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Top Ten Reasons to Become a Member and Join Lamaze International Now!

January 3rd, 2013 by avatar

Did you know that Lamaze International membership runs with the calendar year?  Did you remember to renew your membership at the end of 2012, or did it get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, along with your normal everyday juggle of work, family and self-care?  Have you considered becoming a Lamaze International member but never followed through or were unsure of how it benefits you?  I would like to take a few minutes to share my “Top 10 List” of why it is simply wonderful to be a Lamaze International member, and how I benefit financially and professionally from my membership every day.

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 you can receive at the FedEx Office store along with online discounts have the potential to save you more money than your membership costs.  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.

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 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 personnel 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.

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.

Journal of Perinatal Education, Lamaze International, Maternal Quality Improvement, Maternity Care, Push for Your Baby , , , , , , , , ,

Focus on: Coalition for Improving Maternity Services

May 2nd, 2011 by avatar

[Editor's note:  This week, we will feature a series of mini-posts on organizations whose primary purpose is to improve the lives and well-being of women and mothers during their childbearing years. Also, don't forget to send us your stories on how you especially honor mothers in your own childbirth-related practices, in recognition of Mother's Day.  Contest submission ends this Friday!]


The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) was established as a non-profit organization in 1997, following the publication of the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative. This initiative was the product of a series of think tank-like meetings with members of 26  national and international organizations which all work to improve pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding practices.  CIMS is comprised of not only members from these organizations, but also individuals, with the common goal of establishing a heightened standard of evidence-based maternity care.  Focus on prevention, as a means of reducing financial burden and poor perinatal outcomes, is a large part of the CIMS proclamation.

In 2006, a special committee was formed within CIMS at their annual meeting in Boston, MA:  The Grassroots Advocates Committee.  From this formation, came a project called The Birth Survey, an element of CIMS’ Transparency in Maternity Care Project. This on-line tool provides the means for maternity care system consumers to self-report on their perinatal experiences with maternity care providers and facilities.  The Birth Survey is also a great tool for providers and facilities to find feedback on the care they are delivering.

CIMS has established criterion by which a hospital, birth center or home birth service may receive “Mother-Friendly  Status”, outlined here: CIMS MFS.  As stated on their website,

We believe the philosophical cornerstones of mother-friendly care to be as follows:
Normalcy of the Birthing Process

  • Birth is a normal, natural, and healthy process.
  • Women and babies have the inherent wisdom necessary for birth.
  • Babies are aware, sensitive human beings at the time of birth, and should be acknowledged and treated as such.
  • Breastfeeding provides the optimum nourishment for newborns and infants.
  • Birth can safely take place in hospitals, birth centers, and homes.
  • The midwifery model of care, which supports and protects the normal birth process, is the most appropriate for the majority of women during pregnancy and birth.

CIMS is a member of the National Quality Forum (NQF), as well as the United States Breastfeeding Committee.

To find out how you can get involved with the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, go here.

 

 

Posted by:  Kimmelin Hull, PA, LCCE

Focus On (Organizations) Series , , , , , , ,

What About Reporting on Maternity Care?

March 10th, 2011 by avatar

While working clinically as a Physician’s Assistant, one of my favorite industry medical journals to read was always Clinician Reviews.Geared toward mid-level practitioners, this journal is typically sound in its presentation of medical literature as well as sensitive to the unique aspects of clinical practice for PAs and Nurse Practitioners.

Last week, I discovered what to me felt like a major faux pas in an article written by the journal’s managing editor.  The article entitled, Women’s Health in the US: Have We Lost Our Way?, started out sounding pretty good until I discovered that, like many discussions on the state of healthcare in the United States–maternity care was left out completely.

In Dr. Tricia Pil’s recent blog postabout the institution of  the HCAPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey, we learned that while patient experience surveys like this are becoming integrally useful in assessing the state of U.S. healthcare, maternity care-specific analysis is still lagging.

In fact, the Clinician Reviews(CR) article was also based on a healthcare system analysis tool, a “Report Card” fueled by the National Women’s Law Center (in partnership with the Oregon Health and Science University).  Although the Report Card does address a few issues pertaining to maternity care (namely Women Without Health Insurance and access to First Trimester Prenatal Care) these indicators were not even mentioned in the CR article.

