Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Watch before you read


Did you start to glaze over?  Think of other things?  Does he look like an authority on this topic?

Well, actually, here's the story behind the tape:

Rockwell International decided to get into the heavy duty automatic transmission business. 
They were getting ready to tape their first introductory video.
As a warm up, the stage crew began with what has become a legend within the training industry.
This man should have won an academy award for his stellar performance.
Now remember and keep in mind, this is strictly off the cuff, nothing is written down. 
Nothing he says is true.
He had NO script! 
This was a rehearsal for camera, lighting and stage crew.
It's all total meaningless drivel made up as he goes along.
This video is still utilized as a training aide.

So do you know CBEs who  carry on and on as a similar authority in childbirth class using words that are not part of anyone's everyday life??  Actually, not just us, but this can apply to any educator! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reinforcement for things we teach

The headline caught my eye:   

Bathing is better than pethi-
dine as pain relief during labor: survey
at  Medical.net 

And it turns out that a lot of things that we cover in childbirth class were ranked more helpful than pethidine and nitrous oxide.  (Pethidine is similar to demerol - the opiod family of medications)  510 first time mothers were surveyed.  77% used drugs with 56% receiving an epidural/spinal.  It's no surprise that the epidural/spinal was rated high but take note that was followed, in order, by:
  • breathing techniques
  • TENS machines
  • massage
  • hot or cold packs
  • showers and baths.
So.... we need to keep working on getting people to come to classes!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

From the mother-to-be blogs:

I thought this was an interesting insight:

Last week in birthing class we watched a video of a birth, and as I looked around the room to see if anyone else was as grossed out as I was, I realized that maybe I'm not entirely suitable for laboring. I decided not to do it. This baby can just stay put, or be born through reverse osmosis, because there is no way I am pushing a human out of my vagina. 

On the flip side of that, I have watched this birthing video multiple times and it makes me cry each time and then I feel like I can produce the human. It's so beautiful, and not gross, and there are no gaping vaginas.

The video can be seen on Pacing the Panic room where you can also read more details about the song and the birth. 

So back to the original post - are we scaring people with the full view of birth?  Or are we preparing them? 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

She only heard a sentence about breastfeeding

Jenna Elfman, the actress I remember best from Dharma and Greg, was interviewed about her breastfeeding experience with her oldest child, Story.   Her whole interview appears on Best for Babes

Yes!  I had zero education about breastfeeding before giving birth to my first son, I didn’t know there was anything  TO learn about breastfeeding!  I thought you put the baby on the breast and they sucked and that was it.  There was maybe one sentence on it in my birth class. So . . . when I finally put him on the breast; I didn’t know about latch, I didn’t know about anything!   I was not prepared, and didn’t know that you’re very tired, that you have to feed your baby often so you’re awake a lot, that you’re focusing all your attention on this brand new prize, and that your hormones go through a whole shift.   You potentially have no education about how to breastfeed, yet you still have the duty of feeding your child, and keeping  the child alive.  My milk came in the day I came home from the hospital, and I still didn’t know how to latch. My baby wasn’t getting enough milk, and the hospital told me that I needed to feed him every 3 to 4 hours, but that’s based on what a formula-fed baby needs!    Story was hungry and losing more weight than he should, so I had to switch to formula for a couple of days.  The nurses kept telling me to latch the baby “up and over”,  and I couldn’t understand what they meant.  I ended up having him latched with his bottom jaw on the nipple . . . later I found out the bottom jaw is the “working jaw” and my latch was all wrong.  My nipples were really injured from not having a proper latch, it hurt really bad.  I had a kid that was losing weight, and it was WAY stressful, and I was so engorged, making it even harder to latch him on.

So how much time do you spend on breastfeeding?  Would she have had a different experience if she would have had your class?  

Friday, November 26, 2010

On line childbirth education vs. face to face

Passion for Birth (PfB) has the best facilitators/trainers in the world of childbirth education.  Want an example of why I feel this way?

A PfB grad shared with me on Facebook that the hospital childbirth education program where she works was looking at changing their education to more of an on-line program and reducing face-to-face classes.  She wanted to know if I knew of any research that focuses on how the format for childbirth education impacts outcomes.

I really wish we had more research on what works/doesn't work in childbirth education but I sent her question out to the PfB team.  I loved the response that Cathy Holland from Michigan sent in:

I don't mean to be strange, but online classes is a bit like on line sex...something happens, but it is NOT the same....not even close...
Or to be more positive, it is like breastmilk in a bottle...not bad, but missing huge elements, which are life changing. The personal interaction is not just nice, it is essential for achieving the goal of the experience. The chemistry of the event is crucial, on line learning is better than nothing, but not a lot.

I immediately asked her permission to post. What are your thoughts?

Cathy (third from left) and PfB group she trained in Michigan. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Forget elearning - let's start mlearning!

