPR class. Why so many classes? First of all because you will be giving birth and should know about common procedures, labor pain techniques, how your partner can help and what medical terms like “AROM” means (Artificial rupture of membranes). Second, you need to know a few things about breastfeeding. As natural as it is- you probably didn’t grow up with aunts and siblings around you breastfeeding so a few things will help you have a great start with your little one. Third, once you have a baby, you will be surrounded by other babies. To know how to react when they have small accidents or need CPR- book a baby CPR class. CPR classes can be booked i.e. with Fern Drillings.

These are the general childbirth class-approaches:


Probably the most known childbirth preparation approach. Lamaze classes are based on 6 principles (like no separation of mother and baby, freedom of movement etc) and classes are typically 12 hours in total, spread over 6 two-hour classes. Focus is on breathing techniques, offer suggestions on how to communicate with your birth team, discuss interventions. The idea is about building confidence. More information here: www.lamaze.org

Hypnobirthing/Dick Read

Mostly called the Mongan Method, hypnobirthing is working with relaxation techniques, visualization and self-hypnosis. Based on Dick Read’s circle of fear-tension-pain this class teaches how to relax (not tense), be confident about what’s going on (be unafraid) and therefore experience less pain. More information at www.hypnobirthing.com

Bradley Method

The Bradley Method is for women who want a natural childbirth. Over the course of 12 weeks intensive classes, participants receive study guides, get homework, learn a lot of breathing and pain-management techniques and the labor partner will feel like just having passed the exam to being a Doula. This class is very active and intense but wonderful preparation for a natural birth. More information: www.bradleybirth.com. Amazing teachers in NY are Mary-Esther Malloy and Tanya Wills.

Childbirth classes offered in your hospital are tailored to the common procedures in your hospital. I’d recommend taking an independent class so you have an instructor who is not working for a specific hospital.

Classes can be taken on a weekend, usually they last 5-6 hours on a Saturday and Sunday. Great non-hospital classes are offered at Birthdaypresence. More info here: www.birthdaypresence.net. I teach at Birthdaypresence and they have a great approach!

Oh, and by the way- at least in my classes dads do not have to breathe or feel their pelvic floor. Their role is to help you relax and I will teach them how they can do that- the moms job is to relax …

Stephanie Heintzeler is a German educated midwife and US licensed Doula. Find out more at www.thenewyorkdoula.com






Categories & Tags

For Parents-To-Be, Birth, Pregnancy


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