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Series: Building Your Birth Business: Improve Your Online Presence

December 18th, 2014 by avatar

By Janelle Durham, MSW, LCCE

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 8.41.49 PMAs we move into the new year, you may be considering starting your own independent childbirth education or birth related business.  Maybe you already have such a business already established but are looking to take it to the next level. Today’s post is part of a new series: Building Your Birth Business. Check out the first post in the series, “Online Marketing for Birth Professionals – A Beginner’s Guide here.

 Perhaps the organization you work for would like to grow their offerings geared toward families in the childbearing year.  Janelle Durham. MSW, LCCE, a birth and parent educator, working for several programs in the Pacific Northwest has put together this beginner’s guide to improving your online presence.  This resource can help you to get started in establishing your name and business on the internet, and how to make yourself “findable” when people are searching for you or the type of services you provide. – Sharon Muza,  Science & Sensibility Community Manager

What is online presence?

For the purposes of this article, here’s what I mean:

  • If people search for your business / organization by name, will they find you?
  • If people search for businesses like yours online (your “competitors” or colleagues), will they also discover you?
  • If there are people who are in the right demographic for your services who might benefit from your services someday but aren’t looking for them yet OR people are searching for information related to your work: will they stumble across your name from time to time, building “brand familiarity” so when they do need services, they think of you?
  • When people read about you online (on your site or elsewhere) will they get a good impression? A bad impression? Or a confusing mix of information?

How important is online presence?

The internet has become one of the primary ways that people find information. 93% of American adults age 30 – 49 use the internet.  57% of adults access it on their phones. Of people age 30 – 49, 82% use social media.  63% of Facebook users use it every day.  And they use it to find available services in their area. When searching for a physician, 66% look online (internet searches and online directories), 38% use the physical yellow pages, and 4% newspaper. When searching for a restaurant, 82% look online, 17% in the physical yellow pages, and 14% newspaper. (And I must note, the source of this data is heavily invested in physical yellow pages. They don’t share the demographics for their data, but I would guess that if limited to the 30 – 49 year old age group, the numbers for internet use may be even higher, and physical yellow pages and newspaper much lower.)

social mediaAnd internet users are not just searching for physicians and restaurants. Expectant parents and new parents are also searching online for information and support services. I work with a childbirth education organization that is very established in the community, with lots of community partnerships. When we ask our students how they found our classes, 75% were from professional referrers (care providers, hospitals we contract with, doulas), 3% were from family or friends, but 21% found us online through web searches or through links to our website. If you are a new business without lots of local referrers yet, you would likely see an even higher percentage of your clients coming in through the web. And if you advertise online, that will help you connect with even more potential clients online.

Tips for Improving your Online Presence

Here are some tips. Some of these steps would take you minutes to complete. And most do not require any technical knowledge.

1.  Have a website

If you don’t already have a website, just search online and you’ll find plenty of basic tutorials to get you started. DON’T go and hire a developer to build you a very complex site that you can’t maintain yourself. DO choose a DIY software that’s easy to work with and inexpensive to maintain so that you can keep it up-to-date easily. (I use WordPress.com and would recommend it but there are plenty of other good options.)

2.  Put essential information on your website

Make sure all the basic information someone would need to know about your business or services is on your website somewhere. For example, list your location! You’d be surprised how many sites fail to list the location of the business, or list the neighborhood without listing city and state. Don’t assume that people know what your services are – define them! Learn more about essential content here.

3.  Include important keywords on your site

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client. Imagine they are doing a web search for services like yours. Think of all the words they’d be likely to type in. (And synonyms for those words.) Then make sure those words appear on your site somewhere. Learn more.

4. Write an effective page title and description

When you look at search results, you’ll notice each listing has a title for the page it links to and a brief description of what you’ll find there. What title and description is it displaying for your webpage? You want to make sure it’s the best it can be. If you are able to edit the HTML code for your site, you can write your own meta-title and page description there. If not, you can change the content of your site to affect the title and description. Learn more.

5. Claim your business

If you “claim your business” on Google, Bing, and in any important local directories, it makes it easier for those search engines to find you and places your listing higher in the results. It’s really easy! Learn how.

6. Check your web presence

You need to know what happens when someone searches for you. What do they find? Use a browser in “private mode” where it doesn’t remember what you’ve searched for before. Then type in the terms people would type in if they were looking for you. Learn whether you appear on review sites and in internet directories, then check those sites to see what they say about you. Learn whether there are other services with names similar to yours that you could be easily confused with. Think about what you could put on your website to differentiate yourself from them. Learn more on how to search and what to search for here.

