Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Your most memorable childbirth class

A Passion for Birth grad posted on Facebook about her "wacky" childbirth class last night.
She wrote:
Home from class. Wacky night. First the alarm went off (with no idea how to disarm it), and then a student's water broke midway through class (which she did not mention until about five minutes before class ended).

Think back on your career as a childbirth educator - what is your most memorable class? Share it here!

Me? I often share this at trainings, but I lived in a rural area and one class I had I couldn't figure out the weird dynamic in the air. Then I figured out that three of the young women were impregnated by the same guy who was there with one of them. Egads!

And I am dating myself but we use to show the "Birth Movie" on a reel to reel film projector! I took it to show a group and someone had rewound it on the reels backwards. For others of my vintage - was it Saturday's child...with the woman who mowed the yard?

So now it's your turn to share - the most memorable class or incident:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Postpartum resource

This is a resource that all Childbirth Educators should make note of and make sure the people in your classes are aware of it as well! Once a week there is a FREE phone support forum for asking questions and getting support hosted by Postpartum Support International.

From the website:
“Is it just the baby blues?”

“Am I the only one who feels this way?”

“What can I do to help my daughter?” or - your friend, your sister, or partner.

This is a place where moms, partners, extended family members, support people for moms, and professionals can find some answers and support from an expert - and from other women. You’ll find honest and compassionate talk about the adjustment to parenthood, information about mood changes during or after pregnancy, and some helpful advice.

I have been in touch recently with a researcher who is trying to find out how the emotions of postpartum are covered in a childbirth class and she wasn't able to find a lot of material. Some people mention it, others have a handout, some do a match up with signs of blues vs depression.

I have Kleenex tissue on my postpartum robe (which allows me to springboard into the topic) but the best presenter I have ever seen, who captured me was Pamela Shrock. It was in a large group and she came up in a simple robe holding a baby. In a very dramatic way she progressed from a new mom introducing us to her baby to a mom with sadness/blues to a depressed mom to one who then became psychotic... all the while she kept pleading as she went deeper and deeper- can't someone help me??
It brought tears to my eyes and I left there with a better awareness and a commitment to find ways have this critical topic integrated in a memorable way!

Here's the challenge - give postpartum mood changes more than lip service or a mention in a handout. Make sure everyone knows how and where and when to reach out for support! Do you do this creatively? Share!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Inspirational educator

While this is not about a childbirth educator, he is a conductor. But he has so many "insight-filled" observations. If you can take a break and spend 15 minutes watching this, I think you will find gems of wisdom that you will be able to apply to your teaching...as you "awaken the possibility" in each one of the people in your childbirth class! Benjamin Zander (I tried unsuccessfully to upload - oh well)

I had an 'aha' when he pointed out that the conductor doesn't make any sound to do what he does... maybe there's a lesson there for us CBEs.... can we orchestrate instead of lecture (or much harsher - dictate)

I was so frustrated when one unamed CB organization was sending our press releases that attendance was down in cb classes. I was fit to be tied! I love how he talks about the dangers in that type of spiraling down .... instead the focus would have been more positive to be talking about that over 1/2 of all pregnant women go to childbirth classes. And to use his word, "how fascinating is that!"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Stop what is wrong with this"

A dear friend, mentor and inspiration, Mary Jo Podgurski always amazes me! Her heart is ten times (at least) bigger than the most compassionate person you know and she is so genuine for her love and admiration for teens, she inspires them to greatness. So she has been writing great scripts and has a sought after group of performers who take on the tough teen issues.

They recently worked on this clip about adolescent and health care provider communication. It makes clear points and so well done. The actors did a great job - "applause applause, stand up ovation." Time for an encore? As I was watching I was envisioning a similar clip/format - "when interventions to the normal process of birth are being suggested/started, how to communicate with your health care provider."

It could go something like this:
"Come in and get on the bed, we are going to listen to your baby for a few minutes."
"Provider should offer various positions like chair/birth ball, not just the bed and should also talk about auscultation as a recognized method of listening to the baby."

What do you think... could we write a script and go from there? Would care providers watch? Would pregnant women change the way they communicate? Mary Jo, if we find funding can we hire your group?

