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Free Injoy Webinar: Secrets of a Postpartum Doula: Newborn Care and Soothing Techniques

November 14th, 2012 by avatar



Injoy Birth and Parenting Education is offering a free webinar titled “Secrets of a Postpartum Doula: Newborn Care and Soothing Techniques” taught by  Kimberly Bepler, IBCLC.

This webinar is scheduled for December 6, 2012, 1:30 pm (EST).  Some of the objectives of this webinar are to present:

  • The latest evidence in newborn care
  • Tips on teaching parents how to keep their babies happy and fulfill their innate needs
  • Ways educators can become more baby-friendly and promote breastfeeding, while still supporting parents and giving them the competence (and confidence) to do their best
  • New options for the care of infants

If you are a professional who works with expecting and new parents and their newborns in the classroom, or one on one, you may want to consider registering for this webinar event.  Learning effective methods of presenting evidence based information and interesting learning techniques is something that we all can brush oup on, no matter how long we have been working with new families.

Please consider joining the webinar and hearing what Kimberly will be sharing.

Click to to register and for more information. Please contact Injoy for all questions about this webinar.  Thank you.

Babies, Childbirth Education, Continuing Education, Infant Attachment, Newborns, Parenting an Infant, Webinars , , , , ,

Giveaway: DVD of Lamaze/InJoy Healthy Birth Your Way Videos

March 15th, 2010 by avatar

Last year, Lamaze International and InJoy Birth & Parenting Videos collaborated on the launch of InJoy’s new Mother’s Advocate site. The site offers free video clips and print materials that inform women on how to be active participants in their care to achieve safe, healthy, and satisfying birth experiences.

I’ve met many childbirth educators who love the videos and use them in their educational offerings. But educators who teach in settings without WiFi access (including many hospitals), cannot show web-based videos.

InJoy heard the feedback and now offers all seven videos on DVD. They’re charging customers only for the cost of packaging and shipment, $9.95.  (Remember, the videos themselves can be accessed freely at MothersAdvocate.org, Lamaze.org, or directly from YouTube.) You can see the product details and purchase a copy of the DVD at InJoyVideos.com.

This week we’re giving away a copy of the Healthy Birth Your Way DVD. There are three ways to enter:

1. leave a comment below, sharing something you like about the videos or tell us about how you have used them in your teaching.

2. Tweet or retweet a link to this giveaway (then leave a comment saying you did)

3. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook (then leave a comment saying you did)

Please leave separate comments for each of your entries.

You do not have to be a childbirth educator to enter. Leave all comments by Sunday, March 21, 2010 at 11:59pm. The winner will be announced by Tuesday, March 23.

Full Disclosure: I was paid a one-time consulting fee by InJoy to draft the content of the videos and accompanying print materials.

Uncategorized , ,

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.



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.


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: Welcoming All Families; Working with Women of Color – Educator Information

February 27th, 2014 by avatar

By Tamara Hawkins, RN, MSN, FNP, IBCLC, CHHC, LCCE

Today, contributor Tamara Hawkins, RN, MSN, FNP, IBCLC, CHHC, LCCE finishes her two part post series “Welcoming All Families; Working With Families of Color” with a fantastic post on evaluating how well your classes are meeting the needs of Women of Color and tips and information to create a space that welcomes and celebrates WOC and their families.  While, February is Black History Month, educators have a responsibility to offer classes that are inviting and appropriate for WOC all year long. Find Tamara’s first post here. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility. 

skin_to_skinAre your classes inviting and supportive for Women of Color? Or are WOC not your “target market”? I received a comment after sharing my post about Tuesday’s Welcoming All Families; Working with Women of Color blog post; “Sadly many of my (as you say) ‘women of color’ friends, associates and even just casual acquaintances have told me straight up ‘you don’t need to do all that!’,” referring to the belief that taking a childbirth class is not really a valuable or important part of preparing to have a baby for African American women. I believe that it will take more than a few focus groups to get to the bottom of why some WOC do not feel the need to take childbirth education. In today’s post, I would like to focus on childbirth educators! How can childbirth educators be sure their classes are appropriate and inviting to Women of Color?

