Childbirth has come a long way since our parents and grandparents were having children. Laboring mothers now have many options, from receiving pain blocking medication to being able to move freely during the labor process to try to ease their pain naturally.  

And childbirth education is recommended for expectant parents.  Your local hospital likely has general birthing classes.  There are also specialized birthing classes for parents who have a certain type of birth in mind.  These specialized classes focus on different theories of childbirth and often are directed at those wishing to have a natural birth, free from medications and with limited intervention from hospital staff. 

When is the best time to start?

Planning for a childbirth class is not something you want to put off until the last minute.  Start thinking about the type of birth you wish to have early on in your pregnancy.  Attending a child birth class isn't something you decide to do at the last minute.  You will need to register for your class ahead of time, making sure that you will have time to finish your class prior to your due date. 

For many classes, plan on starting around the beginning of your 3rd trimester.  Another way to plan for your class is to try to schedule it so your last day of class is about 3-4 weeks before your due date.  If you are having multiples, plan on your class finishing around 7-8 weeks prior to your predicted due date, since multiples tend to come earlier.  This way what you learned is still fresh in your mind, and if your baby comes a little early, you've still got all the information you need. 

Planning out the timing for your birthing class seems to be an art form!  There are many factors involved in getting it just right.  Once you find the class you want, at the time you want to take it, you need to register early to make sure that you will get a spot!  Registering around your 20th week of pregnancy should get you into your class.  If you wait much longer than that, you run the risk of not getting into your desired class.

Different Types of Childbirth Classes and Their Lengths

There is no one size-fit-all method for planning for your desired childbirth class.  Some classes run longer than others by design.  Following is a list of some popular types of classes, and their typical length:

  • Lamaze method—These classes tend to last anywhere between 4-8 weeks. 
  • Bradley method—A standard Bradley class consists of taking classes for 12 weeks.
  • Hypnobirthing (Mongan method)—These classes are typically 4-5 weeks long, and a class can last up to three hours. 
  • General hospital classes—Depending on the hospital you are choosing to take a class through, these normally last around 4-6 weeks. 

For more information, contact a business such as Pregnancy Resources.