Childbirth Class Options

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: John Mersch, MD, FAAP
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

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  1. Carrying the baby "high" signals a girl, while carrying "low" means it's a boy. In reality, the appearance of a pregnant woman varies widely, depending upon her body type and the stage of pregnancy. It's not possible to determine a baby's sex from the appearance of the mother's abdomen.
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Childbirth class options introduction

Many women and couples desire to take part in formal classes as part of their birthing plan. While a number of class formats and emphasis is available, what they have in common is that they all prepare a mother for giving birth. Classes may cover techniques for non-drug pain management as well as information about labor and delivery. Childbirth classes can also teach expectant women what to expect in the postpartum period. In addition, information regarding breastfeeding is commonly presented.

While classes focused on birthing techniques commonly start around the seventh month of pregnancy, other types of classes may start in early pregnancy. Your health care professional can help you decide when and if a childbirth class is a good option for you. Classes can be held at hospitals, community centers, health care practitioners' offices or other settings. Video or book versions of classes are also available.

The following is a brief overview of some of the most well-known childbirth class options in the United States.

What is the Lamaze technique?

The Lamaze technique is one of the best known methods, and one of the most commonly used childbirth class method in the United States. Lamaze classes are designed to inform women about their options for support during the birth process. The Lamaze program does not encourage or discourage the use of medications and medical interventions during the birth process. Women are presented with information and options to make the decision that is best for her.

Some of the topics covered in Lamaze technique classes include:

  • The progress of normal labor
  • The delivery and postpartum period
  • Pain relief techniques such as massage and relaxation methods
  • Other kinds of support during labor
  • Communication
  • Breastfeeding
  • Medical procedures that may be recommended
  • Living a healthy lifestyle

Lamaze classes are generally taught in small groups of up to 12 couples. Typically, there is at least 12 hours of instruction time.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2016

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