As the trend toward an awake and aware childbirth experience accelerates, the demand for childbirth preparation courses has increased. Parent and Child, one of the volunteer organizations offering courses in the Washington area, taught 1,700 couples in 1976 and nearly 3,000 in 1977.

"The number of couples we can serve is limited only by our capacity. We're looking for new locations for teaching sites in order to accommodate the demand, which seems to increase 25 to 30 per cent each year for the last three years," said Iris Cross, chairman of Parent and Child's board of directors.

Courses in childbirth preparation usually are taken during the eighth month of pregnancy. Because of the demand, early registration is advised.

The guide below lists groups and institutions providing courses or supportive services for expectant parents, the type of service and the fees charged.

American Red Cross, 2025 E St. NW, 857-3622; 2433 18th St. NW, 332-5520; 3433 Benning Road NE, 857-2043, and 2041 Martin Luther King Ave. SE, 889-8700. Series of seven classes covering comfort measures for women during pregnancy, supplies and equipment for newborns, growth and development of the fetus, labor and delivery and what to expect during the first year. Classes are taught by nurses. No fee. Red Cross certificate given upon completion of course. Classes held at Red Cross locations as well as at Hecht's department store, 7th and F Sts. NW, 628-5100, and at Department of Human Resources' Neighborhood Health Centers at 1328 W St. SE, 889-1072 and 8th and Zenia SE, 563-1100.

A.S.P.O. (American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics), mailing address, 4401 Cathedral Ave. NW, 587-2230. A non-profit volunteer organization. Series of six classes on the Lamaze method of prepared childbirth, covering breathing and relaxation techniques, nutrition, exercises for different stages of labor, coaching techniques and nutrition. Teachers have had special Lamaze training; 95 per cent are registered nurses. Some courses have seventh meeting on breast feeding. Evening classes meet at teachers' homes in the District. Fees are $40 but scholarships are available.

Birthright 2800 Otis, NE, 526-3333. A non-profit volunteer organization geared to aiding women whose pregnancies present social or economic problems. Women are referred to Providence Hospital's Center for Life classes.

Bloomingdales Tysons Corner, 893-3500, ext. 215. Three-part course on prenatal care, emotional and physical changes during pregnancy. Course taught by nursing staff of Arlington Hospital. No fee.

Cesarean Families Associations, mailing address, 5110 North 25th Road, Arlington, 569-0554; class registration, 703-860-1305. A non-profit volunteer organization. Four-session course covering anatomy and physiology of late pregnancy and labor, hospital procedures, breast feeding, physical and emotional adjustments to a Cesarean delivery and a film of a Cesarean delivery with the father in the delivery room. Classes meet once a month in private homes in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland. Teachers are registered nurses who have had Cesarean deliveries. Fees are $20 for non-members, $14 for members; membership is $6.

Childbirth Education Association, mailing address, Box 5078, Alexandria, 322-1555. A non-profit volunteer organization. Six-session course based on Lamaze method of childbirth, covering breathing exercises, comfort measures for pregnancy, emergency childbirth, breast feeding, post partum adjustment. Classes are taught by registered nurses who have had Lamaze deliveries. Evening classes are held in churches, schools, hospitals and other public facilities in suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia and at Georgetown University in the District. Free orientation class at 8 p.m. second Monday of each month, Chevy Chase Building, McKinley St. and Connecticut Ave. NW, and at 8 p.m. second and fourth Mondays of each month. Thomas Jefferson Library, 7415 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, and 7:30 p.m. first and third Thursday of each month, University Park Church of Christ, 6420 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville. Fees are $30 for six-week session and $20 for a review session; scholarships available. CEA also has post-birth mothers' groups.

Columbia Hospital for Women, 2425 L St. NW, 293-6512. Eight-week course including an hour of exercise during the first six lessons. Curriculum covers prepared childbirth concepts based on Lamaze, comfort techniques during pregnancy, nutrition, labor and delivery, father's support role, hospital routines, medication, care of newborn, Cesarean deliveries, breast and bottle feeding. Available to prospective patients at Columbia. Taught by staff nurses. Fee is $28 per couple; discounts for clinic patients available.

D.C. General Hospital, 19th St. and Massachusetts Ave. SE, 626-5000. Three-session course for clinic patients, covering prenatal growth, stages of labor and delivery, hygiene during pregnancy and hospital routine. No fee. Taught by nurses on hospital staff.

FLAME (Family Life and Maternity Education), mailing address, 10113 Parkwood Terrace, Bethesda, 323-6892. A non-profit volunteer organization. Six-week course on Lamaze and other childbirth preparation methods. Classes are taught by teachers trained and certified by FLAME. Fee is $15, with scholarships available. Sessions are held in public facilities near DuPont Circle, in Georgetown and in Chevy Chase, D.C. Free pregnancy care classes and film nights and, starting in this month, free Cesarean birth film nights are offered in Virginia and Maryland. FLAME also has a post birth program, which includes a TOT line to answer questions about newborn babies and a nursing mothersservice.

