Technically speaking, you don’t have to take childbirth classes even if you haven’t already had a baby. Women have been having babies as long as there have been women, and childbirth classes are a relatively new thing, in terms of the history of the human race. Having said that, childbirth classes can be an invaluable resource to the woman who has not already had a baby. They go a long way toward answering questions and alleviating fears, and preparing the mom-to-be emotionally and physically.
While you probably don’t need to take a full set of childbirth classes again if you’ve already had a baby, you might consider taking a childbirth refresher course. Childbirth refresher courses are specifically designed for women or couples who have already had a baby, already taken childbirth class during a previous pregnancy, and would just like to have a review of labor and delivery, or who are interested in finding out if there are updated methods or new information available. Childbirth refresher courses typically spend at least a little bit of time comparing first labors and pregnancies with subsequent labors and pregnancies. The classes also will typically review the coaching process. Refresher childbirth classes will go through a basic overview of the stages of labor and the birthing process. They may discuss VBAC (vaginal birth after conception), as well as any updated medical procedures or anesthesia techniques.
Some refresher childbirth classes will spend some time discussing how a new baby will affect the family unit, and how to help your older child or children adjust to having a new baby in the house. As with regular childbirth classes, if the class is being offered by the hospital or birthing center, a tour of the hospital or birthing center may also be included as a part of the childbirth refresher class.
Refresher childbirth classes for parents who have already had a baby are typically much shorter than regular childbirth classes. Regular childbirth classes typically may last between 15 and 20 hours. Refresher childbirth classes are almost always less, lasting from three hours to six hours or so.