Online Childbirth Classes: Are They for You?by Katlyn Joy | September 20, 2010 12:00 AM
Childbirth classes come in all kinds of configurations. Hospital-sponsored and centered. Bradley Method. Lamaze. And now thanks to the internet the option of taking a childbirth class at home and online is a reality.
While a variety of online childbirth classes are available, certain elements are applicable to most. First, they have an expert behind the lessons. Most courses are authored by a reputable childbirth expert, and most offer individual online support through email for a set amount of time.
Most online courses don't focus on one specific method of childbirth such as Lamaze, but rather draw from the wealth of wisdom of combined methods or a more eclectic approach.
Reasons to Consider Online Childbirth Classes
1. Schedule. If you or your partner is over-scheduled as it is, jamming a class into the works is unlikely to be successful. This may be especially true for parents who already have kids at home and will need a sitter to attend onsite classes. Or if mom-to-be is on bed rest, attending a class outside the home is not advisable.
2. Cost. Some courses are just too pricey for families preparing for a new addition. Online courses range in price but some can be found for as little as .
3. Ability to go over material at your own pace. If you are an experienced mother, you may just need a refresher on some topics or perhaps you are running into new complications with this pregnancy that will result in a new birth experience than last time and need to learn more.
If you want to take more time to work on your breathing or relaxation skills, you can review whenever you'd like. Or perhaps your partner needs more time to cover certain aspects of the birth in preparation for coaching. By using an online source, you can each study what you need at your convenience.
4. Most online programs have printed materials to keep and you may use those resources as you'd like. Some have printable options like a pregnancy or birth journal and a birth plan worksheet.
5. Most programs have some type of refund policy so check ahead of time. You might get a full or partial refund depending on the timing. If after the first lesson or so you find the program is unsuitable, you'll want to know your options.
6. If the only available childbirth class in your area is hospital based, be aware that the course will often be focused on how that hospital delivers babies and not necessarily on the best choices for you and your baby.
7. You can find out the expertise and experience of the author of the course and the support people beforehand, unlike a typical childbirth course offered through a hospital for instance.
8. You can avoid feeling alienated if your particular family situation is stressful, strained or somehow atypical. For example, if your partner and you are going through separation or perhaps are no longer together or if you must attend most classes alone and will feel uncomfortable in a class situation, then online courses may be better for you.
9. If you live far from class settings, and travel isn't optimal for you now, definitely consider online options instead.
10. If you find social settings like classes uncomfortable for any reason, online is probably a better choice for you. If you are going to be distracted because you are ill at ease, you won't retain much information in a class setting anyway.
Reasons to Attend Onsite Childbirth Class
1. You are a very social learner and do better in group situations.
2. You live close to where classes are offered.
3. You want to focus on one type of childbirth preparation.
4. You are not a self-directed learner and are apt to let the classes online go untouched.
5. You and your partner have never been through the birthing process before and are nervous.
6. You have a flexible and accommodating schedule for classes.
7. You don't have a good internet connection or a reliable computer.
8. Your internet and computer skills are marginal at best and you don't enjoy being online.
9. You are unfamiliar with the hospital you will be delivering at and looking forward to learning exactly how they do things normally.
10. You are an overachiever and will probably end up doing both online and onsite classes to make sure you are as prepared as humanly possible!Katlyn Joy is a freelance writer, and just graduated with a Master's of Arts in Creative Writing. She is mom to seven children, and lives in Denver, Colorado.
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