From the very first contact [my husband] felt understood, as we were in crisis mode. Really outstanding services. Thank you so much to the Birthways ladies. We so appreciate your help during a particularly difficult time.
Childbirth Education Classes for Families Planning a Natural Birth
Congratulations on your upcoming birth. Taking the time to learn about labor and your childbirth education options is the first step of a joyous journey!
In this technological era, we tend to forget that birth is not usually a medical event. Our anxieties about birth and parenting can leave us feeling vulnerable, yet the nature of birth invites us to grow as a woman, a parent, and a family. This class seeks to acknowledge that journey and to celebrate birth for all it brings to our life.
Our childbirth education instructors trust in birth as a normal event in a woman’s life. Our goal is to provide you with the skills and information you need to share that trust as you bring your baby into the world.
Every birthing family is unique! We’ve all seen the latest birth fads and childbirth education methods – Celebrate Birth is based on the belief that that there is no right or wrong way to have a baby. Our series teaches women and their partners the physiology of birth, so that you can find the best way to labor for your birth.
Natural childbirth is hard work. But by understanding what is changing in your body, and why, you will be better equipped to tap into comfort measures. You will also experience less fear – a common reason women often choose interventions in their births.
At Celebrate Birth, you will learn about the four Ps -- passage, passenger, powers, and psyche – and how, by understanding their role in natural birth, you can support the process of labor. Birth partners are taught how to follow the cues of the laboring mother, and help support her instinctual approaches to labor.
Both our eight-week and weekend intensive series cover:
- Understanding Prenatal Care
- Stages of Labor
- Recognizing Labor Patterns
- Pushing: The Second Stage
Comfort Measures for the Stages of Labor
- Understanding ‘Normal’ and Complications
- Working with Your Doctor or Midwife: Advocacy Issues and Birth Plans
- Breastfeeding and Newborn Care
(Our weekend series cover newborn care and breastfeeding in less depth, and uses fewer videos.)
Small class size
Our class sizes are kept intentionally small – around 10 families per series – to allow for questions and community building with other like-minded parents-to-be.
Mary Sommers, CPM, MPS
Mary has developed the Celebrate Birth model and brings to her class many years of experience and wisdom from witnessing more than 1000 deliveries during the past 23 years. She cofounded Chicago community Midwives, a not-for-profit homebirth service. She has worked as a birth assistant, doula and lactation consultant for various private practices in the Chicago and Madison area. She has been worked in Community health directing 3 community health centers nurse-midwifery services and maternal child programs. While she worked at a community health center on Chicago's south side, the program was awarded as a model program by UNICEF's Safe Motherhood Initiative. She was a World Health Organization fellow in 1994, studying maternal health and breastfeeding programs in Holland and England. She is a member of the International Advisory Board for CASA, the first professional midwifery program in Mexico. She is also the proud mother of five beautiful children all born at home.
Heather McCullough, CPM
Heather brings to her teaching a warm and compassionate style in addition to a deep well of knowledge and evidence-based practice. She had three years of pre-med before deciding that the midwifery path was more suited to her vision of supporting normal birth. After graduating from Birthingway School of Midwifery in 1999 she worked as a CPM at Andaluz Waterbirth Center in Portland, Oregon and in homebirth private practice. Heather has attended more than 300 births. She has developed programming and materials for midwives to organize their practice, has trained and mentored doulas and other birth providers, and had founded a doula program in Oregon. Heather is a Birthways’ labor support and postpartum doula and lactation educator and has more than 15 years of experience teaching group and private childbirth classes.
Megan Trinter, CD, CPM
Megan is a very knowledgeable and experienced educator, doula, and midwife who is very versed in the Chicago area hospital and homebirth options. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S., in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Children, Youth & Family Services. Megan became a labor support and postpartum Birthways doula in 2003, where she went on to support hundreds of families and mentored and supported other doula providers as a Care Coordinator. She has completed her Midwifery Degree from Midwest Maternal Child Institute and is a CPM who assists with home birth practices in the area. Megan teaches group & private classes and refresher courses for families who have prior experience giving birth. Clients appreciate her humor and clear teaching style. She has three fabulous children, all born at home.
Become a Birthways family!
All Birthways families are welcome to contact our breastfeeding warmline, staffed by a board certified lactation consultant. If you find you need additional breastfeeding help after the birth, please contact us! We're happy to help you find a knowledgeable, supportive doula with special expertise in breastfeeding support. You can also visit our breastfeeding help links to find online help.
Many families choosing childbirth education classes also opt for a labor support doula. Learn more about the advantages of labor support, find out about our labor support doulas - including lower-cost apprentice doulas - or learn from our common questions about doula care here. We provide labor doula care to families in Chicago and the suburbs.
Families choosing Celebrate Birth are also entitled to discounts on postpartum care and massage therapy. Please call 888.506.0607 for more information.
Current schedule and registration
When should I take this class?
You are welcome to take this class at any point in your pregancy. Most families take the series in the late second or early third trimester. We encourage families to, whenever possible, complete the class by the 36th week of pregnancy.
Our 8 week series is $300 per couple (mom and birthing partner).
Our weekend intensive is $250 per couple (mom and birthing partner).