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Childbirth Class Options

Childbirth class option facts

Like painting the nursery or stocking up on disposable diapers, attending childbirth classes is often part of a couple's preparation for a baby's arrival. Although such classes differ in their focus and philosophy, they typically provide education about labor, delivery, and postpartum issues along with non-medication methods of managing the pain of childbirth, such as relaxation, breathing, and imaging (natural childbirth).

Most expectant parents begin birthing classes when the mother is about seven months pregnant. Other classes begin early in pregnancy and focus on all the changes through pregnancy. Unless you know the type of class you want to take, you may want to spend some time checking out the options in your community and discuss the different options with your doctor.

The most common methods in the U.S. are the Lamaze technique and Bradley method. Following are the basics on these and other techniques offered in childbirth classes.

Lamaze Technique

The Lamaze technique is the most widely used childbirth method in this country. Lamaze classes support birth as a natural, healthy process and help women explore all of the ways they can find strength and comfort during labor and birth.

Small classes, with no more than 12 couples, consist of at least 12 hours of instruction time. Lamaze class content includes instruction or information on the following:

  • Normal labor, birth, and early postpartum

  • Body positioning for labor and birth

  • Massage and relaxation techniques to ease pain

  • Support during labor

  • Effective communication skills

  • Medical procedures

  • Breastfeeding

  • Healthy lifestyle choices

Lamaze courses neither support nor discourage the use of medications and routine medical interventions during labor and delivery. Instead, they inform moms-to-be about their options so that they are prepared to make decisions for their own labor and delivery.

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