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Series: On the Independent Track to Becoming a Lamaze Trainer – The Curriculum Gets Written (Almost)!

July 7th, 2015 by avatar

By Jessica English, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA)

Late last year, LCCE Jessica English began the path to become an independent trainer with Lamaze International, as part of the just opened “Independent Track”  trainer program.  This new program helps qualified individuals become Lamaze trainers – able to offer Lamaze childbirth educator trainings which is one step on the path for LCCE certification.  She’s agreed to share her trainer journey with us in a series of blog posts; “On the Independent Track to Becoming a Lamaze Trainer”, offering insights at key milestones in the process.  You can read the first part of Jessica’s journey here.  Today, Jessica updates readers on her progress as she tackles the curriculum. If you are interested in becoming a trainer of Lamaze Childbirth Educators, you can find information on applying for the November 2015 Independent Track Program on the website now, and applications are due August 31, 2015.   –  Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager.

JEnglish retreat 1I am so ready to start training childbirth educators!

Unfortunately, my curriculum is not so ready. But I’m getting there — and building lots of empathy for the process my future students will be going through as well.

After finishing my trainer workshop in November, I spent some time processing everything I’d learned. I felt excited about becoming a Lamaze trainer, but I wasn’t ready to jump into writing my curriculum. This is a pretty typical pattern for me, so I was patient with what I know to be a healthy process for myself. I think and process and mull… And then when I’m ready I leap.

As winter turned to spring in the U.S., I watched a few of my classmates finish their curricula and start promoting their trainings. Awesome! Birth workers I had connections with from around the country started asking me when I’d be teaching my first workshop. Wonderful! I started a list of future Lamaze educators so I can update them when I am fully approved to train. I started to feel ready to leap, but the days, weeks and months flew by without much of a dent in my curriculum. I run a busy doula agency and I’m a birth doula trainer and business coach. Not to mention teaching my own childbirth classes and taking care of my own doula clients! And did I mention that I organize a major baby and family expo each February? The phone was always ringing, the email never stopped, meetings dotted each day. I’d jot down ideas or bookmark a resource that I wanted to use with my students. I tried reserving an hour a day to work on the curriculum, but it was challenging to really hold that time sacred. I also found it hard to clear out other distractions. It felt like just as I’d really dig in to a topic, time was up and I needed to move on to another (wildly different) task.

english independent - jpgYears ago in my corporate life, I learned the Eisenhower Decision Matrix for categorizing tasks (popularized by Stephen Covey). I sometimes use this matrix with my business coaching clients. Tasks are divided into categories of urgent, important, both or neither. Using this tool, I could see that I was stuck mostly in the urgent column, but not getting to the Lamaze trainer curriculum because although it was extremely important, it was in no way urgent. It was time to prioritize the important.

I checked in with a couple of folks in my brain trust, sharing my frustration about finding the time to write. (I’ll bet you have a brain trust too! This is my inner circle of trusted advisors that I turn to for support. Some of them are paid, others are mentors or friends with whom I’ve developed a circle of reciprocity — “you help me engineer my life, I’ll help you figure out yours too.”)

My business advisor suggested a retreat.  I talked with another brain trustee, looking for ideas on an affordable retreat. She mentioned Gilchrist, a local retreat center where I could rent a simple cabin and spend a couple of days in the woods. Yes! Perfect! My brain trust had come through for me again.

I reserved three days and two nights in the woods, packed up my food, teaching supplies and laptop. My goal was to leave the retreat center with a fully written curriculum ready to submit to Lamaze International for review. Gilchrist is a 45-minute drive from my home, so I tried to use the drive time to clear out all of the “urgent” from my system. The cabin and the grounds were beautiful. There was no wifi in my cabin and even phone service is spotty, which made it easier to focus in on the curriculum. Each day I walked the trails, cooked, wrote and meditated on everything new childbirth educators would need to make a real difference for families.

I felt connected and focused. It’s always easier for me to tackle big tasks in one large chunk than to piecemeal it, and the retreat was just what I needed. As I think ahead to helping new educators find time to finish their curricula and plan for their classes, I’ll offer the options of reserving small chunks of time over a long period (this works well for some people, even though it’s not a great match for my personal style) or maybe booking their very own Lamaze retreat.JEnglish retreat 2

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite reach my goal to finish the trainer curriculum on retreat. I’m close, though. Another full day of writing should be enough to wrap up what I need to submit to Lamaze International’s lead nurse planner, Susan Givens. An interesting sidelight of the trainer process is that I’m getting laser focused on my own childbirth classes. What are the strongest pieces of my curriculum? Where are the weak links? If I’m training new educators, I want to be sure I’m modeling the best teaching techniques in my own classes. So tucked into the calendar this summer, I have another full day reserved for finishing my trainer curriculum, and also a full day to re-examine and revitalize a few topic areas in my own eight-week Lamaze series.

