pregnant couple at a birth class

Should I Take A Birthing Class?

You might be wondering, “Should I take a birthing class?” And the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Here’s why: birthing classes will provide you with a wealth of information and resources to help you and your partner prepare for the labor and birth experience and inspire confidence and reassurance. In-person birthing classes in particular will allow you and your birth partner to practice hands-on techniques, connect more deeply with each other, and form community with other expecting parents. Birthing classes also help you sift through information overload and so you can focus in on important evidence based information that will help you make decisions that lead to better birth experiences.

pregnant couple at a birth class

Benefits Of Taking Birthing Classes


Increase your confidence in giving birth and better understand the birth process

Increase your support person’s confidence and ability to effectively support you

Get trusted evidence-based information so you can avoid information overload

Learn hands-on comfort techniques that will help you through the stages of labor

Reduce your risk of unwanted interventions and unplanned cesarean by 28%


Reduce the risk of anxiety and depression before and after the baby is born

Learn the medical options available so you can prepare a “birth plan”

Have an opportunity to connect with your birth partner in a meaningful way

Meet other expecting parents and build connection and community

What Topics Are Covered In Birthing Classes?

While there are many of types of childbirth classes in Portland, each with their own style and philosophy, most birthing classes cover the following topics to prepare you and your support person for the childbirth journey:

• Anatomy & Physiology Of Birth

Learn how your body is designed to give birth and how the uterus, cervix, and contractions work together to birth your baby.

• The Hormones of Birth

Discover how late pregnancy hormones prepare your body for labor and how to optimize birth hormones to help you have a more positive experience.

• The Signs Of Labor & Delivery

Learn the physical signs and experiences that indicate labor is beginning and when to call your medical provider. 

• How To Time Contractions

Find out how to correctly time contractions and determine what the contraction pattern is.

• When To Go To The Hospital Or Birth Center

Understand when it is ok to stay home in early labor and when it’s time to go to the hospital or birth center.  

• The Stages of Labor

Learn the 3 stages of labor, what to expect from each stage, how long each stage can last, and how best to support you during each stage.

• How The Birth Partner Can Help

Discover all the ways your birth partner can help you during each stage of labor so that you feel support and connection throughout the experience.

• Breathing & Comfort Techniques

Learn about the ways that breathing, massage, and hydrotherapy can provide you with comfort during labor. 

• Positions For Labor & Pushing

Practice positions and movements that will help your labor to progress more effectively. 

• Pain Management Options

Understand the pain relief options available at your medical facility and the benefits and risks of each.

• Common Interventions

Learn about some of the common medical interventions that can occur during labor and birth.

• Coping With Fear & Anxiety

Discover how to work with feelings of fear or anxiety during the birth process.

• Recovery From Birth

Find out what to expect after the birth of your baby and how to support your recovery.

• Feeding Your Baby

Understand the basics of breastfeeding and bottle feeding and what to expect in the first few days and weeks.

• Caring For Your Newborn

Learn how to diaper and swaddle, how to create a safe sleep environment for your baby, how to bathe your infant, and more.

pregnant person with child

Which Birthing Class Should I Take?

Here is a guide to help you choose the type of birthing class in Portland, Oregon that is right for you!

Lamaze Classes

Lamaze birthing classes can be in multiple formats, from a series to a day-long class, and are taught by a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. The foundation of Lamaze classes is the Six Healthy Birth Practices which are recommendations based on the most up-to-date evidence on healthy birth. Lamaze classes support parents without judgment, help people to navigate their birth experiences, focus on the physiology of birth each step of the way, and encourage support. You can expect a fun and interactive class with lots of helpful information and hands-on practice of coping skills. 

Birthing From Within Classes

Birthing From Within classes usually are a series of classes spanning 3-5 weeks. Based on a mentorship model, parents are guided by a certified Birthing From Within Mentor who facilitates heart-centered exploration of coping, personal strengths, and a solution-focused mindset in preparation for birth as a rite of passage. Birthing From Within is birth preparation for the mind, the heart, and the body. You can expect deep dialogue, self-exploration, and connection with your support person or partner. 

Evidence Based Birth Classes

Evidence Based Birth Classes are a deep dive into evidence-based care practices, advocacy, comfort, and coping techniques. They take place over a series of 6 classes and include both an in-person and online component taught by an Evidence Based Birth Mentor. These classes have a strong advocacy component and empower parents to seek medical care that is right for them based on research. You can expect a thorough and open discussion around the childbirth issues parents face today. 

HypnoBirthing Classes

HypnoBirthing is a method of birth preparation created by Marie Mongan. It is a class series of five weeks, focused on teaching birthing people self-hypnosis techniques to release the fear of birth and promote deep relaxation and gentle birthing. HypnoBirthing classes are deeply rooted in the belief that birth is a normal process and with practice birthing people can learn to birth calmly and release resistance. This method is taught by a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator.

Bradley Method

Bradley Method birth classes are taught in the form of a 12 weeks series and tend to be more comprehensive than other approaches. In addition to a deep dive into labor and birth, Bradley classes also spend a good deal of time on nutrition and exercise during pregnancy. These classes are focused on the benefits of relaxation during labor and emphasize the important role of the birth partner and preparing the partner for how to best support the birthing person. Bradley classes also prepare expecting parents for successful breastfeeding.

When To Take Birthing Classes?

Birthing classes are designed to help you and your partner prepare for the physical and emotional aspects of childbirth, and it’s generally recommended that expectant parents start taking birthing classes in the second trimester of pregnancy, which is around the 20th week. This allows enough time to complete the classes before the baby is due.

However, the timing of when to take a birthing class is ultimately up to you and can depend on your individual schedules and needs. Some expectant parents may prefer to take classes earlier in their pregnancy, while others may prefer to wait until later in the third trimester. When to start a birthing class might also depend on what type of birthing class you decide to take and whether it is a multi-week series or a day-long crash course. The sweet spot for most people is to take the class late enough in pregnancy that the information and techniques are still fresh in your mind when you go into labor, but not so late in pregnancy that you risk going into labor before you can attend the class.

It’s important to keep in mind that childbirth classes are not one-size-fits-all, and different classes may be better suited to you than others. Expectant parents should choose a childbirth class that meets their individual needs and preferences. At the Birth First Education Center, we offer a wide variety of birthing classes in Portland, Oregon so you and your partner can find a class that’s the right fit!

Kind Words From Our Lovely Clients

Birth First Doulas are the best doulas in Portland. I can’t imagine a birth without them! We loved working with them and plan to have them by our side through all of our birth experiences. I especially wanted an unmedicated birth and I strongly feel that I was able to achieve this and have the birthing experience I wanted with their help.

Becky, Portland, Oregon

We hired a Birth First Doula, and she held my husband and I so tight through our first pregnancy and postpartum care. When it came to labor our doula was on call and guided me over the phone, to in-person at my home, and finally at the hospital. She knew exactly how to soothe and empower me to the finish line.

Manie, Portland, Oregon

“My labor went much faster than we expected, and I remember so well the feeling of reassurance and safety I found in my Birth First Doula’s presence. She offered just the right words to help me trust in my intuition and her nurturing presence allowed me to believe in my ability to bring our daughter into this world safely and swiftly.

Emily, Beaverton, Oregon