You just found out a baby is on the way – congratulations!
Now among the millions of things racing through your mind is: when should I start researching and enrolling in prenatal classes near me?
Great question! Here’s an overview of optimal timing, planning considerations, and booking tips when signing up for the prenatal education that’s right for you.
Start Researching Early In the Second Trimester
Ideally, begin exploring your prenatal class options as you enter the second trimester, around weeks 12-14. This gives you ample time to:
- Research the classes and instructors in your area
- Compare course structures, schedules, and curriculum focuses
- Read reviews and ask friends for recommendations
- Visit potential class facility sites if possible
Having a few months to dive into that upfront homework ensures you select the absolute best fit for your needs when the time comes to enrol.
No need to rush into booking just yet, though! Gathering intel early on is key.
Book Around Week 20 for Weeknight Classes
If you opt for a multi-week series with weekly sessions, booking around the 20-week mark is perfect timing.
Most are 6-8 weeks long, so this reserves your spot with classes that:
- Fall in the second half of your third trimester
- Wrap up 4-6 weeks before your due date
- Are fresh as delivery nears but still give you time to practice
Look for weeknight classes starting when you’re around 24-30 weeks pregnant for ideal retention.
Or Book Earlier for Weekend Intensives
If weekend intensive workshops appeal more than weekly series, you could book those a bit earlier, like 16-18 weeks.
Benefits of full-day intensives include:
- Condensing substantial curriculum into 1-2 weekends
- No repeat commute for weeks of night classes
- Complete immersive learning experience
- Ability to focus without workweek exhaustion!
Just be sure to plan ahead, as these “bootcamp” style classes often sell out quickly.
Book Private Classes Closer To Due Date
For one-on-one private prenatal instruction, booking closer to delivery makes sense. Target around 30-34 weeks.
- Personalized education when you need it most
- Flexibility to schedule sessions convenient for you
- More in-depth preparation as birth nears
- Avoiding lengthy multi-week commitment
This allows tailoring to your needs as they evolve late in pregnancy.
Consider COVID and Flu Season Impacts
When scheduling prenatal classes, consider the following:
- COVID cases may rise again in fall/winter – avoid peak flu season if immunocompromised
- Virtual or one-on-one options reduce risk if worried
- Vaccination availability – get yours early third trimester
- Mask requirements or distancing protocols at facilities
Weigh COVID unknowns when deciding on booking timelines to minimize disruption.
How Far In Advance Do Classes Book Up?
- Popular weekend intensives: 2-3 months out
- Multi-week evening series: 4-6 weeks out
- Private classes: Often allow booking just weeks out
So bookending the second trimester gives you access without being left out.
Waitlists Are Helpful If You Miss Booking Window
If a class fills before you get a chance to register, join the waitlist! Spots often open up closer to the start date as plans change.
Being waitlisted for your top choice is better than settling for an inconvenient time or unideal class structure.
Booking Tip: Lock In Flexible Cancellation Options
- Understand each provider’s cancellation and refund policies in advance
- Consider transferable passes you can use if plans change
- Look for courses allowing you to reschedule with adequate notice
This comes in handy if the baby arrives early or pregnancy complications arise. Build contingency plans.
Optimal Booking Recap by Class Type
- Weeknight multi-week series: 20 weeks
- Weekend intensives: 16-18 weeks
- Private instruction: 30-34 weeks
Research starts early second trimester and enrols mid-second trimester onward.
Exceptional Courses Worth Booking ASAP
Because classes led by midwives book up quickly, reserve your spot ASAP at The Parents Class if you’re hoping to attend their exceptional series featuring:
- Registered midwife instructors
- Focus on optimal birthing positions and movements
- Hands-on education for partners
- Postpartum preparation and transition support
- And more not offered anywhere else!
Give yourself time to soak up all the knowledge and guidance these prenatal pros provide. Book them today!
The bottom line is any quality prenatal education is time and money incredibly well spent.
Take control of the when and how so you start off your journey informed and empowered!
Frequently Asked Questions on Booking Prenatal Classes
Still, have questions about the ideal timing and logistics of signing up for prenatal courses? Here are detailed answers to some commonly asked questions:
How early can I start attending prenatal classes?
Most experts recommend waiting until at least the start of the second trimester, around 12-14 weeks, before participating in prenatal classes. The first trimester comes with rapidly changing symptoms and exhaustion from early pregnancy. Focus on rest, nutrition and checkups. Then dive into more active education during the second and third trimesters when you have more energy.
What if I don’t book far enough in advance and classes are full?
First, get on any waitlist available in case spots open up. Ask the provider if they plan to add additional classes or sessions if demand is high. Consider private courses, which often have more flexibility. Or see if any sister locations have availability if you’re open to a slightly different area. Don’t panic – with some creative problem-solving; you’ll find an option that fits your needs!
Should I repeat a prenatal class if I took one during a previous pregnancy?
Every pregnancy is different, so taking a refresher prenatal class with a subsequent baby can be extremely valuable. You may pick up on nuances you missed the first time around. And you’ll likely have new questions and concerns that come up. Refreshing practical skills like infant CPR are key too. Consider signing up for an abbreviated refresher series or private class.
What if I’m expecting twins/multiples – when should I book special prenatal classes?
Around 16-20 weeks is ideal for prenatal classes tailored to multiples. This gives you plenty of time to cover additional topics like managing a twin pregnancy, higher risk factors, logistics of double breastfeeding, idiosyncratic development, and parenting multiple newborns. Don’t wait to sign up for multiple classes, as they tend to book out quickly due to more limited availability.
Should I take off work the day after a weekend intensive prenatal class?
Absolutely! Even the most engaging, experienced prenatal class instructors recommend blocking off the Monday after a full weekend intensive course to rest, recover, absorb all the new knowledge, and avoid burnout. Clear your schedule after the information and adrenaline rush of marathon classes so you can reflect on everything with a refreshed mind.
If I’m working up until my due date, when should I target for weeknight classes?
If you are working up through your due date, aim for prenatal classes around 30-34 weeks on weeknights. This ensures you finish the series about a month before the baby arrives, so the information stays fresh. If the only available series starts much earlier, see if you can register late or attend a condensed private course closer to your due date to supplement.