You may be surprised to discover the variations in childbirth classes-some are months long while others last a day; some take place in a hospital and others are conducted in the educator's home. Regardless, topics generally include labor signs, pain-relief options, stages of labor and comfort measures. Here are a few options that may be available in your area:
Lamaze classes educate women about practices that have been shown to maximize your chances of having a safer birth, such as allowing labor to start on its own, walking and moving around during labor and following your body's urges to push. lamaze.org
The Bradley Method is a 12-week class for women and their partners who desire to have a medication-free birth. bradleybirth.com
Hypnobirthing is a five-week course that emphasizes natural childbirth and teaches self-hypnosis techniques to combat fear and pain during labor. hypnobirthing.com
The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) trains and certifies educators to be advocates of the natural process of childbirth. Find ICEA-certified instructors in your area at icea.org.