1. Ask relatives, friends and colleagues for suggestions and referrals. “As we live in a culture of one-upmanship when it comes to horror stories about childbirth, look for women who have positive birth stories,” counsels HypnoBirthing practitioner Sheri Menelli.
2. Discuss your options with your health-care provider. Often classes are available through the hospital or birthing center where you will deliver. However, if you have definite ideas about how you want to give birth, you should choose your care provider accordingly.
3. Make a list of things that are important to you and then look for the method that fits those priorities. Also look for classes that match your learning style. Instructors may use one teaching strategy exclusively or a variety of strategies, such as formal lectures, support-group-style interactions or videos.c
4. If you’re interested in a particular method, call the organization directly or check out the Web site. They can provide you with a list of instructors who are certified in that method in your area.
5. Interview the instructor by telephone or, preferably, in person. The chemistry between you and the instructor is as important, if not more so, than that person’s credentials. As the classes deal with intimate topics, you (and your labor coach) need to feel 100 percent comfortable with your instructor.
6. Check out the class size. Five or six couples are ideal to allow for good group dynamics and personal interaction with the instructor. Classes should be held at a convenient time and location. If they fit into your lifestyle, you’ll be less likely to miss any classes.
Updated August 2012