Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How is breastfeeding covered in a childbirth educator training?

Recently I have been spending time on various childbirth educator training websites.  I was really surprised to read that these were two of the objectives listed for one training:
  • Define three advantages and three disadvantages of breastfeeding for mother and baby.
  • Identify two techniques to assist mothers in initiating bottle feeding. 
There were no objectives about any techniques regarding initiating or sustaining breastfeeding.  I have met so many women who stopped breastfeeding because they didn't have the support to overcome some of the common "bumps in the road" when initiating breastfeeding.  Haven't met any one who was unsuccessful in initiating bottle feeding (unless they are talking about those babies who are successfully breastfeeding and mothers need to switch to a bottle....but should that be one of the two feeding objectives?  Especially when that hurdle usually happens beyond the time scope focused on during prenatal classes.)
What do you think is one of the disadvantages of breastfeeding for the baby?  
So when you were choosing the childbirth education training program you attended, did you look closely at the objectives? 

Monday, May 30, 2011

CEU vs. contact hour

For some, the difference between a ceu and a contact hour is no big deal while for others, the incorrect use of the terms is a pet peeve.

I will always be indebted to Cathy Heise for breaking me of the habit of using "CEUs"  when contact hours is really what I meant.  Cathy and I were on the Lamaze Education Council at the same and I was a creature of habit and preferred typing the three letters of CEU vs contact hour.

What is the difference? Basically a ceu is equivalent to 10 contact hours.  Just do a search of contact hour vs CEU and you will see tons of sites that address the difference.

In 1970 a national task force of volunteers met to establish a form of credit for continuing education different from the semester system used in higher education. That credit was named the "Continuing Education Unit" and has come to be known as the "CEU". A CEU is defined as:
"Ten contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction."
The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) is the founder and guardian of the CEU and determines the criteria for awarding CEUs."

Is your childbirth education group using the correct term? 
In addition, if you are looking at a group to certify with, do they only offer only their in-house/organization based contact hours or have they completed the additional steps/investment/scrutiny to also get approval to offer contact hours from another organization like a nurses' or doula or Lactation Consultant (IBCLE) organization? 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Doing the happy dance!

I love reading articles like this one in the Vancouver Sun.  There was a "learning competition" between a traditional lecture format and a more interactive format in a Physics class at the University of British Columbia.

Here is the result:
"The students learned more than twice as much in the new "interactive" classes than they did in the lectures by the tenured prof with more than 30 years of experience.... it is "high time" to abandon long lectures and PowerPoint presentations in favour of more lively, stimulating interactive classes."
My favorite quotes:
"Learning really happens only if you have this very active, intense engagement,"
"...the problem with students not absorbing much from lectures is nothing new."It's probably almost certainly been the case that lectures have been equally ineffective for centuries..."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What's an educator to do..

I found this post on a discussion board very ...um... interesting.  First she writes:

i had childbirth classes yesterday, and i think it did more harm then good. watching the videos of other people having kids scared the crap out of me. I know i have no choice at this point, (haha, i'll be 34 weeks tomorrow) but i'm petrified. Plus the lady never came out and said not to get the epidural..., but everything she said about it was negative. now i'm even more confused, but i was def planning on getting that. 
When she is further questioned about what was said negatively about the epidural: 
I'm not even scared of the epi.. the reason the lady scared me about it, is she said it may slow my labor down, and i wouldn't be able to walk.. which i wanted to do. 

So what's an educator to do?  I think it's important for women to know the impact...so she can make the best decision for her....   How sad would it be to ask for an epidural and then realize you can't really get out of bed after it's in?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vote...quite easy!

Floradix and The Birth Trust are awarding $5,000 to a favorite midwifery project.  There are a lot of great projects listed there.

However Choices in Childbirth is my favorite  and in the top 5.  If you have attended a PfB workshop recently you received their booklet/brochure that they make available for only shipping costs.  It's an awesome resource and IF you wanted my opinion of whom to vote for, they have my support. 

