Not all childbirth classes are created equal; or, you get what you pay for

We have some amazing childbirth classes in my area.  Taught by seasoned birth workers.  These classes all fall in about the same price range.  Some classes, however, are underpriced and for couples looking only at the price tag, it can seem a steal.  Are they apples to apples?  How do you know which to pick?

I’ve had a few couples who did not take my classes because they felt it was too expensive.

Now, to me, there is a difference in the couple that tells me they can’t afford my class and the couple who says it is too expensive.  I can barter or work out payment plans for folks who can’t afford it.  Some families even make the cost of a class or doula part of their baby registry.  But too expensive?  Have you seen how much baby gear costs?

What are you paying for when you take a childbirth class?

1)  You’re paying for the instructor’s credentials.  I spent ton o’ money to become certified childbirth educator.  And there are re-certification costs and CEU’s required each year.

2)  You’re paying for materials.  My students receive two books, a binder full of handouts, a tote bag, and more.

3)  You’re paying for class costs:  travel expenses, space rental, supplies, business expenses, etc.

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Hospitals and some childbirth businesses offer free or very low cost childbirth classes.  The hospitals do it because they want you to to understand hospital policies, options, and procedures.  The birth groups are perhaps trying to bring in business for other services.

When you pay for a Bradley class, you expect it to be taught by a certified Bradley instructor.  Not someone who used Bradley for their birth or who read Husband-Coached Childbirth a few times.

So when you’re shopping for a childbirth class, ask some simple questions:

1)  What is the instructor’s background?  I don’t think everyone needs to be certified.  There are some wise women out there who are treasures and I could sit at their feet all day long.  I could care less if they are certified.  But listen to the instructor tell you her story.  You’ll know if she is someone you can trust.

2)  If it is a trademarked program (Bradley, Lamaze, Hypnobirthing, Birthing from Within), is the instructor currently credentialed?  You can usually check the parent website for instructor listings.

3)  What is the cost and how long is the course?  A comprehensive class is typically 8 hours or more.

Bottom Line:  Do your homework.  Find the class that matches your birth expectations the best.  Remember, you already know how to give birth.  It’s programmed in your biology like digestion. The method or class you choose gives you and your partner practical information, techniques to enjoy your birth, and an understanding of your birth options.  A good childbirth class puts you in charge.

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