How do you go about finding a childbirth educator who will truly help you prepare for birth? There are a number of programs that educate and certify childbirth educators. The Lamaze International program has certified over 11,000 childbirth educators. Many Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators (LCCE) are also nurses. The LCCE has passed a rigorous national certifying examination, which tests competencies that are based on the Lamaze Philosophy of Birth. The LCCE is knowledgeable about natural birth and has the teaching skills and confidence in birth to help you prepare for yours.
Is it necessary to be certified to be a good childbirth educator? Certification provides you with a certain level of assurance that the childbirth educator is competent. But don't lose sight of the fact that every woman who has ever given birth is able to share her knowledge and confidence about birth. This informal education from generation to generation of women can be very effective. The most important "credential" is a deep trust in the normal, natural process of birth and a belief in all women's inherent ability to give birth.
You'll want to review a childbirth educator's credentials, but it's also important to speak at length with her -- and to ask questions -- before taking her class.
What to Ask the Childbirth Educator
You can learn a lot by asking a childbirth educator these questions:
- What do you think about home birth?
- What do you think about fetal monitors?
- Do you think I will be able to give birth naturally?
Her answers should reflect an understanding of the Lamaze Philosophy of Birth and a respect for your questions. She should listen carefully and engage you in a discussion around these issues, rather than give you a standard reply.