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Series: Journey to LCCE Certification – Countdown to the Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator Exam

September 25th, 2014 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Cara Terreri has been documenting her path to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator since taking her workshop in August of 2012, in our series: Journey to LCCE Certification. Today ,we have another update as she prepares to sit for the exam next month.  The LCCE credentials are the gold standard for childbirth educators and Cara, along with many other men and women worldwide, are seeing the culmination of learning and preparation coming to a close with an exam date scheduled for late October.  Get an update on Cara and share your exam tips for Cara and others in our comments section. Interested in becoming an LCCE? Find out more. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility.

© Cara Terreri

© Cara Terreri

Since my last installment, my life has taken a near 180 degree turn. Birth work still remains my professional priority and passion of course, but after a huge move out of state, I will now pursue doula work and childbirth education – as well as take the LCCE exam — in Myrtle Beach, SC. When I would have been preparing to take the exam in April in Atlanta, I was in the thick of selling my house, packing out, and preparing my family to move to the East Coast. Thankfully, Lamaze gives you the option to defer taking the exam.

With one month to go until the exam date, I am spending my afternoons and evenings poring over the pages of the Lamaze Study Guide, in particular, the “review” sections for each core competency. Reviewing key questions help me to understand my weak points (pregnancy complications and prenatal tests) and give me a tighter focal point for studying. To further boost my knowledge, I attended the fantastic Lamaze International/DONA International joint conference (“confluence”) last week – the timing couldn’t have been better! The insightful sessions echoed many of the themes throughout the Study Guide. But perhaps most important, I was able to speak directly with several LCCEs about their experience with the exam. I heard things like “fair,” “read questions closely,” “common sense,” and “you’ll do great!”

In the days to follow, I plan to take the Exam Prep Course from Lamaze, which includes a practice test. I feel fairly confident about my depth of knowledge, but this is like the extra bit of insurance I want before the big day.

Of course, taking the LCCE exam is just the tip of the iceberg for me professionally, since having relocated to a new area. Now that my kids are in school and we’re more settled, my goal is to build relationships with local educators, doulas, and lactation professionals, along with moms and families. Lots of work to do, and I’m so energized by my drive to help women and families, I want to do it all! But I remind myself that the key is to help, not help everyone. This will likely be my life’s work and because it is not my sole source of income currently, I do as much as I can that works into my stage and place in life.

Readers, I would love to hear your thoughts on the Lamaze exam! Any last-minute tips? Suggestions for studying?  How to calm those last minute jitters? And of course, positive thoughts in my (and all the exam test takers) direction would be much appreciated next month on “game day”!  I will update readers after I take the exam.  And of course, will share my results – hopefully a passing grade.

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.

 

2014 Confluence, Childbirth Education, Giving Birth with Confidence, Lamaze International, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification , , , ,

Lamaze International’s Parents Blog – Giving Birth with Confidence Seeks Your Expertise!

July 31st, 2014 by avatar

 My friend and colleague, Cara Terreri, is the Community Manager for the sister blog to Science & Sensibility, “Giving Birth with Confidence,” Lamaze International’s blog geared for expectant and new families.  Cara is looking for some guest writers, and that just might be you!  Read on to find out more.  - Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility

Are you a maternal/child health professional with something to say or a passion to share? Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for parents, is seeking new voices to share relevant, up-to-date information with expectant parents everywhere. My name is Cara Terreri, and I manage and write for the Giving Birth with Confidence blog. I rely on my guest writers to share a range of topics and expertise with our readership. Guest posts on the blog can address a wide variety of topics pertinent to pre-conception, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and early parenting, and should be written in lay language, easily understood by the average person. Generally, articles are kept to a length of 1,000 words or less, but if the topic requires more, we can accommodate. Links, references and resources should be used where appropriate, and pictures (to which you own rights) are always appreciated! Below are a few topics on our current wish list, but please don’t hesitate to contact me with other ideas. 

  • growing research on the importance of colonizing baby’s gut after cesarean birth
  • options/choices if you experience a still birth
  • breastfeeding pain — difference between “normal” discomfort and pain, and what the pain could signal
  • resources for women on medicare and/or WIC during pregnancy/prenatal care
  • family centered cesarean
  • understanding fetal heart tones during labor (what are staff looking for with each 15 minute strip?)
  • rebozo 101 in labor
  • how to bond with your baby if you’ve been separated (NICU stay, etc)
  • relationship matters – during pregnancy, after birth
  • issues unique to single parents

We are also searching for our next Great Expectations blogger. If you or someone you know is in their first or early second trimester and would like to blog through their pregnancy experience (2 posts per month, through the first month postpartum), let us know!

Contact Cara Terreri to inquire about all guest writing opportunities.

Giving Birth with Confidence, Guest Posts, Uncategorized , ,

The Childbirth Educator’s Role in The Cesarean Epidemic: 10 Steps You Can Take Now!