So review the projects and VOTE!!  ( if this link doesn't work because I already voted, then go to the Birth Trust or Choices in Childbirth site and link in from there.  Voting ends soon, so take care of this NOW! 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where have I been?

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted....and this is just an update on my status vs. a true post! 

Last Thursday I flew to Phillie and co-facilitated with Pat Predmore a 3 day workshop of amazing childbirth educators who inspired me as to the passion and skills they bring to this work.  We finished Sunday afternoon and I scurried off to the airport and realized that I was on eastern time and getting back to Seattle at 4 am eastern time and would have my 90 minute drive... aargh!  So when they offered to bump someone I grabbed the option.  But what was I thinking?  I had to be back at 4 am-ish.  Still not a sleep-filled night. 
But I did it...flew Monday and then started an on-line Passion for Birth workshop that is operating on-line from 1:30 am to 8:30 am... we have a small group in Reading, outside London.  Here is a screen shot of them this am as they are getting started.

We have two new local trainers facilitating/hosting and I am on their big screen TV and can share my desktop.... it's a glimpse of the future.  The group has been patient as we work out the inevitable occasional technical glitches but I am confident this group of passionate educators will join the ranks of inspirational childbirth educators. 
We are just starting day 3 (night 3 for me)!  I am not sure I was designed for the "night shift"....I have a whole new respect for those who regular do this.  I look forward to a regular night's sleep! 
Time to put my "glamourous headset" and join them! 

Do you live in an isolated area (where there are no Passion for Birth workshops?) and would you be interested in participating in our new format of meeting on-line?  Send an email to teri@passionforbirth.com and we will be in touch.  We need to have a webcam and a dependable internet connection. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I really try to post correct information.  When an organization's CEO said I didn't have my facts right in an earlier post, I decided to delve deeper into the issue. 

The one thing that comes with being a non-profit is transparency.  Each non-profit needs to make an annual report to the IRS.  These forms, called 990s, are then posted by at least 3 on-line "non-profit" watchers/websites.  Below, I have taken screen shots of what has been reported to the IRS by ICEA, Lamaze, and CAPPA Foundation and then posted by the "non-profit watchers."  I did find where CAPPA foundation opted to file e-postcards for tax year 08, 09, 10 (instead of the 990s required for larger budgets.) These e-postcards (available on the IRS website by searching for the non-profit's name) state that their gross receipts for 08 and 09 were under $25,000 and under $50,000 for 10.   Their website states: "the worlds largest childbirth education organization"  I am impressed that that can be done for less than $25,000. 

So there you have it. Once again, if something I say is not correct, let me know.

To see more detail about the 990s, go to Economic Research Institute Nonprofit  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why your certification organization should not REQUIRE membership

As long as I am on the topic of certification, I wanted to share my thoughts about a common but less than ethical practice of some childbirth education certification organizations. 

According to those folks who are as passionate about certification as we are about birth, when you meet all the requirements to be certified - your certification should not be dependent on you paying annual membership dues.  You either have the skills/knowledge/attitude or you don't.  They can encourage you to be a member - offer all sorts of perks like discounts in certification fees, etc but it can't be mandated.  Think about...if an organization says you have the skills but only if you pay that organization $$$ each year.  That's not fair to hold your certification hostage.  IF they need more operational $$, they should increase the original certification fees and make the benefits for membership so lucrative that everyone freely joins. 

What do you think?  Why do you think so many childbirth certifications, do this?  Does your organization do that?  Lamaze is the only one I could find that does NOT break this basic tenet of certification. It even looks like many organizations have "reinstatement fees" if you have not paid their dues during ALL your years of certification.  Egads, that certainly doesn't sound like they certified you to be a competent CBE.  It is more of an indentured certification. 

Think about it, let me know your thoughts. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Putting your childbirth educator certification in the hands of for-profit vs non-profit

Just like anyone can hang out their shingle and say they are a childbirth educator, anyone can hang out their shingle and say "we certify childbirth educators."  It's rather concerning in a lot of ways.