Optional ideas

Add related content to your website

You might choose to only have the basic info about your services on your website. That’s totally fine. But many people choose to include articles or a blog on topics related to their services. This could help people find your site when searching for related information. For example, a birth doula might include articles on morning sickness, or choosing a care provider, or things to buy for baby. A potential client might search for that info, find your article on it, and then look around your site more to learn more about who you are and what you do. Also, if you do write that content, encourage other people to link to it.

Network with others

Talk to your employees, your colleagues, your clients, your students, other professionals in related fields, and so on. Encourage them to include a link to your website on their website; encourage them to share your Facebook posts; ask if you can guest-write an article for their blog, invite them to re-blog your posts. More links to your site from other sites help improve your web presence.

Establish a presence on other social media

Create a Facebook page! (That’s the dominant social media at this time for the 30 – 49 year old age group.) Consider also: google plus and LinkedIn if you’re aiming at older, educated professionals, Pinterest if you want to reach women (moms especially), Tumblr, and instagram for the 25 and unders. Twitter for very wired folks. Learn more about the different platforms here and their audiences here and here. To learn about setting up accounts in any of these systems and maximizing your visibility, just do web searches.

Also, be sure your various accounts are linked up. For example, for my WordPress.com blog More Good Days with Kids, whenever I post something it automatically puts a post about it up on my Facebook page, Google plus, Twitter and LinkedIn. Really the only one I actively maintain is the Facebook page but I know links are appearing in all those places.

Get started now

Most of the social service providers I know got into this work because we want to do direct work with our clients. Most don’t want to deal with marketing, or think about websites. But if you think your services benefit parents, then the best way to reach and benefit more parents is to take a few minutes to improve your web presence. If you don’t think you can do all the steps listed above, at least do one!

About Janelle Durham

Janelle headshotJanelle Durham, MSW, LCCE. Janelle has taught childbirth preparation, breastfeeding, and newborn care for 14 years. She trains childbirth educators for the Great Starts program at Parent Trust for Washington Children, and teaches young families through Bellevue College’s Parent Education program. She is a co-author of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn and writes blogs/websites on: pregnancy & birth; breastfeeding and newborn care; and parenting toddlers & preschoolers. Contact Janelle and learn more at www.janelledurham.com

 

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Series: Building Your Birth Business , , ,

Great Holiday Gift Ideas for your Favorite Childbirth Educator

December 16th, 2014 by avatar

SandS Great Gift IdeasAs the gift giving season is fast approaching, I wanted to put together some great gift ideas that any childbirth educator would love to receive this holiday season.  Stocking a childbirth education classroom with useful items can be expensive and even overwhelming for the educator just starting out.  Here are some must-have items that any childbirth educator would appreciate now or anytime during the year. Childbirth educators – what might be on your list that I did not included here? And, go ahead and print this list out or share online with friends and family,  so you can receive a CBE gift to warm your heart and that demonstrates how much your efforts to help families have a safe and healthy birth are appreciated.

A pelvic model

Having a pelvis on hand to demonstrate how the baby moves through the pelvis, rotating and descending during labor is a key part of any childbirth class.  Your favorite CBE will appreciate having one to use and they are often an expensive purchase.  I like this one for both it’s price, quick delivery and excellent reviews.  This is one of my most valuable teaching aids.

A knitted uterus

Having a knitted uterus is helpful for demonstrating how the cervix thins and opens during labor and birth. A knitted uterus can be purchased through various stores that sell childbirth teaching aids, or even on Amazon.com and often come with special features like detachable vagina and zippered uterine opening to represent a cesarean incision. If you are in any way crafty, you could consider knitting your own, using one of the many patterns that are available on line and customize it using the childbirth educator’s favorite colors.

www.etsy.com/shop/Anatomicalknits

www.etsy.com/shop/Anatomicalknits

A fetus

Having a fetal model to fit into the uterus and move through the pelvis makes for a great visual aid.  Childbirth Graphics sells one that fits through the standard model pelvis and holds up well through years of use.  You can also look around at some of the other sites listed below for comparison.

Bluetooth speakers

I am always grateful for my small, portable  but powerful rechargeable bluetooth speaker that I can connect to my phone, my tablet or my laptop for quick and easy sound projection.  I have had a few over the years and am currently thrilled with the Jam Classic in a color to match my classroom.  I previously owned this one until my teen daughters snatched them away. Buy your favorite, just make sure they are lightweight, rechargeable and work over bluetooth.

