Comparing Vancouver Prenatal Classes

Photo By Ryan M Mclaughlin

Vancouver Prenatal Classes: Which One is Right For You?

Updated February 5 /13

As a birth doula, it has been important to me to explore options for prenatal classes available to my clients here in Vancouver. I’ve personally observed various styles of Vancouver prenatal classes and always ask for feedback from my doula clients on their experiences.

There is a large range of companies and instructors offering prenatal classes in Vancouver and most fall into one of three models of prenatal classes (Hypnobabies, Lamaze or Birthing From Within). There are also independently developed courses.

Birth at Home Prenatal Classes in Vancouver

Birth at Home prenatal classes were created out of a need for quality education focused on families preparing for home birth.  While the prenatal class options for pregnant women and their partners are plentiful, classes focused specifically on home birth preparation seemed scarce, if not non-existent, prior to the development of Birth at Home prenatal classes.

Two actively practicing birth doulas have drawn on their vast experience of working with birthing families to build an extensive and practical home birth prenatal course curriculum. Attending over a hundred births each in a wide variety of contexts combined with their education in childbirth has given them a strong, realistic understanding of what you really need to know as you make plans to give birth at home. Course includes info on the stages of birth, comfort measures, how to prepare your home, birth pool use, and pertinent information in case of hospital transfers from planned home births.

Find a Birth at Home prenatal class

Hypnobabies Prenatal Classes In Vancouver

Hypnobabies provides you with a very specific way of preparing for birth. Throughout the 6 week series, you will be taught how to use childbirth hypnosis tools.  Each week builds upon the tools you learned the week before, and between class you will need to complete “homeplay” to practice what you’ve learned. Hypnobabies is quite well-known for successfully helping women have “easier and more comfortable births’. There is a certain amount of commitment involved if you plan to fully apply the hypnosis tools during birth, and for maximum benefit you will need to be open to the principles of hypnosis in general.

The Hypnobabies series also provides you with thorough information on prenatal nutrition, interventions in birth and how to communicate with care providers to get the treatment and birth that you want. Even without the childbirth hypnosis component, Hypnobabies prenatal classes would be an amazing class in terms of the quality of the course’s content.

I tend to work with a lot of Hypnobabies clients, have observed a full series of the class and have gotten to know several of the local Hypnobabies instructors quite well.

More info at Hypnobabies BC:

Click here to find a Hypnobabies prenatal class in Vancouver. There is also self-study Hypnobabies course.

Lamaze Childbirth Education Classes In Vancouver

Lamaze is one of the oldest prenatal class styles. If you sign up for prenatal class in a hospital, it will likely be a Lamaze style class.

I observed a series of Lamaze classes as part of my doula education with DONA International.

The Lamaze approach to childbirth education is very information-based.  The topics your Lamaze class would cover include:

  • The 6 Care Practices That Support Normal Birth
  • Detailed information on the 3 stages of labour
  • An overview of medical interventions and options for pain medication
  • Some pain-coping techniques for managing contractions
  • A section on breastfeeding and the early postpartum period

Most Lamaze classes here in Vancouver are offered as a 6 week evening series, or as “Prenatal In a Day.”

Click here to find a Lamaze prenatal class in Vancouver.

Birthing From Within Prenatal Classes In Vancouver

Birthing From Within is a style of prenatal class introduced by Pam England.  Her philosophy of how to prepare for birth is available in book form from many bookstores.

The series I observed was a weekend immersion class, although it is also available as 6 part evening series. It was a completely different experience from the Lamaze classes. Birthing From Within is a more holistic / artistic style of class. Pam England talks about wanting to provide women with what she thinks they actually need to know to have a good birth experience as opposed to spending a lot of time on the physiology and technical aspects of birth.

The main Birthing From Within company in Vancouver is Dancing Star Birth. Their prenatal classes are a blend of practical information and personal preparation for birth and postpartum. They also offer Mothers Unfolding groups for moms and pre-crawling babies that allow moms to explore, without judgment, the exciting and challenging changes that come with new motherhood: these groups often bond closely and meet for years after the groups are over. Mama Renew circles offer similar support for more experienced moms reconnecting with themselves – holding space for radical, nurturing self-care. Visit the Dancing Star Birth website for more details.

Click here for a list of Birthing From Within mentors in Vancouver.

If you are having trouble deciding which prenatal class is right for you, feel free to contact me for some guidance! Or, check out my doula services page to get started working with me before booking your prenatal class.

Childbearing Society Prenatal Classes In Vancouver

The group is a registered non-profit society that runs as a collective, and it is entirely autonomous–not linked to any international groups or trademarked brands, nor to any particular clinics or hospitals. As such, the Childbearing Society is able to offer a unique blend of many different traditions in prenatal education, featuring the best of Lamaze, Bradley, and many other techniques. The philosophy is one of empowerment and support. A solid base of information, combined with practicing hands-on coping techniques, and an exploration of beliefs, fears and options, come together to help expectant parents feel informed, ready, and confident for both birth and parenthood.  The prenatal classes also cover topics such as breastfeeding, baby care, baby gear, diapering choices, and car-seat safety, as well as labour and birth. The classes are offered in either a weekly evening series or a condensed weekend workshop. There are discounts for single mothers, and for low-income families

*Note: I have not personally observed a series of these classes, but have heard good feedback from clients and other birth professionals.