Friday, June 26, 2009

So if they can't eat in labor, can they "whif" chocolate!


Call me gullible but I just ordered Le Whif....what a fantasy to inhale chocolate eh? I will let you know how it goes when it arrives in July.

But so many birth places are still asking women to labor long and hard without nourishment which makes no sense to me...but maybe they can whif instead?

Le Whif: Inhaled Chocolate

Le Whif is a new way of eating chocolate - by breathing it! Imagine, chocolate without the calories. Be the first to try inhaled chocolate in one of four flavors: mint chocolate, raspberry chocolate, mango chocolate, and plain chocolate.

Harvard professor David Edwards, lead inventor of Le Whif, says: "Over the centuries we've been eating smaller and smaller quantities at shorter and shorter intervals. It seemed to us that eating was tending toward breathing, so, with a mix of culinary art and aerosol science, we've helped move eating habits to their logical conclusion. We call it whiffing."

So back to eating in labor, what is your strategy for presenting the truth about eating in labor vs. the policy of the place of birth they have chosen?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The newest on Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring

I am so impressed...I try so hard to stay on top of new developments in the field of pregnancy/childbirth research but some people blow by me like I am standing still. Some people are so connected they are sent things early and then the info is "embargoed" and can only be published on an approved date. Guess I will know I have reached the big time when I get something "hot off the block" and I get to sit on it with my blog ready to launch! I am good at keeping secrets!

Robin Weiss is one of those amazing people that gets lots of embargoed scoops! Plus she keeps her eyes wide open and fingers on a ton of journals. So I am going to send you to her Pregnancy.about.com Blog to read about the just released Practice Bulletin #106, "Intrapartum Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring: Nomenclature, Interpretation, and General Management Principles," is published in the July 2009 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

You can also read the Press Release ACOG Press Release It references auscultation. So I hope you are still talking about that in your childbirth classes!

Is any one else shocked about their admittance of this: A meta-analysis study shows that although EFM reduced the risk of neonatal seizures, there is still an unrealistic expectation that a nonreassuring FHR can predict the risk of a baby being born with cerebral palsy. The false-positive rate of EFM for predicting cerebral palsy is greater than 99%.

Did I mention that Robin is also Passion for Birth trainer that gets rave reviews! This was recently posted by someone who attended her training:

I had the opportunity to attend a Passion for Birth training last summer and I attest..one of the most awesome programs aimed at stomping out boring childbirth classes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Keeping up with the blogs!

Having a hard time keeping up with all the blogs? I have two suggestions - you can regularly go to the Lamaze website where they are following various birth related blogs (currently Science and Sensibility,the Family Way, Birth Activist and they have now added this blog!) Go to Lamazeclick on the tabs until the Birth Chatter tab is blue like above. Then click the enter here link and you are there!

The other thing to do is start to use RSS feeds or I use Google Reader. That way I can check the Reader once a day and it automatically shows me who has added new information on their blogs. This is so much easier than trying to go to different blogs periodically by memory! I took a screen shot to show you how the Google Reader looks on my laptop. This is a technology that saves me time vs. Twitter and Facebook which I enjoy but time disappears in big chunks when I have those pages open!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Such innovative research

I love this study! Ellen Hodnett has done some "out of the box" research and I am so grateful. Let's remove the hospital bed and see the impact on the birth! For years Sheila Kitzinger has said that the hospital bed is one of the major interventions that impacts birth.

Read and get the pubmed link from the Family Way Blog

Lamaze members - one of your membership benefits is the option of a half price subscription to BIRTH.

Now childbirth educators - how will you incorporate this study into what you teach?

MIDIRS Newsletter

Informative - especially Vit K options.
Choices for Birth

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Facebook manners

This gave me a chuckle and as more and more of us are part of Facebook, thought I would share!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Birth movie for Dads

Do you cover this topic - seems like a role that partners are often asked to do. Just a thought.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Branching out - baby signing

In these tough economic times, the key to keep your income, might mean to diversify. I have always thought that teaching a baby sign class or infant massage or baby wearing were natural add ons! While you can only teach so many evening classes as there are only 7 night nights a week, the infant classes might be more flexible in their time slot.

