Once you've decided which type of childbirth class you'd like to take, you need to find a good instructor and a class. Here's the information you need to consider to make the best choice for you and your baby.
Your childbirth class instructor -- who may or may not be medically trained or have personally experienced labor -- is responsible for explaining what happens to your body during labor, delivery, and its aftermath. That's why it's important to know the background and credentials of your instructor.
Childbirth educators should go through intensive training in childbirth and teaching techniques. There are three major childbirth groups that train and certify instructors:
- ASPO/Lamaze International
- The American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth (The Bradley Method)
- The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)
These organizations have their own philosophies and training methods.
Good instructors encourage questions and pepper their classes with anecdotes of births they've witnessed, an invaluable resource to nervous first-timers. Ask for references from past students to get a sense of your teacher's strengths and weaknesses.