Is A Birth Class Worth The Money? Guest Post by D'Andra Parsons

I am excited today to share a guest post from a wonderful, sweet and talented lady- D'Andra Parsons.  She is a natural birth instructor, a mother, and also an American Sign Language Interpreter!   (Pardon me, I took ASL in college and it is a beautiful language.  So excited to have a birth teacher out there who is fluent in ASL.)  D'Andra teaches in Oklahoma City and has classes starting soon.  If you are looking for a natural birth class in Oklahoma City- give her a call.  

So many people are wary of the "high cost" of a birth class.  I have been broke too so I totally understand that.  But D'Andra is right- an amazing birth is priceless.  And if a birth class can help you have a better birth it will be SO worth it.  Sometimes before we have kids we don't realize HOW much the birth experience will mean to us.  I can guarantee, it will mean more to you than you realize.  So- here is the skinny from an experienced mother-

I am D’Andra Parsons, and recently certified as a Birth Boot Camp Instructor! I am starting my first series of classes in a couple of weeks. I became interested in natural birth during my first pregnancy, and have been hooked every since! At some point, I hope to add doula training to my resume as well. Feel free to visit my website, for information on pregnancy and birth, birth stories, and updated class schedules! You can also find me on Facebook at Arbuckle Birth.

Some of you might be thinking, “Birth Boot Camp sounds great, but $295! Is it worth it?”

I believe it absolutely is worth every penny, but I teach the class so you might figure my opinion is biased (you would probably be right.) So, I am compiling some evidence so you can objectively decide for yourself if Birth Boot Camp is the right childbirth class for you.

First of all, consider what you get with your tuition. Your $295 class fee includes over 20 hours of face to face class time from an instructor who has completed a quite rigorous list of requirements, which includes having a natural birth AND breastfeeding one child for at least one year. This ensures that your instructor has BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. Who wants to listen to someone teach how to birth who hasn’t actually done it? Would you take a driver’s ed course from someone who has never driven a car? I should hope not. If you do, you should expect results that reflect it. So point #1 – experienced instructors.

On top of that, you receive a full color 150+ page student workbook to keep, JAM PACKED with articles, information, illustrations, photographs, and more to supplement class topics. Books on pregnancy and birth that aren’t nearly as good as this workbook will run you $15-20 each. This is worth much more than that. You also get a breastfeeding class on DVD, taught by lactation consultant and Birth Boot Camp Board Member and Instructor Mellanie Shephard. A very reasonably priced breastfeeding class in my area recently advertised for $50, and having a lactation consultant conduct a home visit will run $75-150, according to This DVD is like having a lactation consultant available 24/7, and if you do end up needing some one on one help, your Birth Boot Camp Instructor is ready with local resources.

Now, consider the cost you will save on the interventions that you won’t be needing if you are well prepared and achieve a natural birth. Imagine, no charges for such things as: IVs, epidural anesthesia (both the medicine itself AND the anesthesiologist), instrument delivery, episiotomy, fetal monitoring, breaking of waters, or cesarean delivery. While it is difficult, due to lack of insurance transparency, to find average costs, for these interventions individually, I did find this.


(U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUPnet, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. Rockville, MD: AHRQ. Available at:
American Association of Birth Centers. Uniform Data Set. Perkiomenville, PA: AABC, 2010.)

Notice the cost of a birth center vaginal birth in 2010: $2,277. If the birth is at a birth center, you can be relatively sure that there was little to no interventions, such as those listed above. Now, notice the cost of a hospital vaginal birth with ‘no complications’ (this does not specify what is defined as a complication): $10,166 in 2010. That number is nearly 4.5 times more expensive than its birth center counterpart. Add ‘complications’ but still achieve a natural hospital birth for an additional $3,004. End up with a cesarean, even without ‘complications’, and the total skyrockets to $17,052. Cesareans with complications averaged $23,111. That is 10 TIMES more expensive than the birth center vaginal birth.

You can clearly see how the cascade of interventions used can impact the cost of giving birth. These numbers should alarm you. You should also understand why some hospitals might be more inclined to prefer surgical birth – it means more money. These numbers are United States nationwide averages, and if you click on the link above you can actually find state by state data as well. If these are averages, that means some states costs are lower and others (gulp!) are even higher.
Depending on your insurance, you may only be responsible for part of this fee, but if you pay a percentage, the higher the cost means the more you pay. 

Also, keep in mind that these statistics do not include costs associated with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the newborn, which can be very expensive as well.
Part of Birth Boot Camp’s mission is to provide instruction and support for breastfeeding as well. I mentioned above the cost of meeting privately with a lactation consultant, but I have yet to mention the cost of formula feeding for comparison. If new moms do not get a strong start breastfeeding and do not have proper support, they often turn to formula. Using even less expensive formula, the cost for a year will average $1100, with more expensive formulas running closer to $2,000 for a year supply. This is JUST the formula cost, not including the bottles, liners, etc., that may be needed.
If you consider the increased cost of birth with interventions and costs associated with not breastfeeding, the $295 class fee is nominal in comparison. Attending a Birth Boot Camp series will empower you to take charge of your birth experience, and you will be able to make INFORMED choices about your care. 

Additional information on charges for vaginal vs cesarean birth:


Thank you for posting this! So many women that state they don't have the time or money for BBC also spend countless hours and dollars decorating a nursery or picking a stroller pattern. You can't change your birth experience and it will affect you and your baby. BBC is worth every penny and from a mom who took Donna's classes, it was the best money I spent during my pregnancy!!!
Nicky said…
In the UK, we get all medical care free with the NHS unless we choose to pay privately. I never even thought of the costs of all the interventions as it just doesn't affect us in that way. Having said that, when I was pregnant with my first baby, we went to a birth class (Hypnobirthing) and paid £250 (nearly $400) for the classes. And even though the expense of the actual birth has no impact on us, I would say just for the experience, the knowledge, the tips and everything else, it was worth it. My first birth was completely natural, painless (aside the "ring of fire", and strong period "pains"). My second birth I used the same techniques, and even though I had an induced labour, I went on to deliver elsewise completely naturally with no pain relief. My third I intend on having a completely natural birth and I thank the classes for giving me the tools to do so.