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

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Kim Graves, Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator on Whibley Island, Washington State

Birth Classes on Whidbey Island, WA

The choice to name this childbirth company, “Birth Boot Camp” was intentional. We wanted people to know that the class was intensive and serious and we wanted partners to feel comfortable coming to class and not feel like it was all just focused on the mother. One result is that we have our fair share of women teaching who were active duty military or are married to active duty military. We love having them be part of our organization. And because they tend to move on a regular basis, they help us spread the Birth Boot Camp love around the country (and world)!

Today we will introduce you to Kim Graves. She was one of the incredible women who has taken our training. Now residing and teaching childbirth classes in Washington State on Whidbey Island, she is dedicated to helping women have better births no matter where she is. Let’s meet her!

Kim Graves, Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator on Whidbey Island, Washington State

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.

My name is Kim Graves and I’m a mom to three beautiful children, a daughter and two sons, all born naturally. I grew up in Hawaii, went to school in San Diego, then married a Navy man and have lived in WA, CA, and FL, and am now currently back in Washington state, on beautiful Whidbey Island.

When I got pregnant with my first I thought I’d just do what everyone else did, and go to the hospital to get an epidural. But as I started to research birth a bit more I knew that wasn’t what I wanted. My husband & I took a 12 week childbirth class and it was the best thing we could have done! I had an amazing natural hospital birth in our small town community hospital. 3 years later I found myself pregnant again, but living in a different place with a hospital I knew for sure I didn’t want to birth in, so I started researching midwives. After interviewing the one closest to us, it was actually my husband who said we should do it at home. He’s in the Navy and was likely going to be deployed for the birth, so the added comfort of not having to worry about what to do with our older daughter was a big factor. My husband ended up missing my son’s birth by just 8 hours! But I have to say that even though I’d never wish him not there for a birth, giving birth in just the presence of women was an amazing experience. My third baby was born at home also, and was my husband’s first homebirth experience, and it was so fun to see him finally “get” why I loved my homebirth with our second baby.

I knew as soon as we took our class with our first pregnancy that I wanted to teach childbirth education. It made such a huge impact on me, not only learning things I wasn’t learning anywhere else, but also being surrounded by other couples who had the same goal of a natural birth. I was surrounded by naysayers when I’d say I was planning a natural birth, so having that community was so important to me.

What first got you interested in the realm of birth?

Popping that first baby out! It was so empowering! I wanted every woman to know they could have an amazing birth, and not fear it so much like society tells us we should. I very quickly became a birth junkie!

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

That women can’t always trust who they birth with. A woman should be able to walk into a hospital and have the birth they want, but unfortunately that’s just not true so much of the time these days. It’s hard, because I think it’s so different now than even our mother’s generation, so when we’re hearing our mother’s stories we think we can do it. So many women just don’t realize what they’re up against when they walk in the hospital doors. The policy that often isn’t evidence based, the deeply ingrained ideas many doctors hold that birth needs to be “fixed” or managed. And that women themselves don’t realize it doesn’t need to be managed either, that our bodies are MEANT to do this, even without help of doctors and hospitals, and pitocin and epidurals, and monitoring belts and IVs.

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

Without naming names, there were several programs I was looking at when my second baby got to an age where I finally decided to jump in and pursue this goal. But none of them were really speaking to me. And then Birth Boot Camp was announced. The timing was just meant to be! What I love most about it, besides that it’s so comprehensive and up to date, is that it’s women run. Every other program I was looking at was run by men, and that seemed to be part of their weakness. I love that Birth Boot Camp was “birthed” by women!

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

I was living in Florida at the time and flew to Dallas for my training. I had originally planned on training in June, but then found myself pregnant again and due in July! My husband wasn’t comfortable with me traveling so late in my pregnancy, so I moved up my training to April. It made it a little tight, since I had to fit all my reading and preparation into 5 months instead of 7, but I loved immersing myself into the material. The training itself was so much fun. Being surrounded by so many passionate women is inspiring! And getting to meet Donna & Sarah was a huge bonus!

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

I still feel pretty new to this game. I taught one class with one student in Florida before we moved back to Washington, where I’m starting all over again as far as networking and getting my name out there. I’m currently planning a class for November, and have had a lot of interest! Whidbey Island is a fairly small community, and is sorely lacking in childbirth education options. I’ve had a very warm welcome from the birth community here, and lots of interest from potential students!

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

What I loved most was actually seeing all the demos that are talked about in our instructor manual. I’m a visual learner, so that was huge for me. We also each got to mock teach a topic to the group, and it was so helpful to see how differently everyone approached their topics. Everyone has their own style, and it was great to get a taste of so many.

