You don’t have to, but they can be helpful for first-time parents.
Many hospitals and birth centers offer various classes to help parents prepare for labor, childbirth, breastfeeding, and parenting. While these classes are optional, they can be a great way to learn the basics and meet another group of moms and dads in the same situation as you.
Some women who plan unmedicated births find that classes that teach coping methods for dealing with labor pain are very useful. Others find that breastfeeding classes provide hands-on teaching that is easier to understand than a book. Lastly, newborn care classes (which usually include basic CPR) can be very reassuring for first-time moms and dads or those who haven’t had a lot of experience caring for babies. See what your hospital or birth center offers, and see if any of these may be right for you. But don’t stress if you choose to skip them or they don’t fit in your schedule. There is nothing like on-the-job training!
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, April 2020