Birth Boot Camp® Natural Childbirth Education Classes – Online and Instructor-

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Planning for Baby

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Registered Nurse and Natural Birth Instructor- Meet Shazia!

Birth Boot Camp now has over 100 instructors spanning from coast to coast in the United States and a couple in other countries (and more to come!) We simply adore our birth instructors and are so glad they have taken this leap with us to help make birth better through education. Because there are so many of them now we are eager to introduce them to you! Our instructors are diverse in every way imaginable but have one thing in common- they were changed by birth and they want to share that power with you. Our birth teachers know that YOU can have an amazing birth. They know it.

Today I am pleased to introduce you to Shazia Lackey, one of our very first certifying birth teachers. She teaches birth classes in Arlington, TX. Below is an interview with this amazing woman. Check her out!

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First, could you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your own birth experiences and how they influenced your desire to teach birth classes.

Hi! I’m Shazia Lackey. I have one son and am currently pregnant with my second. I had my first baby in 2011 with the help of a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). It was a great birth experience that set me up for an easy postpartum recovery. I also successfully nursed my son until he was 23 months. I know that my unmedicated birth set us up for breastfeeding success! Not to mention my son and I being healthy and complication-free, my birth was incredibly empowering! I knew I wanted to help other moms achieve that experience with their own births!

What first got you interested in the realm of birth?

I have been a registered nurse since 2008. I was fortunate that I had amazing instructors at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing. One of my professors was even a CNM! I learned so much about evidence based birth practices during my time in nursing school that I knew it was the best option for me and my baby. My husband and I prepared for a natural birth by taking a comprehensive birth class. I was empowered by my own birth experience and I wanted to help other couples with their journey preparing for birth!

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

I am passionate about giving moms and dads all of the information that they need so they can make their own decisions to ensure the best birth possible. I also love that couples who prepare and plan for a natural birth are more likely to be successful meeting their breastfeeding goals. I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. I nursed my son for 23 months and have served on the lactation committee at a local pediatric hospital for the last 2 years. I have the privilege in my nursing career of helping other moms nurse their babies as a breastfeeding resource nurse for my department at work. I also am beginning to help lead a local mom to mom breastfeeding support group! I utilize this passion to help each and every one of my Birth Boot Camp students succeed with breastfeeding.

There are lots of different birth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp?

Birth Boot Camp covers EVERYTHING! While my husband and I were well prepared for birth, I do feel that we missed out on some crucial information during our comprehensive birth class. I love that Birth Boot Camp also covers pregnancy, breastfeeding, postpartum, and newborn care. I also love the up-to-date and modern material we use to teach Birth Boot Camp curriculum.

Tell us a little about your Birth Boot Camp training experience. Where did you train? What did you like about it?

I trained to become a Birth Boot Camp instructor in April 2013 in Texas. I loved getting extensive information to help me teach my classes and be successful as an instructor. I also loved getting to network with other birth professionals from all over!

How is teaching your own classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it?

I have been teaching for a little over a year now and am currently teaching my 5th class series. I love it! I love getting to know each couple during the 10 week series and especially love hearing about their great birth experiences! Many of my students have stayed in touch and I enjoy seeing their babies grow and helping moms with breastfeeding and newborn care!

In what ways did the Birth Boot Camp teacher training help prepare you for teaching actual classes?

I loved that I met moms at instructor training who have had all types of birth experiences! It was so helpful to hear their stories. I take much of what I learned from them and incorporate that into my teaching. For example, I haven’t had a home birth myself, but through the experiences of other instructors, I can confidently prepare my students who are planning a home birth.

Tell us a little about your students. How do you believe childbirth education is having a positive impact on them?

I have taught 17 couples since I became certified last year. I have seen first time moms achieve amazing, empowering birth experiences. I have seen second or third time moms finally get the birth experience they deserve! I have even seen moms who have had complications during birth and were well-prepared to handle them and still went on to have a great birth!

One of my second time moms was adamant about having a better birth this time around and her husband was totally not on board. He came to class each week but rolled his eyes and even fell asleep a few times! She ended up having an amazing birth experience! At our class reunion, her husband was a completely changed man! I have seen women be moved and changed from their birth experience, but never a dad! It was amazing. He spoke about her birth experience with such passion. He admitted that he was totally skeptical going in to birth and afterwards said he tells all of his friends and coworkers with pregnant wives to take Birth Boot Camp! He was especially impressed with his wife’s postpartum recovery. He said it was amazing how much faster she bounced back after her birth than the first time. He also said he felt he bonded instantly with this baby that he attributes to being involved in the birth instead of sitting on the sidelines the first time around.

