Posts Tagged ‘Childbirth Education’

Lamaze International Has The Up-to-Date Resources You Need! Are You Connected?

July 21st, 2015 by avatar

lamaze connectedLamaze International offers a large variety of useful material for Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators and others to use to increase professional knowledge and help you when working with and sharing information with expectant and new families.  There are YouTube videos, infographics, a smartphone app, professional and consumer blogs, a Pinterest account, weekly newsletters for families, bi-weekly newsletters for Lamaze members, Facebook pages, a Twitter account, Instagram photos, live and recorded webinars and more all available to help you better serve the families that you work with. No matter what type of resource material you choose to access, you can be sure that it is evidence based, current and presented in a professional manner.  Here is a summary of many of these resources in one place so that you can use this post as a reference for easy access to useful information whenever you want.


Science & Sensibility blog for birth professionals – if you are reading this,  of course you have already found this blog.  Published twice a week, you can get all the news, analyses of recently published studies, teaching ideas and more.  You can subscribe to this blog to be sure never to miss a post.

Giving Birth with Confidence – Lamaze International’s consumer blog written by Cara Terreri, CD(DONA), LCCE.  Follow along with families as they move through their pregnancies, get up to date information on pregnancy, birth and postpartum information – all delivered in a consumer friendly, easy to read format.


Lamaze International YouTube channel – a variety of videos, including “From the President’s Desk,” where Lamaze President, Dr. Robin Elise Weiss shares information on a variety of current issues, short and informative videos on many of our infographics, Six Healthy Birth Practices, and many more professional and consumer friendly videos that promotes safe and healthy births.  You can subscribe to this YouTube channel to receive updates when new videos are added.




  • @LamazeOnline – educators and parents can follow along on lots of updates and a great interactive monthly Twitter chat.
  • @LamazeAdvocates – connects birth pros with peers, professional development & resources to support expectant parents on their journey to a natural, safe & healthy birth, as well as participate in a monthly Twitter chat on a variety of topics.

Pregnancy & Parenting Smartphone App

A great tool for families to use through pregnancy, labor/birth and parenting.  Comprehensive, full of great evidence based information and simply very useful.  Check out the Pregnancy & Parenting app page on the Lamaze International website to see all the useful features, and find resources to help you introduce the app to the families you work with.


Evidenced based information in an easy to read (and easy to share), visually appealing infographic format.  Topics include:

  • VBACs (new!)
  • Cesareans
  • Labor Support
  • Healthy Birth Practices
  • Electronic Fetal Monitoring
  • Epidurals
  • Separating Mom and Baby
  • Restricted Food & Drink
  • Restricted Movement
  • Avoiding the First Cesarean
  • Inductions

Find them all here, in both web-based and jpeg formats suitable for printing at your convenience. Don’t forget about the accompanying videos that are based on the infographics.

Email Newsletters

Your Pregnancy Week By Week – a weekly evidence based newsletter designed for parents that provides them with helpful information, tips and resources, delivered right to their inboxes weekly, based on their due date.

Inside Lamaze – a vital resource for continuing education available to Lamaze Members. The latest news, research, and information on upcoming events right in your inbox two times a month. Join Lamaze now to receive this valuable bi-weekly newsletter.


Professional webinars for birth professionals with contact hours that are accepted by many maternal and infant health organizations, including nursing associations. Many of the webinars are free and only incur a small cost for contact hours.

Instagram – a place to find all the Lamaze pregnancy, birth and postpartum news that is fit for a picture!

Lamaze has you covered with great resources that keep you informed, up-to-date and connected on a variety of platforms and in diverse formats.  Stay connected with Lamaze International and have a plethora of useful information always at your fingertips and ready to share with expectant families.  How do you stay connected with Lamaze?  What’s your favorite Lamaze resource? Let us know in the comments section below.

Childbirth Education, Evidence Based Medicine, Lamaze International, Lamaze News, New Research, Research, Webinars , , , , , ,

New Report Provides Information on America’s Children, Including Key Birth Indicators

July 16th, 2015 by avatar

flickr photo by [derekmswanson] http://flickr.com/photos/derekmswanson/4875902007 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

flickr photo by [derekmswanson] http://flickr.com/photos/derekmswanson/4875902007 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The just released report – America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015 is a collaboration between 23 different Federal agencies, all participating in the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, which was chartered in 1997 with a mission to collect and document enhanced data on children and youth in the United States, improve the publication and dissemination of information to interested community members along with the general public and capture more accurate and extensive data on children at the Federal, state and local levels.

This extensive report is prepared from the most reliable Federal statistics and research and represents large segments of the population, examining 41 key indicators that represent important aspects of the lives of children. It is designed to be easily understood by the general public.  This is the 17th report in the series.  The key indicators found in the report can be divided into seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health.  America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015 is an exhaustive but fascinating report that makes for interesting reading.

I have pulled out some of the updated statistics and interesting facts as it relates to pregnancy, birth and newborns.