I’m still puzzling through a few technical issues with the curriculum. I’m working toward enough structure that I can make sure attendees get everything they need, but also some flexibility to let them take the reins at times. I want to model the same innovative teaching techniques I hope they will use in their own classes. I’m grateful for my experience not only as a childbirth educator for the past decade but also as an approved birth doula trainer for DONA International. I have a great sense of both the research and the reality of adult learning. Also on the docket: figuring out how my business curriculum will be incorporated into my Lamaze workshop. Should it be part of the core training, or an extra day or half day that new educators can opt into if they’re planning to teach independently? Business building is a big part of my focus in the birth world, so this piece of the curriculum is really important to me! Some of this will come clear as I finish writing, but experience also tells me that things will shift and adjust as I start to train and get a sense for what works best in action.

To use a birth analogy (because Lamaze educators can turn everything into a birth analogy!), my trainer curriculum feels like it’s in transition. Intense. A little overwhelming. But transition! What a fantastic place to be! Almost there. Keep going. Almost there.

About Jessica English

jenglish-headshot-2015-2Jessica English, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), is the founder of Heart | Soul | Business. A former marketing and PR executive, she owns Birth Kalamazoo, a thriving doula and childbirth education agency in Southwest Michigan. Jessica trains birth doulas and (soon!) Lamaze childbirth educators, as well as offering heart-centered business-building workshops for all birth professionals.

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Lamaze International, Lamaze News, Series: On the Independent Track to Becoming a Lamaze Trainer , , , , ,

BABE Series: “Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?” or When To Go To The Hospital or Birth Center

June 30th, 2015 by avatar

Today I am sharing our Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators (“BABE”) idea for June!  “Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?”- submitted by Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator Mindy Cockeram. The BABE series contain fun and interesting ideas that childbirth educators can use in their Lamaze classes to make them engaging and memorable for the families in attendance.  Today’s idea covers when families in labor should move to the birth location. Do you have a fun teaching idea that you would like to share in a future BABE article.  Please pop me an email and we can connect. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility.

By Mindy Cockeram, LCCE

© Mindy Cockeram

© Mindy Cockeram

Introduction

The topic of ‘when to go’ to the hospital or birth location, when a woman is in labor is one subject I’m sure most childbirth educators discuss early on in the childbirth class series, – possibly even on the first night – because it is one of the most perplexing and often worrying topics on which families want clarification. I find that most people have received many different pieces of advice about ‘when to go’ from a whole host of friends, family and care providers.

When we start discussing contraction timing, I suggest families use the ‘3 in 10’ guideline (3 contractions in ten minutes OR five minutes apart for a whole hour). But of course active, well-established contractions are not the only reason to turn up at Labor & Delivery and so we use this deck of cards to introduce different situations and their possible ramifications.

How It’s Used

To add some humor into the activity, I call the decision of when to go to the hospital ‘The Clash Moment’ – from the song ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ sung by the great British rock band The Clash. In my opinion, this song was written for the laboring couple. The lyrics ring out:

“Should I stay or should I go now?
If I stay there will be trouble.
If I go there will be double?
So come on and let me know,
Should I stay or should I go?”

I shuffle the “Clash Deck” and then hand the deck to a partner. The partner then takes the top card off the deck and reads it out. I shout out to the class ‘Stay or Go?’ and they decide and answer back. Often the reactions are mixed, so I usually facilitate a discussion if necessary and introduce the evidence based arguments. If the situation on the card would send the pregnant person to the hospital, the deck is handed over to the next family. If the situation on the card is not a reason to go, the same family draws the next card. Often a family will draw a card signaling early labor, then draw the loss of the mucus plug (‘showtime’), then ‘feel shaky’ before finally drawing ‘want to push now’. It’s fun watching the pregnant person’s face and the partner’s reaction as they read the next card if they are ‘still at home’.

Depending on the number of cards in your deck, the activity normally takes about 20-30 minutes to do well.

