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.
Because of this, for the past few years, I have been developing my own online courses for parents to be – starting with my online breastfeeding courses. I took what I loved about mine – and improved on what I thought could be better – and have launched affordable and comprehensive classes (and they are for your partner, too!)
- The Complete Online Breastfeeding Class
- Mini Breastfeeding Classes
You can get 10% off with the code 10OFF
Beyond that, though, I wanted to share more details about what classes new parents to be should be taking, when to take them, and suggestions for great ones!
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:
- 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. As I already mention, I offer various options for online breastfeeding classes that fit every budget and circumstance!
- 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 taking an online prenatal class. I’ll mention a few below that would be great!
- 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!
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 my online breastfeeding classes. You can buy them at any point in your pregnancy and start taking them later if you want!
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!
For other complete classes, you can look into the following:
- The Complete Online Breastfeeding Class
- Mini Breastfeeding Classes
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
We offer a free online breastfeeding class that a lot of people have enjoyed. It doesn’t have all the videos and content that our complete classes have, but it will give you the basis for getting started.
If you are on a budget and are interested in something a little more comprehensive, the next option I would suggest is “Breastfeeding Essentials“, or even just our eBook that you can purchase that has all the content from our big class!
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.
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.
Here are a few online prenatal classes to consider:
- The Online Prenatal Class for Couples – this is my go-to recommendation. It’s taught by an experienced RN, and it’s great to prepare with your partner taking this class. Get 10% off with the code CLARKS.
- Kopa Prepared – They offer two different classes – the Essentials and Plus. These are particularly good if you are planning for a natural birth.
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!
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.
Classes for Pregnant Couples
Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.