New moms may be looking for a great option to get prepared for their upcoming labor and birth. The birth of your baby is one of the most exciting and life-changing events of your life. You & your birth partner being prepared is one of the best ways to have a positive birth experience.
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 teaching classes for my hospital, and then creating my own class I would call myself an expert in what parents need to know before birth. And I can’t tell you how HAPPY I am that you’re even considering this — that’s good news! Getting prepared before birth makes for a happier birth. It’s just that simple!
The Best Pregnancy Classes for Couples:
Take THESE Classes Before your Birth:
The Best Birth Class: The Online Prenatal Class for Couples
The Best Breastfeeding Class: Milkology
Before we get started, I wanted to address the elephant in the room:
Should I take In-Person Education Classes or an Online Course?
I think online birthing classes are a great option. I must admit that when in person classes were the only option (because when I started L&D the internet was still fairly new) most people didn’t do them.
Online classes allow you to fit them into a busy schedule, take them at your own pace (and review information if you’d prefer), and actually DO them. Reviewing the info helps you retain the information you want to know — awesome for new moms!
In 2015 when The Online Prenatal Class for Couples started there wasn’t much online childbirth education, but the area has really blossomed into lots of options. They take the excuse away that you couldn’t find one, or fit it into your schedule.
For first time parents, it gives you lots of time to digest the information, and even review what you think is necessary. For second time parents it allows you to do a class without a babysitter!
What to do if I want an in-person birth class?
That being said – if you find that online learning is just not for you I’d encourage you to call your delivery location and ask them what classes they have or recommend. Make SURE to do this early in your SECOND trimester (or even your first trimester) as classes fill VERY quickly and you’ll want to know what your options are.
Of course, maybe you just haven’t had the right teacher. If you’re not sure, try a quick free class to see if maybe online learning would work. I have a free prenatal class so you can see if that type of learning works for you.
Prenatal (before birth) Classes I Recommend:
There are 2 pregnancy classes I would almost call “mandatory”, and two more you may want to consider. Each one hits a different topic (these are all done by people I trust and think provide quality content — I have spoken with each instructor at length):
The Best Online Birth Class:
If you are delivering in a hospital you need great tools to help you feel prepared, communicate with your providers and know what to expect:
The Online Prenatal Class for Couples
Best For: Couples giving birth in the hospital
Instructor: Hilary Erickson, RN-BSN with 20 years of experience as a labor and delivery nurse
The Best Breastfeeding Class
If you are planning to breastfeed (or seriously considering it) I would recommend taking a breastfeeding class. While every organization seems to recommend breastfeeding, deciding to breastfeed is a personal choice — and if you are NOT planning on breastfeeding, you can skip this one.
Best For: Basic lactation education
Instructor: Stacey Stewart, Certified Lactation Educator
Oops, there is one more thing I forgot to mention, but this should not be a paid class:
One Other thing to do before baby….
I used to say to take a hospital tour, but it seems like many hospitals have halted these since Covid (not sure why at this point, but I digress)…. Most hospitals DO have either an online tour, or some way to get information such as:
- How food is handled for the birthing parent and the partner in the hospital
- Where to enter for labor and delivery (this varies SO much hospital-to-hospital)
- Where to park
- General routines
- How much room you’ll have, and if rooms are shared.
So, call the hospital you’re planning to give birth at and see what they have for you, and then do it. 🙂
Ok, now that I’ve given you the basics — let’s talk a bit more about what each class covers and what to expect. But first, I’m guessing you’re wondering.
Ok, but is there a comprehensive childbirth class that covers all of this?
Maybe? I have found a few — most are taught by doulas (so you’d miss out a lot on insider hospital information like inductions and cesareans)….
But, let me tell you the issue that you might find.
After 20 years in the delivery room I am here to tell you that each nurse (or person) really specializes in one thing. That is to say that the nurses who are great with the labor room, likely aren’t amazing with lactation. Sad but true.
Personally, I like to find niche classes that fit my specific desires and needs. Hopefully you can find some well-priced options that will give you what you’re looking for. That’s what I’d recommend. A one size fits all often just glazes over the top, and may not be that in-depth on any specific topic.
