Classes & Groups

At Empowered Beginnings, we offer a range of classes designed to support your journey through pregnancy and beyond. Join us to stay fit with our Prenatal & Postpartum Group Fitness​. We also offer several free classes and support groups to foster community and education​​. See the class options below, and join us today to enhance your parenting journey.

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Childbirth Education

Childbirth, 4-Week Course

Childbirth, 4-Week Course

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER:

Format: In-person at 3074 Whitney Ave, Bldg 2, Hamden, CT, 06418

Price: $300 per couple

Day & Time: Tuesdays at 6:30pm to 9:00pm 

Note: We suggest you sign up for a course that will start sometime after your 26th week and ends before your 37th week of pregnancy.

Also available as part of our Childbirth Preparation Bundle class package. 

This in-person series is great for first-time parents and comes highly recommended by many local midwives and obstetricians for its empowering approach to childbirth. Our goal is to help each family become wise healthcare consumers and to partner with their OB providers for a safe birth using as few interventions as possible. Although the class strives to educate patients and their partners toward natural childbirth (i.e., unmedicated, intervention-free), classes are for prepared childbirth in the hospital, birth center, or home setting. The classes use a multidisciplinary approach, pulling information from resources such as Dr. Robert Bradley (of the Bradley method), the Lamaze Institute for Normal Birth, educator/doula Penny Simkin, and midwife Ina May Gaskin.

Topics Reviewed:

  • Physiology and changes in pregnancy
  • Normal progression of labor and birth
  • Relaxation and breathing techniques
  • Coping methods for labor and birth such as hydrotherapy, music, mental focus, and comforting positions
  • Analgesia and anesthesia options such as nitrous oxide and epidurals
  • Benefits and risks of medical interventions
  • The partner’s role during labor and birth
  • Postpartum care
  • Newborn care at the hospital

Childbirth, 1-Day Class

Childbirth, 1-Day Class

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Format: In-person at 3074 Whitney Ave, Bldg 2, Hamden, CT, 06418

Price: $150 per couple

Day & Time: Thursdays at 5:00pm or Saturdays at 9:00am

Note: We recommend taking this class anytime after your 26th week and before your 37th week of pregnancy.

This one-day class focuses on labor and delivery. It is a good option for first-time parents unable to attend the 4-week series and is an excellent refresher course for parents returning to the birth experience or those who will be attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Compared to the 4-week series, this class involves more direct, instructor-led teaching with fewer group exercises in order to conserve time.

Topics Reviewed:

  • Physiology and progression of labor and birth
  • Relaxation and breathing techniques
  • Coping methods for labor and birth such as hydrotherapy, music, mental focus, and comforting positions
  • Analgesia and anesthesia options such as nitrous oxide and epidurals
  • Benefits and risks of medical interventions
  • The partner’s role during labor and birth

Advanced Coping Strategies for Labor

Advanced Coping Strategies for Labor

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Format: In-person at 3074 Whitney Ave, Bldg 2, Hamden, CT, 06418

Price: $120 per couple

Day & Time: Thursdays from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Note: This class is best when you are further along in your pregnancy, ideally between 32 and 38 weeks, and after you have completed a regular Childbirth course. 

Also available as part of our Childbirth Preparation Bundle class package. 

This single session is intended for couples in their third trimester who have completed the 1-day or 4-week childbirth classes. It expands on intervention-free methods of labor management discussed in our prepared childbirth classes. Each couple will receive their own long woven wrap (similar to the Rebozo used by Mexican and Central American Indigenous birth workers) to practice hands-on comfort techniques and coping skills to ease pregnancy discomforts, manage pain during labor, and help bring the baby down into an optimal position for birth. Your partner or support person will learn skills to support you more effectively. This class does not cover general childbirth information. We strongly suggest taking one of our childbirth preparation classes (or one with another educator) prior to this class.

What to bring:

Bring along a yoga mat, towel, or small blanket for floor work. Dress comfortably in clothing that can accommodate a variety of positions.

Spinning Babies for Parents

Spinning Babies for Parents

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Format: In-person at 3074 Whitney Ave, Bldg 2, Hamden, CT, 06418

Price: $130 per couple

Day & Time: Thursdays at 6:30pm 

Note: This class is for expectant parents only, starting as early as 14 weeks gestation. The optimal time to take this class is 20 to 34 weeks gestation, though you may still benefit if you are further along. 

