3rd Trimester

Are classes worth my time?

I'm planning to take a tour of the birthing area of my hospital, but I have little interest in taking the classes.  It seems to me that the nurses will be able to tell my husband and I what to do during labor and help me with breastfeeding?  Am I totally unprepared for childbirth and breastfeeding if I opt not to take the classes?  I want to be prepared, but I don't want to waste my time.  Has anyone out there had a reasonable amount of success delivering their baby and breastfeeding without classes? 

Re: Are classes worth my time?

  • DH and I went to the classes for our first pregnancy.  It was mostly for DH cause he didn't know much, some things I didn't know either.  He asked a lot of questions and on the way home, he was a non stop chatter box. : )

    It wouldn't hurt.  Our classes were all day Satruday and half of Sunday.  It was a fun thing to do together to prep for baby #1.  Some of it, for us, was not needed (like the mini-lamaze part), but we went anyway.  

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  • With the exception of the BF one, I found them unnecessary, but I did enjoy going with my H. It kind of opened our eyes to things and made us both more excited.  The BF one was pretty helpful, esp. for my H and then he was helpful to me when I was crying my eyes out over how hard BF was going.  

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  • I also think this was a good way to get my DH informed since he would never pick up a darn baby book, so I am glad we went to the Taking Care of Your Newborn class. I will be going to the breastfeeding class solo, however. We are also hiring a doula, so we are not doing any birthing classes. I feel good about this option because it will force my DH to have to sit down and be a part of the birth plan and prepare, which I thought will be far more helpful then a birthing class. Just do what you and your DH are comfortable with. Every couple is so different!
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  • My hospital/birthing center offered two free classes both about three hours.

     I was a "Breastfeeding Basics" drop-out.  :)  I left partway through the class, and I'm now an EBF with no issues (and after the first week, no pain etc).  I think the nurses and LC is much more valuable then watching some slides.  Its hard to visualize, and I didn't like how the class kept making it seem like you were an awful mom if you didn't breastfeed.

    DH & I liked the "Baby Basics", DH practiced swaddling the doll until he was a pro and it was super cute to watch.  I can't say I really took anything away from the class or remember anything as being special.  Kind of a fun "this is real" couple hours though..

    During L&D:  I didn't take any birthing classes or anything and I'm kind of glad I didn't.  All I had to do was focus on what I was being told to do.  Also, your brain shuts off.  Easiest way to put it.  Time stops.  Your brain ceases to function.  Your body will take over and you become a puppet to whatever the nurses/Dr/midwife says.

  • I found both my birthing class and breastfeeding class very informative, as did DH.

    Sure, they could tell you during labor, but it's nice to know the different options and things ahead of time instead of in the moment.

    The breastfeeding class was especially beneficial to my DH because he was able to learn what I'll be dealing with and how to help me (support, helping make sure the baby latches correctly, etc).

    ETA: My sister just had a baby 2 weeks ago, didn't take any classes, and was completely uninformed in anything. I was the one coming up with questions to be asking her OB and LC while she was in the hospital on bedrest. I think if she would've taken a class, she would've been more comfortable being an advocate for herself because she would've been more knowledgable on her options.


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  • I found them a waste and I could easily find info online, in the library and by asking the nurses. They offer lactation consultants at the hospital. 

    DH did not feel the class was informational for dads in particular.  He learned some stuff but nothing he ever found useful in L&D, after delivery or when we got home.


    I guess it all depends on the class, the dad and what you are looking to get out of it. 

  • I didn't take them.  I figure, women have been giving birth for thousands of years without classes... so I'm sure my body will know what to do. Plus, there is a whole team there for you at the hospital to help you along.  But, if you are overly concerned or nervous it might not be a bad idea.  Good luck!
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  • I think it all depends on how they teach the classes. My H and I found them very helpful even though we had read a lot of books and done a lot of research as well as the fact that I grew up with a daycare being ran out of my home. They entice you to think about things you may not have before taking the classes. We watched some videos, but mostly were taught by an actual L&D nurse who knew all the odds and ends of everything for our hospital. I know some people have recommended just doing the research online, but IMO, you cant always trust what you find online and things could be very different from one area to the next (depending on what you're researching of course). I think just to be completely prepared and confident you should take the classes. Whats it going to hurt?
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  • My husband and I decided against them because we found out from a friend who was taking them at the current time was learning things that we already knew. I am an avid researcher and was surprised at how much I learned from books and online information. I say you do what makes you feel comfortable and reassured :)

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  • I went with my first pregnancy. I don't think they are necessary for the breathing part (the nurses while you are actually in labor, tell you /remind you when to breath, hold your breath etc...) but they were "interesting" in letting you know what you may encounter. IVs, choices in pain meds, intervention methods, the stages of birth, about being in triage first to be evaluated etc...I think it was helpful just to be prepared of what "may" happen.

