Birth Classes: What to Expect

By on April 7, 2022

Before labor and delivery, expectant parents have many questions. One way to feel prepared is to take a birth class. Dominque Weiss, owner and educator at Baby Zone NYC, was featured on an episode of Healthful Woman to talk about this option. You can listen to that episode on or continue reading to learn more about birth classes and other options.

What is Included in a Birth Class?

In the past, many women took Lamaze or Bradley classes during pregnancy. These classes are designed to help cope with the pain of labor and delivery. While Lamaze and Bradley classes are still available and may be beneficial for some, Dr. Fox explains that “90%-plus of women are getting epidurals,” making them unnecessary for most.

In modern birth classes, expectant parents can gain an understanding of the stages of labor, the process of being admitted to the hospital, and common medications or procedures associated with labor and delivery. While each birth class is unique, Weiss says “the thing that we all have in common is we’re gonna teach about the labor process, right? What does your body go through when it’s in labor?” In her class, she also teaches women to engage the abdominal muscles during labor.

Who Should Sign Up for a Birth Class?

Birth classes may not be necessary for all patients, but can be beneficial for many. Weiss explains that “if you have a lot of questions during your pregnancy that’s a cue that you should get a class, right? If you’re someone who’s just like more relaxed and happy to have… the information about your weekly pregnancy and you don’t even read those emails [from a birth center, etc.], I think you’re probably gonna be fine without a birth class.”

If you do decide to pursue birth class, Weiss recommends attending class between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. In addition to birth class, she recommends that anyone who will spend a significant amount of time caring for the baby, such as a nanny or grandparent, learns CPR.

What Types of Birth and Parenting Classes are Available?

Several classes are available for expectant parents to feel more prepared for labor and delivery and caring for a newborn. Parents can explore birth classes specialized for the type of birth they expect, such as a scheduled C-section or twins. They can also choose private or group classes and learn CPR before their child is born. Weiss explains that it is best to take classes with providers who are familiar with the hospital or birth center where you will deliver whenever possible. She also emphasizes the importance of a science-based course. “I want my couples to know that I’m getting the latest recommendations from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Academy of Pediatrics. If the instructor isn’t up to date on those things, then she might be giving you misinformation,” says Weiss.

In addition to birth classes, Weiss offers a “Baby Basics 101” course. “I love teaching the biology of a newborn because I think as soon as you understand the newborn’s biology, you can start to very gently manipulate it in your favor.” Lactation consulting can also be helpful for parents with new babies.

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about labor and delivery and birth class options, schedule an appointment with our maternal fetal medicine specialists. Call our New York City office at (212) 235-1335 or contact us online.

Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!