I have sent in the following response to the editorial staff at Clinician Reviews with the hopes they will print my remarks in their next issue:

It’s great to see individual efforts underway whic raise awareness of U.S. maternity care system failings such as those by:
The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services
The Leapfrog Group
Childbirth Connection
California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative
United States Breastfeeding Committee
Members of Congress who are working to improve the quality of maternity care in the U.S.through introduction of new legislation

But…until this becomes a ubiquitous, national dialogue…until the gravity of these unacceptable statistics becomes a household conversation, the misconception of our nation’s “superior” maternity care system will prevail.

Let’s be honest: many folks believe that the United States women’s perinatal healthcare system is superior because we theoretically have access to SO MUCH.  And yes, in comparison to most underdeveloped nations, U.S. women experience hugely superior perinatal care and overall safety.  But this is a big country in which over 4 million women give birth each year.  And so, the deficiencies that exist still have enormous (and often deleterious) effects. 

We ARE a nation which boasts excess:  our pharmacies are overflowing much medicine (compared to under served/underdeveloped nations) and yet a woman with no healthcare insurance may not be able to afford medicine she is deemed in need of; we have plenty of testing equipment: performing/interpreting ultrasounds, blood & urine chemistry in the provider’s office is accomplished quickly and easily–and yet a woman lacking access to proper prenatal care misses out on that theoretically accessible testing; we have oodles of maternity care providers (women in many African and Asian countries continue to endure pregnancy, labor and birth with NO trained personnel–largely contributing to their astronomical maternal morbidity and mortality rates). 

Highly developed medical systems like ours boast people, devices and medicines out the wazoo…how can we not be the best?

And yet, the truth is in the numbers.  With all this knowledge, technology and availability of health-promoting goods, we continue to see a rise in maternal mortality, a deficiency in the access to adequate prenatal care for a HUGE segment of our maternal population and an ever-increasing rate of surgical delivery when the World Health Organization STILL prescribes a “safe” c-section rate to be no more than 15% (with 5-10% considered optimal).

In my humble opinion, these are the people who need to care about and engage in discussions over the U.S. maternity care system:

All healthcare providers who come into contact with women of childbearing age:doctors of varying disciplines, nurses, medical assistants & technicians, ultrasound technicians.  I once had a dermatologist try to prescribe me a topical chemotherapetuic agent for a skin rash…while I was pregnant.  He didn’t seem to be too terribly concerned about the potential effects of the absorbed medication on my unborn baby, nor my pregnant physiology (and yet, he likley would have–had I accepted the prescription and experienced a regretful side effect.)

State and federal legislators:
Reviewing the report card referenced in the Clinician Reviews article, it seems that lack of health insurance and inadequate access to first trimester prenatal care is a country-wide problem (for all but members of the highest socio-economic group).  This is a systemic issue that needs to be addressed at both the state and federal level.  Have you contacted your local legislators to remind them of these important issues?

Laypeople: Pregnant women who are currently experiencing the maternity care system are NOT the only folks who should care about these issues.  Women and their partners who anticipate a pregnancy in their near (or distant) future should be thinking about the status and quality of the maternity care system in which they will become consumers.   Current and would-be grandparents should care about this due to its direct effect on the health and well-being of their adult (female) children and would-be grandchildren.  Clergy who spiritually and emotionally support young families in times of need–especially when pregnancy presents special challenges.  Neighbors who become aware of a nearby pregnant community member placed on (hottly debated) bed rest.

Get my drift?

Anyone who can confirm knowing a pregnant woman, a family with young children or a woman who will likely become pregnant in the near future should care about this issue.  What are we, as maternity care providers, childbirth educators birth or postpartum doulas and laypeople doing to raise universal awareness about the true state of our nation’s perinatal healthcare system?

Posted by:  Kimmelin Hull, PA, LCCE

Bed Rest, Doula Care, Healthcare Reform, News about Pregnancy, Patient Advocacy, Science & Sensibility, Uncategorized , , , , , , ,