To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?

Our maternity care in the United States is suffering! Many women believe that all of the interventions are “necessary” and birth is painful and awful. I have encountered many women who have thought I was completely nuts for telling them my birth was amazing and their birth can be too. Natural childbirth education is not only preparing moms and dads to achieve a natural birth, but also to empower and encourage other women around them to do the same!

Shazia-Lackey-web

Where can we find you?

I teach classes in Arlington, TX. You can find my class schedule and contact information at www.AboveBeyondBirth.com

And you can hear from Shazia on our You Tube channel!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jsktW5weiU&list=UU9VTK51bWOJ5o0S5A0h8VWw

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Should I Circumcise My Baby? Guest Post By Dr Adrienne Carmack, Urologist

We are honored today to share a guest post from Dr Adrienne Carmack, a board certified Urologist and mother of three who is also a strong voice in the growing tide of medical personnel questioning and challenging the common practice of routine infant circumcision. Dr Carmack has also recently published a book detailing her fascinating story as she questioned much that she had been taught when it came time to make decisions for her own family regarding parenting, birthing and breastfeeding. 

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Should I circumcise my baby?

When I began my training as a urologic surgeon in 2003, I believed, and repeated, the recommendations of national medical societies such as the American Academy of Pediatrics: circumcision is the parents’ choice because there are risks and benefits that are nearly equal. I remember saying that there were good reasons to do and to not do it, and that I would just leave the choice to my husband, since he was the one with a penis.

Well, that changed. I learned of female genital mutilation (FGM), frequently referred to as female circumcision. Some forms of FGM are very extreme, and not at all analogous to circumcision, such as removing the entire clitoris and most of the labia and suturing the vaginal opening closed. But there is a spectrum, with some cultures practicing FGM in a way that is like male circumcision, such as cutting the clitoral hood to make it bleed or removing some of the skin covering the clitoris.

When I learned of FGM, it really got me thinking about newborn male circumcision. By this time, I’d witnessed a handful of newborn circumcisions, and, anesthesia or not, it was not a pretty sight. The baby cried, there was blood, the penis swelled and was tender for days, many of the babies were brought back in by worried parents because of the amount of swelling and pain they seemed to be experiencing. And, I saw many, many baby boys who had to have surgery when they were older because their circumcisions had not healed well.

I began to do my own research on male circumcision. What I found has led me to believe that the guidelines by medical societies that say it’s the parents’ choice are frankly unethical and untruthful. The most basic tenet of medical practice, one which all doctors swear to before they are granted their degree, is “First, Do No Harm.” The truth is, circumcision is harmful. And, the purported benefits, which supposedly balance out or even outweigh the harm, are quite small.

The cited benefits for circumcision include reducing the risk of urinary tract infection in the first year of life, decreasing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, and reducing the risk of penile cancer. All of these potential benefits are based on science which is highly debatable, and definitely not clear cut. I’m not going to go into the data here, but a quick Internet search will show you many potential flaws in this data.

Even if we assumed it were true, however, in the case of a healthy infant, none of these potential benefits justify harm. First, none of these diseases are going to happen absolutely to all intact infants. They are risks, and they are low. If the risk of UTI is 1%, that means 99 boys must be circumcised to prevent 1 boy from getting a UTI, which, for most babies, is not a major life-threatening illness. Sexually transmitted infections are far better prevented by use of barriers, abstinence, and careful selection of sexual partners. And penile cancer is effectively reduced by simple hygiene.

The risk for a circumcision being needed later is similarly inadequate to justify routine newborn circumcision. Most conditions that I see that require circumcision at a later date are due to manipulation by parents or physicians that is not necessary, or occur much later in life as a consequence of other medical problems that are poorly managed, such as diabetes. (We no longer remove appendixes when a patient is having unrelated surgery, even though the patient may develop appendicitis later. We respect that any surgery, as low risk as it may be, is still a big deal, and that the appendix probably has an unrecognized role.)

All of these risks are theoretical risks that could happen if circumcision is not performed. Let’s look at the real risks that do happen when the intervention of circumcision is undertaken—some very clear violations of First, Do No Harm ethics.