  • The United States had 73.6 million children in 2014 and this number is expected to increase to 76.3 million in 2030. While the number of children living in the United States has grown, the ratio of children to adults has decreased.
  • The continued growth of racial and ethnic diversity will be more an more apparent in the population of children in the USA. In 2020, less than half of all children are projected to be White, non-Hispanic and by 2050, 39 percent are projected to be White, Non-Hispanic and 32 percent of the children will be Hispanic.
  • In 2013, there were 44 births for every 1,000 unmarried women ages 15–44, down from 45 per 1,000 in 2012. The birth rate in 2013 was highest for women in the 25-29 age group (67 per 1,000), followed by the rate for women ages 20–24 (63 per 1,000). The percentage of births to unmarried women among all births decreased from 41.0 percent in 2009 to 40.6 percent in 2013.
  • The adolescent birth rate was 12 per 1,000 adolescents ages 15–17 in 2013, which was a record low for the country.
  • The percentage of infants born preterm declined to 11.4 percent in 2013; it was the seventh straight year the percentage declined.  In 2013, as in earlier years, Black, non-Hispanic women were more likely to have a preterm birth (16.3 percent) than were White, non-Hispanic (10.2 percent) and Hispanic (11.3 percent) women.
  • The percentage of infants born with low birthweight was 8.0 in 2013.  Low birth weight is defined as less than 2,500 grams, or 5 lbs. 8 oz. Black, non-Hispanic women were the most likely to have a low birthweight infant in 2013 (13.1 percent, compared with 7.0 percent for White, non-Hispanic, 7.5 percent for American Indian or Alaska Native, 8.3 percent for Asian or Pacific Islander, and 7.1 percent for Hispanic mothers).
  • The infant mortality rate of 6 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012 was unchanged from 2011. The mortality rates of Black, non-Hispanic and American Indian or Alaska Native infants have been consistently higher than the rates of other racial and ethnic groups. The Black, non-Hispanic infant mortality rate in 2012 was 11.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births and the American Indian or Alaska Native rate was 8.4 per 1,000 live births; both rates were higher than the rates among White, non-Hispanic (5.0 per 1,000 live births), Hispanic (5.1 per 1,000 live births), and Asian or Pacific Islander (4.1 per 1,000 live births) infants.

When you read these facts and look at the other fascinating information included in the report – what comes to mind for you?  Do you see opportunities for providing services beyond what you already provide?  Might there be a need for education, information and resources designed to serve another demographic than the current populations you serve?  Could you help improve outcomes (prematurity, low birth weight, teen pregnancy) by adding classes, providing additional information or making your current classes accessible to a more diverse population?  Let us know in the comments section after you have a chance to poke around the information available in the recently released report –  America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015.  For more general information, including supplemental reports and an overall summary, check out the ChildStats.gov website.

Babies, Childbirth Education, Newborns, Research , , ,

Access Safe Sleep Photos for Your Use – Help Families Reduce Unsafe Sleep Environments

July 9th, 2015 by avatar

 Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators and other professionals that work with expectant and new families often share information and resources on the topic of newborn and infant sleep.  This subject always elicits lots of questions and discussion in my childbirth classes from the families.  I always make sure to provide resources that clearly demonstrate what constitutes a safe sleep environment, some helpful strategies on getting “enough” sleep with a newborn and how families can reduce the risk of SUID/SID for their infant.

Lamaze International President Robin Elise Weiss, Ph.D recently participated in a Federal SUID/SID Workgroup forum and one of the outcomes of this forum was a Safe Infant Sleep Photo Repository.  This collection of images reinforces the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations.  All of the images are in the public domain, which means that you are free to use them for your blog posts, teaching presentations, classroom posters, websites and other needs as you like.  There are plans to increase the diversity of families represented in the images in the near future, to include Native Americans and Native Alaskans.

First Candle’s Safe Sleep Image Guidelines is a useful resource if you are a photographer who takes your own images or you are looking to better understand what type of safe sleep image to use in your work with families.  Additionally, if you see images in the media (magazines, websites, commercials, marketing materials, ads, etc.) that are using unsafe sleep images, you can contact First Candle and let them know, so they can contact the appropriate organization and have them replaced with images showing safe sleep environments.

Some of my favorite safe sleep resources include:

Take a moment to review your teaching materials and resources on the topic of safe sleep for new families.  Make sure your images model safe sleep practices. Check out the images in the Safe Sleep Image Repository and use them as you like in your classroom, your practice and as you work with families.  What families learn from you about safe sleep can help to reduce the tragic death of an infant as a result of being placed in an unsafe sleep environment.  How do you talk about safe sleep to your clients and students?  Share your favorite resources and teaching ideas on the topic of safe sleep in the comments section below.  Would you consider using some of the images available in the Safe Sleep Image Repository?  Let us know.




Childbirth Education, Newborns , , , , , , , ,

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 , , , , ,

Series: Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators – “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 idea for June!  “Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?”- submitted by Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator Mindy Cockeram. The Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators 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 Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators article.  Please pop me an email and we can connect. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility.

By Mindy Cockeram, LCCE

© Mindy Cockeram

© Mindy Cockeram


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.


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.


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: Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators , , , ,

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