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Childbirth Education: Weekend Intensive with Elizabeth Varaso

Friday Nov 30th (7:30pm-9:30pm), Saturday Dec 1st (1:00-5:30pm) & Sunday Dec 2nd (1:00-5:30pm)

Friday Jan 4th (7:30pm-9:30pm), Saturday Jan 5th (1:00-5:30pm) & Sunday Jan 6th (1:00-5:30pm)

Friday Feb 15th (7:30pm-9:30pm), Saturday Feb 16th (1:00-5:30pm) & Sunday Feb 17th (1:00-5:30pm)

Friday Mar 22nd (7:30pm-9:30pm), Saturday Mar 23rd (1:00-5:30pm) & Sunday Mar 24th (1:00-5:30pm)

Friday Apr 26th (7:30pm-9:30pm), Saturday Apr 27th (1:00-5:30pm) & Sunday Apr 28th (1:00-5:30pm)

Friday May 31st (7:30pm-9:30pm), Saturday Jun 1st (1:00-5:30pm) & Sunday Jun 2nd (1:00-5:30pm)

$350 Investment per couple

Childbirth Education Weekend Intensive 

This Weekend Intensive Childbirth Education Class covers the same topics and tools as the full Comprehensive Childbirth Class, but does so over 10 hours in a single weekend.  It is limited to 5 couples to keep the setting personal and so that the questions and needs of each couple can be adequately addressed.

The Weekend Intensive Childbirth Education Class is designed to prepare women and their partners for birth in the hospital, birth center or homebirth setting.  All of the information and practical tools provided by this class are grounded in the belief that birth is a beautiful and natural life event which women and babies are wonderfully designed for. Women do not need to be taught how to give birth since they and their babies are equipped with the innate ability to do so. However, learning about the process, their options, and preparing themselves with helpful tools can increase a couple’s confidence, leading to a more healthy and satisfying birth.

This class series uses a combination of teaching and discussion techniques to give parents a realistic picture of what normal labor is like. It will include hands-on practice of pain-coping techniques, discussion of parents’ fears and questions, and suggestions for how partners can effectively support the laboring mother.

Aside from ensuring that participants in the class understand the normal process of labor, parents will learn about the medical interventions typically used in area hospitals and birth centers. In addition to discussing the benefits and risks of these interventions, we also discuss how to make well-informed decisions regarding interventions during labor and delivery, and how to communicate effectively with your care team. Other topics covered during class are nutrition, exercise, physical changes in pregnancy, the stages of labor, comfort measures and pain-coping, typical routines followed at local hospitals and birth centers and ways to advocate for a change in routine, benefits of breastfeeding and typical challenges moms face, the importance of the partner’s experience during the birth, deciding when to call your doula, doctor or midwife, who should accompany mom through labor, etc.

Your instructor, Elizabeth, will also share wisdom and best practices from the collective experiences of the parents with whom she’s interacted, suggestions for overcoming challenges many parents face during the first few weeks of their baby’s life, and lots of birth stories from her travels as a doula and childbirth educator.  This class assures that you will be given information based on the best and most current medical research, but also practical and meaningful information and stories coming from the real-life experience of someone working with birthing women.

Since time is limited, we will consider parents’ feedback to supplement class sessions with the topics in which they are most interested. We will make use of a mix of formal informal and sessions, using videos, lecture, interactive conversation, and hands-on practice in order to make classes as comfortable and interesting as possible.

The class enrollment is limited to 5 couples per weekend session, so the classes are intimate and allow for plenty of interaction amongst participants. We will welcome impromptu discussions and questions, as this contributes to a rich class experience where parents have the opportunity to establish friendships with each other that can extended well past the birth of their children.  Your instructor, Elizabeth is happy an honored to remain a resource for many of her “alumni parents,” and will extend her availability to you throughout your journey as parents as well.

The cost for the weekend class series is $350/couple.

Sign up here!

Topics to be covered in the Weekend Intensive Series:

* Third trimester pregnancy adjustments and nutrition

* Stages and phases of labor and birth and the wide range of normal variations in the birth process

* How to build a labor support team

* The role of a doula

* When to go to the hospital/birth center

* Options for pain coping: medication and non-pharmacological pain management

* Technology and hospital procedures: monitoring tools, induction, c-section and assisted vaginal birth

* Early labor coping and priorities

* Active labor coping techniques

* Pushing

* Post-natal adjustments and your physical and emotional needs

* Your baby in the first four weeks

* Newborn needs and appearance and basic infant care and nutrition

* Holistic, non-pharmacologic remedies for common discomforts, labor, post-partum and babies

*Practical breastfeeding advice to help meet your personal breastfeeding goals


How big are your classes?

The Weekend Intensive birth class at Mama’s Wellness Joint is limited to five couples each. This allows us physical room to practice, as well as promotes a comfortable, supportive environment that acknowledges the needs of each couple as individuals. I make myself available at each class to answer questions on a one-on-one basis, and I am also always available by phone or email to my students.

What style of childbirth education do you teach?

