The different types of birthing classes for new parents

The trending 5 types of birthing classes recommended for parents

By Bettie Bransfield
The different types of birthing classes for new parents

Trending Birth Classes and What Do They Offer to New Parents?

Expectant parents looking for a birthing class can quickly get overwhelmed by the number of classes out there and the differences of each class. Many new parents asked if a birth class is really needed. 


Birthing classes are a great way to learn about the process leading up to delivery, preparing for childbirth and postpartum care for the mother and child. Some classes will look at care for the mother specifically while other classes will help expectant education parents on the overall process of childbirth. Most expectant mothers will look to begin their classes in the seventh month, but some classes suggest you start earlier as more preparation is needed in that specific technique.

In this article, we are going to look at the top five trending kinds of classes for expecting parents. The structure of these classes, for the most part, are the same as they will all review the basics of childbirth. But depending on the additional information and teachings you are interested in, you will need to narrow down which class is a good choice for you. You should note that not all classes are offered in every state, and you will need to choose where you want to take these classes. Some are offered at local hospitals, YMCA’s, or doctor offices. Others might be offered at someone's home or place of business like a yoga center. 

It is also suggested that you ask your friends and family for recommendations. Remember, this is a personal choice, and each class is tailored to specific methods and education on childbirth.

1. Hypnobirthing classes

Hypnobirthing (also known as the Mongan Method) is not as commonly known about as some of the other types of classes. This class is an all-natural childbirth class that uses self-hypnosis to manage the mother's pain during childbirth. It also focuses on teaching the mother to have self-control during her labor.  The basis for this class is that the mother can teach herself to control her body during delivery and in doing so she can connect with her unborn child.

This class encourages the mother to proceed through birth with no pain medication so that she can remain clear-headed, conscious of her unborn baby and enjoy the miracle of the delivery. 
The father or partners’ role in Hypnobirthing is to protect the mother's space, so she is free to achieve the calm needed for the birth. They also assist with ensuring the mother remains calm and focused during the delivery.

This class needs a lot of dedication from both parents. The time requirements are enormous, the classes are long, and they require a commitment for the mother to teach herself the self-hypnosis.

2. Bradley Method

The Bradley Method became famous in 1965 after Dr. Robert Bradley published his book about a new approach that brings the husband into the birthing process rather than him staying in the waiting room. It emphasizes the training of the mother as well as the father in the birthing process but also teaches the father to be a coach so he can be involved during the delivery.

With this method, both parents are expected to be actively involved during the birth. It teaches the birth coach the techniques needed for coaching the mother during delivery. They are responsible for coaching mom’s breathing, helping her relax and helping her remain calm. This class is based on the premise that the mother will not be taking pain medication, so the concentration is on diet, exercise and pain awareness. The thought is that the mother will be able to identify with the pain and work through it, thus enjoying the birth of her child.

There are  12 classes and participants are expected to attend all of them as the class does labor rehearsals. Also, the class also teaches postpartum care of the mother and the newborn. Many consider this class outdated as almost all fathers today are actively involved in the birthing process in some way. They do not sit in the waiting room anymore.

3. Lamaze Classes

When someone mentions a birthing class, a Lamaze class is usually what comes to mind. Most often, it is portraited in movies or on television showing the new parents stilling in a room with other expectant parents learning something humorous. Or the film will show mother screaming and while the father is trying to tell her to breathe. But having said that, Lamaze is the most widely attended birthing class in the United States. Lamaze, also known as the psychoprophylactic method, was developed by Obstetrician Fernand Lamaze in 1921 as an alternative to other medical interventions during childbirth.

The goal of Lamaze is to build confidence in the mother to be in control of the birthing process. It is more of an educational option for expectant mothers than a specific method to be used during birth. This approach takes a neutral stance on the use of medication during childbirth. It does not encourage or discourage. The Lamaze process has six “healthy birth practices” that many hospitals practice today. These are:

1) let the labor process begin on its own.
2) The mother should move around during labor changing positions.
3) A mother should have support during her delivery
4) A mother should avoid medical inventions that are not necessary
5) The mother should avoid giving birth on her back and follow her natural urges to push
6) The mother and baby should stay together.


This class will also teach breathing methods, coaching technique for the partner, and relaxation exercises. The goal of this class is more to educate the new parents as well as provide options and specific instruction to the expectant mother.

4. Birthing from Within

This class is one that not many expectant mothers are familiar with. This class is based upon the book “Birthing from Within” by Pam England published in 1998. It is considered by some to the be “hippy” version of a birthing class. It takes a holistic approach to the “rite of passage” while taking a hands-off approach providing general information about childbirth. This class emphasizes that the mother with find self-discovery through self-awareness. It is felt that by helping the mother find a creative outlet like journaling or painting, she will be able to self-control her body during delivery thus alleviating the option for other medical procedures.

It does teach expectant mothers how to keep calm during labor and what to do when the unexpected happens as well as provides additional information about C-Sections and Epidurals. This is not a cookie cutter class. It may vary depending on who is teaching it, how many people attend the class, and also if you are looking to work with a Doula.

5. The Alexander Technique

This class takes a slightly different approach by targeting movement as the best approach to childbirth. The creator, Frederick Matthias Alexander, felt that by maintaining regular patterns of movements the mother would increase her health and wellbeing. It teaches moves that support good posture for pregnancy while evaluating the mobility of the mother to ensure she is physically prepared for the birth. It is called “mindful” mobility. For example, in some of the classes, the instructor will have the new mom take a pose then adjust the position of the mother to ensure her posturing is stable and correct.

The class teaches you the proper movements for each different stage of your pregnancy ensuring balance is maintained and continued support given to the baby. When the mother is in alignment with her body, she should see decreased stress and be able to release tension. This technique is said to be a reasonable means of solving body problems. It looks at movements like squatting or walking.


The bottom line is there is no right or wrong class. The class a mother chooses to take should be based on her personal preferences for the information that they wish to know about childbirth as well as the method they want to follow. It is an important decision, and before making a final decision, you should consult with your physician and if both partners are attending the classes together, it would definitely be a plus point for both to be equally comfortable attending.