 All right, for all those iphone fans, here is a great list of how you can use that tool in your classes!  Already doing some of these things?   Drop me a note.

Learning cycle blog  

PS.  I am still looking for that app that will make an iphone magically land in my lap!  Maybe if I stop thinking about it as an expensive phone and starting calling it my training tool, the budget will open up!  (but then the mental discussion starts: iphone or ipad or MacBook air...what do I really need/want)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reality TV = OB teaching cb class??

Oh my is all I can say.  (click and scroll down to episode 8 Phaedra's Birthing Class)


 Do you think she is prepared?  Induction for big baby?  She looks more afraid to me!  I think someone just wanted to be on TV - a house call with an OB teaching cb class.  I don't think we have to worry about our jobs!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A satire of the hospital tour

I know many childbirth educators, as part of their role at the hospital,  give the hospital/birth unit tour.  I know it has to be a challenge if the facility has one public image and another reality in regards to options - water, mobility, etc.   The challenge is how do you do the tour so it will lay the foundation for a positive birth experience vs. this is what you see, not what you will get?  Can you plant the seeds for self-advocacy and still keep your job?  The Roberta Scaer/ Diana Korte quote "if you don't know your options, you don't have any"   comes to mind. 

I know there are tours where it's just a "point tour" - "this is where the ice chips are, this is the nurses station, this is the security system...." while others give a "close the door and let me show you how to get in lots of upright positions....this is where you can stash your snacks...."  

Dynamic tours could even empower those who have chosen not to take childbirth classes.  Share what makes the tours you give great!

This video was created by Navelgazing Midwife.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Websites of the future

All right - I feel like I have seen into the future  - the future of the websites and multi-media.  My gut reaction is a combination of excitement and feeling overwhelmed.  Check it out and let me know what you thing Junk Drawer Media

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Today is International Day of the Child

We have to change this!  Find your own personal way, but let's do something!!   The Girl Effect

Friday, November 19, 2010

Too close for comfort?

Is this too much to show in an early pregnancy class?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Brilliant homework assignment.

In a parents-to-be blog, they shared one of their homework assignments which I thought was brilliant! They were to go this website: Love Language and take the quiz and discuss how their responses may impact their labor.

Or if you wanted to do this in class you could print each statement on one side and the corresponding "Love Language" on the other. Each pair gets a set and they choose the one that fits each individual and then discuss.

Do you use the 5 Love Languages in your class?  How?  Does it have impact?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The attention span

Get a Stopwatch like this or make your own! At: Online Stopwatch

Len Millbower has written an article focusing on the decreased length of TV commercials and the shorter gap between commercials and what that means for attention spans! 

He writes: "Studies may not be able to emphatically prove the exact length any given adult will pay attention. What we presentation professionals can however guess is that the general population attention span is roughly equivalent to the amount of minutes a TV show runs between commercials."

Ads use to be 60 seconds long, then 30 and now the number of 15 second commercials has increased 70% - meaning that they can make their point in 15 seconds - what is the average length of time it takes you to make your point? Give it a try - set the timer above for 15 seconds and make your point!

That's exactly why I keep the length of these blog posts short - to keep your attention!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do you have five minutes to cover the advantages of breasfeeding?

Of course you would never want to just "dump information" - you would want to follow up with some involvement:
  • Like list the top three advantages that you would want to remember if breastfeeding got a bit challenging and put on an index card to refer to after the baby is born.
  • Or a competition between small groups as to who could list the most reasons on flip chart paper.  
  • Or a brainstorm/sharing of one advantage that they never heard of before.  

What's your idea?

Monday, November 15, 2010

New partner's fear research

According to Malin Bergstrom's new research, "men scared of sharing the birth experience with their pregnant partners find childbirth preparation classes significantly ease their fears."   Read more: partner research

Taking childbirth class appears to be more productive than this father's coping technique of getting high in the smoking area of a hospital parking lot while his partner is laboring alone.  Read more: in trouble

All the more reason to increase the involvement of partners in our classes!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

When your student makes up a game - good or bad?

While I steer clear of calling interactive sessions "games" unless it is a true adapted game, I cracked up when I read about this game that a dad made up when he maxed out his attention at an all day CB class.  He dexcribed on their blog:  band-or-baby 
I'm not sure what is wrong with me, but I find humor in things at the wrong times (like during an 8 hour baby prep class)...and the wife always seems to know when the hamsters get on the wheel and start running in my brain. We were two hours into the childbirth class, when I grabbed a pen and paper & began to feverishly take notes. Well, sorta take notes. I was making a list. Immediately, she knew something had caught my fancy and, most likely, it was not the elements of Lamaze.

