Prenatal Lamaze® Childbirth Education Class

Be prepared for your birth experience with evidence based knowledge, skills and confidence.

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Regardless of birth choices- whether you are planning a hospital or home birth, this is the course for you. This fun interactive group class will prepare you and your partner for a safe and healthy birth experience. This is the most comprehensive prenatal class in the Region, giving you all the information and skills you need to make informed and empowered choices and help ease you into parenthood. Classes are small to ensure everyone gets an opportunity to ask questions, address concerns, practice new skills, and connect with other couples in the class. Shelley uses a variety of instructional methods including a high quality visual presentation, videos, visual aids, discussion, lecture, and hands on practice. You will also receive a colour, bound handbook with material referenced throughout the course to use as a tool in labour and early parenthood. A broad range of topics are covered in this course, and not just what to expect. Both you and your partner will learn hands on, practical skills. Partner will learn how to best support mom and mom will learn skills to help her achieve the best possible birth experience. What better way to enter parenthood? With confidence! Topics covered:

  • Late Pregnancy Discomforts (causes and solutions)
  • Nutrition and Exercise for the third trimester
  • Communication Skills: between expectant parents and health care team
  • Birth Plan writing
  • Informed Decision Making
  • Stages of Labour- What it is really like. (emotional and physical aspects), Timing Contractions, Signs of Labour
  • Non-pharmacological pain relief and coping strategies including comfort measures and relaxation skills
  • Medication options for pain relief including effects and when each medication can be administered
  • Medical Interventions and their implications
  • Cesarean Birth- Understanding why it may happen and what the surgery entails
  • Postpartum Period- What to expect (emotional and physical aspects)
  • Breastfeeding

Register early because classes tend to fill quickly. Ideally, you should take a class between your 30th and 37th week of pregnancy.

Registration Fee: $175.00 per couple, 12 hours of in-class instruction

This course is also available as Private/In-Home Instruction for those who are more comfortable in their own space.

Why do I need to take childbirth preparation classes?

In a nutshell, to be prepared, informed and confident about your birth options, and develop the skills you need to enter parenthood.

  • In our fast paced times and increasingly complicated maternity medical care, taking classes offers you and your partner the opportunity to have some dedicated time together to work through any questions, and fears to develop a plan for the type of birth experience you want together without the pressures of daily life. The idea isn’t to teach women how to give birth, but rather how to increase their confidence and the confidence of their partners to offer support. Studies show that many couples report that attending childbirth preparation classes together strengthen their relationship. By having that knowledge and skill, you will reduce any fears and birth your baby with confidence.
  • There are many sources of information available to expectant parents. Sometimes the information is accurate, and sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is hard to know what to believe. As a Lamaze® Certified Childbirth Educator, Shelley filters this information through extensive training and ongoing reading and evaluation of research to bring you the most current, evidence based information.  To help you understand the essential information, and the information that relates to you, the class is delivered through a mixture of lecture, visual images, demonstrations, discussion, and most importantly opportunity for hands on practice to enhance your understanding. For example, when you read about a hospital practice, it may not even apply to hospitals here in the GTA, but rather somewhere in the US or another part of the world.
  • Social interaction and peer support is another benefit to group Lamaze® prenatal classes. It is a great opportunity to meet other expectant parents and share thoughts and experiences.

Remember this is your baby, your birth, and your choice. Whatever your needs for learning or labour support are, regardless of your choices for medication use, classes will help you achieve the best birth experience possible. Childbirth preparation is for EVERYONE!

What qualifications does the instructor have to teach childbirth education classes?

Shelley is a Lamaze® Certified Childbirth Educator.  Lamaze® has been around for over 50 years, and is much more than just breathing, it’s about delivering accurate up to date information based on the most current research available. All educators certified with Lamaze® International have met the Lamaze® standards for knowledge and skills to help women birth with confidence. They are specially trained to help women and their families navigate the maze of modern obstetric options to help them make truly informed decision about their care.

As a skilled Lamaze® Certified Childbirth Educator, Shelley is continually staying current on the newest and best practice information, to ensure her clients get the best and most current information available to make decisions that are best for them and their babies.  As well, Shelley is constantly taking continuing education classes to not only stay current, but ahead!

This class is not about simply learning what to expect in the hospital.  Many classes are taught by nurses, and instruction is focused on hospital procedures as opposed to planning for an empowering birth experience.

Does the class offer a curriculum that supports the idea that birth is normal, and offers content to empower women?

Absolutely!  This class isn’t about learning how to give birth, but rather increase confidence in your body’s ability to give birth through knowledge and skill development.

Shelley’s curriculum includes the following:

  • The process of labour and birth in terms of both emotional and physical aspects
  • Comfort measures and labour positions (along with hands on practice)
  • Breathing and deep relaxation techniques
  • Communication skills including writing a birth plan, and using informed decision making for your birth and parenting
  • Medical interventions and why they happen and how to avoid them
  • Pharmacological pain relief options along with the risks and benefits of each, and how to plan to use or avoid them.
  • Early postpartum period (physical and emotional) including mental health considerations- baby blues and mood disorders
  • Community resources
  • The parenting classes focus on early parenting: baby care, feeding, breastfeeding, normal newborn behaviour, tests, procedures, vaccinations, safe infant sleep, and early parenting skills.
How long is the childbirth preparation class being offered?

