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Happy 100th Birthday, Elisabeth Bing – Lamaze Co-Founder and Visionary Leader

July 8th, 2014 by avatar

By Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”  Sir Isaac Newton, Letter to Robert Hooke, February 5, 1675

The co-founder of Lamaze International (known first as ASPO/Lamaze), Elisabeth Bing, turns 100 years old today.  Elisabeth was a leader and advocate for mothers, babies and families long before this type of advocacy had a name.  Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski, past president of Lamaze International and long time friend and colleague of Elisabeth’s, shares some thoughts on this forward thinking woman who cared enough to take action, become a leader and then create an organization that has helped millions of families over the years achieve a safe and healthy birth.  We salute you Ms. Bing and thank you deeply! – Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager.

Ms. Bing and babyMs. Bing and babyMs. Bing and babyWhen Elisabeth Bing first encountered childbearing women in the London of her twenties, she was a physical therapist with an assignment that sounds alien in 2014. Postpartum women were confined to bed for 10 days, without the ability to even put their feet on the floor! Physical therapists provided exercise and massage. The creativity, drive and passion Elisabeth demonstrated in the 40s and 50s became the foundation for the Lamaze method of childbirth education that is internationally taught and respected today.

Elisabeth’s memoir, My Life In Birth, details her journey from Nazi Germany to America, and provides insight into her many years of service to pregnant women. Giving birth between the 1930s and 1960s meant a woman had few if any choices about the way her baby was born. Mentally disoriented by “twilight sleep” and strapped down for “delivery” lest the sterile field be disrupted, a childbearing woman then was more a vessel for the baby than an active participant. In time women demanded an active role in the birth of their babies. Elisabeth was on the cutting edge of change. With Marjorie Karmel, author of Thank You, Dr. Lamaze, she was a revolutionary with the vision to see a consumer movement poised to create a very real difference in the way women gave birth. Elisabeth was the catalyst for that movement.

1996

1996

When I first spent a weekend with Elisabeth in her New York apartment, she was entering her eighties but was still teaching childbirth education twice a week. Her studio was perfect. Baby pictures were prominently displayed, childbirth posters lined the walls, and the atmosphere was relaxed, comforting and empowering. When asked, Elisabeth explained that pregnant women’s concerns were unchanged. Yes, she told me, the climate in hospitals had changed. Now Lamaze classes were common but medical interventions like epidurals continued to disrupt normal, natural birth. The obstacles were altered but the need for informed choices was ongoing. Women, Elisabeth said, still needed the truth.

Teaching 1978

Teaching 1978

Elisabeth turns 100 today, July 8, 2014. Consider her amazing reach. I am one small piece of her heritage. I’ve been honored to personally learn from this amazing, dynamic mentor for nearly 25 years. Her book, Six Practical Lessons for an Easier Childbirth, was my bible as I approached my first birth in 1976. That baby, my daughter Amy Podgurski Gough, is also a certified Lamaze childbirth educator. Between the joy of my first birthing experience and the births of Amy’s three babies, I’ve been blessed to teach thousands of women and their partners. Like most childbirth educators, I am deeply in Elisabeth’s debt.

Much has been written about Elisabeth’s contribution to childbirth education. A facet of her personality seldom discussed, however, is her insight surrounding collaboration. Her initial work in co-founding ASPO/Lamaze (now Lamaze International) in 1960 created a not-for-profit organization composed of parents, childbirth educators, health care providers and other health professionals. From the start, she discovered the strength of working with a group of people as opposed to standing alone. During the last keynote presentation Elisabeth presented at a Lamaze International national conference, I listened, mesmerized, as she prophetically discussed the need to talk with “insurance companies” as a way to continue her dream of teaching as many women as possible. Her commitment to excellence, to advocacy, and to childbearing women and their partners remains fierce in spite of the passage of time.

1982 ASPO/Lamaze Conference

1982 ASPO/Lamaze Conference

Elisabeth has been called the “mother of childbirth education” and she deserves that title. Her legacy guides all childbirth educators. When I picture her, I envision a physically tiny women with a spirit so powerful one forgets her stature. I look into her clear, bright eyes and see her pure white hair, pulled back into a pony tail with a blue ribbon. I sit in her kitchen sipping tea and drinking in her intelligence. Her cat purrs at our feet. My daughter Lisa is across the table, equally transfixed. I lean in, anxious to remember every moment of this encounter. She smiles, and her eyes light with purpose. I share my personal plans for starting a teen outreach. Elisabeth listens deeply, then offers advice I still adhere to twenty years later.