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

As a feminist, what I love most about childbirth education is how empowering it is. Women own their choices, and own their births, and go into parenthood more confident. I love how we include dads, to help empower them, too! There are also so many health benefits, and as we see more research being done I think we’ll start seeing more of a backlash against managed birth and hopefully more women choosing natural births, which I hope in turn will push hospitals to change their policies to be more mother and baby friendly, and more evidence based.

Where can we find you? (Website, FB page, physical location, etc.)

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My website is KeepCalmBirthOn.com. I’m teaching in Oak Harbor, WA, which is located on Whidbey Island. My email is kgraves(at)birthbootcamp(dot)com

Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care

Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care

Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care during pregnancy is something that we have always encouraged for our students. The reasons for this are many and can  include:

-Increased comfort during pregnancy. Back pain during pregnancy is a common problem that can be helped with chiropractic. The benefits can extend beyond this issue and help other sources of discomfort like SPD.

-Improved positioning of the infant for birth. Webster certified chiropractors are famous for their ability to adjust the pelvis and release the round ligament on the pregnant mom and thus allow the baby to move into a position that is more advantageous for the birth. This can help with breech presentations as well as posterior or other variations.

-Faster labor. Many midwives notice that their clients who have regular chiropractic care from a skilled practitioner have faster births than those who don’t. This may be due to the improved positioning of the baby which can allow it to more easily navigate through the pelvis.

The benefits of chiropractic care can even extend beyond the birth of the baby and into the breastfeeding relationship. Some lactation consultants refer to chiropractors for latch issues or trouble breastfeeding.

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Dr Kristin Hosaka, Birth Boot Camp Advisory Board Member, adjusts a baby.

The video below briefly describes how and why we include chiropractic in our online childbirth classes and encourage our live instructors to invite a local chiropractor to their own classes.

We believe that chiropractic care can be an important part of achieving a natural birth.

Looking for a chiropractor for your pregnancy? Check out this article on how to find one for you.

References-

This small study found that chiropractic adjustment could relieve back pain during pregnancy:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1829312?dopt=Abstract

This small study also found chiropractic care to give significant relief to a high percentage of women: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16399602?dopt=Abstract

This case study chronicles the labor pattern of one women and quick progress after adjustment: http://chiropracticpediatrics.sharepoint.com/Pages/2009_1002_dystocia.aspx

Three patients discussed whose labor quickly proceeded after chiropractic adjustment: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/chiropractic-care-of-women-during-pregnancy-and-the-possible-success-at-resolving-dystocia-a-case-series.html

30 pregnant patients undergo Webster technique adjustments and most see improved fetal positioning: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/patients-with-malposition-and-malpresentation-pregnancies-cared-for-with-the-webster-technique-a-retrospective-analysis.html

5 patients with breech babies undergo chiropractic care and all have improved positioning: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/the-webster-in-utero-constraint-technique-a-case-series.html

A survey of chiropractors practicing the Webster technique finds a high percentage of patients have resolved breech presentation following adjustment: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/the-webster-technique-a-chiropractic-technique.html

Review of chiropractic during pregnancy evidence: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18722200

9 examples or studies of chiropractic benefiting the breastfeeding relationship or improving latch: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/Breastfeeding-Difficulties/

 

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Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Instructor Training, October 2014

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We just finished up our 10th (!!!) natural childbirth instructor training for Birth Boot Camp. It is hard to believe that we have achieved this milestone. Here are some highlights from our most recent training in Dallas/Fort Worth Texas.

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.

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Below are April Francom and founder Donna Ryan. April oversees all our administration and instructor certification. When you apply to become a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator, April will be the person who guides you and helps answer your questions.

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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.

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(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.

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Ebo’nae was a bit of an overachiever. She wrote an entire poem about her topic and presented it to the group. These ladies always impress!
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Instructor Stephanie made up her own mnemonic to help dads remember how to handle labor with grace. Impressive!

 

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Jillian was one of the most energetic and fun instructors we have met. Her students are in for a good time!

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.

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As you can see, they kept taking pictures even after their head shots were done. We love how close these educators are by the end of training. It is wonderful to spend time with women you share a passion for birth with!
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These ladies were sister-in-laws and attended training together. We love it when childbirth education is a family affair!

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.

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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.

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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!

Apply to become a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator or doula TODAY!

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4 Reasons You Should Travel For Doula Training

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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.

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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!

Meet our amazing doula trainers, Maria and Amanda. They are incredible.

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What Your Doctor Wants To Tell You About Birth, But Can’t

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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.

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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.

Follow the project on twitter and instagram @whynothome and facebook at facebook.com/whynothome

You can find Jessicca on twitter @jessicca_moore

(Photos by Erin Wrightsman, used with permission.)

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