Friday, November 20, 2015

Why $175-$200 is not too much for an eight hour, private/independent, childbirth education class.

Often, childbirth educators are asked why their fees for private/independent childbirth education classes are so high – meaning over $100.  After all, hospitals generally charge less for the same service.  What is the difference?  Here’s some fuel to help you when these discussions arise:

Quality of educator
The quality of the educator may be the same for either the hospital based childbirth education class as the private class.  Hospitals tend to require nurses to teach the childbirth classes, and there may or may not be a further requirement for those nurses to be certified childbirth educators.  Is certification as a childbirth educator necessary?  Absolutely!  In nursing school, the nurses learn about complications of labor and birth but very little about a “normal” or physiologic birth.  They also do not focus on adult learning or nonpharmacologic pain relief.  Some hospitals pay for their employees to become certified, while private educators must pay for their own certification.  Certification is not easy or cheap, and so being certified shows dedication to the field and to competency.  So regardless of what type of class is chosen, the best quality of the childbirth educator is that of certification.

Teaching Tools
An educator working in the hospital setting may have a large variety of models, charts and DVDs to help in the teaching process.  These items have been purchased by the hospital.  However, the private educator must purchase her own models, charts and DVDs and also be responsible for purchasing new ones when the material becomes outdated.

Education Curriculum
Educators follow a curriculum either written by them or for them.  In a hospital setting, often the curriculum is approved by educational committees, and follow the policies and procedures set forth by the hospital.  This curriculum may or may not reflect the most current evidence-based research.  Private/independent educators who keep current as to the latest research may constantly update their teaching curriculum to reflect this latest research.

Colateral Expenses
Both the hospital educator and private/independent educator may spend money on expenses such as child care,  and gas for the car driven to and from the location of the class.  One expense item that hospital educators don't have and private/independent educators may have is location to hold the class.  Some locations can be obtained free of charge while others are a rate by hour.  Private/independent educators who teach in their clients' homes or in their own homes do not have this expense.

Hospital childbirth education classes are rarely profitable for a hospital, due to the low cost charged.  That is why for more and more hospitals today, childbirth classes have been shortened to two short days or one day in an effort to become more sustainable.  By shortening the length of the childbirth education classes, a limit to the amount of information given to expectant parents is imposed. Not only, then, is information limited but also time for practicing relaxation or breathing techniques or even viewing DVDs that can further reach the variety of adult learners. 

So for $60, a hospital may provide a childbirth education class.  Parents need to assess the qualifications of the educator and the quality of the class itself.  In serious consideration of  the options available in the community for childbirth education, a private/independent childbirth education class does have significant benefits.

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