Class Descriptions


Most of our classes and groups are open to the community, but are designed with birth center clients in mind.  Many are included in the total cost of care for birth center clients.  If you're not a birth center client, you can still sign up. We'll double check all registrations and collect payment during class.

Registration is required for these classes.

Any class or group may be rescheduled if minimum attendance requirements are not met, so if you're planning to come, let us know! Otherwise, we may cancel or reschedule it. If you are registered, you will be notified of any changes. If you are not registered, we can't guarantee you a spot.

Please note: you must sign up for classes using our scheduling software. Please do not call with these requests. Thanks!

 

Intro to Birth Center Birth

Sign up for this one after you are a birth center client. Jointly taught by our birth class teachers, this class will answer your most pressing questions and give you essential information about your care at Dar a Luz. You'll also have a chance to learn about and sign up for all your classes. Wondering which birth class to take? After this class, you'll know! Take this class before your 5-week class series, as early in your Dar a Luz care as you can.

This class is only for Dar a Luz clientele!

 
 

Dar a Luz Birth Class series

  • Recommended for first-time moms, as well as others birthing at Dar a Luz.
  • Five classes taught by Amity McElroy.
  • Included in the normal fees for birth center clients; $300 for non-clients.
  • Partners are encouraged to attend as many of the classes as they can.
  • Start your classes around 28 weeks in your pregnancy. See the calendar for available classes.
  • Registration is required.  You can sign up anytime on the calendar page.
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Birth art shared in class.

This ain't your mama's birth class! Our 5-week Dar a Luz birth series is anything but boring or lecture-based. Tailored to the needs of the individuals within each series group, the curriculum is dynamic, ensuring that we meet the needs of all the learners attending.

Expect to learn the answers to all your questions like, "How will I know when I'm in labor?" and "What will contractions feel like?" plus all the ins and outs of having a birth center birth. Learn and practice coping techniques for labor--everything from breathing and guided imagery to labor positioning and massage.

Then go deeper in this class and explore coping strategies for the emotional and psychological changes ahead with birth art, group discussions and partner activities. Connect with other parents and families and enjoy the bond you all will share as birth-center parents. Partners should attend every class if possible!

  • Week 1 - Introduction to Labor and Birth, including feelings about birth, anatomy, stages of labor, and the role of relaxation in birth.
  • Week 2 - Early labor, including signs of labor, when to come to the birth center and what to bring, comfort measures and positions.
  • Week 3 - Active labor, including movement in labor, making noise, massage, and breathing techniques.
  • Week 4 - Pushing and delivery, pain medication options, interventions in labor, embracing the unexpected, and fear.
  • Week 5 - Welcoming the newborn, postpartum period, mother blessing, guest couple speaker, and potluck.

 

 

Blissborn Birth Hypnosis Class series

  • Five Blissborn classes taught by Laura Wood, co-founder of the program. She is also a hypnotherapist and certified Birth Hypnosis Educator.
  • Recommended for both first-timers and experienced birthers, and especially those who are fearful or seeking more tools to work with their minds and bodies.
  • Materials fee is $75/couple plus tax, payable to Laura in the first class. Everyone pays the materials fee. If you are a Dar a Luz client,  your birth center fees cover the class. Non-birth center clients pay the class fee of $300 plus the materials fee.
  • Materials include six hypnosis recordings and a 234-page Blissborn manual, all handouts, and support materials.
  • Partners should try to attend with moms, because they receive training and support as a team in each class.
  • We recommend starting your classes between 28 and 32 weeks into your pregnancy -- this is ideal, but not required.
  • Registration is required. 
Image Courtesy of Rachel Gard

Image Courtesy of Rachel Gard

 

What is Blissborn? Blissborn is a science-based, complete childbirth education class created around deep guided relaxation, also known as hypnosis. (If you're wondering about hypnosis, go to www.Blissborn.com to download a free 10-minute relaxation and learn more.) We also emphasize partner skills, fear-release, pain-control, confidence through knowledge, and a deep understanding of the beautiful design of a woman's body. You're building a whole person -- your body knows how to get that person out!