Takeaways

It is interesting to see how often the partners disagree with the pregnant people about whether to stay or go. The statements that usually create the most conversation are ‘Gush of water’ (termPROM), ‘Feel something small protruding inside’ (rare cord prolapse), ‘Instinct says it’s time’ and ‘Backache comes and goes’ (possible posterior labor).

clash babe 2

© Mindy Cockeram

I always present the evidence for staying at home with term PROM vs going in and the difference between guidelines for PROM in the USA (baby out within 24 hrs from PROM) vs the UK (if PROM within 24, baby out within 48) where I trained. PROM usually also leads into a light discussion on warding off Group B Strep and other bacteria by evening out the ‘bad’ bacteria with the ‘good’ bacteria (lactobacillus).

In the first class I also show a hypnobirth video clip and the pregnant person is totally silent. When a family reads out ‘ouch with a contraction’ and all yell ‘stay’, I remind them that the hypnobirthing person we watched never once murmured ‘ouch’ and a baby popped out. Then we discuss how people will have different ‘ouch tolerances’ based on their length of labor and the position in which the baby is in. So eventually they realize they should time the ‘ouch’ instead of trying to guess dilation based on the sounds that are being made.

Modifications

You can add any situation or symptom to a card that you like. I’m in California and am thinking of adding ‘Feel an earthquake’ to my “Clash Deck” to see what they think. I also want to add some pre-eclampsia symptoms like ‘have a persistent headache with flashing aura’ while Pre-Eclampsia Month is still fresh in my mind.

Creating Your Own

It is really simple to make the card deck. Just type or write out situations or symptoms like I have and attach each one to each card from an old deck. Then laminate the cards between two sheets of plastic laminate, cool and trim with scissors.   Leave a bit of a plastic edge when you trim them otherwise they might peel if cut too close to the card. I’ve been using the same deck for almost ten years and they’ve held up very well.

The class seems to love this activity and I hope you do to. Let me know if you have any questions or feedback on its use in your classes.

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 Mindy Cockeram

Mindy Cockeram head shotMindy Cockeram is a recently recertified Lamaze Educator working with a large hospital chain in Southern California where she’s been teaching for four years. She trained initially through the UK’s National Childbirth Trust in Wimbledon, England in 2006 after a career in the financial markets industry in London. She graduated from Villanova University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in Business Studies. Currently working on a book, she resides in Redlands, California with her British husband and two children.

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Series: BABE - Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators , , , ,

Webinar – “Childbirth Class for Students Who Want An Epidural” – Today! Register Now.

June 25th, 2015 by avatar
Photo by Patti Ramos Photography

Photo by Patti Ramos Photography

Robin Weiss, PhD, MPH, CPH, ICCE-CPE, ICPFE, CLC, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, President of Lamaze International, has an absolutely great webinar scheduled for later today that you definitely don’t want to miss. This 60 minute live webinar, titled “Childbirth Class for Students Who Want an Epidural” will be valuable for both new educators and experienced educators alike at 1 PM EST.

When families enroll in Lamaze classes, some people may be planning to birth without pain medications while others may already have made a different decision and are intending to get an epidural.  Then of course, there are those people who prefer to “see how it goes” and make a decision at during labor.

As a childbirth educator, we won’t necessarily know who falls into which category, and honestly, it simply doesn’t matter.  Our role is to present information that is unbiased, based on evidence and best practice and helps families to make the best decision for themselves. Everyone who takes a childbirth class needs to receive quality information and deserves to have the facts presented in a nonjudgmental manner.

Teaching about epidurals in a Lamaze class allows families to gain knowledge in a safe and welcoming environment.  Whether this topic is covered extensively during your regular classes (which it should be) or you decide to offer a module for those who are positive they want medication, families should have the opportunity to learn what they need to know.

Robin Weiss is the perfect facilitator to lead us through this potentially tricky topic. She has been a childbirth educator, author and trainer of Lamaze educators for many years. She recently completed her Ph.D in Maternal Infant Health at the University of Louisville in KY.

This will be a great check-in to help you evaluate how you are presenting this topic to your students, give you some new ideas and perspective for approaching the subject and possibly even provide the impetus to offer a specialized class.

© Robin Elise Weiss

© Robin Elise Weiss

If you participate in this webinar, you have the option of receiving contact hours for a small additional fee upon completion of a post-webinar evaluation.

Won’t you consider registering now for this webinar that happens today, at 1 PM EST.  After you participate in the webinar, I invite you to come back and share your thoughts, ideas and any learning moments that you have taken away on this topic.

