Alta Bates Childbirth Prep Classes

Berkeley, CA

Parent Reviews

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We looked at all the local choices, and wound up doing the four-week class at Alta Bates.  It was amazing.  Great content, wonderful instructor, and we really learned what to expect giving birth, and doing it at Alta Bates.  I strongly recommend it.   

Hi Andrea,

My husband and I took the childbirth class at Alta Bates and really enjoyed it. The best part of the class was learning about the hospital and how they do things more than the actual help with labor and childbirth. You hear so many horror stories about hospitals and the medical complex it was really nice to get information about the Alta Bates and their philosophies.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Alta Bates - Preparing for a newborn

March 2010

My ob-gyn gave me a whole write-up with general advice to first-time expecting parents and it mentions two classes offered at Alta Bates, one for childbirth prep and another for caring for a newborn.

It's not very clear what gets covered (things we may already know from other parents, friends, or the books we are reading). Also, the classes last only a few hours and cost $130 each. Healthnet doesn't seem to cover the cost.

If you have an opinion on how useful these classes were, or were able to get by without them, we'd appreciate your experience. Do you know of any lower-cost alternatives?

If the dismal job market was kinder to us, we wouldn't be thinking much about taking these classes, but unfortunately we do. Jodi


I took both the childbirth and newborn classes at Alta Bates. My oldest is now 8 so my memory is a little hazy. Definitely skip the newborn class. There is SO much info out there (friends, books, web, your pediatrician) that it is not worth it. The childbirth class also, for us, was not worth it because I ended up with an unplanned c-section, and c-sections are basically not covered in the class at all. The childbirth class DID help allay fears about labor and delivery, but again I think if you 'do your homework' about what to expect the class will not be necessary. Liz O.


Call HealthNet and ask if they are covered. I had HealthNet HMO and took childbirth, nursing, and sibling classes there and all 3 were covered. It makes sense--you have fewer dr visits if you know when NOT to come in. I would verify that they are or are not covered before you decide. Sue


I took both the childbirth and parenting classes at Alta Bates and I thought they were fantastic. I read a lot of books and websites but I personally needed the classes to really focus on what I needed to know. The instructors were excellent--even in all-day intensive courses, they kept my attention and were very very knowledgeable, approachable, fun, reassuring, etc. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

But if cost is an issue, the free 'dealing with pain' workshop and the free tour also covered some overlapping information and both were also excellent. Good luck! recent alta bates 'grad'


Dec 2009

RE: Twin childbirth classes?

My husband and I took the 4-week childbirth class at Alta Bates (with Jennifer Subasic Marks) and though I was the only one pregnant with twins, the class met my needs, emphasizing natural childbirth, while educating about medical options, and the instructor was good about adding in various caveats about the twin situation (e.g., you're required to deliver (and the very end of labor) in the O.R. at Alta Bates with twins, even for natural/vaginal births, you're generally more monitored, etc.) Wherever you take the class, I would really recommend taking it early, much earlier than with a singleton pregnancy. It's much more common to have an earlier birth and/or to go on bedrest in a twin pregnancy. I ended up on complete bedrest at 29 weeks, so if I hadn't taken a class already I'd have been out of luck on that front. Plus, even if not on bedrest (hopefully not!), you'll likely be less mobile toward the end.

Dr. Ahsan wasn't my doctor and I never met her, but she is in the practice I worked with, and I've had experiences with most of the other docs. (Any of which, depending on who's on duty that night/day, might deliver your baby). There's one doc I don't like, but the others are really good. Dr. Thomas (who I hadn't met before that day) delivered my twins vaginally (though I did have an epidural, due to needing to be induced w pitocin after water breaking). They all seem to have a fair amount of twin experience in that practice and everyone was supportive of my desire to have a vaginal birth (if the babies were head down, which they were).

Good luck! And be sure to join twins by the bay or your local twins group-- it really helps! proud mama of twins