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About Joyful Birth Classes

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What topics do your classes cover?
A comprehensive childbirth course designed for couples, the classes cover

  • pregnancy health including exercise, nutrition, and prenatal care options

  • understanding the physical process of labor as well as the emotional and hormonal aspects of labor

  • how to work with your body during labor

  • relaxation

  • comfort measures for labor

  • positive communication with your birth partner and with your care provider

  • the role and needs of the birth partner

  • variations, complications, and unexpected situations in labor

  • childbirth options and creating a birth plan

  • basic breastfeeding information

  • the postpartum period

  • newborn care and choices


How long are the classes?

Joyful Birth classes include 10 class sessions over 9 weeks. The first eight sessions are held weekly from 6:00-8:30 pm or 6:30-9:00 pm (depending on location), with a final double-session class on a Saturday afternoon with a 30-minute break between sessions. Upcoming series can be found on my home page. 

How up to date is the material in your classes?
Joyful Birth classes draw upon the wisdom of pioneers and leaders in natural childbirth, the latest research in the field, and experience with current birth options available here in the Rochester and Finger Lakes area. This provides birthing persons and their partners the information they need to birth with knowledge and confidence.

Do I need to bring a support person?
It is not required that you bring a birth partner with you to class. I do suggest however that if there is anyone you plan to have with you at the birth, that person attend as many of the classes with you as possible. This is most often your life partner, but it can also be a family member or close friend that you know you can look to for emotional support and who will respect your wishes and advocate for them. It could also be your doula. Much of the material in the class is designed specifically for birth partners and co-parents, and partners are often the biggest fans of Joyful Birth classes after taking them, even if they were hesitant about childbirth classes at first!

How big are your classes?
My classes are limited to eight couples to ensure time to address questions that arise and to contribute to an intimate atmosphere, allowing you to get to know your fellow students. I also offer private classes, with limited availability. Contact me if you would like more information about private sessions.

What if I already know I want to use pain relievers in labor?
Joyful Birth classes are designed to give couples working toward unmedicated birth the information and skills they need to reach this goal. This does not mean that you won’t benefit from the classes if you do decide to use medication in labor. The exercises and nutrition information will go a long way towards ensuring an easier labor, a healthier mom, healthier baby, and easier recovery. In addition, you and your partner will benefit from the communication exercises, labor rehearsals, and birth videos. There may be a difficult point in your labor when you have not yet received pain medication. At this time, the relaxation techniques and non-pharmacological comfort measures you have learned will be most beneficial. The emphasis is on a joyful, informed birth experience, and providing the laboring woman with many techniques to avoid pain medications and unnecessary interventions, without passing judgment when interventions are used out of necessity or personal choice.

How much does all this cost?
The cost for the class series is $350. There may be some discounts available depending on your health insurance company. I am able to accept payment via checks, cash, or credit cards – including HSA cards.

If $350 seems like a large investment, please keep in mind that it works out to only $35 per class session. Although labor and birth are discussed in every class, there are two classes that focus on prenatal health and options to help you make choices that lead to better birth outcomes, six classes on labor, and two classes that cover the postpartum time, newborns, and breastfeeding. It’s like taking three classes in one comprehensive class series, with plenty of time to get to know your instructor and fellow students, opportunities to have your questions answered, and enough time to practice the techniques that will make a real difference in your labor and birth experience.

What exactly is included in the class fee?
In addition to the 24 hours of instruction you will receive a workbook, handouts pertaining to the topics addressed, access to my lending library – including videos, and unlimited phone and email consultations, even during your birth. After your class series is finished, you are welcome to attend “refresher” classes during the following series up until your baby is born. I also host “birth circle” meetings where former students can share their birth experiences with their classmates and with current students.

What if we can’t afford the class fee?
Because I feel that the information in my classes is very important, it is my desire that no one be excluded from the classes for financial reasons. Therefore, I am willing to work out payment arrangements with the balance being paid in full by class 4, and accept barters for the class fee, if payment in full by class one would not be possible for you. I also offer an income-based sliding scale. Please contact me to discuss these options if needed. The classes are not pro-rated, so the full fee is always due, even if you miss a class. If I need to cancel a class due to illnesses or attending a birth, I will schedule a make-up class.

Does it matter where or with whom I am birthing?
No. My classes support birth in any location, with any type attendant, with an emphasis on the couple making informed choices they are comfortable with. Throughout the series, you will see videos portraying births in hospitals, birth centers, at home, and with doctors and midwives.

