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Registration Closes September 15th for October’s Lamaze Certification Exam

September 4th, 2014 by avatar

finger rememberRegistration for the October 2014 Lamaze exam will close September 15th 2014.  The Lamaze exam is being held in locations worldwide October 23-25, 2014.  Passing the Lamaze exam is one component for those individuals on the path to Lamaze certification.  Candidates for the exam will have successfully completed all the requirements in one of the three pathways and all that remains is the final step; sitting for and passing the exam.

You may be interested to know that the Lamaze Certification exam is the only childbirth educator exam that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.  Regular contributor Judith Lothian wrote a wonderful piece for Science & Sensibility this past spring, on the science behind the exam and what makes it the gold standard in the world of childbirth education certification.

My exam experience

I remember very clearly taking the Lamaze exam many years ago, when I first became certified.  My local test site at the time happened to be at a local airfield.  When I checked in for the exam I was handed ear plugs along with scrap paper and a pencil.  There was so much air traffic, planes of all sizes, taking off and landing right outside on the runway, vibrating the windows and sometimes the entire building.  I can laugh at it now, and I think I laughed at it then.  I was the only Lamaze registrant and took my exam amongst many flight students.  The “background noise” must have helped, I did well and passed the exam.  I know that test site is no longer in use, so future exam takers won’t face the same situation.

What I do remember about the exam is that 3 hours given for the exam felt like an ample amount of time.  There are 150 multiple choice questions and  I did not feel rushed. I had time to go through all the questions and return to those I was unsure of and then check over all of them one more time.   I felt like it was a fair exam.  A firm exam but very fair.  I recall the questions definitely

The Lamaze study guide is a very helpful tool for preparing for the exam, even for experienced educators.  If you have not yet acquired your study guide yet, you can order it here.  The study guide is available in both English and Spanish. The Lamaze exam is based on 7 competencies

The exam is based on 7 competencies

Competency 1: Promotes the childbearing experience as a normal, natural, and healthy process which profoundly affects women and their families.

Competency 2: Assists women and their families to discover and to use strategies to facilitate normal, natural, and healthy pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and early parenting.

Competency 3: Helps women and their families to understand how complications and interventions influence the normal course of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early postpartum.

Competency 4: Provides information and support that encourages attachment between babies and their families.
Competency 5: Assists women and their families to make informed decisions for childbearing.

Competency 6: Acts as an advocate to promote, support, and protect natural, safe and healthy birth.

Competency 7: Designs, teaches, and evaluates a course in Lamaze preparation that increases a woman’s confidence and ability to give birth.

Some tips for studying and taking the exam.

Definitely consider using the study guide.  It can help you with being up to date with current best practices and covers topics in all the competencies.

Consider setting up study groups – either virtually (post in the comments here if you are looking for a study buddy) or locally in your community.  Having the support of others who are going through the same thing can really help make it a fun and enjoyable process.

Get a good night’s rest the night before the exam

Enjoy a nice healthy breakfast with a good source of protein (personally, I need a very robust cup of coffee as well!)  Maybe even take yourself out to your favorite breakfast place for a great meal.

Do something grounding in the hours before the exam.  A yoga session, a massage or a walk or run outside in the fresh air can be just the thing you need to get the jitters out and feel confident.

Remain calm and confident before the start of the exam.  You have studied, you are prepared and you are ready. Some deep breaths and a few shoulder rolls and stretches before you start will have you alert and ready to begin.

Take your time going through the exam.  The three hours allotted should be adequate.  The exam software makes it easy to move around the exam, answer the ones you know and go back to the ones you wanted to wait on.

Check your work one more time thoroughly before you leave the testing site.

Celebrate your success at completing the process and settle in to receive your results in December. Be proud of the work it took to get to this point.  Know that you are going to be an excellent childbirth educator teaching the principles of safe and healthy birth to families in your community.

Conclusion

If you, too, want to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, but have not yet started on the journey, click here to find out how you can become certified.  There are pathways for new educators, experienced educators and midwives/student midwives.  Then hop over to our workshop page and find a workshop near you.

Remember to get your registration in and good luck on the exam.  Looking for that virtual study group – post in our comments section.  Come back after the exam and tell us how you thought it went.  If you have taken the exam before, share some tips and information to help those sitting this fall.

Photo credit: creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by The Secret History GRSG: http://flickr.com/photos/rmdemsick/5065345783

 

Childbirth Education, Lamaze International, Lamaze Method , , ,

You’re Invited to Lamaze International’s Next Twitter Chat: Prenatal Fitness

August 19th, 2014 by avatar
perinatal fitness

CC http://flickr.com/photos/cumidanciki/7807501656

Won’t you consider joining Lamaze International’s President Elect, Robin Elise Weiss, as she hosts our next Twitter Chat on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 9:00-10:00 PM EST.  The topic to be discussed is prenatal fitness and you can find the party at #LamazeChat.  You will want to put this event on your own calendar as well as share with your clients and students via social media, so everyone can benefit from the fast moving discussion that will no doubt be filled with facts and information that everyone can use.

