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Working with Women and Families Towards a Midwifery Model of Childbirth Education, by Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD

By Julie Brill | September 11, 2013 | Comments Off on Working with Women and Families Towards a Midwifery Model of Childbirth Education, by Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD

I started my formal education as a birth professional twenty-two years ago this month, when I began a yearlong study course with the Massachusetts Midwifery Alliance. It was a great foundation for what would develop into my career as a childbirth educator and mentor of other childbirth educators. Since then my work has attempted to answer the question: What would the midwifery model applied to childbirth education look like?

A primary tenet, I believe, is that our students, our pregnant families, are more important than we are. A class without a teacher can still function as a worthwhile support group, but a teacher without a class is, well you get the idea. Students are busier than ever, and our role as educators is to help them maximize their time in class. I look to my students to set the agenda; it’s one of the first activities they do in class. Some are there to gain information and skills, and to clarify their values, others are more interested in peer support or working together as a family. I check back with them periodically to make sure we are still on track as we collaborate to create their childbirth education experience.

The shape of learning is the spiral not the straight line. Through a student guided agenda, answering questions and a variety of activities intended to appeal to different learning styles, we double back again and again over core information. Families have a chance to have important information and skills reiterated and reinforced.

I want my students to see me as a guide, not an expert. I want to facilitate their transition into parenthood, enhance their abilities to make decisions for themselves and their babies. In class we sit in a circle. If I come in to rows of chairs, I rearrange. It’s a simple act but it changes the dynamic of the class from monologue to dialogue.

A midwife’s job is to build confidence in her client’s ability to birth. How do we enhance that goal as childbirth educators? I look for opportunities to compliment my students on what great parents they already are, when they tell me about healthy decisions they are making or work together well as a team. When I started teaching, filling my students with all the knowledge they needed seemed like such an awesome job that my classes often ran late as I worked to stuff in one more fact or skill. Now I believe that undermines the work I want to be doing building confidence. I strive to end each class a few minutes early so they can digest what we’ve done, ask a question if they want, chat with each other, or simply leave with the feeling that our topics have been well covered.

I also consider not just our intentional curriculum, but the common unintentional one where cbe students learn fear from each other. It’s a huge compliment when a student says she was concerned about becoming more scared in class, but instead now feels calmer and more prepared. I want pregnant women to remember they already know how to labor and birth, and that many of the skills they use to comfort themselves in times of stress will be great tools during labor as well.

The midwifery model emphasizes that pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum are times of wellness. I strive to reinforce this with the language choices I make. I say mother instead of patient, birth instead of deliver, intervention instead of hospital procedure. I emphasize the tenets of midwifery care: excellent nutrition and self care (as Anne Frye says, prenatal care is what she does between visits), position change, hydration, nutrition, privacy, and comfort in labor, prepared labor support, etc. I take my students through an entire vision of normal labor and birth before talking about interventions. And my list of interventions  go well beyond pitocin, cesarean birth, and vacuum, to include internal exams, monitoring, pain meds, even changing into a hospital gown is a choice and an intervention.

I try to use language in class that we can all understand. My goal is to make the process of birth seem less medical, less scary, and less complicated. I remember taking a folk class once where the teacher said encouragingly, “It’s called folk dance because all the folk can do it.” All the folk can birth as well, and to me that’s what the midwifery model of childbirth education is all about.

Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD is honored to have taught childbirth education to thousands of families and to have mentored hundreds of childbirth educators. Her next childbirth educator training will be in Westford, MA November 15-17, 2013. More information and registration is at www.WellPregnancy.com.

Scheduled Cesarean Birth? Know your options! By Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD

By Julie Brill | July 22, 2013 | Comments Off on Scheduled Cesarean Birth? Know your options! By Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD

If you and your provider have discussed scheduling a cesarean birth for your baby, now is the time to consider your options. While most cesarean births occur to resolve issues that develop during labor, a minority are scheduled in advance. Common indications include placenta previa, transverse presentation, breech presentation when no provider skilled in vaginal breech is available (see my post for ways to encourage your baby to turn), and certain health conditions in the mother or the baby.

