Childbirth Classes

in Ann Arbor, Michigan


Man with babyPregnancy Arts Offers Awesome Classes!

  • Every class offers a chance to meet new families and their babies, hearing stories and advice fresh from those who are living it!
  • All are invited to a class reunion, offering a great opportunity to get to know other families.
  • We offer the most impartial and supportive classes in Ann Arbor.
  • Our education is practical and focuses on the topics that actually will make a positive difference for your family.
  • We have a broad scope, covering not only birth, breastfeeding and newborn care, but also parenting hot topics and a wealth of anticipatory guidance about your own health and happiness (as a person AND as in relationships) after having a baby.

One-Day Birth Preparation

Half-Day Baby and More

Six-Week Series: Birth, Baby and Beyond

Our classes cover topics often left out of other childbirth classes. See the links for more information on class content.

Pregnancy Arts offers a unique approach to childbirth education. The classes are short to meet the needs of busy schedules. The content selection has been honed to include the absolute most practical aspects of preparation for birth, breastfeeding, newborn care and supporting women and men during the transition to parenting.

Class evaluations are extremely positive, and people who take classes with other organizations have reported that they learned and used more from Pregnancy Art’s classes then they took away from more lengthly classes elsewhere!  We believe its because our classes are all taught by active birth professionals.  We are not only teachers, we also attend birth and see first hand what practical strategies truly help families.

Our classes are built on a commitment to providing effective, practical, relevant education that creates healthier and happier lives for parents and babies. It works.

Class information is based in current research and theories from many disciplines including family studies, child development, positive psychology, women’s studies, and primal health research as well as obstetrics, women’s health, and pediatrics. Many childbirth classes emphasize simply an orientation to pregnancy health, birth, and breastfeeding. Going beyond this, our classes consider a wider body of knowledge regarding the importance of early family experiences for infant development, relationship health, and personal wellbeing.

All classes are supported with on-line materials including handouts, articles, exercise instructions and worksheets. Attendants will be empowered to continue, and to personalize, their education at home. Many local resources such as links to lactation consultants and new parent social and support groups are also included.

In addition to classes our instructors offer personal consultations before and after birth. We welcome class attendants to reach out for support.

In these ways Pregnancy Arts facilitates connection to a community. The synergy of these factors; great class content, effective online materials, and introduction to local sources of support, is invaluable. Classes are highly worthwhile.

Trouble paying for classes? A limited number of partial-fee scholarships are available for those with an income under $35,500.  Apply here.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is this a natural birth class?

This is not a “philosophy of birth” class promoting natural or pharmaceutical approaches to pain relief and interventions. Rather, it is a practical course on how to make those decisions for yourself, and a skills class teaching how to optimize birth physiology and health.

Classes respect the choices of all families, and encourage them to make decisions based on their knowledge of themselves coupled with the best insights available from diverse sources of knowledge. The goal is for each family to choose whatever they believe is best for their baby and themselves, and for them to know why they have chosen what they have. I believe that natural birth is a very positive and healthy choice for most families and babies, but not all. I have very high confidence that families who wish to birth naturally are able to, and I support them in this desire with practical tools. The class will emphasis comfort measures that help women who are laboring without pain medications and detailed information on what contractions are like and how to deal with them. It also provides information on how to optimize the function, or physiology, of labor when epidurals and narcotics are used. The class does not cover a great deal about the side effects or risks of pain relief options, but does include resources with this information.
Most of my childbirth classes host some couples planning to birth with OB’s and others with midwives, at hospitals and at home. My clients are equally diverse when it comes to their desires for pain management. I believe that this class serves all of these families equally well. There is much about giving birth that is universal, and the bulk of time is spent on these universal aspects of birth, while at every turn I encourage you to make your choices personal. I offer examples and tools to facilitate this personal process throughout the class and with online handouts.

Where are childbirth classes held?

Classes are held at the Gladwin Center in Ann Arbor, MI. The address is 4105 W Liberty Rd, Ann Arbor. Private classes are also available in your home.

Who teaches the class?

Deb Rhizal is the creator of the class content.  She teaches the condensed classes. Katy Gladwin teaches the three-week series.

Deb Rhizal is a registered nurse and a birth doula. She is a student in the nurse-midwifery program at University of Michigan and the mother of four.

Katy Gladwin is a birth doula and mother of one.

Are there class materials?

Class includes access to a class-specific web site full of resources, handouts, and worksheets that will help you continue your education and preparation long after the class is over. Many clients have told me they refer back to the online resources throughout the first year after having their baby.

Should we bring anything?

Please bring anything that will help make you comfortable! Light snacks and padded folding chairs are provided. Pillows are recommended for extra cushioning. If you have a large inflatable exercise ball these are wonderful to sit on (particularly for the full-day class; we take breaks, but it is still a lot of sitting!!). Extra snacks are welcome. If attending the full-day class you are encouraged to bring lunch and stay to hear new families introduce their babies and share their stories, though you are also welcome to leave during the lunch break (12:15-2).

Are Non-Traditional Families Welcome?

Single mothers, same-sex couples, and non-traditional families are all welcome! See below regarding attendance for more than two people.

Does the Class Fee Cover Attendance for My Partner?

Yes! The course covers attendance for women who will be birthing and any/all who will be supporting you during labor. If you would like more than two people to attend please contact the course instructor so we may plan accordingly! Mother’s are also welcome to attend alone.

Do I need to take another baby class?

Because our baby class is not a “how to change a diaper” class people often ask if they need to take another class. That is up to you.  There are classes in Ann Arbor that provide hands on practice with diapering and swaddling and spend more time on safety education such as the correct temperature of bath water and how to support a baby’s head. I also teach these skills when hired for a private class focused on these topics.

I’ve found that most of my clients find that they do not need to take another baby class. They learn diapering skills etc in other ways, such as being shown by their nurse after the birth. I am constantly making choices about the most important and practical information to include in my condensed classes, and I have found that the emphasis on understanding babies needs and cues serves parents much more profoundly than instruction on baby care skills. That being said, if you would like hands-on instruction with doll models you will find that other area baby classes compliment our class.

I DO recommend that all new parents take an infant CPR class such as those offered by the Lamaze Family Center. All parents should also know that if you call 9-1-1 a dispatcher will talk you through the steps of CPR. This is very helpful both for those who have and have not taken a CPR class.

When should we take classes?

The birth classes are best taken when you feel a desire or need to begin preparing for birth.  For some this is early in pregnancy, and for others it comes later. It is never too early to take the class.  On the later side it is ideal if you complete your class by 36 weeks. Many couples do take the class even later.  Finishing earlier gives you more time to personally prepare based on ideas the class generates.

The postpartum/newborn/breastfeeding class is meant to be taken during pregnancy. If you have already had your baby a private class (in-home consultation) is recommended and can be worth its weight in gold if you are struggling with your baby, health/recovery, breastfeeding, happiness or your relationship!

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For Healthy, Happy, Families