Elisabeth is an icon, a woman of vision and our true mother. To me she is a dear, precious friend. On July 8th, I will travel to New York City and enter her kitchen again, cognizant of the immense gift Elisabeth’s life has been to all who care about women, birth, and the future. One cannot measure her full worth; I know her wisdom echoes in the mission of every childbirth educator who follows in her footsteps. Thank you, Elisabeth!

© ospreyobserver.com

© ospreyobserver.com

Science & Sensibility and Lamaze International would like to let Elisabeth Bing know what a great organization she created, and how it has impacted so many.  Please leave some wishes for a happy birthday in our comments section and if you wish, share what Lamaze means to you (as an educator, a birth professional, a mother, a father, or a health care provider).  Lamaze International will make sure that every wish is printed and sent on to Elisabeth for her to enjoy!  That will certainly touch her heart!  Please, leave your wishes, stories and memories below. – SM

About Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski

MARY JO PODGURSKIDr. Mary Jo Podgurski is the Director of The Washington Health System Teen Outreach and President and Founder of the Academy for Adolescent Health, Inc. Her undergraduate education is in nursing and education, her master’s work was in counseling, and her doctorate is in education. She began volunteering with pregnant teens in the 70s and has created numerous youth development and education programs using reality-based, interactive educational techniques that are evidence-based and empower youth.

Dr. Podgurski became interested in child abuse prevention as a way to lower teen pregnancy and authored the book Inside Out: Your Body is Amazing Inside and Out and Belongs Only to You, and runs a body-positive, child-centered, interactive, child abuse prevention program.

Dr. Podgurski has presented over 500 workshops locally, nationally and internationally.  She is proud to be an adjunct faculty member in the Education Department of Washington and Jefferson College where she created and teaches the course: Teaching and Dealing with Sexuality in Schools in 2010.

Dr. Podgurski’s certifications include LCCE and FACCE (Fellow in the College of Childbirth Educators) from Lamaze International as a certification as both a sexuality educator and a sexuality counselor from AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists), certification through Parents as Teachers, and certification as a trainer in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. She is a past president of the Lamaze International Board of Directors.

Dr. Podgurski has received numerous awards, including the UPMC Dignity and Respect Champion Award in 2011, the Three Rivers Community Foundation Social Justice Award and the Washington County Children and Youth Champion for Children Award in 2009. She was the 2008 Washington County NAACP Human Rights Award recipient and the 2004 Washington County recipient of the Athena Women of Wisdom Award. She was awarded the 2004 NOAPPP (National Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting, now Healthy Teen Network) Outstanding Professional Award. In May of 2014 she was inducted into the Washington County Historical Society’s Washington County Hall of Fame for her contributions to the community through education of family planning and adolescent health.

Mary Jo and her partner Richard are the parents of three adult children and are blessed with three grandchildren.

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April is Cesarean Awareness Month – Resources and a Test Your Knowledge Quiz

April 10th, 2014 by avatar

fb profile cam 2014April is Cesarean Awareness Month, an event meant to direct the American public’s attention to the United States’ high cesarean rate. 32.8% of all birthing women gave birth by cesarean in 2012. A cesarean delivery can be a life-saving procedure when used appropriately, but it takes one’s breath away when you consider that one third of all women birthing underwent major abdominal surgery in order to birth their babies.

Professionals that work with women during the childbearing year can be a great resource for women, pointing them to evidence based information, support groups and organizations that offer non-biased information to help women lower their risk of cesarean surgery, receive support after a cesarean and work towards a trial of labor after a cesarean (TOLAC) and achieve a vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC) for subsequent births if appropriate.

Here are my top suggestions for websites and resources every birth professional should have on their short list to share with students and clients when it comes to cesarean awareness.

1. International Cesarean Awareness Network – an international organization with almost 200 volunteer led chapters, (most in the USA) offering peer to peer support for cesarean recovery and VBAC information by way of a website, e-newsletters, webinars, online forums, Facebook groups and monthly meetings in the community.

2. VBACFacts.com – Led by birth advocate Jen Kamel, this website is big on research and helps consumers and professionals alike understand the evidence and risks and benefits of both repeat cesareans and vaginal birth after cesarean, including vaginal birth after multiple cesareans.

