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What are my options and which one is best for me?

What Birth Education Should I Choose?


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What are my options and which one is best for me?

Much like everything to do with birth and parenting, there are many options and many ways to navigate this time in your life.

Birth Education or Ante Natal classes are completely optional and rough data collected from hospitals report that only around 30% of women attend classes. Technically you don’t have to go to antenatal classes but having the understanding that giving birth is one of the biggest events a woman will go through in her life, it makes sense to get some information and tools on board to help you have a positive experience or at least make informed choices around your care.

A good antenatal class will provide you and your partner with all the essential information you need to go into your labour and birth feeling relaxed and capable.

If you have booked into a hospital to have your baby ( and around 97% of women in Australia birth in a hospital ) then you will be offered hospital classes. Sometimes these have a cost associated with them or in the private system, they are often covered in your care.

Unfortunately, hospital classes are known to be very poor in their content and delivery. Often the childbirth educators have to teach to the policies of the hospital and often cater to quite an interventionist model of care. There is often a lot of information on interventions and what drugs you can take, but not a lot on how to work with your body in labour.

I know a few midwives who teach childbirth education in the hospital and they often recommend doing other forms of education to gain more knowledge and skills. The classes can be good to familiarise yourself with the policies of the hospital and where to park your car, but most feedback from women reports, that the classes often left them feeling scared or more worried about the birth.

Independent birth education is run by childbirth educators that are usually passionate about birth education and they educate because they love what they do. Independent birth educators are experienced in ways to encourage both yourself and your partner to feel comfortable and engaged – it's part of their specialised training and because they teach couples who are choosing to birth in all environments, they usually have a wide range of knowledge of options and how the overall birth culture works in their country.

Some good independent options are:

  • Calmbirth
  • Hypnobirth
  • Lamaze
  • Active Birth
  • She Births

All the above options focus on normal birth and working with your body. Most of the classes encompass breathing techniques, positions, massage, partner support, advocating for yourself and dealing with fears and concerns.One of the problems with hospital classes or Independent classes is time constraints and money. For some people sitting in a birth class with strangers doesn't appeal and spending a weekend learning about birth can seem overwhelming for some partners. There is also a financial commitment with Independent classes costing between $350 and $700.

Another option (and the reason we created our program) is to do your birth education online. Learning all you need to know about birth in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace and as many times as you wish. Online antenatal classes are also perfect for 2nd or 3rd-time mums who are looking for an inexpensive refresher and also cater to women in rural areas who can't access education locally.

Video based learning is becoming a far more convenient and popular option and we are of the belief, that good birth education (wherever you choose to do it) is so important in helping you prepare for birth, but also helping you to achieve a positive birth outcome.

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