Birth & Parenting Classes
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, breastfeeding 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.
Birth and Parenting Class 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.
Choose any combination of the following classes:
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
Saturday, September 7 at 10am
Saturday, November 2 at 10am
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.
Saturday, September 7 at 2pm
Saturday, November 2 at 2pm
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
Saturday, September 14 at 10am
Saturday, November 9 at 10am
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:
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 breastfeeding, postpartum healing, and caring for baby
Saturday, September 14 at 2pm
Saturday, November 9 at 2pm
For Dads and 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 childbirth classes whenever possible so you and your partner 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 “coach.” 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!
All of our clients can attend Marlee’s monthly new parent support group for free! This is a great way to stay connected and find additional support as you navigate your journey after birth.
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 births
Another option: Private Q&A Session
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
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).
Do you offer private classes?
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 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)
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 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.
What our clients say
"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
Our birth preparation classes are designed for real people
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.
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?