3. Lamaze International’s “Push for Your Baby” – is a great resource for families to learn about the Six Healthy Care Practices, what evidence based care looks like and how to work with your health care provider to advocate for a safe and healthy birth. Also Lamaze has an wonderful infographic that can be shared online or printed.

4. Spinning Babies – Midwife Gail Tully really knows her stuff when it comes to helping babies navigate the pelvis during labor and birth. Many cesareans are conducted for “failure to progress” or “cephalopelvic disproportion” when really it is a case of a malpositioned baby who needed to be in a different position. This website is a wealth of information on what women can do to help their babies into the ideal position to be born, prenatally and during labor. It includes valuable information about helping a breech baby turn vertex. This is important, because finding a health care provider who will support vaginal breech birth is like finding a needle in a haystack.

© Patti Ramos Photography

© Patti Ramos Photography

5. Childbirth Connection – This website is a virtual goldmine of evidence based information about cesareans and VBACs including a valuable guide “What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know about Cesareans.” There are questions to ask a care provider and includes information on informed consent and informed refusal.

6. Cesareanrates.com is a great website run by Jill Arnold for those who love the numbers. Find out the cesarean rates of hospitals in your area. All the states are represented and families can use the information when searching out a provider and choosing a facility. Jill’s resource page on this site is full of useful information as well.

7. Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean –  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists along with the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine recently published a groundbreaking document aimed at reducing the first cesarean. While fairly heavy reading, there is so much good information in this committee opinion that I believe every birth professional should at least take a peek. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Test your knowledge of the facts around cesareans and VBACs with this informative quiz:

As a birth professional, you can be a great resource for all your clients, helping them to prevent their first cesarean, providing support if they do birth by cesarean and assisting them on the journey to VBAC by pointing them to these valuable resources. You can make every day “Cesarean Awareness Day” for the families you work with, doing your part to help the pendulum to swing in the other direction, resulting in a reduction in our national cesarean rates and improving outcomes for mothers and babies. What are your favorite resources on the topic of cesareans and VBACs? Share with us in the comments section.
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Twelve Reasons to Join Lamaze International or Renew Your Membership Now!

December 17th, 2013 by avatar

muza renewalYesterday, I renewed my Lamaze International membership!  Membership runs with the calendar year and with this renewal I am all set for 2014.  Have you renewed your Lamaze membership yet?  Did you know that you do not have to be a childbirth educator to be a Lamaze International member and support the organization? Here are twelve reasons why you should renew your membership or join Lamaze International today.  What are you waiting for? Renew or join now!

1. Supporting the Lamaze International Mission

The mission of Lamaze International is to promote, support and protect natural, safe and healthy birth through education and advocacy through the dedicated efforts of professional childbirth educators, providers and parents.

I am a childbirth professional, working with birthing families, new doulas and new childbirth educators.  I find that Lamaze’s mission aligns so well with my own, and how I create my classes and work with families and birth professionals.  I am proud to say that I am a member of Lamaze and an LCCE.  I think that many of today’s families and birth professionals can also respect and relate to Lamaze’s mission and find that their values are in sync with what Lamaze offers to the maternity world.  Your membership dollars, combined with other members’ financial support help Lamaze to fulfill this very important mission.

2. Journal of Perinatal Education

The Journal of Perinatal Education (JPE) is a quarterly journal mailed to the home of all Lamaze members and is  filled with relevant, current research that can change the way you teach or practice.  The JPE offers you insights into current maternity trends, access to in-depth articles and the opportunity to learn from international experts.  The JPE is read by childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, RNs, Doctors, Lactation Counselors and other professionals. Additionally, as a Lamaze member, you have access to back issues of the JPE online.

3. FedEx Office Discounts

Being a member of Lamaze International allows you to receive a FedEx Office (Kinko’s) discount that has the opportunity to provide you with significant savings.  All of the discounted services that I use yearly offer me savings that exceed the price of my yearly membership.  I am amazed at the level of savings on some of the products and services I use for my business printing and shipping needs.

4. Reduced Fees for Lamaze Products and Events

As a member of Lamaze, you receive member discounts when you register for the annual conference, continuing education contact hours, purchase the Study Guide and other Lamaze materials in the Online Education Store, certification materials and test fees for your LCCE or when you recertify for your LCCE.

5. Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care Journal Discounts

Birth is published quarterly and Lamaze members receive a 50% discount on both the hard copy journal and the online journal. Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care is a multidisciplinary, refereed journal devoted to issues and practices in the care of childbearing women, infants, and families. It is written by and for professionals in maternal and neonatal health, nurses, midwives, physicians, public health workers, doulas, psychologists, social scientists, childbirth educators, lactation counselors, epidemiologists, and other health caregivers and policymakers in perinatal care.

6. Your Lamaze Classes Listed on Lamaze Website

If you are a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and a current Lamaze member, your childbirth classes can be listed on the Lamaze International website for parents, in the “Find a Lamaze Childbirth Class” section so that those families looking for a childbirth class can locate your offerings. Increase your class enrollment with this members only benefit.

7. Full Cochrane Library Access

Lamaze International members have full access to the Cochrane Library, a collection of databases containing independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.  The Cochrane Library is considered the gold standard of evidence based information and if you are looking for the most up-to-date research on topics relevant to obstetrics and maternity care, breastfeeding and newborn issues, this is the ideal place to find the information you are looking for.

8. Lamaze Forums and Community

As a Lamaze International member, you have member access to our professional forums, on-line communities and discussion groups, where you can share teaching ideas, learn how your peers feel and respond to different topics of interest and collaborate with professionals around the world, from the comfort of your own home or office.

9. Members Only Teaching Resources

When you join Lamaze International, you are provided access to teaching handouts and resources to share with your students, and a variety of class-enriching resources to make your course more relevant, useful and informative to the families that you are working with. You can find printable handouts and infographics, and discover new teaching ideas and curriculum.

10. Supporting Lamaze Improves Maternity Care Worldwide

LCCEs attend the DONA Conference
Photo Credit HeatherGail Lovejoy

When you purchase a Lamaze membership, Lamaze International can pool your dollars with other members’ dollars and use some of this income to support and collaborate with other organizations that are leading the way in changing maternity care around the world for the better.  Lamaze International supports and collaborates with the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) and others.  Additionally, Lamaze can send representatives to international conferences to represent Lamaze International, create networking opportunities for all of us, collaborate with other maternity leaders and further work to fulfill the mission of Lamaze International and improve birth for women everywhere.

11.  Access to Online Webinars

Lamaze International offers online webinars with leaders in the field of maternal/infant health that are free to Lamaze members and provides contact hours that can be used toward LCCE recertification.  Additionally, these continuing education hours are accepted by other birth organizations as well.

12. A Deductible Business Expense

My membership fee is a deductible business expense and by purchasing it before the end of the year, I can deduct the cost on my 2013 taxes.

Where else can a membership that costs only $115 ( or less, depending on your country of residence) produce such tangible benefits and savings for you and combine with other membership funds to improve maternity care world-wide?  I am proud and excited to renew my Lamaze International membership every year and invite you to renew yours, if you haven’t already.  If you are not a member of Lamaze, then now is the time to join, so that you can reap the professional benefits for the full calendar year.  For a full list of member benefits , please see the member benefits page on the website. Don’t hesitate, join or renew now!

Can you share how being a Lamaze International member has benefited you? Why are YOU a Lamaze member?  Tell us what it means to you in the comments section.

 

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Lamaze Supports Learning for Professionals as Well as Parents

October 29th, 2013 by avatar

I wanted to use today’s blog post to share how grateful I am for all of the continuing education opportunities that Lamaze International offers both Lamaze members and non-members alike throughout the year.  Earlier in October, I was able to join other professionals at the annual Lamaze International Conference in New Orleans, LA and just today, I participated in an hour long webinar presented by Jen Kamel entitled “VBAC: Updating Students on Evidence and Practice Guidelines.”

I appreciated the annual conference as an opportunity to network and spend time with educators and professionals gathered from around the world.  I met Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators from Turkey, Mexico and Romania as well as across the United States and Canada.  I attended sessions on a wide variety of topics, viewed the poster presentations and listened to dynamic Keynote Speakers Amber McCann and Dr. Richard Waldman.  I had a chance to learn about the accomplishments that my organization has achieved since the last conference and hear about exciting plans for the future.  I met the new Lamaze Board of Directors and heard from our new Board President, Michele Ondeck.  I earned 19 continuing education hours through a variety of learning experiences taught by experts who traveled to NOLA from far and wide.  It simply was a weekend just jam-packed full of learning, updates and opportunity for all childbirth professionals, not just LCCEs or Lamaze members.  It is such a rich opportunity for connection, sharing of ideas, planning collaborations and expanding my knowledge.  I know that holding a conference is an immense amount of work for the office staff, the Board and a ton of volunteers, including Conference Planning Chair, Sue Galyen.  I am so appreciative of their efforts so that I have the opportunity to participate in such a great learning experience.

