Birthing methods


All right, so my curiosity has been piqued by reading all these threads and, since my old roommate just had her baby last week, I suppose I’d better start thinking too. :stuck_out_tongue: What exactly is the purpose of a birthing class or method? I mean, women have done fine for millenia without a class…why do we need a class to do something that God created our bodies to do? I’m really curious, I hope this question doesn’t come off as offensive to anyone. :slight_smile: Any responses for or against the classes are most welcome.


My dh and I took a hospital sponsored.birthing class when I was pregnant with our first child. He’s an M.D. and he basically just attended to support me. For me, it flushed out some details about the whole process that I wasn’t taught in biology class, health class, etc. I had read pregnancy books, so maybe the information wasn’t new, but it was presented in a supportive environment and that was kind of nice.

The group we attended preferred natural childbirth, but the instructor didn’t try to scare anyone by exaggerating the risks of medical pain management or anything like that, nor did she imply that women who end up having to have a caesarean have somehow failed to experience childbirth. I had friends who experienced both of these things in their birthing methods classes. My instructor taught some pain management visualization and breathing techniques for those who were interested in having natural childbirth and discussed different positions, etc.

All in all, it was an ok experience and it fit into the whole first time baby mania. We skipped it for our next two kids.


They show photos, videos and discuss what is common for most women for labor & delivery. Usually then they follow with a tour of the birthing facilities so people can know what it looks like. There is also time to ask questions.

To answer your question “why do we need a class to do something that God created our bodies to do?” Well…you don’t, but having information can make the experience easier and less scary.


We took the Bradley Childbirth classes with our first child, and we’re so glad we did. We wanted a natural (completely unmedicated) childbirth. If we had not taken the class, I’m not sure we could have made it through the two unmedicated births we’ve had thus far. Hospital staff (and my children were born at two different hospitals) tended to react like we were nuts for passing on the epideral. However, because we had taken the classes, we understood all thoughout the labor what stage we were in and what to expect. Yes, there was pain, but I had been properly taught how to relax enough to deal with it. By the way, Dr Bradley’s approach is that childbirth is a normal, natural process that rarely requires medical intervention, though he recommended births take place at the hospital for those unpredictable emergencies that might arise. You could just read his book (we borrowed it from the library), but we enjoyed the companionship of our classmates and learned a lot from the instructor on how to properly implement the exercise and relaxation techniques.

Good luck!


Never took a class with any of my pregancies…never was an issue…had easy births and the breathing comes pretty naturally…well at least for me.


No offense meant to anyone, but we took a hospital class with our first, and that prepared us for how the DOCTORS wanted our birth to go. After taking the Bradley classes before #2, we were much better prepared to have a natural childbirth. I felt much more educated about the process of birth, stages of labor, and what interventions to refuse. We’ve been able to have two natural births, thanks to the Bradley method.



I agree with the previous poster that hospital classes are usually designed to show you what the hospital has to offer–and what it has to offer is medications, interventions, and surgical birth. Not to say that those are always bad, but just to emphasize that a hospital isn’t the best place for a natural birth. If an unmedicated intervention-free birth is important to you, look into home birthing or a birth center. I have had one hospital birth (intended to go natural, but ended up with epidural because I the atmosphere made me very tense), and hope for a homebirth next time. There are no birthcenters in my area.

Anyway, the value of a class is that most women (and men) have little to no experience with birth. In my case, I’ve been present at two births–the one where I was being born and the one where I gave birth. The one was not very good preparation for the other. All those millenia of not needing classes are also millenia of close living with large extended families or other communities. A woman living in a tribal village has been around birth many times by the time she is pregnant with her first. She’s seen her mom birth her siblings, her siblings birth her nieces and nephews, and so on. And most likely every birth she’s seen has been natural. I remember how I used to eat up those birth stories on TV, but the natural ones were so few and far between that even if a half-hour TV version of birth were anything like the real thing, I wouldn’t have gained much experience.

I also took Bradley, and liked it. But next time I don’t intend to set up my husband as my coach. He was great, but he was also worried and exhausted and inexperienced. My midwife won’t be any of those things (well, maybe exhausted, but I’m sure she’ll be better at hiding it). I couldn’t even look at DH by the end because I knew that his face was showing all that worry and I knew it would only discourage me. It’s my belief that men aren’t usually the best birth attendants and that I’d rather be surrounded by women to assist, leaving my husband the job of just loving me. Either that or I’ll just find a quiet corner and give birth like a cat in a closet, and not tell anyone what I’m doing until I’m done. Both hold a certain appeal.

