Cooperative Childbirth Education: Class Descriptions

Cooperative Childbirth Education classes in Muskegon

Birth Quest’s fall 2017 and winter 2018 childbirth education classes can be taken a la carte.

Interested in attending childbirth education classes, but don’t have the time to research your options, travel outside of Muskegon or attend a full series?

Busy families like yours want to be able to make the best use of their valuable time when expecting a new addition. That’s why Birth Quest offers a la cart classes so that you can seek out knowledge according to your unique interests and circumstances. I have taught a wide variety of classes privately, in group settings, for non-profit organizations, and as a guest presenter in classrooms. Since 2014, I have taught classes in the following settings (places in italics were as a volunteer):

Please contact me if you would like to host a class!

Are you having trouble deciding which classes to attend? Check out the class descriptions below:

  • Choices in Childbirth: Providers and Settings — Did you know that the choice of where and with whom to give birth best predictor how it will turn out? The purpose of this class is to educate you about all of your choices are so that you can give birth where you feel safest and the most supported.
  • Self-Care for Your Changing Body — This class is for those who are motivated to optimize their health during pregnancy through diet, movement and tending to their emotional needs. Strategies for alleviating common pregnancy discomforts will also be shared.
  • Holistic Pregnancy Care Options — Many families are turning to less invasive and more natural solutions during pregnancy and birth. This class will look at several different complementary and alternative medicine options, along with where to find practitioners in the Muskegon area.
  • Birth Plans: What Parents Need to Know — There sure are a lot of choices to be made when having a baby! You will leave this class confident, knowing what the available research says about birth plans, staff responses and birth outcomes. Parents will be provided with multiple templates for creating a birth plan, as well as advice for forgoing a birth plan altogether. Whatever families decide, they will learn all the key decision-making points from early labor to common newborn procedures and everything in between.
  • Labor & Delivery: Prepared & Informed — Birth is unpredictable, full of unexpected twists and turns, making it something families anticipate with both excitement and apprehension. Highlights of this class include indications for, risks and benefits of and how to prevent common interventions, such as inductions, episiotomy and cesarean. Childbirth education does not guarantee an outcome, but it can lead to empowerment: knowledge is power!
  • Essentials of Labor Support: What Birthing People Need — This class is for the birthing person and whoever they choose to support them during labor and delivery, including spouses, partners, friends and family members. Topics include communication skills, practicing massage comfort techniques and so much more!
  • Pain-Coping Strategies: A Smorgasbord of Options — Pain relief during labor is a primary concern for many pregnant people. Some believe that they must choose between no pain relief or an epidural. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since the days of a one-size-fits-all approach. We will explore a full spectrum of both pharmaceutical and natural ways to lessen and cope with the pain of childbirth.
  • Postpartum Wellness: The Fourth Trimester — This class is focused on the physical and emotional health of parents after a birth. We will cover recovery from a vaginal or a cesarean birth, movement, nutrition and mental health with lots of resources for further exploration. This class is appropriate for any expectant or new parent.
  • Newborn Care — Babies aren’t born with an instruction manual, but the good news is that you are the expert on caring for your baby! We will cover what to expect from newborns in terms of appearance and behavior, as well as bonding, development, diapering, bathing, safe sleep and more!
  • Breastfeed Successfully with Knowledge & Support — This class is for anyone interested in learning more about the benefits of breastfeeding how it works, and how to avoid common pitfalls, as well as community resources to support breastfeeding families.
  • Childbirth After Cesarean: Making Informed Decisions — With about 1/3 of West Michigan moms delivering their babies via cesarean, many are faced with limited future childbearing options. This class seeks to inform and empower families before and during pregnancy to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
  • Introduction to Birth Work: Doulas & Childbirth Educators — This class explains possible career paths for doulas and childbirth educators, what they do and how they positively impact birth outcomes. The presentation concludes with a sample childbirth education class.

You can find out about upcoming classes on my calendar or under “events” on Birth Quest’s Facebook page.

Classes can be tailored to suit the needs of any setting or population, like youth, maternal and infant health professionals, homeless shelters, or places of worship. Presentations can also be developed to cover other specific topics, like pregnancy complications, anger management during pregnancy, substance abuse prevention or parenting. What topics would you like to see Birth Quest offer?

Summer 2016 Childbirth Classes

Private childbirth education classes in Muskegon - be prepared!

Private childbirth education classes in Muskegon – be prepared!

