There are so many ways to prepare for a new baby – including taking classes! Here are the best parents to be classes for expecting moms and couples that you might want to consider taking – including options right from the comfort of your home!
When I was first pregnant with Jack, I didn’t know a lot.
Well, about pregnancy, that is 🙂
Sure, I’d seen a few childbirth videos in my human development classes.
I know the gist of what was going to happen.
But when it came down to it, I wasn’t super informed about giving birth, my options, how to feed my kid, or, well, what to even do with a baby once he was born.
Fortunately, as my pregnancy drew on, I realized these were important things to learn about, so I enlisted the help of mothers who have gone before me (my mom, sisters, random people on the Internet).
Still, I felt I needed a little more to help prepare me. So I decided to take a hospital labor and delivery pregnancy class (though I WISH there had been an amazing online prenatal class option back then).
There was one available at the hospital near my house – that my insurance covered – so I signed up.
While I had some gripes with it, overall, it did help me feel prepared and less nervous.
So I thought I would share three classes pregnant women should (almost) all consider taking. Depending on your circumstances, you may not need some of these…but for the most part, I think all pregnant women should look into taking these before their baby is born!
Table of contents
Originally written in 2017; updated in 2020
Classes for Pregnant Women and Couples
What Classes Should You Take While Pregnant?
In short, these are the three classes I would recommend:
- A Prenatal/Hospital Course – these are often available through your hospital or an independent source. While they are traditionally taken in person (which does have its advantages), if you are looking for something with a bit more flexibility, I highly recommend this Online Prenatal Class for Couples. I talk about it more below, but it really gives you SUCH good information. You can even get 10% off with the code CLARKS.
- Pain Management – Even if you plan to have an epidural, I think it’s important to at least have some basis for pain management. Sometimes, an epidural isn’t always an option!
- Breastfeeding Class – This can be SO beneficial to success with breastfeeding. Not sure if you want to breastfeed? I still recommend taking one. I know many people who didn’t intend to breastfeed and then did after birth, and they wish they’d taken one. We offer a FREE breastfeeding class on our website, The Breastfeeding Mama. Click here to enroll.
And while these aren’t official courses, we offer free prenatal and breastfeeding eCourses through email with some pretty good information – you can sign up for those by clicking on these links below:
Are birthing classes necessary?
I believe the most important thing you can do for labor and delivery is to PREPARE.
While you can absolutely give birth without taking any classes, as people have done so for centuries upon centuries…if there’s one available to you, why not?
There’s a lot of unknown that goes on in labor and delivery. And by taking some kind of prep, it really can make you feel more at ease.
So I would definitely put birthing classes on your list of must-dos for pregnancy.
And NOW for more details on all the options I listed above.
When to take Lamaze, hospital, breastfeeding classes?
While you can take these classes at any point in your pregnancy, most recommend at the beginning of your third trimester.
I wouldn’t recommend taking them too class to your due date – because you never know…you might have that baby early!
If you are looking into a particular form of pain management, make sure they don’t have any specific time restrictions. For instance, I started looking into Hypnobirthing too late into my third trimester, and their website said that I shouldn’t take it unless I had enough time to do the entire course.
However, even if you are just starting out in your pregnancy, it’s a good idea to decide now when you want to take a class so you can find one you like and schedule it in. That’s why I’m a big fan of online classes – such as the Online Prenatal Class for Couples – as well as the breastfeeding classes I will be offering online. You can buy them at any point in your pregnancy and start taking them later if you want!
I think everyone should take a basic class that goes over what to expect during labor and delivery.
It’s amazing to me how many people just don’t even know what is going to happen when they arrive at the hospital (or their birth center of choice). One of the best things you can do before going into labor is to prepare for everything that lies ahead.
Whether you are giving birth in a hospital, birth center, or at home, I think it’s important to have a good, solid knowledge of what to expect throughout the laboring and recovery process.
And I 100% believe that you should take these with your birthing partner if possible. They will be there the whole time and will likely be advocating for you as well – so making sure you are both on the same page is essential – which is why I LOVE the Online Prenatal Class for Couples.
I took a class at the hospital by my house, as I mentioned above. It was covered by my insurance, but it definitely left something to be desired. One of the teachers went on the whole time about how terrible it was if we wanted to send our babies to the nursery, which irked me.
There are a few different options for prenatal classes, where you can take them, and the pros and cons of doing so:
- Hospital – If you go this route, I recommend taking a class at the hospital you plan to deliver at. I wish I had done this, because they typically can give you a tour beforehand, and you can get the vibe, so to speak, of the hospital and their philosophies. These are often covered by insurance.