Wishing you the most beautiful birth and beautiful baby!


you need to take a class for the same reason you need to be taught how to swim or how to breatfeed…just becaus it is natural doesn’t mean you know how…our cutlutre is not very exposed to true natural birth and BF so we have not leanred by ‘seeing’…there is a zoo CA that had nursing moms come sit infront of the apes because these apes had been removed from there environment and didn’t have the instinct to nurse…

there are many classes:
Lamaze (is not consistant…some teachers may teach the better relaxed breathing but others may be stuck in the past with the he he hoooooo stuff, you probably won’t get much about informed consent)

Bradley (great on informed consent and nutrition, although you need to look into good nutrtion at the beginning go to …may be good on relaxation depending on the teacher)

Hypnobirthing (don’t know much except that their first class blames ‘the church’ for the attitude that women should have pain in labor…so i’ve heard)

Hypnobabies (has a home course you can order that i’ve heard is wonderful, really goes into relaxation)

birthing from within

AND JUST FRESH OFF THE PRESS they have nutrition classes for early pregnancy…see if there is one near you

whatever you do, don’t just take the hospital class; and do consider a birth center…


but the instructor didn’t try to scare anyone by exaggerating the risks of medical pain management

there is no exaggerating in the classes i’ve taken, just the honest truth…on the other hand the hospitals classes gloss over the risks as if there are none, further they don’t talk about the domino effect of what may go wrong because of the drugs


I didn’t take a class and didn’t need one. The methods they teach came pretty naturally to me, as I think they would to most women. I didn’t have any preconceived notions to mess up what worked best for me, or to make me doubt myself. Prayer also works wonders.


there is no exaggerating in the classes i’ve taken, just the honest truth…on the other hand the hospitals classes gloss over the risks as if there are none, further they don’t talk about the domino effect of what may go wrong because of the drugs

I don’t know why but this is a divisive area. My friends definitely felt that the risks were exaggerated in the classes they attended, and they researched the studies and spoke to their doctors and realized the information they had been given* in their classes* (not all classes, just the ones they attended) were exaggerated both in scope and in frequency and severity.

As far as hospital classes “glossing over” the risks and potential complication, that wasn’t my experience with either the class or my doctor or the hospital staff. The potential risks and complications were covered pretty well, but again, the actual rate of complications was provided, and that is very low, so it wasn’t alarmist.

My experience was that the hospital class instructor and the doctors and nurses were interested in the same thing I was – delivering a healthy baby. There are different ways of going about that and a lot of it has to do with people’s preferences and maybe almost philosophical views of labor and delivery.


Yup, women have been squeezing out pups for millions of years…

Don’t forget that 3 of 5 (babies or mothers) used to die because medical professionals weren’t present during birth…

Yes, I’m a man… I’ll never push a watermelon through a lemon-sized opening… but…

I couldn’t be so closed minded as to deny my child or my own health the help of a medical professional during childbirth because of personal disciplines.

My wife delivered “naturally” (twice) … without the “aid” of drugs or invasive surgury… BUT within the confines of a HOSPITAL and all of the skills/knowledge/resources inherant of this establishment in the event of a problem.

Do you have a spare tire in your car? Why?
Do you have a flashlight in your house? Why?
Do you have food in your pantry/cupboards? Why?

Why? You are preparing yourself in the event of an emergency. You have consciously prepared yourself to have the tools needed to cope with an event that is out of your immediate control.

Why deny yourself & baby these tools during childbirth??


Just because you give birth in your home or in a birthing center does not mean the emergency equipment at the hospital is not accessible to you. They are required to accept you as a patient if you show up in labor at the emergency room even if you don’t have insurance. This is what I would have done had anything gone wrong with my birth. But most people who choose out-of-hospital births do so precisely because they believe that it is SAFER to do so. A skilled midwife is almost always a safer option than the obgyn down the street. Incidentally, they usually bring oxygen tanks with them and are very skilled at handling most emergencies. In fact, their training is quite intense, and they know way more about how birth naturally unfolds than medical students typically do. In my case, the hospital was only ten minutes away. Any birth “emergency” can typically wait at least ten minutes if the midwife is highly skilled, and mine definitely was.

