January 28, 2020
Celebrate Inaugural International Childbirth Education Week: Five Reasons This Is Needed
By: Hillary Melchiors and Robin Elise Weiss | 0 Comments
January 25-31, 2020 is the inaugural International Childbirth Education Week. There are currently so many great health awareness weeks and months, and days that celebrate so many dedicated and caring people in health fields and fields surrounding families that you might think that everyone is covered or at the very least, who needs another observance week? So we thought we’d make a case for why the world needs International Childbirth Education Week.
Childbirth education has value
Childbirth education has been around for a long time. While you might be thinking that birth is a physiologic process that shouldn’t require education, you have to realize that we also experienced generations where birth wasn’t remembered or talked about because of medications and culture. We have a system that is set up to incorporate a lot of technology that is not familiar to most people or families, even in the context of birth. This means that for the vast majority of people there is a learning curve.
It has been shown that attending a childbirth class has many benefits, including:
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased rate of vaginal birth
- Decreased rate of admission in early labor
- Decreased rate of fear
Attendance at childbirth classes could be higher
According to the Listening to Mothers III Survey (2013), about 53% of parents took a childbirth class in this pregnancy or a prior pregnancy, meaning that nearly half of all people did not take a childbirth education class. The definition of class in this survey included many types of classes from a traditional weekly series to a one or two-day format. Everyone can benefit from taking a childbirth class, and growing attendance is important. The good news is that there is room to grow!
Childbirth educators have so much to offer
Childbirth educators are trained to teach so many things. While many people come to a childbirth class expecting to learn the basics of labor and birth, and maybe a few comfort measures, they might be surprised by everything that could be in a childbirth class. Childbirth classes often offer information on early pregnancy, staying healthy, what pain relief medications are available from epidurals to nitrous oxide, postpartum experiences, breastfeeding, and new baby care.
There are also many classes that are specialized or include some of the following:
- Infant safety and/or Infant CPR
- Sibling classes
- Grandparent classes
- Multiples classes
- Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) classes
- Labor Comfort Measures
- Cesarean Birth classes
- Cloth Diapering
- So many more!
There are zero drawbacks to taking a class
Childbirth class options are good for all families, not just first-time families. Being able to take time out of your pregnancy, even if just for an afternoon, to focus on this baby and this pregnancy as you specifically plan for the birth of your new baby is beneficial. Even without the educational benefits, a retreat from your normal daily life to focus can be very beneficial.
Robin recalls, “My husband and I looked at it as a date night out with the baby. We’d mean to get around to talking about a birth plan and what we wanted or how to prep for and cope with labor. It just didn’t happen with other kids at home. Childbirth class was our chance to reconnect around the pregnancy and spend a bit of time looking forward to this new baby.”
There is a childbirth class for everyone, no matter what your needs
Everyone wants something different out of a childbirth class. People are not just coming to learn about unmedicated birth. The good news is that childbirth education takes on many different forms. Every single childbirth educator has their own unique way to teach their classes. Most are highly engaging and not like your typical classroom. You should definitely talk to the childbirth educator to see what their style and philosophy is for their classes.
In addition to talking about weeks-long classes versus a single day or weekend classes that are in person, there are also childbirth education classes online or ones that can supplement your in person class.
We hope you will join us in celebrating the first annual childbirth education week! You can find more information, endorse the week, and find a social media toolkit for use on your site at ChildbirthEd.org. #CBEWeek20
Declercq E. R, Sakala C, Corry M. P, Applebaum S. Listening to mothers II: Report of the second national U.S. survey of women's childbearing experiences. 2006 New York: Childbirth Connection.
Declercq ER, Sakala C, Corry MP, Applebaum S, Herrlich A. Listening to Mothers III: Pregnancy and Birth. New York: Childbirth Connection, May 2013.
Ferguson, S., D. Davis, and J. Browne, Does antenatal education affect labour and birth? A structured review of the literature. Women and Birth, 2013. 26(1): p. E5-8.
Gluck, O., Pinchas‐Cohen, T., Hiaev, Z., Rubinstein, H., Bar, J. and Kovo, M. (2020), The impact of childbirth education classes on delivery outcome. Int J Gynecol Obstet. doi:10.1002/ijgo.13016
Miquelutti, M., J. Cecatti, and M. Makuch, Antenatal education and the birthing experience of Brazilian women: a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 2013. 13: p. 171.
Weiss, RE. Evidenced-Based Childbirth Education: A Key Strategy to Improve Key U.S. Childbirth Outcomes. Lamaze International. http://bit.ly/cbeoutcomes
Photo source © Jessica Peterson, One Tree Photography
About Robin Weiss
While many things have changed since Robin Elise Weiss Ph.D., MPH, CLC, AdvCD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE began birth work in 1988, (including the invention of the internet), one thing has remained the same – Robin’s commitment to support and mentor new birth professionals has remained strong.
Guided by both her personal experience of raising eight children and her successful professional and academic experiences that include a Ph.D. in Public Health, Robin is uniquely qualified to support folks as they grow their businesses and gain the confidence and skills they need to be successful perinatal professionals through her work at 100% Doula Business Foundations and her podcast at The Birth Geeks.
Robin is also an author, an amazing and dynamic trainer of both doulas and educators, and a recognized leader in maternal-infant care. Robin has served and continues to serve in leadership roles in perinatal organizations locally and on the international level.
Robin brings over 30 years of relevant experience that is directly applicable to people new to the perinatal field. Her friends describe her as smart, funny and the person to go to when a real, viable solution is needed because Robin makes things happen.
To learn more about Robin, please read her full bio on her RobinEliseWeiss.com
About Hillary Melchoirs
Hillary Melchiors, Ph.D., MPH, LCCE, CD(DONA) holds a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology and a Masters in Public Health from Case Western Reserve University. Since 2014, she has worked as a DONA birth doula and Lamaze childbirth educator in Evansville, Indiana and is the owner of the Doula Group of Evansville.
TagsChildbirth education Robin Elise Weiss Hillary Melchiors Childbirth Education Week