By Eliza Payne
Imagine this: You are a few days past 40 weeks of pregnancy, excited to meet your sweet baby. Just as you are getting ready for bed and notice some cramp like sensations, more intense than the Braxton Hicks contractions you often experience. You are filled with excitement thinking, “Could this be the start of labor?” As you continue getting ready for bed you notice the sensations last about thirty seconds and come every 15 or 20 minutes. Is this early labor? What do you do now?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell at first if what you are experiencing is really labor - and that’s okay. Early labor offers an invitation to embrace the mystery and unknown of how and when your baby will make its way earthside. There is usually a slow, gradual process of contractions becoming longer, stronger, and closer together. Every labor has its own unique unfolding, but often early labor is the longest phase of labor. So what are some of the most helpful things to do during this time?
Here are a few suggestions for early labor:
1. Practice patience. As you feel those first contractions, you never know exactly how much longer it will be until you hold your baby in your arms. You could be in labor for a few hours or a few days. One of the most helpful things to remember is, labor takes as long as it takes. I know it’s hard when you are excited to meet your baby, but early labor often requires a lot of waiting and patience as you let things unfold in their own timing. Try not to rush or force things to happen and practice patience instead.
2. Ignore labor until you can’t anymore. Similar to practicing patience, ignoring labor early on can help your mindset immensely. If you focus a lot on contractions too soon it can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. Try to go about your activities like normal, without thinking too much about being in labor or how long it has been. Distraction can be really beneficial at this point.
3. Rest, rest, rest!!! Especially if early labor starts in the middle of the night, try to sleep as long as you can! If you are about to go to bed and contractions are mild, try to sleep! If it is the middle of the day, try to take a nap! Do you get my point yet? Always try to rest, even if you don’t actually sleep. Restful activities will help conserve your energy so you have more of it when you need it most towards the end of labor. Some people enjoy working on a relaxing labor project alone or with their partner, like baking a special treat or working on a puzzle that you saved just for labor. A few more restful ideas: take a bath, get a massage, watch a show, read alone or with your kids, recline with your eyes closed, or listen to a meditation, calming music, an audio book or podcast.
4. Stay hydrated and eat something. Labor is an extremely physical event and your body needs plenty of fuel. Focus on staying hydrated and eating in early labor because it might be the last time you get a good meal for a while. Electrolyte beverages are especially helpful, such as coconut water, Gatorade, or homemade labor-aid (you can look up recipes online, but recipes usually include coconut water, fresh lemon juice, sea salt, and honey). Bone broth is another nourishing option. As for food, focus on high protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs to keep you full and energized. Listen to your body and eat what sounds good.
5. Create an oxytocin-rich environment. Oxytocin, the love hormone, plays a key role in labor. It can help with labor progression and also acts as a natural pain reliever, so it is essential to keep the oxytocin flowing in early labor. Try to decrease stress as much as possible and increase oxytocin by creating more love in your environment. Think cuddling, sex, massage, slow dancing with your partner, listening to music you love, watching a funny show, eating foods that bring you comfort, or anything that makes you happy and feel loved.
6. Try not to engage your thinking brain. As you go through labor, brain waves change and become increasingly slower and drop into a more primal, feeling state. To help your mind relax, try to avoid new environments that require a lot of thinking, talking, or social interactions. If the weather permits, you might enjoy being outside and connecting with nature. Try going inward and tune into your body. Don’t focus on the clock or timing contractions. Ask your partner to take care of any logistics, like last minute packing or securing childcare, so you can go deeper into a relaxed, meditative state.
7. Move intentionally. If you have rested all you can, have the energy, and are practicing patience and not trying to rush labor, there can be some really helpful movements and positions for early labor. Doing the Miles Circuit or Spinning Babies Three Balances can be very helpful to get your baby in an optimal position for labor. Any kind of gentle movement, like figure eights on a birth ball, pelvic rocks, or walking can be beneficial. Just remember not to over-do it and wear yourself out. Your energy is precious and you will likely need a lot of it later on.
