As a veteran childbirth educator, I am always being asked by newer childbirth educators what are the most important topics in a childbirth education class! That can be an easy yet difficult topic. It can be easy because there are so many topics that should be covered to adequately inform expectant parents. Yet, this question can also be difficult because of time constraints imposed on the educator.
Below are the “last” 5 top topics of 10 frequently requested by the expectant parents:
Where can I learn more – what are good resources?
Regardless of the length of the childbirth education class, clients can always learn more! But where do you go for information…that is evidence-based and unbiased? Many expectant parents today turn to the internet and that is ok, but use it with caution. ANYONE can create a website or blog, make it look wonderful, but place on it incorrect information!
However, some websites can be a great beginning place:
www.birthsource.com has over 1200 articles for parents (as well as professionals) that are evidence-based and unbiased!
www.thebirthfacts.com is a website that features links that take the visitor directly to the research.
www.childbirthtoday.blogspot.com is blog powered by Perinatal Education Associates, Inc. and has a lot of great info, mainly for birth professionals.
www.mothersadvocate.org was created by a joining of Injoy Videos and Lamaze International. Here your students can find free videos and professionally made handouts - free!
www.motherfriendly.org is the website for CIMS ~ the Coalition For Improving Maternity Services. This can point you in the direction of other great websites world wide.
www.scienceandsensibility.org is powered by Lamaze International and is a blog with great research and articles.
www.vbac.com is a woman-centered, evidence based resource from author and researcher Nicette Jukelivics. The information there is for both parents and professionals.
http://us.cochrane.org/evidence-based-healthcare-resources is the mecca for evidence-based health care resources.
What can my partner do to help me during labor/birth?
Labor support, both emotional and physical, is essential during birth. The partner may not be “wired” to know instinctually what to do at select times in labor. A great solution is a childbirth class geared specifically to comfort measures and partners! If this is not available, a great secondary solution is the book The Birth Partner – Revised 3rd Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas and all Other Labor Companions. It is currently available through Amazon for $11.55. A fantastic investment!
What about herbs during pregnancy and then herbs and placenta encapsulation after the birth?
If you as a childbirth educator are not qualified to speak to herbal remedies or placenta encapsulation, it is best to contact an expert in these two areas and invite them to either be a guest speaker or help you put together FAQ sheets. Many health care professionals do not have backgrounds in herbal medicine and the FDA does not do research in this area. Contact a local midwife for their herbal contact – or it might be them! Likewise placenta encapsulation is a relatively new arena and thus you may have to send your clients to www.placentabenefits.info for more research and referrals.
What does labor/birth have to do with breastfeeding?
You may be the one to cover this information and what better resource to base your presentation on than Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding by Linda J. Smith (also available on Amazon). Through this amazing research based book, you will find all of the links between labor/birth and breastfeeding that are available today, including location of the birth, medications, interventions and the power of labor support in breastfeeding. Also in this book are the references for all of the statements made. Some of the research may amaze and challenge you!
Childbirth education classes should never be “cookie cutter” in style…that is, they should not be repeated word for word during each series. Childbirth education classes should be geared specifically to the educational needs of the students. This can be simply accomplished as one hospital has done (Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton Ohio) – during the first class they give a handout that is to be completed and turned back in at the end of that first class. This handout asks the students for their specific areas of interest and concern – both the expectant mother and the partner. In this way, a hospital class can be interactive and personal.