March 26, 2019
Series: Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators - The Newly Pregnant Game
By: Ashley Sirls, LCCE | 0 Comments
By Ashley Sirls, M.Ed, LCCE, CD(DONA)
This month's Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators is a fun spin-off of a long-running running TV show, "The Newlywed Game" here in the United States. Educator Ashley Sirls builds community amongst class members and connection between partners by adapting the game to cover important childbirth education topics in a fun and engaging way. I cannot wait to try this idea in my own classes. You can find all the Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators here to freshen up your classes and increase retention at the same time. - Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility
The “Newly Pregnant” game is a fun way to introduce the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices, fit in a variety of different topics, and get people interracting with their support person and other class members. I like this activity because it effectively breaks the ice; people learn that they are not alone in their experiences, and they can share tips for support. It allows me to pass on important information without a boring lecture. It is always a great way to get support people involved and ensure them that they play an important part in childbirth class, pregnancy, and labor! I love watching the excitement and surprise when they compare answers.
- A dry erase board and marker for each person. (Note: I found these great affordable dry erase paddle boards at The Dollar Store, but, any individual dry erase board and dry erase marker will do.)
- An eraser for each person. (Note: Paper towel or cut up old sock/ rag will work just fine.)
- Your list of questions that will get the group thinking about various topics.
When to conduct this activity
I like to do this at the first class as the initial activity after an ice-breaker and class “nuts and bolts”. My hope is that it shows people that my class will be engaging, interactive, non-judgmental, and sometimes silly. I also like to introduce families to the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices right away so that I can refer back to them often throughout the curriculum.
How long should you allow for this activity
Plan for this activity to take 30 to 40 minutes. This may seem like a lot of time dedicated to one activity, but a lot is being covered and it is an important time for families to get to know one another. Giving people the time to bond over shared experiences is valuable and builds community! Sometimes this activity can bring up a lot of questions for people. I like to reassure them that almost all of these topics will be revisited in depth throughout the curriculum.
How to conduct this activity
Put the materials under each chair before class begins to avoid having to pass everything out when you start the activity.
Introduce the activity by making a connection to the “Newlywed Game”. Many people are familiar with the game so this childbirth class version should be familiar. Tell them that the “Newly Pregnant” game is played the same way and that partners and support people should try to think like their pregnant partner and match their answers. I have partnered with solo participants before if the situation arises. With the solo attendee, I quickly break the ice and let them know that I am a pretty good partner. They also have the choice to just share their answers along with everyone else.
After each question and answer reveal, I stop and have a short conversation about it. I encourage the other group members to share their experiences and tips. I also ask support people to share how they are helping or to brainstorm what they could be doing. Here is an example of topics, questions, and teaching points.
Common discomforts in pregnancy: What has been the most uncomfortable thing about being pregnant?
After everyone shares, note how there are commonalities and ask what is working for the pregnant person to solve this discomfort. Invite support people to share ways that they can also help. After this, I take a minute to talk about symptoms that are not common and may need medical attention. For example, fever, dizziness, blurred vision, bleeding.
Substances to avoid in pregnancy: What is the food or drink you miss most in pregnancy?
Share why pregnant people are advised to avoid different substances. I discuss what the research says and where to find the best information. I also use this time to help create a non-judgmental space. I want people to know that there are lots of choices that have to be made in pregnancy and every family will do things a little differently.
Six Healthy Birth Practices- explain and post a picture for visual reference after each question
Let labor start on its own: When do you think your baby will be born?
Walk, move around, change position: What song would you dance to in labor?
Have continuous support: Other than your partner (if partnered), who would you like to have supporting you?
Avoid unnecessary medical interventions: What will you do in early labor to cope?
Avoid giving birth on your back: Draw a picture of how you will push your baby out.
Keep parent and baby together: What might be a comfortable breast/chestfeeding position
How this activity is received by families
There are always lots of laughs when we do this activity! Families really enjoy seeing that they are not alone in this process and that many of the other people in class are experiencing and thinking about similar things. For many families, this is the first time they are hearing about the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices and they perk up and take notes.
This game is a great way for classes of any size to get to know each other better. It creates a fun atmosphere for people to learn important and useful information. The materials can be purchased cheaply at The Dollar Store and reused for many other activities in your childbirth classes. The game concept could be changed to fit any topic. I like that it helps to string a number of teaching points together, but instructors should tailor it to the needs of their classes. I’d love to hear how others are using the “Newly Pregnant” game for different topics.
About Ashley Sirls
Ashley Sirls, M.Ed., LCCE, CD(DONA), is a Seattle childbirth educator and birth doula. She completed her Passion for Birth training in the spring of 2018 and currently teaches Great Starts classes with Parent Trust for Washington Children. Ashley is dedicated to providing all people the best evidence-based care as they journey through pregnancy and parenthood. When she is not working with pregnant people, she teaches language arts to 5th graders with a local nonprofit. You can learn more about Ashley on her website AshleySirls.com.
TagsChildbirth education Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices Professional Resources Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Series: Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Ashley Sirls Newly Pregnant Game Newlywed Game