Many people argue that circumcision is not harmful. Many grown men say they don’t remember it and their penises work fine (although many are also speaking out sharing the opposite experience). Many people tell stories of circumcisions they don’t believe were traumatic, that their baby boys “tolerated” well, or “slept through.”

If you’re considering circumcising your boy, the first step you should take is to watch a video of a routine newborn circumcision. There are plenty on YouTube. Watch one, and then say that it’s not harmful. It hurts and it is a terrible thing to expose a new baby to when born.

Most potential circumcision complications are uncommon, just as are the diseases which circumcision is proposed to lessen, but they do occur. Babies die from circumcisions, babies bleed and have to be taken to surgery, babies get infections, babies have too much skin removed, babies have too little skin removed and develop scarring that has to be surgically corrected later on, babies suffer pain during and after the circumcision, babies have damaged urethras, and some babies have even lost their entire penis.

More importantly, the reason for “First, Do No Harm” is that we are creating potential problems where none exist. We are also intervening with nature. The foreskin is present for a reason. It has been proven to be full of nerve endings and is widely recognized as an important erogenous part of the penis, just like the clitoris is an important part of the female genitalia. (See “Male circumcision decreases penile sensitivity as measured in a large cohort” published by Bronselaer et al in BJU International in 2013.)

The foreskin is not just a piece of skin; it is a highly developed anatomic sensory organ. It also protects the head of the penis and the urethral opening, both very sensitive tissues that are best kept covered until the child is able to retract his foreskin himself. (He does not need his mother’s or his doctor’s help to do this.)

Remember that a healthy foreskin is just that. There is no need to remove it any more than there is a need to remove a healthy appendix (even though the child might suffer appendicitis later, might have to have surgery later, might even die from the appendicitis). The foreskin has important roles and is there for many reasons.

Circumcision is traumatic, and this cannot be denied. If you are considering circumcision, please, watch some videos, read stories by grown men who had “uncomplicated” circumcisions and are not happy, and reconsider taking actions that are painful and that interfere with nature when there is no problem to begin with.

Dr Carmack's recently published book.
Dr Carmack’s recently published book.

Adrienne Carmack, M.D. is a board-certified urologic surgeon, a practicing physician, and a natural birth and breastfeeding advocate. During her urologic training, she discovered that US medical studies on circumcision are profoundly flawed.

Driven to learn the truth, Adrienne reviewed international medical research first on circumcision and then on natural birth and breastfeeding. She realized that most American birth practices are founded, not on fact-based science, but on current cultural norms.

Adrienne believes that all parents have a right to know the medical facts around birth rights, which she defines as the rights of mothers and children to experience safe, natural births free of unnecessary interventions.

As a doctor, she supports medical intervention when it is appropriate and necessary. However, she has made it her life’s work to free parents and children from the unnecessary medicalization of normal life events.

Adrienne completed her urology residency at the University of Miami in 2007, surgery internship at Vanderbilt in 2003, and medical school at Texas A&M in 2002. She is on the Board of Medical Advisers of Intact America and is a member of Doctors Opposing Circumcision.

She is the mother of two girls and a boy, all of whom were born outside of a hospital and breastfed and none of whom were circumcised.

You can find her book, “Reclaiming My Birth Rights” HERE.

More info about circumcision from our instructors:

Basic Facts About Circumcision by Rachael Hope (Washington State)

If My Girls Had Been Boys by Dani Long (Germany)

Circumcision Regrets by Cori Gentry (Salinas, CA)

And an Interview with Dr Carmack

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Placenta Encapsulation: Mother Nature’s Gift for Postpartum Wellness

At Birth Boot Camp we are surrounded by simply amazing and talented instructors. We love them and the skills they bring to the table. One of our most recently certified instructors is Carmen Calvo who teaches in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a placenta encapsulation specialist (and an excellent writer) and a mother of two. Today our guest post is from her and we think you will love it! Feel free to ask questions in the comments and share with your friends. Basic information on placenta encapsulation is also included in the Field Manual that comes with your birth class. Read more

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Natural Birth Matters To Adoptive Parents – A Guest Post By Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

One of the founding principals behind Birth Boot Camp’s dedication to natural birth education is the belief that birth actually matters. To families this is clear, especially after the baby is born and they see the lasting impact it has made on their life. But the importance of birth does not end with those who will give birth, it is shared by all of us. Read more

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