Monday, November 07, 2011

Private Childbirth Classes Cost What???????????????

With a heightened buzz about childbirth education classes lately, one of the biggest questions I receive as a private educator is "why do private childbirth classes cost so much and what is the difference between them and the hospital"?  Whether you are a consumer (currently pregnant) or a professional, I hope this will give insight!

Hospital Based Childbirth Education Classes:
Looking at the average cost of hospital based childbirth education classes, here's what I found: the average hospital based childbirth education class is 8 hours in length (either 4 weeknights of 2 hours each or a weekend class) and cost approximately $65.  These classes have 6-15 couples (or 12 - 30 people) and include hospital policies and procedures and a tour.  Generally, hospital based childbirth education classes are taught by nurses with a knowledge of labor and delivery but who may or may not be certified by national childbirth education organizations. (important note: nursing schools do not included how to be a teacher in the curriculum).

Private or Community Based Childbirth Education Classes:
The nationwide average of private childbirth education classes is 10-12 hours in length, usually at the scheduling option of the consumer and cost approximately $200.  These classes have 1-2 couples (2-4 people) and include a wide variety of evidence-based information.  Private/community classes are taught by certified childbirth educators who may or may not be nurses.

Based on the above information, here are some quick facts:

Either type of class may be taught by someone who is OR is not certified.  It is up to to the consumer to research this.

Hospital classes generally talk about the procedures done at that facility, not the options that the laboring mother has.

Cost ~ those who teach childbirth education in either hospitals or privately make the same amount of money per hour.  Even though hospitals charge $65 per hour (65/8 = $8.12), no nurse is going to teach for nearly minimum age.  Her salary (approx. $25-$32/hour) is subsidized by the hospital and all of her teaching supplies are purchased by the hospital as well.  The educator who teaches privately and charges $200 (200/12 = $16.66) received over $16 per hour but must also purchase any and all of her teaching supplies herself.

Private or community based classes can share the latest national statistics, research and updated information about a variety of topics important to the consumer.  Some hospital educators are actually told to not share evidence based research or statistics if that goes against current hospital policy or procedure.  Such information can include information about risks/benefits of epidural anesthesia, cesarean sections, or the benefits of continuous skin-to-skin contact after birth with mother/baby or the benefits of delayed cord clamping.

What I am NOT saying here is that you will get a better education if you attend a private or community based childbirth education class.  I am also NOT saying that you will receive a tainted or substandard education from a hospital class.  What I AM saying is that you as the consumer need to research the childbirth education options in your community and find out what best suits your needs.  Do you need more information on how to choose childbirth education classes?  Click to this link for a great article with more information!

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