What Is Childbirth Education? | Antenatal Education

Published: May 21, 2024 | Revised: May 27, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Childbirth education class for pregnant women

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Childbirth Education — also called Antenatal Education — is an evidence-based practice that involves helping (expecting) client(s), their families and community to prepare for and manage the physiological, emotional, and psychological changes and phenomena experienced during pregnancy, the labor and delivery process, and the early postpartum period.

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In addition, Childbirth Education involves informing client(s) in detail about the process of birth and possible medical interventions, increasing their knowledge about and access to community and healthcare resources, and improving parenting skills in order to improve the prospect of positive birth outcomes.

A Childbirth Educator is usually a trained and certified professional who also teaches skills that clients can utilize to make informed choices and proper decisions, and gain the confidence and ability to communicate their choices to caregivers (self-advocacy). Mind, however, that Childbirth Educators don’t give medical advice.

Childbirth classes may be inspired by a specific philosophy or focus based on certain birthing methods or techniques, such as the Lamaze Technique, the Bradley Method, HypnoBirthing, and so on.

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Mind that Doulas — such as Full-Spectrum Doulas and Birth Doulas — may also work formally (or non-formally) as Childbirth Educators, but the Doula profession goes beyond the predominantly informative and educational tasks of Childbirth Education, also including emotional, logistical, advocacy, and practical support for their clients.

At any rate, Childbirth Education may be offered through group classes, support groups, or one- to-one sessions (for instance, at home), and can be given both online and in person.

Typically, Childbirth Education consists of a series of classes, perhaps spanning just one weekend or maybe rather several weeks. Each session or class covers a specific topic, such as self-advocacy, prenatal nutrition, the labor process, natural birth, pain relief options (such as massage, relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, and medications), or HypnoBirthing, caesarean birth, breastfeeding, infant care, or the postpartum period, and so on.

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