In 2003, when I was pregnant for the first time, the only prenatal classes my doctor’s office informed me about were those offered at the hospital where I would give birth. The class we took did give us a few helpful tools, but I wasn’t overly impressed. So much has expanded in the world of natural childbirth education since that time. Today I’m excited to share an interview with the lovely Sarah Clark about the recently-created natural childbirth preparation program Birth Boot Camp. Sarah is a mother of four, a natural childbirth instructor, and is on the management team for Birth Boot Camp. She blogs about natural birth and motherhood on her personal blog Mama Birth and writes for Mothering.com.
How did you become involved with Birth Boot Camp?
I had been a natural childbirth educator for a few years when a friend of mine, Donna Ryan, approached me about working with her on a new project. (Donna had been my inspiration for becoming a childbirth educator and was actually MY instructor when I was pregnant with my first child. Her class helped me have a natural birth with a very long first labor.)
So, in a way I feel like I just got lucky. Donna asked me to join them, and I flew out to Texas to start working with her and the other board members to get everything ready before the launch. I started out helping with writing some of the materials and relaxation practices, and I also help Donna in training our new instructors. I met some fabulous women, many of whom I now consider good friends, and we have all been working very hard ever since.
What attracted you to the program?
Joining Birth Boot Camp was a bit of a leap of faith for me. I had been teaching for a while and most of my students found me through the website of the method I was teaching before. I was a little nervous about leaving it behind. But….
What most attracted me to Birth Boot Camp was that it incorporated everything that I had learned was necessary in childbirth education. I felt like I taught a good class before, but I had to add things in and update materials so that it was more relevant and more interesting for my students.
One thing I loved about Birth Boot Camp is that the research was updated and current as were the birth videos. We worked really hard getting those things set up and continue to work to incorporate the newest research and best materials for our teachers and our students.
The truth is that having a natural birth for most people right now takes some serious work and knowledge. The ten week course that we teach covers everything you need to help prepare you from nutrition, to labor, to help for the partner, to cesarean section and induction to beginning breastfeeding. There truly isn’t anything else like it.
What do you love most about Birth Boot Camp?
What do I love most? As a teacher I love our workbook. It is amazing, in full color, has fabulous resources for each and every student to use for their birth and postpartum. I also love our breastfeeding education. Each student gets a DVD that is theirs to keep that has incredible information on it. Breastfeeding success is so important, and it is amazing how much education can help with that.
As a person what I love most about Birth Boot Camp is that it has actually changed my life for the better. I know that sounds a little over the top, but I am in awe of the opportunities for personal growth, travel, professional knowledge and amazing relationships that I have had the opportunity to have because I was blessed to be a part of Birth Boot Camp.
Can you tell me some Birth Boot Camp success stories and stats?
Yes! Our statistics so far are impressive. You can read more about them here. Here’s a little glimpse:
The epidural rate in the U.S. is estimated by the CDC to be around 61% for women who delivered vaginally. The medicated rate for Birth Boot Camp moms who delivered vaginally was only 9%. The national C-section rate is around 32% while the Birth Boot Camp student rate is a combined (live and online class) rate of 9%. Truly, education does make a difference when it comes to birth.
How do people sign up for Birth Boot Camp classes?
To sign up for our online classes you can go to our website and then click through to the online class registration from the menu at the top of the page. Signing up for your online class gives you access to the 10 class program, and you will receive your workbook and breastfeeding DVD in the mail. Each class has a video portion where you learn from Donna Ryan, our founder, and you will listen to stories and experiences from other parents and hear professionals in the birth community speak about birth. It is an amazing program. Each online class also comes with additional materials for you to read online, most include a birth video to watch, and there are relaxation audio files that you can listen to also. All in all there are hours and hours of streaming video and lots of additional resources.
How do childbirth educators become certified through Birth Boot Camp?
If you go to this link you can read all about our instructor training. (There is also a cool video with interviews from many of our instructors.) We don’t just have online classes, we are training dozens of teachers all around the country each year. They are amazing women with incredible stories and they are so excited and prepared to serve others.
And if you are interested in becoming a teacher, we are training all over the country now! There are many books to read and lots of things to do to prepare, but it helps make each of our instructors truly incredible. It is wonderful how fast this has grown. We will be hosting a training in California soon, and next year will be in Houston, Orlando, and Indianapolis. Click here for some of the highlights from our most recent training.
We are so excited as a company to be part of improving the birth experience for women and their families!