  1. Get a second opinion. A cesarean birth is major abdominal surgery, so seek out a provider in a different practice to see if s/he also agrees that one is necessary for you and your baby. With the cesarean rate in the United States currently at two to three times the maximum rate recommended by the World Health Organization, it is always possible that there are safer options to a cesarean birth.
  2. Get ready with Prepare for Cesarean Birth, Heal Faster. I can provide you and your partner with a one hour phone session, book, and cd. This program enables women to experience less insomnia and anxiety prenatally, be more relaxed during the cesarean, and heal faster with less use of pain medications.
  3. Research gentle cesareans. Not all providers perform cesareans in the same way. It is now sometimes possible for cesarean births to include doulas, delayed (appropriate) cord clamping, clear drapes for those who want to watch their baby’s birth, and immediate skin to skin, with breastfeeding during the procedure, when desired.
  4. Hire a doula. Doulas aren’t just for vaginal births. A doula can provide physical and emotional support prior to, during, and after a cesarean birth, and can assist with immediate breastfeeding, when possible. She can also provide you with much needed assistance when you come home with your new baby. Cesarean moms need extra support postpartum while they heal and adjust to caring for their new babies.
  5. Meet your anesthesiologist. Scheduling a time to meet your anesthesiologist ahead of your baby’s birth day can help to reduce your anxiety. You will need your anesthesiologist to agree to your doula being present during your cesarean birth.
  6. Contact ICAN. The International Cesarean Awareness Network provides free peer support during and after a cesarean birth.

Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD, CAPPA Faculty owns and runs www.WellPregnancy.com from her home in Bedford, Massachusetts. She trains childbirth educators and labor doulas, teaches natural and VBAC childbirth classes,  and offers Prepare for Cesarean Birth, Heal Faster classes over the phone. She is the mother of two teenage daughters.

Cut, Stapled, & Mended, By Roanna Rosewood, Reviewed by Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD

By Julie Brill | May 27, 2013 | Comments Off on Cut, Stapled, & Mended, By Roanna Rosewood, Reviewed by Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD

Yes, research and statistics are important, but sometimes as childbirth educators and doulas the best gift we have to offer a pregnant woman is a story. We crave the I-know-about-a-woman-similar-to-you-who-did-it stories.  Cut, Stapled, & Mended: When One Woman Reclaimed Her Body and Gave Birth on Her Own Terms After Cesarean, by Roanna Rosewood, is such a story.

I start a lot more birth books than I finish. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t that much new to say. I homeschool my kids and run my WellPregnancy business from home, so many times I put a book down to answer a kid’s question, respond to the email bing on my computer, or change the laundry, and never make it back to the book. But Cut, Stapled, & Mended I read in one gulp.

Rosewood’s honesty is what makes this book about herself, her family, the cesarean births of her sons, and the subsequent, victorious homebirth of her daughter so beautiful. Without honesty memoir is just cheesy fiction. But Rosewood’s brave drive to tell the whole truth is what pulled me into her story, and kept me turning pages until the end.

Rosewood’s gift is her ability to accurately and beautifully describe. Here she explains what labor really feels like:

As labor progresses and the contractions intensify, my mind slips away to laborland. I find myself unable to think clearly or articulate. It’s as if the left side of my brain, the side responsible for logic, linear thought, math, consequences, routine behaviors, and linguistics, has shut off. My right brain, the instinctual and emotional side I’ve long refused to acknowledge, takes over. Entirely consumed with the experience my body is going through, my thoughts are miles away and under water. Other people’s words float slowly around, some reaching me many moments after being spoken, others drifting off unreceived. In this way, I am alone in my body.

Later she articulates her need in labor for her own mother:

“Mom,” I beg.

The cry is primal. An entire lifetime is forgotten, leaving only this same cry that I made when I was first separated from my own mother’s body: “mother”—womb, breath, warmth, heartbeat, security. A lifetime of choosing men over women, of believing I’m capable and strong without a mother, crumbles into nothingness, washed away in an ocean of surges.

