birthing classes comparision guide

Birthing Classes: Lamaze Vs Hypnobabies Vs Bradley

Giving birth to a teeny-tiny human is no joke. Having fears and anxiety regarding the whole process is pretty natural. Thankfully there are birthing classes that can help you deal with your fears and prepare you for labor and childbirth.

From learning how to tell you’re in labor, to different delivery methods, to the basics of breastfeeding and tips on caring for your infant, you, as a parent-to-be, get loads of useful information in the form of exercises, discussions, and lectures when you take a birthing class.

But there are tons of different types of childbirth classes out there. And I’ve seen many parents-to-be getting super confused about which one should they take.

Here at She Births Bravely, we help thousands of moms prepare for birth through our free online resources and our own birthing class, the Healthy Start Birth Prep Challenge.

But, if you’re like me, you like to explore all your options, so I put together this guide to help you compare all the classes out there so that you can find the BEST childbirth class for you.

This article presents all the details on the most common birthing classes that will make the whole process of finding the right one for you easy.

Why Take A Birthing Class?

Birthing classes can make birth easier, safer and more rewarding. You learn skills to cope with the intensity of labor as well as how to make educated decision and feel more confident about about your own ability to birth.

Beyond gaining confidence and knowledge, the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology has reported that moms who took childbirth education courses were better prepared for labor and less likely to need inductions, interventions, or have an unplanned c-section.

Here Are The Best Birthing Classes On The Market

I have amazing things to say about each of these styles of birthing classes. In my experience as a doula and birth coach, I have seen moms have positive and successful birthing experiences with each of these classes. Here’s what you need to know to pick the right one for you.

The Famous Lamaze Technique: Best All-Around Birthing Class

If you ask your friends to find a childbirth class for you, most will probably suggest Lamaze.

For years when any of my friends asked me to suggest a great birthing class, I definitely suggested it. Why? Because I’ve personally taken the course during my pregnancy and trust me, it includes some excellent rhythmic breathing exercises that keep you oxygenated during labor and helps reduce anxiety and the fear of pain associated with labor.

But, Lamaze is not only about breathing, as many people perceive. With Lamaze, you also get some solid, research-based information about pregnancy and help you learn the different ways to cope with labor and delivery.

Overall Course Objective:

This technique uses six simple birth practices, based on evidence and research to equip you with the best practices for healthy and safe childbirth.

One of these practices says you should avoid anything that is not necessary during labor or birth medically. Due to this, many people believe this technique prohibits having an epidural. But that’s so not true. You can still prepare for birth, even when planning on using an epidrual. This class really aims to assist you in making the right decisions for you.

Who Is It Best for?

If you’re someone like me who prefers smaller and private classes, this course is perfect for you. Many of my friends have also attended these classes, and honestly, I would say it will suit anyone, any parents-to-be, of course.

Availability:

Lamaze classes available in most regions. And even if it’s not available in your area, you can also opt for online classes. All the classes, be it in any region or area, are given by their highly qualified instructors known as Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators (LCCE). You can easily find if an instructor is available in your area through the Lamaze official website. Options of online classes are also available on their website.

Cost:

One of the best things about Lamaze classes is they won’t break the bank. Although prices vary region to region and based on the instructor, the cost ranges between $50-$350.

Duration:

Lamaze classes are typically six to eight weeks long, with a total of 12 hours. You can also complete some of their series over a weekend.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Lamaze classes are based on research and evidence-based information
  • Classes not crowded; usually includes only around 8-10 couples
  • Classes are given only by Lamaze certified instructors

Cons:

6-8 weeks duration may seem too long to stay focused on the program

Hypnobirthing Method: The Simplest Technique To Give Birth In A Sleep-like Mode

hypnobirthing birth class

Hypnosis while giving birth seems crazy, right? Well, it’s actually not. In fact, it’s among the most effective ways to manage pain associated with labor and delivery. Hypnobirthing is based on hypnosis, and it is a well-known method for managing pain, easing anxiety, and reducing fears during labor and birth.

People have been using hypnosis during birth for ages, but the credit of HypnoBirthing goes to Marie MOongan as she was the first to use this exact term in one of her books called HypnoBirthing: A Celebration of life.

Overall Course Objective

Its basic purpose is to help moms-to-be deal with the fears and anxiety regarding labor or delivery, which is pretty common, to be honest.

The concept behind this program is to help a pregnant woman relax her mind and body so that her muscles can aid in giving painless birth. This method’s core techniques include practicing and learning controlled breathing by taking deep breaths through your nose, meditation by visualizing something like the feeling of holding your baby in your arms, or some dream place you want to go to, and focusing on positive thoughts. Some programs also use relaxing music.