The vast majority of Blissborn moms achieve a more rapid and easy natural labor. Blissborn babies tend to be calmer too.

Who will enjoy taking a Blissborn class? Blissborn works well for parents who lean toward a natural way of doing things, who are interested in loading up on new information and new skills, who enjoy relaxation, and who can commit to practicing daily. If you have anxiety, and/or fears about labor, birth or parenting, Blissborn may be a great fit. Also, we find that older first-time moms benefit greatly from learning to let go on their own terms!

What should you expect to learn? Lots of tools for use in labor and birth and beyond. Partners are a big part of the class, so please bring a partner if possible (it doesn't have to be the baby's other parent). We move quickly and cover a lot of information about your body and mind and birth. After each class, you'll practice relaxation daily with an mp3 that corresponds with the class. The 6th recording is a bonus for use in labor.

The classes are:

  • Class 1: Discovering Self-Hypnosis - Learn a new way to think about your mind and body, and all about the profound relaxation you experience in hypnosis. You'll also learn a tool for "Letting Go" and returning to relaxation instantly (very useful in labor!), and you'll experience the power of visualization.
  • Class 2: Practical Skills for Mom and Partner - Moms need lots of support in labor! Partners deserve to be a big part of labor, too, and will learn lots of ways to REALLY help moms. Practice staying in hypnosis while walking and opening your eyes. We also spend time discussing birth anatomy and phases of labor.
  • Class 3: Birth Without Fear - Learn to transform fears into calm and confidence. This powerful class will move you beyond feeling fearful, all the way to being excited about your baby's upcoming birth day!
  • Class 4: Tame Labor Pain with your Brain - Practice different ways to control sensations in hypnosis -- you'll work with your own body so you understand that being in charge of your comfort is your own natural ability. This class is a real confidence booster.
  • Class 5: Putting it all Together - Meet a past Blissborn couple and hear their story. Put together all the skills and info from the first four classes so you’ll feel confident and excited about your birth. Learn all about birth preference documents, labor positions and the pushing phase. Look beyond birth to your plans for the baby.

For more information on Blissborn, visit www.Blissborn.com or contact Laura.

 

Condensed Birth Class

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  • A 4-hour refresher class suitable for moms who have had a baby before. This class is also an acceptable last resort for moms who transfer their care to Dar a Luz too late to take a full class series.
  • Offered one Saturday per month from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

  • Taught by Robin Hayter, our Breastfeeding Peer Counselor and Childbirth Educator.

  • Included in your birth center fees, and offered only to birth center clients.

  • Partners are encouraged to attend.

  • Take this class anytime in your third trimester.

  • Registration is required. This four-hour class covers the ins and outs of having your baby at the birth center. We discuss the differences between hospital births and birth center births, while incorporating some fun things like birth visualization. The class covers the basics of labor and birth and gives you ideas for pain coping techniques.
 

Interventions and Transfers

Image courtesy of ABQ Bumps & Babies

Image courtesy of ABQ Bumps & Babies

No one wants to think about it or plan for it, but a minor portion of our moms do transfer their care to the hospital before, during, or after labor. Learn what happens when birth doesn't go as expected. We want you to feel as prepared as you can be so you can relax and not worry about it anymore.

This class is required for every Dar a Luz mom! We recommend you take it after you've started your birth class series, but don't risk missing it by waiting until the end of your pregnancy.

Reasons you'll love the Interventions and Transfers class:

  • Dinner is served at the beginning of the class -- eat with us for free! (contact Laura here if you have special dietary needs.)
  • Meet the doulas that are available to help you if you were to transfer to the hospital.
  • Meet the support group facilitator who would be ready and willing to meet with you to process your birth experience.
  • Hear from a family who actually transferred from Dar a Luz to the hospital and find out what it was like for them.
  • Get answers to all of your questions -- even the ones you are afraid to ask.
  • Learn from one of our midwives how to prepare -- they know all about what happens in a transfer.
  • Be reassured that even when you can't control all of the circumstances around your birth, you have a lot of control over whether you experience your birth as traumatic, or as a beautiful and peaceful way to meet your baby. And you have a lot of resources available to you at Dar a Luz.
  • If you've had a baby in the hospital previously, this class may bring up memories or feelings, and that's good! It's important to process those with your midwife before your next baby comes.
  • Moms who relax and stop worrying seem less likely to be transferred. We want you to be among those moms.