Perinatal Fitness expert Catherine Cram, M.S.,  owner of Comprehensive Fitness Consulting shares some tips that will be discussed further during the Twitter chat. Childbirth educators may find it useful to share this information when discussing fitness and exercises in your childbirth classes.

• The key to getting the greatest benefits with prenatal exercise for both mom and baby are to continue to workout to the end of the pregnancy.

• Research has shown that women who continue to exercise throughout pregnancy gain less weight, have reduced complications during labor and delivery and return to pre-pregnancy weight faster than those that don’t exercise.

Tips for sticking with exercise during all trimesters:

• Try to include several types of exercise, from walking to swimming or biking and mix it up so mothers don’t overwork muscles and joints.

• Break up workouts into two sessions of a shorter duration if fatigue makes it tough to maintain the usual routine.

• The exercise intensity level should stay within a range that feels challenging, but not so hard that a mother is out of breath.  We use what’s called the “talk test” with prenatal exercise, which simply means that a mother should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising, and if she can’t, then she is working too hard.

• As pregnancy progresses it’s as if women are wearing a backpack that gets heavier each week.  Keep this in mind when workouts seem to be getting harder- the workout is a lot tougher even at the same intensity at 30 weeks than at 15 weeks. Modify routines as needed to keep workout level within safe limits.

• Make sure to add some upper body strength training to the workout.  Mothers will need that strength for all the lifting required with baby care.  Keep in mind that all someone needs to do for strength gains is one set of 10-12 repetitions of a weight.  Exercise bands are a great way to do strength training, and they’re inexpensive and easy to use.

• Buddy up with a friend for fitness sessions. Encourage class members to plan exercise sessions together outside of class.  They will be a lot more successful with maintaining a fitness routine when they are partnered or in a fitness group, and it makes the time go a lot faster.

twitter logoTwitter Chats are a fun way to connect with both families and other educators from all over, learn more about the topic, Prenatal Fitness, share resources and enjoy a pleasant discussion.  Robin Weiss is a skilled facilitator who makes every Twitter Chat she hosts a totally enjoyable event. New to participating in a Twitter chat? Check out this article for information on how to participate and get the most out of your experience. Don’t be shy about jumping in.  Your participation will be totally welcomed! See you August 21st at 9PM EST!  Tweet, tweet!

 

 

 

Childbirth Education, Lamaze International, News about Pregnancy , , , , , ,

Teaching Childbirth Education Classes While Pregnant – An LCCE Educator’s Experience

August 12th, 2014 by avatar

By Katherine Steen, BS, MAIS, LCCE

Childbirth educators may work in this field at many points in their life.  They may be childless, they may have young children or their children may be out on their own. I believe one of the most interesting times to be a childbirth educator is when you yourself are pregnant and expecting a baby.  To be teaching on the topic of labor and birth to pregnant families at the exact time that you are also preparing for your own labor and birth can create some interesting class dynamics.  I asked my friend and colleague Katherine Steen, LCCE, to share what her experience has been like teaching classes while she prepares to welcome her second little one  Here is her story! – Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility

CC  (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by J. McPherskesen: http://flickr.com/photos/jmcphers/4276103110

CC (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by J. McPherskesen: http://flickr.com/photos/jmcphers/4276103110

As educators, we work hard to minimize bias in our teaching. However, there is no hiding the fact that teaching birth classes while pregnant changes one’s perspective. I began my career as a childbirth educator about a year after my first child was born. In January 2014, I learned I was pregnant with my second child. Here are a few of my experiences.

First Trimester

Physical Challenges

Unlike my first pregnancy, I experienced nausea this time around, which made teaching difficult at times. I did my best to nibble during teaching to ward off the queasies and wore long sleeves to hide my Sea Bands. My second biggest challenge was fatigue. I normally teach 3.5 hour classes on Saturdays in a facility where it takes me about an hour on each end to set up and clean up. By the time I got home, I was ready for a nap. Unfortunately, my 4 year old did not always share my enthusiasm for sleep. A third challenge was transportation to and from class. I was used to riding the bus or my bike 12 miles round trip since we are a one car family, but was physically unable to, thanks to the nausea and fatigue. This meant I relied on my partner to drop me off and pick me up for class each week.