April 29th, 2014 by avatar

As Cesarean Awareness Month (April 2014) comes to a close, I wanted to share ten things that childbirth educators can do in their childbirth classes to support families to avoid unneeded cesareans, help families to have a cesarean birth that is respectful and family centered and support families who give birth by cesarean, (planned or unplanned) both during the birth, in the postpartum period and when planning future births.

1. Birth plan exercises

Have your birth planning/birth choices activity include preferences for a cesarean birth.  Allow parents the option to select items such as delayed cord clamping, skin to skin in the operating room, delaying newborn weights and measurements, and more.  While these may not be available options in all areas, encouraging discussion amongst families and their health care providers is a good place to start.  Additionally, consider role playing a cesarean section in class and discuss ways to make the procedure family friendly.  Remember to suggest ways that the partner and other support people can best support mother and baby during the surgery. Consider sharing “The natural caesarean: a woman-centred technique” video so families can explore options for a family friendly cesarean birth.

2. Access teaching resources on the Lamaze International website

Lamaze International offers some great teaching resources on cesareans for educators on their website and for families on the Lamaze International parent site.  There are two infographics that cover the topic of cesarean sections; “Avoiding the First Cesarean” and “What’s the Deal with Cesareans.”  You might consider showing the brand new infographic video to your families in class. At only 3 minutes long, it does a great interactive job of highlighting important information. In addition to using these materials in class, encourage families to explore them more thoroughly at home.

3.  Provide current statistics

Access and share statistics about national and provincial or state cesarean rates and VBAC rates, along with local rates for facilities and providers if available.  Help your families to understand the difference between overall cesarean rates and primary cesarean rates and why facilities caring for high risk mothers or babies might have higher rates.  Make sure that you are providing the most current information available, and update your figures when new numbers are released. Encourage discussion in class with families who are considering changing birth location or providers if they feel so inclined.

4. Encourage the use of birth doulas

The addition of trained labor support has been shown to reduce common interventions and cesareans. (Hodnett, 2012)  Take some time during class to share how doulas can help support both the laboring woman and her partner and team.  Provide resources for families to locate doulas (DONA.org and DoulaMatch.net are two such lists that come to mind) and briefly share information on questions to ask a doula during an interview, so the families are prepared.

cam two ribbon5.   Share current best practice information

Be sure that the information in your classes is current, accurate and based on best practices and evidence.  Know the sources of the information you cover.  Make sure it is up to date and verifiable.  Have a short list of favorite online resources to share with families, including Lamaze International’s Giving Birth with Confidence blog- written specifically for parents.  Utilize the references that make up the Six Healthy Birth Practices, there is a citation sheet for all six of the birth practices.

6. Support the midwifery model of care

Share information in your classes about the midwifery model of care, which has been shown to be an appropriate choice for healthy, low risk women.  Let your class families know how to find a midwife by using the search functions on the American College of Nurse-Midwives website and information on finding a midwife on the Citizens for Midwifery website.

7. Have meaningful class reunions

If your childbirth class includes a reunion, create a space for all the families to share their stories, both the vaginal births and the cesarean births.  Honor the work that the families did to birth their babies and celebrate their intention and teamwork.  Highlight their shining moments and let them know that you recognize how hard they worked.  Model excellent listening skills and support all the families as they share their birth stories.

8. Provide support group information

Make sure that all families that leave your class have been given resources for a support group for women who birth by cesarean section.  Access the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) to find the nearest local ICAN chapter website or Facebook group. Or refer the families to the main ICAN Facebook page.  VBACFacts.com also has a large peer to peer support network active on Facebook as well.

9.  Share postpartum resources

Families that birth by cesarean section might find themselves needing additional support from professionals during the postpartum period.  Be sure that they have resources to find lactation consultants, mental health counselors, postpartum doulas, physical therapists and other professionals that might be useful for healing emotionally and physically from a cesarean section.  In the throes of postpartum hormones, exhaustion, sleep deprivation and physical recovery, having to hunt down appropriate professionals can be a daunting task for any new families, never mind a mother recovering from surgery with a newborn.

10.  Offer a cesarean only class

Some families know they will be needing a cesarean for maternal or infant health circumstances and are hesitant about taking the standard childbirth class, feeling like they won’t fit in.  While they may not be needing the coping skills or comfort techniques and pushing positions that you cover in the typical childbirth class, they do need information about the cesarean procedure, pain medication options, recovery, breastfeeding and newborn care/procedures and informed consent and refusal information, among other things.  Having a class designed with their needs in mind can help them to make choices that feel good to them and participate in the community building that is such an important part of childbirth classes.

Don’t underestimate the role of the childbirth educator (you!) to offer evidence based information, appropriate resources, respectful dialogue along with skills and techniques to help women to have the best birth possible, avoid a cesarean that is not needed and recover and heal  while feeling supported with options for future births.  Thank you for all you do to help women to avoid cesareans or if needed, have the best cesarean possible.

