Childbirth professionals, birthing networks, birth professionals, natural childbirth advocates…are all names used to describe the growing community actively advocating for childbirth as a normal healthy part of a woman’s life cycle. Through the use of childbirth non dual teacher, this community’s life goal is to empower women to make informed choices around their pregnancy and delivery options using evidence-based research as the foundation.
As a member of this growing community, I am often caught between what I view as two worlds. My reality, in which I am childbirth professional certified in childbirth education, perinatal fitness, and a breastfeeding peer counselor trainer. Then there is the other real world, where my work in a community-based agency allows me to witness the politics of being pregnant and giving birth in the “inner city.”
I listen to my professional daytime colleagues express opinions indicating that what we birth advocates do is ‘cute’, but distracting to the bigger picture, their picture. They ask if our services are free, as if we shouldn’t dare dream of earning a living this way. They even sometimes dismiss our credentials with statements such as, Yes, what you do is nice, but clients prefer to have someone qualified with them.”, when they talk about providing quality education.
To be fair let’s examine the flip side of the coin. The same people who I treasure for their insightfulness and dedication to mothers and their families can sometimes be overwhelming with their crusade. Exaggerations are made about obstetricians and the quality of hospital births and bashing sometimes becomes part of the circle of sharing.
The definition of childbirth education can be as varied as there are education modalities. Although definitions can vary among educators and or certification institutions… it can be simply defined as follows:
Childbirth Education Classes prepare a woman for the experience of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Through the use of a series of classes a woman is educated on the anatomy, physiological changes, nutrition, risks and benefits of medical interventions, pain coping strategies, cesarean risk reduction, and breastfeeding. Some educators are also taught to encourage women to recognize and use their innate abilities and intuition to birth.
Did you know the Healthy People 2010 update section 16:7 directly addresses childbirth education? The Healthy People 2010, a set of health objectives designed to guide health professionals in achieving improved health results for Americans over the first decade of the new century, speaks to the importance of improving maternal, infant and child health in this quote: