Choosing High-Quality Antenatal and Hypnobirthing Education: Top Tips for Parents

Birth isn't one-size-fits-all, and nor should birth education. Here's what to look for to make sure you get the most empowering and positive experience.

We’re now in a world where there are more choices for antenatal classes, which is a wonderful thing.

Knowledge is power, and I want everyone to claim their power in the birth space. But, how do you know which one is right for you? It’s tempting to go for a well-known provider, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best information. Think about why you’re tempted to choose them – if it’s purely to meet other people, what does that tell you about the information they give?

Some put more thought into choosing a restaurant than where they’ll get their birth knowledge. However, just as you put time and effort into choosing a university, so too should you think carefully about your antenatal education provider. Now, I’m not saying everyone should choose me – I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. More options mean more chances to find a course that aligns with your values and expectations for birth. Birth isn’t one-size-fits-all, and nor should birth education.

Here's what to look for to make sure you get the most empowering and positive experience.

Do they know their stuff?

Check the background of the educators. Do they have relevant qualifications and experience? Do they have evidence of on-going professional development, training and reading? Personal birth experiences add depth to teaching, but professional training is crucial for providing accurate and safe information.

Do they offer group, private, and online courses?

Variety in course delivery is telling. High-quality providers offer group, private, and online courses, showing they’re equipped to cater to different learning styles. Whether you prefer the sociable nature of a group, the intimacy of a private session, or the convenience of online learning, flexibility in course options is a good sign that a provider has the knowledge and experience to personalise the course to suit your needs.

Is it offering evidence-based breadth and depth?

Truly effective birth preparation takes time and thorough understanding. Be wary of quick-fix solutions. High-quality antenatal and hypnobirthing courses should offer comprehensive content that delves deeply into various aspects of birth. Look for courses that go beyond the basics and provide detailed information on physical, emotional, and psychological preparation. Reliable providers stay updated with the latest research and best practices in childbirth and antenatal care. This ensures you’re receiving accurate and up-to-date information.

Are they giving the same old definition of birth?

The traditional definition of birth relies on outdated studies, breaking it down into a set of rigid timelines and rules. While knowing medical terminology is useful, it’s transformational to understand birth in a more holistic way. Innovative birth workers, like Dr Rachel Reed and Catherine Bell, offer fresh perspectives on physiological birth with ground-breaking insights. Look for providers who incorporate modern, ethical research and holistic views into their teachings.

Do they cover informed decision making?

Antenatal education is not just about learning your options but understanding how they apply to your unique situation. Good courses create space for you to evaluate what’s possible and make informed decisions. This involves thorough discussions on interventions, physiological birth, and everything in between, ensuring you feel prepared and confident in whatever choices you make.

Do they make you feel respected, whatever pathway you choose?

All birth choices are valid, and there is no failure in birth. High-quality antenatal education respects and supports your informed decisions, whether you elect to have a c-section or choose to freebirth in the ocean. It’s your birth, your way. Beware of educators who push a specific agenda or dismiss certain choices. Empowerment comes from feeling respected and supported, regardless of the path you take.

Are they using inclusive language?

Inclusive language is crucial in creating a positive and welcoming birth space. Quality providers use language that respects all birthing bodies, acknowledging diverse family structures and identities. Prejudice and exclusion have no place in antenatal education. Look for educators who champion equality and ensure every birthing person feels seen and supported.

Do they cover a full menu of knowledge, practical skills and techniques?

Hypnobirthing is a menu of knowledge, skills and techniques to support birth. It goes beyond whale sounds and fairy lights. Look for courses that unpack birth culture, help you understand physiological birth and the importance of birth environment, as well as teaching techniques such as breathing exercises, relaxation methods, and pain management strategies. Hands-on practice helps build confidence and prepares you for the physical aspects of birth.

Do they have social proof?

Look for reviews and testimonials from other parents. These can provide insights into the quality of the course and the effectiveness of the teaching methods. Positive feedback from a diverse range of participants is a good sign.

Do they offer ongoing support?

High-quality courses often offer ongoing support outside the classroom. This could include follow-up sessions, access to online resources, or signposting to groups. Continuous support can be invaluable as you prepare for birth and navigate early parenthood.

Choosing the right antenatal and hypnobirthing education is a personal journey. Take the time to explore your options, ask questions, and find a provider that aligns with your values and needs. High-quality education empowers you to make informed decisions, respect your choices, and feel confident in your birth journey. Remember, it’s your birth, your way.

At Empowered Birthing, I'm dedicated to providing evidence-based, inclusive, and respectful antenatal education. I believe in helping parents feel empowered with the knowledge and skills needed for a positive birth experience. If you're looking for personalised, in-depth, and supportive education, get in touch today.

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