This class will put your mind at ease and will also help you feel more prepared if things go off plan. Taught by our midwives, this class is especially beneficial for those who say "it won't happen to me" or "that's too scary and I don't want to think about it." 

 

Breastfeeding 101

  • Required for first-time moms and those who had previous breastfeeding difficulties such as poor latching-on, sore nipples, low supply or anxiety.

  • Take it before or after your regular birth classes (after works better).

  • Included in the normal fees for birth center clients, $30 for non-clients.

  • Partners are encouraged to attend.

  • Registration is strongly recommended. You can sign up anytime in the office or by contacting the receptionist.

Throw out everything you've ever heard about breastfeeding being difficult or painful and come learn the evidence-based strategies that activate your instincts in breastfeeding and baby care. Find out how amazing your newborn will be in this breastfeeding class which focuses on the early weeks of breastfeeding and learn how to let your BABY teach YOU to breastfeed! Find out how to watch for and prevent difficulties like sore nipples and low milk supply and what to do if they arise.  This comprehensive breastfeeding basics class is recommended to all parents attending any of the birth series classes at Dar a Luz. Fee for non clients is $25.

Sign up by clicking the button at the top of the page. Taught by Amity.

Also consider coming to our Breastfeeding Support Group on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. It's a lively, warm group. Free and open to the community. Come as you are! This is a great first outing with your baby!

 

Newborns Head to Toe

    • Required for first-time moms and those who had previous postpartum difficulties such as postpartum depression or anxiety.
    • Take it before or after your regular birth classes (after works better).
    • Included in the normal fees for birth center clients, $30 for non-clients.
    • Partners are encouraged to attend.
    • Bring a newborn blanket to work on your swaddling skills
    • Registration is strongly recommended.  You can sign up anytime in the office or by contacting the receptionist.

    Compared to other mammals, our newborns are born immature and fragile. The first 3 months after birth are often called the fourth trimester as newborns unfold, "wake up" and start developing into the unique individuals they will be. In this class, learn what makes newborns "tick," how to figure out what your baby needs and understand her/his communication cues.

    We cover all the basic care like burping, diapering, and bathing. We also go over less fun (but really important) subjects like reducing SIDS, and your required shaken baby training. Learn about normal newborn behavior and appearances and what to do if something doesn't seem right. Work on your swaddling skills (bring your own blanket if you can).

    Most of all, learn how exciting and wonderful your new little family member will be and how to fully enjoy these early days. Recommended for all parents attending Dar a Luz birth classes. Taught by Amity.

     

    Carseat Clinic

    • Required for first-timers, and highly recommended for everyone!
    • Meets one Sunday a month from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
    • Led by Certified Car Safety Instructor Nancy Anthony, who also had her baby at the birth center.
    • Learn which car seat is right for your child and how to install it.
    • Registration is required for new parents. 

    Parents wrestling with a car seat for the first time will love this informative and reassuring class with hands-on help installing the car seat.  Changing carseats for a bigger child?  Have questions about installing your carseat in another vehicle?  Come and get your questions answered by Nancy Anthony, certified child passenger safety technician and instructor.

    Some think it's a dry topic, but Nancy makes this class fun. You will be glad you came, and your child(ren) will be safer because of it.  Read about Nancy on our staff page, or contact her directly from our staff directory.

