Has social distancing forced your hospital birth class to be cancelled? Or maybe you’re leery about stepping foot in a hospital unnecessarily. I’ve got you covered, mama. Here is a roundup of available online classes for birth, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, postpartum and infant care. These personal recommendations all come from my experience or fellow mamas.
Have you taken one of these classes or another one you’d like to share? Comment below! I’d love to hear what information you found so helpful about the online class you took.
Are birth classes really necessary?
The most important thing you can do for yourself, your partner and your baby is to go into your birthing time prepared and armed with resources. You need to be advocates for the birthing experience you want to have. Going in unprepared with little understanding of what’s to come or what decisions you may encounter leaves you open to being taken advantage of by “the business of birth.”
Don’t get me wrong. Your healthcare providers may be absolutely wonderful people and, of course, want to care for you and your baby. But at the end of the day, you will be interacting with human beings who have their own plans for the evening, personal agendas and biases. Only you and your birthing partner can truly, 100% have your best interests at the forefront of your experience and advocate for those choices.
What if knowing too much will make me anxious?
Mama, I totally hear you because I fell into this category. I wanted to know just enough to get me by, but thinking about any nitty gritty details made me anxious. Initially. But then I felt so much better knowing what decisions were forthcoming. If I had to make those decisions on the spot without knowing I had choices, that would have made me even more anxious. A “wing it” approach may work for some mamas. If that’s you, more power to you! But for others it leads to disappointing, or even traumatic, birth experiences. You can do everything in your power to avoid negative birth experiences by being empowered. Knowledge = power!
Should my partner take the birth class with me?
There are so many decisions you will need to make that are personal decisions, for both you and your baby. These include whether to delay cord clamping and whether to circumcise your little boy. Or, whether you want vaccinations immediately, and, if so, which ones. Will your baby sleep in the nursery? Or room in? These are just a few of the many, many questions you will need to answer as a new parent. A good birth course will cover all of these questions (and so many more). You will want ample time to research and consider all options for you and your baby, and to discuss the options with your birth partner. That way, your partner will know how to best support you and your baby.
For example, Hubs was extremely supportive with my decision to have a hypnobirth (you can read about it here). When we did our hospital course, he sat through the epidural and C-section modules while I left the room. Why? So that we would have the information, but so I could keep my eye on my unmedicated birthing goals.
Additionally, birth and care classes help a new parent feel more at ease with what’s to come. Having tips about how to soothe or swaddle a baby and instructions about how to care for a little one’s umbilical stump or circumcision site, for example, can be extremely helpful in getting the birth partner engaged. A good birth course also will go over ideas for how a birth partner can bond with baby and support mama’s recovery.
How do I choose a birth course?
Before deciding which prep course to take, you’ll want to consider your main goals for your birth. Some of these courses are geared toward unmedicated births, while others are all-encompassing. I’d advise researching the courses thoroughly beyond these brief descriptions below to make sure the one you choose will align with your birth goals.
When should I take a birth class?
Each birth course below will vary by when you should take it since they cover a variety of topics pertaining to either birth, postpartum, breastfeeding or infant care. Hospitals typically recommend taking a birth course around 7-8 months so the information is fresh in your mind. Other courses you can take at your leisure before baby arrives. But it is never too late to take a course if you are closer to your due date. Some preparation is better than no preparation!
Are any of the online birth prep courses free?
The courses listed here do come with a price tag. I do not get compensated for recommending any of these classes. All come highly recommended by me or other mamas. They are thoroughly researched, taught by experts and offer content worth their price tags (and often even more!). Some are offering discounts realizing social distancing may be affecting family incomes.
You may be able to get your birthing course reimbursed through health insurance, so definitely check your policy. Childbirth classes are partially eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Usually it is the part of the class that pertains to the birth preparation only. Lactation support may be covered by your policy, too.
**UPDATE: One mama recommended The Family Room Center, a local group to her based out of Los Angeles, which is now offering free virtual classes. You can learn more here.
And now for the Birthing classes!
