This picture shows our instructors geared up and ready to go. The first part of training consists of introductions and learning from Birth Boot Camp founder, Donna Ryan and trainer, Sarah Clark, about how to help couples prepare for a natural birth.
Training isn't just sitting in chairs though. Below you see all our instructors practicing relaxation. Relaxation training is such an important part of birth that we don’t just talk to our instructors about it, we make sure the have the opportunity to practice and put it into action.
(Only one person fell asleep…)
The last evening of training revolves around teaching topics! Each instructor receives a topic that they present to the group. Admittedly this scares the heck out of most of us, but sitting together and taking the opportunity to practice teaching birth related topics is one of our favorite parts of training. And, since we have each instructor evaluate us, we know it is one of their favorite parts too! Each and every one will leave confident in her ability to communicate and instruct their future couples.
Training wraps up with some professional head shots. Whooo, aren’t they gorgeous?! Each of our childbirth instructors is listed on our website and we make sure they all get a professional head shot right next to their bio and location. Not only does this streamline our organization, but gives you something to use as you go off to promote yourself and fill your classes.
This training also featured something new- an introduction to Birth Boot Camp DOULA. On the right is Maria who will be one of the trainers (alongside Amanda who lives in New Orleans) for Birth Boot Camp DOULA. On the left is Nancy who will oversee certification for the program. We love having people work together to make our programs organized and incredible.
Below are some of the ladies who help make Birth Boot Camp happen. On the left, Donna Ryan- founder, Sarah Clark- instructor training, April Francom- instructor certification, and Alexa Gumm- recruiter.
Thanks for taking the time to enjoy our little weekend adventure with us. We truly have a passion for childbirth education and know that these women will make a difference in their community and in the world.
You can’t have too many dedicated people who really care trying to make birth better. Join us- you won’t regret it!
Have you checked out Birth Boot Camp DOULA? You probably noticed some big, exciting differences between our training and other trainings out there These differences are well thought out, purposeful and based on the experience and expertise of the birth professionals who created this professional doula certification program.
One of the things that sets Birth Boot Camp DOULA apart is that we host training in one location and you come to us! Yes, you heard that right, (currently) we train only in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and unless you live there, you will need to travel to attend our training.
Why on earth should you travel when there are doula trainings all over the country put on by organizations who will come to your doorstep? Like the rest of our program, this is intentional and we want to share with you some of the reasoning behind our decision to train in this very specific manner.
1. Birth Boot Camp DOULA training is uniform
What this means is that ALL of our doulas have the same training experience. They are trained by the same two women (Amanda Devereaux and Maria Pokluda). They all learn the same techniques, business skills, professional practices and standards, ethical considerations and much more. This is nothing short of groundbreaking.
How many organizations have dozens of trainers? While the trainees get the same certification, they are not all equally trained. Variation can be great depending on who leads the training. This just simply isn’t acceptable for us. So, in order to have a consistent training and consistently trained doulas, we have set up our training in this manner.
2. Birth Boot Camp DOULA training prepares you for a sustainable doula career, not just a doula hobby
The word ‘doula’ is one that is still foreign to many people in our culture. Often the first people ever hear of a doula is when they are pregnant and start looking around for birth support. Because even the idea of a doula is fairly new in our country, it is no wonder that the work of doula as a professional career is just gaining traction.
For most birth workers, the passion for birth must be equally yoked with a need for sustainability. Working as a free or low cost doula isn’t sustainable due the very real cost and time necessitated in this amazing, but often difficult, work.
We want doulas to be financially successful because we know this is needed to maintain joy in their profession and enables them to benefit from their work rather than just sacrifice. We believe that doulas who know how to run a business are better doulas and will have a long, satisfying doula career that is both emotionally and monetarily rewarding.
