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BABE Series: The Six Ways to Progress in Labor – Making It Memorable!

July 30th, 2015 by avatar
© Sharon Muza

© Sharon Muza

Time for another post in the “Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators” (BABE) series.  The purpose of this monthly series is to share engaging, interactive and effective teaching ideas that childbirth educators can use in their classes.  We know that when families are participatory, engaged and interacting with their partners, other class members and the instructor, real learning (and retention) happens!  Today, I share an idea I modified from an activity that I originally saw Michele Deck, former Lamaze International President and exceptional trainer, share at a the REACHE conference in Tacoma, WA several years ago.

Introduction

In my childbirth classes, I like to have parents understand that there are many ways that their bodies are preparing for birth. Changes happen in the weeks, days and hours leading up to the moment of birth.  I feel that if parents understand the six ways to progress in labor, they can appreciate that at times, cervical dilation (the most “well-known” of the six ways to progress) may not be changing, but other changes may continue to show that their body and baby are working towards the big moment of birth. Parents leave class understanding that labor progress is a coordinated effort by the parent’s body and the baby that incorporates many different changes.

The six different ways that progress is assessed include:

  1. The cervix is moving forward
  2. The cervix is ripening
  3. The cervix is shortening/thinning (effacement)
  4. The cervix is opening (dilating)
  5. The baby is descending (station)
  6. The baby is rotating

Objective

At the end of the activity, class members will be able to describe the six ways that labor progress can be measured and explain why the focus should not just be on dilation, but rather on the synchronized way that change is happening throughout the pre-labor and labor period.  My hope is families will recall this information during labor, if the cervix is measured and the cervix has not dilated significantly since the last exam.

© Sharon Muza

© Sharon Muza

Supplies I use

The supplies for this activity are very simple.  I tape a large piece of newsprint at the front of the room, which has a rectangle drawn on it, divided up into a “table” of 2 squares x 3 squares with a colorful marker. I give each class participant a similar table, on a regular 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, and make sure they have a pen.  I have several different color markers for them to use in front of the class. I also use the standard childbirth class teaching tools – the fetal model, a knitted uterus, and a pelvis.

How I teach it

I cover the six ways to progress after we have discussed the events of late pregnancy and before the stages of labor. When I start the activity, I share that we will be discussing the six ways to progress in labor and that many people, parents and health care providers alike, focus on dilation, but there are many ways to assess progress and it is important to understand all of them.  After I cover the first way to measure progress, the cervix moving from posterior to anterior (which you can teach using your favorite technique), I ask them to draw a simple symbol (“like a kindergarten student might draw, quick, simple and without words”) in the first square.  The symbol that they draw will help them to remember what happens first.

After they have drawn their first symbol on their own paper, I ask for a volunteer to come up and draw it on the class sheet up front.  Everyone “oohs and aahs” at the class drawing and then all share what they drew.  We move on to the cervix ripening.  Again, I teach this in my typical way and ask them to draw another drawing on their own paper to represent ripening in the second square. Another volunteer comes up to draw for the class and we all share what everyone drew. I repeat this process for all six ways to progress.

Maximum Retention

So that they can really solidify and remember each of the six ways to progress, after we discuss and draw a new square, I go back, and while pointing at the specific square, ask – “what happens first? and second?  and next…?”  The class repeats back what is happening.  After all six ways are completed, I ask them to turn their papers over, and ask randomly – “what happens fourth?”  “and sixth?” “first?” without looking at anything but pointing on the wall, where the squares were located before I took it down.  Every single class member is able to a) identify what happens in each step and b) what that means for the labor, even after I have removed the newsprint.

I let them know that I will randomly ask them this information sometime later on in the series and the person who can answer all six correctly, gets a prize.  A week or so later, in class, I ask for someone to recall the six ways to progress and award a prize to the first person who correctly names them all again! Class members enthusiastically compete with each other to be the first to recall all six ways to progress.

© Sharon Muza

© Sharon Muza

Takeaways

This method of using the squares, both at their seats and in the front of the class, really helps the families to remember the six ways to progress in labor.  There is lots of laughter and admiration for everyone’s clever ideas on how to represent each method, they really remember what the symbols stand for (and the actual action that happens in labor) and they are still remembering it several weeks later.  This activity is always a lot of fun to do in my childbirth classes and appreciated and enjoyed by the participants.

How you can modify this activity?

