To add to the confusion there are many names for similar classes. Such terms are often interchangeable but some give away what is on offer. Commonly used names include; childbirth education programs, antenatal classes, prenatal workshops, birth preparation course, pre-parenting sessions. Overall they cover similar topics.
It can be helpful to begin by knowing what kind of labour and birth you imagine for yourself?
Whatever birth experience you hope for, and maybe you really have no idea what you want, having some preparation in the form of quality education covering a broad range of topics will increase your chances of having a positive birth experience.
Informative sessions: Outline what’s likely to happen during labour and birth and the medications and interventions that are available. Familiarise you with the hospital environment, and their policies. These are likely to be called Childbirth Education as the focus is on being prepared for labour and birth.
Practical interactive group classes: with an emphasis on a particular approach to labour and birth. These classes often include details of labour and birth and specifically methods for working with contractions. e.g., Calmbirth, Active Birth, Prenatal Yoga, Hypnobirthing. These are likely to be called by their brand philosophy or Childbirth Education as the focus is on being prepared for labour and birth. Early parenting and infant feeding topics are usually not included.
Broader course content covering: pregnancy, labour and birth, pain relief options, natural ways of working with contractions, possible complications and interventions, breastfeeding, parenting and relationships. These are likely to be called antenatal education or pre-parenting workshops as the content is more diverse.
When you have considered what you want covered you then have options about how the sessions are delivered:
Each of these choices have their advantages and their limitations depending on what you are personally looking for.
What are their qualifications and experience, plus what additional knowledge do they have?
What is their philosophy, intention and/or agenda. It’s not possible to cover every aspect of labour, birth and the newborn period in a few short hours, so naturally the course content will always be biased toward a particular approach.
Midwife: Will be fully qualified to know what to expect in labour and birth. Personal approach may vary widely between promoting natural childbirth and advocating medicalised intervention.
Hospital Child Birth Educator: Probably a midwife, but also possibly restrained by hospital guidelines and policy.
CalmBirth/Hypnobirth Educator: Might not have any formal medical training, and only brief education on all areas covered. Emphasis is heavily on feeling calm and relaxed which research has shown can alter the course of your labour reducing the need for analgesia and making labour more efficient and shorter.
Doula: Many doulas do not have formal medical training, their role is to provide support. Their knowledge/experience can vary greatly. One benefit of a doula service is you get to know the person who will offer you support in labour.
Yoga Teacher: Might not have any formal medical training. Their knowledge/experience about labour and birth can vary greatly.
|Face to face||Online Live||Pre-recorded|
|Opportunity to ask questions as they occur to you||X||X|
|Limited Class sizes (may be booked out)||X|
|Predetermined dates and times||X||X|
|Watch in your own time||X|
|No Additional travel time||X||X|
|No Parking availability/expense||X||X|
|No uncomfortable foldaway seating||X||X|
|Opportunity to eat and drink||X||X|
|Meet similar women/families||X||X|
|Not restricted to a local course||X||X|
|Anywhere in Australia||X||X|
And so you have many possible options available to you depending on your individual needs and circumstances. One thing the research consistently shows is; that having quality antenatal education can reduce the length of labour, decrease your need for pain relief and reduce the chance of intervention. When you know what to expect and you feel prepared your labour and birth is much more likely to be a positive experience.
A Focused Birth offers a series of classes that ticks most of the boxes. It covers a broad range of topics. It’s available Australia wide. You have flexibility over your learning. There are a range of dates and times available. And importantly the principle philosophy is: Knowledge is Power. When you know what to expect and understand how you can influence the process you can feel confident and in control.
Do you want to feel excited about your baby's birth?
Do you need to reduce your anxiety instantly?
Would you love to have a more restful night's sleep?
I'll send you a free Pregnancy Hypnobirthing audio track - Take that first step to enjoying your pregnancy more, and begin looking forward to a calmer, more positive birth.
I have over 20 years experience as a midwife in the UK and Australia, working in both private and public hospitals. I have helped thousands of women in every scenario, from homebirths and water-births, births with complex issues, intervention, and caesarean births.
I currently work in a busy Melbourne Hospital, and am passionate about supporting women and families be as relaxed and confident as they can be whatever the circumstances. I divide my time as a midwife between the Birth Centre and the Child Birth Education Team. This means I am upto date with current research, policies and procedures when it comes to all things birth related.
In addition, I am a government accredited Clinical Hypnotherapist, with an Honours degree in Psychology. In my private practice I specialise in treating anxiety, trauma, fertility issues, pain management and phobias, as well as hypnobirthing techniques.
Bringing together these sets of skills, knowledge, and experience I can guide and prepare you to have the positive birth experience that you desire.
Next course starting 4 March 2021