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Need Childbirth Class ASAP

Camellia is in quite a predicament.  She's expecting her first child, but her childbirth class has dissipated.  Any help or suggestions?

I just found out that the childbirth ed class we registered for months ago has been canceled. Help! I'm already in my last trimester and am anxious about finding space in a class that's right for us before the baby comes! This is our first baby so learning the ropes is very important to us. We're having a home birth with midwives and a doula so we're looking for something appropriate to a non-hospital birth--but at the same time, if there is a lot of cheesy poetry-reading and birth-art making, my husband is liable to chew is own leg off. It seems like the main options for traditional, mainstream classes are Bradley or Lamaze and that the main alternatives available are Birthing From Within or Hypnobirthing style classes--we're more inclined to select one of the latter two options but aren't sure which would be a better fit. The approaches seem very different since Birthing From Within seems to emphasize acknowledging that birth is painful and hard work but learning how to cope with/use/overcome the pain, while Hypnobirthing seems to claim that birth doesn't need to be painful at all with the right mental preparation (am I understanding these philosophies correctly??) I would love to hear feedback on parents' experiences with different types of childbirth ed classes, recommendations of good instructors, what worked/didn't work, etc.


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I can't speak to hypnobirthing or to Birthing From Within classes (although I have read the book, and while it does have great pain management techniques, it also contained a heavy dose of poetry and birth-art making), I can say that my husband and I took a Bradley class we didn't find them it to be at all too mainstream. It had a balanced approach, emphasizing a holistic view of pregnancy and childbirth, and techniques to manage pain and achieve a natural childbirth, while acknowledgin that intervention is needed in some cases. The key is having information and a some say regarding those interventions.

We did Hypnobirthing for our first child and found it a great tool for birth preparation. Yes, some of the Hypnobirthing literature claims that women can achieve a pain-free birth, and maybe that can be our "best case scenario!" For me, the relaxation techniques, practical meditation exercises, and birthing information (anatomy, stages of labor, common medical intervention and how to avoid them) were SO helpful in the hospital. I had a marathon 24 hr birth with no pain meds and a beautiful BIG baby boy at the end of it all. I would not have been able to cope with the intensity and duration of the pain without having practiced relaxation for the three months leading up to the big day.

I hope you can find a class! In the meantime, get the book Pregnancy, Childbirth & the Newborn by Peggy Simkin. It's very balanced (refers to "your doctor or midwife") describes the stages of labor (just when you think you HAVE to have an epidural, you're may be in transition) and sheds light on things that aren't even discussed in biology class. I would expect that your midwives will be able to answer a lot of your questions at appointments--ask them anything!-- and they'll be great support in your labor. Good luck!

Try contacting Camille Mulchi ... she was my prenatal yoga instructor, and I believe she leads birthing workshops (although - woe is me! - she wasn't able to book enough couples at the same time I was due, so I missed the chance). Some of her yoga techniques were ringing through my head during my own marathon birth (water broke spontaneously and baby was born 4 -yes 4! - hours later!). I just love her. She has a special focus on the fourth trimester - adjusting after baby arrives. You can see her web site at http://www.motherwiseyoga.com.

I did a hypnobirthing class and it was okay except we did not do a lot of hynosis practice in class. The guided meditations are a little cheesy, but some of them did help when I was in labor (home birth for many many hours). It was certainly NOT pain-free.

The other class I did was with Nora Tollman, she is an ND and a LNP midwife. It was an excellent class, designed specifically for woman who want a drug free birth, but is 9 weeks long and usually has a waiting list. You could see if she has a referral for another class. Also, the medical offices where the class was held had other practitioners offering birth classes. It is the office where Ed Hoffman-Smith, ND, practices in SE Pdx. (If you can't find this contact info via google, email me directly)

Finally, you could contact the midwifery school, Birthingway. They may have info on classes and other services, like post partum doulas.

We did a Bradley class for my first and found it to be helpful. I can't find the contact information (over 4 years ago), but it was held at a midwife school on Foster Road. Good luck!

All along my pregnacy I read tons of books incluiding Birthing from withing. We took the not -so-special class at Providence (where I gave birth with one-very special midwife- from the maternal care clinic).
I was a first time mom (I am still one!) and found my heart needing more support/info/guidance so I reached out to the International Center for traditional childbearing :www.blackmidwives.org. I had an amazing three hour session with Shafia Monroe, an amazing widwife and mother. It was a very hot Summer evening last year and my husband, Shafia and myself just talked and practice our birth. It was amazing and I can just tell you that after a pretty intense 10 hour labor( most of it at home- encouraged by Shafia) I gave birth drug free and was able to come home next morning ( not even 24 hours at Providence). Check out their website and reach out to them as much as you can.

yes, I paid them out of pocket, it was very cheap- but soooo much worth it.