If you’re looking to cover all the topics fairly thoroughly, I’d recommend The Online Prenatal Class Plus Milkology (as while I do go over some breastfeeding tips & how to know baby is getting enough milk, it is not a breastfeeding class). Honestly, you’d be prepared for just about $100 bucks, which seems like a great price point for the two classes.
Why Those Two Classes for Expecting Parents?
So, why — with 20 years of experience, do I recommend those two classes for every expecting parent?
I just think they cover the things people are LEAST prepared for? Let me explain what they give you….
A Birth Class To Teach What to Expect In the Hospital
If you are planning to birth in a hospital setting, I recommend taking a class that goes through the birth process in the hospital.
I recommend The Online Prenatal Class for Couples, but I want to dig deeper into why I recommend that one – and also, what you should be looking for as you pick your online childbirth classes.
The Online Prenatal Class for Couples is:
- The Best Price — for real, it’s guaranteed!
- Taught by an experienced delivery nurse with 20 years of experience.
- Engaging and fun – meant to be done with your partner so that you both enjoy it — check out what people say in the reviews.
Ok, but what should an online childbirth class cover? There are really important topics that some classes skip — so be sure you pick a class that covers these:
Cesarean Birth – You should know what to expect, should you need a cesarean section. This type of class should excel in that type of education.
Birth Plan – What should you be thinking about before delivery whether you want to write it down in a “plan” or not – and how do you convey those wishes to your birth team?
Medical Interventions – What might your care providers recommend as you are in your third trimester into the delivery (and why). This should cover some very basic things they might do in an emergency situation, so you feel a little less nervous about the big unknown.
Basic Pregnancy Medical Conditions – Things like preeclampsia, baby’s growth restrictions, and what could happen if you’re a diagnosed diabetic, are useful information for all pregnant families.
Stages of labor – How will labor most likely progress? What is the birth process – what should you be expecting from your providers, and your body during the entire process (this one is awesome for your support person, because they are likely going to wonder what the heck is going on).
When is Active Labor – It should give you an idea of what active labor will look like – and when you should think about going to the hospital.
Pain management & medication – What types of interventions are available in the hospital. What are the pro’s and con’s of each one. So, you can choose the right pain relief for you, when the time comes.
Postpartum Care – Often expectant mothers forget there’s a lot that goes on with your body AFTER baby – so what to expect during your postpartum period as well.
Pro Tip: yes, The Online Prenatal Class for Couples covers ALL of these things in the 3 hour Online Course.
Bonuses The Online Prenatal Class for Couples also includes:
This class is for people who are choosing medications for their birth, or are planning on “natural childbirth” (not a term I am a fan of – but many people use it). As a registered nurse, Hilary has helped thousands of couples with many different types of birth plans get the birth they are hoping for, and she can help you too. In addition to medical management of pain, The Online Prenatal Class for Couples also includes a natural pain management bonus video. This includes ways partners can help, breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, and other household items you can use to help.
Expectant parents might be looking for support groups that help them feel not so alone during this vulnerable time. The Online Prenatal Class for couples has it. You get all the things.
Also, if you purchase the Birth to Bassinet Bundle with The Online Prenatal Class for Couples there’s a bunch of bonus videos, just expanding your knowledge. Right now they include (but we’re adding more all the time):
- Newborn Care & Sleep
- Partner Tips
- Elective Inductions at 39 weeks, and why you might want one
- Communicating with your provider
You might be thinking that childbirth preparation classes that have more hours of instruction are better – but remember you’re looking to get prepared – not spend HOURS in front of your screen learning about birth. Look for an instructor that you think can help you. Good childbirth educators know they just need to get you prepared, and hopefully in the least amount of time. As a registered nurse, I know how busy pregnant people are, and how much is on their mind.
Pro Tip: Many people think to JUST take this type of class on their first baby, but SO many people take it on subsequent deliveries because they want a better birth the next time, and I love that (so do they). No matter what pregnancy it is, it’s a good time to take a class together.
As you can see, prenatal classes like this one are an important first step to having the great birth that you want. It includes best practices that you can follow whether it’s your first baby or your 10th. 🙂 The reviews are phenomenal, and it comes with a money-back guarantee.
Note: This class is meant for someone planning on a hospital birth. If you are planning on natural childbirth at home, I would recommend Mama Natural (mostly because I don’t know much about it and she seems to know a lot, although our viewpoints are pretty different on most things).