Prior education experiences

The first thing childbirth educators have to be aware of is that people are more likely to connect with people of their own culture. An example of this; a vegan may be more likely to seek out health care from a provider who blogs about a vegan lifestyle. WOC and other ethnic communities will seek out education from a provider they can relate to culturally. At the least, the educator will have proven to be sensitive to their needs whether those needs are cultural, ethnic or economic. Vontress writes in the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, “Members of minority groups bring an experience of consciously having to negotiate and even survive educational treatment of invisibility or negative ultra-visibility,[ultra-visibility; being singled out or made to be the “token” Black person], lower expectations, stereotyping, hostility and even abuse.” If an expectant mother or her partner has ever had this type of experience, why would they want to sit in yet another class and perhaps have those same feelings brought up all over again? What if they are presently feeling dismissed, their concerns ignored and rushed with their health care provider? Childbirth educators have the responsibility to understand this and make our classes welcoming by using language and images that subconsciously allude to our support and equal treatment and understanding of families of color.

I am guilty of saying “the baby’s mouth and lips should look pink to indicate great oxygenation.” A WOC in class raised her hand and said, “Even brown babies?” I responded “Well, yes, especially a newborn.” Be mindful that WOC have babies of all color hues. Some babies may be dark when born and others may be very light. Darker hued mothers who have not been around newborns may not know to expect their newborn to look light skinned.  A culturally sensitive childbirth educator should mention this fact, so that all families can be prepared. During early pregnancy class, talk about how WOC may experience expansion of the areola and that yes even though they may have dark areolas to start, the areolas can get darker. In discussions about nutrition, talk about soul food cooked in a healthy flair. Remember that the standard American diet is not a one size fit all solution. The Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine mentions 70 percent of African Americans are lactose intolerant (compared with only 25 percent of whites) and may suffer from cramping, diarrhea, and bloating after eating dairy products. Encouraging a WOC to have cheese and yogurt to get calcium and added protein may not be the best advice. Offer alternatives that are appropriate for everyone.

Marketing and teaching materials

Next, evaluate your marketing materials. Have you placed images of women of color on your website, brochures, and social media pages? Do you keep up with the health disparities and concerns for women of color? Do the images on your classroom walls or your teaching posters represent a wide variety of ethnicities?

Review your teaching materials. Do you show birth and breastfeeding images of WOC? Are there images of WOC exercising, eating well, and asking questions of their care providers? In order to effect behaviorial change, one has to be able to envision oneself doing something similar. A great example is a commercial from fatherhood.gov. This videos features an African American dad learning cheerleading moves with his daughter with the grandmother listening and approving of the interaction in the background. AA women love this commercial because we remember performing the same type of cheers when we were young. This type of imaging will promote interest in fatherhood and also plant a seed in the minds of some men that it’s okay to spend daddy-daughter time, maybe even doing something fun or a little silly. The commercial would not be as effective if it showed a Caucasian father doing the same thing. There would be no connection. And if there is no connection, there is no assimilation, and therefore no change in behavior. When expecting parents can see themselves in the “role models” then they can see themselves emulating this behavior with their own children, or their own birth or breastfeeding experience.

Be ready to make change

Once your evaluation is complete, make some changes. There are not many sources to purchase ready made childbirth class images of women and families of color. Don’t hesitate to create your own. Look for images of AA couples on sites such as Shutterstock, Corbis Images , iStockphoto, or Fotosearch. Then use some creativity to create posters and images you can use! Or better yet, have a contest in your classes, asking them to create a poster. Invest in videos that show women of color birthing and breastfeeding. I use Injoy’s products in my classes as I find their videos do a good job representing multicultural families.

