Imagine if someone just tapped you on the shoulder and said, “Here’s your baby,” handing you a fragile, helpless newborn. Uh, what? You would need a little more time to prepare, right? You would need to get your mind in the game. You would at least need to get in the mindset of motherhood.
Pregnancy, birth and motherhood are a journey.

You don’t just skip a period and end up with a baby in your arms. Everything happens gradually, and it works that way for a reason: It helps you transition into motherhood. Birth is the same way. If you simply popped into the hospital and chose your baby, how would you prepare to connect with that baby, to find support for the challenging times, or to manage all those sleepless nights?

No matter what kind of birth you want, a birth during which you connect with your partner and your baby, one during which you feel in control and supported, can help you transition more easily into parenthood. When my kids wake up a million times at night, cry for hours at a time, or do something equally as normal but just as frustrating, I remember all the time I prepared for their birth and the hours I spent with their father, focusing on the children that we were about to meet, and it makes it so much easier.

If I had missed that experience and someone had just handed me a kid one day, I might be tempted to give them back. (Probably a good reason why I wouldn’t be a great adoptive parent too, I might add). A good childbirth class can help you prepare not only for labor and delivery, but for parenthood.

Here are seven reasons you should take an independent childbirth class:
1. Far more mothers are exposed to childbirth through TV shows than through childbirth education classes. (Are you planning on pushing out a 10-month-old-sized baby in a hospital gown under glaring white lights?)
2. More than 70% of women who take childbirth classes say the classes give them more confidence in their ability to give birth. (Since that baby has to come out somehow, you might be able to use an extra dose of that confidence right about now).
3. A major factor in a woman’s birth satisfaction is a feeling of being in control. (How can you feel in control if you feel like you’re at the mercy of your doctor or the hospital’s policies?) 4. Knowing what to expect provides a sense of control, and women who feel more in control of their births transition more easily into motherhood. (Anything to make those sleepless nights easier!)
5. You won’t just learn about hospital policies and procedures; you’ll learn the facts and focus on what all of your options are. (No one is going to tell you what to do!)
6. A smaller class size means that you have time to ask all of your questions. (You know, all those that you forget during your appointments, or the ones your care provider doesn’t always have time to answer?)
7. Did you know that common practices followed by doctors are not always medically necessary? For example, in low-risk births, continuous use of the electronic fetal monitor (EFM) has not been shown to improve outcomes, and it has been shown to lead to more unnecessary C-sections. However, medical professionals subject at least 85% of laboring women to continuous EFM. (Is that the option you would choose, knowing that it can only increase your risk of major surgery?)