8. Stay at home as long as possible. Especially if your goal is an unmedicated birth, it is a good idea to stay at home as long as possible. In early labor your baby does not need to be monitored and it is better for you to be in the comfort of your home where you can get in a good rhythm without the constant interruptions from the medical staff. Often things can progress faster at home because you can more easily incorporate all of the suggestions above. After all, when you are at home it is easier to stay patient, ignore labor, rest and relax, eat and drink, create more oxytocin, not be in your thinking brain, and move intentionally.
Early labor can be a time between worlds and you may experience a range of feelings, from excitement and nervousness. All the months of waiting and preparing for your birth have led to this moment. In the coming hours or days, you will soon be meeting your baby! Hopefully some of these tips can make your labor more of a positive, empowering experience where you discover your strength.
Preparing for a new baby can be expensive, and the list of things you could spend money on during your pregnancy can seem endless! Childbirth education can be a bit of a financial investment, but taking a high-quality childbirth class is worth every penny! Here's why:
1. You'll feel so much more prepared and confident going into your birth.
Knowledge is power! Especially if this is your first time giving birth, there's probably a lot you don't know yet about the physical, physiological, and emotional process of giving birth. Many first-time parents who don't take a class feel overwhelmed by all of the unknowns during the birth process and end up second-guessing their decisions and having a less-than-ideal experience. (I speak from my own experience and from the experiences of many clients who came to me wanting a better experience for their second birth.)
2. You'll connect with other parents-to-be.
Taking a group birth class is a great way to connect with others in your same life stage! The people you meet in your birth classes could become some of your close friends, and will be great options for play dates as your kids grow! This goes for both moms and dads. Our childbirth classes are designed for both parents to attend, so you'll have a chance to meet other dads and moms who "get it." Making the transition to parenthood can feel lonely if your friends are in different life stages, so birth classes are a great chance to make new friends who are celebrating the same milestones and facing similar challenges as you!
3. Trained childbirth educators will share the info that really matters in a way that you'll remember it.
We get it. There's SO much info on the internet and social media apps these days. It's tempting to think that you can get all the information you need to prepare for childbirth on your phone or computer. There's a huge benefit, though, to having an expert childbirth educator facilitate your learning. After spending some time following Instagram accounts and searching Google, you'll quickly discover that there's WAY more info on the internet about birth than you could ever hope to learn during your pregnancy. And some of it seems contradictory! Taking a childbirth class means you have an experienced, knowledgeable teacher who has mined through all of the childbirth information and found the most important content to share with you. And if you take a birth class through Summit Birth Utah, we can guarantee that our classes will be memorable and engaging... way more fun that scrolling on your phone!
Welcome to the journey. Whether this is your first baby or your fifth, your pregnancy marks the start of a new path on your journey of motherhood. As birth professionals, we've walked this path before. We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to help you prepare for and enjoy a positive and empowering birth.
We love birth. Like hiking to a mountain's summit, giving birth pushes us past our perceived limits. It urges us to call on our inner strength and climb to new heights. And the journey's pinnacle, as we snuggle our new little babes to our skin, rushed with hormones that fill us with indescribable love, is truly life-changing. It's empowering to look back over the ascent and its challenges and say, "we did it!"
Discover Your Strength
The Summit Birth Utah tagline is "discover your strength." Childbirth is unlike any other human experience. When else do we go to the edge of what we thought we were capable of, persist through and past it, and bring forth new life?
Sometimes, the magic and wonder of birth are lost to beeping machines and hospital gowns. But no matter how or where you give birth, the act of bringing new life into the world is incredible. You are incredible. And we hope that, through this experience, you are able to discover new strength within yourself. We hope that, through birthing your child, you also rebirth yourself. You are so much stronger than you know. And birth can help you discover your strength.
Thoughts from the Summit Birth Utah Team
"We can go our entire life feeling like we know who we are, and what we are made of, but it’s not until you experience the incredible opportunity of creating a unique individual inside of you, and bring that child into the world that you truly discover the depths of your own strength. During those incredible moments, you experience innate inner strength on a level that could not be adequately described to you, but must be experienced to comprehend. The cries of a woman delivering a child are some of the most beautiful sounds in the world. I am woman, hear me roar!"