3. We can charge you less if you come to us
Birth Boot Camp DOULA (and childbirth education) organize training differently than any other doula training company out there. We believe there is a lot of value in working as a team. Your training involves many people, not just one. This has benefits including different teaching techniques, personalities, areas of expertise (including lactation, marketing and business support) and experience that are brought to the table from a variety of people who comprise the Birth Boot Camp team. We know from practice that this makes our training both comprehensive and unique.
We also know from experience that it is very expensive to travel with our large education team. We are not willing to sacrifice the quality of your training simply so we can pump out more doulas. We want our doulas to be the best, and after much thought and work we have decided that this is the best way to help build and support them. We value quality over quantity. After all, when you are empowered, knowledgeable and supported to have a sustainable practice you will have a greater impact in your community. More doulas don't make as much of a positive difference as better doulas.
4. Community, community, community
Birth Boot Camp DOULA is part of a larger community that includes (currently) over 100 Birth Boot Camp childbirth educators and our growing family of doulas. As a company we strive to keep our people connected to one another.
This begins at training. As mentioned, you will attend a live training with the same trainers as every other Birth Boot Camp DOULA. Even the doulas you didn’t train with will share your experience and connection.
After training you will be added to the private Birth Boot Camp DOULA facebook group where all of our doulas can communicate and learn with one another as well as have a safe and supportive place to process the sometimes difficult job of a doula. The community of doulas continues on in our unique mentor program. You should never feel alone as a Birth Boot Camp DOULA.
Doula work is precious but not always easy. The value of community with your common trainers (who you will have continual access to) and fellow doulas is immeasurable. This will help you be successful and happy in this amazing career.
Your training comprises so much. This includes: marketing instruction, Q&A, hands on techniques, business information, a breastfeeding course and breastfeeding training specific for doulas from an IBCLC, and access to the full 10 week Birth Boot Camp online childbirth classes. This means you don’t have to pay for another childbirth class, another lactation training, or struggle wondering how to market your small business. These are things we think every doula should have knowledge of when she leaves training, and we make sure it happens.
Feel free to contact us if you have any more questions about Birth Boot Camp DOULA!
Too often, medical doctors are portrayed as the bad guys in the birthing world. In truth, there is a lot we don't see and which they really can't talk about. We are excited to share this guest post today from Jessicca Moore, a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA. Jessica is currently raising money to help finish a film all about medical personnel who birth at home. (There are more of them than you would think!) You can read more about her film, "Why Not Home?", on their website. Her words are wise and incredibly helpful. Happy birthing!
If you’re planning a hospital birth in the US, you’re likely seeing an OB/GYN. Some of you are seeing a family doctor or a certified-nurse-midwife (CNM) who will attend you at the hospital.
Doctors and nurses are trained not to impose their own values and beliefs onto their patients. To the woman who says she doesn’t want to feel any pain during labor and wants an epidural as soon as possible, our training tells us to accept this as her choice and support her in it. To the woman who says she wants an unmedicated natural labor, our training tells us to accept and support this choice as equally valid.
Your provider is supposed to maintain some professional distance and remain unbiased toward her patients. Because of this, she likely won’t tell you about how difficult her recovery from her c-section was and how she couldn’t pick up her toddler for weeks.
She won’t tell you about the intense rush of emotion and joy that came over her when she gave birth to her daughter after a long 30 hour unmedicated vaginal birth. If she did, you might feel like you should do it the way she did, or do it differently, depending on her story.
In your 10-15 minute visits, it can be hard to delve deeply into all the possible risks and benefits of each decision, the research, and your personal values and preferences. Even if you did, the chances that that provider is going to be the one attending your birth are pretty slim.
So much of birth is out of your control. Once you’re in labor, things can go any number of ways.
If you want to have a natural birth, here are some things you can do to stack the deck in your favor.
Get prepared. There are lots of great childbirth preparation programs out there. Try a few and see what fits. Knowledge is power when it comes to birth.
Read birth stories. Positive ones. Listen to your friends who had great births. Focus on those. Your birth can be great too.
