Frequently Asked Questions

Childbirth Classes:


What is covered in the childbirth preparation courses?

Classes are tailored to the questions and concerns brought by the couples in class. While this means that no two classes are the same, there are some regular topics that are sure to be covered by the time our sessions end. These include:

  • several pain-coping practices to help support you in labor
  • how labor works
  • stages of labor
  • hormones of labor and how they work 
  • labor etiquette for partners and birth companions 
  • addressing fears and concerns around labor and birth
  • how to make decisions and get information during labor and into new parenthood
  • epidurals
  • cesareans
  • losing it in labor and how doing so can be functional in birth
  • and learning how to keep going even when you don't know what to do next.

There is always more, much more, but this list gives you a sense of what you can expect to learn in a highly engaged and interactive way. Classes are not boring...keep reading the FAQ for more on that!


What's the difference between the six-week series and the two-day immersion classes?

The biggest difference between the two styles of classes has to do with style rather than content. One format is not better or worse than the other. Some parents prefer one over the other due to their unique learning style, schedule, or traffic issues. Here are a few ways to think about each format to help you decide which is better for you.

Six-week Format

The 6-week series is a total of 18 hours spread across 6 individual sessions of 3 hours each allowing for a slow integration process and weekly home practice between the sessions. This format works best for those who like learning in smaller chunks of time with a week between sessions to let the information and experiences settle in. The six-week series is also best for those parents who live or work near the class location and can commit to attending all six class sessions. This format also has a reunion gather after everyone has given birth. 

Two-day Immersion Format

The two-day immersion format is 16 hours (only two fewer than the 6-week course) made up of two 8-hour days. Some educators refer to this format as an intensive and while that can be true, I use the term immersion because this format immerses parents in all things related to birth for two full days. This format works best for those who prefer to learn in a retreat type setting and where participants can focus their entire mind and body on birth and parenthood without having to work a full day prior to class or stay engaged until 9:30 at night. The immersion format is not for those unable to stay engaged over a longer time period. This is a great option for those with challenging or unpredictable work schedules, live farther away and/or have concerns about traffic and who still want to complete an entire program in a more consolidated amount of time. This course usually contains almost identical content as the 6-week series but with one fewer pain-coping practice session. 


How big are your classes?

My classes are usually are between 5-7 couples (once or twice there have been 8 couples due to an unexpected situation, but seven is my usual max). Intimacy is very important for the work that we do and keeping classes small aids in creating a close community feel. In addition, I usually have at least one, if not two, assistants to help with the classes. These individuals are usually newer teachers or local birth professionals who want to learn more about my classes and the methods I use.


Do I have to take other classes in addition to your class or is it enough on its own?

Parents preparing to birth want to be sure to get all the information needed to navigate the unknown. There is a lot to learn and it is important to remember that there are as many ways to birth as there are women birthing. No class can teach you about every possible scenario you could possibly face in labor. However, it is important to learn how to make decisions and keep going even in the face of the unknown and unpredictable aspects inherent in every labor and birth. When you take these classes, you will learn how to get the information you need to make good choices while in labor even regarding previously unknown possibilities. You will learn what you need to know and even more importantly, you will become prepared to face the intensity, power, and unknown aspects of labor and birth with strength, flexibility, and courage. There is no need to take another childbirth class. However, additional classes for parenthood can be helpful, particularly if you feel you need them or just want more information (specifically breastfeeding, baby care, and infant CPR as those topics are not directly covered in Embodica childbirth preparation classes. Recommendations for classes can be found on the "Resources" page). 


What about my partner? They aren't interested in sitting in a boring class.

