Birth Preparation Classes

Pink watercolor heart Aliso Viejo childbirth class
Megan and Marlee were great! We found them a wonderful balance between the two birth class extremes - Western medical model and all-natural approaches that view epidurals or c-section births as failures. They provided great evidence-based information and ways to mitigate the decisions you might need to make during labor.

Highly recommend as a good balance of philosophies, and they are gracious, kind and informative to boot!
— Becky, Aliso Viejo

Parents with newborn Orange County birth classes

Are you...

  • feeling overwhelmed by all the information (and conflicting advice) about birth out there?

  • wondering how you'll cope with labor?

  • interested in ways to bring your self into the birth process?

Take a class with us!

We offer a different approach to childbirth education. Our classes involve:

  • information about labor, birth, lactation, and preparing for the postpartum period (the things you'd normally expect out of a childbirth class)

  • a focus on fostering connection with your partner and your baby

  • practical tools for coping with pain, intensity, and unexpected or challenging events during labor

Our goal is to not only give you information, but to help you discover and cultivate internal resources already within you that will help you meet the challenges birth and parenthood can bring.

No matter what type of birth you're planning - or if you don't have a plan at all - our classes are a time for you to ask questions, explore your feelings around birth and parenting, and prepare to meet your little one.

Pink watercolor heart Costa Mesa birthing class
Megan and Marlee were warm and welcoming, fostered a great discussion experience, responded well to questions, and served as excellent guides and facilitators.
— Neal, Costa Mesa

Small Group Birth Classes in Santa Ana Rates

Rather than a pre-set curriculum of classes, we offer the opportunity to build your own class series according to your needs. Simply choose the topics you want and the dates that work for you!

Classes are 3 hours each and are held in our home in Santa Ana. Each class is limited to 4 families.

1 class: $125
2 classes: $225
3 classes: $300
4 classes: $375

Fees are per family. We welcome support people, but please let us know ahead of time if more than one support person will be attending with you so we can make arrangements to accommodate them. An additional registration fee may apply.

Newborn baby skin to skin Mission Viejo birth class

Pink watercolor heart Costa Mesa birth class
We attended 3 of Marlee and Megan’s birthing classes. It was great to be educated beforehand. They prepared not only me, but my husband as far as what to expect during labor.
— Yary, Costa Mesa

Choose any combination of the following classes:

Birth Basics

This introductory class will cover:

  • Stages of labor

  • Human rights in labor

  • When to go to the hospital or contact your care provider

  • Communicating with care providers in labor

  • Medical technology you may encounter in birth

  • Options for pain relief

  • Basic coping skills

  • Newborn care procedures & your options

  • What to expect in the hours immediately following birth

Upcoming dates:

  • Saturday, November 9 at 10am

  • Saturday, January 4 at 10am

  • Saturday, March 7 at 10am

  • Saturday, May 2 at 10am

Decorative accent Irvine birthing class

Decision-Making Skills for Labor and Beyond

One couple told us they felt this class should be required for all parents before their baby arrives! Learn more about why we feel this is such an important skill to develop.

This is a class focused solely on making decisions during labor. Many parents find themselves unprepared for the intensity of birth and all the decisions that come along the way. In this class, we'll give you some of our favorite tools to help you make the best decisions you can, helping you to find balance and focus to think things through even in the intensity of labor. (These tools will also come in handy once baby is born!)

We’ll also cover the practical side of communicating your decisions with your care providers, including conversations about informed consent and informed refusal.

For a preview of one of our favorite decision-making tools in labor, check out this blog post.

Upcoming dates:

  • Saturday, November 9 at 2pm

  • Saturday, January 4 at 2pm

  • Saturday, March 7 at 2pm

  • Saturday, May 2 at 2pm

Decorative accent Costa Mesa birthing class

Comfort Measures & Labor Positions

This hands-on class may be especially helpful for those planning to birth at home, in a birth center, or in the hospital without medication. We will cover:

  • Advanced coping tools and techniques

  • Positions to encourage labor progress

  • Positions to relieve discomfort in labor

  • Touch and massage techniques partners and support people can use in labor

  • Spinning Babies positioning exercises that can help make space for baby to get into position for birth

Upcoming dates:

  • Saturday, November 16 at 10am

  • Saturday, January 11 at 10am

  • Saturday, March 14 at 10am

  • Saturday, May 9 at 10am

Pink watercolor heart south Orange County childbirth class
The Comfort Measures childbirth class was so relaxed, informative and enjoyable, and the tools and techniques you shared really came into play during my 24 hour all natural labor! Thank you for your openness and support.
— Ashley, San Clemente
Decorative accent Tustin birthing class
Parent nursing baby Irvine breastfeeding class

Bringing Baby Home: Postpartum Healing, Sleep, Lactation Basics, and More

In this class we'll give you an overview of what life is like with a newborn. Topics will include:

  • Sleep!