George Washington University Hospital, 2300 I St. NW, 676-6000. In conjunction with Parent and Child, classes are held at the hospital using staff nurses as teachers. Course uses curriculum of Parent and Child and incorporates hospital's procedures. Registration through Parent and Child (see listing). There is also a hospital tour, free of charge, to acquaint future patients with labor and delivery procedures. For tour call 676-3317.

Georgetown University Hospital, 3800 Reservoir Road NW, 625-0100. Four-session course on various options and preparations for childbirth. Taught by obstetric staff nurses. Classes held in St. Mary's Hall; no fee; open to everyone but geared toward Georgetown delivery procedures. CEA also offers Lamaze courses at the hospital (see CEA listing for details).

Greater Southeast Hospital 1310 Southern Ave. SE, 574-6646. Childbirth Education Association handles all courses at the hospital. (See listing on CEA for details.) Hospital also has a tour of maternity ward, free of charge.

H.O.M.E. (Home Oriented Maternity Experience), mailing address, 511 New York Ave., Takoma Park, 585-5832. A non-profit volunteer organization. Five seminars for couples interested in home delivery. Course covers advantages of home births, parental responsibilities, equipment, procedures, medications used, complications, contra-indications and the transition to parenthood. Classes are taught by nurse-midwives and childbirth educators in public facilities. No fee for course. Membership fee is $5.

Howard University Hospital, 2041 Georgia Ave. NW, 745-1225 or 745-1521. Series of six classes, including Lamaze breathing techniques, muscle strengthening exercises, films on birth and care of newborn babies, labor and delivery, fetal growth, breast and bottle feeding, common variations among newborns, medications available during labor, post partum period, reproduction and body conditioning and parenting. Course includes a tour of the maternity area. Teachers are nurse clinicians specializing in maternal and infant care. No fee. Available only to people delivery at Howard.

La Leche League, mailing address, 8802 Canberra Dr., Clinton, Md., 868-3765. A non-profit organization. Mother-to-mother information. In addition to telephone referral service for breast feeding advice, La Leche runs a series of four classes on the advantages of breast feeding, how to overcome breast feeding difficulties, different childbirth methods and nutrition and weaning. Classes meet at members' home in the District. No fee for course; membership, $8.

Mothers of Twins, regional mailing address, 5402 Amberwood Lane, Rockville, 460-9108. National organization will refer District parents to closest chapter. Mother-to-mother supportive services for parents of twins. Pamphlet on raising twins, clothing and equipment exchanges, monthly meetings with lectures. Membership, around $5.

Parent and Child, mailing address, 420 University Blvd. East, Silver Spring, 439-7611. A non-profit volunteer organization. Eight-session course on prepared childbirth; no particular method is stressed. Course covers fetal development, labor and delivery, ways to alleviate discomforts of pregnancy, anesthesia, Cesarean delivery, breast feeding, exercise, infant feeding and care of the newborn. Teachers are registered nurses with experience in labor and delivery. Classes are held in churches, hospitals, schools and other public facilities. Fee is $40, with scholarships available. Post birth services include Listening Ear (telephone line for mother-to-mother advice on breast and bottle feeding), New Mothers Circle (mother/baby-to-mother-/baby meetings), Parents Circle (meetings with speakers) and Parent to Parent, a non-medical support group of parents who have experienced unusual or difficult pregnancies, deliveries or early childhood problems.

Providence Hospital, 1150 Varnum St. NE, 269-4356. Six-session course covering pregnancy, delivery and infant care. Course includes a tour of the maternity floor. All classes and tours are held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings in Laboure Hall at the hospital. Classes are taught by staff nurses. Fee is $20. Classes are open to everyone, although they are geared toward Providence procedures. In addition, there is a free six-week pre-natal course for single mothers-to-be. The single mother may attend alone or with a friend or companion who may accompany her during labor and delivery.These classes are held on Tuesday evenings.

Saks Fifth Avenue, 5555 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, 657-9000, ext. 289. Coffee, maternity fashions and overview course on changes that occur during pregnancy, needs of mother, father and baby during delivery. Taught by certified nurse midwife. No fee.

Sibley Hospital, 5255 Loughboro Road NW, 537-4000. Classes by Parent and Child (see listing above to register). Hospital offers Tuesday and Friday tours of obstetric service by appointment. No fee for tour.

Washington Hospital Center, 110 Irving St. NW, 541-6512. Eight-session course covering labor and breathing mechanisms, what to expect at the hospital, coaching and preparation for prepared childbirth. Fee, $35; scholarships available. Course open only to WHC patients upon recommendation of their physician.