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Congratulations to Cara Terreri and Lamaze Parent Blog – Giving Birth With Confidence

June 23rd, 2015 by avatar

Congratulations Giving Birth withWhile Science & Sensibility is geared primarily for birth professionals and health care providers, Lamaze International also has a long running blog that is written by Cara Terreri, specifically with the expectant family in mind.  Giving Birth with Confidence (GBWC) offers families a wonderful mix of posts that highlight current best practice and evidence based information, fun and lighthearted topics for the pregnant and parenting crowd, and regular pregnancy week by week features that showcase development and concerns as a people move through their pregnancies.  One of my favorite topics on the GBWC blog is the “Great Expectations” series which follows a pregnant person through their pregnancy and birth, with regular posts documenting the progress, emotions and circumstances that are arising for the featured family.

I am not the only one that thinks that the Giving Birth with Confidence Blog is the bomb!  Healthline recently named Giving Birth with Confidence one of the top pregnancy blogs for 2015.  Cara Terreri has been writing the GBWC blog since its inception, and the honor is well deserved.  You may recall Cara from some posts she has done on this blog, as we followed her on her path to becoming a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  She has also been a guest blogger here on other topics.

I asked Cara some questions about her experience as writer and community manager for the Giving Birth with Confidence Blog and share her answers with you here now.

Sharon Muza: What do you hope that parents take away from reading the Giving Birth with Confidence blog?

Cara Terreri: I hope that parents  take away from GBWC that birth is a normal part of life, not an illness or fearful event, and in fact, that it can be an exhilarating, amazing, and beautiful experience. I also hope they take away practical information to help prepare for and shape their experience.

SM: What are some of the challenges that you see when writing a blog geared for parents in the childbearing year?

CT: I can identify two challenges — giving topics the detail they deserve without overwhelming parents with information. That’s a challenge childbirth educators often face in classes, too. The other is presenting information in a non-biased, non-judgmental way. It can be easy for my opinion to creep in when I should be presenting “just the facts, ma’am.”

SM: There has never been more online information available to parents – what distinguishes GBWC from other online resources?

CT: Evidence based information, first and foremost. Followed by a tendency to address important issues and choices women face, not just what’s “hot” or “trendy.”

SM: What have been some of your favorite posts of all time?  What about the favorite posts of the readers?

CT: My favorite posts come from the expectant moms who participate in our Great Expectations series, an every-other-week chronicle of their pregnancy. Often, the posts just contain thoughts and reflections of pregnancy, motherhood, and birth, which is just perfect. Our readers, interesting enough, tend to click through most to our post about Lamaze breathing, which provides clarity on how Lamaze teaches breathing as a coping mechanism in labor. Families might come to us to learn about breathing, but they leave with so much more!

SM: Why should childbirth educators and other birth professionals share this blog with the families that they work with and encourage them to become regular readers?

CT: Birth professionals and CBEs can trust the content, when they recommend it to the families they work with. It supports and mirrors what is taught in a Lamaze class. Our content is also easy to read and understand.

I hope that you will share this blog with the families you teach or work with, so that they can receive the information and community that GBWC offers to readers.  If you have suggestions for future post topics, would like to be a guest blogger or have some helpful feedback, please contact Cara directly.

cara headshotI would like to invite all of you to join me in congratulating my friend and colleague Cara Terreri and the Giving Birth with Confidence blog on a job well done!  I know that many families are better prepared and better informed as a result of the exceptional information that is shared on the blog.  Make sure that the families that you work with are aware of this valuable resource.  This recognition is well-deserved and I am delighted that you have received it.  I look forward to more posts on the topics that are important to families everywhere.

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BABE Series: Postpartum Survival Kit – Helping Families Be Ready for Life with a Newborn

May 26th, 2015 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, LCCE

PSK BABEMay’s Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators (BABE) idea is all about the postpartum period.  Lots of families don’t realize that good childbirth classes not only prepare families for the labor and birth but can be a wealth of information about the first weeks with a new baby.  Today on Science & Sensibility, Cara Terreri, LCCE shares her classroom activity to help families get ready for what happens after the birth – when they bring that new little one home. – Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager 

Introduction

The postpartum period is an important component of childbirth education. As we know, preparation for the birth of a child isn’t enough. And unfortunately in our culture, postpartum needs aren’t given a lot of attention, which means that parents often feel unprepared, confused, and frustrated during the early days and weeks after baby comes home.

For my childbirth classes, I developed a fun and interactive activity to introduce and discuss the many topics related to postpartum. The exercise can be a stand-alone activity (in a refresher childbirth class) or used as an opener to more in-depth activities and lessons on postpartum in an entire series. My inspiration for creating the “Postpartum Survival Kit” was the wonderfully humorous “Postpartum Robe,” a trademark teaching tool from Teri Shilling, MS, CD(DONA), IBCLC, LCCE, Passion for Birth founder and Lamaze educator, as well as Lamaze Childbirth Educator Seminar trainer.

