4 Reasons to Stop Dissing Childbirth Classes

Childbirth Classes Are Worth Your Time and Money

Couple in Childibrth Class
Photo © Nicola Tree/Getty Images

Let me start by saying that I have a bias as a childbirth educator as to the benefits of childbirth classes. That said, I’m not alone. In fact, there is a Healthy People 2020 goal set to increase the number of people who attend childbirth classes because of the benefits they provide. So I implore you, set aside your preconceived notions and think about this:

  1. Not all classes are created equally.

    Let’s pretend for a moment that a childbirth class is like a general education requirement at college. Now these classes are not always known for being the favorites on campus, but they are, well, required. That said, once it becomes apparent who teaches a great class, that class fills up. (Hopefully for you, they open more sections!) The classes that aren’t so great, word spreads there too. So if you had a bad general ed class in college would you simply avoid that class and instructor? Or would you just ditch college? That’s right, you’d avoid that instructor and class. Childbirth classes work the same way. Some are great, some aren’t. Talk to other people who enjoyed their childbirth classes. If you’re braving the field for your friends, try interviewing the instructors. They welcome your questions and a chance to clear up the misconceptions.
  2. There is benefit.

    In a good childbirth class there will be time given to many topics, some of which may interest you more than others. Consider this, given the hundreds of topics your instructor could have chosen, she spent a lot of time thinking about which ones would benefit you most. That means, just like learning things in elementary school that you thought were never going to be beneficial, sometimes the teacher is right. The benefits of class are many, including feeling more prepared for all types of labor experience (epidurals and cesareans included). There is also the social component of class, the chance to learn with others. Some of my best and most unlikely of friends have come from a place of education – childbirth class included. While these new friends might not be drinking buddies, I can almost guarantee they will pull an all nighter with you!
  3. Not worth your time?

    Time is a huge factor in childbirth classes and I’ve heard this one a lot. But seriously, even if you take a twelve week course that lasts two hours each class, that is the total of a single day out of your pregnancy. That’s it a whole day. Surely when you look at it this way, you can see it’s not really that much time. Add up how much time you’ve spent planning a baby shower or researching baby names and you might realize that it’s a very important day’s worth of time, and usually even less than that. The things that you can learn in childbirth class really can last a lifetime, because they are great building blocks for parenting and the hard decisions you have to start making.
  4. Not worth the money?

    Money is tight for the vast majority of people. I’ll be the first to agree here. But most people are simply choosing to put their money elsewhere, rather than into childbirth classes. And if you truly do have an issue with money, there are some solutions that you may not have considered, including:
    • Ask about scholarships
    • Ask about insurance coverage and reimbursement
    • Try bartering

    As a childbirth educator, I’m open to all of the above. I don’t ever want anyone to miss my class because of money. I’ve come up with a lot of creative solutions to help people attend class.

    A word about free classes: With a very few exceptions, you’re getting what you pay for in a free class. Sitting around with 50 other couples with a few guests talking about working in the labor and delivery field is a very different experience than a true childbirth class. This may be what people are talking about when they talk about childbirth class being worthless.

So, if you wind up taking a class that meets all of the requirements for a great childbirth class and still have a dud for a “professor,” don’t forget the end of class evaluations and the word of mouth referral system. Though the same thing goes for a great childbirth educator…

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