A lot of mamas understand that birth education is a good idea before labor and delivery but are interested in finding free childbirth classes if at all possible.
This could be because of your budget, or maybe because you’re just not ready to hand over the money for a full-blown course right now.
You see, here in the U.S. society often sends the message that childbirth education isn’t necessary. This is why an estimated 2/3 of women birth without ANY form of birth education.
But at Mommy Labor Nurse, we really want to change the narrative surrounding this!
Because while your baby is going to come out of you one way or another, research shows that comprehensive, high-quality birth education improves birth outcomes significantly!
Here we’re going to unpack free childbirth classes, take a look at some of the free options available, discuss reimbursement/coverage for paid classes, and more.
- Free childbirth classes
- Free online childbirth classes vs. paid online birthing classes
- Where to find free childbirth classes
- Are paid childbirth classes covered by HSAs/FSAs or insurance?
- Other ways to help with the cost of an online birth class?
Free childbirth classes
As a labor and delivery nurse and the founder here at Mommy Labor Nurse, I’ve helped tens of thousands of mamas have an even better birth in my bedside practice, with my Instagram posts and blog articles, inside of my Free Birth Preparation Workshop, and in my full online birth classes.
Like I said in the intro, changing the narrative on birth education is super important to me – because I know what the power of education can bring to your birth.
For all these reasons, I’m so glad you’re researching birth education!
Free childbirth classes often don’t carry the depth or personalization of a paid class, but they CAN do an excellent job of removing some of the unknowns surrounding birth and uncovering what you do need to know.
We’ve all heard the saying: “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and I think birth is a really great example of this (and probably why so many don’t do ANY form of education).
If nothing else, a free childbirth class is definitely going to help you realize how much there is to know, and prepare you with some foundational knowledge and tools ahead of your birth.
Related Reading: Are Birth Classes Necessary
Free online childbirth classes vs. paid online birthing classes
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest differences between a paid class and a free childbirth class.
For the most part, free online childbirth classes are much shorter than paid alternatives. For example, Mommy Labor Nurse’s birth classes include over 10 hours of video content plus 2 hours of newborn education.
Whereas Pampers free birth class is a little over an hour, and our Free Birth Education Workshop is around 50 minutes.
Depth of education
Because of the discrepancy in lengths, you simply cannot get the depth of education in a free class as you can in a paid class. Free birth classes often do a great job of going through the stages of labor on a basic level and explaining generally what to expect.
What you won’t get are the detailed techniques and tools to help you cope with the pain of labor or the deep dives into medical pain interventions that may be a part of your journey.
This often leaves mamas unsure of how to navigate things like medical inductions, epidural placement, preterm labor, unplanned C-sections, and more.
Generalization of education
Similarly to the depth, free birth classes almost exclusively talk about vaginal birth from a generalized/broad perspective. One of the biggest benefits of a paid class is that you can choose a birth class that is tailored to your unique needs and goals.
This is why Mommy Labor Nurse offers Birth It Up: The Natural Series, Birth It Up: The Epidural Series, and Birth It Up: The C-Section Series. This way every mama can get detailed info related to their goals!
Interactive elements and supplemental materials
Often paid online birth classes contain an interactive element – such as a private Facebook group -where mamas can connect with each other, asks questions of the moderators, share their birth stories, and experience a sense of community (even virtually!).
They also often include printables, eBook versions of the course content, and other supplemental materials and resources.
Free classes that I’ve seen do not include these benefits.
Free childbirth classes come with advertisements, it’s that simple. For example, Baby Center’s free childbirth class videos are a series of 50 videos between 3 and 5 minutes all with video ads at the start and heavy branding throughout.
Similarly, free birth classes are often hosted in browsers surrounded by other content and ads, on YouTube, or in a webinar format that does not allow for rewinding or fast-forwarding, which can be frustrating.
With a paid class, you will usually access the content through an online learning platform that is optimized for the experience. You won’t deal with ads, you can fast forward and rewind as much as you want, your place will be held in terms of what you’ve completed, and you can even cast it up on to your smart TV!
Lastly, I think it’s important to mention that no free online birth class that I’ve found comes without motives. Some are clearly monetized by ads, others are meant to entice you into a paid version, and some exist to capture your email address for future marketing potential when baby arrives (I’m looking at you Pampers…).
Where to find free childbirth classes
A quick Google search will show you that there are a LOT of online childbirth classes out there, and many platforms offer free resources in addition to their paid offerings.
You might also be able to find free birth-related workshops at your local libraries, birth centers, or even the labor and delivery unit at your hospital. Similarly to free online classes, you can’t expect these to be in-depth offerings, but they may teach you some specific pain-coping strategies or an overview of birth.
Mommy Labor Nurse’s free birth class and other free birth resources
Birth education is something that all pregnant women deserve, and that’s why here at Mommy Labor Nurse we do try to put out as much free content as we can in addition to our paid classes.
Education = a more positive experience, and every mama needs that!
Here’s a look at what we have to offer:
- Free Video Workshop: 3 Must-Know Secrets to an Even Better Birth
- Free Birth Prep Packs
- Free Trimester Prep Packs
- Free Video Workshop: Making the Most of Your Prenatal Care
- Free Weekly Pregnancy Series: Tips and info tailored to your EXACT week of pregnancy
Are paid childbirth classes covered by HSAs/FSAs or insurance?
So while we’re chatting about free birth classes – have you considered the possibility of your paid class being covered by insurance or HSA? Because there’s a good chance that it is!
FSA/HSA reimbursement for birth classes
Many FSAs and HSAs will reimburse the cost of your birth class so that it is paid for by your pre-allocated, pre-tax dollars. While this doesn’t make it free – it does at least mean you can use the money you already allocated for healthcare-related spending.
There are some discrepancies between plans and birth classes you are taking, so definitely call your rep to be sure!
All three versions of the Mommy Labor Nurse online birth classes are most often eligible.
Insurance coverage for birth classes
As far as insurance coverage, this isn’t quite as much of a blanket statement as HSA/FSA reimbursement. This is because insurance coverage of birth classes isn’t as common.
But more and more insurance companies are at least partially reimbursing people for their birth education, so it’s definitely worth looking into your benefits.
In either case, you will need an itemized receipt of your birth class purchase and sometimes a course descriptor. The entity that hosts your class should be able to provide this at your request.
Other ways to help with the cost of an online birth class?
To wrap up this article, I want to remind you that birth classes or other types of parent/baby education classes are a wonderful addition to your registry!
I’m sure your loved ones would be happy to gift you with education and peace of mind (plus a cute onesie 😉).