Birth Classes in Colorado Springs
There seems to be some confusion surrounding what a childbirth educator does, so this post is especially for those who have never taken a well-rounded birth class or are curious about what I do. Often times, when I tell people that I am a "childbirth educator", they have an idea in their mind of what that means. Some of these assumptions are...less than accurate. The short answer is that I have training that allows me to help pregnant couples navigate the information.
What I do not do:
I do not "deliver babies." Mothers deliver babies. An OB, Midwife, or other medical professional attends her birth.
I do not assist mothers during labor. A trained professional called a "doula" assists mothers and their partners in labor with emotional and physical support. I have acted as a doula in the past, but I want to be very clear that I am neither trained nor certified as a doula.
I am not a nurse. I will not check your vitals or converse with your doctor about the care you're receiving.
I do not teach complicated breathing techniques. This is even becoming a thing of the past for Lamaze instructors. While we do still teach breathing techniques, it is somewhat simplified as many mothers find the simplified techniques more instinctual and easier to recall to mind during labor.
I do not tell women how to give birth. Every woman and every birth is unique, so I can only provide her with tools, information, and options. The mother should be the final decisions-maker.
What I do:
The central purpose of a childbirth educator is to provide helpful information and resources to equip couples during the childbearing year (the childbearing year being from conception through the newborn phase).
I do give guidance and reassurance about different options and ways to cope with pregnancy, labor, and baby care. Often this information can ease and enhance this transition to parenthood.
I do teach about the pros and cons of various medications during labor, the pros and cons of using doula services, or the pros and cons of different parenting styles. Anything that breeches into giving medical care or advice is beyond my "scope of practice." Mothers and their partners must make their own decisions with the help of their midwife or doctor.
And people pay you for that?
The role of the childbirth educator is a necessary one. This is why hospitals often employ someone to provide educational classes to couples preparing to give birth in the hospital. It is much easier on the hospital staff (and the couple!) if the couples have an idea of what to expect when they walk into a labor & delivery unit. While hospital-based classes can be helpful, the instructor is bound by the hospital administration to focus on certain topics and avoid others. Some hospitals do not employ certified childbirth educators but rather a labor & delivery nurse who may or may not be well-equipped to teach a class. Hospitals classes are typically very brief, though a few hospitals do offer a class that will go more in-depth. I have chosen to be an independent childbirth educator to provide unbiased, complete, accurate, in-depth, and evidence-based information to couples who wish to learn above and beyond what they would learn in a hospital class. For many couples, it is well worth it to pay an independent educator in order to achieve an experience that more closely resembles what they desire or simply to be more fully-prepared. Many mothers find they wish they'd prepared more and choose to take a class while pregnant with their second or third child.
I am certified through CAPPA, but my classes may be somewhat similar to those taught by Lamaze, ICEA, or Bradley instructors. As a CAPPA educator, I do not teach a specific method, but rather offer a sampling of a variety of methods that couples could choose to learn more about on their own. Many hospital-based instructors are also certified through CAPPA, Lamaze, etc.
Another offering that is unique to independent childbirth educators' services: unlimited phone/email/text support. Moms and dads feel more comfortable approaching their independent childbirth educator with questions through pregnancy and beyond than they do approaching their doctor or even the hospital educator. I am also more accessible. If you contact me, you will speak directly to me right away.
Do you know of any myths or misconceptions about childbirth classes? Do you have questions? Feel free to comment or send me a personal message.
Marcia prepares new parents through pregnancy, into babyhood. She also supports parenthood journeys in other ways; She is an artist, seamstress, Lemongrass Spa consultant, and CAPPA certified childbirth educator. Marcia lives in Colorado with her husband, four children, and their dog, Calamity Jane.