In Injoy’s “Miracle of Birth 4” video, Natasha’s birth shows a biracial couple experiencing a birth supported with analgesia. In “Understanding Labor 2” and the “Miracle of Birth 3,” Chelsea’s birth follows a young African American couple as they have an epidural birth with augmentation. Daniela’s birth follows a bi-lingual Spanish speaking couple as they have a cesarean birth. Injoy offers an option to purchase these videos individually which is great for a limited budget. The Baby Center has a video of Samiyyah‘s birth center birth which can be imbedded in PowerPoint presentations or played on a monitor. Unlike the well edited and discreet videos Injoy offers, this Baby Center video feels raw and uncut. Be prepared with Kleenex. This birth is a great lead in into discussing orgasmic birth, normal birth emotions, vocalization for pain relief and the fetal ejection reflex during pushing.

Language used when addressing health concerns of African American women is important. As an instructor, you don’t want to talk about pre-eclampsia and preterm birth in a manner that assumes that AA women should already know they are at higher risk for these diseases, but rather frame it as health care workers and researchers are uncovering higher rates of pre-term birth, diabetes, cesareans and lower rates of breastfeeding in the AA community. Presenting these subjects in this fashion, as an awareness among health care providers, may remove any feelings of guilt or negative self-consciousness for those who may not know the information ahead of attending class. Sources to find information related to women of color include Office of Minority Health, March of Dimes, Womenshealth.gov and Women’s Health Guide to Breastfeeding.

Create an event

Consider bringing in guest speakers to your class. Is there a WOC birth advocate in your area that has a large following? Collaborate with her to spread the word. Can you host a Twitter chat or Facebook party discussing your intent to serve the needs of WOC and clarifying the wants and needs of your birth community. Have WHO code compliant corporations donate products for a baby shower or a baby fair. Ideas for a fair may include a pediatric dentist who discusses the important of infant oral care. Bring in a safety expert who will discuss and demonstrate car seat safety and installation. Have a prenatal fitness expert and/or nutritional counselor to discuss food and the connection to gestational diabetes. A community midwife or OB can discuss the impact of lifestyle choices on the risks of developing pre-eclampsia, diabetes related to induction and cesarean births and low birth weight babies. Conclude the event with a game show set up like Family Feud with topics covering medical options, comfort techniques and support strategies for breastfeeding families. Having a fun event always draw crowds.

Offer tiered pricing

Are your classes accessible on an economic level? Do you accept insurance or have a sliding scale for families. The National Health Service Corp has a great resource on how to set-up a discount fee schedule. Is your practice set up to accept social service coupons or Medicaid for childbirth class subsidies such as what Washington State offers? The Kaiser Family Foundation reports 27 states out of 44 that responded to their Medicaid Coverage of Prenatal Services Survey offer coverage for childbirth education. Independent instructors will have to research their own state Medicaid offices for specific information on provider eligibility and reimbursement rates. When receiving reduced fees or subsidies, it may be tempted to schedule classes during the day. Please remember even people on Medicaid or WIC have jobs. Let’s respect that and offer flexible schedules for classes in the evening and on weekends.

Can you set up scholarships? Human Resources and Services Administration has several large grants available to serve the maternal child health community. The March of Dimes has scholarships available for grants reducing disparities in birth outcomes. The What to Expect Foundation has a new program to teach practices that build a healthy pregnancy. The wonderful Kellogg Foundation is another resource to tap into for help building a program to be inclusive and inviting to women of color.

Community connections

Do you have local resources so you can connect AA women to WOC birth workers that share their ethnicity and culture? Sista Midwife Productions has a resource list by state of birth workers of color. If we have to refer out to help a mother feel more comfortable and get what she needs rather than what we have to offer, that’s a win-win situation.

Educators need to learn from the clients they serve. We have to ask the community what information is important to WOC. The Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association can serve as a template to build networks that educate and support pregnant WOC. Invite mothers and fathers of color to lead groups for expectant parents. Groups can cover topics such as how to have conversations about birth options, cultural expectations of birthing mothers and parenting styles and ethnic cooking with a healthy spin and specific topics related to controlling or preventing gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, reducing cesarean birth and increasing breastfeeding success.

In order to attract WOC to our classes, educators need to become culturally sensitive and appropriate. Evaluations of our marketing and teaching materials are in order to ensure inclusion of AA women. Educators have to be up to date on the statistics and health facts and challenges facing AA families. Our hospitals, birthing centers, birth support groups and networks should brainstorm ways to fund and provide scholarships and/or grants to make classes economically feasible. Lastly, if we are serious about supporting all mothers and helping them to have a safe and healthy birth, let’s build and support local birth support groups.

Change can be challenging. Start with small goals. The first step is self-evaluation. What had been working and what can be improved? Share your resources? Where do you find images and videos that are welcoming to women of color and all ethnicities? After you have evaluated your program, come back and let me know what worked and did not work. If you need some help, please contact me. I’m excited to try some of these resources myself. I’ll keep you posted on my Facebook page.


Vontress, C. “A Personal Retrospective on Cross Cultural Counseling.” Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 1996, 24, 156-166

About Tamara Hawkins

tamara hawkins head shotTamara Hawkins, RN, MSN, FNP, IBCLC, CHHC, LCCE is the director of Stork and Cradle, Inc offering Prenatal Education and Breastfeeding Support. She graduated with a BSN from New York University and a MSN from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She is a Family Nurse Practitioner and has worked with mothers and babies for the past 16 years at various NYC medical centers and the Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center. Tamara has been certified to teach childbirth classes since 1999 and in 2004 became a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.  Follow Tamara on Twitter: @TamaraFNP_IBCLC

Babies, Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Infant Attachment, Newborns, Parenting an Infant, Series: Welcoming All Families , , , , ,

Review: Stages of Labor Third Edition: A Visual Guide DVD

January 7th, 2014 by avatar

SOL3_DVD-SThe Stages of Labor Third Edition: A Visual Guide has been a perennial favorite of childbirth educators for many, many years.  In fact, I clearly remember watching the Injoy precursor to this video in my own childbirth classes with my first daughter and she is almost 17 years old now.  The Stages of Labor video, first released in 1999, has always offered great animated visuals of what the mother’s body and her baby are doing during each phase and stage of labor.  I have been showing the second edition of this film to childbirth class families and doula trainees since it came out in 2006. Sidenote: I was probably not the only one happy to say good bye to funny first edition phrases  like “Roger, Roger, it doesn’t look like a baby!” and “We were interested in seeing what was coming down the pike.”

I was excited to be able to review the changes in this new third edition to see what had been updated and the information it contained.  My colleague, Penny Simkin, mentioned that she was delighted with some new material included on third and fourth stage information and I was very curious to see the updates.

Included with the 34 minute DVD is a downloadable Facilitator’s guide (that includes handouts appropriate for families) and a collection of digital posters.


As in previous editions, the DVD is divided up into sections that cover anatomy of pregnancy, pre-labor signs, onset of labor, as well as sections on the four (yes four!) stages of labor and birth.

At the beginning of the film, we meet four families who are ethnically diverse and include a partner-less mother who is supported by her family. One partner does not speak English, and his comments are translated into English sub-titles.  For the most part, the families look contemporary and current, one partner even has ear plugs/tunnels (some hip earring term that I am not sure of the name of!) in his ears and a hipster haircut!  The families share how excited they are to meet their babies.

The anatomy for pregnancy section quickly covers the organs and parts most likely to be discussed in childbirth classes.  I wish that the animated visuals included women with heads attached.  I find it disconcerting when images used in childbirth classes belong to faceless women.


