Childbirth classes 101: The off-base options


Childbirth classes 101: The off-base options

by: Laura Barbour, Japan Birth Resource Network | .
Birth Ed. Center of Okinawa | .
published: February 16, 2016

We all know knowledge is power - especially when it comes to childbirth. One of the most important ways a couple can prepare for pregnancy and birth is to take a childbirth education class. Taking a class helps first time parents get the big picture about birth. There is a vast amount of information floating around and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of information.

Childbirth education classes can allow parents to feel more confident, gain education regarding relaxation techniques including visualization, breathing, relaxation, massage, positions, and standard hospital procedures and to be better prepared. Parents also have the opportunity to socialize with other expectant families.

Besides the local hospital class, there are three off base childbirth class options in Okinawa. Each of these classes are taught at The Birth Education Center (BEC) by various instructors.
Sarah Harre, BS, Breastfeeding Specialist and CD(DONA) teaches “Labor of Love” and describes her class as, “Labor of Love is a 5 week childbirth education class that focuses on essential confidence-building techniques for mother and partner, tips for keeping birth normal, an introduction to normal labor and birth, coping skills and comfort measures, and interventions, informed choice and self-directed advocacy.”

This 5 week class series is 2 to2 1/2 hours in length covering the stages of labor and hormones involved. You will also gain useful tools to develop your birth vision, comfort measures, coping skills and relaxation techniques for labor. You’ll also get a great understanding with education about interventions and ways to best advocate for yourself and baby. This will help you become more aware of all your choices in getting the birth you desire.

Amanda Dodson, HBCE, CD(DONA), teaches Hypnobirthing. “HypnoBirthing - The Mongan Method” is as much a philosophy as it is a technique.  The concept of HypnoBirthing® is not new, but rather a “rebirth” of the philosophy of birthing as it existed thousands of years ago and as it was recaptured in the work of Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, an English obstetrician, who, in the 1920’s, was one of the first to forward the concept of natural birthing.  The method teaches you that, in the absence of fear and tension, or special medical circumstances, severe pain does not have to be an accompaniment of labor.  You will gain an understanding of how the birthing muscles work in perfect harmony - as they were designed to - when your body is sufficiently relaxed and you trust birth.  You will learn how to achieve this kind of relaxation, free of the resistance that fear created, and you will learn to use your natural birthing instincts for a calm, serene, and comfortable birth.

When you have your baby with HypnoBirthing®, you will not be in a trance or a sleep.  What you will experience is similar to the daydreaming, or focusing, that occurs when you are engrossed in a book or a movie, or staring into a fire.

Classes are taught in a 5 week series as required by HypnoBirthing® Institute. They are 2 1/2 to 3 hours in length. Classes start on time and end on time as I want to be respectful of your various schedules.The HypnoBirthing® textbook and Rainbow Relaxation CD set are included in the price of the class, as well as all handouts.

It is recommended that you take the classes sometime between month 5-8 of your pregnancy. However, it is never too early to sign up. The earlier in your pregnancy that you take this class, the more time you will have to practice! And, it is never too late either. You can always benefit from taking the HypnoBirthing® classes regardless of when you take them.”

Hannah Kenoyer is a Certified Midwife from the UK and teaches “Relaxation In Birth”.

Hannah says, “This course is perfect for moms-to-be and their birth partner and by the end of the class both mom and partner will feel prepared and inspired to have the birth they want. 

Aromatherapy and massage have been proven to be as effective as some pharmacological methods of pain relief, without the undesirable effects on mom and baby. During the class, mom and partner will learn: what to expect, including the physiology and psychology during labor and birth, labor inhibitors and how to overcome them, aromatherapy during childbirth, a practical massage session (you and your birth partner will be provided with correct techniques with modifications that will work for you individually), an interactive practical session, using equipment, various breathing techniques and different labor positions.”  

There are a variety of childbirth classes to choose from in Okinawa and they all have the same goal: to educate parents to be.

Japan Birth Resource Network provides evidence based information and mother friendly support throughout Okinawa and Japan. To learn more visit:
Connect with local, Okinawa moms on the Facebook group “Pregnancy & Birth Talk Okinawa”
Birth Education Center of Okinawa’s Schedule for February:

  • Thursday, February 18 - Birth Education Center Open House
  • Saturday, February 20 - Question & Answer for Expectant Families with Dr. Fumi of Yui Clinic
  • Sunday, February 21 - Hypnobirthing Childbirth Class Evening Series (5 weeks)
  • Tuesday, February 23 - Hypnobirthing Childbirth Daytimes Series (5 weeks)
  • Thursday, February 25 - Labor of Love Childbirth nEvening Series (5 weeks)
  • Saturday, February 26 - Birth Talk on “Comfort nMeasures”
  • Monday, February 29 - Breastfeeding 101

 Ongoing: Lactation consultations, complimentary therapy for labor, infant massage, and childbirth classes.