A subscription to “Up to Date”

I would love to be gifted a subscription to the research website “Up to Date” which provides current evidence based information and practice guidelines at your fingertips.  When a childbirth educator wants quick and easy access to all the most current information on treatments, protocols and recommendations for maternity care, s/he can quickly access this highly current resource.  While we are not clinicians, it is so helpful to be able to see the most current research as it is made available.  This gift would thrill me to no end.

Lamaze membership

Your favorite childbirth educator would love to have his or her Lamaze membership paid for!  S/he will get all the benefits of being a Lamaze member, including significant Kinkos/FedEx discounts, a year long subscription to the Journal of Perinatal Education, access to community boards on the Lamaze website and so much more.

Peanut and/or birth ball

peanut ballNo childbirth class is complete without a peanut or regular birth ball for the educator and students to use during classroom demonstrations and practice.  Lots of different sizes to choose from, but I recommend the 45 CM peanut ball and the 65 CM birth ball, likely to be the best size for many of the students.  Make sure the ball you buy is burst resistant.  You can get them on Amazon or at local sporting goods shops as well.  Here is some information on using the peanut ball during labor.

Unscented massage lotion or oil

Hand massage is often taught in childbirth classes as a form of relaxation.  Keep your favorite childbirth educator well supplied with a large bottle of a quality unscented lotion or oil.  Consider adding in some small plastic or glass bottles that s/he can fill an  handout during practice time and you will have a sure winner!

Newborn dolls

ikea dollIt is always fun to have a collection of newborn dolls to hand out when talking about life with a newborn, to practice swaddles with or to use during breastfeeding practice.  My favorite doll is the soft dolls available at at Ikea.  They are lightweight, about the right size, and at $10/each, very affordable, so I can purchase enough for every family to have one to practice on. I also like that they have different races, so my dolls can reflect my class members.

Laminator

I like to teach engaging and interactive childbirth classes and many of my activities involve cards as part of the learning.  I love having my own laminator so I can whip up new teaching tools and ideas right in my own home.  This affordable laminator has been a reliable workhorse for me for several years now without fail and I love making  professional looking materials to use in my childbirth class. I like to have two size lamination sheets – full page and quarter page.

Astrobrights colored paper

My handouts and laminated activity cards look fantastic on this super bright, super fun colored paper.  I love having a ream around the house for all my signs, projects and creative ideas. I also find the heavier cardstock useful at times too.

All kinds of markers, crayons and pens

There is nothing so sad as having a box of faded out, washed out permanent or low scent dry erase markers in my teaching supply box.  I love when the markers are bold and the dry erase/white board markers are strong and vibrant.  I always appreciate having a new supply on hand of both kinds of markers. I also use crayons in my classes and they get broken and used up!   A huge box of crayons would be super.  Even a jumbo box of pens – as students are always asking to borrow them and I never get them back.

Knitted breasts

knitted breasts

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by seniwati: http://flickr.com/photos/seniwati/3182485430

If the childbirth educator on your list also teaches breastfeeding , she will want to have a nice collection of knitted breasts on hand for her classes.  This model is nice but rather expensive, It is nice to have one for each family.  Here is a pattern if you have the skills to make them yourself.  Or you can often find them on Etsy Remember, breasts can come in many different skin tones and all kinds of nipple, areola and breast sizes.

Swaddling blankets, cloth diaper samples, baby carriers

These may be things you have access to from your children as they have grown out of them, or you can take up a collection of used items from friends and family or even hit up the thrift shops.  Get a whole bunch together and gift them to the childbirth educator to use in class.  S/he will appreciate the variety and feel confident that s/he has enough for everyone in class to try some.

Gift certificates

If you are not sure what your childbirth educator needs – consider a gift certificate to one of the companies that sells teaching aids and instructional materials, and let the educator decide for him or herself what they can use.

Cascade Healthcare Products

Childbirth Graphics

Injoy Videos

Plumtree Baby

 

 

Childbirth Education, Social Media , , , ,

Series: Building Your Birth Business: Online Marketing for Birth Professionals – A Beginner’s Guide

December 11th, 2014 by avatar

By Janelle Durham, MSW, LCCE

As we move into the new year, you may be considering starting your own independent childbirth education or birth related business.  Maybe you already have such a business already established but are looking to take it to the next level. Today’s post is part of a new series: Building Your Birth Business.

