A childbirth educator is someone who teaches parents-to-be about the process of giving birth. They may be a lay instructor or a certified educator. Most childbirth educators are knowledgeable in a few different methods or “schools of thought” about birthing. Some childbirth instructors are doulas or midwives. The information you get from a childbirth instructor will vary greatly depending on the venue where they hold classes.
CAPPA Certified Childbirth Educator, Jenn D’Jamoos, from Michigan, explains in an Everything Birth exclusive interview, “Hospital classes often teach ‘how to be a good patient’ and may be lacking if you are looking for support for a natural, unmedicated birth. That’s not to say all hospital classes are lacking and all classes outside the hospital are fantastic. You just have to know what to look for. It’s wise to ask for a class outline ahead of time to know for sure what you will be learning in the class.”
There are many birth preparation “methods”, namely Lamaze, Bradley, Hypnobirthing and Birthing from Within. D’Jamoos says that “if an educator does not name a specific method in their curriculum, they may still draw from these resources in the framework of their classes and/or offer a basic explanation of the anatomy and physiology of birth as well as some ‘tried and true’ comfort measures and coping techniques.”
Most childbirth educators will provide parents with information regarding optimal nutrition during pregnancy, interventions, hospital or birth center procedures. newborn care, breastfeeding and postpartum support.
According to D’Jamoos, there are four primary certifying bodies for childbirth educators. There are several other lesser known certifying bodies as well. The four most common, though are:
- CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association)
- ICEA (International Childbirth Educators Association)
- BAI (Birth Arts International)
- Lamaze International
Did you take childbirth classes or, if you are pregnant or planning to be, do you plan to use a childbirth educator? If so, what were the most important factors in choosing one?
Our community facebook has hundreds of childbirth educators, so if you are in the market for one or to become a childbirth educator, just post your comment or question here. If you have any questions for Jenn D’Jamoos or are in the south east Michigan area, find Jenn’s facebook here.