Who Is It Best For?

Hypnobirthing classes can be taken by anyone, but it’s best for those who have a history of panic attacks or have suffered from some birth-related trauma. One of my friends who was really afraid of labor and delivery also found Hypnobirthing classes extremely useful.

Availability

The good thing about this method is that many certified Hypnobirthing instructors are available all around the globe.

Cost

The average cost of Hypnobirthing is $275-$350; prices vary based on the instructor. Some instructors charge as high as $900-$1100 for private classes.

Duration

The original hypnobirthing method, also commonly known as the Mongan method, consists of five classes, with each class being two and a half-hour long, which makes the total duration of the program 12 hours. But, different instructors offer a different number of classes, with many offering four classes of two hours each.

***Here’s a fun fact about this method: many celebrities, including Angelina Jolie and Jessica Alba, have used this technique to get prepared for labor and childbirth.

Pros

  • Hypnobirthing takes you to a super relaxed and clam state just as if you are daydreaming
  • Gives you the power of being more in control
  • Reduces the probability of post-natal depression
  • Gives confidence to mothers
  • Reduces labor time

Cons

  • Doesn’t include any tips about how to specifically deal with the pain outside of hypnosis
  • Might not work for women whose deliveries don’t go as expected
  • Can be costly, depending on region and instructor

Hypnobabies Birthing Classes: Another Great Program Based on Hypnosis

You must’ve guessed by looking at the name of the technique that it involves hypnosis. Similar to Hypnobirthing, this program teaches the physiology of labor and consists of a basic course on labor and the complications that might occur during childbirth. But, if both techniques include hypnosis, then why are both different programs? It’s because they actually differ.

Unlike Hypnobirthing, Hypnobabies involves medical-grade hypnosis techniques called hypno-anesthesia, made specifically for birth and labor. This course was actually created by a hypnobirthing instructor who thought the program was missing some major elements. So he created a new program and named it what we know as Hypnobabies

Overall Course Objective:

The course aims to help pregnant women give natural, joyful, and peaceful birth using medical-grade hypnosis but with more mobility during birth.

These classes will teach you self-hypnosis so you can train your subconscious to give birth in a more relaxed, peaceful, and calm state. One of the things you’ll love about this course is that it will also teach your partners how to give you the support you need. The course involves hypnosis books, workbooks, and hypnosis audio tracks.

Who Is It Best For?

It’s a great course for anyone who likes to give a peaceful birth using hypnosis but still wishes to be more aware and “stay awake” during childbirth. It is also perfect for single moms as well as for couples.

Availability:

Hypnobabies classes are available in many countries, including the USA, Germany, Canada, and Singapore. You can conveniently find if classes are available in your area through their website. All classes are given by their trained instructors. You can also opt for remote home-study classes that are available in many regions.

Cost:

The average cost of hypnobabies classes is $375—private classes costs around $900.

Duration:

It is a six weeks course consisting of six classes with a total of 18 hours; 3 hours per week.

Pros:

  • Hypno-moms use very few or no drugs
  • Shortens labor and birth time
  • Gives you the power to be more in control of your birthing experience
  • Consists of a detailed curriculum on childbirth

Cons:

  • Private classes are quite expensive
  • You cannot listen to audio tracks during cooking, walking, running, or any other activity
  • Does not present alternative labor coping strategies

The Bradley Method: The Most Natural Way To Give Birth

Bradley method birthing class

Founded by Dr. Robert Bradely in 1947, this method is by far the most natural way to give birth. The course’s basis is that most women don’t need any medication like pain killers during labor and childbirth because it is a natural process. It involves giving birth naturally with the help of a trained coach (mostly husband or partner), relaxation, proper education, nutrition, and exercise.

You might’ve heard of the time when husbands were strictly not allowed to be with their wives during childbirth, and doctors used to strap women to the bed to ‘help’ them give birth. This method is the opposite of all of this. It was created as a better solution to the choas that was childbirthing at this time. It aims to provide a comfortable environment for the mother during birth and involves the partner’s support while the woman is giving birth.

Overall Course Objective:

The objective of the course is to teach expectant mothers how to give birth naturally by using some simple techniques such as breathing, relaxation, and exercise. They also prepare a birthing partner to be a doula or an excellent support person for mom.

These birthing classes will empower you to be more in tune with your body and trust it while giving birth. You’ll learn the importance of nutrition and the way it affects your baby when it’s in your womb, the need for exercise during pregnancy, and different stages of labor. And your partner will also learn how to be a good coach during childbirth.

Who Is It Best For?