Rosewood wrote her book because she sees the value in women telling their stories. She writes, “While I’m grateful for the incredible support I’ve received from both doctors and midwives, the vast majority of births, like every other bodily function, are best managed by the body in question. It’s time to put women’s needs, feelings, and intuition back in the center of the birth process. Women are the rock-stars of birth; professionals are the backup singers.” I couldn’t agree more.

I will be keeping this book in my lending library next to my other favorite birth memoirs: Expecting Adam and Having Faith. And I will be recommending it to my pregnant cbe VBAC students looking for inspiration and the “me too” experience, to the doulas and childbirth educators I mentor who seek a deeper understanding of cesarean birth and VBAC, and to anyone who wants to be sucked into a good read.

Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD, CAPPA Faculty owns and runs www.WellPregnancy.com from her home in Bedford, Massachusetts. She trains childbirth educators and labor doulas, teaches natural and VBAC childbirth classes,  and offers Prepare for Cesarean Birth, Heal Faster classes over the phone. She is the mother of two teenage daughters.

Alternative Treatments Reduce the Risk of Cesarean Birth for Breech Position

By Julie Brill | April 13, 2013 | Comments Off on Alternative Treatments Reduce the Risk of Cesarean Birth for Breech Position

First the good news, most babies turn head down by 6 weeks before their due dates. The bad news, about 4% remain in a breech, or butt first, presentation. In the US almost all breech babies are delivered by cesarean, making breech the third leading cause of cesareans. Fortunately, studies show chiropractic, acupuncture, and hypnotherapy can safely turn many of these babies. These alternative treatments can be tried at 28 to 34 weeks gestation, before a medical version is an option, and without the risks of version.

Dr. Carl V. Smith, Professor and Chairman at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, believes “as with most things involving complementary and alternative medicine there is a lack of data about the effectiveness and safety” of these techniques. But, he adds, “in my opinion there is little harm in hypnotherapy and acupuncture” and “it is unlikely that such chiropractic manipulation would be harmful. The degree of abdominal pressure is the variable that is difficult to control and could potentially cause injury if done too vigorously. A randomized trial comparing manipulation versus no manipulation in a population of similar patients is the only way to truly answer the question of effectiveness and safety.”

CHIROPRACTIC VERSION WORKS

An International Chiropractic Pediatric Association study showed the Webster Technique was successful in resolving breech presentations 92% of the time. The ICPA defines the it as “a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which reduces interference to the nervous system, improves the function of the pelvic muscles and ligaments, which in turn removes constraint of the woman’s uterus, and allows the baby to get into the best possible position for birth.” Dr. Jeanne Ohm, Executive Coordinator of the ICPA, explains “this specific sacral analysis and adjustment is an asset to the pregnant woman throughout pregnancy as a means of preventing or limiting the potential of intrauterine constraint.” It can  prevent not only breech and transverse (sideways) presentations, but posterior (backwards) and acynclitic (croocked) ones as well.

Andrea Smith of Redford Township, Michigan recalls, “twenty minutes after the third Webster’s adjustment, while driving in my car, I felt the baby flip. I knew it was in the correct position because I felt the first kick in the ribs.” She went on to birth her healthy 7 pound baby girl at home with her midwife, husband, and sister present.

Dr. Martin Rosen, a chiropractor in Wellesley, Massachusetts has only had one case where the baby did not turn in twenty years of practice. He states “it‘s a non-invasive procedure and when applied correctly has no negative side effects.” It involves an evaluation, gentle contact on a ligament near the tailbone, then gentle thumb contact on the abdomen. It takes five minutes and usually needs to be applied one to three times. Rosen adds, “When dealing with breech pregnancies it is important that all options be considered before more drastic measures are necessary. The Webster Technique is a non-invasive, safe, and reliable alternative.”

ACCUPUNCTURE IS ALSO EFFECTIVE

Another study showed the Zhiyin technique, which involves applying heat on an acupuncture point on the little toe, was successful 75% of the time, compared to a 50% turning rate in the untreated group. The best time for this procedure is between 30 and 34 weeks gestation, although it can work as late as 36 weeks. “Outside of the risk of a irritation to the local tissue if incorrectly applied, there are really no significant complications to this approach,” says John Frostad, a licensed acupuncturist in Milton, Washington.