 Perhaps the organization you work for would like to grow their offerings geared toward families in the childbearing year.  Janelle Durham, a birth and parent educator, working for several programs in the Pacific Northwest has put together this beginner’s guide for the options available to reach your target audience of expectant parents through online marketing.  This resource can help you to get started in designing and placing ads and then tracking your success. – Sharon Muza,  Science & Sensibility Community Manager

Introduction

This guide is designed for non-profit organizations or individuals that serve expectant parents or young families (though other programs may also find it useful). I know there are a lot of folks doing great work, but we all have limited advertising budgets, and it’s hard to get the word out sometimes. We try things like a print ad in the newspaper once a year for $250 and hope that gets us some people.(But ask today’s parents if they read the newspaper.. I’m guessing the answer will be no. Most of the people who see your newspaper ad will be past the age of child-rearing. They’re not your target audience.)

social-media-marketingWith today’s online marketing, there are much more effective ways to spend your ad dollars that allows you to put your ad in front of a very targeted audience of young parents in the places where they look everyday (Facebook, online search engines, and YouTube. To see statistics on who uses social media, click here.)  Here’s an overview of your options, with links to more details. (And, of course, once you have the basic vocabulary and ideas I share here, you can do online searching to learn lots more about all these topics.)

Facebook Ads

71% of people who use the Internet use Facebook. 63% of Facebook users visit Facebook every day. (source) This is where parents’ eyes are looking!

Facebook ads allow you to place an ad right on the user’s “feed” – not off on a sidebar that they’ve learned to ignore. They can just read the ad, or they may choose to click on it. (You choose what happens when they click – they could click to like your Facebook page, or the click could link to your website.) You only pay if they click on your ad.

Facebook ads let you target your preferred customer or cient. For example, I can target my ad to people that Facebook has determined are: women, 24 – 44 years old, living in Bellevue, WA or within a ten mile radius (but excluding Seattle) who have purchased baby food, toys for young children, or clothes for young children. Facebook says that’s a possible audience of 5800. For $10, I put an ad in front of 995 of those parents, 23 clicked through to our website to learn more. That’s 43 cents for each person who came to our site to learn more – good bang for your buck! How to place ads on Facebook.

Facebook Boosts

Facebook also allows you to “boost” a post. So, you write a regular post on your business page and all your page followers see it. Then you pay for a boost to put it on the feeds of people who don’t yet follow your page. For $10 I boosted a post about local classes to local parents. It displayed to 1745,  and 36 clicked through. Cost 28 cents a click. How to Boost.

Your ability to target your demographic is more limited with boosts than with Facebook ads, so I prefer ads. I do like using boosts to promote a link to a video. (see below)

Google ads and Bing ads

The big picture is: you create a short ad. You choose whether it will display on search networks, display networks, or both. Then you define what kinds of people to show it to (geographic region, etc.). Then you define “keywords.”

For “search network advertising”: When someone in your region searches for those keywords, then the ad will display. For “display network” your ad will appear when people are looking at related content, even if they didn’t use your search terms to get there. When I ran ads on Bing, for $10, the ad would display to about 500 people, and about 25 would click through. On Google, $10 would display to about 1500 people, but only about 9 or 10 would click through. If you were just trying to get your name out there, Google may be a better bet, because there’s more “impressions” (times your ad is shown.) If you really want people to click to your site to learn more, Bing may be a better bet, because more will click through. Or, you may choose to run a low budget ad on both networks to reach the widest variety of users.

I personally prefer Facebook ads to search engine ads, because as a user, I find I read Facebook ads, and I totally ignore search engine ads. Also, Facebook allows me to target more specifically. However, if you think people will be actively searching out programs like yours and you have a really good sense of what keywords they would use, search engine ads are certainly worth doing. Learn how to place ads on Google and Yahoo Bing.

Promoting a video

You may choose to make a video to promote your program. If you do, then upload it to YouTube, then embed it somewhere on your website (check the help info in your website tool to learn how to do this.) Then promote it.

On Facebook, you can put a post with a link to the video, and then boost that post. (My $10 test ad displayed to 1700, and 62 clicked through.) On Google Ads, you can create a “video campaign” (learn how and learn more). Ads display on YouTube. (My test ad displayed to about 950 people, 24 clicked through.) Or you can set up your ad (“promote your video”) on YouTube directly. (Learn how.)

Check your web presence

When you spend money on internet advertising, most of those ads will take people directly to your website to learn more about your program. PLEASE make sure your website is the best it can be, free of grammar and spelling errors, graphically pleasant  and contains all the essential info they would need! Learn more here.

Is it working?

When you spend money on an ad in traditional media (newspapers, mailings, radio ads), it can be hard to tell: how many people saw the ad? How many were your target demographic? Did they take any actions after seeing the ad?

It’s easier to get those answers for online advertising. All the services listed above will give you all sorts of statistics (analytics) on how many people saw the ad, how many clicked through, what portion of the video they watched, and so on. This helps you decide whether the ad was money well spent.

It’s even better if you can take this to the next level. Many websites allow you to see your statistics. So, for example, on a day you ran an ad, you can see not only how many people clicked in from your ad, but what they did once they got to your site. Did they click on links on the page? Did they look at other pages? How much time did they spend on your site? There are also some external tools that can track statistics, like Google Analytics.

It’s even better if you can do “conversion tracking” which shows more specifically what a user did on your site after clicking through from an ad. These articles might be helpful to you: How to Track Facebook Ad Conversions and Understanding Conversion Tracking.

Staying up to date

The world of internet advertising is always changing, so if you want to be effective, update your website and your marketing strategy on a regular basis.

In this overview, I’ve shared what I learned this summer about online marketing. I need to say that the online world changes very quickly, and the processes might not be the same and you might not get the same results in September 2015 as I got in September 2014.

Have you had any experience with online marketing for your childbirth education or other birth business?  Please share your successes and learning moments with us in the comments section. – SM

About Janelle Durham

Janelle headshotJanelle Durham, MSW, LCCE. Janelle has taught childbirth preparation, breastfeeding, and newborn care for 14 years. She trains childbirth educators for the Great Starts program at Parent Trust for Washington Children, and teaches young families through Bellevue College’s Parent Education program. She is a co-author of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn and writes blogs/websites on: pregnancy & birth; breastfeeding and newborn care; and parenting toddlers & preschoolers. Contact Janelle and learn more at www.janelledurham.com

 

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Lamaze International, Series: Building Your Birth Business , , ,

A Tale of Two Births – Comparing Hospitals to Hospitals

December 9th, 2014 by avatar

By Christine H. Morton, PhD

Today, Christine H. Morton, PhD, takes a moment to highlight a just released infographic and report by the California Healthcare Foundation that clearly shows the significance of birthing in a hospital that is “low performing.”  This is a great follow up post to “Practice Variation in Cesarean Rates: Not Due to Maternal Complications” that Pam Vireday wrote about last month. Where women choose to birth really matters and their choice has the potential to have profound impact on their birth outcomes.   – Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager.

An Internet search of “A Tale of Two Births” brings up several blog posts about disparities in experience and outcomes between one person’s hospital and subsequent birth center or home births. Sometimes the disparity is explained away by the fact that for many women, their second labor and birth is shorter and easier than their first. Or debate rages about the statistics on home birth or certified professional midwifery. Now we have a NEW Tale of Two Births to add to the mix. However, this one compares the experiences of two women, who are alike in every respect but one – the hospital where they give birth.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 5.15.04 PM

 

The California HealthCare Foundation has created an infographic drawn from data reported on California’s healthcare public reporting website, CalQualityCare.org. In this infographic, we meet two women, Sara, and Maya who are identical in every respect – both are the same age, race, and having their first baby, which is head down, at term. However, Sara plans to have her baby at a “high-performing” hospital while Maya will give birth at a “low-performing” hospital. “High performing” is defined as three or more Superior or Above Average scores and no Average, Below Average, or Poor scores on the four maternity measures. “Low performing” is defined as three or more Below Average or Poor scores on the four maternity measures.

Based on the data from those hospitals, the infographic compares the likelihood of each woman experiencing four events: low-risk C-section, episiotomy, exclusive breastmilk before discharge, and VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) rates (the latter one of course requires us to imagine that Sara and Maya had a prior C-section).

First-time mom Sara has a 19% chance of a C-section at her high-performing hospital, while Maya faces a 56% chance of having a C-section at her low-performing hospital. These percentages reflect the weighted average of all high- and low- performing hospitals.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 5.15.22 PM

 

The readers of this blog will no doubt be familiar with these quality metrics and their trends over time. Two of these metrics (low risk C-section and exclusive breastmilk on discharge) are part of the Joint Commission’s Perinatal Care Measure Set. The other two – episiotomy and VBAC are important outcomes of interest to maternity care advocates and, of course, expectant mothers.