  • 24 hours in the life of a newborn’s family

  • Feeding baby 101 (the basics of lactation, pumping, and bottle feeding)

  • Learning to read baby’s cues

  • Baby soothing techniques

  • Caring for your body after birth (including our favorite postpartum healing tips)

  • Family bonding tips

  • Our favorite local resources for lactation support, postpartum healing, and caring for baby

Upcoming dates:

  • Saturday, November 16 at 2pm

  • Saturday, January 11 at 2pm

  • Saturday, March 14 at 2pm

  • Saturday, May 9 at 2pm

Pink watercolor heart Lake Forest childbirth class
I really appreciated the coping exercises. They helped refine what I think will work for me in labor and what won’t work so well. I feel much more comfortable and ready to go!
— Lindsay, Costa Mesa

Private Classes in Orange County and Long Beach

We do offer private classes in clients’ homes on a limited basis. We keep our group class quite small (no more than 4 families) to help foster a “semi-private” atmosphere. But if there are special circumstances that prevent you from taking our small group classes, if there are scheduling challenges, or if you just prefer a private class, we can bring any of our 4 topics to your home. Each private class is 2 hours.

Rate: $200 per class (choose from the 4 topics above)

Preparing for a cesarean birth?

We offer a private class for parents who know ahead of time that they’ll be birthing by cesarean for any reason. This compassionate and detailed 1-2 hour class in your home includes:

  • What to expect before, during, and after your cesarean both for you and for your baby

  • Family-centered cesarean options

  • Your partner's role in a cesarean birth

  • Communicating with your care providers

  • Tools and tips for relaxation and calming anxiety

  • Lactation after a cesarean

  • Tips for making your home recovery-friendly

  • Our favorite postpartum healing tips for cesarean recovery

Rate: $150

Parent smiling during cesarean Huntington Beach birth class

Another option: Private Q&A Session

Parent kissing baby Orange County birth class

If our semi-private classes aren’t quite right for you, consider an informal Q&A session with your friendly neighborhood birth professionals!

This option might be perfect for you if:

  • You've already taken a childbirth class at the hospital or elsewhere and have more questions

  • You are having a subsequent baby (not a first-time parent) and want to brush up in preparation for this birth (if you want help processing a difficult or traumatic birth experience, consider a Birth Story Medicine session)

  • You have been reading and researching on your own and want to talk to someone in person about your questions, concerns, or unique needs

Rate: $175 for a private 1-2 hour session in your home

Pink watercolor heart Orange birth class

What our clients say


"I cannot tell you what a blessing it was to find Marlee & Megan of Hero Birth Services. Our private Comfort Measures childbirth class was so relaxed, informative and enjoyable! The tools and techniques they shared really came into play during my 24 hour all natural labor! Thank you for your openness and support. Dan and I were blessed to find you along this journey!"

- Ashley, San Clemente

"Megan and Marlee were excellent discussion facilitators! I remember several times thinking that the follow-up questions they asked were so insightful and revealing. It was a great time to spend together with my husband. We had not spent that kind of kid-free time together for months. I feel more united and focused on this great endeavor, and also more understanding of his feelings. I also appreciated the coping exercises. They helped refine what I think will work for me in labor and what won't work so well. I feel much more comfortable and ready to go!"

- Lindsay, Costa Mesa

"Megan and Marlee were warm and welcoming, fostered a great discussion experience, responded well to questions, and served as excellent guides and facilitators without being heavyhanded or too prescriptive. Truly, I was impressed. I appreciated their warm, encouraging approach. We were already on board with the Birthing From Within perspective, but this served as a very good refresher. My wife remains confident and optimistic about the process, and I remain somewhat trepidatious, but I know that this class and further personal preparation are key components for being as prepared and capable as I can be. Being able to participate together helps us to feel like a team, and to know that no one ever has to go through this stuff alone."

- Neal, Costa Mesa

“We loved the classes and they really made an impact on us. There was so much information and the way you guys delivered everything was perfect. Not judgmental or pushy, but you gave us the info and let us come to our own conclusions instead of pushing us one way or another. It is very refreshing especially in this arena where we’re always hearing ‘you need to do this or that.’ You guys are amazing and doing great things for so many couples!”

- Chelsea, Long Beach

For Partners

We're here for you! We understand that you probably have questions and concerns, and we want to help you prepare for the birth of your baby.

We encourage partners to participate in child birth classes whenever possible so both of you have a chance to practice together, ask questions, and take another step with one another on the way to meeting your little one.

