10 Reasons to Take an Independent Birth Class

by Jenny Everett King, Childbirth Educator and Certified Yoga Teacher

1. Independent Childbirth Educators work for you. We are not obligated to support anyone’s procedures, or to ensure that our material agrees with hospital policy. That means you get unbiased, research-based information, not someone else’s agenda.

2. We’re specialists. Independent Childbirth Educators specialize in birth, not medicine. Hospital classes are often taught by medical professionals with secondary training in birth education.

3. You get the tour anyway. Many people choose to take classes at the hospital where they plan to deliver, because the class includes a tour of the maternity ward. However, most hospitals offer these tours apart from a childbirth series as well.

4. We trust your body. The fact that you are pregnant is excellent evidence that your body works, and works well. You deserve to get your information from sources who recognize this simple fact.

5. We have a wide demographic of students. You won’t just get the perspective of parents who have chosen the same care provider, hospital, or birth method that you have. You will have the opportunity to hear about other choices and get information on options you may not have considered. Fellow expectant parents are a great resource!

6. We recognize birth as a whole-person experience. We discuss the emotional and spiritual aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, not just the physical process.

7. We understand natural medicine. We can give you unbiased, well-researched information that you may not get from a mainstream source, including facts about vaccines, attachment parenting, and natural solutions for common pregnancy and birth concerns. (Healing Hands Chiropractic Family Wellness Center has practitioners on-site who treat sciatica, heartburn, breech presentation, and post-dates pregnancy, among other things.)

8. We support conventional medicine when it’s used appropriately. We’ll tell you honestly about situations where there may be a need for it, and when it’s just part of the protocol. Most importantly, we’ll help you know the difference.

9. We know that birth is an experience you help create and not something that just happens. Independent Childbirth Educators give you the tools to make the decisions that are right for your birth, your family, and your baby. We don’t teach you our way, we help you determine your way.

10. We LIKE birth! Independent Childbirth Educators know that giving birth can truly be enjoyable. We didn’t get into this field for the paycheck; we got here because we recognize (and have often experienced) the inherent power, mystery, and beauty of giving birth. Birth is not some arduous, joyless trial to overcome, but a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for ecstasy and empowerment. Wouldn’t you prefer to learn about birth from someone who will teach you how you can enjoy it?

Birth Your Way

“What do you think of your body?”

It’s a question that elementary school children have been asked recently, in hopes of shedding light on the body image crisis. But it’s also a question that every woman of childbearing age should ask herself – and most do, albeit unconsciously.

Medical anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd writes that a woman’s choices regarding her birth often reveal her deepest beliefs about the abilities of her body, and by extension, her beliefs about nature and technology. A woman who believes that nature has made her body powerful and capable will choose a birth with minimal interventions – a labor that begins spontaneously and is allowed to progress without interference. A woman who believes that technology is superior to nature and that medical knowledge is superior to natural (and often unpredictable) body processes will choose a more “controlled” birth, where the labor process is carefully monitored and perhaps managed by outside influences. Even if the type of birth is not consciously chosen in advance – in fact, it rarely is – these same belief systems are often evident in a mother’s choice of care provider (midwife or OB/GYN) as well as the location for her baby’s birth (home, birth center, or hospital).

Of course, many women begin pregnancy unsure of what they believe regarding medical technology and its relationship to nature. The attitude of today’s average expectant mother could be summed up like this: She wants to believe that a natural, low-intervention birth is safe, realistic, and worthwhile. But by the middle of her pregnancy, she has heard, read, and viewed so many birth horror stories, she is no longer confident in her body’s ability to birth without the “safeguards” of modern medicine. She likely still hopes for a normal birth, but has taken on more of a “wait and see” approach to her birth plan.

Several studies indicate that a mother’s level of satisfaction with her baby’s birth is only loosely related to the choices that were made, but very closely related to the mother knowing she played an active role in making those decisions. A mother who feels pressured to submit to an intervention she would prefer to avoid (or even a mother who feels she was denied an intervention she wanted) is often left feeling very dissatisfied with her birth experience.

Regardless of the decisions she makes, every mother deserves to give birth with confidence in her choices. Just as the physical work of pregnancy reaches its climax with labor and birth, much of the intellectual and emotional work of pregnancy is to be informed and stay confident. Pregnancy and childbirth classes are an excellent way to get information. The face-to-face interaction with childbirth professionals as well as with other parents gives both the mother and her birth partner the chance to ask questions and explore their beliefs about a natural pregnancy and birth. Most importantly, birth classes encourage dialogue between the mother and her birth partner. (This is often a more effective source of communication than handing your husband or boyfriend a copy of the latest pregnancy book and then wondering if he’ll actually read it.)

Prenatal yoga classes offer pregnant women another opportunity to increase confidence in their birth choices, no matter what they are. Yoga’s emphasis on “tuning in” to the self helps a woman build confidence in her intuition. Pregnancy hormone jokes aside, Woman’s Intuition is not cutesy sitcom fodder but in fact a powerful and valuable player during pregnancy and birth. For many women of childbearing age, the value of intuition has gone the way of body confidence: we lost it in early adolescence. Pregnancy is an opportunity to reconnect with both.

Not sure what you want for your birth? Be honest with yourself. Do research. But most importantly, practice tuning in to your deepest thoughts and feelings. With time, you will begin to discover the choices that are best for you and your baby.

Healing Hands Chiropractic offers a number of prenatal care services to help you have the healthiest pregnancy and birth. In addition to pregnancy and childbirth workshops, we offer prenatal yoga, prenatal chiropractic care (including the Webster Technique), prenatal massage, reiki, and acupuncture.


LONDONDERRY, NH – Healing Hands Chiropractic, A Family Wellness Center in Londonderry, NH announces additional prenatal education services. Healing Hands’ prenatal education program now offers two distinct classes: Celebrating Your Pregnancy, for women in their first or second trimester along with their partners; and Honoring Your Birth, for women in their third trimester and their birth partners.

The Honoring Your Birth series is based on a philosophy called “woman-centered birth,” in which the needs and desires of the laboring mother are the foundation of her perinatal care. Class material is based on the ALACE childbirth education curriculum, which emphasizes informed decision-making and a holistic approach to childbearing. Topics covered in this series include:

  • Physiology of normal birth
  • Understanding medical interventions / Informed decision-making
  • Coping methods for pain, both natural and medical
  • Positions for labor and birth
  • Newborn appearance, behavior and concerns
  • Postpartum family life
  • Breastfeeding & attachment parenting

Healing Hands Chiropractic offers some of the only classes in the greater Manchester and Nashua areas that are not affiliated with a specific hospital. This independence allows them to work for you, the parent, rather than an institution. While some hospital-sponsored birth classes may cost a bit less, parents can benefit significantly from the independent nature of these classes.

Classes are available in weekday evening or Saturday afternoon formats. The cost for either series is currently discounted to $99 per family (regularly $150). Upcoming class dates are Wednesdays, April 8th through May 6th, 6:30-8:30 pm; and Saturdays, April 18th and 25th from 12-5 pm.  For more information, please call 603-434-3456 or email Jenny Everett King at jenny@healinghandsnh.com.

Also available at Healing Hands Chiropractic are prenatal chiropractic care (including the renowned Webster Technique), prenatal yoga, pregnancy massage, and childbirth education. For more information on Healing Hands Chiropractic, please visit www.HealingHandsNH.com