I wanted to share my thoughts today about whether or not it makes a difference if your certification is held by a for-profit vs. non-profit.

When I looked through the required IRS forms for non-profits on the Guidestar site, it appears that only a couple organizations are registered as non-profit.  Lamaze, ICEA and BirthWorks.  The ones I checked that are for-profit are Bradley, Brio Birth, Childbirth International, Birthing From Within, ACBE.  Do you know of others? (Tracy Peters asked me to remove CAPPA from this list as there is a small non-profit foundation connected to CAPPA so they operate as both.)

So what's the big deal if the group that holds your certification is for-profit?  Well, what happens if they decide to close their doors or they only allow their children to run the business or they decide to sell to a less desirable owner?  There is no board of directors or by-laws that are mandated to protect the assets of the group and provide fiscally responsible decisions/disclosures.  For non-profits, the profit/assets go back into the organization, individual leaders can not just take it.  Non-profits file an annual public record of their assets/income/expenses.  For-profits are not so public.  How would you know if your certification organization is in financial problems if they weren't a non-profit? 

In 2008 there was a group (BEST/CCE) that trained and certified childbirth educators and then decided to stop.  I am sure those who were certified by them were not too reassured when the website stated:

"...your certification is valid until the stated expiration date. If you seek certification or recertification in the future you should consult with another organization."

For-profits can close their doors with no/little accountability whereas a non-profit is managed by a board and are more accountable.  Elected board of directors vs. owners have to respond to members in different ways. There is recourse if membership of a non-profit is discontent; not liking what the "owners" are doing doesn't have the same options for electing a new leadership team. 
What are your thoughts? When looking at with whom to certify, do you even look at their legal structure? 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Doulas on a TED talk!

Ginny Phang from Singapore presents to TEDX about being "Love, Breathe, Just Doula." 
Ginny - you are a rock star!

Friday, May 13, 2011

To share or not share

I always think of my course design for a childbirth class series or a workshop to be a roadmap....where we are starting, where our destination is.  There is always a direct route but the way also has lots of detours/scenic routes/less traveled routes.  I love visualizing the adventure and planning the route.  It's a gentle balance taking learner needs and my strengths as a facilitator in creating a dynamic course design. 

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to review hundreds of course designs - they are so personal and reflective of the person who created them.  Many were such incredible works - reflecting months of hard labor! 

So recently I was sent an interesting question.  A person who definitely put her heart and soul into her course design was asked to give it/share it with another  CBE.   What  do you think?  Would you give yours away? 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Miles Circuit

Sharon Muza at New Moon Birth is one of the most amazing doulas I know.  I have been so lucky to facilitate workshops with her at the Simkin Center - I always feel like I am learning something new or gaining a fresh approach. 
A few years ago she started talking about the success she was having with the "Miles Circuit" for those babies who were just having more of a challenge finding the easy way out.  Named after another doula and now midwife, they had brainstormed during a long birth that Sharon was at and they created this process that worked! 
Now it is being shared at the Miles Circuit.  Actually I would have name it the M and M Circuit (Miles and Muza.) Thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A reminder of why PfB is on a mission to stomp out boring cb classes

Today Google alerts picked up this on a discussion board:

We were birth class dropouts after the first two sessions :)  It was SO painfully boring and ridiculous to both of us.  We sat in the back and played hangman most of the time.  :::yawn:::

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An important read

Digital Mom has lots of information that would be helpful for childbirth educators to know.  (Thanks to today's InJoy webinar)

Monday, May 09, 2011

Preparing parents for false positives.

