I'm a new CBE, although I have taught hospital classes, just working on developing my own curriculum. I want to make sure I understand what students really LOVE about their childbirth classes. Would you seasoned CBEs be willing to share the segments of your class that students say is most illuminating, practical or fun?
Thanks so much,
After teaching privately in another state, I've recently started teaching in a hospital setting...and though I'm not restricted on what I teach, I realize that I could at any time be walking the line of having or not having a job. As such, I started using a technique I saw used at one of the many classes I observed and it's AWESOME! It's the intervention section - I have a bunch of books, including the one that the hospital has been giving out to their students since before me, that are marked where info can be found on topics such as epidural (lots of that info), narcotics, induction, etc, etc. I have the students each choose a topic they'd like to research (I have small classes, but if you had larger classes, each couple could take on a topic, or even pairs of couples), and I direct them to look for their topic and they spend 5 or so minutes doing their own dang research, and writing out the pros and cons of their topic. It's brilliant because it's not ME, the clearly pro-natural teacher, educating them on these things, they're doing it themselves from respectable sources. Then, after they've written out their pros/cons cards, I pass around a stethescope and have each one play doctor while the rest of the class practices BRAND (benefits, risks, alternatives, do nothing, decide). I fill in the alternatives, and share what might happen under different circumstances if they did nothing. I have them all fill out evaluations for every class in the series and this exercise almost always gets ALL students to comment about it favorably -they learn! It means more to them that they figured it out, and then taught others about it.
My other favorite exercise is to use a ping pong ball in a balloon to show the 6 ways to progress. You stuff the ball in the balloon, blow it up to not a huge size, and then let the ball settle down over the open hole. It will stop up the hole in a nearly magic-show fashion. :) Then you can show braxton hicks contractions (just squeezing in the middle of the balloon doesn't make the ball/baby head go anywhere), vs. a 'real' contraction - squeeze from the 'fundus' of the balloon and watch the ball/head descend into the 'cervix' (the part of the balloon you'd normally tie. Then you can position the balloon near your own pelvis and show how the cervix tips forward, how it effaces when the uterus contracts (don't birth the ball out!). You can't really show descent or ripening or rotation with the balloon...but it's still fun! I show them the balloon, then have them play with their own set up (using a new balloon for each class), and teach each other what they know.
I really, really, really like showing 'real' birth videos. I don't want anyone (fathers!) freaking out when they hear real women really laboring. I like Penny Simkin's 3 R's, and am always on the hunt for other natural birth videos of women laboring well...that don't cost an arm and a leg! (shout out if you know of any!).
Lastly, when I was taking some ceu's for my Lamaze certification I ran across a study showing that what women want from their childbirth classes, in addition to L&D info obviously, was more info on being a parent. Huh! Then I read a paper on the HUG program (Helping, Understanding, Guiding newborn parents) - put the two ideas together (I'm smart like that), and got myself HUG certified (super easy!), and now I've added a final class to my childbirth series that is focused on newborn parenting, because really - L&D lasts, let's call it a day. Parenting? Right. The HUG info is hugely awesome. I SO wish I'd known it with my 2 kids. So that last class is doing the HUG stuff, coupled with Harvey Karp's 5 S's (Happiest Baby on the Block), which perfectly dovetails in with Jan Tedder's HUG program, and then I bring some bjorns and slings and we all wear my daughters baby dolls. And I feel good that I have given them really solid and useful info that they can use after that birth that I've hopefully gotten them prepared to make the most of!
Thus concludes my best practices for now!