Hospitals with >1100 births annually have been required to report the five measures in the Joint Commission’s Perinatal Care Measure Set since January 2014, and these metrics will be publicly reported as of January 2015.

Childbirth educators can help expectant parents find their state’s quality measures and use this information in selecting a hospital for birth. In the event that changing providers or hospitals is not a viable option, childbirth educators can teach pregnant women what they can do to increase their chances of optimal birth outcomes by sharing the Six Healthy Practices with all students, but especially those giving birth in hospitals that are “low-performing.”

You can download the infographic in English and en Español tambien!

About Christine H. Morton

christine morton headshotChristine H. Morton, PhD, is a medical sociologist. Her research and publications focus on women’s reproductive experiences, maternity care advocacy and maternal quality improvement. She is the founder of an online listserv for social scientists studying reproduction, ReproNetwork.org.  Since 2008, she has been at California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative at Stanford University, an organization working to improve maternal quality care and eliminate preventable maternal death and injury and associated racial disparities. She is the author, with Elayne Clift, of Birth Ambassadors: Doulas and the Re-emergence of Woman Supported Childbirth in the United States.  In October 2013, she was elected to the Lamaze International Board of Directors.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, their two school age children and their two dogs.  She can be reached via her website.

Babies, Cesarean Birth, Childbirth Education, Do No Harm, Evidence Based Medicine, Guest Posts, Healthy Birth Practices, Maternal Quality Improvement, Maternity Care, Medical Interventions, New Research, Newborns, Push for Your Baby , , , , , ,

Series: Journey to LCCE Certification – Mission Accomplished!

December 4th, 2014 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, LCCE

 photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

If you have been following Cara Terreri in our Series: Journey to LCCE Certification, you know Cara was last seen hard at work preparing for the LCCE examination.  I received good news from Cara yesterday, and wanted to share her update with you.  Please join me in congratulating Cara on successfully passing the Lamaze exam and receiving the credentials “LCCE”.  I would like to congratulate all of you who also received news of your passing score.  You should be proud of your accomplishments.  If others would like to explore becoming a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, please check out our certification page on the website for information on how to start. – Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager.

The final days

At the culmination of nearly two years, the longest part of which was the last five weeks waiting to hear news, the results are in… I passed the exam and am now a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator! Though I felt confident in my knowledge and abilities, self-doubt crept in during the weeks leading up to the exam. I amped up my studying and review time in order to feel more sure in my knowledge. Walking through the door of the testing site, my nerves took a back seat and I felt ready.

My test experience

My test-taking experience was, overall, positive. Many of the questions were reasonable and fair, and for a good number of them, I quickly found the answer. For other questions, however, I really had to closely read the question and think hard about my answer. I could always narrow it down to two answers – it was those last two that really tested my knowledge! The testing system allows you to “flag” a question if it’s one you want to go back and review. Two hours into the exam, I was finished answering questions. I was more than thankful for the additional hour to review the questions I had flagged. For two questions, I felt strongly about sending feedback to staff, a feature available to me during the test.  This feature made me feel like the test was truly created to be fair and open to my feedback. When the test results were released, I was pleased to see that a question had been eliminated, and I was hopeful that it might have been one of the questions I flagged.

Lamaze core values

cara lcceLamaze prides itself on promoting evidence based information and the LCCE exam is no different – questions are created fairly (not intentionally tricky), and cover a wide range of in-depth information that a competent and effective childbirth educator should possess. As someone who writes on behalf of Lamaze for parents everywhere, and as a budding educator and doula, holding the LCCE credential is invaluable. It provides added credibility, yes, but perhaps more importantly, it holds me accountable. Ongoing education is so critical in our field! Throughout the years since working with Lamaze, I’ve come to learn so much about the organization in comparison to others. It’s the level of dedication and commitment to education that encourages me to grow further with Lamaze as my foundation.

What’s next

Now that the exam is complete, the real work begins! Since moving and settling into a new community, I now am ready to create a business plan for 2015 and begin teaching locally. My earlier professional goals centered around doula work, but until I can solidify extended child care, that will have to wait. Teaching classes, however, is very doable and it’s also something I truly enjoy.

Did you also pass the exam?  Share your good news in our comments section and let us know what your next steps are!  Where will you be teaching?  What type of classes?  Let us knw! We want to celebrate with you and wish you all the best as you start your work as an LCCE. – SM

About Cara Terreri

Cara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.

 

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Lamaze International, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification , , ,