Discussion Starters for Childbirth Educators
Getting Your Class To Talk
Some classes are very talkative, other classes won't even breath loudly. Here are some ideas to help you start discussions during your classes that will actually be helpful.
Change The Rules
Tell the class that for tonight we are going to assume the rules of the hospital have been changed, and now only women who are experiencing medical complications may have medication during labor. Explain that there will need to be some changes in societies beliefs about labor and birth because of this change in rules. Ask them what some of these changes might be. Some examples are:
An unmedicated birth is normal and expected.
Learning labor coping strategies is necessary, not optional.
Interventions that increase pain should be avoided unless there is an emergency.
This activity can easily move into a discussion about birth planning, history of childbirth, society's beliefs about birth, methods of preparation or choosing your health care providers.
Why this works: Some cultural beliefs about childbirth are so ingrained into society that we don't even realize that there are other ways to look at the situation. Change the rules causes you to explore these beliefs, and how they impact the birth experience.
Read a labor scene and ask the class how they will handle this situation. Then change the scene slightly and ask the class how this difference changes how they will handle this situation.
Why this works: Creative Revisions helps students to see how all the variables work together to determine the course of a labor. It allows them to see how small changes can have a big impact, and gives them the chance to see how their options change as labor progresses.
Ask the class participants to describe what their ideal birth experience would be if there were no rules. They could be anywhere, do anything and have anyone with them. Use this as an opener for birth planning or comfort measures.
Why this works: No rules allows participants to explore what they really need to be comfortable and relaxed during labor. It also allows them to recognize what they are afraid might happen without being asked "What are you afraid of?" Expect some level of conversation after each participant as couples ask questions or encourage each other through their responses.
Birth in Art
Provide pictures of several artworks depicting labor or childbirth. Try to provide a variety of art forms and styles. Ask the students to describe how pregnancy, motherhood, childbirth and labor are portrayed and how the artwork affects their thinking about giving birth.
Why this works: Art has the power to prompt strong responses in individuals and groups. These responses are based on our own understanding of the topic of the art. Students who may not feel comfortable verbalizing concerns they feel about labor may be able to share that a particular piece of art makes them scared about the pain of labor.