The Postpartum Survival Kit (PSK) consists of a large plastic container with lid (mine also includes a handle, which helps for easy transport), and includes 23 items representing different issues or experiences a family may encounter during the postpartum period. The items represent everything from the physical recovery after birth (peri bottle, thick menstrual pad, and hemorrhoid cream) to emotional issues, like the importance of finding “me time” and postpartum mood disorders.

How It’s Used

In my classes, after introducing the topic of the postpartum period, I bring out the PSK, pass it around, and instruct families to take out 2-3 items (depending on the number of students in class). I then introduce the PSK and talk about how the different items represent typical encounters and issues during the postpartum. We then go around the room and each couple is asked to share the items they pulled and offer an explanation of their significance. Some items are more obvious, like the sleep mask for the importance of getting sleep when you can; some elicit giggles and awkward moments, like the KY jelly which represents the possible need for vaginal lubrication during intercourse if the parent is breastfeeding; and some items are confusing, like the mini manicure kit (taking “me time”) and the red golf ball (size of postpartum clots, what’s normal and what’s not).

photo 2When students share their items, I jump in when they (or the other students) cannot accurately describe the item’s meaning. I also open the floor for discussion with open-ended questions like “How would you cope?” and “What kind of support would you need if this should happen to you?” and “Who could you call on for help?” Depending on the size of your class, this exercise can take up a good amount of time, so be sure to plan appropriately and be prepared to reel in side discussions should it get off course.

Takeaways

Parents in my classes really enjoy this exercise. I get a lot of laughs, bewildered looks, and “lightbulb” moments. It’s always interesting to see how often the non-birth parent accurately describe the significance of items in this exercise – there have been many moments where the pregnant person is stumped, but the partner knows. In these instances, the exercise provides reassurance to both parents that the knowledge on what to expect during postpartum is intuitive. Additionally, I have found that this tangible exercise helps reinforce learning and memory when we talk more in depth about postpartum issues later in the class.

Modifications

The PSK exercise can be modified in several ways. I’ve used it in coordination with a worksheet, which could also be turned into a competition between families. If using in a private class, you can have each family member take turns with each new item. You could also use the exercise as an interactive teach-back. Ask each family to take out 2-3 items, learn about their significance (offer assistance if they are completely stumped), and then return to the next class and teach the other students.

The PSK also could be replicated for use in teaching the stages of labor and breastfeeding. Create a similar, smaller kit for each stage of labor and/or breastfeeding and begin the segment with the kit. For example, a Transition Kit may include a focal point, washcloth, water bottle, and mini bullhorn (to signify the “take charge” routine). 

Contents & Creating Your Own

The fun part about creating a PSK is making it uniquely your own! Some of the items will naturally be the same (lochia pad, hospital underwear, peri bottle, breastfeeding pads, for example), but others are limited only by your creativity! Consider the ways in which you can demonstrate postpartum mood disorders, changing emotions, dividing up hours in the day, eating nutritious food, sleep, etc. Items included in my Postpartum Survival Kit are:

  • Water bottle – keeping hydrated
  • Hospital underwear and pad – postpartum bleeding
  • Peri bottle, Dermaplast, and ice pack – perineal healing
  • Elastic abdominal brace – cesarean healing and core strengthening
  • Plate with balanced meal – postpartum nutrition
  • Ibuprofen – normal aches and pains
  • Hemorrhoid cream – a not uncommon postpartum issue
  • Stool softener – this is an important concern for many!
  • KY Jelly – lubrication issues
  • Condoms – postpartum fertility/birth control
  • Eye mask – getting sleep
  • Small red balloon paired with giant red balloon – involution, postpartum tummy
  • Hand mirror with puzzled/confused face – postpartum mood disorders (“I don’t recognize myself”)
  • Laminated speech bubble with “helpful” advice – dealing with influx of family/friend advice
  • Cloth breastfeeding pads – leaking nipples
  • Stuffed heart toy with wide open arms – finding and accepting support
  • Do not disturb door hanger – limiting visitors is ok; family time is important
  • Small baby doll with a heart and question mark on her tummy – conflicting emotions a baby often brings
  • Encouragement flags – encourage and praise your partner
  • Manicure kit – making time for yourself
  • Pill box modified to read “house, partner, work, baby care, errands, etc.” and filled with 24 beads, divvied up into the different compartments – how will you divide your time

 What else might you add to your customized Postpartum Survival Kit? There are many ways to teach about adapting to and surviving the postpartum weeks.  How do you teach about the postpartum period in your childbirth classes?  What activities have you found effective?  Share with all of us in the comments section.  If you have a “BABE”  to share in future posts – please contact me and let’s talk. – SM

Note/Disclaimer: The use of the acronym “BABE” (Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators) is not affiliated with, aligned with or associated with any particular childbirth program or organization.