Also available as part of our Childbirth Preparation Bundle class package. 

Spinning Babies® for Parents is a single session class that highlights your baby’s active role in birth. During labor the baby needs to pass through the three levels of the pelvis. Learn techniques to help your pelvis and the muscles that support or restrict your pelvic levels. These techniques can help release tight ligaments and muscles which can pull and twist causing pelvic pain during pregnancy and discomfort during birth. Together, you and your birth partner can use these techniques before and during labor to help “make room for baby!” Spinning Babies reveal how the baby can find optimal positions for labor and make birth less painful!

Topics:

  • Learn about Spinning Babies Techniques
  • Daily Essential Activities
  • The Three Sisters of Balance and how they help birth muscles to relax and add comfort now to ease birth later.
  • Birth positions that open the pelvis that let the baby come through more easily
  • Bring your birth partner to learn how to help you in pregnancy for comfort in labor and birth

What to bring:

Bring along a yoga mat, towel, or small blanket for floor work. Dress comfortably in clothing that can accommodate a variety of positions.

Mindful Birth

Mindful Birth

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Format: Prerecorded class to watch at your convenience

Price: $50 per couple

Note: This class does not cover general childbirth information such as interventions or coping strategies for labor. For that we recommend our 1-day or 4-week Childbirth class options.

Also available as part of our Childbirth Preparation Bundle class package. 

This one-session online class will teach you practical skills to help prepare your mind for a positive labor and birth experience with mindfulness techniques, sports psychology, and the science behind labor hormones. Content from Gentlebirth® training is also included. 

Chilbirth Preparation Bundle

Chilbirth Preparation Bundle

Format: Pre-recorded & In-person at 3074 Whitney Ave, Bldg 2, Hamden, CT, 06418

Price: 

Non-Clients: $550  ($60 savings)

Doula Clients: $530 ($70 savings)

This is a $600 value.

Date: Please check individual class schedule

We’ve taken our four most popular childbirth classes and put them together into one amazing all-inclusive package deal with a combined 14 hours of in-person instruction. It is highly recommended for anyone new to the birthing experience whose goal is to have an unmedicated birth with minimal interventions. Participants also receive a free woven wrap and will learn how to use it to ease pregnancy discomforts and aid with positioning during labor. In total a $600 value!

Classes include: 

  • 4-week Childbirth Series (worth $300)
  • Mindful Birth (online) (worth $50)
  • Advanced Coping Strategies for Labor (worth $120)
  • Spinning Babies for Parents (worth $130)

Book Now

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    Infant Care

    Breastfeeding Basics

    Breastfeeding Basics

    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

    Format: online via Zoom

    Price: $50 per couple

    Note: This is a one-session, online course that covers all the essentials for breastfeeding. It is appropriate for those new to breastfeeding who are unable to attend the in-person version and those who need a refresher for their next baby. Partners are highly encouraged to tune in as well!

    Topics:

    • Benefits of breastfeeding
    • Getting a good latch
    • Positioning techniques
    • Establishing and maintaining your milk supply
    • Troubleshooting
    • Debunking myths and outdated advice
    • Pumping tips and tricks
    • How partners can help

    Comprehensive Guide to Breastfeeding

    Comprehensive Guide to Breastfeeding

    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

    Format: In-person at 3074 Whitney Ave, Bldg 2, Hamden, CT, 06418

    Price: $80 per couple

    Note:

    This is an in-person class that covers all the essentials for breastfeeding. Class includes hands-on activities with infant models to get a better feel for positioning as well as the opportunity to examine the equipment and supplies that will help you along the way. Partners are highly encouraged to attend!

    Topics:

    • Benefits of breastfeeding
    • Getting a good latch
    • Positioning techniques including hands-on practice with infant models
    • Establishing and maintaining your milk supply
    • Troubleshooting
    • Debunking myths and outdated advice
    • Pumping tips and tricks including demonstrations of how the equipment is used
    • How partners can help

    Infant Safety & CPR Class

    Infant Safety

    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

    Format: In-person at 3074 Whitney Ave, Bldg 2, Hamden, CT, 06418

    Price: $120 per couple

    Note: This class is for educational purposes only and is not for CPR certification.