And something did catch my attention. The medical names associated with childbirth reminded me of band names from my teenage metalhead days. Crank up the show intro and cue the announcer...it's time for everyone's favorite new game show "Band or Baby?", where you must determine if the name you hear is a word from the childbirth prep class...OR, if it's a 80's heavy metal band name!

The wife started giving me the LOOK to turn my brain off. Unfortunately, contestant #1 in my head was already trying to decide if "Fetal Descent", "Cervix", "Afterbirth", or "Membrane Rupture" was the moderately successful Sacramento band from 1987. Ohhh, it was a trick question...none of the above! Although, Secret Cervix (get it?) would be an awesome band name.

I managed to focus for a few minutes while the nurse talked about choosing a Pediatrician. Then, despite my best efforts, my brain shifted into the next round of "Band or Baby?", where the contestants scored 100 points for every correct pick in the lightning round. Contestant #2 scored big with "Mucus Plug", "Uterus", and "Heavy Lactator", but missed on "Placenta" (who doesn't remember one of Sweden's finest heavy metal rock exports?). Another look from the wife...game over.

So let me know if you adapt and play Band or Baby in your class!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

They are so confusing!

I have always thought artificial formula ads were confusing and misleading.   But this recent one, really baffled me!  Is this a clever way of admitting that what is in their formula is not designed for human babies? Looks like a baby to me, swaddled in a way that makes it tough to give his/her mom hunger cues but still a pretty cute baby.  "I am not a baby."  What am I missing?

When I went searching to see if I could find an on-line version of the ad to avoid having to scan the image in, I stumbled upon reports of a legal suit won against one of the big artificial formula companies that they falsely claimed their formula was better than store brand versions.  The big company had to pay millions in damages.  Now why haven't they been liable when they claim they are as good as human breast milk? 

What a confusing world we live in.  But after looking at these ads in a baby magazine, it reaffirmed why I support the World Health Organization Code of Marketing Breastmilk substitutes.  The ads are too misleading.    As a childbirth educator, I hope you are reading every "freebie" you handout or make available in the back of the room for people in your classes.  Remember if you hand it out, you are endorsing it.  I hope those magazines that still accept formula ads are in the recycling bin.

I hope the hospitals where your moms-to-be birth are not continuing to be the conduit for artificial formula marketing materials.  I hear more and more that hospital ethic committees are putting the stop to that practice.  I know there is still more to be done! 

Please note:  I am NOT against formula.  I am against the marketing of it.  There are so many countries I travel to that have stopped the advertising a long time ago and their moms and babies are doing fine.  Why can't we stop the advertising in the US?  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

a thought about your business card

I know a lot of us in the birth work world take advantage of the free/low cost business cards that are out there.  I stumbled across these remarkable and memorable cards: vandelay design  and soaked up these wise words:
"...If you hand someone your card and they don’t say “wow”, then start over. It may be your only chance to impress." 

There are 31 designs and after you look at them all, let me know if money was unlimited what would you do to add to your business card?  Me?  I am putting my current card in a clear plastic sleeve and adding a little confetti! 

This is the card that first caught my eye and I wondered what it would cost to have a pregnant silhouette as a cut out.....

REACTOR Business Cards

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I want these guys to come to childbirth classes

I am serious... imagine these guys as partners in your childbirth class.  How important would it be to involve them, entertain them, and not bore them?  I often hear, "well people in my classes won't want to do a role play."  How often is that a reflection of the class or a reflection of the childbirth educator?

Round of applause for these performers of a Lady Gaga hit.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Great marketing idea

Birthtalk has a great idea that would be an awesome marketing tool - especially for those of you who teach classes for pregnant women having a second or third or more baby or if you teach a VBAC class.
This is a little different than what they did but I would take a group or individual/pair pictures in class and then have them share birth pictures and a quote about how they felt and what impact the classes had on their birth.  Watch the whole clip on their website.  What do you think?

Monday, November 08, 2010

How the Brain works

Brain Rules for Baby - The Parent Quiz from Mark Pearson on Vimeo.

Could watching this be a homework assignment for the night you talk about parenting?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

What are they saying about childbirth classes #2

 This week I want to share what showed up on a discussion board about Childbirth Classes.

 First comment:

i start my 1st childbirth class today! yippie!! so excited about it. i’m nervous about how much of a butt DH will be. he doesn’t want to go, but oh well. if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime!

Answer: My husband was a total butthead about the classes too. AFTER James was born, he admitted they did help him know what to expect, and they probably weren’t a total waste of time.

Answer: I hope your DH cooperates for you! ….NO WAY am I going without him.....
Do you think if we used some sort of bribe it would help?

Answer: I’m nervous about this because I’m pretty sure my DH won’t want to go either! I still have time to convince him, but it’s definitely on my mind…you’ll have to let us know how the classes go!

So how can we make childbirth classes more appealing to partners? 

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Pecha Kucha

The idea is catching on - learn more about Pecha Kucha on NPR.

NPR story on Pecha Kucha

Have you created a Pecha Kucha about a topic in childbirth? Would you share? Maybe we should have a special sharing session at a conference - "I'll show you mine if you show me yours!"

Jeanne Green of thefamilyway.com  was the person who originally forwarded the link to the NPR segment and I appreciated the quite she shared that she appreciated:
"People really like to get together physically," Dytham says. "We forget that on Facebook. They say they're 'social networks,' but they're not really; they're anti-social networks. People in a city want to get together and have a chat and a beer. And this was a way to pull people together."

I agree with her and still feel most pregnant women have a need to network with other pregnant women - face to face! Your thoughts?

Friday, November 05, 2010

what if.....

what if....
we offered special support to women/families in our cb classes who have dealt with infertility?
we routinely included building confidence in our bodies after dealing with infertility?
we focused on the impact of infertility on relationships, bonding in pregnancy, "trusting" your body/birth?

what if.... we ignore infertility as a dynamic?
(we have failed many if we do)

What IF? A Portrait of Infertility from Keiko Zoll on Vimeo.

I found the creative aspect of this clip so effective! Standing ovation to the creator!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

how you process is so important

In September blogger Robin Marty (Reality Check) wrote a post about her decision process to request a repeat cesarean vs a VBAC.  What interested me most was not her decision process but what she shared about a common exercise many of us use in  our childbirth classes.  It reminded me the importance of how we process! 

"....As we began to discuss the delivery, I was reminded of an exercise that we did during our parenting class before Violet's birth.  We were given a stack of paper slips that had words like "epidural," "induction," "c-section," "episiotomy," "healthy baby," or "no pain medication" on them.  We were instructed to pick the ones that mattered most to us,  eliminating them one by one until eventually we ended up with just one slip of paper, which, of course, read "healthy baby."  Because in the end, that's what every parent wants most.
I remembered the instructor laughing at me when we had narrowed it down to three, since my top three were "no c-section," "no episiotomy," and "healthy baby"........
All I wanted, once we got down to two slips of paper in the parenting game, was no c-section and a healthy baby.  In the end, I didn't get my wish for either.  I had an emergency c-section about 18 hours later and a baby in the NICU for 10 days due to infection....."

In this paper exercise, I really believe that every mother will hold on to the slip Healthy Baby to the end.   I feel we shouldn't even have that card in play. I have never met a mother who says "oh my birth experience is more important than the health of my baby"  Never, have you?  But by having that card in play, I feel it sets up that whole "what's the matter with you, at least you have a healthy baby"  postpartum scenario where well meaning friends and providers deny that she may need to process her birth and her feelings about how things went.  "What's wrong - at least you have a healthy baby."

And then there is the mother who due to no fault or decision that she made does not have a healthy baby at birth - whether it be genetic, trauma or a short term NICU admission.  When she does the card exercise is there a hidden message "if you give up all your preferences for your birth, you will at least have a healthy baby."  That's not always true.

We need to gently introduce the concept of the "healthiest baby possible" without adding another layer of fear.  I have had many moms tell me that in their childbirth classes no one ever introduced the idea that even if they did everything "right", that their baby may be born with complications and they felt unprepared in knowing how to deal with those complications.  So it is a fine line of introducing when things go differently and manintaing their confidence.  Ultimately people in our classes need to feel prepared whether their birth is uncomplicated or if they end up with a baby in the NICU. 

I love the card turning exercise but how you process it is so important. 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


I have really enjoyed chapters of this book and had lots of those mind conversations "oh this is so true for pregnancy or for birth or early parenting...I could adapt this and use it." 
And other parts were things I need to hear or be reminded of on a personal level. 

So the amazing thing is that you you can download this book for FREE.  Check it out.  Let me know what you think.  (you have to scroll down past the buy button)


And if you appreciate the free aspect of this book, remember that when you see conversations about not charging poor women for doula support or childbirth classes - and you see those comments that people don't appreciate/value free.....that's not been my experience. 

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Brain Rules

All right - watch this presentation slide series.  Come back in a week and tell me what you remember (without watching it again)  What sticks?  And why did it stick with you?

Monday, November 01, 2010

When are they ready?

(c) istockphoto.com
I learned a little piece of trivia today.  I was watching a clip on learning and the facilitator had members of the audience stand - raise their right hand, bend their arm over their head and touch their left ear.  Can you do that?
Then he said, they had all passed the development stage of being able to learn how to read.  Whew!  

He  stated that younger children are not at a ready state to learn to read until their bodies have grown to that point.  Those of you with 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 years at home, check it out and let us know!

But I didn't share that trivia because it relates directly to childbirth education.... but instead to have you pause and think - when are pregnant women ready to learn about birth?  How do we know?