"I discovered my strength when I was giving birth to my fourth child. I was at the point of pushing and I felt like I just couldn't do it. I didn't WANT to do it; it was too hard! But thanks to my midwife and my doula, they reminded me that I have the strength to do it, to push my baby out. Only I could do it. And guess what? I did! I remember distinctly summoning the courage, taking a breath and pushing my little boy out and into this world. It was the most amazing thing."
"Birth is a brave journey into the unknown that requires mental, physical, and emotional strength. I have witnessed this strength in every woman who has risen to the challenge of giving birth. Sometimes this means facing fears, advocating for needs, processing difficult emotions, coping through intense contractions, or simply being present with what is. Even -maybe especially - when things don’t go as expected, strength is found as you carry on and face the unknowns of birth."
"In pregnancy and birth we are at our most vulnerable and, in that, our most powerful. There is a particular and deep strength inside us that can only be accessed in doing the intense, instinctual, and incredible work of bringing a soul to life. That strength is there in every birth, but sometimes can be masked by many different dynamics that can accompany birth. When we are educated and supported, we can truly discover (and use, and celebrate!) our powerful strength."
-Charity Eyre Wright
Are you thinking of hiring a doula? Or just curious about what exactly a doula is? Maybe you want to take a childbirth class, but you’re overwhelmed by all of the options and not sure which one is the best fit for you.
To help you find answers to these questions, Summit Birth Utah is hosting a FREE Virtual Meet & Greet! Join us on Zoom on Tuesday, Aug. 1 from 8:00-8:30 PM MDT. Register here to get the link! If you're not sure you can make it, you can register anyway, and we'll send you a recording of the Meet & Greet afterward!
Here's what to expect at this FREE event:
For the first ten minutes, each member of the Summit Birth Utah team will introduce herself. We have three incredible birth doulas: Eliza, Esther, and Sarah, and two fabulous childbirth educators: Charity and Sara. Each team member will introduce herself, sharing her background, why she loves birth work, and some logistics about the area she serves/the class she teaches.
Then, we'll answer questions that were sent in from registration forms and social media polls before the event. You'll hear answers to questions about the services we offer, our grant program for families with financial constraints, and your questions about pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum time period.
For the last several minutes, we'll open it up for questions from live participants. This is a big perk of attending live! Based on what you've heard from the first two-thirds of the Meet & Greet, you can ask follow-up questions or anything that has popped into your head. Take advantage of having five experienced birth professionals at your fingertips, and pick our brains!
After the official end of the 30-minute event, we'll turn off the recording and stay on the call for a while longer if you have questions you'd rather ask off-record or more privately. (We'll even send you to a private virtual breakout room with a member of the team if that's most comfortable for you.) We know that pregnancy and birth can be intimate, vulnerable topics, so we'll provide a respectful space for you to ask your more private questions.
After 15-20 minutes for non-recorded questions, we'll call it a wrap!
We hope you'll join us for our FREE Virtual Meet & Greet! And please share this post with the other expectant parents in your life!
If you're a parent-to-be researching adding a doula to your birth team, you may have asked this question. Depending on your area and the experience level of your doula, a complete doula services package is typically $1,000-$3,000. That can feel like a big investment! But I guarantee, an excellent doula is worth that much (and more)!
In order to understand a doula's value, it's important to first know what a doula is. If you're not quite sure, read this post for a detailed explanation, and then head back here to keep reading!
In addition to the physical, emotional, informational, and relational support outlined in the "What is a Doula?" post, doulas do so much behind-the-scenes work that adds value to what they offer as a member of your birth team.
In addition to all of this value that doulas offer to their clients, consider how doula support can be an investment that ends up saving you money in the long run!
Ideas: How to Afford a Doula
I'm hoping, by now, that I've convinced you that doulas are well worth the doula package price of $1,000-$3,000. Even so, it may still feel out of reach for you to hire a doula. What can you do?