Get support. Hire a doula. Don’t think you can afford one? Call and talk to a few. You may be surprised. If you can’t get a doula, ask friend who has experienced birth and knows your plan to be there to support and advocate for you. Your partner will be having their own experience. Don’t rely on them to be everything for you.
Get informed. What is your hospital’s c-section rate? Trying for a VBAC? What’s the VBAC success rate at your hospital? Birth by the Numbers has a great site for getting this information. www.birthbythenumbers.org
Ask questions. Especially if something doesn’t feel quite right. Is the induction necessary? What if we wait 2 more days? It’s your body and your baby. You’re allowed to ask questions.
Take care. Rest. Eat well. Stay active. Try prenatal yoga. You’ll be that much better off entering labor if your body is strong and healthy.
Do all that, and then let go. Birth is big. Birth is beautiful. There’s no one right way to do it.
You are powerful. You are capable. You can do it.
If and when you need help, it will be there for you.
No one can tell you how it will go for you.
You and your baby are starting your journey together. You’ll have your own unique experience.
Your doctor may have seen hundreds or thousands of births, but they’ve never seen yours.
Jessicca Moore is a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA where she lives with her husband, two children, and two sheep. She is currently in production on her first feature-length documentary, “Why Not Home?” The film follows hospital birth providers who chose to give birth at home. You can watch a trailer and get more information here: www.whynothome.com and support the project on kickstarter at bit.ly/whynothome through October 10th.
Today we want you to meet Rebecca, a natural childbirth teacher in Mansfield, TX. We love our instructors and all the talents they bring to our company as a whole. If you would like to become a childbirth educator, we would love to have you at training! The process is a big one but well worth the effort. You can find more information about becoming a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator here.
First, could you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your own birth experiences and how they influenced your desire to teach childbirth classes?
My name is Rebecca Grochowski and I am a stay at home mom in addition to teaching Birth Boot Camp. I am married to an amazingly supportive husband who is a bit of a birth junkie himself (though he may not admit it)! I have one beautiful daughte
r named Emma who is 2.5 years old and I’m currently pregnant again. When I was thinking about getting pregnant initially, a church friend had just had a natural birth with a doula. I didn’t even know what a doula was at the time!
I did some research and called her just to chat about preparing for pregnancy, etc. She told me to watch the Business of Being Born. As soon as my husband got home from work that day, we sat down to watch it. That was all it took and I knew I would have a natural birth! We hired a doula and took comprehensive childbirth classes. I had my daughter at Harris Methodist Fort Worth with the UNT Midwives. My awesome husband caught our daughter and it was the best experience of our lives! I feel that my natural birth also allowed us to have a wonderful start to breastfeeding and a very successful breastfeeding experience. After Emma’s birth, I couldn’t get enough information. I loved reading birth books and watching birth videos. That’s when I decided to take my passion to the next level. I applied to be a Birth Boot Camp Instructor and the rest is history. I am really looking forward to the home birth of our next baby sometime in January!
What first got you interested in childbirth?
I have actually always been interested in birth. From the time I was in sixth grade, I decided I wanted to be an OB/GYN. Throughout my later high school years, I actually interned with a local OB/GYN and witnessed several births, including scheduled cesarean sections. I loved it at the time and never really thought anything of it.
Obviously, my life took a different direction which I am very thankful for. It wasn’t until watching the Business of Being Born that I realized that the medical view of birth was not “normal”. After learning more and personally experiencing natural childbirth, I couldn’t wait to share the knowledge!
What are your particular passions concerning birth?
My passion is teaching women that their bodies are made to birth babies. I believe that God made women to birth babies and breastfeed. Our bodies know exactly what to do and they should be allowed to do it. This is true for low risk, healthy moms which make up the majority of pregnant women in our country. Obviously, we live in a very medical, convenience based culture which has led to the high rates of induction and c-sections. It seems from the outside that women have so many choices, which is great. The bad thing is that many women don’t realize that they don’t have to be induced at 39 weeks for no medical reason or that a breech baby doesn’t have to automatically mean a cesarean. I love educating moms and dads so that they have options. The power is in their hands and they can truly make informed decisions about their birth.