Sue Fendrick of Newton, Massachusetts was 35 weeks pregnant with twins when she tried moxa and acupuncture needles. Her babies “were everywhere but vertex,” she remembers. They were “transverse and breech, breech and transverse, and then, after the acupuncture and moxibustion, they were lined up like two little hot dogs, heads straight down, lying next to each other, like they are right now in their bassinet. . . Not only was it successful beyond my expectations since both babies turned and there was no question that I’d be able to have a vaginal birth when I was admitted, but the acupuncture was very relaxing.” She saw her acupuncturist about five times over a two week period and also had her husband burn the moxa on the point on her toe between appointments. She had a vaginal birth with midwives which she describes as “very long and hard but incredibly meaningful.”

HYPNOTHERAPY CAN TURN YOUR BABY

Hypnotherapy is “extremely effective” says Yvonne Schwab, a Certified Hypnotherapist in San Jose, California. None of the babies she’s turned have reverted. She feels that’s because “I ask them for their help—I don’t tell them to turn or manipulate them physically at all.” A study at the University of Vermont College of Medicine compared one hundred women with a matched comparison group and found that hypnotherapy was successful 81% of the time compared with 48% in the untreated group.

Shawn Gallagher, a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Registered Midwife in Toronto, Ontario explains, “If there is a reason for the baby to remain breech, then the woman’s subconscious will over-ride the suggestions and have the baby remain breech. Many parents elect to start with hypnosis as their first line of intervention because it is so safe.” The optimal time is between 34 and 37 weeks gestation.

Susan Lynch of Plano, Texas turned her second child using hypnotherapy when she was 36 weeks pregnant. Her Hypnobirthing® teacher “helped me get in to a deeply relaxed state. The practitioner first spoke directly to the baby. She asked him to turn to the head down position if it were safe and appropriate for him to do so. . . While I was still deeply relaxed, she had me visualize him in the perfect position for an easy and comfortable birthing. Once I came out of relaxation, the practitioner . . . reminded me to visualize my baby in the most appropriate position for birthing. She suggested I speak to my baby several times a day and ask him to get in to the best and most appropriate position for birth.”

Lynch would “absolutely recommend this technique. . . It is completely gentle to both mom and baby, carries no risk and is incredibly effective.” Hypnotherapy enabled her to “really feel connected to the baby inside me. I was able to communicate with him and I do believe that he heard what I was asking him to do. . . (using hypnosis) not only encouraged me (to believe) that I was in control of my body and the pregnancy/birth, but also helped me to realize the immense power of my mind.” Her son turned head down by the following morning and was born seventeen days later after only six hours of labor.

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOOSE?

A mom-to-be carrying a breech baby might want to consider one or more of these techniques to turn her baby. They are safe, effective, and could dramatically reduce her risk of having a cesarean.

 To Find A Local Practitioner

chiropractor: www.icpa4kids.com

acupuncturist: www.acupuncturealliance.org or www.aaom.org

hypnotherapist: www.hypnobirthing.com You can meet with a hypnotherapist or work with one long distance over the phone.

Julie Brill is a childbirth educator, labor doula, and homeschooling mother of two daughters, one of whom turned using the Webster Technique. She trains childbirth educators and labor doulas in New England for CAPPA. More information is available at www.WellPregnancy.com.

Not Just the Baby Blues: Recognizing and Treating Postpartum Depression

By Julie Brill | April 6, 2013 | Comments Off on Not Just the Baby Blues: Recognizing and Treating Postpartum Depression

“While our mothers may have taught us misery and suffering is part of mothering an infant, it is simply untrue,” says Elizabeth Torres, Psy.D., a psychologist at McLean, who leads support groups for women experiencing postpartum depression (PPD). PPD affects up to 20% of new moms, but it can be effectively treated. Torres says, “The best treatment is some combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which emphasizes here and now tools to get the woman back on her feet, and anti-depressants. The research demonstrates the effectiveness of CBT. It’s perfect for the new mom. Therapy at this time isn’t about examining history and doing deep emotional work. It’s about coping strategies, self-care, and managing energy for the job at hand.” Kathleen Kendall, Health Psychologist, IBCLC, and author of Depression in New Mothers says that additionally “exercise, Omega 3s, and St. John’s Wort can be effective.”