Prenatal Breastfeeding Classes
Taking a breastfeeding class can be REALLY helpful during pregnancy.
ALSO, if you take an online one, it will allow you to review it when baby is actually here and you need to use it.
Most breastfeeding classes are taught by a lactation consultant or a lactation educator or counselor (all are great).
Learning about the natural process of breastfeeding (also called lactation) can be a good asset for you, but I don’t recommend a LONG class before you have the baby. Some basic information is a good way to get started (before you’re actually doing it).
I recommend Milkology for this. They have a REALLY good basic class.
However, if you’re looking for more information after you have your baby I really love what The Breastfeeding Mama has, so be sure to bookmark her site for more info on pumping, troubleshooting, and weaning. Katie is one of the great lactation consultants – her classes (and especially troubleshooting) are golden.
Other Optional Pregnancy Classes
I have a couple of classes that might be what you’re looking for in these arenas:
If you’re one of the pregnant moms who is planning on delivering in a birth center, that will likely be less medical you may also want to consider a class taught by a doula.
I think these classes can be extremely helpful – and can include information on:
- Comfort measures you can use to help you relax
- Comfort techniques family members can use to help you
- Labor positions to help you engage baby into your pelvis
- Communicating with your healthcare team
Some pregnant women might have heard of these types of classes under “Bradley method” or “Lamaze classes” – and while we seem to have moved away from those names, or needing a Lamaze certified childbirth educator – many of the same techniques of focus and breathing are used in these classes now.
Keep in mind these classes (a “natural series”) are almost entirely about a vaginal birth, and likely focused on an unmedicated birth (but not always). That is why I find them to be a good supplementation to the type of prenatal class I listed above. Doulas are not a good information source about emergency situations or cesarean sections.
I am a fan of Bloc Birth – I’ve followed her for a long time on Tiktok. She is REALLY good about staying in her lane and giving actionable tips for moms. I’m a huge fan of hers. Follow her on Tiktok too!
Finally, some of you might be interested in a…
Newborn Care Class
Baby care might be really foreign to you (and often, people have taken care of babies but not newborns – and there are some differences).
Having a new baby at your house can be REALLY scary for new parents (often more so for new dads) – so knowing some basics of newborn care can help. While my Online Prenatal Class for Couples does cover some basics of newborn care, I recommend a different class if you want a LOT of information on your newborn baby.
New Parent’s Academy also includes Infant CPR. Learning CPR is a skill I think every person should have, and will prove invaluable should you need it (although I think you’ll want all the CPR’s including adult and child).
You’d likely want to take this prior to the arrival of your baby, but having the online version of COURSE allows you to review it at your leisure!
When Should you Take These Pregnancy Classes?
I normally recommend people start these classes in their third trimester, that gives you plenty of time to get prepared before your due date. The good news is that neither of the classes mentioned takes a lot of time — so, even if you’re later than you wish you were, I bet you can still fit them in!
How to Prepare for Birth in the First Trimester?
I recommend just relaxing into your pregnancy at this point. Often people don’t feel all that great, and information is used so much further down the line…
How to Prepare for Birth in the Second Trimester
It is possible to start these classes, especially a more comprehensive class like The Online Prenatal Class for Couples near the middle of your second trimester. That way you have the basics under your belt. If you are planning on an in person class, now is the time to schedule it (if not in your 1st trimester).
The best part is that it can eliminate delivery anxiety early in your pregnancy, so it’s just not something you ever have to deal with. I love that part of it!
Ways NOT to Prepare For Your Baby
Do not just listen to birth stories online. I find SO many women are so afraid by what they hear in these, it doesn’t actually help. Often they are biased and unhelpful for moms looking to prepare for their birth.
Do not just follow someone you “trust” on social media. It is jut not the same as a class, and you can never be sure you “missed” something that will be important for your journey. It’s true that a lot of the information I teach in the classes is available on one of my websites or social media, but it would take you HOURS of clicking around to try to find all of it, and there’s a pretty good chance you’d miss somethng important — that’s why an organized class is so important, and it makes it SO much easier to do with your partner.
So, with that, it’s time to grab The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. I even have some special discounts on some of the other classes available just for my students as well (meaning you can get a nice chunk of change off one of my preferred breastfeeding classes once you’re in my class).
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
- 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.