FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

About Childbirth Classes

About Mothers' Support Groups

What method of childbirth class do you teach?
I am neither a Lamaze nor a Bradley instructor. I trained with the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York. My focus is on the process of birth rather than a particular method. My classes explore a wide variety of pain-coping and labor-coping strategies with an emphasis on each woman identifying the ones most instinctive to her. While the class prepares couples for natural, non-medicated birth, we also cover common interventions, complications and cesarean birth.

Does everyone need to take a childbirth class?
Few of us have had much contact with labor and birth in our culture. Having basic information helps women and partners make informed choices about their care. Understanding the stages of labor and birth - both physical and emotional - can help to reduce fears and anxieties and smooth the way for a more positive experience. Classes also provide an opportunity for women and partners to ask questions, share concerns and create a sense of community around this major life event.

Is childbirth class only for people planning a natural birth?
Childbirth class is for everyone. Birth is essentially unknowable and we need to know our options regardless of our original plan. The woman planning a natural birth may need medical intervention and the woman expecting to have an epidural may find her labor moving in a way that precludes medication. Having adequate information allows us to remain flexible and make informed choices in all situations.

Do partners come to all the classes?
Yes. Partner support is crucial for the breastfeeding mom and newborn care is for everyone!

What is the difference between your class and the one at the hospital?
The quality of a childbirth class depends on two things: the quality of the instructor and the scope of information provided. Many hospital classes use nurses who may or may not have extensive childbirth education training. In addition many hospital-based classes are large, short sessions geared toward preparing clients for the routines and procedures at a particular institution. My classes are smaller, cover more pain-coping techniques and hands-on practice and provide information on a wide range of issues. Because I am an independent childbirth educator with 20 years experience I can offer more personalized teaching and guidance.

What is a typical class size?
My classes are limited to 8 couples.

When should I take my classes?
In a perfect world you would begin your classes at the start of your third trimester of pregnancy so that you would finish about 4 weeks before your due date. However, depending on scheduling and personal preference some couples make take class slightly earlier or later. I am happy to speak with you about any special needs you may have regarding scheduling.

Will my health insurance pay for classes?
Unfortunately, health insurance rarely pays for childbirth classes. However, a written receipt will be provided and can be submitted to your insurer. If you or your partner has a medical flexible spending plan, that should reimburse you in full.

How soon do I have to register?
My classes usually fill up quickly so call as soon as you can. I will send you information on the classes and give you time to decide while I hold a space for you.

What is the best way to contact you?
The best way to reach me is by phone. My number is 718.789.1981. I check my email at least once a day but am more likely to receive phone messages regularly. Plus I like to talk with you!

Do you have another question not shown here?
You can call me at (718) 789-1981 or email me at info@ellenchusechildbirth.com.



Who can come to a Mothers' Support Group or Mothers' Meeting?
These meetings are open to all mothers of babies in the community. Babies are welcome and usually come with their moms, but if you are back to work and want to come by during your lunch hour that's fine too.

Do I have to pre-register?
No. All these groups are drop-in. Come when you can. Some mothers come every week or even several times a week. Others come periodically. All are welcomed.

What happens in the group?
After a period of settling in we do introductions and announcements. These are followed by a facilitated topic and discussion. There is time after the topic for socializing.

Can I bring my lunch?
You are welcome to bring lunch or snacks to the groups.

How do I find out about the topic for the week?
Go to www.bendandbloom.com.

How rigid are the age requirements for my baby?
The age ranges for each group are guidelines only. If you have a baby younger than 9 months who is mobile, you are welcome to try the older baby group.

How much does it cost?
Bend and Bloom asks for a $15 donation.

Can my partner come too?
The Mothers' Support Groups and Mothers' Meetings are women-only to create a safe, comfortable atmosphere for new moms, many of whom are breastfeeding. Women partners and grandmothers are welcome to accompany you.