Breaking the News

Because I experienced a miscarriage previously, I was hesitant to reveal my pregnancy to my students until after the first trimester. Once I revealed my pregnancy, I began to get questions from students about my choices of provider and birth place. I am hesitant to reveal things about my choices as I don’t want to impose my values on them, but if a student asks me one on one I am generally inclined to tell them the truth. At the time, I was able to say I had not decided (which was true). It was most interesting when I began having reunions for series I taught early in the year when I revealed to students that I was pregnant while teaching their series. They reassured me that they couldn’t tell how tired and nauseous I had been and were quite excited for me.

Following My Own Advice

When it came time to pick a provider, I had a different perspective than in my first pregnancy. Not only were my needs and interests different at this point in my life, but I had a wealth of knowledge about evidence based maternity care and a broader perspective on the variations of pregnancy and birth to consider. In interviewing providers, I brought a copy of the Groopman-Hartzband Medical Mindset Spectrums (a worksheet created by Kim James and Laurie Levy, adapted from Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What is Right for You, by Groopman and ) to discuss and asked about experiences/protocols for long, slow labors, premature rupture of membranes, and pregnancies that proceed into the 41st week. When a concern arose during off hours, I found myself thinking about what I would say to my students if they were in my position. Would I tell them to page their provider or call in the morning?

Second Trimester

Increased Empathy and Concern

While I physically felt better in my second trimester, the reality of our parallel life experiences continued to factor into my teaching. The first change I noticed was that I had much more empathy for pregnancy discomforts and decision making challenges. Suddenly the reality of my students became more real for me and I found myself physically feeling their twinges. I had so many opportunities to access pregnant women, postpartum families, and their scary (and wonderful) stories and my attitude toward their experiences was split.

On the one hand, I felt increasing non-attachment to their birth choices. Whereas previously I had felt disappointed when a birth did not meet a student’s expectations or when families at a reunion struggled with breastfeeding or had highly interventive births, I began to hear beauty and joy in birth stories that did not go according to plan. As long as a family was satisfied with the experience, I considered it a success. I began to envision alternate realities for my own birth and come to terms with the idea that it could go any number of ways and still be a great experience.

On the other hand, my concern and empathy for those who had scary experiences was magnified. For example, when one of my students gave birth prematurely, the situation seemed so much more relevant to me as our due dates were only a few weeks apart. Or when a family shared the story of their baby’s lengthy NICU stay due to oxygen deprivation during the birth process, my heart was heavy.

I also began to lead a postpartum support group during this time and took to heart the pregnancy, breastfeeding, and birth challenges the women in the group faced. In all of these situations, I simply did my best to hide the tears that sometimes arose without warning and tried to focus on supporting their journeys. It was good practice for me to minimize sharing my personal experience and encourage the mothers to tap into their intuition and share ideas with each other.

Third Trimester

Don’t forget to eat, drink, pee, and sit down!

Once again, teaching was physically challenging. I began to place a chair or birth ball close to the front of the room in an effort to remind myself to sit down periodically. I filled my plate at the beginning of each class with the snacks the students brought and made sure my water bottle was close at hand. I often found myself joking with students as we met in the restroom during every break as well as before and after class.

CC  (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by mandaloo: http://flickr.com/photos/mandaloo/4762404381

http://flickr.com/photos/mandaloo/4762404381

Figuring out what to wear while teaching was also a challenge. Even before I was pregnant, I taught in short sleeves year round because I have no control over the temperature at my sites. Lately, keeping cool has been even more challenging because this summer has been quite warm by Seattle standards. I went through several sizes of maternity khakis and finally decided they were too hot. I switched to skirts, but discovered how difficult it is to demonstrate lunges without flashing the class. I started having my doula/cbe observers demo for me in addition to assisting students. I cannot quite bring myself to teach in shorts, though I did resort to sandals a few times. And then there was the day I discovered I had outgrown all my bras.

Brain Farts

Between teaching two series at once (something I rarely do) and being pregnant, I had any number of moments when I found myself asking my students if we talked about something in a previous class because I honestly couldn’t remember. And forgetting the words for things. Like what’s that pushing position when you are not quite sitting, not quite lying down? Well, at least I showed them what it looks like. And then there was the week I read the snack schedule wrong and reminded the families to bring snack a week early. Thank goodness my students are on top of things and e-mailed me to clarify.

Memories

One last thing that I didn’t anticipate was how I would start to remember more clearly my postpartum experience as my pregnancy progressed. One evening, I found myself describing some of the physical and emotional realities of that difficult time in far greater detail than I am usually capable. I paused to look at my students’ faces and saw pure shock. I want to adequately prepare them for the challenge that awaits as well as the range of experiences that are normal during postpartum, but I don’t want to scare the pants off them. I ended the class and nobody moved. Somehow I came up with a quick, confidence boosting statement and they began to gather their things. Did I go too far? My trusty observer seemed to think they would recover.

Here I sit with one more class to teach before taking some time off to welcome baby. I will not miss spending two hours every Saturday schlepping my materials up three floors and moving furniture. I will miss building rapport with students and am looking forward to three class reunions in a few months.

