With millions of babies born every year in the United States in hospitals, birth centers and at home, it’s no wonder birthing classes become more popular every day. Well before labor and delivery, family’s concerns, wants and needs trump everything else when a baby is on the way. Philadelphia knows how to serve its mothers, and the city’s best birthing classes cover it all: every nuance, stressor and option a momma could want. Their collective goal: to make birthing a safe, low-stress experience.
The Birth Center
918 County Line Rd.
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Price: $285 for a four-week series
This one-of-a-kind facility has both the look and feel of a bed and breakfast, and even provides a Jacuzzi tub in every birthing room to ease labor. Water births, however, are not an option here. The Birth Center caters only to those low-risk women who want a natural, medication-free child birth outside of a hospital. Consistent with that choice, its child birth class pulls from the best natural birthing methods including Lamaze, hypnobirthing, massage therapy and the Bradley method in preparation for labor, a midwife delivery, baby care and breastfeeding. The emphasis is always on relaxation, and women are encouraged to continue practicing class exercises at home for the duration of their pregnancy. Other classes are also available, including a refresher course for those who have already had a child and a class for siblings.
Blossoming Bellies Holistic Birth Services
South Philadelphia Acupuncture
1532 E. Passyunk Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
606 Carpenter Ln.
Philadelphia, PA 19119
Still Waters Holistic Health Therapies
2428 Brown St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Price: $280 six-week series/$180 three-week series/$155 one-day group or refresher class
Blossoming Bellies offers classes based on the BirthWorks process at three separate locations. All are taught by Brittany McCollum, a certified doula and childbirth educator. Holding to the belief that childbirth is natural to all women, moms-to-be are helped to trust in themselves and their innate ability to give birth. More process than method, BirthWorks blends mind, spirit and body, treating each woman as a unique individual and building her self-confidence and understanding of child birth. These sessions pave the way for a relaxed, pain-free, natural delivery. For an additional charge, a prospective mom may also request doula services with McCollum, who will then lend emotional support during the last week of pregnancy, labor and the birthing process at a location of the mother’s choosing — hospital, birthing center or home — followed by one breastfeeding support visit.
Valley Birthplace and Woman Care
2355 Huntingdon Pike
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
Price: $340 hypnobirthing four-week series/$225 peaceful pregnancy two-week series
Valley Birthplace and Woman Care offers two birthing rooms in a homelike atmosphere, with many of its clients opting for a water birth at the center. The warm water, which mimics the amniotic fluid the developing baby has been floating in, lessens the mother’s body weight, which, in turn, eases contractions and minimizes anxiety. An at-home or in-hospital delivery is also an option, though, and the center is affiliated with Montgomery Hospital which staffers promises is a premier natural birth location. The hypnobirthing, as well as the abbreviated peaceful pregnancy class, are taught by advanced clinical hypnotherapist and registered nurse Leslie Tanner Moore. The underlying focus of these two classes is guided imagery, deep relaxation practice and breathing techniques, along with meditation and self-hypnosis to help ensure a calm, natural delivery. Private classes are also available.
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Carol Josel, a Blue Bell, PA resident, is a learning specialist, author of three books, and examiner.com contributor. Her work can be found here