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Lessons from a Snow Field

January 23rd, 2014 by avatar

Today’s post is written by Kimmelin Hull, former community manager for Science & Sensibility.  Kimmelin shares how the lessons parents receive in their Lamaze classes prepare them well for many of life’s experiences that may lay ahead.   I can think of many things that I teach in a standard Lamaze class that can become life skills that will serve families well long after the little one has grown. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility

source: flic

source: flic

On January 17, 2014 a group of friends were out snowmobiling in Cooke City, South Central, Montana.  At a critical moment during the sledding trip, one group member steered his snow mobile up a slope while his friends were further below.  Loosening the snow pack that overlay a weak under layer, he set off an avalanche that quickly buried one of the group members on under four feet of snow.

What does this have to do with Lamaze and childbirth?  Just wait.

Within moments of the avalanche burying his friend, one of the group members assisted in locating and extracting the buried snowmobiler with the use of an emergency beacon and a shovel.  Buried for ten minutes, the avalanche victim displayed neither respirations nor a pulse.  For all intents and purposes, he was clinically dead. Recalling CPR skills he’d learned while taking a Lamaze class with his wife, the rescuer performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on his friend, successfully reviving him.  Many are calling this a miracle, as the combination of circumstances made it highly unlikely the man buried under snow would survive. Here is the full story.

As childbirth educators, we have the capacity to impact the lives of our clients in so many ways.  Going above and beyond teaching the stages of labor and pain coping techniques, we teach our clients self-empowerment, navigation of complex health care environments and, yes, some of us even teach life-saving skills.

While operating my childbirth preparation program in Bozeman, Montana for over 6 years, I included infant/child CPR in my class curriculum.  Having been trained previously as a first aid/CPR instructor through the American Red Cross, I had both the capacity and the motivation to incorporate these life-saving skills into my curriculum.  I can’t tell you how many of my clients thanked me specifically for that portion of the program; they felt prepared, “just in case anything were to happen” in terms of a life-threatening breathing or cardiac emergency with their soon-to-be-born baby.

source: flickr

source: flickr

An alternative to becoming trained in first aid/CPR instruction is to contract with a local instructor, inviting them to attend a single class during which they can share the easy-to-learn skill of performing CPR (the American Red Cross has simplified the training in recent years).

There are so many ways in which we can enhance our childbirth education programs.  Some instructors incorporate extensive relaxation and meditation techniques in class.  Others extend their programs to offer considerable early parenting skills training.  Others still, spend valuable time discussing perinatal mood disorders, including identifying signs and symptoms, and local treatment resources.  The Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators training program provides the canvas for our individual teaching endeavors; we create the masterpiece that becomes our approach to evidence-based, high quality education.  These adjuncts to the “traditional” childbirth preparation class represent skills and knowledge that a person can take with him or her, and benefit from, for life.

What have you done to enhance your program?  What specific needs do the clients in your communities have? Have you enriched your Lamaze classes with add-on curriculum that has been well received by your community?  Please share your ideas in our comments section so we can all learn from your experiences.- SM

About Kimmelin Hull

Kimmelin_Hull_ProfileKimmelin Hull, the previous Community Manager for Science and Sensibility, is completing her Masters of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health degree through the University of Minnesota.  She lives in Bozeman, MT with her husband and three children, and is an active member in numerous community health coalitions all of which promote health and well-being of women and their families.

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Lamaze International, Uncategorized , , ,

  1. avatar
    Jackie levine
    January 23rd, 2014 at 16:44 | #1

    So glad to have your voice back on our great website!

  2. January 23rd, 2014 at 19:40 | #2

    I am very talkative yet some of the most satisfying and enduring lessons I impart are non verbal. Using my Mexican rebozo I wordlessly swaddle, cradle, and rhythmically rock every one of the pregnant women who seek my participation in their preparation for birth. I do this with them sitting on a fitness ball, kneeling on all fours or just sitting on the floor or sofa. I do this to expose them to the gentle relaxing effects of the movement but perhaps as importantly to subtly remind that they are their baby’s first “cuna” or cradle and that this liitle one’s well being depends on mama’s safe and loving choices during pregnancy, labor and birth.
    I remember your joy at being lovingly rocked at a conference in Portland Kimmelin the very first time we met. That is the other huge benefit of incorporating rebozo use into the curriculum….the rapport it fosters between teacher and student. What a telling way for the teacher who is also a doula to afford her gordas the opportunity to feel her mothering!

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