Childbirth Classes: FSA Eligibility
The following portions are ineligible: general health of the fetus & newborn, newborn care, breastfeeding & bottle feeding.
Private Letter Ruling 89190009
What are childbirth classes?
Childbirth classes, also commonly called Lamaze or birthing classes, are designed to teach women a series of controlled breathing techniques that both facilitate labor and provide a degree of confidence and comfort to cope with the stresses of giving birth. This technique is named after the French obstetrician Ferdinand Lamaze, and has been used throughout the United States since the late 1950s to cover a wide range of topics that allows women and their partners know what to expect when labor begins.
Lamaze classes are as much about instilling a philosophy behind childbirth as they are about preparing women for the experience. The doctrine behind Lamaze classes is that childbirth is a natural, healthy process that is purely under a woman's control, which includes the right to give birth free from medical interventions. The breathing techniques associated with birthing classes like Lamaze are not only designed to provide comfort and confidence for pregnant women, but also a degree of self-awareness to be able to make vital medical decisions based on informed consent, rather than on pure emotion (American Pregnancy Association).
What do childbirth classes cover?
Childbirth classes feature hands-on instruction that will prepare pregnant women for the experience of labor, but also a wealth of helpful information that can help new parents be prepared for common issues that can occur before and after labor. Lamaze classes typically feature smaller class sizes to provide individual attention to couples, and women are advised to begin these classes as they start their seventh month of pregnancy. Some of the topics that are discussed during childbirth/Lamaze classes include via BabyCenter:
- The signs of labor/the normal progress of labor and birth
- Partner support during labor
- Pain coping techniques
- Focused breathing techniques, body positioning, relaxation strategies
- Understanding the early postpartum period
- Communication with healthcare teams/possible complications to prepare for
- Epidurals and other pain management options
- How to perform early interactions with the newborn