Regardless of whether or not you teach a separate class, I hope as a CBE that you will consider highlighting baby sign, infant massage and baby wearing when you are covering infant topics. Plant the seeds. I know that many cb classes include sessions on bathing/diaper changing...but I know that most new parents won't be leaving the hospital without being shown how to do that. But I know they won't be taught about masssage/sign/wearing and so I incldue that instead. Could you show this 3 minute You Tube as a way to get baby sign on new parents' radar screen?

So what is the best program to be trained and supported to teach baby sign classes? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The headline reads: "When it comes to birth, let nature take its course
Doctors say forced labour carries risks" Stacie sent the link to this hopeful article that maybe there's a little light of logic ready to address this overflowing flood of inductions.
And to misquote a famous person, "I can see Canada from my front porch!" Maybe this influence will come across the border!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Time to get politically active

Please call/write/email/text your legislators to support the Breastfeeding Act. USBC

And consider supporting the Midwives and Mothers in Action Campaign: M.A.M.A

Monday, June 15, 2009

CB classes in advertising ...

I was chatting with my friend Sharon Muza New Moon Birth on the phone (how old fashioned!) Sunday morning about the Advance Doula training she did on supporting VBAC moms. The training sounds like it was wonderful and would be great for any doula and childbirth educator to take to understand the issues, techniques, and special tips. We got into a little discussion about how many places are there left that haven't slammed their door on VBACs as an option. A started a new poll. I hope there are a lot but....

Sharon and I can wander a bit on our discussions about the world of birth... and she mentioned seeing a TV ad for a WI-Fi service provider that she wondered if I had seen. Well we were both doing our best to find it on the web and couldn't... not in our google searches or on You Tube.

Well I was clearing out old email and "wa-la" I found it on a google alert email ....what is your reaction? (It's only 15 seconds and I couldn't find a place to download so used my new little Flip video camera....(thus the less than high quality!)


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Advocate film for midwives

I was going to try to cut back on the You Tube films I highlight here but I can't help myself...found another one worth watching!

What I like about these short 3 minute clips is what they get packed into them, how they touch your heart and inspire you to action.... As a CBE are you getting that much payback for every three minutes you are teaching? Something to strive for....

Saturday, June 13, 2009


When I am in my role as a childbirth educator, I am very respectful in the terms I use.

However every once in awhile among us peers, I hear a term that cracks me up! So when I got an IM with "sheeple" in it, I thought it was a typo and then was told it means sheep + people = those who follow their OB blindly.

I tried to track back to the original person who coined this term - and while I liked connecting with folks, I heard "not me, I heard it from...." and I would contact "...." who would credit someone else. So if you are the originator, leave a comment!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Support your Lamaze "sister"

Have you had that chance to have your path cross with someone who is so incredible that you know your life has been positively influenced by just connecting for a short time?
Well let me tell you about Susan Arthur!
I first met Susan at a DONA conference but got to spend more time with her when the Homeless Perinatal Program in San Fran decided to host a PfB seminar and Susan (and others) worked hard to make it happen! Susan just wrote the Lamaze certification exam and is waiting results...but in the mean time she is volunteering for Kiva in Nicaragua. I have blogged about Kiva before (it's a great micro-lending program). I encourage you to read about her and consider donating to one of her projects! Susan's blog

Comment if you have donated! It just makes you feel good and when it is "paid" back you can donate again and again! (I loaned to a woman running a bakery in Susan's area!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Laboring Under an Illusion

Let's start a discussion! Do you have this dvd? How do you see yourself using it in your childbirth class?

I have been in touch with Vicki Elson as she just premiered this at the ACNM conference and she is speaking at the Lamaze conference this fall. And as Media Review chair for the Journal of Perinatal Education, I was excited to get a copy and get it out for review! Now we need to figure out the best way to use it! (In the meantime, gather a few birth friends and make some popcorn and margaritas and have a fun evening watching it!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lights, cameras, action

Lights, cameras, action - see what the New York TImes is saying about birth videos and what is being watched on sites like You Tube etc!  