As I was sitting here wondering if I should post the link of Saturday Night Live parody on childbirth classes/wild birth when I noticed this article on MSNBC:

Newborn panels can save lives, but about 200,000 a year aren't accurate, experts say

And as I read the reality that the newborn screening panel varies from state to state and the reporting of false positives vary widely between states, what can we as childbirth educators do to minimize the trauma of the false positives that people will have in our classes while others will benefit from having a condition identified early in a newborn's life?   
I am thinking it would be effective to share the reality and help them to identify support they can lean on during the "limbo" time when the positive screen is confirmed/changed.  And hopefully we have all covered the difference between screening tests and diagnostic tests during pregnancy and build on that knowledge.  Ahh, the challenges.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

May is International Doula Month

With May being International Doula Month, it is an honor to be involved in training an enthusiastic group of new doulas for the Simkin Center at Bastyr University.  The backgrounds range from Army vet, former truck driver, massage therapist, ICU nurse, medical anthropologist, biology teacher, former Peace Corps volunteer and so much more.  It's an honor to be part of their journey towards supporting women in this dynamic part of their life. 

If you are a doula, don't forget to submit a picture to DONA International's photo contest for pictures of doulas in action! 

Friday, May 06, 2011

Impressed with who is feeding the baby!

This underwear model feeds her baby on set of photoshoot. 

Hopefully when you are talking about breastfeeding you have lots of images showing that it can be done anywhere, anytime! 

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Reflecting back on the first birth I attended

May 5 is the International Day of the Midwife and it has made me pause and reflect on the very first birth I ever attended.  I lived in West Virginia and had started on the path to become a childbirth educator.  One of the requirements was to attend at least 3 births. 
My husband worked for the National Park Service and one of his co-workers was married to a midwife.  That midwife was Marty Jones and she was the care provider of the first birth I was invited to attend - the woman was young and healthy and the memory is so positive!  Actually watching this woman birth and the gentle support given by Marty spoiled me.  The next births I went to were so different that I realized that not all births are facilitated with the same touch and that the choice of care provider is so important! 
Both Marty and I have since left West Virginia.  She is now in Harrisonburg, VA and is part of Shenandoah Women's Care
Thank you, Marty, for the amazing memory from about 20 years ago.  You set the bar really high for how women should be cared for during birth.  The women who have been lucky enough to have you at their birth have been so blessed. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

PfB Grad Tracey Cuneo featured on blog

On the Giving Birth with Confidence blog, the blogger is attending a childbirth program facilitated by Passion for Birth graduate Tracey Cuneo. 

With comments like: 
My overall impression upon leaving class the first night was, “Every pregnant woman AND her partner should attend childbirth classes — I can’t believe more women don’t do this!” 
it sounds like Tracey is doing an awesome job.  Go Tracey!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Move your body

"Move your body..."
we could just change the words a little -
"don't just lay in your hospital bed....move your body" and we would have a great Healthy Birth practice theme song!  

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Applause for Veronica

 I have been so fortunate to co-facilitate the Lamaze Breastfeeding Specialist workshops with an amazing facilitator, Veronica Schaedler.  I have just returned from Lincoln, Nebraska where once again we paired up and spent two long and intense days with 36 women who are on a mission to support the breastfeeding dyad and their families.  

Our trek to Lincoln has become an every 18 month tradition due to the wonderful organizing skills of Jan Madsen at St. Elizabeth's Hospital.  There is no one who is a better host or workshop sponsor!

Veronica arrived a little late on the morning of day 1 because the night before she was honored at a special awards ceremony in Texas - The Great 100 Nurses 

The mission of the Great 100, since 1990, is to recognize professional Registered Nurses for their contributions to the communities in which they live and practice both the art and science of nursing. The Great 100 recognizes 100 professional RNs each year that have been nominated by their peers, practice sites, families and patients entrusted to their care

Veronica - you are so deserving of this award - we wish we could have been in the audience to give a standing ovation!  (But someone had to be at the workshop)  

The babies and mothers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital at Plano and the Lactation consultants on your team are so lucky to have you! 

If anyone wants to have Veronica and I come to your neighborhood to facilitate this workshop, send us an email!  We come with silver nipples,  the apple latch, lactation Bingo, Breastfeed Ya Baby rap and more gizmos and glitter than you can imagine.