Congratulations on your growing family! In the East Bay, we have many choices for great prenatal and birthing classes. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many have gone online. From free birthing classes offered by hospitals to intensive home birth prep, you can have your pick. Here are some of the most popular options for birthing and labor classes nearby.
Hospital Prenatal and Birthing Classes
Hospital classes are a great opportunity to meet your medical team, get a sense of how they prepare for childbirth, and learn about how your baby will be born. All the classes are open to both the expecting moms and their partners.
Kaiser (Oakland) hosts free Preparing for Childbirth classes for their patients. They offer either one 5-hour session or two 2.5-hour sessions depending on your schedule. They also offer a Labor and Delivery Tour and a session to Meet the Labor and Delivery team. At this event you can tour the ward, and the medical team will be on hand to answer all of your questions, too. (The tours book up in advance so be sure to call to reserve your spot.) They also offer Newborn Care and Breastfeeding classes, too. We recommend taking them when you’re pregnant so you don’t have something else to do once baby arrives. Here’s Kaiser’s 2020 prenatal class schedule >
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (Berkeley) offers a one-day intensive Childbirth class. Second-time parents can consider a Childbirth Refresher as an alternative to the entire labor class or a VBAC-specific class if you’re considering a vaginal birth after Cesarean. Like Kaiser, they offer a Birth Center Tour, Breastfeeding classes, and Newborn Care classes, too. Unlike Kaiser, most of the classes cost something. See all of the Alta Bates Pregnancy Classes >
Resource-Center Prenatal and Birthing Classes
Birthways (Berkeley), a non-profit, offers three kinds of childbirth classes: seven-weeks of evening classes, two-week intensive across two weekends, and a refresher course for second-time families, too. See all of the newborn classes at Birthways >
Then Comes Baby (Oakland) is a parent-resource center in Grand Lake, and it has all the childbirth and newborn classes you could imagine. New dad classes Pediatric CPR classes Prenatal belly dancing! Their childbirth preparation class is four sessions (plus a complimentary breastfeeding class). See the full menu of newborn classes at Then Comes Baby >
Loving Arms (Oakland)
With a focus on childbirth classes, Loving Arms offers a childbirth prep class, refresher childbirth, planned Cesarean, and VBAC classes, too. They also have a ton of options in case your schedule is limited. See all the prenatal classes at Loving Arms >
Awakening Homebirth Prep (Oakland)
Considering a Homebirth? Awakening Birth Services offers a prenatal class specifically for this route.
If these are a bit daunting, you can also start with a couple books as you decide which class to take. A few of our favorites are Expecting Better and the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. If you want some laughs with a smart guide, see Angela Garbes’ Like a Mother.
Regardless of which class you choose, remember to take care of your body and your mind during your pregnancy. Take to a prenatal yoga class. Get your heart rate up with some prenatal fitness classes. And then relax with a prenatal massage.