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Choosing a Childbirth Class

To help you find the right course, ask:

How many couples will be in the class? No more than five or six is best, so the teacher can give you one-on-one attention. Steer clear of any class with ten or more couples.

How often does it meet? Classes generally begin around the sixth month and run six to eight weeks. But a shorter, intense course may be best if you're pressed for time.

How do you describe labor pain? If the teacher's answer includes such words as "discomfort," you're talking to someone who'll downplay how tough it can be.

What's the course's perspective on pain medication during labor? Even if you've decided to forgo pain relief, you still should be informed about your options. Make sure that the class also spends some time discussing c-sections in depth.

What role should a husband play? Whether your partner wants to be a coach or to wait it out on the sidelines, the program should match both of your expectations.