Lamaze® International recommends that group classes be a minimum of 12 hours to ensure couples get enough time to learn all the critical information and have time to practice the skills taught (positions for labour, breathing, relaxation, comfort measures), and of course open class discussion. The 2 day weekend classes all have 12 hours of instruction (two six hour days). When looking at a six or eight hour class, truly consider what you will get out of it. Are they offering a full curriculum of all the skills required? It is of equal importance that you look for a class with a small number of participants.

How big are the classes?

Some classes have no limit to the number of people in the class. Shelley’s classes are usually no larger than six couples but usually no more than 12 couples to ensure plenty of individualized instruction and open class discussion.

Why are some classes longer and more expensive than others?

Not all classes are created equal! Some important things to look at are why the classes are only a fraction of the length and ask yourself, what am I going to get out a class with such a condensed content? Some classes in the area offer six or eight hour classes, but do not include relaxation and comfort measures or offer time for class discussion, and focus most of the content towards the process of labour and specific hospital practices. In Shelley’s Lamaze® classes parents are provided a comb bound colour handbook to use as reference throughout the course and during birth and postpartum period.

It is important to look at what the class offers. Does the class include the following? Shelley’s birth preparation classes include the following topics:

  • Anatomy and physiological and emotional process of labour, birth and postpartum period
  • Positioning to facilitate normal progress in labour and birth
  • Comforting touch (massage) techniques to ease pain of labour and enhance relaxation
  • Comfort measures: hydrotherapy, heat/cold, pressure
  • Relaxation skills to use during labour, postpartum to decrease stress
  • Labour support advice for the partner and other support people such as grandparents or doula
  • Communication skills between the pregnant woman and her partner with the healthcare providers
  • Writing a Birth Plan
  • What to expect at the hospital, and local hospital practices if a hospital birth is planned
  • Problems that could occur during labour and birth: how to make informed decisions, how to avoid (ie: caesarean surgery and inductions)
  • Breastfeeding basics
  • Early postpartum period (emotional and physical aspects)
What does research say about the benefits of taking Childbirth Education classes?

Childbirth is one experience in life that women never forgot. How women remember their experience is of critical importance. Studies have shown that a woman’s satisfaction with her birth experience is directly related to her being informed and involved and feeling supported in the birth process. When women are informed, through childbirth education classes, they are more likely to have positive birth memories.

Studies also show that participation in childbirth education classes:

  • Increases confidence for labour and birth
  • Decreases anxiety
  • Improves relationship and communication skills between couples
  • 91% recommend classes to a friend
Are Lamaze Classes different than Prenatal Classes?

Yes, they are different! Not all prenatal classes are created equal. Lamaze® prenatal childbirth education classes offer expectant parents information that is based on the best, most recent scientific evidence available. When some people hear Lamaze® classes, they think “oh it’s all about the breathing!” While breathing is used in Lamaze® classes as method to assist labouring women relax, by no means is the course based solely on breathing. Breathing techniques are just one of the many coping strategies taught throughout the course. Some “prenatal” classes focus mainly on the process of birth, and little or no time is dedicated to these coping strategies. Shelley’s Lamaze® prenatal classes, you will learn all about the process of birth as a natural process rather than a medical one. As well, you are also guaranteed to learn:

  • Coping strategies such as movement, positioning for labour and birth,
  • Labour support skills for partners, massage, relaxation, and many more comfort measures,
  • Medical pain relief options: the benefits, risks and alternatives for each.
  • Newborn care, soothing, and breastfeeding.

Indeed Lamaze® classes are different than other “prenatal” classes. They offer all the information from a prenatal class, as well as much much more! They offer women and their partners the opportunity to practice hands on to build their confidence!

My partner has an unpredictable work schedule. Should we attend the classes?

Absolutely! Partners are encouraged to attend, however women are welcome to come on their own, or bring another support person, be it friend, mother, sister. Partners can attend whichever classes they are free for, and you are welcome to bring a stand in or come on your own for those that they cannot.

When should I attend Childbirth Education Classes?

In general the best time to plan for a class is anytime around 30-36 weeks, to offer you the time to practice and absorb all the material. However, classes can be taken at anytime!  Classes tend to fill quickly so register early to ensure you get a space. It is never too late to register either if there is still space. If the class dates run close to your due date, that is ok. It is better to receive some or most of the information than none. If the only classes you see fit your schedule before 30 weeks gestation; that is ok too!

Compare Shelley’s Lamaze® Certified Childbirth Education classes
with a typical hospital based class

Prenatal Class Topics

Shelley’s Classes

Typical hospital class

Stages of labour
What to expect physically in labour
What are the emotional aspects of labour to expect
Coping skills for labour
Comfort measures for labour
Positons for birth
Deep relaxation techniques for labour and birth
Breathing techniques for labour and birth
Acupressure for labour and birth
Writing a birth plan
Communicating with care providers to help you ask questions and understanding your options
Hands on practice of all coping techniques
Medication pain relief options for birth
Risks and benefits of medication options
Medical interventions in birth
Risks and benefits of medical interventions
Posterior baby and back labour explained and coping
Caesarean birth and options
What to expect in the postpartum period
Preparing for postpartum
Baby care (soothing, diapering, bathing,breastfeeding, normal newborn behaviour, and sleep)
Mood disorders and postpartum depression
Community resources for new parents

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