Choosing A Childbirth Education Class


Choosing a Childbirth Education Class

by Wendy Ledesma

Last night Choices in Childbirth hosted an evening of inspiring birth stories and dynamic presentations for this month’s Healthy Birth Choices Workshop: Choosing a Childbirth Education Class. 

Birth Stories

Mandy and Tim shared the story of their son’s birth, which took place at home with the support of a midwife, doula, and Mandy’s mother. Mandy worked hard with contractions coming about 3 minutes apart through more than 20 hours of labor, tackling the challenge of birthing a baby turned in a posterior position. She shared with the many workshop participants that the theme of her birth was “tub heaven,” since the birth tub brought her the most pain relief. Mandy and Tim shared that the Bradley Method childbirth education class they took to prepare for birth taught them helpful techniques for managing labor, including back massage and optimal positioning for labor and birth.

Heather was also present to share the story of her baby’s birth. She had read Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth and knew that she wanted a natural childbirth for her baby. With the support of her husband and a doula to serve as her advocate, Heather labored at home long enough that when she arrived at the hospital she was already fully dilated and ready to birth her baby. She shared that having a strong birth team, which also included a Hypnobirthing teacher, was crucial in providing her with the support she needed. The private Hypnobirthing classes she took at home provided her with tools for deep meditation as she turned inward during labor, which brought her amazing rest between contractions.



Following the telling of birth stories, three very smart, highly experienced childbirth educators offered a sample of their approach to childbirth education.

Bonu deCaires, DONA certified labor doula and childbirth educator, certified through the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York (CEA/MNY) was fabulous, offering a chock-full-o-info labor positions exercise that got participants on their feet and practicing movements for managing labor.

For more information about Bonu deCaires, visit:; for more information about CEA, visit

Allison Walsh, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant presented a Lamaze Collaborative Communications piece around a hypothetical induction, which addressed the first of six Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices, “Let labor begin on its own.” She suggested that participants remember the acronym BRAIN (Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition, and Nothing) to drive conversations with care providers when medical interventions are suggested. Allison emphasized what a wealth of research-based info Lamaze makes available to us all.

For more information about Lamaze, visit

Finally, Chanti Joy Smith, Certified Professional Midwife, Hypnobirthing instructor, and all-around amazingly experienced holistic birth guru, offered a lovely rainbow relaxation exercise and talked about Hypnobirthing. She got a bit short-changed on time, but the feedback in the room was super positive about experiencing Hypnobirthing.

For more information about Chanti, visit:; for more about hypnobirthing, visit

THEN, no one wanted to leave, Choices in Childbirth staff included. Tim (storytelling home birth dad) lead an informal and highly animated men’s group in one corner while the rest of us chatted on and on. The people I spoke with sure seemed to get a lot out of the evening.

Thank you to the 14th St. Y for donating space for the workshop; thank you to Mary Esther Malloy, fabulous Bradley Method childbirth educator and doula for facilitating the meeting (to learn more, visit: and; and a huge thank you to our eager, enthusiastic workshop participants. What a great night!


Thank you to our guest blogger, Wendy Ledesma, a mother, a doula and CiC’s Healthy Birth Choices Workshops Coordinator. To learn more about Wendy, visit her profile on CiC’s Mother-Friendly Provider Network –