You want a natural birth? What about a childbirth class? The ideal time to take a childbirth education class is probably around 5-6 months. You are getting bigger, so it feels real enough to take all the information seriously. You have had some time to read up on things and get a sense of what is important to you and what kind of birth experience you are hoping to achieve.
I teach The Bradley Method® so, of course, that’s the class that I think everyone should take! But, there are certainly other options out there and not all areas have an active Bradley® Instructor. I definitely think taking a good, natural childbirth class is essential, especially for a first time mom wanting a natural birth.
Here are some things I’d recommend looking for in a class/instructor:
- Birth Experience – Has she had natural birth(s) herself. This is key. Make sure.
- Qualifications- Is she certified or registered with a method or an independent teacher not affiliated with anyone. There are certainly some ladies with amazing experience and perhaps not affiliated with a method. Bradley Method® instructors receive extensive training and on-going educational requirements each year.
- Philosophy/Class goals – Some hospitals offer free or inexpensive classes, but sometimes these classes aren’t truly geared toward teaching natural childbirth principles at all. This varies greatly from area to area.
- Statistics – How do her students do in birth? Most instructors can give you some idea of her students’ statistics. My couples average around a 10% c-section rate and over 80% of the others achieve a non-medicated, natural birth. That tracks very closely with The Bradley Method’s® national stats. That’s key. Make sure an instructor has a proven track-record of successful outcomes using the techniques/information she teaches.
- Personal recommendation – Ask your friends, especially those who had a good birth experience what classes they took More specifically, who do you know that had a birth similar to what you’re hoping for?
- Look early – you can always sign-up for a class ahead of time, but sometimes ladies wait so long they can’t get the entire class finished before their due date! Inquire early!
Happy birthing! And don’t feel like you can’t keep looking, keep asking, keep inquiring. There are many great teachers out there, passing along what we know to those coming along after us. . .you’ll find one!