Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reply Turned Post: What DO Childbirth Educators Teach??

I've been thoroughly enjoying the posts over at Mom's Tinfoil Hat, and the whole idea of "reply turned post" seems to fit my response to this very interesting post from RedRN, "On Childbirth Education", which I highly recommend clicking over to read and respond to.

This is my response:

"Interesting post! It strikes me how "in the middle" nurses sometimes are, and impresses me all the more when I read about the patient advocating you and others like you do over & over.

One of the things I tell clients (and write in my blog - see the sidebar on popular posts) over & over again is that the prep work done before the birth is extremely important. The mom needs to think about how she wants the birth to go (a set of educated preferences, not demands) and then do the work she can ahead of time to set herself up well: get support from partner and/or friend/family and/or doula; choose a careprovider who is a good match; choose a birth place that's a good match etc. & etc. And then keep reflecting and communicating.

One thing I've noticed about teaching anything (I've taught high school, Sunday School, and birth classes) is that a teacher can say one thing, and there are as many interpretations of that thing as there are students. People tend to hear, in general I think, what makes sense to them, what fits in with their perceptions and experiences. So what you're seeing may or may not accurately reflect the information presented in a class.

People do zone out - so few people contact me in enough time, with enough time, to do shorter classes over more weeks. Families usually choose two or four session classes of three or four hours each. Those are *full* classes, and it's hard to pay attention and process everything. Edited here to add that with breaks, and food, and a balance of activities, brainstorming, groupwork, movies and presentations I think families in my classes have a better shot at staying fully engaged!

And I think you hit on something else important to keep in mind - there are some care providers who *say* one thing and then do another, or are misleadingly ambiguous, especially if asked vague questions with no follow-up. Add that to the fact that many women get care from a practice and may or may not see all the care providers to discuss each partners' routine management ahead of time... I really encourage and role-play with families ahead of time how to ask questions during their appointments, and how to follow-up to get the information they're looking for."

A few more things I've thought of after I posted the reply:

** Some hospitals do allow doppler monitoring instead of electronic fetal monitoring. Other than a five minute test-strip when I first arrived, my son's heart rate was only tracked via doppler. I did discuss this ahead of time with my midwife, to be sure that doppler monitoring was possible.

** That some hospitals still don't allow moms to eat and/or drink during labor astounds me, given how many studies have shown that this is not evidence-based care. And like I tell clients: we're not advised to avoid eating or drinking before getting in the car, just in case there's an accident and we'll need anesthesia, are we? We're not given an IV just in case, either.

** I also continue to be amazed at how "railroaded" some families are during labor, like the scenario mentioned in the original blog post, with Dr. Ass. It's amazing to me that care providers act that way and it's amazing that women and their partners accept it. I understand that there will always be sub-par performers in any profession, and I understand that labor/birth is a very vulnerable time for women, and when providers pull out the "dead baby" card it would be very, very hard to be non-compliant.

So, if you didn't - go read the original post and leave a reply!

Or, to get more information about Birthing Your Baby classes, visit my Class Information page!

Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
New Mothers Support Circle

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Blogger Jill said...

That original post was powerful.

Your reply is really good. I have a background in education (critical pedagogy, to be exact) and it's hard to teach how to think critically. With childbirth education, there would be so much unlearning that has to take place first that it must be really hard to challenge preconceived notions about birth AND share the practical info that they need. And not freak them out!

By the way, MomTFH is the Queen of the Reply Turned Post. She should trademark the term. =)

April 2, 2009 at 5:46 PM  
Anonymous MomTFH said...

Thanks for the link love!

Ha, Jill, yes, I am queen of the reply - turned - post. My two cents seems to to turn into four cents pretty often!

April 2, 2009 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger Sarah A.T.J. said...

Thanks for all the info! I never thought of 'rehearsing' what we will say to docs/midwives should a situation arise.

April 2, 2009 at 9:34 PM  

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