What has been your experience of teaching while pregnant? What are the joys and challenges for you? Please share your experiences and discuss with me in the comments section.

About Katherine Steen

© Katherine Steen

© Katherine Steen

Katherine Steen, BS, MAIS, LCCE, has been teaching childbirth classes since 2012. She currently teaches for the Great Starts program of the Parent Trust for Washington Children in Seattle, WA. Prior to the birth of her daughter, she spent 10 years working as an educator in zoological parks. In addition to teaching birth classes, she loves to cook, garden, read and spend time outdoors. Her current fitness endeavors are water aerobics and prenatal yoga. She is expecting her second child in September 2014.

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Lamaze International , , ,

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

July 31st, 2014 by avatar

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

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

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

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

Contact Cara Terreri to inquire about all guest writing opportunities.

Giving Birth with Confidence, Guest Posts, Uncategorized , ,

Early Bird Registration Closes August 1 for the 2014 Lamaze & DONA Confluence!

July 29th, 2014 by avatar

confluence header

This year’s Confluence (the special term being used to describe the 2014 conference hosted jointly by Lamaze International and DONA International in Kansas City, MO is shaping up to be simply an outstanding experience for all the attendees.  The confluence committee has put together an outstanding line up of speakers for the general sessions.

Pre-Conference Events

In the days  leading up to the confluence, attendees can register to participate in several different pre-conference events.  Choose from a three day Lamaze Childbirth Educator Seminar – one step on the path to becoming a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  This workshop is taught by the Denver-CPAC Lamaze-Accredited Childbirth Educator Program.  Take in the wisdom and experience of midwife Gail Tully, of Spinning Babies fame as she leads participants through a half day program designed for doulas, educators, doctors, midwives and L&D nurses.  Learn strategies and skills to teach to students and use with laboring women, when a malpositioned baby is interfering with the normal progression of labor and birth.   Patty Brennan, author of “The Doula Business Guide: Creating a Successful Motherbaby Business” leads a four hour business development workshop on establishing and growing a successful birth business and all that a birth pro needs to be successful.  Our final pre-conference offering is a full day “Evidence Based Nursing: Labor Support Skills” workshop designed especially for clinicians who want to help support safe and healthy birth through non-pharmacologic pain management strategies and hands on labor support skills. This workshop is taught by the amazing Kathryn Konrad.

Captivating General Session Speakers

Penny Simkin, Eugene DeClercq, Michele Deck, Katharine Wenstrom and Ngozi Tibbs are the plenary speakers at this year’s confluence and I could not be more excited.  These leaders in the field each bring their own diverse background and perspective to the confluence, while having the common goal to improve maternal infant health.  Learn more about the general session speakers and their background in this Science & Sensibility post.

Concurrent Sessions (focusing on four different tracks)

This year, there are four tracks of concurrent sessions!  Choose the track that most interests you or mix and match the concurrent sessions to customize a program that meets your individual needs.  Our four tracks are:

  • Evidence based teaching and practice
  • New and emerging research in the field of childbearing
  • Using technology and innovation to reach childbearing women
  • Supporting the needs of childbirth professionals

Enjoy the presentations of both seasoned presenters back again to share their wisdom and welcome those presenting for the first time, full of fresh and exciting perspectives and ideas.

Social Events

LCCEs attend the DONA Conference Photo Credit HeatherGail Lovejoy

Photo Credit HeatherGail Lovejoy

Half the fun of attending a professional conference is the opportunity to network and socialize with both new friends and old. The 2014 Confluence is no exception.  The Wine and Dine Event scheduled for Saturday evening at the beautiful Amigoni Urban Winery will include a custom designed wine tasting and gourmet dinner.  Your ticket includes RT transporation, to make it easy to enjoy the evening with a minimum of stress.

Exhibitors

When I attend conferences, I always make sure to leave plenty of time to browse the exhibit hall.  I love to see what new and innovative products are available for my doula and CBE practice.  Exhibitors from all over come to share what is hot and what is helpful and I love being able to ask questions about services from these experts and try out and examine all kinds of items useful for my business.  The list of exhibitors is long and full of well known companies who you will love to connect with in the Exhibit Hall.  For a list of those currently exhibiting, see our exhibitor list on the Confluence website. New exhibitors are being added, so check back frequently and be sure and stop by and say hi!

Register Now

There are many reasons to attend the 2014 Lamaze and DONA Confluence in Kansas City, MO September 18-21.  Take advantage of early bird pricing by registering by August 1 so that you can save some money and feel confident that all your continuing education and networking needs will be met by attending this fabulous Confluence.  See you in Kansas City!  Register now!

2014 Confluence, Childbirth Education, Confluence 2014, Continuing Education, Lamaze International , , , , ,