And then yesterday  I got to turn around and take a free (for Lamaze members, and fairly priced at $20 for non-members) webinar on the topic of VBACs and what I need to know as an educator, so that I can help my students to receive evidence based care. Today’s webinar was fast paced, up to date and full of information that I can apply in my classroom right away.  The presenter, Jen Kamel of VBACFacts.com really knows her material and presented it beautifully.

This is the fourth Lamaze International webinar I have taken in 2013 alone.  Have you been able to participate?  I am so grateful that my organization values and offers these learning opportunities and gives me a chance to hear from experts on a variety of topics relevant to my students and myself.  And I get to earn contact hours to boot!

The next Lamaze International webinar (free to members!) is scheduled for November 6th.  Deena Blumenfeld, a regular contributor to Science & Sensibility will present an hour long session; Making the Most of Your Childbirth Education Business.  Deena is the successful owner of a birth business, Shining Light Prenatal and is extremely savvy in social media and building a sustainable childbirth education program.

If you were unable to catch this year’s webinars live, you can purchase them for viewing at your convenience, and of course, receive your contact hours.  For more information on this opportunity, check out our recorded webinar page on the Lamaze International website.

I am excited to see what learning opportunities Lamaze has planned for 2014.  If you have any suggestions on topics you would love to see covered, or even a topic that you would like to have added and are qualified to present, I know that Kacy Reams, who handles Webinar program management, would love to hear from you.

Finally, I was thrilled to read and hear about exciting plans for future conferences.  Mark your calendars now for 2014 and 2015 conference events that you will not want to miss.  On September 18-21, 2014, Lamaze International joins with DONA International to offer a powerful joint conference;  ”2014 Confluence: Flowing together for safe, healthy, birth and beyond” in Kansas City, MO.  I am very excited about this collaboration between two organizations near and dear to my heart.  Then in 2015 , Lamaze International is partnering with ICEA to offer a mega-educator joint conference in Las Vegas, NV on October 8-11, 2015.  I was at the last joint conference held by Lamaze and ICEA in 2010, and it was absolutely wonderful.  I know the learning opportunities and networking experiences will be priceless.

Lamaze International recognizes the importance of its membership having learning opportunities that are a great value, current, evidence based and useful to a wide variety of professionals.  They offer conferences and webinars for you to take advantage of and participate in, with some of these contact hours being offered at no cost to our members.  I value an organization that values, promotes and encourages me to continue to expand my skills.  Thank you Lamaze!  Now, aren’t you wondering why you aren’t a) a Lamaze Member and b) why you haven’t signed up for the great webinars offered regularly yet?  What are you waiting for!  You can change this now!

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Meet Dr. Richard Waldman, A Lamaze International 2013 Annual Conference Keynote Speaker

August 20th, 2013 by avatar

Last week, I had the opportunity to interview Amber McCann, a keynote speaker for the 2013 Annual Lamaze International Conference. Today, I am delighted to share with you a recent interview with our second keynote speaker, Dr. Richard N. Waldman, an obstetrician and gynecologist at St. Joseph’s in Syracuse,  New York, and former past president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Waldman will be speaking with Lamaze conference attendees in New Orleans, with a presentation titled: Improving Maternity Quality Through the Partnership Between Childbirth Educators and Healthcare Providers.  Here is an opportunity to learn more about Dr. Waldman in advance of his presentation in October.  Have you registered for the conference yet?  Join Lamaze in letting the good times roll for safe and healthy birth in New Orleans in October.

_______________________

 

Sharon Muza: Did you and your partner take childbirth classes when you were having children?  What do you recall of that experience?  Do you feel it prepared you well for what to expect as a partner of a birthing woman?

Dr. Richard Waldman: When I had my first baby in 1972 there were no childbirth classes in my large Northeastern city. My second child was delivered by a repeat cesarean section and again there were no childbirth classes that either of us attended.