You may need to think outside the box a little, but there are definitely ways to make having a doula a possibility for you! Here are some ideas:
Sometimes, even with all of these ideas, hiring a doula may still feel unreachable for you. If finances are tight and the above ideas aren't working for you, or aren't reaching far enough, please fill out an application for a grant for birth services. We offer grants of various sizes based on client need and current grant fund balance. We're typically able to offer at least a small grant (and sometimes a very substantial grant) to everyone with true need who applies!
At Summit Birth Utah, we truly believe that everyone deserves a supported birth, and we will do everything we can to make doula support a possibility for you.
Have you ever wondered what exactly a birth doula is and why people choose to have them as part of their birth team?
A birth doula serves as a trusted companion, offering physical, emotional, informational, and relational support throughout your pregnancy, labor, and postpartum period.
During labor, birth doulas offers techniques and guidance to help manage discomfort and promote optimal positioning. They may suggest comfort measures, provide massage, and use relaxation techniques to alleviate tension.
Pregnancy and childbirth can bring up a range of emotions, and birth doulas understand this. They offer a nurturing presence, a listening ear, and words of encouragement to uplift and empower you.
Equipped with evidence-based knowledge, birth doulas share the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding your birth preferences. They provide resources, answer your questions, and help you understand the various options available, empowering you to actively participate in your birthing journey.
As a valuable member of your birth team, birth doulas work collaboratively with your healthcare providers, partner, and support network. They facilitate open communication, ensuring that your needs and preferences are respected and understood.
Would you like to hire a birth doula to experience all of these benefits? We have a team of three fabulous birth doulas serving Utah County and Salt Lake County. All of our doulas offer free consultations, so you can find the right fit for your unique personality, needs, and values.
We believe that everyone deserves a supported birth, so we also offer grants for families with financial constraints. If you would benefit from this, visit www.summitbirthutah.com/grants to fill out an application!
Share this post with others who may benefit from understanding the invaluable role of birth doulas. Together, let's spread awareness and support for positive and empowering birthing experiences!
One of the central concepts we explore in Navigating Your Unmedicated Hospital Birth is the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle. This cycle was first described in the 1920s by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, author of Childbirth Without Fear. Simply put, the cycle describes the positive-feedback cycle that happens in your body when you feel fear: your body responds to feelings of fear by physically tensing your muscles, which increases the pain you feel in your body. Increased feelings of pain lead to increased sensations of fear (which leads to more tension, more pain, more fear....)
This is NOT a cycle you want going on in your body during labor and birth! So how do you break out of it to have a positive birth experience?
Focus on activities, skills, and practices that decrease fear, tension, and/or pain. You can start anywhere in the cycle, but let's first talk about decreasing fear.
When it comes to decreasing fear during childbirth, one of the best things you can do is increase your knowledge! The more you know about the physical process of labor and birth, what to expect at your birth location, positions that are effective and comfortable during labor, and ways your partner can support you (both physically and emotionally), the less fear you'll feel. Fear generally stems from worry about the unknown. The more you can learn about birth, the more you'll know, and the less you'll fear. For an in-depth exploration of all the ways I mentioned to increase knowledge and decrease fear, join me in Navigating Your Unmedicated Hospital Birth! (Not planning an unmedicated hospital birth, or looking for an online class? I also teach the Evidence Based Birth Childbirth Class--another excellent option for increasing your knowledge and decreasing your fear that will prepare you to birth in any location, with or without pain medication.)
What about decreasing tension? As your fear decreases, your tension will naturally decrease as a result. And there are also things you can specifically do to decrease tension during the birth process. I highly recommend hiring a birth doula, who is knowledgeable about counter pressure, massage techniques, and laboring positions that are particularly effective at reducing tension during labor. Listening to your favorite music or smelling a favorite scent can also encourage your body's held tension to release. Ask your partner to watch for tense areas of your body (often the jaw, neck, or shoulders), and have them coach you in releasing them, or give a gentle massage to help them release.
