Get prepared, build community.

You know that birth is big, and you want to be prepared for a great experience — as natural as possible.  We've got you! Our natural birth class is fun, interactive and evidence-based.

natural birth class in kalamazoo

You know that birth is big and you want to be prepared for a great experience — as natural as possible.
We've got you! Our natural birth classes are fun, interactive and evidence-based.

What do we mean by 'natural birth'?

Throughout time, parents around the world have given birth naturally, without interventions. We believe that birth still works. Our childbirth class focuses on "natural birth," which some people like to call unmedicated birth or physiologic birth. We spend eight weeks exploring the ins and outs of what to expect in labor and how to stack your deck for a great experience.

Modern technology can be very helpful when it's truly needed, even lifesaving. But our system is out of balance. When interventions are used too often, they can actually make birth more difficult and complicated. Our cesarean rate in the United States is 32 percent (really? do a third of us truly need major surgery to give birth?). Many hospitals have epidural rates upward of 80 percent. Inductions are common. If you want a physiologic birth in our system, it takes some work. We'll teach you how birth works and how you can work within the system to meet your goals. Our students often include first-time parents, VBAC families, and even second- or third-time moms who just want learn more and a different experience this time.

Our greatest hope is that you have an informed, centered birth experience that leaves you feeling strong, happy and connected to your baby. Sometimes birth (and life) can throw us some curveballs. We'll prepare you with questions and decision making tools so that if you do need interventions, you will feel good about your choices. We celebrate every birth, even the ones with lots of unexpected twists and turns.

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Hear from some birthing parents who've taken our class.

What to expect from our natural birth class:

  • Evidence-based information.

    As a Lamaze-certified childbirth educator and a Lamaze trainer, your instructor Jessica English is up to date on all of the latest evidence-based information about birth. How far before or after your due date will you likely go into labor? What are the pros and cons of pain medication? Is having a big baby really an evidence-based reason to be induced? We've got the scoop.

  • Fun, interactive learning.

    This is not a boring, lecture-style class. You'll be moving, collaborating, interacting and engaging through our time together. That makes the learning a lot more fun, and it makes the information a lot more likely to stick with you when it counts.

  • The inside scoop on all of your options.

    Our class isn't affiliated with a hospital, or a particular doctor or midwife. We have positive relationships with those folks, but we work only for you. That means we can give you solid, evidence-based information, and not just "policy." You deserve to know all of the possibilities and your right to informed consent or refusal, so you can make the best choices for you and your baby. 

  • A big toolbox of comfort measures and coping.

    Some childbirth traditions just give you one major coping tool, like hypnosis or deep relaxation. Our class offers a wide variety of options so that you can choose what works best for you, in the moment. Relaxation, visualization, hypnosis, counterpressure, massage, water, movement… What really works, and exactly how are they used?

  • Prepping your birth partner.

    Who's on your support team going into this birth? Birth partners are just as important in this class as the parent who's giving birth. Your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, a friend or the baby's grandma — they can all be amazing birth partners. We'll help your support person know how to help you, understand how they might work on a team with a doula (if you have one), and feel confident going into this big unknown. 

  • Informed choice and mindfully changing plans.

    There are so many things you can do to stack the deck to have the birth you want. But even with the best laid plans, sometimes birth throws a curve ball. Along with teaching you the deck-stackers, we'll help you know what questions to ask if an intervention is suggested. And if you need to turn the corner and focus on plan B (like an induction, epidural or cesarean birth), we'll help you prepare for a positive experience, no matter what the circumstances.

  • A cozy environment.

    Our teaching space feels a lot more like a living room than a traditional classroom. We have cozy carpet, backjack chairs and regular chairs, tea and comfortable lighting. Just like we want you to be nurtured in labor, we like to nurture you through class. Come hang out, it's a nice place to spend some time. Learning online with us due to Covid? Great, you can be in your very own cozy, comfy place, but still connected with other families. Virtual classes are working out beautifully, with all the usual connection and engaged learning.

  • Breastfeeding + fourth trimester classes included.

    We've rolled some of the best education into one class. You'll get six weeks of birth class, a week of breastfeeding, and a full class session on preparing for (and thriving through) the first few months after baby arrives — from recovery to identity and relationships. Including these classes inside our series honors your busy life, and also helps you prepare not just for a great birth, but for a beautiful time afterward with your baby. Families need so much in those tender months after a little one comes, and no other Southwest Michigan birth class honors that time the way we do.

  • Eight weeks, to give you time to process.

    If you want a quick class that includes a lot of information in a short time, this is not the series for you. We're invested in running a class that helps you thoroughly understand birth and that gives you the techniques you need. That takes time, especially if you're interested in an unmedicated birth. We give you plenty of time to learn hands-on, think about it, talk about it together, come back, ask questions, and go the next level deeper. The length of this series gives us the time to teach families all the tools we've found help them most.