- Independent – these are typically run by childbirth educators, lactation consultants, doulas, or individual practices. There is a variety of them available – though they are often more expensive than what you might find at the hospital. If your doctor or midwife office offers prenatal classes, I would definitely consider looking into them.
- Online Birthing Classes– in this day and age, the ability to take an online prenatal class is easier than ever before. This is an awesome option for people who need a more flexible option, can’t find a good class nearby, or just want the ease of taking a class in their PJs at home!
This article on birth classes dives in really deep about the pros and cons of all the options available – I highly recommend reading it so you can make the decision on which birth class is best for your situation, as well as tips on when to take one.
I have tons of resources for preparing for labor and delivery on Clarks Condensed. However, nothing replaces taking a course from a professional who is on the “battlefields”, so to speak, on a regular basis.
- It’s convenient – you can take it at your own pace, in your own house, whenever you want!
- It’s accurate – Hilary has been a nurse for over 15 years, and she has many years in the L&D room. She stays up to date with current research and recommendations
- It’s engaging – Hilary is straightforward and to the point but keeps things light and fun.
Free Prenatal Class
If you are interested in a free prenatal class, just click on the image below for our FREE email course:
Pain Management Class
If you are thinking, “HA! I don’t need that…I’m getting an epidural.” Think again.
As I wrote in my post about pain management during labor and delivery – you just never know what will happen. You may have zero desire to give birth without an epidural…but sometimes that’s not always an option!
For instance, my sister-in-law had her third baby earlier this year. From the time she started having contractions to when she had the baby was about 40 minutes – no time for an epidural or even for the doctor to get there!
So whether you wish you could get an epidural for your whole pregnancy or you want to give birth at home in a bathtub, it’s important to take a pain management class. In the article I referenced above, I listed several popular pain management options, but here is a quick refresher:
Most hospitals offer pain management classes, and you can also find plenty of independent ones. Insurance often will cover classes, so definitely look into that!
Make sure to check out our ready-to-go labor and delivery playlist! Music can be a great way to manage the pain.
As many of you know, I’m very passionate about breastfeeding – specifically, about preparing and helping moms to breastfeed successfully. You can check out my breastfeeding 101 for new moms page for all my favorite resources.
Before Jack was born, I knew NOTHING about breastfeeding. I remember one of my sisters asking me if I was planning to breastfeed, and I was just like, “uhh…sure, why not!” My sisters and mom had all breastfed – so it seemed like the logical choice.
I didn’t take a breastfeeding class – but I, fortunately, had a great nurse when Jack was born who helped me get started, and we really didn’t have any issues. However, we encountered many breastfeeding problems with Oliver, and I wish I’d taken a class!
I think all women who have any desire whatsoever should take a breastfeeding class before they give birth. There are a lot available – some hospitals offer them (though I find many of these to be a bit lackluster), local breastfeeding clinics often host them, and you can also reach out to your local La Leche League to find recommendations.
I have known women who didn’t want to breastfeed and decided to after their baby was born, so even if you aren’t sure…consider taking one!
I am a Certified Lactation Educator, and I have been working hard to get my own online breastfeeding courses off the ground. We will be launching a comprehensive class in June, but you can grab our FREE class (complete with videos) below:
For other complete classes, you can look into the following:
- Milkology offers affordable and helpful classes for moms. I would say this is the number one class I recommend!
- Simply Breastfeeding – this course is $40, but it’s very in-depth and encouraging. I feel that you can get a lot of great information from this course and feel thoroughly prepared for initiating breastfeeding, as well as issues that may arise. You also get access to the IBCLCs who run it, which is invaluable. You can use the code CLARKS30 for 30% off.
I think nothing can replace good, in-person support. You can learn all you can about breastfeeding before your child is born, but the truth is, there’s no way to know how it will go until after the baby is born. I wish there were classes specifically for moms after the baby was born!
I highly recommend finding an in-person support group that you can go to, as well as an IBCLC who can help you if issues do arise. Many hospitals do have lactation consultants on hand – though sometimes they aren’t IBCLCs (children’s hospitals and those with level four nurses typically have the best lactation support from what I’ve seen).
Free Breastfeeding Class
If you are interested in a free Breastfeeding class, here is our email Breastfeeding bootcamp. It will give you the basics for getting started:
Bonus: Prenatal Exercise Classes!
I am a huge fan of exercising during pregnancy, and I really think there are a lot of benefits to it. I highly recommend taking some kind of prenatal exercise class.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Prenatal Pilates
- Prenatal Yoga Classes
- Water Aerobics: I know, this might seem like something just for old people… but it is seriously my favorite form of exercise once I reach the end of my pregnancies. Try it out!
- Here are some great online pregnancy exercise videos.