It is great for any couple who is looking for natural, vaginal childbirth. Women who are already told by their obstetrician/gynecologist that C-Section is their only option may not benefit from it as this childbirth method involves medical intervention. It is also perfect for anyone who wants a partner led or partner supported birth.

Availability:

This method is taught instructions trained only through the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth™. These instructors are available widely, and you can check the availability in your area through their official website.

Cost:

The cost varies area to area and also depends on the instructors, but the average cost is somewhere around $400.

Duration:

The Bradley method is taught over the course of 12 weeks. Typically classes are about an hour each.

Pros:

  • More than 80% of Bradley-trained mothers have given unmedicated birth
  • This is a comprehensive course that covers all aspects of childbirth preparations
  • Involves very few couples to give more focused training
  • Teaches the partner to give proper support during childbirth

Cons:

  • Very long course, which makes it difficult to stay focused
  • Not suitable for those who already know they’re going to have a C-section

Birthing From Within: A Combination Of Medical And Spiritual Childbirth Events

This method touches both the medical and emotional aspects associated with giving birth. It gives you the ability of self-expression and reduces the risk of potential trauma.

Overall Course Objective:

The course’s core purpose is to equip you with the power of using your body and wisdom along with the medical options to prepare for childbirth.

These birthing classes specifically focus on self-compassion and resilience. It also involves sharing of beliefs, journaling, art sessions, and visualizations.  

Who Is It Best For?

If you are into self-discovery or want to give birth by making decisions that are in accordance with your family and cultural values, this is the course for you.

Availability:

These classes are given by trained childbirth educators and doulas available worldwide, including the US and Canada. You can find an educator or doula in your area from the directory available online. In-home personal sessions are also offered by some mentors.

Duration:

Typically, these classes are around 10-18 hours.

Pros:

  • Personalized for each couple
  • Minimizes the risk of potential trauma
  • Extensive course

Cons:

Not for those who like to gain scientific knowledge regarding childbirth. Most of this class is science based, but it is not the focus in any way.

What’s the Right Time to Begin Birthing Classes

It depends on the course/program you choose to take. Most courses are designed to be taken in the late second trimester or at the start of the third trimester. Some courses also offer early classes, so if you feel you need classes early, you can opt for such courses.

How Do I Find A Specific Birthing Class?

Hopefully, this article helped you get clear on what the different types of birthing classes are available. Depending on your own personal needs, any of these classes could be an excellent fit. Once you know which style you want, choose if you want in person or online.

You can see a list of our suggested online birthing classes here. Then simply google the type of class with the phrase ‘near me’. That would look like Hypnobirthing classes near me, and you will be able to see what is available in your area.

Which Method Do You Use In Your Class?

Sometimes I am asked which method I teach in my class the Healthy Start Birth Prep Challenge. The truth is, I use concepts from each of them. As a doula, I have been able to witness many moms use tools from these methods and I have incorporated the ones that I see consistently work. As a mom, I personally took and studied a couple of these methods. And in my doula and childbirth education training, I had to study from each of these mothods.

Here Is More Information About My Class, The Healthy Start Birth Prep:

Overall Course Objective:

The objective of this course is to empower moms to have a safe and rewarding birth experience.

This class has a heavy focus on creating a safe birth and minimizing risks before and during birth. It also focuses on helping mom make educated and authentic birth decisions while preparing her mind and body for birth.

Who Is This Course For?

This course is for any mom that wants a healthy and safe birth. It will totally prepare moms and partners for a natural labor, but also provide the information moms need to make informed decisions about medical coping mechanisms as well, such as epidurals. It is the perfect course for moms who want to make birth safer and easier on their bodies and hearts.

Availability:

This course begins on the first of every month. It is available only online and can be accessed from anywhere you have internet service.

Duration:

This course takes place over 8 weeks with a total of 8 hours worth of video content + small and accessible daily challenges to get you totally prepared for birth.

Pros:

  • Makes your birth as safe as possible for you and baby
  • Fun way to learn and connect with other moms
  • Prepares partners to support mom through birth
  • Giveaways! You can win cool baby gear when you do the things that get you ready for birth

Cons:

  • Classes only begin on the first of the month
  • Must have internet access
  • Online community instead of in person community

If you are interested in learning more about the Healthy Start Birth Prep Challenge, learn more here.

To Summarize What You Should Know About Birthing Classes

Birthing classes will help you know what to expect during labor, how to cope with labor, how to make educated decisions about your birth, and more. If you have fears or anxieties about birth, it will also give you a place to connect with other moms and someone that has been around birth for a long time. It is an excellent way to prepare for your baby and make the transition into parenthood or life with an additional baby special.