Birth & Parenting Classes

Orange County birth classes parents meeting baby

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, 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.

Costa Mesa birthing class pink heart
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

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.

1 class: $150
2 classes: $285
3 classes: $400
4 classes: $500

All classes are private and held in your own home. Classes last between 2-3 hours each.

Choose any combination of the following classes:

Birth Basics

This introductory class will cover:

  • Stages of labor

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

  • Communicating with your 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


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!)

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


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


Lakewood breastfeeding class birth class mother nursing baby

Bringing Baby Home: Breastfeeding, Sleep, Postpartum Healing, 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

  • Breastfeeding 101

  • Bottle feeding techniques and pumping basics

  • 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


Preparing for Cesarean Birth

If you already know you'll be giving birth by c-section for any reason, this compassionate and detailed class will include:

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

  • Your partner's role in a cesarean birth

  • Family-centered cesarean options

  • Communicating with your care providers

  • Tools and tips for relaxation and calming anxiety

  • Breastfeeding after a cesarean

  • Tips for making your home recovery-friendly

  • Our favorite postpartum healing tips for cesarean births

Our classes are taught privately with one family at a time. If you'd like to have a class that includes more than one family, we offer semi-private classes at a 25% discount. Just decide whose Orange County or Long Beach home you'd like to meet in and let us know!

Lake Forest childbirth class pink heart
I 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

Group Baby Care Class

If you want to learn about caring for your little one with us in a group setting, you can attend the Baby Care Basics class we teach each month at the South Coast Midwifery birth center.

Classes are held on the 4th Friday of each month at the birth center in Irvine. It's free for South Coast Midwifery clients, and other families can join for $35/couple. Space is limited.

To sign up, visit South Coast Midwifery's classes and events page.

Not Your Mother's Childbirth Class

We were featured on the Birthing From Within blog writing about why our childbirth classes don't include handouts. Read the post to learn more about our unique way of working with clients in class and why we've changed our mind on handouts.

Online Birth & Postpartum Classes

If you're looking for a group childbirth class and like the idea of learning online, we teach a series of 6 short classes called Empowering Birth through Ma Yoga Living. This series is held live on Zoom on Monday evenings from 7-8pm PST.

Each information-packed class covers a topic related to birth or postpartum preparation and includes some time for Q&A. We cover a variety of topics in doable chunks to help you prepare to welcome your little one.

These online courses can be a great add-on option to add onto any in-person classes you're taking with us! Let us know if you want to combine in-person private classes and online group classes for a customized birth education - based on your values and goals, we can help you figure out which classes might be more helpful in which format.

Choose any combination or purchase the whole series:

1. FEEL SUPPORTED: Create Your Birth Team
2. BE CONFIDENT: A Road Map through Laborland
3. STAY CONNECTED: Labor Breathing, Movement, & Other Coping Skills
4. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER: Prepare for the Unexpected
5. BE PREPARED FOR POSTPARTUM: What You’ll Need (and Want!) after Birth
6. CO-CREATE THE BIRTH YOU WANT: Birth Plan & Intentions Workshop

Rates: $28 per class or $140 for the series of 6 (one class free!)

Hero Birth Services clients get 10% off, so if you're working with us for birth doula support, postpartum doula support, lactation support, or car seat education, ask us how to redeem your discount!

How do the online group classes through Ma Yoga Living compare with your private classes?

In our view, childbirth education is best done in person if at all possible. Our private in-home classes are wonderful for parents who really want to dig into the details of preparing for birth, breastfeeding, and life with a newborn. The curriculum for these classes is drawn from Birthing From Within practices, general childbirth education wisdom, and our own experience as doulas and educators. These classes are 2-3 hours each and involve information, demonstrations, coping skills practices, and lots of conversation. 

Our online course through Ma Yoga, Empowering Birth, is based on Ma Yoga's 5 Sacred Steps. Classes are held through Zoom calls so parents can connect with us and the other class participants in real time. Parents can join the calls from the comfort of home (or whatever quiet place they can find). These classes are only 1 hour long, so there is  much less time for in-depth discussions compared with our private classes. These sessions include basic information on each topic with some Q&A as time allows. Since classes are online, there is much less we can do in the way of actually practicing hands-on coping skills, labor positions, comfort measures, etc. 

Bottom line: The online classes are great for a glimpse into some of these BIG topics (birth plans, stages of labor, how to choose support people who are in alignment with your goals and values, coping tools, labor positions, technology of birth, and postpartum preparation). But if you're looking for deeper exploration, in-person private classes are probably a better fit for you. The Ma Yoga series is brief and does not replace other forms of in-person childbirth education.

Another option: Q&A Session

Orange County birth class dad kissing baby

If none of the class options above are speaking to 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: $150 for a private 2-3 hour session in your home

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 both members of a couple have a chance to practice together, ask questions, and take another step with one another on the way to meeting their 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 physically. 

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!

Anaheim birth class pink heart
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

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

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

Our private birth preparation classes are designed for real people

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

Sometimes 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. In a private childbirth class, you'll have the opportunity to engage with us in an intimate setting - your own home! 

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.

Irvine birth class pink heart

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

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. 

Our classes are not "natural birth" classes per se, although some of our clients are planning home births or hospital births 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.

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 in full 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?

Do you offer group childbirth classes?

Not right now. Currently we offer private childbirth education classes in our clients' homes. This allows us the flexibility to schedule classes more conveniently and accommodate individual needs and concerns. 

If you would prefer a group class, contact us and we'll chat.