In the past, when couples found out they were expecting a baby, it was pretty much a given that they would take a childbirth class, believing it to be a critical part of preparing for giving birth. Today, participation in childbirth classes is decreasing, as more and more couples are turning elsewhere to learn about labor and delivery.
According to a survey by LtM3, 34 percent of women who gave birth in 2011–12 reported taking childbirth education classes during their recent pregnancy, with 59 percent of new mothers taking classes and just 17 percent experienced mothers. Almost one-third of experienced mothers had taken classes in an earlier pregnancy, so when combining these figures, researchers found that 53 percent of all mothers reported taking a childbirth education class at some point.
We understand today’s expectant couples have ample resources to turn to for information about childbirth. This is why we have worked to develop our app and print and digital offerings to make them more relevant to students and give instructors plenty of options when designing their education programs. This includes combining a traditional classroom format with online instruction delivered via our mobile app. We’ve seen how even subtle changes in the class environment can make a huge difference in attracting students and making them more comfortable pursuing childbirth curriculum in a small group format.
Childbirth classes empower couples
It’s true that information about pretty much anything, including childbirth, can now be easily found in books and online. But even among the quality content by reputable sources (not taking into account less credible outlets), the sheer amount of information that exists is overwhelming.
Expectant couples should understand that attending a live childbirth class offers many benefits and provides experiences they won’t get from any other source. Childbirth classes:
- Teach about pain relief options
- Demystify hospital procedures
- Provide a safe place for couples to ask questions and address their fears with others
- Enable couples to connect on a deeper level as they learn ways to support each other during labor
- Educate expectant couples about how routine interventions may influence labor
- Provide useful information on newborn care, including breastfeeding, diapering, and bathing.
These workshops equip couples with the most pertinent information about childbirth, providing an opportunity to practice useful techniques and foster positive interactions.
Make classes convenient
Trying to fit childbirth classes into a couple’s busy schedule can be another big problem. To compete with the convenience that television, books, and the Internet afford, your childbirth classes need to accommodate the hectic schedules of expectant parents.
When couples can choose from weekly or weekend classes, as well as from classes that meet during the course of a few weeks or classes that are condensed into one- or two-day sessions, taking a childbirth class becomes more feasible.
The best option
Childbirth classes narrow down the wealth of information that’s available and deliver the most important and applicable pieces, giving couples confidence as they near labor and delivery.
When more expectant couples understand these facts and are offered flexible class options to accommodate their schedules, childbirth classes should once again become the primary method for couples to prepare for birth. With the potential to combine classroom instruction with digital teaching, couples of all ages and backgrounds are able to participate more fully in the childbirth preparation process and gain exposure to the type of teaching that resonates most with them. Gone are the times of an instructor giving a lesson in a vacuum. If recent classes are any indication, today’s classroom is a place for fostering student engagement, developing personal connections and discovering exciting opportunities for students to learn from different touchpoints, including you, their instructors, as well as fellow classmates and a digital community you can guide them to using our apps and online products. It’s actually never been a more exciting time to be a childbirth educator.