It’s important for women to know “many anti-depressants are compatible with breastfeeding and may help a depressed woman to continue breastfeeding,” says Karen Gromada, MSN, RN, IBCLC. “Researchers found breastfeeding may lower the risk of PPD.”

Teresa Twomey of Farmville, Virginia, experienced PPD, postpartum psychosis, and postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder after her daughter’s birth. Her experience led her to become a Postpartum Support International (PSI) coordinator. She describes herself postpartum as “angry, irritable, and utterly alone. I felt I was a bad mother and not bonding with my baby. I wanted to run away. I wondered where the ‘real me’ had gone and whether she would ever return. I was desperate, hopeless, and miserable.” Twomey finally sought help because she felt that would be best for her family. Medication and learning about her condition were helpful. Now she offers the Universal Message of PSI to other women:

You are not alone.
You are not to blame.
You will be well.
Your experience is real and there is help.

Up to 80% of women experience the baby blues postpartum. But they will usually begin having more good days than bad ones by the time their babies are two weeks old. Women who are depressed longer should seek help from their obstetrician or midwife. Twomey says, “You may have to be your own advocate. Many doctors are under-informed about this. If you don’t feel you are getting adequate help, ask your doctor to use a formal screening tool for depression or see another doctor. If you don’t know where to turn, ask your pediatrician.” PPD is a pediatric issue since the health of the mother influences the well-being of her child. “Unresolved PPD is associated with depression, behavioral disturbances, avoidant attachment, and cognitive impairments for children of affected women. Research indicates PPD is associated with early weaning, although women who continue to breastfeed through PPD have more positive mother-baby interactions,” reports Gromada.

Symptoms of postpartum depression include: “sadness, anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure), sleep disturbances, emotional sensitivity and appetite disturbances,” says Kendall. Depression occurs during pregnancy at similar rates and should be treated as well. A medical screening is important to rule out other conditions that cause depression, including thyroid disorders.

“A family member might notice the new mother has feelings of sorrow, a lack of joy, difficulty connecting with her baby, taking care of herself, and/or sleeping,” explains Kendall. He or she can help by expressing concern, providing physical support, asking her if she feels depressed, learning more about postpartum depression, and helping her to seek services and support.

Postpartum anxiety disorders are also common. Torres says, “Women can be obsessive in their thinking, irritable, compulsive about baby care or housework, and have physical symptoms such as stomach aches, muscle tension/spasms, headaches and fatigue. They probably wouldn’t consider themselves depressed and might not seek help. Women who have OCD have disturbing, intrusive thoughts of harming their children or that they have harmed them in some way. These women are upset by their thoughts and would not act on them. They often secondarily become depressed.”

Women with a history of depression or anxiety, or a history of mood disorders in their biological families are most at risk. Poverty, an unwanted pregnancy, a difficult birth or baby, and a lack of social support may also be risk factors. But “PPD affects women regardless of ethnicity, religious background, marital statues, educational level or social or economic status, says Margaret Howard, Ph.D., Director of the Postpartum Depression Day Hospital at Women & Infants’ Hospital in Providence. “No one is immune. It’s the most common complication of childbirth.”

Having physical help caring for the baby can offset that risk. Torres says, “Women often plan to have help for two weeks or less. That’s inadequate for most women. Our culture gives women an impossible vision of motherhood to live up to. Being around other new mothers is a huge buffer; it can dispel the isolation and pain around learning this new role.”

Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD is honored to have taught thousands of childbirth education students and hundreds of CAPPA childbirth educators and labor doulas. To register for a New England CAPPA childbirth educator or labor doula training visit www.WellPregnancy.com. To follow her on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/wellpregnancy.

Outside the Elevator (What I Really Do)

By Julie Brill | March 31, 2013 |

By Guest Blogger, WellPregnancy-trained labor doula and childbirth educator Jenny Everett King, CCCE

“So, um . . .What do you do?”

