This month’s Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators lets the families in your classes “Roll the Dice for Labor.” It is a fun and affordable activity that builds confidence and makes a super review of position and comfort techniques for labor. I got the idea for using the dry erase dice from Ann Tumblin, LCCE from Topsail Beach, North Carolina. Families will appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned. You can find all the Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators ideas here. If you have an idea that you would like to share, please contact me to get started.
Lamaze International’s Second Healthy Birth Practice is “Walk, Move Around and Change Positions during Labor.” Families can be planning to try different positions to help their labor to progress. Having some comfort/coping techniques in mind can also reduce discomfort and pain. Having sufficient time to practice these techniques before the big day is always a challenge, so opportunities to run through positions again can really increase confidence that the recall will be there when they begin labor. Actually practicing the positions with their support will help pregnant people to develop muscle memory for their labor and birth day.
When to conduct this activity
I would conduct this activity toward the end of the last week of a multi-class series after we have previously covered labor positions and comfort/coping techniques in an earlier class. If I were offering a one- day crash course, I would do it toward the end of class. I feel that this activity can usually be done effectively in about 15-20 minutes.
- Two dry erase foam blocks ($1/each from The Dollar Tree)
- Small handful of dry erase markers
Note: If you have a large class, I would consider breaking the group into smaller groups with three pregnant people and their support person per group. The activity works either way, so of course, use your judgment.
How to conduct the activity
Remind the class once again about the benefits of moving during labor and discuss all the positions and coping/comfort techniques that you have practiced so far. This activity is a chance to put that all together and give them a try. Hand out the dice and the markers. Ask folks to brainstorm ideas and to write six different helpful positions that someone could try during labor on each side of one die. Ask another group to take the second die and write down six comfort/coping techniques. If you wanted, you can have them use three dice and one is for positions, one for comfort measures and one for breathing technique or anything you wanted. The class, while assigning the techniques, engages their recall ability and increases confidence. Once everything is written down, ask a person to toss the dice and as a group, everyone practices what has been “rolled” for a practice contraction. Debrief that combination, talk about how they might modify it for their preference and then ask another person to roll the set again for another round.
You could modify the activity to correspond to phases and stages of labor, or pushing positions or positions that are helpful during an epidural. Lots of different takes on the same activity.
What I really like about this activity is that the class members are the people coming up with the ideas. This recall really helps them to see that they do know what to do during labor. Additionally, I like that they are trying a position along with a comfort/coping technique because, in real life, they always seem to go together in labor. There can be humorous points when a position really doesn’t go well with the comfort/coping activity, and this offers discussion for modifications.
The activity is fast-paced and families are exposed to a variety of positions that they recalled themselves from previous classes and then practice them as we move through different tosses. Up and out of the seats is always an energizer and the class enjoys the chance to mix things up with each toss of the dice.
It is always nice to have families leave your childbirth classes with confidence and excitement for their labor and birth. This “Roll the Dice” activity reminds them that they do have plenty of ideas to help their labor progress spontaneously and gives them a chance to practice these positions and comfort/coping techniques one more time in class. The materials are not costly, instructions are straightforward and this works with any class size. I call that a win in my book. Would you consider doing something like this in your classes? How might you modify it for your purposes? Let us know in the comments section below..