How to Choose the Right Birth Education Course for Your Birth Goals

Written by: Cassandra Huneke, CHC
Posted: July 07, 2024
Choosing the right birth education course can be a game-changer for your birthing experience. With so many options available, like Lamaze, Hypnobirthing, Bradley Method, and more, it’s essential to find a course that aligns with your birth goals and personal preferences


Understanding Your Birth Goals 

Your birth goals are unique to you and can range from wanting a completely unmedicated/no intervention birth to planning for medical interventions. Identifying these goals will help you choose a course that supports your vision for birth. And, the best way to understand what’s most important to you is to create your birth plan.  A birth plan doesn’t guarantee what will happen during your labor, but it helps you learn your options and figure out what you do and do not want. It’s important to realize what will make you feel safe, heard, and respected during your birth experience. 
That’s why I created my free birth plan template and mini workbook to help you understand your birth goals and learn how to advocate for them. You can download it here.

Types of Birth Education Courses

There are several types of birth education courses, each with its own philosophy and approach. Most of them have the same goals in mind - to help parents feel empowered and make informed decisions. Understanding the differences can help you decide which one most aligns with your birth values. 

Lamaze Method

What is the Lamaze Method? 
The Lamaze Method focuses on breathing techniques, relaxation, and other comfort measures to help manage pain during labor.  Lamaze International states that women have an innate ability to give birth and the right to give birth without the need of routine medical interventions. Birth is a safe and natural occurrence. 
A Lamaze birth education course provides evidence-based information and encourages parents to take control of their personal journeys. 

Instructors teach their six healthy birth practices:


Benefits of Lamaze 

Lamaze empowers women by teaching them how to respond to contractions and promotes confidence in their ability to give birth. It also provides evidence-based information so parents can advocate for themselves during pregnancy and labor. 

Drawbacks of Lamaze 

Some may find the focus on breathing techniques and labor positions insufficient for managing labor pain.



What is Hypnobirthing? 
Hypnobirthing uses self-hypnosis, relaxation, and visualization techniques to reduce fear and promote a calm birthing environment. Hypnobirthing teaches controlled breathing, positive affirmations, and guided visualization with the belief that the more relaxed you are, the more labor will progress because your body isn’t fighting the process. There are plenty of certified hypnobirthing teachers that offer an array of class types. 

Benefits of Hypnobirthing 

It can lead to a more relaxed and comfortable birthing experience, especially for those planning an unmedicated birth.

Drawbacks of Hypnobirthing 

Not everyone is receptive to hypnosis, and it may require a significant amount of time to practice.

Bradley Method 

What is the Bradley Method? 
The Bradley Method emphasizes natural (aka intervention free) childbirth and involves the active participation of the birth partner as a coach. This method heavily relies on the husband to be a source of coaching and support. There are typically 12 classes in the course, and classes also cover nutrition, exercise, and communication. 

Benefits of the Bradley Method 

It encourages a deep understanding of the birthing process and promotes a strong partner role in supporting the birthing woman/parent. In addition, the new mom will also learn things like nutrition to help have a healthier pregnancy now, which aren’t typical taught in a traditional birth education course. 

Drawbacks of the Bradley Method 

The course is comprehensive and requires a considerable time commitment, which might not be feasible for everyone. Also, because the course puts a deep emphasis on the husband’s role as coach, LGBTQIA+ couples may not feel it is inclusive to them.  An LGBTQIA+ friendly instructor may need to be sought. 


Courses on Specific Topics

Some childbirth education classes may focus on specific outcomes or topics such as VBAC, twins, pushing, birthing with physical disabilities, and more. 
My course, The Labor Comfort Workshop, for example, teaches moms how to naturally reduce pain and stress to avoid unnecessary interventions. 
If you’re looking for help with something specific, chances are there’s a BeHerVillage provider who can help you. 

Hospital Birth Course

Many hospitals provide their own in-person or online birth course either for free or low cost. However, I DO NOT recommend taking this course alone. Hospitals are bound by liability, which often guides their policies more than evidence-based information. These classes are not going to teach you how to navigate birthing in the hospital system and rarely teach you how to advocate for yourself to avoid the hospital’s typical routines.


Online Birth Vs In-Person Education Courses 

Birth education should be accessible for everyone. Luckily, there’s the option to take a labor course online or in-person. But which is right for you?

Benefits of Online Courses 

Online courses offer flexibility, allowing you to learn at your own pace and in the comfort of your home. Other online classes are live, giving you the benefit to directly communicate with your instructor during class. Self-paced classes are also often a little more affordable. 

Drawbacks of Online Courses 

They may lack the personal interaction and hands-on practice that in-person classes provide. However, some instructors like me, offer live online sessions so you can get personalized attention.


Benefits of In-Person Birth Classes

In-person classes ensure you can directly ask the instructor questions and interact in a more intimate setting. These classes are typically more hands on (literally).

Drawbacks of In-person Courses

You may not be able to attend an in-person class due to your schedule, accessibility, and transportation. In-person courses typically require a greater commitment of time and may be more expensive depending on where you live and the length of the course. 


Comparing Different Courses 

Comparing different birth education courses can help you see which one best aligns with your goals. Consider the course content, teaching style (online, in-person, self-paced, or live), and any additional resources provided.

How to Choose the Right Course for You 

Assess your needs and preferences 

Consider what you want to achieve from the course. Are you looking for pain management techniques, partner involvement, or a holistic approach? Learn more about the benefits of a private childbirth ed class here.


Take a look at your birth plan

Identify the key factors that are important for you during labor. Ensure the course you choose supports your birth values. 

Consider your learning style and desires

Does the class cover everything you want to learn? Is it structured in a way that matches how you like to learn? You can also seek out recommendations and reviews from other parents.


Choosing the right birth education course is a personal journey

By understanding your birth goals and exploring the different options available, you can find a course that empowers you to have the positive birth experience you desire. 


  1. What is the best birth education course for a natural birth? The Bradley Method and hypnobirthing are highly recommended for those aiming for a natural, unmedicated birth.
  2. Can I combine different birth education methods? Yes, many parents find it beneficial to combine techniques from different methods to suit their needs. And some instructors may do this, as well.
  3. Are online birth education courses effective? Yes, if you prefer flexibility and learning at your own pace, online courses can be very effective.
  4. How early should I start a birth education course? It's recommended to start in the second trimester to give yourself ample time to practice and prepare.
  5. Do birth education courses involve partners? Many courses, like the Bradley Method, actively involve partners, while others may offer partner-specific sessions.
Connect with Cassandra

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Category: BeHerVillage Registry Guide , Getting Ready For Your Baby
Tags: ready for birth , birth prep , childbirth education


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