 

Childbirth Education, Epidural Analgesia, Medical Interventions, Webinars , , , , ,

Lamaze International Launches Free Pregnancy to Parenting Mobile App to Support Families

June 8th, 2015 by avatar

Free new app!Lamaze International is delighted to announce the launch of their new “Pregnancy to Parenting” mobile app for families.  This just released app is meant to be a comprehensive evidence based resource for people to use during the childbearing year and is free to anyone who downloads it.  In addition to sharing customized information about their pregnancies, the app also provides tips and information for labor and birth and then continues to support families after birth as they feed and care for their new baby.  85% of millennials are heavily reliant on their smartphones for both information as well as entertainment throughout the day.  Lamaze International, well-recognized as the leader in childbirth education, meets today’s parents where they are at (on their smart phones) with this well designed, well thought-out app that takes families from conception all the way into their first weeks and months of parenting!

After downloading the app from either the Apple App store or from Google Play, parents can get weekly information about their pregnancy, updates on what baby development looks like that week and even access fun lighthearted facts that are entertaining as well as interesting. Daily tips, relevant articles, and Q&As are also included.

The “Pregnancy to Parenting” app lets pregnant families find a Lamaze class near them (make sure your information is up to date in your membership profile!  We will discuss how to access and update your profile in a post here on Thursday), maintain a calendar that tracks their CBE classes, doctor or midwife appointments, and even create a pregnancy journal with notes, videos and pictures.LI_MobileAppScreenshots5

As labor begins, there is a handy contraction timer and parents can access evidence based information about what to expect during labor and birth as well as useful tips, for example – information on the importance of moving around and changing positions as labor continues to progress.

After birth, parents can use the useful breastfeeding and diaper tracker as they head into the wonderful but exhausting first days and weeks with their newborn.  There is also information on postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, what to look for and how to get help.

The content in the “Pregnancy to Parenting” mobile app was prepared and approved by Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators just like you, and delivered in a thorough and easy to navigate app that looks great and functions well on today’s mobile devices.

As the “Pregnancy to Parenting” mobile app gets introduced to expectant and new parents, Lamaze International is offering educators and other birth professionals an opportunity to participate in a 60 minute webinar: Utilizing the New Lamaze Mobile App – Pregnancy to Parenting, facilitated by former Lamaze President Michelle Deck, RN, MEd, BSN, LCCE, FACCE on Tuesday, June 9th at 1:00 PM EDT.  The purpose of this webinar is to share information with childbirth educators on the app’s content and functionality as well as suggest how educators can introduce the mobile app to families and incorporate the app in their classrooms.  You can register now for this informative session.

LI_MobileAppScreenshots3Lamaze International has prepared an educator resource kit to help you spread the word about the new “Pregnancy to Parenting” mobile app that includes flyers for your classroom and workplace, a friendly email that you can use to introduce the app to your students and community and even PowerPoint slides that can be integrated into your classroom curriculum.  Learn more about the mobile app and these resources here on the resource kit page of the Lamaze International website.

Lamaze International wants to offer the families you work with (and all families) access to additional information that supports what they are already learning in their Lamaze class.  Having access to resources that provide evidence based information in a format that today’s families are used to accessing helps families to have a safe and healthy birth and make decisions that support healthy mothers, healthy babies and healthy families.  Making it easy for families to find a Lamaze class in their area, when they have not yet signed up for childbirth classes, helps educators to reach more families and benefits educators by directing those families right to you! The new “Pregnancy to Parenting” mobile app is a great tool for families and educators a like.  Head over to the app store of your choice and download the app, so you can become familiar with it and will be ready to share with the families that you work with.  See you in the webinar!

Babies, Breastfeeding, Childbirth Education, Lamaze International, Lamaze News, News about Pregnancy, Pregnancy to Parenting Mobile App , , , ,

Applying the Health Belief Model in Your Role as a Birth Professional

June 4th, 2015 by avatar

HealthBeliefModelPart2Last Tuesday, in part one of this two part post series, Andrea Lythgoe explained the Health Belief Model in her blog post Understanding the Health Belief Model.  Andrea discussed the different components that make up this model.  As we learned, perception is key and there are several different ways that a family’s perception of their circumstances can influence their decision making.  Today on Science & Sensibility, Andrea discusses how the childbirth educator or other birth professional can use this knowledge about the Health Belief Model to structure conversations and activities that assist families in making important decisions about their maternity care. – Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager

