Educating

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Black History Month – Birth Artist Cheyenne Varner

With the theme “African Americans and the Arts”, Black History Month 2024 gives us the opportunity to meet black artists and their art that brings attention to the black maternal health crisis we are currently experiencing . Cheyenne Varner is a certified birth and postpartum doula and founder of The Educated Birth, and Everyday Birth […]

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ashley january

Black History Month – Birth Artist Ashley January

Black History Month 2024 has the theme of African Americans and the Arts. Black artist Ashley January uses her art to bring attention to the black maternal disparity crisis in our country. “I address the Black maternal mortality and morbidity crisis in America through painting and multimedia. Influenced by my own traumatic pregnancy and survival,

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Book Review of “You Are Not Alone” – An anthology of perinatal mental health stories

Book Review of You Are Not Alone – An anthology of perinatal mental health stories from conception to postpartum You Are Not Alone By the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative 2022, Wintertickle Press , Barrie, Ontario Revised by Suyin Jordan CPD, CCCE, CNPE I heard about this book from the 2 parents who started a

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Changing the Way We View and Treat Mastitis

As doulas and educators, it is vital that we know about updates in research so we can pass along evidence-based and accurate information to our clients and students.  One of the newest updates in the area of lactation addresses mastitis and “blocked” milk ducts.  This new information is really challenging the way we view the

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CAPPA Introduces the Labor Doula Training in SPANISH!

In our commitment to improving birth and postpartum outcomes for at-risk populations, we are now offering the labor doula training in Spanish. We are proud to educate community members and family support workers to provide labor support when language is a barrier to quality healthcare. With help from CAPPA Latinoamerica* (shoutout Jenny Bertha!) we have

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Prenatal Psychological Support Can Positively Impact Baby’s Emotional Well-being

Prenatal mental health can significantly affect the unborn child and its future development. According to research, women experiencing depression or anxiety before or during pregnancy may be at greater risk of having a baby with cognitive, social, and behavioural problems later in life. It highlights the importance of perinatal mental health support for both parents

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Videos for Members to Share with Clients!

CAPPA faculty and owner of Chicago Family Doulas, Annamarie Rodney has created materials for doulas and educators who are just starting out to use! For Labor Doulas Share this video with clients so they know what you can provide and offer! You can edit this on Canva and add your own logo! Edit the Labor/Birth

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How To Become A Certified New Parent Educator And Why It Might Be Right For You

If you have patience and communication skills and a drive to fill an important role in supporting new parents, becoming a CAPPA Certified New Parent Educator (CNPE) might be your calling. Have you ever wondered how to become an educator for new parents? You don’t need to know everything about parenting to be a CNPE

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Why is Anti-racism work important for doulas and educators?

Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy and postpartum-related causes than white women. Multiple factors contribute to these disparities, such as quality of healthcare, underlying chronic conditions, structural racism, and implicit bias. As CAPPA educators and doulas, we are committed to improving birth and postpartum for all people. Therefore, it is

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Trauma-informed Approach

What is trauma-informed? Be trauma-informed is to recognize that trauma is very common in people’s lives. Simply put, “There’s a story behind every person. There’s a reason why they are the way they are. They aren’t just like that because they want to be. Something in the past created them, and sometimes it is impossible

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Motivational Interviewing

Communication is a topic that spans every profession and enhances every relationship. Effective communication is imperative for expressing thoughts and opinions in a healthy way. In the healthcare profession, good communication can be a matter of life or death. Motivational Interviewing is very well established and uses a series of foundational skills to accomplish favorable

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The Evolution of Breathing in Labour

1942, an age where birth had been overtaken by obstetrics and medicalization, Dr. Grant Dick- Read’s book, Natural Childbirth introduced birth in a gentle manner. Exploring the baby’s own experience and the theory that fear and tension induced more pain. At this time these concepts were seen as radical. The Bradley method was developed in

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The Importance of Sleep in Pregnancy & How We Can Help Clients Optimise Their Sleep

Many pregnant persons say it’s hard to sleep because they can’t get comfortable, need to run to the bathroom constantly, have leg cramps, and are excited and anxious about their baby’s arrival. They often joke that it is to prepare them for things to come…the arrival of their newborn and more sleepless nights and sleep

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How to Teach Meditation for Childbirth Preparation

After teaching childbirth preparation classes and working as a doula for many years, I often ponder the question what do parents really need to know before birth? I’ve had so many clients come through my classes; some with notebooks and pens, some with stories from friends and family and some with such fear and anxiety

