“We took a 12 week class for our first baby and there was no mention of a lot of the stuff you covered today,” one of the fathers in my class told me after a refresher class, “they didn’t even talk about breathing like you did.”
As a birth educator, I hear things like this all too often and it makes me angry, sad and embarrassed. No wonder attendance many people choose not to take a birth class! As a consumer of birth education, you need to make sure that the birth class you take will provide you with quality information. Here is what you can look for to ensure that you are getting a good class before you spend time or money.
Take a look at their website. What kind of birth philosophy do they have? Do they claim to teach “natural” childbirth or how to avoid unnecessary interventions? Beware - these kind of classes often preach against medication and interventions to an extreme. Even if you want a natural childbirth, what happens if you find yourself in need of an intervention or medication? If your class doesn’t talk about medication and intervention except to warn you of their dangers, you will find yourself helpless and disempowered if the need for intervention arises. For more about that, take a look at this birth story.
Look for reviews, be those on Google, yelp, or even website testimonials. At the very least, birth educators should have number of positive testimonials on their website. Seeing how past clients talk about birth educators can help you decide if their classes sound appealing and informative to you and your preferences.
Read their blog. Active birth educators often keep a blog or write for influential birth websites. Taking a moment to read some of their work can give you a truly fantastic idea of what they believe about birth and how they might teach that information.
Ask your provider for names of birth educators and what they have heard about each. Chances are that they are probably familiar with most of the teachers in the area and had a number of patients take classes from those people. They can point you in the direction of quality teachers and steer you away from the not-so good ones.
Researching a birth educator is essential before you sign up for birth classes. Unfortunately, as with all professions, there are some lemons out there. Your birth educator should be someone whose information you can trust and believe. By doing some research beforehand, you can make sure that this will be the case for your birth classes.