Mindfulness-Based Childbirth & Parenting Class

Welcoming a baby is a time of transition and transformation that is likely to be filled with joy and challenge. It is also a time of decision-making for yourself and your baby, in a sea of opinions and advice from friends, family, and experts. Mindfulness-Based Childbirth & Parenting (MBCP) is a comprehensive childbirth preparation and mindfulness class that gives you the opportunity to be more fully engaged with your birth and parenting journey.

Through an experiential approach, you will broaden your ability to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Mindfulness—the awareness that comes from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally—brings benefits to this unique time. These skills will help you manage stress; work with discomfort, pain, and fear; and open up clearer lines of communication. MBCP also builds confidence in inner resources, shifts perceptions, and increases relaxation and calm. All of these benefits carry over into parenting and life in general.

“I think this is an important tool for life. Not just for labor and parenting.”   Expectant Mother

“I would say that I was anxious, and that my anxiety level is lower now that I have a toolkit of ways to deal with that stress or anxiety.”   Expectant Mother

Mindfulness Based Childbirth & Parenting (MBCP) was founded by midwife and mindfulness teacher Nancy Bardacke in 1998 and is an evidence-based adaptation of the well-researched Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) created by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. For more information about the history of MBCP, the current research, and Nancy Bardacke, visit www.mindfulbirthing.org.

During the nine-week MBCP class, you will learn to:

  • Access deep physical and mental relaxation
  • Engage the mind to work with pain during labor
  • Increase confidence and courage for the experience of labor and delivery
  • Practice prenatal yoga for strength and flexibility
  • Develop skills for managing stress in pregnancy, parenting and daily life
  • Enhance partner communication skills
  • Become more aware of your own approach to parenting

The nine-week group class will be offered:

Winter Session 2019: Beginning week of January 21 – end week of March 18. All-Day Saturday, March 2.

Cost for the nine-week class is $400 for expectant mom and support person/partner, and includes guided audio tracks and a copy of Mindful Birthing.

Private Sessions tailored to individuals or couples, whether pregnant or planning to parent via adoption or surrogacy, can be arranged.

Ready to learn more or sign up?

About the Instructor 

Claire Zawa is very excited to bring MBCP to Birthways. She is a Level One certified MBCP Teacher, after training with the founder of MBCP, Nancy Bardacke, CNM. She is also a DONA trained/certified Labor Support Doula and has supported over 50 families through birth and the postpartum year. As Birthways’ Care Manager, Claire supports doulas and clients receiving postpartum and lactation services. Claire believes the birth day is the beginning of the lifelong journey of being a parent.


How is MBCP different from other childbirth preparation classes?
MBCP covers the same topics usually covered in childbirth preparation classes, such as the physiology of labor, comfort measures, positions for birthing, and breastfeeding. The class also introduces meditation practices, including awareness of breathing and yoga. MBCP is appropriate for new or experienced meditators and for first-time or repeat parents.

Class participants spend time working with pain, fear, and the mind-body connection, to support whatever type of birth experience actually unfolds. In-class and at-home practice will empower participants to navigate the “contractions of life” that are inevitable for each of us.

I’m not sure if I’m going to have pain medication or not. Is this class for me?
No one can know how this process will unfold and there is no “right” way to birth a baby. We spend a considerable amount of time learning how to engage the mind to work with pain and fear. MBCP participants report an increased confidence in their capacity to give birth AND to make appropriate decisions in regards to the use of pain medication and other medical interventions.

“I was only fearful of the birthing process [before the class] and now it’s more excited feeling. It’s not as overwhelming as it was before…It’s helped me change my mindset regarding pregnancy, labor, and parenting.” – Expectant Mother

Is it ok to come alone to these classes?
Yes it is!

You are also welcome to include a family member, friend, or doula who will be supporting you during your birth.

If you have a partner/spouse, they are welcome and encouraged to attend.

If your support person or partner cannot attend the full class, they are welcome to join us for the first session in order to get a sense of what we will be learning and what you will be practicing at home.

“We now have a common vocabulary which is helpful.  Expectant Mother

“I feel like the dialogue we have at times is more meaningful, thoughtful, and honest.”  Expectant Partner

What if my partner or I have to miss a class?
Occasionally someone has to miss a class because of travel, illness, or unexpected circumstances. As long as participants continue to practice at home, it isn’t a problem. We can make arrangements to review what was covered in the missed class.

When in my pregnancy should I take the class?
It is recommended that your Expected Due Date falls in the final weeks of class or later, but you are welcome to start the class at any point in your pregnancy. Taking the class at any time in your pregnancy will benefit you and your baby. If you are uncertain whether your Expected Due Date fits into a class, we can discuss options that may be available.

What is the difference between the 9-week class and the weekend workshop?
The workshop is offered for those who are interested in the approach but are not able to commit to the 9-week class due to time constraints, scheduling conflicts, or location.

The 9-week class is offered for those interested in making the time for the weekly classes, creating a community of other expectant parents, and more deeply exploring mindfulness practices.