OT: Childbirth Classes

Has anybody taken Childbirth Classes? I am considering taking them but I want to make sure it is the right thing… I am stressed about being a mom! :’(

I’ve taken two kinds–w/ dd I took lamaze b/c I wanted to go natural and then w/ ds (who is due anytime now) I took a class through the hospital where I plan to give birth. I used the one this time as more of a refresher. I think it’s nice so that you have an idea of what’s going to happen and if you plan to breastfeed (Which I STRONGLY recommend), try to find a good breastfeeding class. So many of my friends have failed at breastfeeding and didn’t take a class or anything–w/ dd I read every book I could find and took a class and I took to it very well. It was the best thing I did for my dd and I plan to do it again w/ ds.

I have so many questions about the delivery and everything… But at the same time, I know everything will happen no matter what… it is a weird feeling. The first book I read, I started from the back to the beginning, I freaked out… I cried for over an hour.
It still feels unreal that I am pregnant… :frowning: I miss my mom!

awwww…Let me say this. It isn’t as bad as you’d think! 19 days before I was due my water broke while I was driving (yep…it was interesting…) and my contractions came about the same time. I was 23 miles from the hospital and went home first to change and meet my mom so she could drive me. 23 hours after my water broke they were wheeling me off for a c-section and I was the screaming wild lady giving birth you see in movies (looking back–it’s quite comedic! I really wanted to go natural). I begged them to check one more time and sure enough I was ready to deliver so they let me try. I became very discouraged and even started to cry during delivery b/c I thought I couldn’t do it. In the end–the Dr. was really firm and told me I had to and I managed through it in 47 minutes. My daugher was 8 12 and healthy. Looking back–I don’t even remember the pain or fear. I’m actually a little more afraid this time than last time b/c now I KNOW what to expect where as last time, even though I had taken classes, it’s still so new that you could never know what to expect. I fear I haven’t said anything reassuring to you but I promise that it really isn’t all that bad. Just make sure you learn some good visualization/relaxation techniques and take a good partner into the delivery room who will be attentive but understand that you may not always be pleasant. It’ll all work out and it’ll go by so much faster than you think! Good luck w/ it–btw–what book did you read?

Many years ago I took Lamaze classes for my firstborn and a refresher for the second. They not only teach you ways to deal with labor, but they answer just about all your questions. Since there are other new parents in the classes it’s also nice to develop friendships and hear the questions they have. I say go for it! :hug:

Take the class! It’s so good to know what to expect and to know what your options are. Don’t feel pressured to go with any particular technique–find out about everything.

When I was pregnant with my first, I was afraid of delivery, too. Everytime I saw a parent with a child, I just told myself that if she could do it, then I could do it. I went drug free, because that was the ‘in’ thing at the time, but when my daughter had her second she had an epidural and slept through a lot of her labor.

Thank you so much! I feel better… I called the hospital to get information about the classes and all I need is figure out which schedule works better for my husband.
I think I am having too much time to think, at least today cause I have a cold and stayed home…
Cristy, I read “what to expect when you are expecting” and “Pregnancy week by week”, I think I like the second one better. I also got “Guide to a healthy pregnancy” from the Mayo Clinic… this one is a little hard to read since it has much more medical tems, but it has lots of information.
Thank you again!!

I also suggest The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn, and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I’ve heard wonderful things about all of these books.

got 5 kids… never took a class or read any books… never had the desire to. i have had 5 different pregnacies, 5 different labors and deliveries. no class or book can prepare you for what you are about to embark! :teehee: but you will go through it. not telling you to not take the class. do what will make you the most comfortable!!!
good luck!


