Teaching on a low budget
“I am just starting out as a childbirth educator and I have limited funds to buy all the resources. How can I teach my classes on a low budget?” - Anke, Denmark
Anke, great question! When you browse through the catalogs of the various educator supply organizations it can be tempting to want to buy all the charts, videos and equipment. However, the cost of these all add up and can make it seem impossible to ever get started.
The key is to choose a small number of items that are likely to be the most useful and use homemade tools everywhere else. The most useful item is a pelvis and doll. You will find that you use these again and again in your classes and having a model pelvis to look at and hold can make a real difference in clients understanding the importance of upright positions and the movement of the baby through the pelvis. You can purchase a pelvis from of a number of different companies who sell childbirth educator supplies, and sometimes can pick one up second hand through websites like Ebay. The cost of a new pelvis is around US$50-$75. Many of them come with dolls. However you can usually find a much cheaper doll from a toy store. Just make sure you take your pelvis with you when trying them out for size to ensure they move through the pelvis easily.
There are some amazing videos available now to show different aspects of pregnancy, birth and parenting. They do tend to be quite costly and it can be difficult to find ones that depict completely natural birth in an environment that is likely to be one your clients will choose. For example, it can be hard for a pregnant woman to relate to the video if it shows a woman giving birth unassisted at home when she has chosen a hospital birth with an obstetrician. Take care when choosing videos that are very explicit. For many first time parents seeing a full frontal shot of a baby emerging can make them uncomfortable and defeat the purpose of the video. Consider the reason why you want to show a video. If you are trying to show a variety of different births and how many choices are available to your clients, a series of short videos downloaded from You Tube may suffice. If you have Realplayer installed on your computer you can download the videos you watch on You Tube and show them in classes when you are offline.
Charts of pregnancy and birth can be helpful but are not really essential. Rather than using a chart to show dilation, you can use your own hands and head. Cup your hands over the top of your head and slowly move them down the side of head to show the cervix opening. Use your arms and hands to demonstrate the shape of the uterus. you can then bring your hands upwards and apart to demonstrate effacement and dilation. Some educators use a knitted uterus to show the same thing and there are many patterns online to teach you how to knit one yourself.
The third stage can be demonstrated by inflating a balloon and sticking a postage stamp to the side. As you slowly deflate the balloon the stamp will peel away in a similar way to the placenta peeling away from the side of the uterus.
You could try joining birth professionals groups in your local area, connecting with local midwives, or joining an email group for birth professionals. Often you will find someone who is moving out of this field and looking to sell all their visual aids at a low cost.
Ultimately, the most effective tool you have available to you is yourself. Newer childbirth educators may find that the visual aids are simply being used as something to hide behind. What you share with a group of pregnant couples, teaching them in an actively engaging way, is far more beneficial than all the visual aids in the world!
How does Childbirth International training address this?
As part of Childbirth International’s childbirth educator training program, we look at a number of different ways to teach sections of your course that are low or no cost. A teaching plan is provided for your free use and can be adapted in any way you like to suit your clients.
Each activity in this plan has been developed with consideration of active teaching skills and providing classes that are relaxed, fun and packed full of great information for expectant parents.
We provide resource lists of where you can purchase educational aids and also have an active student email list where you can get ideas on how to teach your classes on a budget and network with other birth professionals.
Childbirth International is a truly diverse international training organization. With students in 75 countries, from every corner of the globe, we celebrate the differences, similarities and uniqueness of each culture, religion and race. Providing the most comprehensive and flexible training available for birth professionals you can truly make a difference within your community.
Childbirth International offers training programs for Birth Doulas, Postpartum Doulas, Childbirth Educators and Breastfeeding Counselors. We also have an advanced training course available for birth professionals to help you build and grow your business.