The Birthing Class Is Here to Educate and Empower New Parents Throughout Their Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey

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As any new parent knows, there is no shortage of content or commerce geared toward supporting freshly minted babies. What is in far shorter—albeit, slowly increasing—supply are accessible resources aimed at supporting birthing people themselves as they embark on the life-changing journey through conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.

This widespread need, especially for accessible, comprehensive care, is what inspired The Pilates Class founders Jacqui Kingswell and Natasha Oakley to create their new venture, The Birthing Class, which launches today.

Like The Pilates Class—the fitness-centric platform founded by the duo in 2020—The Birthing Class is a subscription platform offering an array of virtual classes and other video-based resources. For a $189 annual fee, users gain access to doula-led courses, OB/GYN and midwife advice, pre- and postnatal Pilates and yoga classes, an extensive recipe library, a community, and more. “We want to be a one-stop resource for all things related to pregnancy and birth well-being,” says Kingswell.

The birth of a new kind of platform

While concepting the business, Kingswell and Oakley identified two main pain points unique to the experience of new motherhood. The first was the dearth of affordable, credentialed care available to first-time birthing people. “There’s a glaring lack of support for women worldwide,” says Oakley, who notes that the services of experts like doulas, for example, are mainly available only to those who can afford their fees. Upon recognizing this gap in care options, she felt compelled to help facilitate greater widespread access.

Kingswell, meanwhile, felt the resources that did exist for new moms were disjointed and overwhelming. “There was so much information at my fingertips [when I first got pregnant], but it was difficult to decipher what was trustworthy or reliable and what advice aligned with my values. Trying to navigate my way through this time was truly daunting, and I was left wondering how so many women figure it all out on their own,” she says. “This is when I realized the need for an informative platform with all the advice women need in one place.”

Their new platform aims to address both needs, most notably by providing access to comprehensive doula support that will take birthing people through all stages of the journey into motherhood.

How it works

Upon subscription, users are prompted to watch an introduction video, followed by introduction videos for each of the site’s three doulas—Nina Phelan, Nikita Akilapa, and Anna-Maria Boelskov. From there, they are encouraged to choose the doula who best speaks to them so they can follow along with the course designed by that doula.

While each doula covers similar topics, ranging from conception to breastfeeding, their specific expertise varies. Phelan is an LA-based doula, hypnobirth instructor, prenatal yoga teacher, lactation consultant, and nutrition expert. Akilapa is a UK-based doula, yoga teacher, and antenatal educator, and Boelskov is a Sydney-based doula, nutritionist, herbalist, and lactation counselor.

“We carefully selected our three doulas to ensure they embody our vision of providing nurturing guidance and unwavering support to expectant mothers and parents,” says Kingswell. “Through extensive global research, recommendations, and conversations, we handpicked experts from the US, UK, and Australia. Each brings unique perspectives and experiences to the platform, empowering our community every step of the way.”

The length of each doula’s course varies as well, from a total length of between 1.5 hours and 2.5 hours, but classes are bite-sized, running anywhere between five and 20-minutes long. “We wanted to make it so that when you watch a video, you get the exact key information that you need and there's not too much fluff involved,” Kingswell says.

And while you are encouraged to select just one doula to follow, the platform doesn’t limit your access to the doula of your choosing; should you wish to pivot or supplement with courses from the other doulas, you can do so at any time.

To complement these doula-led courses, The Birthing Class also offers a diverse range of additional expert-led classes on demand. These include pre- and postnatal Pilates classes taught by Kingswell, as well as pre- and postnatal yoga classes led by Akilapa. Additionally, comprehensive nutrition classes tailored to each trimester are available, accompanied by an extensive library of onsite recipes. The platform’s in-house obstetrician, Nadya Chami, MD, meanwhile, offers classes aimed at providing guidance from a medical perspective around topics such as pain relief, natural births, and instrumental birthing techniques including episiotomies and Cesarean sections. There are also midwife-led classes featuring topics that run the gamut from recognizing the stages of labor to antenatal breast milk expression and tips for soothing your baby. And finally, the platform offers mindfulness classes that incorporate movement to nurture the mind-body connection. All content on the site is available to subscribers from day one, and each class can be revisited as often as you want.

What else you will (and won't) find on the site

The founding duo also made sure to include content designed to support the birthing parent’s partner. “The partner has a really important role to play, and they often want to help but aren’t sure how,” says Kingswell. “A support class equips them with the skills and confidence to provide effective support during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. It covers topics like understanding the birthing process, comfort measures, communication techniques, and supporting emotional needs.” This content even includes a tutorial on how to massage the birthing partner (which is certain to be appreciated by those whose non-birthing partners need a little nudge).

Refreshingly, The Birthing Class isn’t joining the baby commerce bandwagon in trying to sell new moms lots of “stuff.” Kingswell says they aren’t planning on adding a shopping component to the site, but that they do offer comprehensive resources geared toward helping parents navigate the innumerable offerings in the space so they’re able to discern what they actually need. “Our guided PDFs have recommendations, including preparation checklists, birth bag essentials, and baby must-haves,” she says.

Oakley and Kingswell do hope to foster what is arguably the most important must-have for any expecting or new parent: a robust community. “Similar to The Pilates Class, we have community elements to The Birthing Class, including a community Facebook Group where members can communicate and connect with each other and the brand,” says Kingswell. “We also plan to utilize WhatsApp in a creative way to connect moms and announce exciting brand news.”

Throughout every element of the brand, Kingswell says it was important to the team that the platform be as inclusive as possible so that it can not only speak to all birthing people, but also prepare them for any outcome with their pregnancy, birth, and new baby. To accomplish this, they prioritized non-prescriptive perspectives that steer clear of dictating a right or wrong way of doing things. “There’s no doula saying ‘this is the one way you need to birth your baby, and if you don’t do it this way, then it’s wrong.' It’s very nurturing and balanced," she says. "Although we are educating women, we are more so empowering them with knowledge so they can make the best decision for them."

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