Where I am (In Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs) it’s pretty standard that the local hospitals offer a ‘Childbirth Education’ class. The Angliss, Box Hill and Mitcham Private all offer their version of these (As do most of the hospitals elsewhere). These classes briefly touch on labour, where to go when in labour, drug choices, some recovery.. if you’re lucky they will cover some breastfeeding, baby wrapping etc. They generally book many couples in as they need to cover their wage, to make it worth their while for the people that are teaching the class.
They have limited time, generally charge around $200 for a 5 hour course and are bound by the policies of the hospital as to what they can inform the couples (or singles) about.
I have asked many couples about what they got out of hospital childbirth classes, and across the board they said “Not much”..
So is it a waste of time and money?
Well.. not really.. because I think childbirth education can be a really helpful tool, especially for first time parent’s and VBAC’s..
But how good would it be if there were a local ‘Childbirth Education’ class that took into consideration what the general population were actually searching for.. knowledge from experience. Not just knowledge on specific things that the hospital policies ‘allowed’ but knowledge from experienced local women that have birthed locally, many MANY times and supported many families through childbirth IN the local hospitals.. and KNOW what to expect and when.. that will prepare you for a more positive outcome.
This is the MAIN difference between hospital childbirth education classes and private… We, the private educators, have been on the other side, we KNOW what you want to know.. and since we are not bound by policy.. we are HAPPY to teach you all that we know to help facilitate a satisfying hospital birth experience.