Childbirth education classes serve as a valuable resource for expectant families, offering them guidance, support, and knowledge as they prepare for the arrival of their new baby. While childbirth educators play a vital role in delivering essential information, there’s a lot to be gained from incorporating guest speakers into your classes. These experts can provide unique insights, additional perspectives, and real-world experiences that enhance the learning process. Consider inviting guest speakers to your classes, for a new and different voice, as well as subject matter expertise that families will find useful.
Invite local midwives to discuss the midwifery model of care, birthing options with midwives (home, hospital or birth center) and who is a candidate for midwifery care. They can also share information on the research on birthing with midwives, the different types of midwives and what type of training and experience a midwife receives.
Doulas offer invaluable support to birthing individuals, and having a doula speak in your class can help expectant parents understand the benefits of doula care. Doulas can share their expertise in emotional support, comfort measures, and the importance of having a continuous support person during labor. Consider inviting a local doula on the week you cover comfort measures, so they can also help families to hone their coping skills and useful positions.
Breast/chestfeeding can be a challenging aspect of postpartum life. Inviting a lactation consultant can help expectant parents understand the basics of lactation, address common concerns, and highlight the importance of accessing lactation support in the early days.
While childbirth educators primarily focus on the birth experience, it’s also beneficial to introduce the postpartum journey. Pediatricians can discuss newborn care, infant feeding, and the first few weeks of a baby’s life.
Birth Photographers or Videographers
Visual aids can make a significant impact. Invite a birth photographer or videographer to share their work and discuss the power of documenting the birthing experience. This can help expectant parents consider whether they want to capture their own special moments.
Yoga and Relaxation Instructors
Teaching expectant parents relaxation techniques and prenatal yoga can be immensely beneficial. Invite a certified yoga instructor to demonstrate breathing exercises and gentle stretches to help manage stress and discomfort during pregnancy and labor.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists
Concerns about fecal or urinary incontinence during pregnancy or after childbirth and the worries about tearing and perineal recovery weigh heavily on pregnant people. Bringing in a specialist who is all about pelvic floor health can help people understand how best to protect their pelvic floor during pregnancy and how to best recover after giving birth. The physical therapist can also discuss pelvic floor exercises that can be done before and after birth to help minimize injury and maintain healthy pelvic floor muscles.
Experienced Birth Parents
Hearing real birth stories from parents who have been through the experience can be incredibly reassuring. Invite experienced parents to share their journeys, offering insights, tips, and a dose of reality.
Legal or Ethical Experts
Discussing legal and ethical aspects of childbirth, including birth plans, consent, and patients’ rights, can empower expectant families to make informed decisions during their birth experience.
Incorporating guest speakers into your childbirth education classes enriches the learning experience, provides diverse perspectives, and addresses a wide range of topics that encompass the entire childbirth journey. It also helps foster a sense of community and support among expectant parents, giving them access to a network of experts and fellow parents who can provide guidance and reassurance as they prepare for this life-changing event. As you move forward, consider what types of guest speakers could enhance the experience for families in your childbirth classes and plan to make that happen.