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Childbirth Education

Birth Story – Kadence

One of our goals at Birth Boot Camp is to train couples in natural birth.  This tender birth story from one of our former students exemplifies everything we hope for our couples.  You will see a father go from scoffing the idea of natural birth and frightened of birth videos to being an amazing and integral part of a family birth experience.

This is truly what we seek to do as a company- improve the birth experience for the mother, her partner, and their baby. 

Enjoy this amazing birth story!

It was just about a year ago when we found out that we were pregnant.  I’d been a little too anxious with the first pregnancy test and despite assuring results up to 5 days sooner; the test still came back negative. A week later when Mother Nature still had not run her course, I tried again.  POSITIVE!

For reasons I don’t even completely know, I’ve always desired to have an un-medicated childbirth.  Granted, that wasn’t a conversation that really came up in our dating days, so when I told my husband this after we received the pregnancy news, he was a little unsupportive.  Okay, he might have even scoffed and said, ‘yeah, we’ll see how you feel when the time comes.’  Thankfully, I was with my mother-in-law at the time and she does a wonderful job trying to help me understand my husband.  She explained that his only up-front experience with childbirth had not been a very positive experience.  My husband has an adorable 6 year-old son (whom I love with my whole heart) from a previous relationship.  They were young and unprepared.  The mom is tiny and my (step) son’s head is rather large.  All of that resulted in a lot of pain and eventually a C-section.  This is what my husband had in his mind.

After explaining my desires a little bit more and reading a book that got us both on the same page, my husband jumped on the un-medicated band wagon with me!  We enrolled in a local Birth Boot Camp (instructed by none other than Donna herself!) so that we could both be educated.  Friday evenings were one of our favorite times.  It was great having time to be so intentional about understanding the birthing process.  What we both found most useful was the emphasis on the husband’s active role throughout the pregnancy, labor, delivery, and beyond.

What my husband found most uncomfortable was the birthing videos.  Seriously, he’d turn away, cover his face, catch glimpses of the video and be totally disgusted.  Uh….he was supposed to be my #1 support during the delivery; how were we going to make sure this happened?!  As classes went on, the whole birthing process became a little less…disgusting…to him.  However, to this day, he still will say he found the videos revolting.  Bless his heart.  However, having been exposed to un-medicated births via those videos let him know a little bit more about what to expect on D-Day (Delivery day).

When the day arrived (I would say finally but she came a few days early despite me being convinced she would come late – so perhaps unexpectedly arrived would be more accurate), we were as ready as we were going to be.  My husband had his affirmations written down for me, lots of lyrics and scripture saved, and an entire playlist put together for during labor.  I think we got through a few songs before she came much quicker than anticipated!  My husband was my #1 support that day as I had hoped he would be.  He was calm, encouraging, supportive and calm.  Did I mention calm?  When meeting my husband, calm probably wouldn’t be one of the words used to describe him.  Yet, thanks to a lot of prayer, the classes and conversation (and, yes, even the videos), he knew what I needed that day to have a positive birthing experience.  It was an incredible day all together.

I had a friend there with us taking pictures of the whole experience.  When talking to her a few days later, she told me the first thing she told her husband after watching our daughter’s birth was that she was super impressed (and even a little shocked) with how well my husband responded throughout the process.  Even my midwife commended him for his support.  While he might not have been the one to catch our daughter, he did manage to peak and even caught a glimpse of Kadence coming into the world – with her arm raised high by her head.  Really, Kadence?!  But to think he might have missed that if not for everything we had learned ahead of time.  I’m so incredibly thankful for our experience and how prepared we felt going into all of it.  My husband was so enthralled with how alert our daughter was immediately upon entering the world.  Really, he’s just enthralled with her in general.  I’m so thankful for Donna, Birth Boot Camp, our fellow Birth Boot Campers and the healthy arrival of our tiny newest addition.  We couldn’t have asked for anything more; we are incredibly blessed.

Instructor Training Highlights from April 2013

While Birth Boot Camp began with a mission to take childbirth education to more people through online classes, we have been honored to see incredible growth in our live classes.  Women with a passion for birth, from all around the country, have signed up for our instructor training workshops.  Now, just about a year into this business, we have instructors across the country and trainings beginning to span from coast to coast!

Let’s hear what these fabulous new instructors have to say about the comprehensive trainings that Birth Boot Camp organizes. 