  • Community.

    The group experience is such an important part of our classes. You'll spend time getting to know other great couples, who usually have a similar philosophy on birth and parenting. Some families are seeing doctors, others midwives. Some of our students are planning hospital births, others will have their babies at home. We believe in learning from each other, supporting each other, and building community. Many classes meet up for a reunion after all the babies are born, plus playdates and other get-togethers. We love seeing families build community — it's so helpful through those early parenting years.

This is what support people (birth partners) have to say.

There are two main types of parents who join our classes:

1

People having their first baby. We love helping you prepare for this new experience. It's a sweet and important time in your life. Your first birth sets the stage for all your future births.

2

Parents who didn't have a great birth experience last time. Maybe it was a cesarean, or medication you had hoped to avoid. We love sharing new tools to help you this time around.

Every family is welcomed and celebrated in our space, including LGBTQIA+ parents. Let us know how we can support you.

TAKE A LOOK INSIDE ONE OF OUR CLASSES.

Fun. Interactive. Relevant to your birth. 

natural birth class in kalamazoo
birth class activity kalamazoo
1/31/17 - Kalamazoo, Michigan: Birth Kalamazoo Class. © Chris McGuire Photography.
sharing with partner birth class kalamazoo
massage for childbirth kalamazoo
11/22/16 - Kalamazoo, Michigan: Birth Kalamazoo Class. © Chris McGuire Photography.
11/22/16 - Kalamazoo, Michigan: Birth Kalamazoo Class. © Chris McGuire Photography.
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Taught by one of Southwest Michigan's most experienced childbirth educators.

Hey, I'm Jessica English. I've been teaching childbirth classes in Kalamazoo for more than 17 years. It's my passion and my life's work — I love sharing evidence-based information in creative ways to help families get ready for centered, empowered births.

I started off teaching Bradley Method classes in Kalamazoo, but a few years in, I found that Bradley wasn't quite the right match for me. I wanted to expand my classes outside the Bradley Method philosophy and soften some of the hard edges of their program. So back in 2008, I transferred my certification to Lamaze International and wrote my own curriculum in keeping with the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices (which are amazing, by the way, and no funny breathing patterns either).

Here's a little more about me:

  • Lamaze-certified childbirth educator
  • Lamaze program director and trainer, which means I train nurses and doulas to become childbirth educators too
  • Hired by hospitals around the state to train nurses in labor support skills
  • One of only 60 DONA International advanced certified birth doulas in the world
  • Birth doula trainer for DONA International
  • Certified postpartum doula with DONA International
  • Frequent speaker at conferences for doulas, childbirth educators and nurses.

There's nowhere else I'd rather be on a Tuesday night than teaching families about birth. I feel invested in every one of my students, and I'm always available to you if you have questions after class ends (more than once over the years, I've even had a student call or text in labor). My class is constantly changing as information evolves, as I attend births and as I learn creative new teaching techniques.

I'd love to help you get ready for your birth.

Jessica English Lamaze Trainer

Covid-19 update

Our intention is to meet in person in 2023, but we're also prepared to go virtual in case of a big spike in Covid-19 cases (preferably for just a few classes of the series). We're asking families to stay flexible but we also anticipate that in-person classes are the way forward from here. If we do have to go virtual, don't worry! We've mastered the art of creative, fun, interactive teaching in the virtual space.

Ready to get signed up?

Our classes often fill early, so we encourage you to sign up as soon as you can.

2023 Classes

An 8-week series
Tuesday nights, 6 - 8:30 p.m.

Each series includes six classes of
childbirth ed, a breastfeeding class
and a final class on the 4th trimester

March 7 - April 25, 2023
intended in-person
* FULL AND CLOSED

May 9 - June 27, 2023
intended in-person

July 18 - September 5, 2023
intended in-person

September 26 - November 21, 2023
NO CLASS ON HALLOWEEN
intended in-person

Can't make Tuesdays? Finding us too late to fit in a full series?
Check out our private classes or express class

Combined series (birth, breastfeeding + 4th trimester)

Eight-week series

$325
  • Our eight-week series includes six weeks of birth class, a week of breastfeeding and one week of fourth trimester/postpartum education. Pay in full or make a $150 deposit when you register.

For low-income families who receive WIC, we can offer a partial scholarship for the eight-week series from our "Fund for All." Please email info@birthkalamazoo.com for all the details.

Register and reserve your space

Fill out the form below and make your deposit or full payment. Questions? Email jessica@birthkalamazoo.com.

I'm looking forward to having you in class!
-Jessica

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