This activity reinforces retention and can be modified for many purposes in your childbirth classes.  You could do a similar activity for talking about safe sleep, how to tell if baby has a good latch during breastfeeding, or even apply it to Lamaze International’s Six Healthy Birth Practices.  By using the idea of drawing a simple symbol to represent a fact, and being asked to recall it several times, people really find that the information worms its way into their memories, and they can recall it later when it is needed.  After all, several weeks or months can pass from childbirth class to the big event, and anything we can do as childbirth educators to help families retain information for their recall when they need it down the road is a big win!

An invitation

I invite you to draw your ideas for the six ways to progress in labor, or conduct the same process for another childbirth class topic and share it with all of us. What topic ideas do you in mind to try with this method? Send me a picture of what you or your families have drawn, along with your contact information and website, and I can put them all up in another post.  We can even try to guess the topic being discussed from the drawings – and you can see how effective this technique is. I am excited to see what you all come up with.  Send them to me using this email address.

 

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.

 

Childbirth Education, Healthy Birth Practices, Push for Your Baby, Series: BABE - Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators , , , ,

Introducing the Lamaze International LCCE Educator Social Media Guide

July 23rd, 2015 by avatar

LI_0350215_LCCE-SocialMediaGuide-FINALThis past Tuesday, I collected and shared a multitude of Lamaze International resources that are available on a variety of social media platforms that many of you might already be familiar with – Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook and many more.  The vast majority of these resources are available to any birth professional or consumer, and a scarce few are limited to Lamaze International members.  There is one more resource for Lamaze International members that I would like to make you aware of – the just released LCCE Educator Social Media Guide.  The Social Media Guide satisfies one of the Lamaze International Strategic Framework Goals for 2014-2017: Continue to build-out social media presence and engagement, and build educator skill and engagement in social media outreach.

Lamaze International has long provided a LCCE Educator Marketing Toolkit to help educators market their Lamaze classes to their community.  The Social Media Guide augments that Toolkit and is a comprehensive document that explains the different social media platforms so that you can select the one(s) that best meet your needs and serve your purpose.  We then help you get started, if you are new to the selected platform. There is also additional information if you are already a user and want to take your professional social media usage to the next level.

The Social Media Guide shares how it might benefit you and your business to engage with potential clients and students on social media, and what impact it might have on your business.  And as everyone knows, using social media can sometimes feel like falling into a big, black hole.  The Social Media Guide helps you to understand the importance of a) setting limits and b) using your limited time wisely.

Have you wondered if you should have a personal AND professional social media account or use the same account for both purposes?  We can help you decide, as the guide discusses the pros and cons of both.  We also provide various social media graphics that you can incorporate into your profiles, helping you to create a brand identity as a premier childbirth educator.

Each platform section is full of “Pro Tips,” useful suggestions and examples that can help you to use the platform effectively, efficiently and wisely.  There is information for all skill levels from beginner to current user.

There is even a comprehensive glossary so that you can make sure to understand all the abbreviations, acronyms, and keywords that are associated with each platform.

Being active and engaged on social media positions you as an expert in your field and can really help consumers to see both the benefits and value in utilizing your services. It also helps share evidence based information that can help guide families to safer and healthier births.  With a smart and effective social media strategy, you will be able to see the return on your time and energy investments with increasingly full classes and further recognition as an expert in serving families during the childbearing year.

If you are a current Lamaze member, head right over, log in and check out and download your copy of this comprehensive guide. If you are not currently a Lamaze International member, this guide along with all the other benefits offered to members is a real value for the price of a membership.

I also want to share that my colleague Jeanette McCulloch and I are teaching an interactive and jam-packed preconference workshop- “Social Media Smarts: Strategic Online Marketing for the Busy Childbirth Professional” on Thursday afternoon, right before the Lamaze International/ICEA 2015 conference starts, on September 17th, in Las Vegas, NV.

Social media marketing may be free, but your time isn’t. With Facebook views on the decline and increasing competition for your audience’s attention, how can you reach new families and fill your childbirth classes or client calendar without spending your day online? Join us for the workshop and advance your skills!  More info on the conference website.  Early bird registration for the conference and this workshop is available through August 1st.  Register now.

Have you had an opportunity to get a peek at the Lamaze International LCCE Educator Social Media Guide.  Share your experiences putting some of the information to work for you in our comments section.

 

 

Childbirth Education, Conference Schedule, Continuing Education, Lamaze International, Lamaze News , , , ,

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.

Blogs

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.

Videos

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.

Facebook

Pinterest

Twitter

  • @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.

Infographics

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.

Webinars

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 , , , , , , , ,

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