Having a baby is both a life-changing experience and one that can be daunting, especially for parents-to-be who are having a first child. Signing up for childbirth classes can help those who are having a baby learn what to expect before and after delivery, learn about creating your birth plan, and much more. Pregnancy Care Clinic offers these classes free of charge to parents from all walks of life to make it easy for expecting moms and their partners to prepare for what the future holds.
If you are wondering, “when should I take childbirth classes?”, you’ll be pleased to know that the answer is entirely up to you. Many expecting parents opt to take these classes in the third trimester of pregnancy; however, it’s not a bad idea to take some beforehand if this is what works best for you. In fact, taking classes early on in pregnancy can give you ample time to prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally for the arrival of a new little one.
What You’ll Learn in Childbirth Classes
What you’ll learn in childbirth class will depend in part on the organization teaching the class. However, there are some standard things you can expect to learn from these types of classes.
Childbirth classes focus on helping a mother prepare for delivery, which means you’ll learn patterned breathing that will help you relax during labor and prepare to push when the baby is ready to come out. You’ll also learn about labor positions that can not only alleviate pain but also help your baby line up with your pelvis in order to avoid the need for an emergency C-section.
Birthing classes also offer valuable information on what to expect during labor and delivery. You’ll learn about pain relief options and when and how to request them. You’ll learn the stages of natural delivery and also learn about potential complications and how they might be handled by your doctor. Birthing classes also offer information on C-sections which is important even if you are expecting a natural delivery, as last-minute circumstances may require surgery to protect your life and/or that of your baby. 
Birthing classes will likely also include information on caring for your new little one, like instructions for breastfeeding and its benefits. Some classes include other information on how to care for a newborn, including first-aid tips. The class should also include information on postpartum depression, which is a common condition that can affect up to one out of five new mothers after birth.
Types of Childbirth Classes
There are many types of childbirth classes to choose from. Some classes focus on how to choose where to have a baby, be it at a hospital, clinic, or even at home. Others focus on a particular type of preparation for labor or childbirth, such as the Lamaze method, the Alexander Technique, or the Bradley method. Some classes are geared toward women who already know that they will need to have a C-section, while other classes may be designed for women who had a C-section with a previous child but would like to try for a natural birth with a second child. 
How to Choose the Right Class
Virtual classes are ideal for busy women and women who feel unwell during pregnancy and so want to avoid commutes to and from a hospital or clinic. However, the downside of a virtual class is that expecting parents would miss out on meeting with other classmates and benefiting from their support and friendship, as well as hands-on learning with the instructor. Some classes last a full day; others may be spread out over the course of a few weeks. Classes provided by a particular hospital or clinic will likely focus on what to expect from that particular venue when one goes into labor, giving you a personal, ‘behind-the-scenes’ experience. However, these classes might not necessarily be the best option for a woman who hasn’t decided where to have the baby and/or who wants to learn about other options the hospital or clinic doesn’t offer.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when considering how and when to take childbirth classes. Cost can also be a factor for some women, as not all classes are free. Timing is also important, especially if you have a job, are studying, and/or are caring for other children or family members. Take some time to think about what you want to learn, check out the options, and pick the classes that will work best for your particular situation.
Benefits of Childbirth Classes
While one can learn a lot about childbirth simply by reading about it online, there are several reasons why childbirth classes are one of the best ways to prepare for the birth of a new little one. A class given by a hospital or clinic will help you know what to expect from the medical care provider you’ve chosen to help you give birth. An in-person or even virtual class will allow you to get answers to any questions you have about different procedures and childbirth methods. Furthermore, childbirth classes allow a woman and her partner the opportunity to practice the techniques they need to use during labor under the supervision of a professional who can offer advice and tips that could make the birthing process less stressful than it would be otherwise. What’s more, you’ll meet other soon-to-be parents and be able to benefit from their friendship and emotional support. 
Pregnancy Care Clinic, which operates in San Diego and Santee, offers childbirth education classes to women in all three stages of pregnancy. Our team of trained, childbirth educators, nurses, and doulas also provides free practical support, help, and personalized advice to pregnant women and their partners to help them learn how to prepare for the birth of a new baby and figure out how to juggle their responsibilities after the baby is born. Get in touch with us to learn more or reserve your spot in one of our classes.
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 Watson, Stephanie. (2021, November 9). Childbirth Classes: Your Complete Guide. Baby Center. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/your-body/childbirth-classes_161
 Allarakha, Shaziya. When Should I Take Birthing Classes During Pregnancy?. Medicine Net. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from https://www.medicinenet.com/when_to_take_birthing_classes_during_pregnancy/article.htm
 Davies, Anna. (2019, April 19). Your Comprehensive Guide to Childbirth Classes. The Bump. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from https://www.thebump.com/a/childbirth-classes