The biggest battle in birth education is on: hospital class vs Lamaze.
I can’t tell you how many people say, “Oh we’ll just take the hospital class. It is cheaper and they cover the same stuff anyways.”
The problem with the above statement? It’s not true. At all. A good birth education is worth every penny because it saves you costs in the delivery room AND it covers far, far more than a hospital class ever could.
Think about it: the hospital class is usually about 3 hours long, and one of those hours is used for a floor tour, which means you get a miserly 2 hours to learn all about birth. Lamaze classes are 12 hours, and there are times when I feel they are still not long enough to impart all the necessary knowledge for a safe and empowering birth.
Still not convinced? Let’s break it down.
Here is what the hospital class typically covers:
- Admissions process
- Labor, delivery, and postpartum floor tour
- Common interventions and how they are done (i.e., they will show you the epidural catheter)
- Bare bones basics of birth
That’s it. What about what labor will feel like? What choices will you have if something is abnormal in your labor? What, in fact, is normal in labor? How can you cope with a difficult labor if you don’t use drugs? If you do use drugs, how can you make sure your labor is still safe and quick? The hospital class won’t answer these questions, but a Lamaze class will.
Now let’s look at what the Lamaze class covers:
- Basics of labor
- typical and atypical timelines of labor
- sensations of labor at each stage and phase
- how to cope with each sensation of labor
- hands-on practice with coping tools
- how partners and doulas can best support moms in labor
- multiple real-life videos and birth stories to show what it is like
- benefits and risks of various interventions
- signs of trouble in labor, and choices you have for each issue
- benefits and risks of cesarean birth
- postpartum expectations
- newborn appearance, characteristics, and procedures
- benefits and risks of newborn procedures
- breastfeeding initiation
- breastfeeding issues and how to overcome them
- bonding with your baby
- and so much more!
Birth is about more than just a few hours in a hospital room or birthing tub; it is about a life-changing process that will affect your outlook for the rest of your life. Treat it like the great moment it is and prepare well for it. Your knowledge will help you feel empowered in your birth and will help you to take an active role in welcoming your baby into the world. A birth class puts you in touch with other new parents and resources you can use after the baby is born for help with anything from socialization to breastfeeding and more. Plus, you may be able to avoid interventions (and thus, save money) by using the many skills you learn in a Lamaze class.
I recently had a couple who took both my class and the hospital class, and they couldn’t say enough how helpful my class was in comparison. They said many of the other people in the class were clueless about what to expect, whereas my students had no questions or fears because they were equipped with the information they needed to make informed decisions in the delivery room.