My second wife, on the other hand, attended the first set of Lamaze classes ever given in Syracuse. She actually used her Lamaze training to advocate successfully for father attended births in each of the three Syracuse hospitals and her birth that year was the first father attended vaginal birth in our area.   In fact, her birth was celebrated in the Syracuse newspaper. She enjoyed the Lamaze classes so much that she later became a Lamaze certified instructor. 

SM: What is your relationship like with the local childbirth educators in your community? How do you decide where to refer your patients for childbirth classes?

RW: We had a great relationship with the local childbirth educators. CEAGS (Childbirth Education Association of Greater Syracuse) was a very important organization in our area and the childbirth educators were a constant source of information and debate. The debate was wonderful in those days. Our patients in the early days chose the education of their choice. They went to Bradley or Lamaze or the hospital. We started our own classes after the hospitals started to control the educational content. In the early 1980’s, my partner, a Certified Nurse Midwife and Lamaze Certified instructor started them in her own living room! Soon we moved it over to the office. Our practice style was so different from the community standard that we felt the only way that our families could get unbiased information was if we gave it to them. We started grandparent classes, sibling classes, and exercise classes. The siblings came to our office, made a sock doll for their little brother or sister, toured the hospitals and celebrated their baby’s birthday with a little birthday cake! We had great fun in those days!

SM: What do you feel are the key components of a great childbirth class?

RW: There are some obvious answers, but let’s not go there. Classes are a very important social opportunity for couples to bond, support each other and learn from one another. I have once observed some of “todays” mothers who want to learn by way of listening to a disc  instead of going to classes because of time constraints and then had no one to count on for baby information or postpartum support after they gave birth. Families grow close and sometimes start friendships early in pregnancy that can last a lifetime.

One of my wife’s favorite photos of our classes was the one of the postpartum class. Eight couples sitting around the room and every single baby in their father’s arms. Husbands becoming fathers before our eyes! Who could know?

SM: What questions are your patients asking about childbirth classes during their appointments with you and what are your responses to them?

RW: I see patients in early pregnancy and very few are asking about childbirth classes. I am told that interest is waning again.

SM: What do you tell patients about childbirth education options and choices?

RW: I spend most of my time trying to sell the concept of just trying natural birth before they immediately ask or are encouraged to have an epidural anesthetic. So many of our women have no idea how powerful they are, how natural it is to have a baby and that so many can do it without a significant amount of medication let alone an epidural. I encourage them to consider our birthing center (where continuous electronic monitoring and epidurals are not allowed). I long for the old days when we had more detailed discussions with women about their birthing ideas and birthing plans.

SM: What do you want childbirth educators to know about patients who are choosing to birth with OBs?

RW: Some obstetricians make excellent midwives! Some obstetricians like technology too much. Be informed about quality, safety and outcomes.

SM: How has your OB practice changed over the years?

RW: Do you have all day? We started off as a partnership between an obstetrician and a midwife. We are now a ten physician, 6 non- physician professional practice with over 100 employees. We started off as a beacon for natural childbirth and now despite trying our best to promote un-medicated births the vast majority of our patients request epidurals at their first prenatal visit.

SM:What are top three things that you wish women left childbirth class knowing?

RW: That they can trust their bodies, that they can trust their significant others and that they can trust their birth professionals.

SM: Tell us something about yourself that we would be surprised to learn about you?

RW: I have 12 grandchildren!

SM: Can you offer us a sneak peak about some key takeaway points of your upcoming keynote presentation?

 RW: My intent is to discuss childbirth practices as I found them in the 1970’s. Childbirth in the past was much worse than childbirth today. I would like to talk about where we are today and how we got there. Perhaps we can talk about how we can use childbirth education to reverse the trends that are not safe for mothers or babies.  Collaborative intelligence is the key to our future in childbirth.

About Richard Waldman, MD

Dr. Richard N. Waldman is a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and is the past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a premier private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women’s health care through continuing medical education, practice and research. Dr. Waldman is the president-elect of the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, NY, and a member of the Board of Trustees. Among other things, he established the first hospital-based midwifery practice in central New York. He served as the president of ACOG from 2010-2011. He has lectured extensively on pregnancy and childbirth across the United States and has also lectured internationally. He has published several articles in peer review journals and recently co-edited an issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America dedicated to collaborative practice.

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