It’s okay. Doulas are more accustomed to this question than you probably realize. No one wants to say, “Soooo, you don’t catch the baby. You don’t give any meds. You don’t use monitors. Ah, why are you there, exactly?” I promise, we get that. Modern day doulas are relatively new to the birth scene, so much so that my trainer advises having a prepared “elevator speech,” a quick and simple description of a doula’s role at birth or postpartum: A doula provides physical, emotional, and informational support to families during the childbearing year.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what that support means. So allow me to wax philosophical for a moment (in the sense that “moment” = “several paragraphs”). Consider this the polar opposite of my elevator speech.

Maybe you’ve heard the stats. Hiring a doula for your birth means you are less likely to use pain medication, have a long labor, or need a cesarean. You are more likely to view your birth experience in a positive light.

So what does that mean, really? Do doulas make contractions less painful? Do they do things to get the baby out faster?

Well, often, yes – we use positions and techniques to optimize the laboring woman’s comfort and enhance labor progress. Sometimes, we lessen pain and speed up labor in concrete, obvious ways.

But I am beginning to think that is one of our less important roles. I am realizing this as I observe the other environments in which I provide support, as I begin to understand my role – my calling, even – during prenatal visits, over emails, as a doula, as an educator, as a friend. Because what we really do is bigger.

Will your labor hurt if you have a doula present? Yup. Or, okay, maybe. Granted, I have heard stories of pain-free births. Some women have them. You might too. And yes, you can absolutely make preparations to have it hurt as little as possible. But personally, I have never felt comfortable telling families to prepare for a pain-free labor. I have seen too many women come away from their birth with the feeling that if it hurt, they did something wrong. Doula philosophies differ, and it’s important to find someone whose outlook on birth aligns with yours. Mine happens to be that labor hurts and that that’s okay.

My job, as I see it, is this: To give you a safe space for experiencing that pain. To allow you the room to deal with pain in the absence of fear and worry. The best description I have heard of this concept (and oh how I wish I could remember where I read it – if you happen to know, please say so in the comments) is simply, to hold space. This role is protective and maternal, to be sure. But it does not strike me as maternal in the feel-good, snuggly, rocking chair way. Yes, I have gently laid a hand on a client’s forehead, or held her hand and spoken soft, reassuring words. But the role of a doula is also maternal in the fierce, mama bear sort of way. Perhaps more so. Because we are hired to be the ones asking others in the room to stop saying dumb, completely unhelpful things. We are the ones encouraging you to get loud if being loud helps. We are the ones charged with reminding parents, This isn’t what you wanted, this isn’t what feels right to you, and yes you absolutely need to stand up for yourself here. And we are the ones, if Plan B happens, to say firmly, I know this isn’t what you wanted, and it’s okay to be upset, and I am here for you.

Of course, holding space is not just for pain. When doulas hold space, we help parents to experience the joy and ecstasy of birth free from so many of the distractions that can hamper it. We help you to have those quiet moments alone, to feel cared for and, yes, loved on your birth journey.

There was a time, several years ago, when I didn’t think I was gentle enough to be a doula. I am not soft-spoken, and am too often sarcastic. I am almost always kind but not always nice – not, at least, in the sugar and spice way. Now I smirk to think about that misgiving, because the reality is, I cannot think of a doula I know who comes across as gentle or soft. We are, collectively, more tough than gentle.

And when you want an advocate for one of the biggest moments of your life, that is a very, very good thing.

Jenny Everett King, CCCE, is a CAPPA-trained Labor Doula and Certified Childbirth Educator, as well as a prenatal yoga teacher and birth photographer. She is the co-owner of DeviBloom Wellness and Birth, LLC, based in southern New Hampshire (www.DeviBloom.com), and blogs at www.CrossroadsBirth.com.

Becoming a Childbirth Educator FAQ

By Julie Brill | March 3, 2013 | Comments Off on Becoming a Childbirth Educator FAQ

Why should I take a WellPregnancy training? When you train with me you have both the advantages of an international organization (CAPPA is the largest childbirth educator organization in the world) and my personal experience as a childbirth educator here in New England for twenty years. During a twenty-four hour childbirth educator training, we have time to cover relevant topics in detail. I offer an active Facebook group to support my students as they certify and beyond, and am available to personally mentor you as well. I am passionate about supporting my students as they learn to provide quality childbirth education and develop the business skill necessary to become successful small business owners.