This is my first post (and I’m new to knitting). I thought I would be one of those people who had a “scheduled” cesarean. However, 6 months into my pregnancy a friend from work recommended the Bradley method. What is the Bradley method, I asked? After a little research (www.bradleybirth.com/), I decided my husband and I needed to take the classes. The Bradley Method is “Husband-Coached Childbirth.” Now, don’t laugh. You are probably thinking - “yeah, right!” If I could do it, you can too. The classes last twelve weeks (12 classes). The method focuses on relaxation techniques and is different from lamaze in that you don’t necessarily focus on breathing. All I know about Lamaze is that the method uses breathing PATTERNS. Bradley method uses RELAXATION TECHNIQUES such as slow breathing (not huffing and puffing - this can cause hyperventilation), movements and sitting, lying positions. The Bradley method suggests a specific diet in the last triemester of your pregnancy which includes more protein. Exercise is also highly recommended (with your doctor’s consent, of course). Your husband is there to support you during your labor and throughout your pregnancy. The Bradley method believes your spouse or significant other should learn techniques to help you relax during the most intense portion of your childbirth experience. And finally, (to me this was the most important aspect) Bradley method believes you should have a birth without intervention: medical or otherwise. The Bradley birth is one without pain medication, few “exams” during labor, and as little intervention from the hospital staff as medically necessary. Yes, it is possible to have a natural birth. I highly suggest you develop a BIRTH PLAN. This is really key because it allows your doctor and the medical staff who will attend to you as well as your baby know your expectations and hopes for your delivery and the care of your newborn. Your birth plan should include topics such as: breastfeeding (if you plan to nurse, you might not want baby given a bottle or pacifier in the nursery), if you need to have a cesarean name the people you want in the room with you. If you want to cut the umbilical cord, say so in your birth plan. If you want the nurse to refrain from offering pain medication during your labor, include this request in your plan. I had in my head we would have a “perfect”, natural birth. I studied the Bradley book, I read every pregnancy and childbirth book available. I followed the Bradley diet every day and I managed to keep my weight gain under control. HOWEVER. At my 36 week exam everything was not going as planned. My blood pressure was WAY UP and my midwife suggested I go straight to labor and delivery. I fought with my doctors and the hospital staff over a weekend to wait and watch my pressures at home. On Monday morning, I went back to the hospital and my pressures had not improved. My baby was fine according to fetal monitoring, but everyone agreed with protein in my urine, pre-eclampsia was the culprit of my high pressures and the only way to cure it is to DELIVER. My husband and I decided to go home and pack our bags and take a few deep breaths. After a lovely dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, we returned to the hospital. I was having an INDUCED labor - not the perfect Bradley birth I so badly wanted. At 3am Tuesday morning, my doctor felt my blood pressures had stabilized enough to start PITOCIN. I labored for 9 hours 15 minutes. If you decide to go the NATURAL route, let me tell you… there will come a point during your labor in which you will SCREAM FOR THE DRUGS!!! You will think you can’t make it, but you can. That’s why you need a good support person there to help you judge if you really need help with medication or if you can make it through together. Near the end of my labor (in transition) I begged for an epidural. I was 8cm and contracting quite frequently due to the PITOCIN. I gripped the side of the bed and my husband’s arm so hard he turned ghost white. However, my husband was very supportive and because I had a detailed birth plan, my LD nurse gave me the confidence I needed to proceed through without an epidural. The anesthesiologist was actually in the room and the pen was in my hand to sign the consent form - that’s how close I was to an epi. After 30 minutes exactly of pushing, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy 5lb baby girl. Looking back, I probably should have delivered my baby that Friday before she was born, but my gut told me to fight it out and give her a few more days in utero. Luckily there were no complications and she stayed in my room until we left the hospital a few days later. Breastfeeding was a huge success due in part to one of the books I read - BREASTFEEDING 101 by Sue Tiller (breastfeeding101.com). Confidence is the key to breastfeeding. Know that it will be painful, but if you keep telling yourself it is best for your baby, you can make it through. It will get better. One of my favorite quotes during my childbirth process was “Anything worth having is worth fighting for.” Anything worth having is worth PAIN and fighting for. If you must know, childbirth is the easy part. A few hours or maybe days of pain, fear, frustration (if contractions are not progressing or are too painful), anxiety, and then relief and exhaustion. When your baby arrives it will be more work then you could ever imagine. You will worry more about your little bundle of joy than you could ever dream. Once your baby arrives, your life will change forever in the best way you could never dream of until it happens to you. When your baby arrrives it is only the beginning. Good luck and may you and your child be blessed with a healthy birth.

Breastfeeding 101 by Sue Tiller
The Pregnancy Book by Dr. William Sears
The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
for Sleep Issues…
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Mark Weissbluth
The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and William Sears

I second the recommendation for Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. No matter what type of birth you plan to have (natural, medicated, c-section), I think it is a wonderful book. I read it before the birth of my second son and it made me feel so confident, strong and powerful. The first half of the book is all birth stories, and I think reading other women’s stories can be very helpful as well as reassuring. The book also has some practical advice that may help you avoid unnecessary interventions.

