Childbirth preparation classes will teach you and your partner about what to expect through the end of your pregnancy, labor and birth options, and how your partner or labor companion can best support you.
Often, a tour of the labor and birth department is offered, as well as a discussion of hospital policies and procedures. Some classes also cover baby care, breastfeeding, parenting and infant CPR.
During the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, many in-person classes have been replaced with online classes—to avoid situations that could raise your risk of exposure to the virus. See our schedule of childbirth preparation and breastfeeding classes that you can view right from your computer.
What to Look For
Look for classes that are taught by an accredited organization such as Lamaze International or International Childbirth Education Association. One of these certifications indicates that the teacher is trained and competent in areas tested by nationally recognized childbirth educator certification groups.
A class that prepares you to breastfeed may be as important as a childbirth class. A recent study found that the combination of education and support was most effective at helping new mothers breastfeed to 6 months and beyond, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Group classes (even if online) that review the benefits of breastfeeding, principles of lactation, myths, common problems and solutions appear to have the greatest single effect on how long women continue to breastfeed.