Basics of Childbirth Class Options for Dads

By Mathew Miller, Sharon Perkins

Yes, new dad, you’re expected to attend childbirth classes. The good news is that today’s market offers a variety of choices that are welcoming to both mother and father. And they aren’t just about learning how to breathe! These classes are an opportunity to ask questions, build confidence, and connect with other couples going through the same experiences you are at the exact same time. You may actually enjoy it.

Regardless of the type of class you sign up for, you’ll be taught the basics in the following areas:

  • Techniques for coping with labor and delivery pain

  • Your role in assisting your partner

  • What labor feels like/signs of labor

  • When to call your doctor/midwife/doula

  • Choosing the birthing option that’s right for you and your partner

Selecting the class that’s right for you has a lot to do with the kind of childbirth experience you and your partner want to have. Whatever class option you select, make sure to meet with the instructor prior to signing up (and paying the fee) to make sure he’s the right teacher for your needs.

Ask what’s covered in the class, how many couples are in the class, where the class is held, and how many weeks the class runs.

Following are the most popular types of classes offered:

  • The Alexander Technique: These classes focus on utilizing techniques that reduce tension in the body and offer the mother-to-be freedom of movement during childbirth.

  • BirthWorks: The philosophy of this program is that women instinctively know how to give birth and that they can be empowered to understand their bodies and respond accordingly to their own labor experience.

  • The Bradley Method: Also focusing on medication-free, natural childbirth, these classes cover breathing techniques and the roles that diet and exercise play in childbirth. They generally include a heavy emphasis on the father’s role.

  • HypnoBirthing: Sometimes called the Mongan Method, this class teaches couples how to use relaxation and visualization — self-hypnosis — to have a natural, intervention-free childbirth when possible.

  • International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) classes: Although they don’t adhere to a particular philosophy, these classes offer certified instructors. Check with the teacher to find out what to expect.

  • Lamaze: Developed in the 1940s by a French obstetrician, Lamaze focuses on empowering women to be confident in their abilities to birth children. Its teachings are rooted in natural childbirth options, and it follows the philosophy that women shouldn’t be required to have routine medical intervention in childbirth.