About Cara Terreri, LCCE

© Cara Terreri

© Cara Terreri

Cara is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, doula, and site administrator for the Lamaze parent blog, Giving Birth with Confidence. She teaches and works in Myrtle Beach, SC, where she lives with her husband and three children. You can learn more about Cara at Simple Support Birth.

 

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Because… A Poem Honoring Cesarean Awareness Month

April 9th, 2015 by avatar

CAM 2015 GBWCGiving Birth with Confidence is the sister blog to Science & Sensibility, Lamaze International and is geared for parents and new families.  Cara Terreri, ( you may remember Cara, we followed her journey to becoming an LCCE) has been the Community Manager there since the blog was first established in 2008.  I always point the families in my classes to Giving Birth with Confidence because I know that they will find evidence based information along with great inspiration to push for a safe and healthy birth.

Cara recently wrote and published a poem on Giving Birth With Confidence to commemorate Cesarean Awareness Month (April), and it really spoke to me.  Since April is also National Poetry Month, I wanted to share her poem with you, in hopes that you might pass on and share with the families you work with.  Because 1 in 3 is too many.

Because…

1 in 3 is too many

Recovery is hard

My birth was still a birth

I want to have a VBAC

My scar still hurts

I was separated from my baby

My doula supported me in the OR

I didn’t have a choice

I got to experience skin to skin with my baby right away

I made the choice this time

I wish I would have known

I feel cheated

My doctor never told me this could happen

It’s going to be OK

My sister said this was easier anyway

My midwife made the right decision to transfer to the hospital

Friends told me at least I had a healthy baby

I have postpartum depression

It was the best decision for my birth

My husband has scars too

I’m embarrassed

My doula wasn’t allowed back into the OR

I failed the one thing I’m supposed to be able to do as a woman

My mom had one too; I guess it was meant to happen

I know my doctor helped me make the best decision

I want more for my daughter

I am a source of courage and support for others who have gone before me and those who will go after me

I did the best that I could with the knowledge I had at the time

I’m doing better now

My baby is beautiful

My body is strong

I am resilient

My birth matters

By Cara Terreri

cara headshot

 

Cesarean Birth, Childbirth Education, Depression, Giving Birth with Confidence, Guest Posts, Infant Attachment, Newborns , , , , , ,

Series: Journey to LCCE Certification – Countdown to the Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator Exam

September 25th, 2014 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Cara Terreri has been documenting her path to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator since taking her workshop in August of 2012, in our series: Journey to LCCE Certification. Today ,we have another update as she prepares to sit for the exam next month.  The LCCE credentials are the gold standard for childbirth educators and Cara, along with many other men and women worldwide, are seeing the culmination of learning and preparation coming to a close with an exam date scheduled for late October.  Get an update on Cara and share your exam tips for Cara and others in our comments section. Interested in becoming an LCCE? Find out more. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility.

© Cara Terreri

© Cara Terreri

Since my last installment, my life has taken a near 180 degree turn. Birth work still remains my professional priority and passion of course, but after a huge move out of state, I will now pursue doula work and childbirth education – as well as take the LCCE exam — in Myrtle Beach, SC. When I would have been preparing to take the exam in April in Atlanta, I was in the thick of selling my house, packing out, and preparing my family to move to the East Coast. Thankfully, Lamaze gives you the option to defer taking the exam.

With one month to go until the exam date, I am spending my afternoons and evenings poring over the pages of the Lamaze Study Guide, in particular, the “review” sections for each core competency. Reviewing key questions help me to understand my weak points (pregnancy complications and prenatal tests) and give me a tighter focal point for studying. To further boost my knowledge, I attended the fantastic Lamaze International/DONA International joint conference (“confluence”) last week – the timing couldn’t have been better! The insightful sessions echoed many of the themes throughout the Study Guide. But perhaps most important, I was able to speak directly with several LCCEs about their experience with the exam. I heard things like “fair,” “read questions closely,” “common sense,” and “you’ll do great!”

In the days to follow, I plan to take the Exam Prep Course from Lamaze, which includes a practice test. I feel fairly confident about my depth of knowledge, but this is like the extra bit of insurance I want before the big day.

Of course, taking the LCCE exam is just the tip of the iceberg for me professionally, since having relocated to a new area. Now that my kids are in school and we’re more settled, my goal is to build relationships with local educators, doulas, and lactation professionals, along with moms and families. Lots of work to do, and I’m so energized by my drive to help women and families, I want to do it all! But I remind myself that the key is to help, not help everyone. This will likely be my life’s work and because it is not my sole source of income currently, I do as much as I can that works into my stage and place in life.

Readers, I would love to hear your thoughts on the Lamaze exam! Any last-minute tips? Suggestions for studying?  How to calm those last minute jitters? And of course, positive thoughts in my (and all the exam test takers) direction would be much appreciated next month on “game day”!  I will update readers after I take the exam.  And of course, will share my results – hopefully a passing grade.

About Cara Terreri

Cara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.

 

2014 Confluence, Childbirth Education, Giving Birth with Confidence, Lamaze International, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification , , , ,

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.

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