As your fear and tension decrease, your pain will naturally decrease, and you can focus on optimizing comfort during labor. Changing your position throughout labor is a game-changer for being as comfortable as possible. Wearing your own clothes or bringing your own pillow can help. Getting in the tub or shower, using a TENS unit, doing a meditation or visualization exercise, and using a heating pad are all helpful as well. And the more comfortable you are and the less pain you feel, the less fear you'll feel, and the less tension you'll hold in your body, which means that you'll feel less pain... When fear, tension, and pain are each decreasing, the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle will be working for you, helping you to move into the positive birthing cycle of Calm-Confident-Coping, and from there to the transcendent cycle of Trust-Openness-Vulnerability... but you'll have to join me in class to learn more about those!
I hope to see you in the next series of Navigating Your Unmedicated Hospital Birth!
From the time you get two lines on your pregnancy test, you're faced with so many decisions! Where will baby sleep? How will you feed your baby? What car seat should you buy? Strollers? Bassinet or crib?
Parents-to-be will spend hours scouring the internet to find the best choice for each of these decisions. Sometimes, though, the choice of your care provider and birth team isn't given as much attention, though this choice will make the most difference on your birthing day and how you feel as you bring your baby into the world.
Sometimes we assume that all doctors have our best interests as their top priority, and that anything a nurse or OB recommends is the best choice. This perspective doesn't consider, though, the broken system in which care providers and nurses work. Doctors are often stretched for time, exhausted when working on call, and concerned about liability. Hospital administrators, who spend no time in the labor and delivery rooms, set hospital policies that affect your experience. Nurses work twelve-hour shifts, often when everyone else in their life is sleeping, day after day and week after week. They're not often thanked for their work, and sometimes are treated poorly by their patients or other hospital personnel.
In the midst of all this hierarchical tangle, you arrive at the hospital to have your baby. For you, this day is momentous. You'll remember this day for the rest of your life, and the way you feel during the birth process will make a big impact in your story as a parent.
So, how can you have a positive birth experience, even when it seems so much is stacked against you?
Savvy Birth 101!
This one-hour workshop is specifically designed for parents to navigate the systems surrounding birth. You'll learn about evidence-based care--what that really means--and how to get it.
You'll learn about top-down care and how it contrasts with family-centered care. You'll learn what your "tickets out" of the top-down, hierarchical system of care are, and feel confident moving into your birth, knowing that you can be respected, your voice can be heard, and your birthing day will be one that you will fondly remember for the rest of your life.
Savvy Birth 101 is not a typical birth class. In fact, we won't be discussing the stages of labor, contraction timing, or comfort measures for your birth. (If you want all that and more--and I highly suggest you do--take a comprehensive birth class. Check out the Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class or Navigating Your Unmedicated Hospital Birth!)
Brielle Bernards and I will be teaching this one-hour class on Wednesday, March 29 from 7:30-8:30 PM in Provo, and is only $20 if you sign up by March 22! (After that, the price increases to $35.) You can read more about Savvy Birth 101 and register here!
Questions? Drop them in the comments or send me an email (email@example.com) or text (385-309-0167). I hope to see you there!
Since the day I became a doula, I've intended to add on childbirth education to the birth services I offer. Over the years, I've offered limited childbirth class options: private three-hour in-home customized birth classes, and the three-hour Birth Class Date Night I teach with my backup doula colleagues. I packed as much info as possible into these three-hour class offerings, but there is SO much to learn and share about birth, and during these three-hour classes, we can barely scratch the surface!
So, in the fall of 2022, I finally added comprehensive, group birthing classes to the services I offer. I started with a class I specifically designed for those preparing to give birth in the hospital without pain medication, called Navigating Your Unmedicated Hospital Birth.
Why a class specifically for preparing for unmedicated hospital birth (which some call "natural hospital birth"?)
While there are things you need to learn in any birth class--the standard progression of labor, what cervical dilation and fetal station mean, when to go to your birth place or call your care provider, and more--there's a specific set of knowledge and skills that can be particularly helpful if your goal is giving birth in the hospital without pain medication.
As a doula, I have helped many families work towards and achieve this goal. I've seen the preparation necessary to have an unmedicated birth--mental, physical, and relational. And I've brought all of those experiences into the creation of this class.
So, while we will absolutely learn the birth "basics" of the stages of labor and the physiological process of birth, this class doesn't stop there. Let me give you a short tour of the topics we dive into in class!