    Keeping your new baby safe will be a top priority before he or she is even born. This one-session class reviews two important yet often overlooked topics – infant CPR and infant car seat safety. It can be taken before or after pregnancy, and is recommended for parents and any regular caregivers (grandparents, etc.). It is also appropriate for couples adopting a newborn baby. Bring your baby’s car seat with you to have it professionally installed by our certified child passenger safety technician at the end of class!

    Topics:

    • Recognizing an infant needing emergent intervention
    • How to provide choking relief for an infant with an obstructed airway
    • How to perform CPR on an infant
    • Safe sleeping and protecting against SIDS
    • Car safety
    • Proper use of car seats and buckles
    • One-on-one help with installing your baby’s car seat

    Newborn Care Class

    Newborn Care Class

    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

    Format: In-person at 3074 Whitney Ave, Bldg 2, Hamden, CT, 06418

    Price: $80 per couple

    Note:

    This one-session, in-person class reviews normal growth and development in infants from birth to 6 months of age. It is a fun, interactive class that will help reduce any anxiety you might be feeling. Activities include hands-on demonstrations and opportunities for practicing swaddling, diapering, and other infant care. This class may be taken during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth. It is also appropriate for couples adopting a newborn baby.

    Topics:

    • Sleep habits
    • Feeding
    • Swaddling
    • Diapering
    • Baby wearing
    • Calming a crying baby
    • Family values clarification when facing unexpected challenges
    • Managing stress as new parents
    • Dispelling myths of early parenting

    Babies Music Class: Music Folk

    Babies Music Class: Music Folk

    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

    Format: In-person at 3074 Whitney Ave, Bldg 2, Hamden, CT, 06418

    Price: Please click here for price

    Note: Have you noticed that your baby can sing, or “coo” to you already but can’t speak yet? Studies show that they can match pitch as early as 2 weeks old. Try singing to them and listen for the sounds and reactions they make. Most parents don’t realize that their babies come into the world wired to make music. They are born ready to make music! 

    In fact, “babies who participate in music classes with their parents/caregiver in the first year of life, smile more, communicate better and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music” (Study from McMaster University). Not to mention all the other benefits by starting music as a baby. They develop so many skills; cognitive, social, emotional growth, language development, fine motor skills as they embark on their lifelong musical journey. This is such a wonderful activity to do with your baby to start to stimulate their brains and bodies and share the joy of music making and bonding with them as a baby. In this class we will not only learn music, but also some baby signs as well.

    Parent Coaching

    Parent Coaching

    PLEASE COMPLETE THIS FORM TO BOOK

    Format: Virtual

    Price: $100 per couple

    Note: This is an in-person, private session

    Your doula or pediatrician is a great source for advice after you have your baby, but some families are looking for a little bit more support. Through our Parent Coaching program, begin to anticipate your baby’s needs. Our Parent Coaches provide you with evidence-based infant and child development education, and partner with you to help navigate your way into parenthood. We will discuss sleeping, feeding, crying, discipline, typical and atypical development, and how to support your baby’s advancement through all of their growth stages. Parents can also monitor baby’s development through Ages and Stages screenings. Here you and your baby engage in activities that help track progress as well as be provided a referral for more in-depth assessment if there is concern.

    Infant Preparation Bundle

    Infant Preparation Bundle

    Format: In-Person

    Price: 

    Non-Clients: $260 ($20 savings)

    Doula Clients: $250 ($30 savings)

    This is a $280 value.

    Note: This package is great for first-time parents as well as parents returning to the infant scene after a long hiatus. Classes are in-person and include: 

    • Comprehensive Guide to Breastfeeding (worth $80)
    • Infant CPR and Safety (worth $120)
    • Newborn Care (worth $80)

    Book Now

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    Yoga

    Prenatal Yoga

    Prenatal Yoga

    Format: In-Person

    Price: $20 per class or $45 for 3-class package

    Prenatal Yoga is an uplifting yoga flow designed specifically for expecting people! This specialty class will relieve tension in the hips and low back, and safely strengthen the muscles used in labor and birth. In addition to a soothing yoga flow, this class incorporates guided meditations and visualizations to connect you to your baby and promote a sense of calm, breathing techniques to use during labor, and time to connect with other parents-to-be. Please note that this class is intended for pregnant people only.

    Book Now

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    Free Prenatal & Postpartum Support Groups

    (FREE) Open To Everyone: Connecticut Postpartum Support Group

    (FREE) Connecticut Postpartum Support Group

    REGISTRATION IS NOT REQUIRED

    Format: Zoom

    Price: FREE

    Day & Time: Tuesday, 11:00am to 1:00pm

    Note: This zoom is open to all. You do not need to be a client to join.