When I was researching companies to certify with, my personal childbirth education instructor recommended Birth Boot Camp. After looking at the program, it seemed like the perfect fit! I also love that we cover EVERYTHING in these classes. You will walk away with knowledge of pregnancy exercise and nutrition, relaxation techniques, comfort measures, the pros and cons of interventions, stages of labor, newborn procedures, the postpartum period, newborn care, and so much more!
I love that we provide the tools for your toolbox so that you can customize your birth experience. I have always said that every pregnant woman needs a Birth Boot Camp class. Even if you are the mom who wants an epidural in the parking lot, you will still need all of this knowledge so that you can make truly informed decisions!
Tell us a little about your Birth Boot Camp training experience. Where did you train? What did you like about it?
I attended Birth Boot Camp instructor training in October 2013 in Grapevine, TX. It was a wonderful experience! I loved meeting women from all over the country who shared the same passion for birth. I learned so much during the training and we had so much fun. It didn’t feel like work at all!
My husband and daughter came along and had some great bonding time. My husband loved it so much that he is already looking forward to our Birth Boot Camp instructor conference in 2015!
How is teaching your own childbirth classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have absolutely loved teaching each class! From multiple couples to private classes, I love getting to know the moms and dads. It is so wonderful to see them working together to achieve their personal birth goals. So far, I’ve had hospital births, birth center births, and home births. Every one has been awesome and I love hearing the birth stories at our reunion!
In what ways did the Birth Boot Camp teacher training help prepare you for teaching actual childbirth classes?
Even though I had learned so much about birth and the curriculum before training, I was still nervous to actually teach. I had previously been a kindergarten teacher, but there is something totally different about teaching adults. We received numerous helpful tips from Donna and Sarah which gave me ideas I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. We also taught a specific topic to the group. That helped get rid of a lot of my anxiety and I received constructive feedback. I still get a little nervous before the first class of each series, but once I meet my couples and we dive in, I absolutely love it! I’m always so amped up after each class is over!
Tell us a little about your students. How do you believe childbirth education is having a positive impact on them?
In each of my classes to date, I have had moms of 1-2 children. Each one of them has been unhappy with aspects of their previous births which is what originally led them to Birth Boot Camp. I have loved watching these couples use the tools they learned to have the birth they’ve always wanted. I recently had a mom with two previous cesareans. She had never birthed a baby vaginally. With the knowledge she gained from Birth Boot Camp, plus an amazing support team of doulas and midwives, she rocked out her VBA2C like it was nobody’s business!
When moms and dads have the knowledge of evidence based practices and their tools for how to cope with labor, they are empowered and end up with great experiences. Even if things don’t go the way they thought, these couples usually still end up feeling good about the birth because they were able to make informed decisions about their care.
To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?
I am very blessed to live in a large community of birth professionals here in Dallas/Fort Worth. I am constantly seeing a positive change because more women are demanding a better standard of care. I love sharing this information with women because it might just mean the difference between a vaginal birth and a cesarean. Knowledge is power and I see the results of that all the time!
You are 38 weeks pregnant. It is 10pm at night and your labor starts. YAY! Contractions are 7 minutes apart, steady and lasting about 45 seconds. They don’t feel like Braxton-Hicks contractions, so this must be the real thing! Steady, real, feeling like labor.
This goes on until 2am when suddenly, everything stops.
The next night the same thing happens. And the next, and the next.
Though not often talked about and poorly understood, prodromal labor is an important subject. Likely the cause of many early trips to the hospital, emotional and physical exhaustion on the part of the mother, and dashed hopes of natural birth, prodromal labor is something that needs to be talked about more and understood better.