The hardest part about teaching classes has been finding appropriate, inclusive, affordable locations. I did a series of mini-classes last summer at the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center, but was unable to charge the participants. I did a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) class at On the Path Yoga studio in Spring Lake, but they are a busy studio with lots of other things going on.  That’s why I was delighted to receive permission to hold classes at The Center, a welcoming location conveniently located in the four corners in North Muskegon. Earlier this month, I learned that they were moving and going through other internal organizational changes. I immediately thought of the lovely Red Lotus art gallery, located in downtown Muskegon in the basement of the Century Club building and was pleased to find out how accommodating they are to a small business like mine. An artist myself (I sell buttons at the gallery), I’m looking forward to teaching surrounded by unique families and beautiful art!

For more information on individual summer 2016 childbirth classes, please see the events on my Facebook page or my calendar. Thank you and hope to see you at an upcoming class!

Childbirth Classes?  Yes, you should!

The question of if and how families benefit from childbirth classes is complex.  Despite some research in this area, there is wide variation among curriculum, instructors, duration and settings.  Instead of drastically impacting the physiological outcomes of birth, I found that classes help families prepare mentally to “complete an important developmental milestone” (Koehn 2008) and “expand the social network of new parents” (Fabian et. al. 2005).

How do Cooperative Childbirth Education classes vary from other classes?

  • Cooperative childbirth education is based on the experiences of women, not named after a male doctor who made a “discovery” through observation. While I can’t ignore the work of my male predecessors, such as Lamaze, Bradley and Grantly Dick-Read, my education was based on the writings of women in the field, such as Ina May GaskinSheila Kitzinger and others.
  • I write my own entire curriculum and do not follow anything copywrited. This means that I can update the information I present at will or tailor it to fit the needs of my students, without having to receive permission or approval from a certifying agency.
  • Unlike hospital classes, in which the instructor, usually a Registered Nurse, is an employee of the hospital, I am independent and self-employed. Hospital classes are sometimes criticized for creating more compliant patients instead of empowered consumers.
  • I have no agenda. Most classes center around “natural” or “unmedicated” childbirth as their goal.  While most people seek out classes to achieve an unmedicated birth, I want families to have enough information to make the right decisions for them.
  • As the Cooperative Childbirth Education website states, we are trained to be “passionate consumer advocates.” I’m not just doing a job, I’m a part of a movement.  Many movements in fact, all working toward the shared goal of increasing access to childbearing options for all families.

I hope you will join me at an upcoming class, where you can prepare for your birth quest and connect with other parents!

Fabian, Helena M., Ingela J. Rådestad, and Ulla Waldenström. “Childbirth and parenthood education classes in Sweden. Women’s opinion and possible outcomes.” Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica 84.5 (2005): 436-443.

Koehn, Mary. “Contemporary women’s perceptions of childbirth education.” The Journal of perinatal education 17.1 (2008): 11.

Birth Quest Debuts Cooperative Childbirth Classes

Cooperative Childbirth Education Classes (Spring 2015)

I’ve probably been to more childbirth classes than anyone I know. The first series was taught through the Federally Qualified Health Center where I received prenatal care when I was pregnant with my son in Manhattan seventeen years ago, called Ryan-NENA Health Center. The instructor spoke a lot about how vivid her dreams were during pregnancy. She dreamed she was having a litter of puppies. She also spoke about her fear of leaving the baby on the car and driving away. I missed the final class, a tour of Beth Israel Medical Center’s obstetric unit, because my son was born a month early!

The second class I took was with Rochel Lieberman, Certified Midwife (CM) and Lamaze Instructor at Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn. I chose her class because the public hospital where she taught specialized in the treatment of women with HIV.

Ms. Lieberman addressed her diverse audience by celebrating heritage. She asked each of us to share a trait we hoped this baby would inherit from the other person there. We mixed up the answers, held our support person’s hand and squeezed it when our trait was read. She also used film well, choosing each birth with consideration to reflect the families she worked with.

The next class series was in a Park Slope, Brooklyn brownstone with Ellen Chuse. We intimately and comfortably nestled into her living room for eight weekly sessions. I remember there being a midwife among the students. This was her first pregnancy and she knew that she needed this knowledge now that she was the patient. I was nervous for Ellen, having to teach someone who already had specialized clinical training in childbirth! She didn’t sweat it, but instead saw an opportunity to share even more knowledge with her students.

The most recent class I attended was with Samantha Kauffman at Gerber in Fremont. She was on-point with both the medical research and what is important to today’s moms. She showed a YouTube video with Penny Simkin that got my partner excited about delayed cord clamping — I couldn’t believe it!

So, you can only imagine how excited I am to walk in the footsteps of these great women in my profession, who have touched so many families at a time when information can provide comfort, strength and save lives.

I want my classes to be filled with families choosing birth center, hospital, home and free births. I want my classes to be a safe space for surrogate, same-sex, adoptive and biological parents. Whether you worship one God or Goddess, many, or none, you are welcome. Everyone gets the same information and gets to choose based on who they are and what’s important to them, without fear of judgment. That is, after all, the whole idea!