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Lactation Educator

How To Become A Certified Lactation Educator™ And Why It Might Be Right For You

CAPPA Certified Lactation Educator™, CLE® If you feel inspired to support people through lactation and breastfeeding/chestfeeding, you might have considered becoming a Certified Lactation Educator™. A CAPPA Certified Lactation Educator™, CLE® works with parents to offer unbiased, evidence based support. In order to determine if this profession might be right for you, you might wonder

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labor doula

How To Become A Labor Doula And Why It Might Be Right For You

If you feel a call to help families during pregnancy, labor and birth, you’ve probably also wondered what it takes to become a labor doula. Alternately, perhaps you’ve wanted to be a birth doula for years, but weren’t quite sure how. At CAPPA, we refer to a birth doula as a “Labor Doula” and offer

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The Importance of Building Connections for Success

Have you heard the old saying “We are Better Together?” There is so much truth in this statement when it comes to connecting with other doulas and educators in our arena. After working as a doula for nine years, I truly believe “Building Connections” is the single best thing you can do to set yourself

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Helping Clients Understand the Impact of Labor Hormones (Plus a Teaching Activity)

Early in my doula career, I remember working with a family who knew they wanted a doula to support them through their pregnancy and birth. This particular mother had a previous birth that she felt didn’t go well and felt like she was pressured into unnecessary interventions. She was nervous about going back to the

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Reframing Cesarean Birth ( Submitted by CAPPA Member Colleen Goidel )

When a person gets pregnant, they unconsciously develop an internal vision about how they expect their birth will unfold. Their personal history and beliefs, their birth team, their coworkers, friends and family, and the media all influence this expectation—which causes the birthing person to make assumptions about what is true. This is especially so with

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Working with LGBTQ Parents

Many LGBTQ people become parents through adoption, insemination, pregnancy, stepchildren and/or fostering children. Be aware that your language around parents; “Mom” or “Dad” may not always apply. Be sensitive when referring to partners/ support people and ask for clarification if you want to know the terminology they’re comfortable with. Transgender Terminology to be Aware Of

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Childbirth educator holding a baby model in front of a class.

Postpartum: How Can We Do More as Educators?

We have all heard the saying, “We spend months or years preparing for the wedding and no time is spent preparing for the actual marriage”. The same can be said for how we approach educating expectant parents for the postpartum period. Parents will spend weeks preparing for the labor and birth but seek out little

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Blackboard with the words "How, What, Why, Where, When Who" written on it.

How To Find Evidence-Based Information

We are evidence-based doulas and educators! We base our training and our practice on the most recent scientific research. So, when a client asks you for the latest research on something she is concerned about…where do you go? Books? A textbook? Journal articles? Popular blogs? Special interest sites? Social media? There is no type of

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What We Know About Cannabis Use in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

I have spent the last two decades as a birth worker, doula trainer, and labor & delivery and maternal child health nurse.  I have been able to support families from prenatal education and yoga, labor and delivery, to watching children and families grow in so many directions.  I have been hearing the same question tossed

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Here and Now: Guiding Our Clients into the Present Moment

The act of bringing your mind into the present moment—meditation, mindfulness, centering, or whatever term you use to describe it—is a tool we all have at our disposal to help manage stress and anxiety. But the term “meditation” can be intimidating to many, as it congers up an image of a robed Buddhist Monk or

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Supporting a New Mother’s Ability to Parent

Providing care to a new mother and her newborn is a privilege that should not be taken lightly as a healthcare provider.  Everyone that plays a role in either educating or participating in physical and psychological support must ensure the new mother feels safe and cared for in her ability to take care of her

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Studying the Microbiome

A few months back a colleague sent me information on a local study being done at MIT titled “Breast Fed Infant/Toddler Stool Sample Study”. She thought I would be interested in reading more about it and possibly participating. The criteria was: Being 18 years or older Having an infant/toddler 2-36 months Having an infant/toddler that

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How to Create a Safe Zone for Communication: 3 Tips To Help When Talking To Families

Working as a Postpartum Doula is one of the greatest passions of my life! I have been so fortunate to support many moms around the country with education on how to care for their precious, new bundle of joy! Even as a seasoned doula, I am constantly still learning from my families. Creating a safe

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Helping Our Clients: Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn Stress Responses

