Ok, you’re looking for a birth class, and you’d love it to be free (because baby gear is expensive). Where are some places to get free information to get prepared for birth? My favorites are Pulling Curls®, Kopa Birth, and Mama Labor Nurse, but you need to understand what you’re getting (and what you’re not getting when you pick something free).
After helping thousands of moms as a nurse (and probably millions online) — I really know how a prenatal class can help you, and I have seen a TON of great free offers that can help you get started.
Best Free Childbirth Class:
First off, if you just want the short & sweet answer, my favorite free birth class is The Free Beginning Prenatal Class. It has a free chapter of the best birth class online — sent to you 100% free!
I also have a free birth plan series people love:
But, you may want to know a bit more, including a great work-around…. so let’s chat.
Birth Classes FREE WITH INSURANCE
Before we get into this, I want to share an exciting fact: Lots of health insurances are covering prenatal classes anymore (because studies have shown they will decrease their overall cost). I have a whole post on if insurance will cover your prenatal class. But, the basic steps are:
- Check with HR are your insurance about if it is a covered benefit.
- Find out any stipulations (like it needing to be taught by a licensed professional)
- Find out how to submit for reimburse me
- Buy the class, and then submit it. 🙂
And in those cases your class can be free! Minus, of course, the time it takes to do all of that (opportunity cost says the daughter of an economist)
The Online Prenatal Class for Couples comes with a receipt that easily allows you to submit it for reimbursement, and if your provider needs more info like an address or an EIN that is super easily provided as well!
But, let’s talk about some of the other options….
Truth About Free Childbirth Classes
These sound great, right? Studies show that taking a full prenatal class can improve birth outcomes — they can lower C-section and induction rates, and help you have a more positive birth experiences.
Getting that for free sounds amazing, but a high quality prenatal class costs a good amount of time and money to produce, so most often free prenatal classes:
- Prepare you in ONE specific area really well (but doesn’t go over the rest)
- Skim the surface of birth and give you a lot of positive platitudes about how great you’ll do (with a lot of ads).
I much prefer #1 because at least there you get some actual good learning
In reality, free birth classes, for the most part, are created to help you find a teacher that you like. 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.
- It will help you be clear on what type of instructor you want for your own birth class
- Information is in video, text, couples questions and quizzes to make sure you get the right info!
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!
There are also some free “classes” on Youtube but honestly…. guys. They’re not good. They’re boring, and sometimes outdated. Often they come from a particular facility and may not mean as much as you apply them to your birth. And most of the creators who would make a great class on Youtube have a paid class, because creating a class takes time and money, and they deserve to be compensated for that.
Pro Tip: While a free class may hold your interest — your partner may have a REALLY hard time with a very boring class that doesn’t speak or engage them at all. I believe partners need a “desk” in prenatal classes too — so make sure you do one they’ll get prepared with too!
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.
The Online Prenatal Class for Couples is one of the longest-running hospital-based birth classes online (but, don’t worry it’s constantly being updated). It is quick, it’s fun and easy to do. It was created for couples, to get you both prepared and on the same page about what you’ll be facing. The reviews tell how much couples love it! You can get a free lesson from it in this free class that will help you in your 3rd trimester.
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. Lamaze has many paid classes available if this is a good fit.
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 have free offerings now and then. She does have some free printables etc here (check her menu if you don’t see it).
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.
Birth classes are called a variety of things. Antenatal classes, prenatal classes, childbirth classes and some people just say “Lamaze” (like how we call Tissue Kleenex). They’re all mostly referring to the same thing. However, check out what’s included in each class and if it is going to fit your needs (as the “name” doesn’t always mean what it has).
Free Birthing Classes Near Me
There are a few ways to find some free birth classes:
- Ask your provider if they know of any local classes.
- Some 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.
Many of these free classes will have a hard sell towards another class (kind of like a free stay at a condominium and you have to attend their sales pitch). Something to be aware of.
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.
I actually offer a free pregnancy series that you can cancel at any time, and goes over some of the more important things (and helps you feel less alone as we “chat” each week).
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”.
The Stages of Labor — What will your body do as your progress in labor, how will contractions go? 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!
A good one should offer some childbirth class videos, as that’s what most people are wanting (not just printables, etc).
What a free childbirth class should NOT be:
There are a lot of “free classes” offered by people that aren’t really a childbirth class:
Birth Stories: A lot of compilations of many women’s experience. That can be tough to really related to your own situation. Just be aware they’re birth stories, not childbirth education.
Promotional Content: Some people offer a free class in reality to promote their baby care or gear products or things to use postpartum. They will mainly give a few tips for a healthy start, but then promote something that is not childbirth education, and may not be taught by someone with any true experience to teach you about giving birth.
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 virtual 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.
I am seeing a few free courses taught by lactation consultants in order to grow their breastfeeding clientele. While I thin these people have a lot of knowledge to give, birth isn’t usually an area that they excel at (much like I don’t excel at breastfeeding, and had someone else teach the breastfeeding class in my course).
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 Online Birth Class 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 (although in some classes they still don’t cover postpartum).
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.
I recommend people take classes that prepare them for the rest of their pregnancy, birth and postpartum life. In addition I like to add a breastfeeding class. The Bump to Bassinet Upgrade includes all of that, plus nutrition, sleep, newborn care, communication and tips for partners!
They decrease your chance of a c-section, and an induction of labor. Check out the reviews if you want to know if they really help people have a better birth!
Lamaze is a term that really started birth classes back when our moms had babies. They teach a specific birth and breathing method. However, most people find a more well-rounded class to be more to their liking.
I have looked around for these. The good news is that it is a bit easier to follow some great social media accounts on babies and get some good ideas for babies. While a full class is preferred, I think getting tips on social is doable for babies (as every baby is different, and seeing baby care is very different than doing baby care).
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.
- 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.
As an evidence-based prenatal educator Hilary has delivered thousands of babies and has educated hundreds of thousands of parents from a diverse patient population to help them have a confident birth.