     

    Bonus class: Babies: Beyond the Basics

    When it comes to babies, there is SO much to learn that can't possibly be covered in one class. That sentiment is exactly what this class was born from: feedback from parents on what they would like to learn. In this class we will cover and have time for discussion on:

    Wearing your baby
    Cloth diapering options
    Introducing first foods
    Developmental milestones
    Bed sharing vs. sleep training
    Attachment parenting
    Introducing pets to baby
    Helping siblings adjust to the new baby
    Baby safety and childproofing basics
    Building your village and protecting your relationship (thriving, not just surviving, the first year)

    Recommended for all parents attending Dar a Luz birth classes. While Newborns Head to Toe (see above) is required for first-time moms (and recommended for everyone), this class is optional, and can stand alone. Take after Newborns if possible; you may also take it before, if needed. Taught by Amity. Cost of class is $30 for each mom or couple (both clients and non-clients). Pay by cash or check (made out to Dar a Luz) at class.

     

    Bonus class: Pumping Basics

    • Meets every 4-6 weeks on various dates
    • Recommended for those already familiar with breastfeeding from the Breastfeeding 101 class or from experience breastfeeding.
    • Dar a Luz clients: This class is not covered in your estimate; we will bill your insurance.
      Non-Dar a Luz clients: Cost is $30 per mom or couple. Pay by cash or check (made out to Dar a Luz) at class.

    This class is an in-depth look at how to get milk OUT of the breasts, IN to the baby and manage the scheduling of being separated from your little one. Which bottle is best? Am I pumping enough milk for my baby? What about growth spurts? Learn important skills like hand expression, increasing your milk production at the pump and stimulating your let-down when you're away from the baby. Figure out how much milk to "stock pile" for a rainy day, how to know if your milk supply is getting into trouble and what to do about it if it is. Learn milk storage guidelines, coping strategies for busy pumping moms and ways to ease your baby, your family and yourself into the periods of increased separation that going back to work or school might bring.

    This class is packed with information and you should have some basic understanding of how breastfeeding works on its own before taking this class. Great for already-breastfeeders or those who have taken Breastfeeding 101. We recommend coming in before your baby is born, if possible!

    Partners are welcomed and encouraged to come! The #1 predictor of successful breastfeeding is partner support for the breastfeeding mother.

     

    Bonus class: Baby Massage

    • Meets every 8-10 weeks on various dates
    • Bring your baby! Recommended for parents with babies over 8 weeks, because they can tolerate longer massages. Toddlers also welcome.
    • $10 per person/$15 per couple.
    • Anyone who cares for your baby is encouraged to attend!
    • Bring any oil or lotion that you use on the baby. Amity recommends organic cold pressed oils such as olive, coconut, almond, grapeseed, or apricot kernel.

    Amity knows a lot about keeping babies happy and healthy. She teaches our primary childbirth education class, our newborn class and our breastfeeding and milk pumping classes. Join her to learn about infant massage too! She was certified through the International Institute of Infant Massage and has taught at hospitals, Inspired Birth & Families and daycare centers.

    Babies of any age are welcome, but babies who are at least 8 weeks old will tolerate a longer massage.  Older babies and toddlers are welcome too! Bring any oil or lotion that you use on the baby. Amity recommends organic cold-pressed oils such as olive, coconut, almond, grapeseed, or apricot kernel. Please bring a check (payable to Dar a Luz Birth & Health Center) or exact change.

    Some benefits of massage for baby:

    Benefits for care giver:

    • Feel more confident and competent
    • Eases stress and encourages relaxation
    • Increased bonding with child
    • Improved mood
    • Relief from colic, congestion, gas and stress
    • Bonding with care giver
    • Increases oxygen and respiration
    • May help baby sleep longer
    • Enhances Neurological development
    • Increases threshold of touch
    • Helps avoid overstimulation
    • Improves sensory awareness
     

    Bonus class: Mom & Baby Yoga with New Life Birth Services

    • Recommended for mothers of ALL ages and stages, including pregnant mamas.
    • Bring your baby! Babies up to about 18 months enjoy this class.
    • Please bring: your yoga gear, diaper bag, and anything you need for caring for your baby.
    • First class is free! Register here.

    Join the yoga instructors from New Life Birth Services for a sweet class all about you and your baby. Enjoy a gentle yoga class, meet other moms, and deepen your bond with your baby.

    Contact New Life Birth Services with any questions you may have.

     

    Support Groups

    We offer several support groups. Please visit our page dedicated to this topic for more information.