No one likes a boring class, not parents, not birth professionals, and not me! There are no boring lectures in these classes; instead, classes are engaging, interactive, and fun. Feedback from partners includes things like; "That was so much more than I expected!" and "I found myself looking forward to class each week." Partners, fathers, and moms will all get a lot out of taking these classes! It might be helpful for both parents to read the page for partners and fathers or have a look on the "Praise" page to read more about what partners and fathers say about their experience in classes. For ease, here is a recent testimonial from a dad who attended one of our classes: "Like many first-time fathers, I didn't really know what to expect from a birth class. I imagined it would be an extension of the books I had read. A ton of information thrown at you. Lots of notes. A cram session for the most important test of your life. However, now standing on the other side of it all, here's the thing I've come to realize: birth (and the ensuing transition to fatherhood) is anything but an intellectual pursuit. It's probably the most basic, primitive, animalistic process that humans can experience. So the typical idea of a class doesn't really apply. The most helpful preparation isn't about filling your brain with facts and techniques and guidelines, but rather, learning to tap into the old parts of the brain--the instinctual, emotional core. Unfortunately, many men don't often fully appreciate the emotional journey of birth. We focus solely on the rational, practical process of going from A to B--of just getting through it. And while a basic foundation of knowledge and techniques are certainly covered, this class is really more about building confidence in yourself and in your relationship. It's about becoming strong enough to be able to let go. That might sound a little vague or silly now, but trust me, it's everything. And you can't get it from a book or some trendy birthing method. You have to put in the work--both with your partner and yourself. This is where having a great guide is crucial. Britta is an incredibly well-educated and effective teacher who is great at communicating through interactivity and discussion rather than just lecturing. The group dynamic that developed was such a pleasant surprise. To be able to share your thoughts, concerns, and goals with a group of peers who are going through the same thing is so incredibly valuable. I'm not always the most extroverted person, but I found myself opening up about a lot of things I hadn't even begun to consider previously. The conversations never felt forced or awkward, as Britta is excellent at making everyone feel at ease while also inspiring genuine, deep introspection. I cannot recommend this experience highly enough. It was more than just an education, it was the spark that I needed to begin the journey into fatherhood with confidence and insight. Thanks Britta!" ~Matt: Class participant 2015-2016


Are your classes airy-fairy, touchy-feely, or out-there?

Different, yes. Weird, no. I'm a very grounded, earthy gal who doesn't  like things that lack substance. These classes are full of meaningful substance created and facilitated with the specific purpose of preparing mom, dad, and the relationship between the couple for the journey of labor, birth and new parenthood. You and your partner will work together to prepare deeply for birth. There are no placations or platitudes, nor simply positive affirmations. You will hear the truth about birth here...it is hard work, it can hurt, and women are powerful! These classes will give you what you need to connect with your strength. 


What if I think I might want an epidural? Does that mean your classes are not for me? 

There is no one-way to give birth. There are as many ways to give birth as there are women birthing. I do not espouse a single, best way to birth. What is more important is how you feel about your birth. The journey of labor and birth can be a rite of passage into motherhood and fatherhood regardless of how birth unfolds. These classes prepare you for the unexpected and unpredictable aspects of labor and birth. There are those who know they will use an epidural only to find out they don't have time. And, there are those certain of an unmedicated birth who instead give birth by cesarean. Here you will be prepared to birth strongly regardless of the path your birth takes. Like parenthood, birth doesn't always go exactly as you expect. Deep preparation prepares you not just for the ideal birth, but to be deeply resilient in the face of the unexpected, to learn how to do the next best thing, and to get back up if you fall. These are not just for labor and birth, these are invaluable skills for parenthood and relationship. 


What's this I hear about birth art? I'm not sure that's for me or my husband.

Birth art is not a big part of my classes. While some mentors use a lot of birth art, I do not.  If you are looking to do a lot of birth art or to explore your pregnancy deeply through creative expression, I can guide you to some exercises to do outside of class or work with you privately in a birth art session, but we won't do much in class together.


Do your birth classes have a religious/spiritual leaning?

These classes are non-religious and often highly spiritual for participants. Spirituality is something that is highly personal, deep, and a connection to something of profound meaning for many people. Different religious and spiritual beliefs are all respected in these classes. What gives something spiritual meaning is unique for each individual. Many of the pain coping practices taught are reminiscent of meditation and prayer practices of several of the great wisdom traditions. Classes encourage couples to use their faith as needed and desired, paying attention to what is important to THEM.  For some couples, God is an important player in their birth, and this is not so for others. Neither is wrong in these classes.  On a more specific note, animal (specifically mammalian) aspects of our bodies and how these animalistic characteristics relate directly to birth will be discussed. This is addressed in relation to how wolves, dogs, and cats might birth and what we can learn from our time on farms where experiencing birth was a more regular part of our lives.



Childbirth Education and More
at each of our locations in 
Santa Monica, South Pasadena, and Topanga

 




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