You’re interested in a great birth experience, but the budget is tight. How can you find a free childbirth class that will help expectant parents create a birth plan that works for them. Today I’m going to share where to find free classes, and what you need to consider about them.
Hi, I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 After helping thousands of moms as a nurse (and probably millions online) — I really know what moms are afraid of and why a childbirth class can help calm those fears.
Free Childbirth Classes
Free prenatal classes allow you to get educated at a price you like. Most of all it helps you identify the teaching style you prefer for your education as you look forward to your big day. It’s one of the best ways to shop around for your best fit.
Where to find free classes
There are lots of places to find free classes. The easiest way to find them is online. There are SO many online childbirth classes out there, and many offer free online offerings to prepare you for birth.
**One of the BEST things is that many of these prenatal educators really WANT to get as many moms prepared, and offer great online offerings through Youtube, Tikttok and website content. It is a great way to prepare new parents!
Free Online Classes
An online course can be done on your own timeline, at your own pace and virtual classes can involve your partner too if you want.
Personally, I think it’s hard to call this a “prenatal class” because the free offerings will always be snippets of what you need to know. However, they can still be VERY valuable and helpful for your upcoming birth.
I offer a free birth prep pack that is basically a free childbirth class. In it, you’ll find information on 3rd trimester testing, birth plans (and how to make your choices), how to move during labor to help things progress and tons of postpartum tips you’ll find very valuable. You can sign up for it right here:
I also have a week by week guide that can help you –even if you’re too early to really think about a birth class.
Baby Center has free birth videos (again, they don’t call it a “class’) — I find them to be full of ads and not super helpful or specific. But again, you’ll be making baby steps towards preparation for your birth!
Popular Online Childbirth Courses:
The Online Prenatal Class for Couples has been around since 2014 (and good news is that there have been a LOT of updates since then — yay technology!). It is taught by myself and boils down all my experience and teaching style into a class I think you’ll love! AND, the reviews will tell you what people loved! I am not sure how some classes say they’re #1, but I can tell you that over 4,000 families have taken that class. It’s one of the things I am most proud of.
One of the most “famous” (it’s been around a while) class is the Mama Natural Birth Course with Genevieve Howland. She mostly talks about unmedicated birth, “natural childbirth” and home birth options. She does not offer a free class.
Lamaze International is something that our moms used. Most of you will know it by the labor breathing you have seen online. They do have a free labor with confidence mini class. Again, this would mostly be to find out if their teaching style, and video style would be a good option for you.
Birth it Up by Lisel Teen is a great option. She has an epidural series, and a natural series. I absolutely love her Instagram account (I also know Liesel from our work online and I can verify she’s a great person). She does not have a free class that I can find. She does have some free printables etc here (scroll down).
Another popular one is Kopa Birth — and they do have a really nice looking free class. I believe Kopa is more focused on natural birthing techniques — so that could be a good option to see if that’s the right road for your birth!
Ways to find Free In-Person Classes
I would just start calling around, ask your provider if they know of any local classes. Many hospitals offer free prenatal classes (although the ones I have worked at have always charged for them). Keep in mind that most of those hospital setting free classes will likely promote a lot about the hospital (aka, a class attached to a free tour, etc).
Some birth centers may also offer free classes (probably best if you plan to deliver at a birth center which differs from hospitals in a few ways).
You could also see if any doulas offer in person free childbirth classes — most likely as a way to get business. BUT, you could still learn a lot, even if you don’t plan to use them.
The thing is that in person classes are harder to offer for free because it takes an actual person and their actual time rather than an online platform.
It also requires your schedule to be free at that time too.
What Will Be In a Free Childbirth Course
New Moms have so many fears and worries. Free childbirth classes may touch on many of thes topics:
Your birth plan — what one is, and how you make the choices to feel confident during your birth. MOST IMPORTANTLY they should talk about how to navigate things when things aren’t going “according to plan”. My own free class has a whole section on this. 🙂
The Stages of Labor — What will your body do as your progress in labor? This can be really helpful and leave you less in the “dark” as far as the birth process.
Cesarean Birth — About 33% of women end up having a cesarean section, and the majority of those (especially in first time parents) aren’t planned.
Comfort measures — What can your partner do to help you feel more comfortable as labor begins. This is a great one to get ideas in a free course (as there are lots of comfort techniques) And then beyond that — what pain medication is there, and what ways can you manage the pain of labor? Labor pain management is one of the most popular chapters in my own course.
Vaginal Birth — What exactly happens? What will it look like for you and the baby?
Newborn Care — Many prenatal classes offer glimpses into your new baby, the very basics. Some include an infant CPR class (but if you really want to go in depth with that I’d take a red cross class). They might also include safe sleep, diapering, swaddling and more.
Medical interventions — What should a pregnant woman expect if you or the baby isn’t doing well. Most moms have this happen once or twice while they are in labor. Knowing that hospital staff will come in and what they will do (because it’s very routine for those nurses) helps you be less nervous.
Other Class Perks:
Printables, a private facebook group, live sessions and more. I love how much online classes are able to offer you!
When should you take a childbirth class?
I talk all about when to take a childbirth class in that post, but most expectant mothers start thinking about classes around 20 weeks. If you’re wanting an in-person class you’ll want to think about it earlier as scheduling can be problematic. But, if you start considering it in the middle of your 2nd trimester, it gives you plenty of time.
If you’re taking them online, I’d take it close to when you head into the 3rd trimester.
Who teaches childbirth classes?
There are lots of people who can teach childbirth preparation. Most often they are taught by childbirth educators (just because there are more of those that are free to teach classes).
Some (like mine) are taught by a registered nurse — make sure that they have labor and delivery nurse experience (like a good amount, not just a year or two — we most often say that someone isn’t truly proficient til’ about 8 years in). There are lots of registered nurses who don’t have labor experience (beyond their own and what we get in school) who teach about L&D. Delivery nurse prenatal classes have always been my favorite because they REALLY know what happens.
Your mom might have used Lamaze classes taught by a Lamaze certified childbirth educator. I don’t see patients using those classes much anymore. But they are around.
Other classes are taught by doulas (hard to say how much experience as a “doula” doesn’t have to be certified or have any specific amount of training), midwives, and some are taught by obstetricians.
What should you look for in a childbirth educator:
- Experience — many years in the labor room.
- A style you like — someone who is personable in a way that you like
- Your needs. For instance, if you plan on a home birth my class isn’t for you. Or, if you want to take the class entirely on your own timeline, my class IS for you. 🙂
Why free childbirth classes don’t work
Finally the bad news is that free childbirth classes only have small snippets on the information that you need. But you truly need a comprehensive course that covers all those things I mentioned in depth for your best outcome.
In a full course they will guide you through all those topics in ways that make it a way to get things to stick into your brain and so that it makes sense (rather than small snippets you’re plugging in where you think they fit).
Some classes also include support groups, so you can make connections with other moms. And some are created to include your birth partner as well.
If you’re looking to understand birth from start to finish, especially if you’re interested in an online birthing class — please check out The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. It’s comprehensive, faster, and it is designed to make you a TEAM in the labor room. I can’t wait to see you inside to get your confident birth in just a few hours.