Click here to learn more about Childbearing Society prenatal classes

If you are having trouble deciding which prenatal class is right for you, feel free to contact me for some guidance! Or, check out my doula services page to get started working with me before booking your prenatal class.

Click here to Return from Comparing Vancouver Prenatal Classes to our home page.

Pin It
Like this post? Subscribe to get more:

Don't miss out on other original childbirth articles like this one! Join other mothers and birth professionals on my mailing list!

  8 comments for “Comparing Vancouver Prenatal Classes

  1. Elodie Joy Ramjheetun
    November 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Hey Jessica! I did my Lamaze practicum with Alexis. She’s such a rock star! Love her! Anyways, I’ll be teaching Lamaze classes on the East Side of Vancouver starting in January, classes in English or in French: http://www.birthing-goddess.ca for schedules and details…

  2. Candice
    January 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    This is an awesome post that I feel can save parents so much time trying to track down and compare classes. As all the other Childbirth Educators and Doulas have commented prenatal classes are a very personal decision. At Cherish Childbirth Care we offer our own unique blend of Birthing From Within techniques combined with the knowledge of experienced Doulas, and practical knowledge of the medical system as well as offering Hypnobabies classes with Gina Snyder. Because we realize the right class for each individual to reach their birthing goals is different.
    All the best to Birthing Mamas everywhere, and keep up the good work Vancouver Childbirth educators to bring the community what they need!
    Candice Marples
    http://www.cherishchildbirth.com

  3. January 31, 2012 at 11:53 am

    This is a great list and resource! I would like to add the Childbearing Society to this list. (www.childbearing.org)
    They do fantastic prenatal classes that are very inclusive of many philosphies around birth and also offer healthy pregnancy and breasfeeding classes.
    I love them and recommend them to all my clients…have never had anything but positive feedback.

    Thanks,
    Bobbi Schell
    Birth Doula http://www.littlenestdoulacare.com

  4. January 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for the resources Jessica! Birthing from Within is also about learning how to birth in awareness and how to have the best birth possible for you. One will find the 6 practices from Lamaze are included as are some practices similar to some of the hypnosis exercises in Hypnobabies and Hypnobirthing. BFW does use art as a media to explore one’s notions about birth or one’s fears around birth. Over all BFW classes are very comprehensive and parents to be come away with the tools they need to make informed choices and to feel empowered in birth.

    I teach BFW classes with Dancing Star Birth and I also teach private in-home prenatal classes. Visit http://www.birthingbuddies.com

  5. January 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks for the resources Jessica! Birthing from Within is also about learning how to birth in awareness and how to have the best birth possible for you. One will find the 6 practices from Lamaze are included as are some practices similar to some of the hypnosis exercises in Hypnobabies and Hypnobirthing. BFW does use art as a media to explore one’s notions about birth or one’s fears around birth. Over all BFW classes are very comprehensive and parents to be come away with the tools they need to make informed choices and to feel empowered in birth.

    I teach BFW classes with Dancing Star Birth and I also teach private in-home prenatal classes. Visit http://www.birthingbuddies.com

  6. Urban Doula- Chloe Dierkes
    January 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    As a birth doula, I find that people’s experience of birth depend a lot on the prenatal education that parents participate in before hand.  I think it is important when choosing which classes to take to keep in mind that ‘you get what you pay for’.  If you choose a class because it is the cheapest and least number of hours, there is a good chance you will feel less prepared for your birth.  There ARE so many options available which is great because difference couples have different desires and needs, but I think it is important to consider whether or not a potential class addresses the emotional and mental aspect of birth.  People usually consider birth to be a largely physical process, when in fact, I would say it’s about 20% physical and 80% mental/emotional (in regards to what contributes to positive outcomes).  So make sure whatever class you take has a good amount of time dedicated to how to prepare your head for birth!

    My last comment will be just to say that I LOVE hypnobabies and find that the couples I support who have taken hypnobabies prenatal classes have generally smoother, calmer and more joyful birthing experiences.  I have really enjoyed supporting people as a hypno-doula. 

    P.S. Crystal is awesome and so is Jessica ; )

  7. UrbanDoula
    January 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    As a birth doula, I find that people’s experience of birth depend a lot on the prenatal education that parents participate in before hand.  I think it is important when choosing which classes to take to keep in mind that ‘you get what you pay for’.  If you choose a class because it is the cheapest and least number of hours, there is a good chance you will feel less prepared for your birth.  There ARE so many options available which is great because difference couples have different desires and needs, but I think it is important to consider whether or not a potential class addresses the emotional and mental aspect of birth.  People usually consider birth to be a largely physical process, when in fact, I would say it’s about 20% physical and 80% mental/emotional (in regards to what contributes to positive outcomes).  So make sure whatever class you take has a good amount of time dedicated to how to prepare your head for birth!

    My last comment will be just to say that I LOVE hypnobabies and find that the couples I support who have taken hypnobabies prenatal classes have generally smoother, calmer and more joyful birthing experiences.  I have really enjoyed supporting people as a hypno-doula. 

    P.S. Crystal is awesome and so is Jessica ; )

  8. January 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you for the mention Jessica! Since the concept of Hypnobabies and hypnosis for childbirth is so new to many pregnant women I highly recommend downloading our free “Relax Me” self-hypnosis MP3: http://cultivateyourhealth.com/mp3/ This will enable you to experience hypnosis first hand and help you decide if it’s the right fit for your childbirth preparation! :-)

Leave a Reply