In the first session, we learn about basic terminology about your relevant anatomy and the process of labor and birth. We learn the basics of how your uterus contracts to open your cervix and move your baby down through your pelvis and out into your arms. We listen to what labor sounds like and practice making sounds that will encourage your body to open and release. We watch videos of labor and discuss what we see. We discuss your--and your partner's--anticipated needs during labor.
In the second session, we start to build your labor toolkit. We do a lot of practicing. We practice communication skills so that you and your partner can make sure you're on the same page. We practice discerning whether your care provider is truly supportive of your birth goals--and how to know if changing care providers will be beneficial. We practice relaxation and breathing strategies, learn how to break out of the fear-tension-pain cycle and give birth confidently, and we practice several other comfort measures for labor. We also practice a variety of positions for labor and birth and discuss when each might be helpful.
In the third session, we practice more strategies for communicating with your care provider about your birth goals and preferences. We learn counter pressure--an amazing way to maximize your comfort during contractions! We discuss the choices that are available to you during your birthing experience, and we learn about the dreaded "cascade of interventions" that can upend your plans for an unmedicated birth--and how to avoid it!
In session four, we begin by creating an internal birth plan--how will you cope and open and remain confident when the going gets tough? We practice making informed decisions by researching trustworthy sources. We learn some body balancing strategies that help get your baby in a good position before labor starts so that it can go as smoothly as possible. And you get some tools and work time for creating both a birth plan and a postpartum plan.
In the last session, we focus on everything that happens after baby comes. We discuss lactation and breastfeeding: reasons to do it, reasons people choose not to do it, how it works, and how to know if baby is getting enough milk. We practice several nursing positions with baby dolls so you can get the hang of each position. We learn about what to expect with diapering, and learn some strategies for soothing gassy babies. We also learn strategies for soothing hungry, tired, or uncomfortable babies! We discuss postpartum depression and other mood and anxiety disorders so that you can be on the lookout for them and know how to get help as soon as you need it if you think you may be developing postpartum depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder. And we finish the class by starting to build your community of support, because, whether this is your first baby or your fifth, you'll need people to lean on as you begin this next chapter of your life!
In every session of the class, I prioritize having activities that are interactive and engaging, so that you'll remember what you learn--no boring lectures here! I have two degrees in education, so effective teaching is something I care a lot about. Classes are enjoyable and memorable and will boost your confidence as you prepare for your birth!
Whew! Just writing all that out makes me so excited for the next session of Navigating Your Unmedicated Hospital Birth! I hope you'll join me!
At my initial doula training, another doula told me about Evidence Based Birth®: Rebecca Dekker, a nurse with her PhD, reads all of the academic studies about common birth practices and synthesizes them in a way that's accessible for the general public. She hosts a podcasts and writes articles on everything from natural induction methods to Group B Strep. Along the way, she often highlights the fact that many common, undesirable practices in hospitals (like restricting eating and drinking during labor and inducing for a suspected "big baby") aren't necessarily supported by the research evidence.
I was quickly hooked on the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast. Much of the research felt validating, because I'd had a difficult first birth many interventions that I now saw as unnecessary. My second birth, in which I more carefully opted for a select few interventions that matched my birth circumstances, had felt entirely different. And I liked knowing the research was on my side.
More than just knowing that research was on "my side," though, listening to the Evidence Based Birth® (EBB for short!) podcast continually affirmed a theory I was formulating: that when parents are informed about best practices for pregnancy and birth and make truly informed decisions, they feel whole and often empowered by their births, even when they take unexpected twists and turns.
When Rebecca Dekker announced that Evidence Based Birth® was going to be hosting an in-person conference, I knew I wanted to be there. And when she send a call for workshop proposals to her birth professionals email list, I got brave and submitted a proposal. I was ecstatic when I heard back that my workshop, titled "Birth Words: Choosing Our Language to Positively Impact the Birth Space" was accepted as part of the conference! In this workshop, I drew on my background in applied linguistics and meshed it with my love of birth and created a memorable one-hour workshop for birth professionals about how to be intentional about using our words to make the birth experience the best it can be. (If you're interested in learning more about my work at the intersection of birth and linguistics, check out my podcast, Birth Words--you can find it on most major podcast platforms--and my website. You can even listen to the episode where I interviewed Rebecca Dekker on Birth Words!)