Sent to you from email (still trying to see how well http://www.posterous.com works)

Posted via email from ideabox's posterous

Sotomayor previously involved in birth advocacy!

Thanks to Google Alerts, the trivia that lands in my email box usually gets deleted but this caught my eye! It was posted by a group that is trying to discredit Supreme Court nominee SONIA SOTOMAYOR but for me this bit of information is a strength! It was actually included in a post titled: Sonia Sotomayor’s Troubling Background Wow, a Supreme Court nominee who volunteered for Childbirth Connection who promoted Childbirth Education! That has to be a first!

Sotomayor was formerly a Board of Directors member of the Maternity Center Association (now called Childbirth Connection), an organization that “uses research, education and advocacy to improve maternity care for all women and their families.” Childbirth Connection generally views maternity care as the financial responsibility of taxpayer-funded programs dedicated to such objectives as: “establishing early standards for prenatal care and education; fostering the development of childbirth education in the United States; developing and distributing pioneering educational resources for prenatal, childbirth and parent education; and establishing the country’s first nurse-midwifery education program and first urban out-of-hospital birth center providing woman- and family-centered maternity care.”

If you are not familiar with Google alerts, it's a great tool. You put in the words that you want to receive notification when they are found by the Google search-bots. I recommend putting in your name just to be safe and then I also get things about childbirth education, Lamaze, etc. etc. Try it out! (Suggestion, don't have it sent to your frequently used email address - it can overwhelm, but send it to an alternative that you will check periodically!)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Birth Matters VA Finalists

Birth Matters VA have selected their finalists for their Video competition and the actual winner should be announced mid June. I have featured several of my "favs" here and looking at their list of finalists, I found one more I loved and wanted to feature. Scroll down the page about the contest and you will find information on how to make a documentary! I love the response they have received!

Monday, June 08, 2009

What are blogs saying about our classes?

For awhile I have been collecting what people say in their blogs about attending childbirth classes. It's quite fascinating, especially when someone loves their class because of what the instructor does and the next blogger hates it because their instructor does the same thing. "Can't please all the people all the time" is quite true. What I am watching for are patterns.

I thought this was a unique attitude in this blog - what would you do if people asked for their money back because they weren't happy? I wonder if this has ever happened?

Here is what caught my eye:
Also, she keeps saying things like: "They wont let you eat." "They wont let you give birth in the tub." etc. I finally asked (and got glared at and ignored) "How hard are they going to try to stop me?"
Worthless waste of time & money!

Live Journal: Prepared Childbirth

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Fear in Childbirth

I certainly hope the nursing students who created this You Tube video about Fear of Childbirth got an A+! Connie Livingston at Childbirth Today highlighted this gem - a possible tool to use in childbirth classes! (Great timing after yesterday's post about Fear study!)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

New study out

My eye is always out for articles about fear and birth. It's my firm opinion, that if we teach/facilitate childbirth classes, the most effective thing we can do is to decrease a woman's fear - even if we get nothing else accomplished. Unfortunately I think if some childbirth classes assessed their classes on the fear factor, too many increase fear!

So what are effective techniques for reducing fear in a childbirth class? Time for another contest. The top three "innovative" approaches for reducing fear will be selected and published on the
PfB teaching ideas page

So back to the abstract that popped up in my search: (I look forward to reading the whole study)

Women's fear of childbirth and preference for cesarean section - a cross-sectional study at various stages of pregnancy in Sweden.
Katri Nieminen, Olof Stephansson, and Elsa Lena Ryding
Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand, June 1, 2009; 1-7.

