Celebrate Birth! Group Classes in childbirth preparation
Instructor: Mary Sommers CPM, MPH
Celebrate Birth! offers a way to prepare for birth that brings together new and traditional wisdom, your own life experiences, and your inner strength and abilities. You will learn practical gems of wisdom that will see you through the days of your pregnancy and early parenting. And, you will discover the patterns and rhythms of childbirth that will nurture confidence and your ability to think, speak, and act purposefully during this important time.
Everyone has experienced doubt, insecurity, and uncertainty during pregnancy, labor, birth and breastfeeding—that’s normal. In this class, we will help you recognize normal patterns in pregnancy and labor and the common pitfalls that can steer you off course. Celebrate Birth will help you tap into your inner strengths and wisdom so you can make decisions in a conscious, grounded way for you and your baby.
Birth partners are highly encouraged to participate in this class. You will learn the patterns and rhythms of birth, which will help you follow cues from the laboring mother and support her during labor.
What to expect in the Celebrate Birth! class
Class size is intentionally small—about 10 families—so that there is plenty of time for questions and community building with parents-to-be.
Both our eight-week and weekend intensive series cover:
- Understanding Prenatal Care
- Stages of Labor
- Recognizing Labor Patterns
- Pushing: The Second Stage
- Comfort Measures for the Stages of Labor
- Understanding ‘Normal’ and Complications
- Working with Your Doctor or Midwife: Advocacy Issues and Birth Plans
- Breastfeeding and Newborn Care*
*Our weekend intensive class covers newborn care and breastfeeding in less detail than in the eight-week class, and fewer videos are screened. We recommend participating in our Breastfeeding 101 class, which offers more in-depth instruction on breastfeeding or signing up for the Celebrate Birth! Healthy Beginnings Afternoon Session (details below).
Our 8 week series is $300 per couple (mom and birthing partner).
Our weekend intensive is $250 per couple (mom and birthing partner).
NEW: Celebrate Birth! Healthy Beginnings workshop
Experience optimal nutrition during pregnancy and beyond. And more importantly celebrate YOU!
Morning Session: Celebrate Pregnancy! You will learn about:
o Stages of pregnancy and how to create a healthy womb environment for your baby
• Understand discomforts of pregnancy and strategies to decrease discomfort
• Understand pregnancy medical screenings
o Eating for two and healthy weight gain
o Cravings—what they really mean and why some women have them
o Avoiding certain foods and additives, and how it can protect your baby
o Healthy substitutions and foods high in nutrients
We will create an individual health plan for you that includes self care and emotional support during this important life stage.
Afternoon Session: Celebrate Mothering! You will learn how to start your journey into Motherhood. Make a smooth transition from
pregnancy to motherhood. It takes nine months to grow a baby, but only a day to become a parent—are you ready?
In this session you will learn about:
o Newborn care
o Self care for new moms and why it is so important
We will also have fun celebrating YOU!
This workshop is appropriate for expectant women, partners, and those planning to become pregnant.
Healthy Beginnings Full day workshop: $150
Healthy Beginnings Morning only (10am – 2pm): $100
Healthy Beginnings Afternoon only (3pm – 5pm) $80
Common Questions/FAQs for Celebrate Birth! Group Classes
How are these classes different than those offered by my hospital?
There can be wonderful perinatal educators who are teaching in a hospital setting and they can be the first to admit some of the limitations. The formats for most hospital classes are much shorter and cover far less information.
In a nutshell, a private educator should be familiar with the range of safe and evidence-based practices exercised by the health care providers and in the multiple birth facilities in your area. This broader view can help you get more information—which can help you make informed choices appropriate for you. The class content assumes that you’re wanting to be an informed parent and will organize to supplement what you have likely read or learned on your own. The class is designed to not only share information but to expand awareness, cultivate confidence, and take you through a journey of preparation with other families.
We do recommend taking a tour of your chosen birth facility to become familiar with the physical space and its particular policies and procedures.
Will we learn breathing techniques? Other techniques for comfort? Hypnobirthing?
Our classes are taught by experienced midwives and doulas who have studied and implemented a wide range of effective comfort strategies for women in labor. Instead of focusing on one tool, such as visualization, educators will help you identify your own toolkit based on methods that may be new to you and on your unique life experiences. Your toolkit may include:
- Comfort measures based on the physiological changes of labor, such as massage and deep hip squeeze techniques for when your baby is engaged in the pelvis
- Working with positioning and movement
- Responding to your laboring partner more authentically instead of as a scripted “coach
I’m not sure if I’m going to have pain medication during labor. Is this the right class for me?
Many of your classmates will be thinking about this, too. Being open and curious about your birth experience is encouraged! Celebrate Birth! is designed to connect participants with the age-old wisdom that birth is normal, an experience to celebrate. What you choose is always the right decision for you. In this class you will be introduced to teachings that we hope will increase your confidence in giving birth in the way you want.
It’s just me. Is it OK to come alone to these classes? OR to have my mother/sister/friend attend with me?
Yes! If you’re a single mom or your partner is unable to attend classes, please know that you are welcome and that you will benefit from being part of our small, customized classes. Talk with us about doula care to ensure you get the support in labor that you’ll need. If a family member or friend will be supporting you in your birth experience, they are welcome to be your class partner.
Do you accept same-sex families?
Yes. Birthways is founded by a same-sex mom. We honor and respect diversity in our Celebrate Birth! classes. As much as possible, we include teaching materials that reflect birth diversity.
My mother/sister/friend is also interested in attending the class with me. Is this ok?
Let our registration coordinator know so that we are sure to make room in the class.
What if we need to miss a class?
This is a common concern. Just talk with your instructor as soon as possible if you will miss a class. We may be able to offer private education time so you can catch up.
I have a lot of reactions when I think about childbirth and worry about others seeing this in a group class.
Talk about it with us. If you choose to attend the group class and feel overwhelmed for any reason, check in with the instructor so that we can try to address your needs. We also offer private education sessions, including mindfulness-based childbirth instruction, and we can go as slowly and as carefully as you wish.