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Birth Works Class Outline

The following is a brief outline of the 8 week Birth Works Childbirth Preparation Class. A more detailed curriculum outline is in the Birth Works Manual.

The first two classes are very successful in opening up the heart and establishing a close feeling among all those present. Couples immediately learn from these classes that Birth Works is very different from other Childbirth Education Programs. It is here that they can begin to have more trust and faith in their body knowledge that already knows how to give birth. They realize that learning will be enhanced through their participation in discussions and in sharing experiences all led by a trained and experienced Birth Works facilitator. Pelvic bodywork is introduced at the beginning of each class from one through nine. Birth films, music, small group work, and experiential exercises are interspersed throughout the classes making them a place of laughter, joy, learning, and a feeling of what it is like to be in a safe place.

First Class

Feelings, Breath Awareness, Relaxation, Philosophies of Childbirth Identifying feelings, expectations, fears and concerns about birth

Birth Works philosophies and concept of Educare: Serves as a basic introduction to the course and gives others an opportunity to know more about our beliefs of birth in our culture today.

Second Class

Directed breathing, Toning, Pelvic Bodywork, Nutrition, Exercise

Role of good nutrition, exercises, a discussion of upright positions in labor and ibrth, guidelines for indications for a cesarean and uterine dependability.

Third Class

Pelvic Bodywork, Medical Procedures, Human Values in Birth, Place of Birth and Birth Team

Discussion of common diagnostic and labor interventions in terms of the risk-benefit ratio and alternatives to routine use of interventions. Accepting responsibility and taking an active role in birth. Understanding how physicians are trained and the legal pressures that confront everyone. Finding a balance, using interventions only when the benefits outweigh the risks, and most importantly, gain confidence in our ability to birth. The importance of doulas, labor companions, choosing a birth place that feels safe and a birth team that shares a woman’s philosophy of birth. Understanding how the practice of human values improves decision-making and leads to a more positive birth experience.

Fourth Class

Pelvic Bodywork, Identifying and practicing good positions for labor, Obstetrical Analgesia and Anesthesia

Personal and cultural belief systems about pain. The concept of healthy pain. Types of medical pain relief, the risks/benefit ratio and alternatives, birth sounds. Comfort measures for birth.

Fifth Class

Pelvic Bodywork, Belief Systems

Identifying belief systems and attitudes about birth and learning how to change those not conducive to positive birthing. Tools for strengthening positive beliefs about oneself and birth will be explained and practiced.

Sixth Class

Pelvic Bodywork, Grieving and Healing

Discussion of childbearing losses and grieving, followed by grieving exercises and healing visualization. This class is very powerful in demonstrating the influence of our mind and emotions on our physical bodies. Once we are aware of these influences, we can begin to make changes, if desired. When the mind is relaxed, the body will follow. This class takes great strides towards facilitating more normal and natural birth.

Seventh Class

Pelvic Bodywork, Labor and Birth

Labor process and review of comfort measures, working with contractions, labor sounds, conscious birthing, birth visualization, the physiology of birth and role of hormones.

Eighth Class

Postpartum and Breastfeeding

Postpartum care of mother and baby, breastfeeding, parenting, possible visit of parents with newborn baby, closing activity.

Birthing from within


In a Birthing From Within® class, you will learn coping techniques for the intensity of labor, use art to explore the unpredictability and surprising aspects of birth, and prepare for your baby with a fun, multi-sensory class that explores birth as a rite of passage. The creative and multi-sensory, discussion based approach combines compassionate, honest birth preparation with seeing birth from all four perspectives: mother, partner, baby, and culture. 

Birthing From Within exists to inspire and teach expectant and new parents, and those who work with them, to:

* Prepare for birth as a Rite of Passage.
* Understand the power and life-long impact that "birthing from within" offers all participants in birth.
* Co-create holistic prenatal care that is informative, transformative, and builds a foundation for birthing in awareness in our birth culture, whatever the birth location or outcome or events of the birth.
* Prevent or minimize emotionally difficult births (for parents and professionals) through compassionate, honest preparation.
* Honor and use the power of Birth Story telling and listening."

So what does all that mean in class?

Part of the philosophy is being open and receptive to parents' individual needs. The curriculum will be altered based on what parents are needing in the moment, but below is a general outline for how a six week series might go.

Class one includes an introduction to pain coping, breath awareness, stages of labor, including the emotional map of labor and how labor works. The second class includes more pain coping methods, non-focused awareness and ovarian breathing, the body in birth, including posterior labor and optimal fetal positioning and eating in awareness. The third class includes comfort measures and doulas, more pain coping methods, unexpected events and labor tips, Cesarean in awareness and options for Cesarean birth, as well as the compassionate use of drugs and epidurals. The fourth class includes a special class for partners, focusing on his or her need for support, labor etiquette, and his or her postpartum needs. Students have appreciated this focus on the partner as a new parent, and not just as a support person for the laboring woman. The fifth class includes more pain coping methods, pushing, positions for labor and birth, and a new family visit to share their birth story. Finally, the class wraps up with a class focused specifically on postpartum, including the immediate postpartum period, placenta rituals and options, healing, Mama needs and moods, including postpartum depression signs, baby basics, going back to work, and breastfeeding. At the postpartum reunion, we share birth stories, celebrate, check in on how feeding your baby is going, and discuss postpartum moods. 

This general outline is modified for the different formats (2 week intensive, 1 day intensive etc)

What about birth art?

Most childbirth preparation is thinking, reading, and talking about childbirth, looking things up on Google, TV, friends, books, or social media. This is an important way to prepare, but taking time to yourself to be in your right brain and prepare for childbirth in a creative, visual, non-verbal way can also be valuable. We take time in class to tap into the non-verbal mind. In a 6 week class, we might experience the birth art process 2 or 3 times, responding to assignments such as Womb With a View or Birth in Our Culture and learning how to be comfortable in our non-verbal minds, which is a very useful skill for labor. Pastels, art paper and any other art materials, are included in the class fee.

There are a suprising number of parallels between the creative process and birth, which we explore in class.