  • “Awesome!”
  • “It (the workshop) has been invaluable in giving me the hands on prep I needed. I love having a village to help us.” Maggie

Included in the price of your training are all the materials you will need to get started as a childbirth educator.  Each new instructor receives an Instructor Manual, Instructor Handbook, Field Guide (student workbook), all of the Birth Boot Camp birth videos (you don’t have to find or buy your own) and supplemental videos for teaching specific subjects.

The only thing you will be required to buy when you start a class are workbook kits for your students.  Not only that, Birth Boot Camp has developed detailed lesson plans and game ideas that you can use when teaching your own class.

  • “The materials and all of the ideas given are so helpful and useful. I can’t wait to get started.”

One of the most important aspects of training is the opportunity that each instructor has to practice teaching to the entire group.  Everyone is assigned a topic and we meet together to listen and learn from each other.  Not only is this a wonderful time to practice and get used to teaching in a group setting, there are also some incredible ideas shared by these amazing instructors.

  • “I thought the teaching part would be scary but I ended up loving it during training. It was fun and so helpful!”
  • “I feel much more prepared to teach and more confident.” Beth
  • “I loved practice teaching!” Beth

And with that, we would like to introduce you to our newest crop of trained, natural birth instructors!  You can find all of our instructors, from coast to coast, on our Find a Live Class page.

 

 

How Birth Boot Camp Supports Midwives


 

One thing that is very important to us at Birth Boot Camp is supporting and encouraging the midwifery model of care. We are honored to have a very experienced and insightful midwife, Melody Morrow, CPM, as a member of our Advisory Board. Why is Melody so excited about Birth Boot Camp? She has seen the classes improve outcomes for her clients. Here are a few of her words. Thank you, Melody, for your support!

*****

Birth Boot Camp childbirth education has had an incredible impact on my midwifery practice.  As a midwife, I have found that the midwifery clientele has shifted recently and become more mainstream. Women are now choosing midwifery care that haven’t necessarily researched and taken responsibility for their choices in birth. Some just want to try a waterbirth because it looked cool on television. What this means for me as a midwife is that if I take these clients, I have to make sure they are properly educated before the birth.  If they don’t receive that education, I will likely be spending many, many more hours with them in pre-labor, labor and possibly a traumatic transport to the hospital.

I began to require that all my primips (first time moms) and women birthing outside the hospital for the first time take a childbirth class. While something was better than nothing, I didn’t necessarily notice a significant difference in outcomes for my clients who took a short class (4-6 weeks). However, I did notice that clients who took a longer Birth Boot Camp class did often have very different outcomes. Women were less fearful and more determined. They participated in their care and were making informed choices. Dads were providing excellent, confident support throughout pregnancy and, noticeably, in labor. Moms who would have otherwise had epidurals or C-sections, were having unmedicated births.

I believe Birth Boot Camp will enhance and support your work as a midwife because:

1. It promotes and affirms the midwifery model of care.  The Birth Boot Camp curriculum is based on the Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative.  What they teach aligns perfectly with how I practice.

2. It gives parents 10 weeks of intentional education.  This enables parents to make appropriate decisions for their care and increases their ownership of responsibility. In short, more families “own” their birth choices.  Education lasts approximately 18-24 hours, so they simply have time to learn what they need.

3. The live classes promote peer support, encouragement and determination.  Think of these couples meeting for 10 solid weeks to learn about birth with like-minded people and a dedicated teacher who has done it before.  They are supported and positive about their birth and having more of their emotional needs met.

4. Someone else, besides you, is encouraging the same things you want them to hear.  Good nutrition, exercise, positioning, and much more are all things they are learning about OUTSIDE of your visits, not just during them.  My clients are more likely to be intentional in caring for themselves when they are given directed information, statistics, etc. and discussing these things with their partner and other birth workers.

5. Dads become more confident, involved and less fearful.  A confident and involved dad really helps with mom’s well-being.  Many clients will become even more passionate and appreciative of the choices they are making, even if they don’t have their desired outcome.

6. It is contemporary. The films are current and interesting.  The topics concerning birth and interventions are up-to-date.  In class, they discuss babywearing, cloth diapering, chiropractic care, doulas, Spinning Babies™, and other things that we want our clients to know about, but may not have time to fully teach them.  Their class will connect them to resources that I might not be able to.

7. It forces couples to stop and focus on their pregnancy in this fast paced world.  Couples connect with their pregnancy and with each other. They discuss issues and they come to an understanding. They appreciate their baby and the experience together.  I wish every couple did this!