Pre-labor is covered thoroughly and in a very positive way.  We are told that these contractions are warm up contractions, or pre-labor contractions and while a woman may not be in labor, they are normal and are helping to prepare her body and her baby for labor and may last for several weeks.  Women are told what to look out for in the case of preterm labor and advised, as they should be, to contact their health care provider if Braxton-Hicks contractions are frequent, or other warning signs appear.  I like that the film doesn’t specify doctor or midwife, but uses the term health care provider.

Onset of labor

Onset of labor is covered, from both the emotional and physical side, and families learn that normally it is the baby that starts labor when it is ready to breathe.  37 to 42 weeks is perfectly normal for most families, we are told.  One of the things that Injoy always does well in their Stages of Labor films, as they cover many topics, is they let people know that there is always a wide range of normal, no one feels excluded and each woman’s experience might be different.  I believe that families will be very reassured by this and the educator can reinforce this point.

First stage of labor

The film moves into the first stage of labor, which is divided into early, active and transition.  I love that Injoy has acknowledged the recent change to identify active labor as beginning at 6 centimeters and states that in early labor the cervix effaces and dilates to 4-5 centimeters.  I also loved that viewers are told that early labor can take many hours or even a day or longer!  Families are told what to look for when their water breaks, and this edition goes into more detail about the acronym “COAT” so families know what they are looking for, for example; “color may be either clear or brown.”  Families are reassured that fluid may continue to leak after breaking.

More than once in the film, we see the families using a smart phone to time contractions, as I believe happens very frequently with today’s families.

Easy to follow graphics showing the length, frequency and intensity of contractions in each phase are included, and a family will easily be able to understand how to time contractions.

Women are shown in early labor resting, eating, drinking, walking, showering and being supported by partners and family at home. One mother appears to be admitted to a hospital already in early labor but she looks relaxed and upbeat, and is seen walking and changing positions frequently.

It is suggested that women move to the hospital or birth center when they appear to be in active labor, and the women share how they knew that their labor was changing into active labor.  One family appears to arrive at what looks like a birth center when they hit active labor, where they stay through transition, with a large log bed, in what looks like a cozy bedroom, but later we see her deliver in a standard hospital bed/room in a hospital gown, so I became a bit confused as to how she got there.  Another mother arrives at the hospital in active labor and has a cervical exam and is determined to be 4 centimeters dilated, which earlier had been stated to be early labor. The 4-1-1 or 5-1-1 rule is used as a suggested guide on when to go to the birth location.

Women are seen changing positions frequently, receiving lots of verbal and physical support from partners and families and are using the tub, laboring on their hands and knees and using a birth ball.  All the things we want to encourage for our families.

Transition pulls no punches and it is clear that this is an intense and often difficult phase of labor.  I liked the scene of the single mother’s support person holding a large basin nearby for her in case she vomits.  Those tiny emesis basins are useless and this woman has the right tool for the job!  The level of support is stepped up for all the mothers, to help them through this challenging part of labor.

I really liked how the animated sections during the first stage frequently showed the baby’s head and body moving back and forth as if trying to find their way.  I like to tell my families that babies are not passive passengers, but rather active participants in the birth process, and this animated movement supports my statement that baby is trying to find the best way out too!  I must confess that I found the little scattered pieces of hair drawn on the baby’s head to be rather distracting to me, and wished for a full head of hair or a bald little baby!

Second stage – pushing and birth

While there are some parts of this section that I really liked, I think the second stage section was the segment that I was most disappointed in. Second stage seems a little bit “cleaner” in this third edition of Stages of Labor.  The animation and drawings of crowning show a sterile looking perineum (the drawing has no pubic hair) and we cannot see an anus in the drawing, which makes it look a bit unnatural and out of context.  Overall, the entire film is very modest, the women are clothed and any shots of cervical exams or babies being born are very tastefully staged for privacy.