Will you be available to come to our birth?
I do offer doula services, as a separate service from my childbirth classes, and for an additional fee. Depending on availability, I may or may not be able to be your doula. Please contact me if you are interested in my doula services, or if you would like me to refer you to any of the other excellent doulas in our area. Even if I am not your doula, I am available for phone support during your labor.

Why are the classes so long?
Many childbirth methods offer a shorter series, but it takes time to absorb all of the material taught. It also requires adequate time to practice the relaxation techniques, which will be so vital in your labor. The exercises and nutrition information are best put to use as early in pregnancy as possible. In addition, there is so much information presented about choices in childbirth, that many couples go on to make changes in their original birth plans, or even switch birth location or care provider to a more labor-friendly one. The earlier you learn this information, the easier it is to make changes, if desired.

I do sometimes offer a shorter full series for couples who will not be able to fit in the nine weeks before their due date. This is generally for people in special circumstances or who find out about the classes late in pregnancy. I also offer options for couples looking for refresher courses. Please contact me for more information.

I wanted to sign up for a particular class, but I forgot all about sending in the deposit and now the first class has passed. What do I do?
Don’t worry! Just contact me, and in most cases you can jump into the series late, as long as it’s before class 3. I may be able to schedule a make-up class to cover material from the classes you’ve missed, or you may be able to make these classes up with another teacher in the area.

Still not sure whether Joyful Birth classes are for you? Attend Class 1 at no charge and no obligation. If you like what you see and hear, sign up for the series any time before Class 2. Contact me to make arrangements to attend Class 1 at no charge.

Class by Class Summary

This is a very general outline of what is covered during the Joyful Birth childbirth class series. Each class includes relaxation practice and information about nutrition, exercise, the partner’s role, and positive communication. Some classes include a video.


Class meets for 8 weeks at the designated time, then the final two sessions are generally held on the following Saturday afternoon with a break between. Check the details of a specific series by clicking on the series on our home page.


Class 1: Healthy Pregnancy - Exercise and Nutrition

  • Introduction to Joyful Birth classes

  • Exercise for comfort and health during pregnancy

  • Exercises to prepare for labor

  • Pregnancy Nutrition


Class 2: Healthy Pregnancy - Prenatal Options/The Role of the Birth Partner

  • Informed decision-making

  • Choices during pregnancy

    • Prenatal testing options

    • Your choice of care provider is important

    • Birth place options

  • Physical changes in pregnancy

  • Introduction to the birth partner's role​

Class 3: Understanding Labor - First Stage

  • Overview of stages of labor

  • Signs of Labor

  • First stage labor

    • The emotions of labor

    • How the body works

    • Working with your body

    • Support during first state


Class 4: Understanding Labor – Second and Third Stage

  • Transition and Second stage labor

    • The urge to push

    • How the body works

    • Working with your body

    • The baby’s role

    • Support during transition and second stage

  • Third stage labor

  • The hormones of labor

Class 5: Understanding Labor - Variations and Complications

  • Variations and complications in labor

    • Ways variations may be handled naturally

    • True complications in childbirth

  • Emotional influences – preparing for “what if?”

Class 6: Understanding Labor - Interventions and Natural Techniques

  • Common interventions in labor – pros, cons, and natural alternatives, including:

    • Pain medication​

    • Labor induction and augmentation

  • Cesarean surgery and Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC)


Class 7: Creating a Birth Plan/Labor Review

  • Newborn procedures to know before creating your birth plan

  • Creating a birth plan

  • Review of first and second stage labor

  • Conserving energy during a long labor


Class 8: Your New Family – the Postpartum Adventure, Newborns

  • The Babymoon

  • Physical changes in the postpartum period

  • Your newborn

  • Life with baby


Class 9: Your New Family - Breastfeeding

  • Getting started with Breastfeeding

  • How do you know it’s working?

  • Breastfeeding positions

  • Breastfeeding Q&A


Class 10: The Whole House Labor Rehearsal

  • The Whole House Labor Rehearsal - putting it all together. Review and practice the positions and techniques you've learned throughout the class series at "stations," so that you and your partner can use them confidently in labor.

  • Farewell activities


Joyful Birth classes are educational; the information we share is not medical advice, nor can it address every scenario. You must discuss your own personal situation with your care provider.


Informed Beginnings Mission Statement:

Our mission is to educate and empower birthing persons and partners by providing current, evidence-based information for the childbearing year. We teach positive, compassionate classes that strengthen confidence in the process of birth, while respecting the diverse needs and birth plans of our students.


The classes cover the processes of pregnancy, labor, birth (normal birth, variations and complications), breastfeeding, and the postpartum period; good health in pregnancy; options in childbirth; the role and needs of the birth partner; newborn care; informed decision-making; and resources and support.

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