    And honestly, I was in the bathroom every 30 minutes, I missed half of the class. My DH had to assure me that my "menstrual like cramps" were contractions, lol! Missed that part!

    I agree with other posters that the BF class was more helpful. My DH was sick that day so I just went by myself.

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  • I took them with my first and found them very useful.  I had read the books, done the research etc...but still found out some new information.  If you're planning to BF I do reccommed the BF class.  It can be difficult for some and the more informed you are the better.
  • My physican told us not to waste our time, because the classes in our area are geared towards the most basic aspects of delivery.  If your husband is clueless and won't do any of his own research than it might be a good idea to make him go, but otherwise you can find everything you need to know online.

    I would recommend reading a book on breastfeeding and doing your own research.  Sometimes the nurses are busy or you get one who has no idea.  I was pretty much on my own since there was only one nurse semi-trained on it and that was because she BF herself. 

    I read "So that's what they're for".  It was funny and informative. 



  • I too didn't feel a need to take them. I honestly could do my own research and reading and get the same knowledge. I actually picked up a dvd called Laugh and Learn about Childbirth. It's a video taped class, and is pretty good. I learned a lot with out wasting the $150 on the classes my hospital were offering. 

    You will need to do your research though. It's good to know what the expect and what the doctors are talking about when they are talking amongst themselves.  

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  • I personally wouldn't do something like childbirth without being well informed. If you're comfortable and willing to do that on your own, more power to you, but for many people attending classes is good motivation. 

    I'm attending a Bradley Method class and am very glad that I have.  Yes, the info is largely stuff that I could have gotten elsewhere, but what is useful to me is the element of practice.  Setting aside the time to focus on the baby, practice positions so I am familiar with them before labor, and bonding with Dh.  I also have really enjoyed being around other pregnant people.

    There are a lot of things that your care team, no matter how great they are, will not be able to do for you. Actually, coached pushing is  not the best for mom. 

    If you're totally uninformed going in, you're more likely to be scared and overwhelmed.  I feel calm going into my labor experience because I've learned what to expect from each stage of labor.  I think this is invaluable.

  • We did Lamaze, Infant Care and BF....and we LOVED them.  Especially DH.  Even if you take one thing from each class I think it is worth it.
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  • So far I have taken only one class, CPR/First Aid, and I'm thrilled that I did. I have so much peace of mind knowing that DH and I will both have an idea of what to do if LO is ever choking, injured, or in any other number of bad circumstances.

     As a bonus, we also learned how to do all these things for adults.

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  • We chose not to take the childbirth class, but I took a breastfeeding class. I think the class helped a lot because it gave me a much better idea of what to expect, people asked questions I never would have thought of until in the situation, and the class also gave me contacts in my area for consultants and groups. I'm sure you can be successful at breastfeeding without the class, but if you can go with your partner you will both get a lot out of it.
  • I actually posted the same question a week or so ago.  Based on that feedback (which was mostly "it's useful for DH") we're going to go through the online videos on babycenter.com, get a hospital tour and take a Baby Basics class at the health center.  I'm still debating on BF class - my RN highly recommended this one, so maybe.
  • I think the classes were good.  And I agree with a pp, your husband would probably benefit even if you don't think you will.  We don't always think of how our husbands feel during labor, it's quite overwhelming for them too.  Mine really appreciated the classes, it kind of helped him with what to expect.  But I think you'll benefit too.  
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  • I feel the exact same way as you! The classes here start at $85 and last for several weeks.. I just don't think it's worth it. I have read several pregnancy and baby books so far and plan to watch the videos on baby center this week. I also think talking to friends who have delivered in the same hospital is very helpful. We are doing the free tour of the hospital, but that's it.

    Oh yeah, we watched a video called "Due Dads" for DH. It was kinda silly but he took it very serious! Just gives them an idea of what their role is before and during delivery. He has also been reading the baby book that Publix gives to their baby club members in preparation of when baby is actually at home. 

    Also.... I think most hospitals will have a lactation consultant come visit you or available to you during your hospital stay that will work with you one on one for BF.

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