The possible length of the pushing phase is accurate though no woman in class will be happy to hear that she might push for 3 plus hours, women should recognize that it is indeed a possibility.  All the women are shown pushing on their backs, with the support people holding the mother’s legs for her (do they have epidurals?) and there are just a very few brief shots of a woman using a squat bar, as she discusses how pushing on your back closes the pelvic outlet.  Unfortunately, this theme is not carried over to most of the second stage segment.  Even the animated graphics have baby being born while mother is on her back. Each baby is seen being delivered to a woman who is flat on her back.  It would have been lovely to have even one baby born to an upright mother.

I missed the use of the mirror or touching the head of the baby as the mother is birthing as is seen in the second edition.  I believe those are good tools for women to use during pushing.  We also don’t see the mother pushing on her hands and knees or even side-lying, as in previous films.

None of the babies are suctioned and all are passed up to the mother’s gowned chest immediately.  Most of the women have their family close by, but one poor father gets all teared up, but seems far away from his partner and their baby. Even during the delivery of the placenta, he was still standing alone,  I wanted to gently lead him to the head of the bed to be reunited with them.

Third stage – delivery of the placenta

This part of the process was presented very briefly but adequately.  The babies are all seen skin to skin with mom, and viewers are told that this helps calm baby and helps her to adapt to life on the outside.  We are told that the cord is cut a few minutes after birth, but no mention is made of the benefits to the baby of delaying the clamping or cutting of the umbilical cord.

Fourth stage – recovery

This section of the film is an absolutely lovely new addition! I was thrilled to see it being included in this third edition of Stages of Labor.  The physical changes (uterus shrinking, afterpains, and bleeding) are mentioned and viewers are told that both mother and baby will be monitored to make sure the transitions after birth are occurring normally for both.  Families learn about hormones that are present to help mother and baby bond in these first hours and in what I believe to be my favorite part of the film,  viewers are told “in the hours and weeks after birth, think of mom and baby as one unit that stays together just like it was during pregnancy…keeping mom and baby together with regular skin to skin contact helps the whole family bond.”  I think this is very significant and am so happy hear this.  It would have been nice to see more of the laid back breastfeeding positions, but babies are skin to skin and happy to be nursing and connecting with their mothers.  Perfect!


This third edition of the well loved and long running childbirth education film “Stages of Labor” offers some of the same great qualities of previous versions; great animation, a diverse group of families and clearly presented information that is easy to understand.  Showing this film in class can be a very effective way of covering a lot of ground and sharing accurate information.  There are many discussions that can be had after watching this film it and it has easy stopping and starting points if you want to break it into segments.  The addition of the importance of the fourth stage of labor and birth – keeping mother and baby together was long overdue and makes this video even more valuable to childbirth educators and others who work with birthing families.  It is suitable to show to all ages and is a very modest film, in terms of nudity or potentially “disturbing” scenes.  I recall the first edition as being the most “revealing” of all three films.

The animations really do a wonderful job of showing what is happening to the mother and the baby during the labor and birth process that static pictures could never do.  I would have preferred seeing women push in upright positions.  This DVD is an expensive purchase at $289.95 for the independent educator (or even for some hospital programs) but I believe it is well worth it.  You will use it over and over, it feels very much updated and reflects the new thoughts around active labor and the new fourth stage segment is very well done.  Much of the text and language is very similar to previous versions, but after watching it many times for this review, I find that it will be a nice change of pace and will feel very contemporary in my classroom.  The Spanish version of this DVD will be released in February, 2014.

Injoy Videos has asked me to extend a special offer to Science & Sensibility readers who would like to make a purchase of this DVD.  Receive free shipping on the purchase of Stages of Labor Third Edition: A Visual Guide by using code BSOL3SM14 at checkout.  This code expires on 1/31/14.

Have you seen this new edition yet?  Are you already using it in your classes?  Please share your thoughts in our comments section, I would love to know your opinion.

Please note that I did receive a review copy of the film for the purpose of writing this review.


Childbirth Education, Films about Childbirth, Films about Pregnancy , , , , , ,

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