Don't be shy during our time together! Let us know what's on your mind and ask questions when you have them. You have just as much to prepare for in birth and parenthood - just from a different angle than the person who will be giving birth. Our classes don’t minimize the role of a partner, nor do we expect partners to be a full-blown “coach” (unless they want to be). Partners have a unique journey all their own, and our classes include ways to support your loved one as well as going through your own experience.

Your support of your expecting partner is more important than you know, and we can't wait to work with both of you as you prepare to meet your little one together!

Pink watercolor heart Anaheim birth class
My wife remains confident and optimistic about the process, and I remain somewhat trepidatious, but I know that this class and further personal preparation are key components for being as prepared and capable as I can be.
— Neal, Costa Mesa

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I take classes even if I'm going to have a doula?

Great question! So great, in fact, that we wrote a blog post about it. 

Are these classes only for people who want a natural birth?

Our classes are not "natural birth" classes per se, although about half of our clients are planning to labor without pain medication.

Rather than encouraging a specific birth outcome as some classes or birthing methods do, we instead focus on creating realistic expectations for labor, birth, and life with a new baby. Parents who have the chance to do this kind of preparation often find that they are less likely to attach their self-worth to any particular birth outcome, which reduces chances of trauma.

We will explore the physiologic process of birth, as well as when the medical options and tools available to parents may be helpful. We have a strong focus on helping our clients strategize to take advantage of the body’s process of birth while also using medical options if and when they are needed.

Our clients tell us time and time again how helpful it was to feel informed about all their options before birth, no matter whether they were planning to birth with or without medical assistance (and especially if they weren’t sure ahead of time).

Will my class be cancelled if not enough people are registered?

No! We are committed to holding our classes whether we have 1 family or 4 families registered. When you sign up for a class, you can depend on the fact that it will proceed as scheduled.

Who will teach these Orange County birth preparation classes?

We (Marlee and Megan) teach these classes together, unless one of us is at a client’s birth or ill. Get to know us a bit here.

Our birth preparation classes are designed for real people

Sometimes private classes involve cuddling on the couch! We love working with clients in such an intimate setting.

Sometimes private classes involve cuddling on the couch! We love working with clients in such an intimate setting.

While we will have a plan for our class sessions, we are always willing to take a detour to make sure that you have the information, tools, and support you need. 

We know you probably have a hundred questions about birth and life with a newborn... we're here to help you find answers.

If you have any special circumstances or concerns, we can help you sort out your options. We are passionate about meeting parents where they are in preparation to welcome a new baby. In some cases, we may recommend choosing an additional class to help address your concerns.

Our Approach

We find that there are very few places in our culture for expecting parents to delve into self-discovery. Our classes provide a place to ask questions and learn about the physical process of birth. But perhaps more importantly, parents will explore the emotional journey of birth and early parenting. We encourage self-compassion and listening to your intuitive inner voice, and teach methods of coping with intensity of all kinds. 

The coping techniques we practice in class are not just useful during labor and birth. Many parents put them to use if they are having feeding challenges, if they find it difficult to endure their baby's cries (especially in the nighttime hours!), and in so many other experiences that parenthood can bring.

Our goal is for you to be able to apply techniques from class to other areas of your life. This is more than birth preparation: it is life preparation!

Since we are Advanced Birthing From Within Mentors, our primary philosophy around working with parents is based in that organization's guiding principles (which you can read more about here). 

Here are a few of those principles which have really helped shape our practice:

  • Childbirth is a profound rite of passage, not a medical event (even when medical care is part of the birth).

  • The essence of childbirth preparation is self-discovery, not assimilating obstetric information. The teacher (mentor) is "midwife" to the parents' discovery process, not the expert from whom wisdom flows.

  • Pregnancy and birth outcome are influenced by a variety of factors, but can't be controlled by planning.

  • Parents deserve support for any birth option which might be right for them (whether it be drugs, cesarean, home birth, or bottle-feeding).

  • Pain is an inevitable part of childbirth, yet much can be done to ease suffering.

  • Fathers and partners help best as birth guardians or loving partners, not as coaches; they also need support.

  • For parents, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum is a time of continuous learning and adjustment; holistic support and education should be available throughout that period.

Birthing From Within takes its inspiration from the book of the same name written by Pam England and published in 1998. It has evolved as a teaching method to include a focus on coping with the intensity of birth and early parenthood. We find that parents who prepare for birth with a Birthing From Within birth class tend to feel more ready to meet challenges as they come. 

To learn more about why we love this philosophy, check out our blog: Why Birthing From Within?

Need more reasons to attend a childbirth class?

You might want to read this, this, this, this, this, and this.