    Create a connection with other new parents and facilitated by Begin with Ashley.

    (FREE) Baby Wearing Group

    (FREE) Baby Wearing Group

    REGISTRATION IS NOT REQUIRED

    Format: In-Person

    Price: FREE

    Day & Time:  June 3  -  July 8  -  August 19

    Time: 11:45am- 12:45am

    Note: Hosted by Meredith Young

    Join us for a babywearing meet up! All are welcome to come learn about how to safely use baby carriers.  Volunteers will be available to help you with your own carriers or you can try one of our library carriers at the meeting. Members also have the option to check carriers out for the month to try at home.  All caregivers and children are welcome. Meetings are free and open to the public!

    Click Here to view our lending library

    (FREE) LGBTQIA+ Support Group

    (FREE) LGBTQIA+ Support Group

    REGISTRATION IS NOT REQUIRED

    Format: In-person at 3074 Whitney Ave, Bldg 2, Hamden, CT, 06418

    Price: FREE

    Day & Time: Please contact us for the group's meeting schedule (click here to email)

    Note: Hosted by a queer peer.

    Join other LGBTQIA+ families (preconception to 2 years old) for a social support group.

    (FREE) EB Doulas Postpartum Support Group

    (FREE) EB Doulas Postpartum Support Group

    REGISTRATION IS NOT REQUIRED

    Format: Zoom

    Price: FREE

    Day & Time: Friday, 11:00am to 1:00pm & Tuesday, 7:00pm-8:00pm

    Note: You must be part of EB Doulas to participate.

    Create a connection with other new parents and facilitated by Begin with Ashley.

    (FREE) EB Doulas Prenatal Support Group

    (FREE) EB Doulas Prenatal Support Group

    REGISTRATION IS NOT REQUIRED

    Format: Zoom

    Price: FREE

    Day & Time: Tuesday, 7:00pm-8:00pm

    Note: You must be part of EB Doulas to participate.

    Create a connection with other new parents and facilitated by Begin with Ashley.

    (FREE) Begin With Ashley Clients: Q&A With Your Local Doula

    (FREE) Begin With Ashley: Q&A With Your Local Doula

    *Begin With Ashley Clients Only*

    REGISTRATION IS NOT REQUIRED

    Format: Virtual

    Price: FREE

    Day & Time: Monday, 7:00pm to 8:00pm

    Our Instructors

    Ashley Minihan
    Ashley Minihan

    15+ years of experience

    • CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, ICCE
    • Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician
    • Certified Lactation Counselor
    • Certified Childbirth Educator
    • Certified Spinning Babies® Parent Educator
    • DONA Certified Doula

    Instructor for: Childbirth, Breastfeeding, Hello First Trimester, Mindful Birth, Spinning Babies, and Advanced Coping Strategies

    Asha Evans
    Asha Evans
    8+ years of experience
    • RN, LCCE, CLC
    • Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator
    • Lactation Counselor
    • Labor & Birth Nurse
    Instructor for: Childbirth, Early Parenting, and Breastfeeding
    Samantha Heenan
    Samantha Heenan

    5+ years of experience

    • CD(DONA), CPST-I, CPES
    • Certified in Child Passenger Safety
    • Certified in Placenta Encapsulation
    • DONA Certified Doula

    Instructor for: Infant Safety & CPR and Breastfeeding

    Rebecca Greenberg
    Rebecca Greenberg

    5+ years of experience

    • CD(DONA)
    • DONA Certified Doula

    Instructor for: Early Parenting and 4th Trimester Support Group

    Rebecca Greenberg
    Amanda Vercellone

    22+ years of experience

    • RN, CBE, CLC
    • Certified Childbirth Educator
    • Certified Lactation Counselor
    • Postpartum/Newborn Nurse

    Instructor for: Childbirth Classes

    Bethany Wallace

    14+ years of experience

    • Completed her 200-hour yoga teacher certification in 2010 under Barbara Ruzansky at West Hartford Yoga
    • Certified as a Prenatal Yoga Teacher and Restorative Yoga Teacher
    • Graduated from the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy to become a Licensed Massage Therapist in 2017
    • Birth Doula in 2021

    Instructor for: Prenatal Yoga

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