Another good book is The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. This book has sooo much information and it presents it in a straightforward way. In my opinion, this is one of the best pregnacy/birth books out there. It lets you know what to expect, what all of your options are and the pros/cons of each.

I think being informed can really make for a better birth experience. For me, with my second I ended up getting an epidural (even though I had originally wanted to go natural), but I felt like I was able to make an informed decision and I felt like it was my decison, which is totally the opposite of how I felt with the birth of my first son when I felt like all the decisions were being made for me and I felt very pressured into interventions I didn’t want.

Congratulations and good luck with everything! I hope you have a wonderful pregnancy and birth!

I don’t have so many recommendations for a childbirth book but I could give you breastfeeding book suggestions all day long!

I hated the what to expect books–especially what to eat…I’ve heard they’ve revised it not too long ago and it’s better–I found it to be completely unrealistic.

Nothing you read will prepare you but it will take some of the confusion or fear out of the process. My mom always tells everyone she’d have been scared to death if she didn’t take my class w/ me (b/c she was there w/ me) and she says she knows more now about what happens than she did when she had me (b/c they used the twilight drug then)!

I had my first baby 6 months ago, and also took Bradley classes. I was very happy with the class - they covered not only childbirth, but how to have a healthy pregnancy, breastfeeding, and postpartum recovery. Definitely worth the time and money!

The class really helped my husband and me know what to expect - from a “normal” birth to common complications, and what to ask your doctor if something unplanned happens. Make sure you tell your doctor ahead of time if you’re doing a Bradley birth - some docs are uncomfortable with it.

I ended up having an un-medicated birth at a hospital, and it was a wonderful experience for both me and my husband (he had to do a lot of work, too!). It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done - physically and emotionally, but I plan on doing Bradley again for all future deliveries.

Also - while I was waiting for LO to arrive (1 week late!) I finished a sweater vest for him. I sewed the pieces together while I was in early first stage labor…just in the nick of time!

Hi, I also recommend Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. They are both very good books.
I also took Bradley classes, for my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy with my son I took the regular hospital classes, and had, I guess, a “regular” hospital birth. I had an epidural, and yes it does take away the pain, but I also had a very hard recovery…I won’t go into it.
My second birth was a world of difference with the Bradley classes. It educated my husband and I very thouroughly. The class wants your partner to memorize the stages of labor, so that they can recognize and help you through each stage… I had a wonderful birth experience for my daughter in a birth center, a natural birth…and let me tell you I bounced back so quick from that birth, there was almost no recovery necessary, I felt so awesome!
Anyway, each birth experience is different. What I liked about the Bradley classes so much is that they teach you how to relax your body. Relaxing your body is a huge key–it can make a world of difference in how your contractions feel.

I delivered my first child 21 years ago, and went ALL NATURAL, because I just wanted to do it. I had taken lamaze classes, but lamaze did absolutely NOTHING for me. I was never able to “get above the pain”, but I made it through. When the doctor told me to push, I was afraid that I might push something else out besides a baby, so I kind of held back a little. Mistake. It took FOREVER for him to come out. As soon as he was born, all the pain went away.

SOOOOOO, with my second child, I KNEW that the pain would end as soon as he came out. (Once again, I had NO medication - ALL NATURAL.) As soon as the doctor said to push, I pushed with EVERYTHING I HAD. And he came out much quicker. (I mean…think about it…it’s a hospital for pete’s sake. They’ve seen everything. Big deal if you poop on the table.)

When I delivered my third child, I was over 30, so I wasn’t as strong as I had been with my first two deliveries. I tried to go natural at first, then just shook my head and said, “This is ridiculous. Why am I killing myself this way? Give me the epidural.” Oh…My…God!! WHAT a difference!! That epidural was absolute HEAVEN. I felt nothing at all. No pain. It was amazing. I highly recommend it. :thumbsup:

Hi Melissa,

You have gotten so many good recomendations on classes and books that I don’t think I could recommend anything better but I was wondering if you knew anything about having a childbirth doula. There are some in your area – I googled it for you:


Having a doula at my first child’s birth was the best thing I ever did – I liked it so much that not only did I have doulas at my second child’s birth but I became one.

You should definately look into a doula – they are worth their weight in gold. You can find out more about what a doula is and does at:


all the best!