Why should I certify as a childbirth educator with CAPPA? I really recommend certifying with CAPPA. CAPPA certifies labor and postpartum doulas, childbirth and lactation educators, prenatal fitness instructors, and those who want to work with teens, so there’s lots of room to grow your skills and your business. I’ve been on the CAPPA Faculty for 10 years now, and I am so impressed with how functional this organization is. Phone calls and emails get returned and everything just works. 

I am a doula, why should I train as a childbirth educator? I have trained many, many doulas who see how helpful a childbirth educator’s tools would be to them. All doulas are educators, but when you become a childbirth educator as well, you gain valuable additional skills. Being able to teach childbirth education classes to your doula clients means you get to spend additional (paid) time with them getting to know each other, and you know for sure that they had had quality cbe. Many doulas who have taken my training have said how helpful it is because they are doing less unpaid cbe on the fly prenatally and in labor for their clients who have taken cbe with them. When you advertise as a childbirth educator, you’ll get students who may also become your doula clients. Finally, you can earn twenty-four CEUs by attending a WellPregnancy training and you may qualify to certify on the accelerated track.

I am a registered nurse, why should I train as a childbirth educator? Expanding your knowledge about childbirth education will give you useful skills in your work in labor and delivery, postpartum, and/or as you teach childbirth education classes. If you are considering applying to work as a perinatal nurse, being a trained or certified childbirth educator is a valuable credential. Finally, you can earn twenty-four CEUs by attending a WellPregnancy training and you may qualify to certify on the accelerated track.

Is there an accelerated certification track? Yes, midwives, nurses, chiropractors, certified labor doulas, and experienced childbirth educators can apply to certify on the accelerated track by emailing our director at cccedirector@cappa.net. All students take a three day training, but the accelerated track has fewer additional certification requirements.

I am a nursing student, can I take a WellPregnancy childbirth educator training? Training as a childbirth educator while you are still in school will give you the opportunity to expand your skill base and diversify your resume. WellPregnancy trainings are a great opportunity to learn more about the natural birth process, informed consent, and educator skills than students typically learn in nursing school.

Do I have to have given birth/given birth vaginally/given birth naturally to become a childbirth educator? Do I have be of childbearing age/be female to become a childbirth educator?

No! People with various backgrounds and experiences have become excellent childbirth educators. I have trained wonderful men and grandmothers, as well as women who have never given birth or who given birth in a wide variety of circumstances. Personally, I taught childbirth classes for three and a half years prior to giving birth to my older daughter.

How can I get more information about your trainings? You’ll find lots of information at www.WellPregnancy.com. Please email me at Julie@WellPregnancy.com with any questions.

Who takes a WellPregnancy childbirth educator training?

Women who have had transformative birth experiences and want to pay it forward; women who have had difficult birth experiences and want to support other women in the childbearing year; chiropractors, massage therapists, and other professionals who want to better serve perinatal women; doulas, lactation consultants and childbirth educators who want to take their birth businesses to the next level; midwives, nurses, and nursing students who want to diversify their resumes and hone their skills; teachers who want to support and educate; and anyone who wants to learn more about providing education and support to pregnant and birthing women. You can learn more about some WellPregnancy students here: https://www.wellpregnancy.com/meet-students/.

Where do professionals who have trained with WellPregnancy work?

I have mentored hundreds of childbirth educators who now work in a variety of settings. Many run their own businesses while others work for hospitals, WIC, and other organizations. While many are active childbirth educators and doulas, others use the skills they learned at their training to enhance their work as midwives, labor nurses, lactation consultants, massage therapists, chiropractors, and administrators.

I don’t have any medical background, can I become a childbirth educator?

Yes! No medical background is required and many certified childbirth educators are not medical professionals.

Are there additional certification requirements, in addition to attending the training?

Yes, please see www.CAPPA.net for more information.

Are there prerequisites to attend the training? Students who are certifying should plan to complete the pre-workshop study guide prior to the training.

 

 

 

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