Objective. To investigate Swedish women's level of antenatal fear of childbirth at various gestational ages, and factors associated with intense fear and with preference for cesarean section. Design. A cross-sectional study. Setting. All antenatal clinics in four geographical areas. Sample. Thousand six hundred and thirty-five pregnant women at various gestational ages recruited during September-October 2006. Method. A questionnaire completed at the antenatal clinic. The women reported their appraisal of the approaching delivery according to the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire (W-DEQ). Main outcome measures. The level of fear of childbirth and preferred mode of delivery. Results. Mean W-DEQ score was 62.8. The prevalence of intense fear of childbirth (W-DEQ score >/=85) was 15.8% and very intense fear (tocophobia) (W-DEQ score >/=100) 5.7%. Nulliparous women had a higher mean score than parous women, but more parous women reported an intense fear. Preference for cesarean section was associated with fear of childbirth (OR 11.79, 6.1-22.59 for nulliparous and OR 8.32, 4.36-15.85 for parous women) and for parous women also with a previous cesarean section (OR 18.54, 9.55-35.97), or an instrumental vaginal delivery (OR 2.34, 1.02-5.34). The level of fear of childbirth was not associated with the gestational age. Conclusions. When a woman requests a cesarean section, both primary fear of birth and traumatic childbirth experiences need to be considered and dealt with. The W-DEQ can be used at any time during pregnancy in order to identify pregnant women who suffer from intense fear of childbirth.

PMID: 19488882

Friday, June 05, 2009

How cool is this?

Just received a notice about this and wish it was available in all areas - just a really great idea:

We are leading a writing class at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle WA this summer for woman poets who are ready to return to writing after the birth of a child.

Hugo House has never offered a class like this before--frankly, we haven't
been able to find a model anywhere--and we are so excited about what we will
be able to offer new mothers: a forum for community and a lot of practical
advice for how to get writing again. As new mothers ourselves, we felt like
we were reinventing the wheel as we worked to create new writing habits, and
find new models, that fit with our new days. We decided to lead this class
out of a strong desire to offer the support we wished was available to us.
Returning to poetry after the birth of a child marks a critical juncture in
the writing life, and our goal is to offer peer support and practical ideas
for harnessing the scattered time. (We recognize that fathers can face
similar issues, but we decided to keep the focus narrow, at least for our
first class.)

Hugo House

Motherhood: A Formal Constraint
Motherhood to a poet means more than lost sleep. Our class will consider
motherhood as a formal constraint: a tongue-tying through which we widen the range of our voices. We will help to unstrap the sweetness, unfurl the frustration, unwind the wonder of motherhood, creating the space for bold new work. If you're a mother who's ready to return to writing, join us as we read, draft new poems and connect with others who have one hand on the cradle while the other pushes the pen.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A new tool

I am exploring a new tool - not quite a blog but a way to post to Facebook and Twitter and my blog.  Unfortunately I can't see how it works until I play with it!  You can try it too! www.posterous.com

Teri Shilling, MS, CD(DONA), IBCLC, LCCE
Seminars coming to Mt. Vernon, WA;  Stafford, VA;  Des Moines, IA; Atlanta, GA;  San Diego, CA;  Orlando, FL; Tucson, AZ; High River, ALBERTA; Seoul, KOREA; Ottawa, CANADA and more.
Check out our blog:

Posted via email from ideabox's posterous

presentationzen on DVD! Yippee!

I have shared how I am a strong supporter of the work of Presentation Zen and how it has changed my resentful feelings about "boring" "bullet pointed" powerpoint presentations to feelings of excitement for the tool when it is used dynamically! Well the book has been converted to a DVD - I have mine on order and have chosen to embed this clip to get you to think about about making presentations that matter and move people!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Do you twitter?

It has become so main stream now but I think there are a few folks who haven't jumped on the "twitter" wagon. Don't understand it? Watch this little video. (Creatively done IMHO) And then follow passionforbirth or terishilling and I will start following you!

Twitter in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

mindful parenting

Being a "mindful parent" and a "mindful daughter" this week, I may not be able to post much - my parents are here from Michigan and my mother-in-law is in from North Carolina, my son just graduated from Coast Guard training and is on his way to Panama and my daughter is graduating from high school on Friday!

In the meantime - watch the great video collection at Mindful Mama Videos

Monday, June 01, 2009

Best thing since sliced bread...

I have been spending some of my time on line learning about design and packaging principles. I follow a blog that posts tons of pictures about new packaging - and this picture caught my eye: a group of journal notebooks sold as "the best thing since sliced bread." (small print)

How do we package healthy birth as "the best thing before and after sliced bread"??? Just thought I would share something I am pondering!