Research and resources for perinatal professionals.
May 25, 2023 | by: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
Human milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. Many families face challenges in meeting their bodyfeeding goals. Interventions and events occurring at birth have a significant impact on lactation initiation. Subsequent barriers arise when lactating people return to work, and are separated from their baby for extended lengths of time. In the United States, in order to protect the bodyfeeding relationship, legislation such as the PUMP Act has been enacted and enhanced to support lactating people in the workplace.
May 20, 2023 | by: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. The role of the childbirth educator extends beyond preparing families for the physical experiences of labor, birth and postpartum. Educators are also in a unique position to call attention to the emotional well-being and mental health of both pregnant and postpartum parents. By spiraling this important topic throughout their curriculum, educators can help parents receive the support they need during this transformative time. Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month provides childbirth educators with an opportunity to deepen our own understanding, debunk misconceptions, and equip ourselves with knowledge to advocate for maternal mental health.
May 13, 2023 | by: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
Raising the Bar for Maternal Health Equity and Excellence – Actionable Strategies for Healthcare Systems is a new initiative created by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The purpose of this new 2023 initiative is to improve health equity by supporting the whole person and applying an anti-racist lens to improve outcomes for Black parents. It is well documented that Black families consistently receive subpar care and limited access to appropriate support and as a result have outcomes that are significantly worse than the outcomes for white families. To put is simply, there is a maternal health care crisis and that crisis disproportionately impacts Black families and that needs to change
May 03, 2023 | by: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Preeclampsia, eclampsia, gestational hypertension and HELLP syndrome are all classified as hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDPs). Throughout the globe, up to 10% of pregnant people are impacted by HDPs. Preeclampsia often presents as a rapid rise in blood pressure. This can lead to complications that include strokes, seizures, organ failure and death for both the parent and/or the baby. Severe maternal morbidity events impact Black parents at twice the rate of their white peers. Preeclampsia can be a concern during pregnancy and also after delivery, during the postpartum period.
Childbirth educators and other perinatal professionals have a responsibility to inform pregnant people about the signs and symptoms to watch for, in the case of preeclampsia, and to encourage them to reach out to a health care provider if they have any concerns. It is important for people to be insistent, and express their concern to their doctor or midwife and request that their concerns be taken seriously. Oftentimes, especially for Black and brown people, concerns are dismissed and opportunities are missed to prevent a serious consequence.
April 29, 2023 | by: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
April is Cesarean Awareness Month and it is appropriate for this month’s Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators activity to be on the topic of cesareans and vaginal births after cesarean (VBACs) with a fun and simple idea that can be used both virtually and in person.
The current cesarean rate in the United States is hovering around 32% and this number has been fairly flat for the past years. Physician and midwifery professional organizations in the United States, Canada and beyond are in agreement that the current cesarean rate in many places is too high and can cause more harm than good, with a prolonged and more complicated recovery post surgery and additional impact for future fertility, pregnancies and births. Sharing some simple facts about cesarean birth and VBAC in an informal activity is appropriate for childbirth classes, so that expectant families can understand facts and how to advocate for appropriate and evidence based care.
April 19, 2023 | by: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
April 2023 is the fourth annual observation of Global Volunteer Month, dedicated to celebrating and recognizing the extraordinary impact of volunteers around the world. Global organizations depend on the time, skill and resources of their volunteers to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In the United States, April 16th through April 22nd is observed as National Volunteer Week. These annual recognition periods serve as a reminder of the importance of volunteering and the incredible benefits it brings to both individuals and communities. Volunteering not only helps others but can have a significant impact on the volunteers themselves. Research shows that volunteering has been proven to boost mental health, increase happiness, and improve overall well-being. (Yeung JWK, Zhang Z, Kim TY, 2017)
April 11, 2023 | by: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
Black Maternal Health Week is April 11th through 17th, 2023. This is the 6th annual observance and the event is created and led by Black led maternal health organizations and Black perinatal professionals. The focus of this week is to lift up Black birthing parents and center resources that create positive and healthy pregnancy, birth, and early parenting experiences for Black parents and babies. The purpose of Black Maternal Health Week, led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, is to “collectively work toward a future where ALL Black Mamas have the rights, respect, and resources to thrive throughout their lives-including in their reproductive years. This year's theme is 'Our Bodies Belong to Us: Restoring Black Autonomy and Joy.'"
April 05, 2023 | by: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
April is Cesarean Awareness Month, an annual observance in the United States and around the world that brings focus to the extremely high number of cesarean deliveries in many areas of the globe. In 2021, the most recent year for full statistics, the cesarean rate in the United States was 32.1%. This is up one full percentage point from the 2020 statistics, and the second yearly increase in a row, after two years of declining in 2018 and 2019. Black birthing parents have the highest cesarean birth rate of all US populations, with 36.8% of Black parents having a surgical birth.
March 29, 2023 | by: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA). LCCE, FACCE, CLE
This month’s Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators’ post takes a look at the flipped classroom. A flipped childbirth classroom is where families engage with specific interactive content focusing on key concepts outside of regular class time, creating space for in-class activities that clarify concepts, apply acquired knowledge, and encourage problem solving - all skills that can be used during labor, birth and early parenting. The flipped classroom could be a tool that helps you effectively use your time together with birth class families. It can be applied to both in person and virtual classrooms. You can find all the Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators ideas here at this link
March 22, 2023 | by: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
Many perinatal professionals work as birth and/or postpartum doulas as well as teach classes either independently or as part of a hospital or community program. Each role is professionally fulfilling in different ways and also helps generate several income streams.
While being both a doula and a childbirth educator can peacefully “co-exist,” there are definitely challenges to make it work well. The on-call life of a birth doula often creates a major conflict with the planned and scheduled-in-advance responsibilities of a childbirth educator.
Here are some suggestions for successfully managing both roles.
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