References

Hodnett, E. D., S. Gates, et al. (2012). “Continuous support for women during childbirth.” Cochrane database of systematic reviews: CD003766.

Cesarean Birth, Childbirth Education, Giving Birth with Confidence, Healthy Birth Practices, Lamaze International, Maternal Quality Improvement, Maternity Care, Medical Interventions, Midwifery, Practice Guidelines, Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) , , , , , , ,

60 Tips for Healthy Birth – Resources for Students and Suggested Teaching Activities

February 12th, 2014 by avatar

GBWC buttonIf you are in any way familiar with Lamaze International, hopefully you are aware of the Six Healthy Birth Practices.  Many years ago, I fell in love with these nifty “guidelines” that supported and reinforced everything that I had been teaching in my childbirth classes. These six care practices promoting safe and healthy birth each have their own list of citations of research supporting each care practice and a short, but extremely informative video to go along with each one.  As it has been a few years since the Six Healthy Birth Practices was released, Lamaze International is in the process of updating the citation sheets to source the most current information.

I want to bring your attention to a fantastic resource guide on the Six Healthy Care Practices that Community Manager Cara Terreri put together on Giving Birth With Confidence,  the Lamaze blog for parents and expectant families.  Cara created the “Sixty Tips for Healthy Birth” series, and in six separate blog posts provides ten tips for each Birth Practice that highlights working toward a healthy birth practice that promotes physiological birth.

60 Tips for Healthy Birth – From Giving Birth With Confidence

Part 1: Let Labor Begin on Its Own

Part 2: Walk, Move Around and Change Positions Throughout Labor

Part 3: Bring a Loved One, Friend or Doula for Continuous Support

Part 4: Avoid Interventions that Are Not Medically Necessary

Part 5: Avoid Giving Birth on Your Back and Follow Your Body’s Urges to Push

Part 6: Keep Mother and Baby Together, It’s Best for Mother, Baby and Breastfeeding

Teaching Activities Using the Sixty Tips

childbirth ed classI have created several interactive teaching activities using Cara’s tips.  As each Healthy Birth Practice come up in your class, have the ten tips from the GBWC blog on strips of paper or small cards available to each family for individual work, or larger laminated cards for small group or whole class work.  Ask the families (or the class as a whole) to sort the cards into a logical order from easiest to hardest to accomplish.  They can indicate which tips have already been completed in their family and which ones might still be left to do.  If they completed the activity by individual family, facilitate a discussion as they share with the whole class.  If you conduct this activity as a whole class, this discussion will unfold naturally of course.  Alternately, they can sort the cards into the most important to least important for achieving this goal.  Or any other number of ways.

Families can build confidence that they have already successfully achieved several of the recommendations and identify things they still can do to support the type of birth they are planning.  They can also connect with other families, recognizing that everyone is working hard to be prepared.

Another way to use these tips in class is to provide the tips as a checklist and ask families to check off those that they have completed.  Ask families to challenge themselves to complete one of the items that they have not already done.  If it is a series class, you can check in at the end of the series and award a small prize to the family that has completed the largest number of tips.

A third suggestion is to ask students to add their own tips or create their own list for each Healthy Birth Practice.  Using newsprint, have one sheet for each Healthy Birth Practice, and break the class into groups, with each group working on one of the Practices, creating their own thoughts to go along with the 60 that Cara shared.

How do you see using the Sixty Tips for Healthy Birth in your childbirth classes?  Please share your ideas in our comments section so we can all learn and collaborate on great teaching ideas that help families have safer and healthier birth experiences.

 

 

 

Childbirth Education, Giving Birth with Confidence, Healthy Birth Practices, Healthy Care Practices, Maternity Care , , , , ,

Seeking Real Life Stories from Women Who Have Experienced Pregnancy & Birth Complications

May 28th, 2013 by avatar

© http://flic.kr/p/3mcESR

Both expectant families and childbirth professionals alike would like nothing more than pregnancy and birth to remain uncomplicated and proceed normally. We can celebrate when that happens but we have a responsibility to also teach and share about some of the variations from normal that may come up during pregnancy and birth.

Cara Terreri, the Community Manager for Lamaze International’s parent blog, Giving Birth with Confidence, is looking for women’s input on pregnancy complications for a new series that she will be running in the coming months.

If you have had personal experience with one or more of the following (or know students, clients or patients who do) and would like to participate, please contact the blog manager, Cara Terreri at cterreri@lamaze.org

  • Preeclampsia/eclampsia & HELLP
  • Placental abruption/hemorrhage 
  • Placenta previa/accreta
  • Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
  • Incompetent/weakened cervix
  • Hyperemis Gravidarum
  • Preterm labor
I look forward to reading this upcoming series and sharing the stories with my students and clients.  Thank you for any help you might provide.

Giving Birth with Confidence, Lamaze International, News about Pregnancy, Patient Advocacy, Pre-eclampsia, Pregnancy Complications , , , , ,