Interested in having an unmedicated birth? I recently became an affiliate of Hypnobabies® because it was such an amazing experience for me. Hypnobabies provides medical-grade hypnosis tools for a more comfortable unmedicated birthing experience. In addition to a workbook and hypnosis and daily affirmation tracks, you are provided a packet of materials that include nutrition guides, exercise plans, birth plan information and a wealth of resources about common interventions and birthing decisions to best prepare you and your birthing partner. Although the visuals can come across a bit dated, this was an amazing preparation course that made me feel more empowered and prepared for my birthing time. The cost is under $200 for the online home study program, but with code HYPNO1528 you get a 15% discount. Learn more here.
Evidence Based Birth
After having a poor birth experience with her first child, Rebecca was determined to find a way to change the narrative for her future babies. She created Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class to skillfully mentor you and your partner in evidence based care, comfort measures, and advocacy, so that you can embrace your birth and parenting experiences with courage and confidence. The classes are now 100% online. If there is not a virtual class locally near you, you will be matched with another instructor’s class to ensure you get the information you need. This course is doula-recommended! Learn more here.
The Birth Hour
Recommended by several mamas in one of my mom groups, The Birth Hour’s Know Your Options Childbirth Class offers information to navigate you through pregnancy, childbirth and the fourth trimester. This class offers 12 evidence-based modules for: pre-labor, planned cesarean, early labor, induction, active labor, transition, pushing, baby’s first day, postpartum care, establishing breastfeeding, bottle feeding and newborn care basics. Normally $397, this course is offering mamas a 50% discount. Use code 50PERCENT at checkout. And as an added bonus, you will get the Back-2-Work Breastfeeding Course. Learn more here.
Mama Natural Birth Course
Another course recommended by my moms group, Mama Natural founders Genevieve and Maura are offering a course specifically covering pregnancy and COVID-19. The course covers what to do differently now, how to take care of yourself, contracting COVID-19, breastfeeding with COVID-19 and more. They’re offering 25% off their regular enrollment fee of $264 (now $198). This program is geared toward unmedicated birth plans. Learn more here.
Dr. Berlin Informed Pregnancy Podcast
Not exactly a course, but a wealth of information nonetheless. Dr. Elliot Berlin is a prenatal chiropractor, childbirth educator and labor doula. His resources aim to provide unbiased information to expectant mamas. No matter your favorite way to acquire information (blog, podcast or YouTube), Dr. Berlin has information for you. Learn more here.
MommY Labor Nurse
Mommy Labor Nurse courses are developed by a labor and delivery nurse and mama. What I really love about her approach is it’s not one size fits all. She directs you to which course is best for you based on your birthing goals (V-BAC and Cesarean included!). Learn more here.
Online postpartum courses
This breastfeeding course was super helpful in preparing me for our breastfeeding journey. It offers simple, bite-sized learning modules with a wealth of information you need to start your breastfeeding on the right path. (I even found myself replaying bits and pieces when Hubs was in the room so he knew what to expect and how to support me, too!) Whether you will be breastfeeding or exclusively pumping, Milkology has a course for you. Even better, the courses are only $19. Learn more here.
Birthful THRIVE WITH YOUR NEWBORN Class
This class goes over the most essential information for postpartum recovery, baby care basics and realistic expectations for the fourth trimester. It covers practical “how to” information (such as burping your baby, soothing techniques and more). Additionally, I love that this course offers how to transform as a parent. This course is available for $147 or 1:1 consultation services can be added for an additional fee. Learn more here.
Taking Cara Babies Newborn Sleep Class
I wish I found Taking Cara Babies before our little one was born. I definitely wouldn’t have defaulted to breastfeeding to get her back to sleep at night. (I just assumed waking up meant she was hungry!) It really does help you set a foundation for better sleep and it’s breastfeeding friendly. You may even recognize Cara because she was recently featured on Good Morning America. You can check out her Newborn and 4-5 Month class bundle for a discounted rate for $97 here.
There you have it, mamas. A roundup of some online birthing and infant care courses that will help you kick-start your journey.
There’s just two more things you might want to check out to help you prepare for your birth: This FREE Birth Plan and this roundup of our favorite newborn baby products that covers all essentials!
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Until next time,