 8. Knowledge is power. This means less confused, fearful phone calls and false labor runs for you.

In short, when my couples access the kind of quality childbirth education provided by Birth Boot Camp they have a better birth experience, my job is easier, and if things don’t go as they planned, they are comforted in knowing that they did all they could.  This kind of childbirth education truly makes a difference.

Melody Morrow, CPM, LM, BBCI loves babies and birth. Since 1998 she has attended over 1,100 births and assisted in the training of over 70 midwifery students. She is passionate about preventative, respectful care for mothers, babies, and their families. Melody works in Texas at Edenway Birth Center as the administrator and senior consulting midwife. She is enthusiastic about her calling and loves to help empower families as they become informed and educated about their choices during their maternity and birth experiences.

4 Simple Ways to Prepare for Natural Birth

Congratulations on your pregnancy!  Many women desire a natural birth but preparing for one can seem overwhelming.  Here are some wonderful tips for preparing yourself for the best natural birth possible.  There is so much you can do to ready yourself and your family for birth.  With these four simple things: education, nutrition, birth place, and birth team, you will be more able to make your goal a reality.  

#1-Education-  Probably the most important step in preparing for natural birth is to educate yourself as much as possible.  Just as with breastfeeding, the more you know about the benefits of natural birth for you and your baby, the more motivated you will be to follow through and prepare accordingly.

Of course there is a plethora of information out there on birth.  How do you trudge through it and find the diamonds among the coal?  First, a comprehensive childbirth education program is a must.  Look for one that is longer rather than shorter.  A weekend “crash course” cannot possibly give you all the information that you need to navigate policies, stay low risk and prepare properly for the birth you want. 

Look for natural childbirth classes that cover staying low risk, nutrition and exercise, relaxation techniques, choosing a care provider and birth place, the stages of labor, preparing your partner, common policies and procedures, breastfeeding and newborn care, and possible complications and how to avoid them. 

Not only will a good birth class help prepare you, it should prepare your partner as well.  In all honesty, your partner’s preparation is tantamount.  If they are frightened or simply unaware of normality, it will inevitably impact the birth negatively. 

In addition to preparing your partner, your natural birth instructor will be able to guide you to find the best books, websites, even care providers and doulas in your area.  Think of a childbirth instructor as somebody on the “inside.”  They have been there and done that and now they can help you accomplish the same thing.  (Our instructors are well trained women who have had natural births, themselves.  You can see a list of their requirements here.)

#2-Nutrition-  As you will quickly learn, preparing your body for a natural birth is just as important as preparing your mind.  Your body will go through some drastic changes as it grows first a placenta, then a baby, adds fluid, almost doubles its blood volume and prepares for future breastfeeding. 

Eating properly means not just avoiding refined foods such as sugars, white flours, packaged foods and chemical sweeteners, it also means adding the right foods into your diet.  Daily nutrition should include several servings of greens (broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, etc), citrus foods (oranges, tomatoes, kiwis, bell peppers), vegetables and fruits (celery, cucumbers, bananas and apples), whole grains (spelt, quinoa, oatmeal), eggs, complete protein sources (meats or other combined proteins such as beans and rice) and dairy (milk, Greek yogurt, keifer). 

Women are amazed at how much better they feel when eating properly during pregnancy. Many common pregnancy ailments disappear. Great nutrition and adequate protein can even help eliminate morning sickness.  Your childbirth instructor can provide you with a complete system to chart your nutritional intake and make corrections, if needed.  You can also find many phone apps with which you can keep track of your daily nutrition throughout pregnancy. 

Great nutrition will help your body and your baby be ready for a natural birth.  Many care providers believe that common ailments that surface at the end of pregnancy and often lead to induction or C-section can actually be avoided with optimal nutrition.

#3-Choose Your Birth Place Carefully-   One of the most important choices, as you prepare for a natural birth, is your choice of birth place.  Many factors play into this decision from insurance coverage to proximity.  Women often have three main choices available to them when it comes to birth place:  hospital, birth center or home.  The birth place that works best for you and your family will be influenced by many things, from cost to your own health to where you feel most emotionally comfortable. 

Wherever you choose to birth, be sure that the policies are not so prohibitive that they make natural birth nearly impossible.  Some important policies to look for are:

  • Women are encouraged to eat and drink in early labor.
  • Vaginal exams are kept to a minimum.
  • Women are encouraged to move about in labor.
  • IV’s are only given when necessary.
  • Breastfeeding is supported.
  • They have a low C-section rate. 

In a birth center, you may want a hospital nearby in case of transfer and an environment in which you feel comfortable and supported.  If choosing a home birth (as with any other birth place), you will want to carefully choose your midwife. Look specifically for someone with experience, skills or certification that you feel comfortable with. 