Attending and presenting at the Evidence Based Birth® website was inspiring. I went out to dinner with Rebecca Dekker and the other conference presenters, she signed my copy of her book, Babies Are Not Pizzas (yes, this signed copy is the very one available in my lending library!), and I learned from many other wise birth workers.
After the conference, I was firmly committed to my future goal of becoming an Evidence Based Birth® instructor. Since becoming a birth doula, I had planned to tack on being a childbirth educator--my college degrees are, after all, in education! And EBB instructors are able to teach not just childbirth classes, but also workshops for birth professionals and birthing parents (more on that below!)
It took a few years for the timing to line up, but in fall of 2022, I finally applied to be an Evidence Based Birth® instructor. The application is rigorous and a bit nerve-wracking, requiring four letters of recommendation and thoughtful answers to many questions about teaching experience, commitment to evidence based care, commitment to birthing and social justice, and more.
I was relieved and overjoyed when I received my acceptance email last October. I worked diligently on the training throughout the end of 2022 and early 2023, and finished my training in mid-January! I'm now currently offering two different Evidence Based Birth® classes for expectant parents: the multi-week, comprehensive Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class, and the power-packed one-hour Savvy Birth 101.
So, now that I'm an Evidence Based Birth® instructor, what classes will I be teaching? I'm so glad you asked. ;)
Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class
The Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class is a comprehensive birth class in which you'll learn everything from the stages of labor, to your birthing rights and how to advocate for evidence-based care, to comfort measures, to lactation basics and newborn care. This class can be taught either fully online or with a hybrid model, where the first and last class are held in person. Either way, it consists of 4-6 (depending on length) meetings of everyone in the class, plus some videos you'll watch on your own in between classes. To start, I'll be offering the hybrid model, though I may open entirely virtual options in the future! Check out my current offerings here!
Whether you're preparing to give birth at home, a birth center, in the hospital, or need help deciding, this class will confidently prepare you for birth. You can also read more about the Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class on the Evidence Based Birth website.
Savvy Birth Workshop for Parents
Unlike the Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class, The Savvy Birth workshop for parents is not a comprehensive childbirth class. Rather than a multi-week series of classes, it's a one-night-three hour class focused on giving you the skills you need to communicate with your care provider to get evidence-based, family-centered care.
As EBB describes it, "The Savvy Birth Workshop for parents was developed by Evidence Based Birth® to give you and your partner the confidence and know-how you need to have a more positive, empowering experience in the birthing room." In the Savvy Birth Workshop, you'll learn what evidence-based care is, discuss local birth options and their pros and cons, learn communication skills for discussing your preferences with your care team, learn how to have optimal support from your labor team, and learn about your legal rights in birth. I don't currently have a Savvy Birth Workshop scheduled, but I plan to in the future, so check back here! And I AM currently offering the one-hour, condensed version of this workshop: Savvy Birth 101! Keep reading for details on that!
Savvy Birth 101 for Parents
Like the Savvy Birth Workshop for Parents, Savvy Birth 101 is not a comprehensive birth class. We won't be learning about the stages of labor, how to push your baby out, or how to stay comfortable during labor (remember, you'll want to go to the Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class for that!) We will be packing that hour full of info on how you can advocate for evidence-based care (and what that even means!) in a way that builds bridges, not walls. I'm teaching a Savvy Birth 101 workshop on March 29 with Brielle Bernards (The Calming Doula). Check out the details here!
The last resource I'm able to offer parents as an EBB Instructor is private coaching. If you'd like a one-on-one session with me about how to best get evidence-based care, what your birthing rights are, how to build a great birth team, and more, please reach out on my Contact page, or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a text (385-309-0167).
I'm thrilled to be offering this content to Utah! Which class are you most excited about?
Hi, I'm Sara. I'm a childbirth educator and birth + postpartum doula serving Utah county. I'm a twin mom (plus one!), natural VBACer, and birth lover!