April 29, 2020
Series: Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators - Virtual Backgrounds to Teach about Cesareans (or Really Anything!)
By: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE | 3 Comments
April’s Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators serves two purposes! We honor and recognize Cesarean Awareness Month and also share an opportunity to support those educators who are teaching virtually during the COVID-19 global pandemic. I would like to thank two educator colleagues, Robin Elise Weiss and Janelle Durham, who both modeled the idea that I could use the background of my Zoom virtual classroom as a teaching tool to supplement student learning. You can find the entire collection of Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators posts here, if you are interested in more amazing teaching ideas. You can find Cesarean Awareness Month teaching ideas and resources here.
April is Cesarean Awareness Month and, in the USA, the national cesarean rate is just shy of 32%. While this number is edging down ever so slowly, the fact that one in three people who give birth in the US do so by major surgery takes one’s breath away. It is acknowledged that approximately half of all cesareans are considered “unnecessary.” Doing too many cesareans (and doing too few, as is the case in some places around the world) is harmful not only to the current parent-baby dyad but also to the parents' future reproductive health down the road.
For the families in our classes, it is important that they understand appropriate reasons for a cesarean, what the procedure involves (and what their choices are during a cesarean birth) and how their recovery and postpartum experience may be different. When we are teaching virtually, as in person classes are not safe to hold currently, you can use a virtual background behind you that supplements the topic you are covering. In the case of cesareans, you can use an operating room with a baby warmer.
- A horizontal image of an L&D operating room (there are three Creative Commons images for you to download at the bottom of this post)
- The usual tech equipment you need to teach virtually.
- Normal teaching props for this topic
When to do this activity
You can use these images during any activity where you are talking about and sharing information on cesarean birth.
How to conduct this activity
As you introduce the topic of cesareans, let the families on your virtual call know that you will be using the operating room as your virtual background, so they are not surprised when it pops up. Switch your virtual background to the OR view and position yourself appropriately. (Remember to have tested this out prior to going live, so you know how and where to sit or stand and how to point items out.) As you discuss the procedure, you may want to point out features in the OR that they should know about. Some points of interest:
- The baby warmer
- Where support person sits
- Surgeon locations
- Anesthesiologist location
- The operating room table, lights and other equipment.
The images I use do not have a person undergoing surgery, but it may be helpful to have an image with a person on the table, so they could see the drapes that prevent them from seeing the surgery, how their hands might be positioned and how it looks to have health care providers around the table. You might also choose an image with the baby out and on the birth parent’s chest.
As I talk about the procedure, I am pointing out the different “points of interest” in the room for them to see. I use my finger and it does take practice (like a weatherperson on TV) to have this part look smooth and natural.
I fill in my conversation with what the family can expect, the importance of the support person going over to the warmer, and lots of other details. The image helps them understand more clearly what I am talking about.
What do families say?
Families appreciate this advance peek into the operating room and the opportunity to see how things might look in case they will be delivering by a cesarean section. Seeing the location in advance can help familiarize them with what to expect.
What adaptions you can make?
You can use virtual backgrounds to demonstrate many things. You might use a picture of a typical labor and birth room, pointing out the squat bar, birth ball, rocking chair and support person bed, for example. If you teach people who are having a community birth (home or birth center), you can use an image from a local birth center to enhance your discussion. You can even send the virtual birth room backgrounds to the families in your classes and they can use them too, and actually “see” themselves in the space during your classes.
Using a virtual background enhances your online teaching, keeps folks interested and often works better than just showing a slide. You can get much more involved and make things more interesting by mixing your classes up in this way. Have you used virtual backgrounds in your online teaching activities? How have you done so? What has been the reaction from the families you work with? How might you adapt this activity for your needs? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
TagsCesarean Awareness Month Cesarean Birth Cesareans Cesarean Section CAM Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators childbirth educator Series: Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Teaching Aids Sharon Muza COVID-19 Virtual Childbirth Classes