While it may be tempting to choose a birth place simply because it is close, doing things because they seem “easy” is an often regretted decision for birthing women.  A nearby hospital with a sky high induction and C-section rate will greatly increase your chances for the same.  In the case of an unwanted and/or unneeded cesarean section, a shorter drive for a birth place can yield a much longer recovery.  Choose your birth place carefully. 

#4-Choose Your Team Well-  You won’t win the Super Bowl with a football team made up of expert karaoke singers and you won’t get a natural birth with a team of care providers who specialize in surgical birth.  Choosing your birth team carefully is one of the best ways to ensure you get a natural birth.  Sometimes, even when a mother is knowledgeable and physically prepared, things can fall apart for her in labor if her team doesn’t support her decisions. 

So how do you find this pro-natural birth team of supporters?  Asking your childbirth instructor is a great way to start.  As a woman experienced in birth and engaged in the local birth community, she should have a list of resources to provide you with. 

There are many people who will make up your birth team. All of these people will influence your birth experience.

A great doula (a woman trained to support a birthing mother) can be a fabulous resource for both the laboring woman and her partner.  She can provide emotional and physical support, an experts view on supportive care providers, and may act as a sounding board for advice. 

Another good person to have on your team is a Webster Certified chiropractor.  Chiropractic care during pregnancy (and even birth) can help ensure the pelvis is well aligned so that it can move for a faster and more comfortable birthing experience with a better positioned baby.  This alone can help avoid many problems that prevent natural birth. 

Probably most important of all is your choice of care provider.  Your doctor or midwife will make decisions when you can’t and will be there for the final moments of birth.  It is vitally important that this person be both trustworthy and skilled.  If you are a low risk woman, you may want to consider midwifery care.  Midwives often work in hospitals (thought many can be found working in a home birth or birth center environment) and their approach to birth tends to be more supportive of  natural choices. 

You CAN Have an Amazing Birth!  Choosing a natural birth is a wonderful decision. With the right choices and preparation, we believe that most women can achieve this goal.  (Check out our stats from our students!)  Proper education, excellent nutrition, and careful choice of your birth team and your birth place are all things that can make your choice of a natural birth more attainable.  When all is said and done, sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned.  But, when we have done our best and chosen a care provider that we trust, we can rest assured that we did everything possible to accomplish our goal.

Happy Birthday!

What an amazing year it has been! Birth Boot Camp launched one year ago in March 2012. This has been a year of learning and growth. We are so happy to have had the opportunity to serve so many couples through our live and online birth classes.

Our natural childbirth instructors, along with their students, are thrilled with the comprehensive education they are receiving!

“Just wanted to say that my husband and I are LOVING our Birth Boot Camp classes! Our instructor is so knowledgeable and passionate about the material and we love getting to spend time with other like- minded expecting couples! The Field Guide is STUFFED with priceless information. Today will be our third class and I already feel more prepared for this birth than I ever did for my first! Thank you!!” – Rachel

 

 

 

The epidural rate in the USA is estimated by the CDC to be around 61% for women who delivered vaginally.¹  The medicated rate for Birth Boot Camp moms who delivered vaginally was only 9%.

The national C-section rate is around 32% while the Birth Boot Camp student rate is a combined (live and online class) rate of 9%.²  Truly, education does make a difference when it comes to birth.

Our online birth classes have been accessed by over 100 couples around the world. are available to couples around the world.

 

We have been honored to welcome 30 Birth Boot Camp instructors across 7 states to our team this past year. Looking forward, as of October 2013, we will have instructors in over 20 states and 3 countries!

Whether you choose to take Birth Boot Camp from one of our instructors in a live class setting or through our online birth classes, you will be trained in natural birth and breastfeeding through an accessible, comprehensive and contemporary curriculum.

Birth Boot Camp is for couples, moms AND dads. You’ll learn to work together to bring your baby into this world as a team.

Birth Boot Camp is a 10-class course. In addition to a comprehensive and modern class designed for parents planning a natural childbirth, all students will receive the full color, professionally printed Field Manual, relaxation training, links to additional reading on complimentary topics, and an exclusive breastfeeding DVD, The Ultimate MRE, taught by renowned lactation consultant, Mellanie Sheppard, ICBLC, RLC

You CAN have an amazing birth!

 Register today for your live or online birth class.

Join our team as a natural childbirth instructor! Apply today!

 

¹ http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr59/nvsr59_05.pdf

² http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db35.htm

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