I took Bradley and I’m so glad I did, not just for the informed consent and everything else, (which I definitely could not have done without!!) but also just because everyone in our class bonded together really well, and we are still friends to this day. You end up with an automatic playgroup, to boot. In fact, I am now running a homeschool co-op preschool out of my home and two of the mothers who come are from my Bradley class. One of them is now a Bradley teacher and a doula.

I really don’t think I would have made it through my birth without a c-section had it not been for Bradley and my decision to stay home for the birth. No doctor would have let a woman push for over three hours without serious intervention. But my midwife knew that everything was fine and so did I and indeed it was.



My reference was of 70+ years ago, when either “Doc Johnson” did his best as a GP, or there wasn’t any skilled/trained medical personnel available. (and NO, the community woman who delivered 20+ babies doesn’t count as TRAINED… experienced maybe…NOT trained.)

And as far as research goes ANY poll/table/reference can be skewed to reflect data the author wants to promote.

Well, if I was pregnant and during childbirth the placenta separated (which was bonded too close to a surface running (anterior or posterior uterine artery) and tore a uterine artery… and I was pumping 1/4 pint of blood with each heartbeat (the pro’s call this an arterial hemmorhage…or parlance… BLEEDER)…

I’d rather to be in a hospital with a surgical team down the hall… not with a mid-wife, oxygen tank, and Band-Aids. Even with a 2-1/2 minute response time with EMT’s either you or your baby are done for.

A skilled midwife is almost always a safer option than the obgyn down the street.

Almost always…??

In my case, the hospital was only ten minutes away. Any birth “emergency” can typically wait at least ten minutes if the midwife is highly skilled

Define “typical” when giving birth, and “Ten Minutes”… Does this include the 5 minutes of mid-wife “I’m over my head here” internal debate, then the 2 minutes of 911 questions, then the (best case) 2-1/2 minutes EMT response, then the 12 to 15 minutes EMT stabilization treatment, then the 5 minute travel time (metro average) to the hospital, then the 7 minute ER Doc’s “what the heck am I dealing with here” download… THEN they start to fix the problem…???

My math calculates 56 minutes MINIMUM from “over my head” to problem specific treatment.

I’d take my chances with the pro’s in their shop, not the neighborhood “handyman” down the street thank you…

Please take whatever classes you feel inclined to attend. Learn about what is happening, and more importantly what COULD happen during childbirth. LEARN about your body! LEARN about what is happening. As a man it still astounds me how ignorant woman are about the very parts that make them a woman or mothers!

99% of the time things will be just fine! It’s that 1% which raises red flags. Why chance it? Be prepared, go in educated, and be able to communicate intelligently to the doctors or staff. Deny what treatment you feel is wrong, but utilize the tools available to you to their extent.


Midwives can handle hemorraghing. I really think you would be fine at home if you were hemorraging. I doubt you would hire an untrained midwife. Most likely you would interview and find the most qualified person that you could. Chances are, it never would have happened anyway, b/c midwives just handle things more gently. I’m not saying midwives are perfect, just that your chances are much, much better of having a safer birth at home. To an extent, though, I agree that it would be IDEAL to have a natural, unmedicated birth with a midwife, and with a skilled doctor on hand just in case. But that doctor would have to be willing to sit and observe and really do nothing unless called on. Most doctors aren’t willing to do that. Dr. Bradley was an exception, that’s why people flocked to him. Even the midwives in hospitals and nurses are not usually willing to let nature take its course. They too are trained to intervene much earlier than they should. There are probably exceptions, but for the most part, that’s the way it is. That’s why I think you start out with greater safety if you begin at home. Your chances of having an intervention free birth is much, much greater because the risks are much, much less. Yes, you may have to run to the hospital, but I have to tell you that when I interviewed my midwife who was well trained and had at that point attended well over 300 births, I asked her how many times she had taken someone to the hospital. She said twice, and both times mother and baby were fine. One of those two times, the mother was a smoker. The midwife refused to see her unless she quit, so she said she would quit, but she didn’t, and the midwife went on caring for her. When the placenta came out, it was black, and baby was not exactly the picture of health, but the baby did survive on that placenta. That’s the other thing about midwives. Generally, they will not see you unless you meet their criteria. If you are a person who has high-risk factors such as smoking, you will have no choice but to see a doctor. (Unless the mother lies about that, of course).


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