Did you know there are four types of responses to stressful events? Most of us are familiar with the Fight or Flight response, but there are two others that many people experience as well. Those are Freeze and Fawn. Helping our clients (and their support partner) understand how they might react can be very beneficial—not

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Working with Your Beliefs and Biases

I’ve seen many internet posts recently on doula support platforms, discussing how doulas should deal with clients who make choices contrary to individual beliefs or strong biases. Topics such as circumcision, religious rituals, marijuana, and alcohol use are often the source of conflict in these posts. As I read through the MANY responses I was

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Challenges of the Childbirth Educator in a Hurry Up World

What comes to mind when you think of childbirth classes? Women and their birth partners sitting around in a semi-circle listening for two hours while someone drones on and on about how birth unfolds? One evening a week for a few hours? Or the new one-day exhausting eight or nine hour marathon class? A few

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Active Labor’s Move from 4 to 6: Benefits & Signposts

Doulas are unique, talented and knowledgeable; holding space for families and walking with them as they meet their babies. What an incredible honor! Doulas also have the opportunity to be the perfect guide as providers begin to adjust to the new recommendations from ACOG. But just how do we get there? The American College of

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Flip or Flop: Flipping the Classroom to Engage Pregnant Families

With the shift from parents taking in-person classes to using the internet for more of their prenatal education, childbirth and lactation educators have to step up their game.  With only 34% of pregnant families taking classes (Listening to Mothers III), we have to get creative to encourage new parents to find value in physically coming

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A Book Review – Round the Circle: Doulas Share Their Experiences

They say that experience is the best teacher. However, another person’s experience can be an even better teacher. That is the idea behind the collection of doula experiences by CAPPA Faculty Member Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD in her book, Round the Circle: Doulas Share Their Experiences. The title gives a great glimpse into what the

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CAPPA’s New Certification Program – The New Parent Educator

At the CAPPA Conference in September, a very exciting announcement was made—training and certification for a brand-new program would begin in 2018! After years in the making, the New Parent Educator program was introduced to the world. The New Parent Educator is a one-of-a-kind training and certification. Unlike anything currently available, this program will prepare

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A Heartwarming Update Too Good Not to Share

At the CAPPA Destin conference in 2016 I was honored to speak about my work with pregnancy and addiction as a nurse in a speech entitled, “You are not alone-Perinatal Addiction and Neonatal Abstinence”. The first story I originally planned to share at the conference was a story about my client Kelly B, a story

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Evaluating Credibility in Everyday Sources of Information

As critical consumers of information, it is necessary to evaluate the credibility and legitimacy of resources, especially on the Internet. In a world of free information, which is without guidelines, monitoring, and representation, truth and lies can be as difficult to determine as the supermarket tabloids in the checkout stands. Anyone can post anything in

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The Importance of Educating Dads/Partners

There is great importance in partners understanding the “why’s” and “how’s” of supporting the mom during labor and birth. As a childbirth educator, how do you prepare (educate) the expectant mother’s life partner for labor and birth? I have been teaching birth preparation classes for almost two decades, and for many of these years, I

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Give, Learn, Get; Your Professional Roadmap

Cultivating a successful career as a doula begins with cultivating yourself as person, first and foremost. You started this awakening process by signing up for your initial certification course, congratulations, the fire is now lit! Perhaps the call to become a doula came loudly, or maybe it was a whisper. Regardless, there was something that

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Three Techniques to Try if you Want to be a Better Listener

Being a good listener is one of the most crucial skills a postpartum doula will utilize. Although many of our clients won’t hire us just because they are looking for a good listener, time and again my clients have noted feeling validated, heard, and understood in testimonials. Thankfully, it’s a skill that can actually be

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Teaching Breastfeeding, Talking about Breastfeeding and, well, Actually Breastfeeding…

Right now, I am teaching breastfeeding classes, seeing private lactation clients, training women to become lactation educators, and actually breastfeeding a newborn…so needless to say my life is boobs and milk! For me, the subject has two completely different sides. When I am teaching and working with clients, I am the educator that shares scientifically-proven,

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Encouragement to Teach Preconception/Early Pregnancy Education

During the 2017 CAPPA Conference in Portland, Maine, I saw the excitement of the faculty and attendees on the organizing of a New Parent Educator Course at CAPPA. As a childbirth educator for over 45 years, I have seen how few parents nowadays, shows a natural skill for parenting. Many new parents have never babysat

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