birth classes

"The most significant thing I learned is that there is no 'perfect' birth process but instead each is beautiful in its own unique way.  Mindfulness has prepared us to accept whatever path our birth takes."   - MBCP Philadelphia Alumnus

Mindful Birth and Parenting Philadelphia currently offers two childbirth preparation classes.  The first, Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP), is a ten-class series.  The second, The Mind in Labor, is a three-class workshop that draws from the MBCP curriculum.  For more information, read on.

Photo credit: Zivar Amrami

Photo credit: Zivar Amrami

Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting

A ten class series, you ask?  Why on earth would I want to take so many weeks of birth education?  

Because this is not a standard childbirth education.  This is birth education that supports you for life.

During this Mindfulness-Based Childbirth & Parenting Class series you will learn to:

  • Access deep physical and mental relaxation

  • Engage the mind to work with pain during labor

  • Increase confidence and courage for the experience of labor and delivery

  • Practice prenatal yoga for strength and flexibility

  • Develop skills for managing stress in pregnancy, parenting and daily life

  • Enhance partner communication skills

  • Become more aware of your own approach to parenting

You will also learn about childbirth, breastfeeding and your new baby, as well as develop skills on how to communicate with your birth providers.

The MBCP series is primarily a mindfulness class, which has been adapted to suit the unique time of transition expectant parents are experiencing.  As founder of MBCP, Nancy Bardacke, likes to say: "To give birth, you just need to be able to deal with pain and fear, that's it!  Once you can do that, you're good to go." But isn't that true of life? Birth is not outside of the normal experience of life, it's just a much more intense version of it.  We are constantly running up against experiences that are painful, difficult, challenging, frightening.  What happens when we resist them? What happens when we move with them?  MBCP teaches us how to skillfully work with pain, fear and uncertainty in pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.

The two months that we spend together give us a chance not only to talk and learn about pregnancy, birth, and parenting, but to build and support a mindfulness practice, both formal (through meditation) and informal (through living life).  With nine classes (+1 reunion class), we have time to inquire into experiences of pain/discomfort and fear, and to practice different ways of being with them, of engaging the mind/body around them.  Mindfulness is a way of looking deeply, of practicing being with our experiences in life.  Experiences that range from leg cramps to heartburn to labor contractions to teething babies to toddlers to teenagers -- to any challenges in life that arise.  Mindfulness is a foundational practice of being with what life brings, and there is room in it for everything. 

By the end of this course, you will understand how to optimize the mind/body connection by influencing your internal and external environment where possible and letting go when necessary.  This course has the potential to grow and shift your perspective in deeply supportive ways, at a time when life is about to undergo some quite drastic changes.   Mindfulness-based Childbirth and Parenting is not just birth education; it's education for life.


The Mind in Labor:  Working with Pain, Fear and Uncertainty in Childbirth

The Mind in Labor is a three-class experience that draws from the MBCP Curriculum.  It is comprised of one night and two full weekend day classes.  The foundations of MBCP and the practical components of mindfulness are introduced and explored.  In that sense, during the MIL workshop you will learn to:

  • Engage the mind to work with pain during labor

  • Practice prenatal yoga for strength and flexibility

  • Begin to develop skills for managing stress in pregnancy, parenting and daily life

  • Access physical and mental relaxation

  • Practice hands-on techniques for working with discomfort during pregnancy and labor

BOTH MBCP and MIL work with pain, fear and uncertainty in childbirth, but the MIL workshop does not teach the labor process, breastfeeding or the first days at home with a new baby to the depth that the MBCP Class series will.  Because the current format of the class we are offering spans a 10-day period, you will get the opportunity to try out mindfulness meditation and the other practices we offer over that time period.  If you are trying to decide between the MBCP Class series and the MIL, please visit our FAQ page.

To read a New York Times article about a recently published study on the benefits of the Mind in Labor curriculum, click here.

To about our students who have been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer as part of their column entitled "The Parent Trip."  read here and here and here.  Enjoy!




Many thanks to Danielle Schuman-Olivier for her contributions to this page.