I did a hypnobirthing class, and didn't find the class itself to be very helpful (and my husband chewed his own leg off in the class)...I'd recommend buying the book and listening to the CD (included with the book) for relaxation, though. I had an amazing labor (18 hours, no drugs) but I attribute it more to yoga and a fantastic midwife than to hypnobirth (I didn't use a single hypnobirth technique the entire 18 hours).

That said, I bet hypnobirth classes vary a lot, depending on the instructor and you might find one you like. If you still feel inclined toward hypnobirthing, I'd interview a few instructors before deciding.

Has anyone had any experience with the classes offered at Zenana Spa? It looks like some of the classes are taught by Mother Tree Doulas and some are not. I'd love comments from anyone who has taken any of the these classes.

i took a Birthing From Within class with Pasha who runs the Moving Through Center (movingthrough.com). poetry and artwork were involved, but not excessive and not as much as they are featured in the book. i really got a lot out of the class. i think there were moments in the class when different people may have felt challenged or uncomfortable at times, but it seems like the idea is to work through what might freak you about about labor/birth/parenting a newborn BEFORE you actually have to deal with those situations so you have more of an individualized concept/plan about how to work through it when it's happening.

I am a Birth Doula Childbirth Educator and Certified Hypnobirther.

I teach each couple privately and usually Doula for the clients I teach but could also just do private Childbirth instruction. I find private in your home instruction allows you to learn what you need to learn, it addresses your issues and is not filled with quite so much empty time. Also for Hypnobirthing it is much easier to work through the hypno-sessions one on one without a group of people. http://www.inner-serenity.org is my site with my contact info... Feel free to contact me about what would fit your needs...


My husband and I had a great experience in our Birthing From Within class four years ago. I thought my husband might be one of the chew-his-leg-off guys, too, but he ended up finding the arty elements really engaging. They were very un-superficial, and served as a way of grappling with the wonder and fear and weirdness of impending parenthood that held one's attention and avoided abstract intellectualization. The course as a whole was pleasant and far more practical than it sounds. It also inspired some of our best and richest conversations, on the after-class drive home.

I did the hypnobabies home study program. It was awesome and really prepared me and I could do it on my own time. There was plenty of childbirth info that my husband could read and he could be as involved as he (really, I) wanted in the hypnosis part. I had an amazing nearly pain free unmedicated labor. I have never done a hypnobirth class but the women I know who did both hypnobirth and hypnobabies felt that the hypnobabies course was more complete both in general childbirth ed and in the hypnosis program. Here's a good comparison of the 2 programs http://pregnancybirthandbabies.com/comparison_between_hypnoclasses.htm
If you're interested in using hypnosis for childbirth, you should explore that website- there is a ton of great info. Good luck!


Debbie has recently emailed seeking more suggestions:

"I am 24 weeks pregnant, and need to sign up for a class soon. I am a 1st time Mom. I am seeing Dr Fox in WHA (womens healthcare associates) and will be delivering in St Vincents, Portland. Not sure if I should pick Lamaze or Bradley classes? Looking for recommendations for a class/teacher. Also, I am really chicken when it comes to pain - and I am not all that fit, I don't jog or run marathons :-)"

I'm 23 weeks pregnant and delivering at St. Vincents too!

I elected to go with the birthing class through Kaiser (my insurance provider). I know St. Vincent's offers a similar one. I wasn't sure of what method to choose either, which is why I decided to sign up for a general one. I don't start for another 6 weeks so I can't give you an opinion on how it is yet.

Shana teaches a great birthing class at YogaShala (the southeast location).

We have a great Lamaze-inspired class in SE portland, totally out-of-hospital birth friendly. You can look at our website for more info:) www.renchildbirth.com

Hi - I am in my 14th week, and am looking for a queer-positive class that has a natural bent but is not going to make me feel crappy about having a hospital birth. My doula recommends Bradley, but the only class I have found on line is way out in West Linn (I'm in NE Portland).

Any suggestions would be very welcome!


Birth can be exciting and is different for every woman. ICTC provides classes that empower, create normalcy and confidence for a woman to learn to listen to her body for her birthing style.
The International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC)offers a 4-hour childbirth preparation class that rolls six weeks to an intensive 4 hours comprehensive class. This class is designed for a woman or a couple who are not interestedin the traditional six-week series. Shafia M. Monroe, midwife, has created a spirtual and practical childbirth preparation philosophy that is twenty-years old, called "Woman Led Birthing- I am my own expert" Visit www.ictcmidwives.org to learn more.

http://blossomingfamily.com offers childbirth classes usually at Milagros Boutique in NE Portland. Also discounted packages for doula/childbirth class care.

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