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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.
First off, if you just want the short & sweet answer, my favorite free birth class is The Free Beginning Prenatal Class. It has 3 lessons that help you be your own birth boss.
But, you may want to know a bit more — so let’s chat.
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.
Pro Tip: While free classes are awesome, I want you to remember that none of the FREE online classes truly prepare you for pregnancy all the way til’ you come home with baby. They give you snippets of helpful info, but it will be easy to lose important pieces of information if you only take free classes.
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.
As I said before, I love this free beginning prenatal class. It has some of the most valuable information about pregnancy, that will help you be your own birth boss:
- 3rd trimester tips about when to call your provider & tests they might order.
- Creating a birth plan in 3 easy steps
- One of the MOST important things about labor, that most people just glide right over.
Access to all of that comes immediately to your inbox.
You can learn more about it right here.
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 with Free Offerings:
Before we move on, I want to give you an idea of the variety of classes that are out there. You may be thinking that they cost hundreds of dollars — but they come at many price points.
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 Liesel 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!
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. However, she does not offer a free class.
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 these 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 pregnant 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 moms 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 are wanting a virutal class — considering it in the middle of your 2nd trimester, it gives you plenty of time to take the class at your leisure.
Pro Tip: SO many people sign up for these free classes, and then do nothing with it. Make SURE that whatever class you sign up for (paid or not) — that you actually DO the class!!!!
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. 🙂
I, personally think this is where free classes shine. You really get a sense of the teacher, their style and how thorough they are on topics. It’s a great way to find out if their paid class is the right one 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).
Free Childbirth Classes FAQ’s
Often they have free facebook groups. I have one here.
These types of classes are taught online. Some are taught LIVE online and some are pre-recorded and you can watch the whenever you want.
Since it’s FREE you can always have them sign up for the same class. You’ll both get the same info and then discuss it on your own time.
As postpartum care is often pushed to the back of the plate, no. That’s why you need a full class — so that you get ALL of the details.
I have a video that shows a snippet of my full video that shows a few right here.
I know some hospitals offer a free sibling class (or one that is pretty inexpensive) that can be super helpful. I took one with my 2nd baby and it was a lot of fun.
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.
Oh yeah, and it starts at just $35.
- About the Author
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.
She is also the curly head behind the website Pulling Curls and is the creator of The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — the #1 hospital-based prenatal class on the internet.