So how does this Health Belief Model come into play with childbirth education? It is important to remember that as childbirth educators, our role is not to be manipulative and push families towards certain goals.  Our responsibility is to present evidence based information so that families can make decisions that feel right for them.Here are some approaches we can use that make use of this model when fostering decision making skills in the families that attend our classes:

Perceived Benefits

Childbirth educators can provide families with information about the benefits and risks of the choices they are considering, and introduce other options they might not have considered. For example, I frequently have families in my classes who are unhappy with their care provider. I can help the family understand the benefits of more clearly communicating their birth preferences with their care provider to make sure that the HCP is on board. I can point out that they may find switching to a different care provider or birth place potentially more compatible with their own preferences, and give them tools to explore, evaluate, and choose the option that feels right to them.

Perceived Barriers

Childbirth educators can carefully listen for and identify the barriers that families perceive exist. You may be able to correct misinformation that a family believes prevents them from making a change they wanted to make. Be a MythBuster! Proactively address and correct myths that might be perceived barriers for your students and clients.ApplyingHBM2

Perceived Seriousness

Childbirth educators can help families to recognize, investigate and  accurately understand the risks of choices they may encounter.  We can give them tools to discuss and understand the “culture of risk” so that they have an idea of the severity of potential interventions and side effects. This goes both ways, as we need to be careful to be honest and realistic about the information we present. Always provide evidence based information and steer clear of exaggeration, minimization and scare tactics.

Perceived Susceptibility

Susceptibility is the hardest one to address. As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, once a person has experienced a loss or complication – in themselves or a loved one – there is a loss of innocence, and it is difficult to get past the previous experience. They don’t need to be “talked out” of feeling susceptible, but childbirth educators can often help families navigate the fear they may feel. Validation of their fears, suggestions for coping with fears, and potentially referring to counseling are ways to assist families who may be paralyzed by fear. It is important to be aware of how your own experiences affect your approach to providing unbiased information to your students and clients.

Self-efficacy

Childbirth educators can do wonders for helping class members build their self-efficacy. One simple activity that I have found builds self-efficacy is to ask pregnant people to list two times in their life when they have achieved something that did not come easily, and two times they saw their partner do the same. They then share their lists with each other or even with the class. I ask them to describe to each other or write down the personal traits that helped them accomplish this difficult task.CaregiversMotto

Another way to build self-efficacy in your classes is to provide lots of opportunity for families to practice the skills and coping tools they may find helpful in labor, multiple times during their childbirth class, in a variety of situations. This repetition helps to build confidence in their ability to remember and use the techniques when they are in labor. You can build on techniques you’ve previously taught. If you taught a slow deep breathing technique last week, encourage pregnant people to practice it during later parts of their class when you teach massage or positions.

Cues to Action

As childbirth educators, we may be able to provide some cues to action. Giving families the assignment to prepare a birth plan before your next class can be one such cue to action. You can also help partners to learn to provide these cues to action as well. Reminders in labor to ask for time to make decisions can be a cue to review all their options and use the “BRAIN” tool to make decisions. As a childbirth educator, it is key to remember that you cannot force them take action, you can only provide the pregnant person and their partner with cues they can choose to act on – or not.

Summary

Having a good understanding of the perceptions and factors influencing families’ decision making can help us as childbirth educators and birth professionals to create effective classroom activities.  We can also use this information to improve communication and personal interactions with the families we work with. When childbirth educators can provide their students with tools for making the decisions that are best for them, families can move confidently through any decisions that they may face throughout the childbearing year and beyond.

In closing, it is always good to remember the Caregiver’s Motto taught by Penny Simkin:

 “A person  has a very good reason for…

…Feeling this way
…Behaving this way
…Saying these things
…Believing these things…”

How do you help the families that you work with to make decisions?  What activities do you find build self-efficacy and confidence in your classes?  How do you best apply the Health Belief model to your interactions with students and clients? Please share your experiences in the comments section. – SM

About Andrea Lythgoe

Andrea Lythgoe

Andrea Lythgoe

Andrea Lythgoe is a doula, hospital-based Lamaze childbirth educator, birth photographer, and former instructor at the Midwives College of Utah. She is the author of the website UnderstandingResearch.com where she aims to help those just beginning to read research to understand the language of research. Her interest in research started while attending the University of Utah, where she made ends meet by working on a large randomized controlled trial and earned a degree in community health. Andrea served on the Board of Directors for the Utah Doula Association for over 10 years. She lives and practices in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. Andrea can be reached through her website.

 

 

 

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Maternity Care , , , ,

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