Weird times we live in right now, especially when you are pregnant. Since no one in the country is allowed to gather in groups, childbirth classes are getting cancelled or pushed back. But birth classes are one thing you don’t want to skip…trust me! The great news is that you can take a prenatal course online and be totally prepared for giving birth (or as prepared as you can be…let’s be real).
I didn’t even know this existed 7 years ago when I was pregnant with my first. I can’t say which course is best, because I haven’t taken them all. But I can say that the online prenatal class I took from Hilary at Pulling Curls blew me out of the water. It will open your eyes on what to expect at the hospital during labor and delivery…plus a lot more.
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Why I decided to try Pulling Curls prenatal course
I was looking for a childbirth education course that I could recommend to moms like you who need a course from home. I chose the prenatal course from Pulling Curls because I trusted Hilary’s authority on the subject. She is a well known leader online in pregnancy circles, and really knows her stuff!
Hilary has worked as a labor and delivery nurse since 2001 in 3 different hospitals, and has had 3 kids of her own. She’s funny, not awkward at all, and addresses all the things, (yes, even the question ALL pregnant ladies have like, “Will I poop when pushing?” 😉
Could you find all this information for free online? Probably somewhere, if you knew everything you were supposed to search for. But what Hilary does is take all of the important things and puts it in one place in an easy to understand way.
You can try out the free beginning prenatal chapter
Since I’d never recommend something I didn’t think was awesome and helpful, I had to see it for myself. First, I signed up for the free prenatal course to see if I liked her style. I liked the personable videos and very thorough information. It was one teaser chapter, and it allows you to see what teaching style you’ll get if you buy the whole course.
Hilary allowed me to review her course free of charge, so I do need to disclose that. However I’m 100% comfortable saying this is the course I’d review if ever I am pregnant again.
I was glued to the videos. I finished the whole video course in a few hours (with a few breaks in there). It was super informative, and covered pretty much most of my questions about what to expect during labor and delivery.
What is better, an online birth class or in person?
My mother in law is a certified childbirth educator, and since my husband and I couldn’t take the hospital course due to medical school moves, she did a condensed 1 day version for us and another couple friend. So we never had the “full hospital childbirth course” experience.
However, I did accompany her once to a birth class she taught for the hospital full of couples. I would say don’t worry about not getting “enough information” in an online course…you will!
Your personality may dictate which one you like more. In person can be more engaging, especially as a couple. In person you may be handed plastic babies to practice holding correctly or swaddling. No one can offer that online.
I also think that an online course is the perfect way for mothers having their second or third kid to get a refresher course (I’d forgotten a TON, or blocked it out).
What’s not in this course
Its not a comprehensive breastfeeding course. She lays out what to expect in the first 24 hours with a baby including breastfeeding, but does not give much detail here.
Its not a natural pain management course. I think Hilary did a great job giving some pain management ideas, breathing techniques, and ways your partner can help. It was just as much information as I got for my first baby.
But if you are 100% aiming for an unmedicated birth, then you may want something that goes more into positions to try when laboring, hypno-birthing, and even possibly a whole course on that subject. It’s a big deal!
It’s not a home birth class. She gives you the blow by blow of what it’s like at the hospital because that’s her specialty. Yes, some of these things apply to home births, but definitely not things like emergency c-sections, epidurals, triage rooms, and IV’s.
It’s not an infant CPR class. While she covers some infant safety issues like how to safely swaddle, co-sleeping with a newborn, and dangers of shaking a baby…you’ll need another class for CPR.
How you’ll be taught each lesson
You get to choose to buy 1 of 3 levels. Here’s what comes in each.
I got the middle tier with video plus all the info in written format too. She organizes the videos by topics, called chapters. I think it feels just like a hospital course because they do the talking and you do the listening.
There’s also an awesome “recap” of each topic at the end for quick reference later on. At the end of each video, you can ask her questions (similar to blog comments) and she’ll answer.
If you want direct access Hilary and a more class like feel, then you can opt in to get the largest package (I did not have this). Then you would be part of a small Facebook private FB group with her and have access to the downloadable written version of the whole course.
Highlights of what you’ll learn in this prenatal course
Even though I’ve had 3 kids, I felt like my eyes were glued to the screen and I was learning so much. It was almost as if she was walking me down memory lane at the hospital (pretty accurately, although everyone has a unique birth experience).
What to come in to the hospital for
- If you should call your doctor first or just come right in.
- Why you need to drink LOTS of water if you think you are in labor.
- Common tests they may do in the labor in the labor and delivery to make sure baby and mom are safe.
- What they will want to know about your contractions when you arrive (how far apart they are and how long they seem to last).
- What they feel like.
How to know your in labor…hint, it’s tricky!
- Water breaking, how to recognize it, and questions they will ask you about it at the hospital like when it broke.
- Losing your mucus plug, (and how to recognize it).
What’s going to happen when you get to the hospital (routines and supplies)
- What to expect at the desk (like paperwork).
- What to expect in the triage room before you’re admitted.
- Contraction monitor and fetal heart rate monitor info.
- Health history
- What the numbers mean that nurses talk about after a vaginal exam (dilation 0-10, and a number which tells how high or low the baby is, and baby’s head position).
- IV placement being standard (and why they do it, and what you can request instead).
- What to expect if you are b strep positive (antibiotics every 4 hours and why it’s standard to get that).
- Informed consent
- Supplies you may see in the labor and delivery room.
- Things you can and can’t do in the hospital and why (like eating, bathing after your water breaks, and rules for walking around vs being hooked to an IV.
- Reasons you might be induced.
- Different things they may use to induce you, including pitocin.
- Pain management
- Distraction ideas
- IV pain relief meds
- Epidural, what to expect during placement, and what if feels like. To see what my 3 epidurals were like, click here.
Natural pain management in the hospital
- spouse support
When it’s time to deliver your baby
- Dr.’s only come right when it’s time to deliver.
- Cord clamping average is 30 seconds, if you want longer you’ll need to ask!
- All about tearing.
- Average push time for first time moms
- If you’re allowed to take video and when.
- What happens right after baby comes out.
- 3 routine things they do to baby in 1st hour. You will have to let your nurse know if you don’t want them.
- What to expect both scheduled and unscheduled.
- Baby comes out in less than 5 minutes!
Newborn care when you get home
- Diaper changes
- How to bath a baby, how to swaddle,
- Best odds for sids prevention
- Taking care of yourself postpartum and what to watch for
How your partner is included in this online childbirth education course
Spouses and partners 100% need to listen to the whole thing WITH you. The harder part about an online course is it could be tempting for your partner to tune out, browse their phone.
To help with this I’d recommend two things.
First, don’t buy the written option just because it’s the cheapest version. No no. My husband wouldn’t read that, and honestly I wouldn’t either. You need the visuals, and your partner does too!
Secondly, I’d try and break it up into 2-3 sessions. I finished the whole thing in 1 day, in under 3 hours. But there’s a reason why hospitals usually keep it to 2 hours per session over the course of many days. It’s to keep your attention span while still being able to deliver the boatload of information.