Re: What natural childbirth class do you recommend?
I took a live class so I'm not sure how the home study works. I think it's pretty close based on what I've read in the yahoo group for hypnobabies.
Hypnobabies has two parts. Part of it is a birth education class. The other part is learing self-hypnosis as a pain management technique. There is a website to check out. Check out the links or youtube "hypnobirth" and you'll see some amazingly peaceful births.
It is very pro-natural and anti-intervention oriented. Basically discussing that the more intervientions you do the more likely you are to cause a cascade towards c/s. Not all interventions are bad but be aware the more you tinker with mother nature, the more likely you are to interfere with what should happen. But I would say that it's fairly middle of the road in terms of standard medical care.
The basic stuff is there, discussion of diet and avoidance of gest. diabeties, how to write a birth plan, etc. This part of the program is probably not too unique to natural birth oriented classes.
Where it is unique is teaching self-hypnosis. You read scripts and listen to CDs that train you to do self-hypnosis so that you can hypnotize yourself and feel no pain during birth. I did not get this benefit but I hear that a lot of women actually do. I got a lot out of it and am doing it at home for my second birth. Listening to the hypnosis tracks is extremely restful. It does require a big time committment to do the homework. About 1/2 hour a day. I think it's suggested that you start at 30 weeks, the class lasts 6 weeks and then you continue practicing until birth.
Part of it that I really liked is that it tells you that this pregnancy is your birth not your mom's, sister's or friends' and to tune out negativity that others want to bring to your experience. I think it's a really important message that often gets lost during the "war story" sharing of birth. It's part of training you in the philosophy that birth is a normal process that should be approached without fear. There are bunch of tracks related to releasing negativity, focusing on positivity and facing your fears concerning birth.
My only real criticism of the program is that it really doesn't set you up to deal with a birth that goes a lot different than planned and what to do when you actually are feeling pain. I wanted the whole non-interview oriented birth and I ended up having to have an induction. It was really hard to switch gears and I didn't do well going off my plan. But was it the fault of program, probably not.