I start with the assumption that each person, and each birth is unique, therefore, one “style,” or “technique” is not right for everyone. My classes incorporate the best aspects of several current childbirth methods (Lamaze, Bradley, Birthing from Within), and always account for what the best and most recent medical evidence has to contribute to healthy birth practices. The course also integrates insights from my experience as a birth doula, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, an educator a Pennsylvania Hospital, as well as practical experience the mother of young children in Philadelphia.  I participate regularly in trainings and remain up to date on current obstetric research and trends in practice.

Does everyone need a Childbirth Education Class?

Being in a class setting prepares you for labor and birth in a way that a book or video alone cannot do. Our culture often presents birth as a medical emergency, and propagates fear around the birth process. My classes focus on reframing birth as a natural process, minimizing fear, and preparing parents to ask important questions during pregnancy and labor so that they feel fully informed, no matter the choices they make or type of birth they will hope to have.

But what if I plan to get an epidural?

Yes! You still need childbirth education. Just as birth is about so much more than “pain,” there is so much more to know about  birth than just options for managing pain.  Every labor will have discomfort and hard work, and an epidural only does so much in the big picture — it will not push your baby out, nor prepare you for parenting. We cover what you need to know from the third trimester of pregnancy through the first six weeks postpartum — information that is powerful whether you absolutely plan to use an epidural, or plan to avoid it.  Many women do not know until they are laboring if they want to make use of an epidural or not.  You can’t go wrong with building your toolbox of non-pharmacological coping techniques, as well as basic knowledge of how epidurals and other pharmacological methods work should you choose to make use them.

Will the class prepare me for giving birth at The Birth Center or at Home?

Yes. Since normal, physiological birth is our starting point, the information about how to help your body do its work well crosses an entire spectrum of birth settings.  My own babies were born at a birth center, and as a doula I have attended births at all of the major area hospitals.  I am familiar with practices in a variety of hospital and out-of-hospital settings. I frequently make comparisons between different care environments, so that participants in my class can understand the full scope and range of birth options and practices.  Classes present the best evidence-based information on pain-coping techniques, pharmacologic and natural, and explore the full range of technology and medications utilized in the hospital, birth center, and homebirth setting.

Will my health insurance pay for this class?

Unfortunately, most insurance will not cover the full cost of this course. However, at your request I will provide you with a Certificate of Completion and receipt for you to submit – some students have been reimbursed for $50-100.  Childbirth Classes are an allowable expense for FSA and HSA accounts.  

What if my partner can’t come to all or some of the classes?

That’s okay! It isn’t uncommon for a partner to be unavailable to attend every class in the series. Although it’s best for partners to attend as many classes as possible, you will feel welcome in the class either way, and you will benefit from the preparation and information.

What if I need to miss a class?

Space and dates allowing, I am happy to have you transfer into the same class in a different session as a “make-up.”

Who do I call if I have further questions about the class?

Please feel free to contact me directly: or 267-207-8346.

About Elizabeth:

Elizabeth is a DONA Certified Birth Doula, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, an Advisor/Honorary Member of the well-respected Philly Doula Co-op and the mama of three incredibly ornery children.  She first came to Philadelphia in 2000 to complete her MsED in Psychological Services at The University of Pennsylvania.  Before pursing birth work she spent most of her adult life working with at-risk children and families in the East Kensington community.

Elizabeth is so very grateful that she stumbled upon the field of birth work as a result of being wonderfully cared for by her support team during the birth of her own babies.  After the good but very hard work of welcoming her oldest daughter, she was humbled by her own body’s ability to endure through birth, but still thought that midwives, OBs, nurses and doulas must be a little bit crazy — the intensity and power of birth seemed well worth it for the reward of one’s own baby, but what made these birth professionals want to do the hard work of supporting laboring mothers over and over again?  When she added a doula to her team of caregivers for the birth of her son, she began to understand better how satisfying it could be to not just endure, but to thrive through labor.  Her doula helped to provide the missing element of support that made a tremendous difference for her and her husband.  After that, she understood the lure and beauty of a well-supported birth, and couldn’t help but to pursue her own path as a birth professional.  Although she expected that she would get her “baby fix” by helping other women welcome their babies well, she found out shortly after her DONA doula training that her family would be growing by one more wee one.  Her youngest daughter accompanied her, in the womb, for her first 7 births as a doula.  Now, at ages 5, 7 and 9 years old, her children are growing up to be ambassadors for normal birth and informing their school mates about the kinds of things that only children of birth professionals are privy to.

A tremendous body of women from Philadelphia and beyond have helped her to grow and develop as a birth professional which gives Elizabeth the confidence to serve families with both deep-rooted wisdom and fresh perspective. Her head is in the clouds, dreaming and working for big changes and improvements in nation-wide care or mom’s and babies, but her feet are on the ground, doing the grunt-work of a doula, raising her own next-generation and working with moms and babies in her Philadelphia community.  She is excited to use her love of research and evidence-based approaches along with practical and heart-felt care for young families to prepare new parents for a confident, healthy and satisfying birth.

$350 investment

Sign up HERE