What is prodromal labor?
Prodromal labor is usually defined as a labor that starts and stops, sometimes for days on end. Prodromal labor feels like real labor, it acts like real labor and in many ways it is real labor. Sadly, it eventually stops and doesn’t result in a baby like active labor does.
“My second pregnancy I had 3 days of prodromal labor. I started having contractions on Sunday. They would last for several hours and would get closer together but never closer than 5 minutes apart. After a few hours they would fizzle out and then a few hours later start back up again.”
“I had 3 weeks of prodromal labor with my third baby with contractions every 15 minutes on the dot. I knew the time by my contractions. Occasionally they would get closer...every 5 min for several hours or every 2 1/2 min for hours in the evenings. It really messed with my emotions.”
Different than Braxton-Hicks (which causes no cervical change and which can feel spotty and is generally painless) prodromal labor contractions feel like regular labor and even an experienced mother may be confused and unsure of what is going on. Cori, a birth teacher in Salinas and Carmel, CA said this about her prodromal labor with her third pregnancy, "I went to the doctor thinking I was in labor one of the nights. I had labored twice before, it felt real." Her contractions would last for roughly 6 hours, coming every 5-10 minutes.
Prodromal labor is also different than early labor: prodromal labor doesn’t produce a baby in the next 12 or even 24 hours. It starts and seems serious, and then fizzles out, often at around the same time each day.
You can’t talk about prodromal labor without discussing the emotional impact it can have. Hailie an birth instructor in Abilene, TX said that, “I was REALLY tempted to just go to the hospital - I knew they'd give me Pitocin when labor stalled and I'd end up with a baby. It took a lot of energy and willpower to stay at home. It was the most emotionally exhausting thing I've ever been through. Prodromal labor almost derailed my attempt at a natural birth.”
What can you do about prodromal labor?
As you have probably guessed, prodromal labor isn’t something that anybody wishes for or really enjoys. Is there anything you can do about it?
Many birth professionals feel that prodromal labor is the result of poor positioning on the part of the baby. Sometimes a baby that is positioned “sunny side-up” or posterior will want to move into a more optimal or anterior position.
To remedy this, labor is triggered and the body, the uterus and the baby try to make that baby turn into an anterior position. But, after a few hours the body will take a break, only to try again a bit later.
If positioning issues are the cause of your prodromal labor, then there are a few things that may help:
Chiropractic- Every Birth Boot Camp 10 week childbirth class will have a focus (class 3) on chiropractic and the huge help it can be in labor. Chiropractic adjustments specifically those done by an ICPA certified chiropractor, can help align the spine and pelvis and allow the baby to move into a more optimal position.
Position changes- Another thing your class will talk a lot about is position changes for the mother. There is actually a LOT you can do to help encourage an anterior fetal position and your birth class will cover this over and over again. From hands and knees position to birth balls to lunges, there are many tools at your disposal. Spinningbabies.com can also be a great resource for this. Your class will guide you AND your partner through specific things that may help.
Fixable or fate?
It is possible that this is just how some women labor, and maybe you are one of these women. While it doesn’t sound fun, it is possible to have a positive and even natural birth experience with prodromal labor. The bad news is that it can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. The good news is that you and your partner will have lots of practice sessions where you can put into use all the relaxation techniques and positions you learned in your birth class. The other good news: often when a woman who has prodromal labor finally goes into the “real thing”- it goes quickly. Your body has been working, warming up, and getting ready for your birth.
Prodromal labor isn’t a sign that you don’t work, but the opposite. Your body is trying to get ready for a great birth! Patience can be hard, especially with the added stress of expectations from yourself and others and the weight and discomfort common at the end of pregnancy. Rest when you can, enlist outside help in the form of your chiropractor, doula, midwife and partner, and give yourself permission to cry when you need to. You CAN still have an amazing birth.