As a childbirth educator, I am always looking for the highest quality (and, admittedly the most economical) supplemental class materials for my clients. In the past, I have borrowed from others but mostly created my own. Now there are professionally developed print handouts and video segments that are free to any childbirth educator, no matter what your organizational affiliation is.
The Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices That Support Normal Birth are located on two websites, depending on your learner needs. The Mother's Advocate website has a unique collection of professional handouts ~ the Six Steps to a Safer Birth, which can either be printed/downloaded as one 18 page PDF or individually. This website also has 12 additional handouts including a listing of references, which comes in really handy if you are asked to support what you teach/say with evidence-based research. PLUS, this website has FREE access to video segments that go along with the Six Steps. If you have a program such as Real Player, you can download these video segments directly to your computer and then show these to your clients. If this is not possible, you can purchase a DVD with all of the segments for $12.95 (US) from Injoy Videos.
Lamaze International also have the same information as listed above (except the video for sale). Common sense tells us and research confirms that the Six Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices featured in these video clips and print materials are tried-and-true ways to make birth as safe and healthy as possible.
The only things holding women back from practicing all of the Healthy Birth Practices are hospital policy/procedure committees catching up with current evidence-based information AND a woman's trust in her own body. All too often, when policies/procedures lag behind current research, this can interfere with not only expectant mothers being granted requests for normal birth care but also the employed care providers being made aware of the current research. Too often, care providers rely on their employer to supply them with the updates on research. A lack of research communication within a facility can severely slow down the access expectant mothers have to current evidence-based care.
Womens' fear about childbirth and lack of trust in their own bodies are fed not only by the lack of information or answers to questions from childbirth educators, but also the constant message from the media (particularly the cable birth shows) that birth is always a crisis that needs intervention and that the most dangerous journey a baby will take is the 4.5 inches down the birth canal.
Sadly, when all of these factors are working in harmony, the result is a stagnation in maternity care, a stagnation in the improvement of maternity care and a health care quagmire.
By disseminating the Six Healthy Birth Practices to not only maternity health care professionals but also expectant parents, we can begin the wave of change. But just as in any crowd where the "real" wave starts, if some people in the line choose not to continue the wave, it will often not continue. Don't be the weakest link ~ no matter what your organizational affiliation, print off and refer to the free information as listed above.
Be the wave...be the change...