Frequently Asked Questions

Classes

Why choose Lamaze® classes over a different method?


Lamaze is so much more than a prescribed method or just breathing techniques! It is a philosophy based on the fundamentals that pregnancy and birth are normal, natural and healthy, that women have an innate ability to give birth, and that education empowers women to make informed choices in healthcare and take responsibility for their health. Lamaze education is based on the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices. According to Lamaze International, these Healthy Birth Practices "help simplify the birth process with a natural approach that helps alleviate fears and manage pain. Regardless of the baby’s size, labor’s length and complexity, or the mother's confidence level, these care practices will help keep labor and birth as safe and healthy as possible." Lamaze reinforces your relationships with your provider, helping you to better understand what to expect during pregnancy and childbirth, providing information to help answer your questions and, in the end, facilitate a process where you are satisfied and understand the care you receive. Lamaze preparation is grounded in a substantial and long-standing body of evidence based on what produces optimal outcomes for both mothers and babies. Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators are trained specialists in teaching expectant parents about pregnancy, labor, birth and more. Many other childbirth classes offered from a hospital are not taught by certified childbirth educators and are usually focused on preparing you to deliver according to their policies and procedures rather than focusing on preparing you to manage labor, advocate for yourself, and empower you with evidence-based information on labor, birth, and feeding your baby. Ultimately, Lamaze is known for producing parents who enter birth and parenthood with more confidence and who are happy with their birth experience!




What should I bring to my in-person class?


There is nothing you have to bring to class. I will have all the supplies and tools you need. That being said, you may want to bring a few things with you both for comfort and to enhance your learning experience. In general, you may want to bring the following for any class: -Water Bottle -Extra snacks or a meal if you are taking a day long class (there is a fridge and microwave for your use). I usually provide "light fare" for a snack but feel free to bring something more substantial. -Wear comfortable clothing -Notepad for taking notes -Anything that makes your feel comfortable! Here is a more specific list of additional items you may wish to bring for the following classes: Newborn Class -Any specific diapers you are planning on using if you have them already (cloth, hybrid, disposable, etc.) I will have disposables and cloth to practice with, but it is always nice to practice with your own prior to baby arriving! -Any baby carrier/wrap you have purchased Breastfeeding Class -Any breastfeeding pillow you have already purchased (Do NOT purchase one just for the class. It is not needed!) -Your breastpump if you already have one so you can learn how to use your own (again, NOT necessary to bring to class if you don't already have one) Comprehensive Childbirth Class - Lamaze -Pillows (at least 2) -Your favorite relaxing music or playlist loaded onto your phone and a set of earbuds/headphones -A focal point (could be a picture of your ultrasound, your favorite vacation spot, your pet, etc.) -Your favorite essential oil(s) if you have them Childbirth Express - Refresher Class -same as Comprehensive Childbirth Class above




Are prenatal classes worth the investment?


So much time, energy and money is invested in preparing a nursery, buying new baby gear, ALL the cute clothes. A fun and exciting way to celebrate a new little one to be sure! Yet, so many expectant parents are hesitant to invest in preparing themselves for the birth itself. Labor is not only a means to an end. It is the transformative process of a woman becoming a mother, of persons becoming parents. Ask women in their 60s, 70’s, 80’s, even 90’s. Many memories have often faded, but most can still vividly recount the day they birthed their child(ren) with stunning clarity. "Whenever and however you give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life." - Ina May Gaskin Entering this process with the information and skills to advocate for yourself and your child will empower you to enter birth and parenthood with confidence. What better investment is there than that?




Why should I take prenatal classes?


When looking at options for childbirth education, Lamaze International explains in their Lamaze Classresource Choosing A Childbirth Educator : "A good childbirth class can not only prepare you for labor, it can expand your personal philosophy of birth, lessen your fears and, most importantly, build your confidence in yourself and your body." Prenatal Classes:

  • Build confidence in your body's ability to give birth
  • Help you know your options and how to advocate for yourself or your partner
  • Teach you comfort, relaxation and pain relief techniques
  • Increase your partner's confidence in knowing how to support you during labor and after delivery.
Research also supports the benefits of attending prenatal classes. Benefits include the following:
  • Attending childbirth classes is associated with higher rates of vaginal birth (Stoll & Hall, 2012)
  • Improved maternal mental health (National Childbirth Trust, 2010)
  • Increased mental preparation for childbirth among pregnant women (Koehn, 2008)
  • Decreased use of epidural anesthesia during childbirth (Ferguson, Davis & Brown, 2013)
  • An increased likelihood of arriving at the hospital in active labor (Ferguson, Davis and Brown, 2013)
  • Increased breastfeeding initiation and continuation (Schrader-McMillan, Barlow & Redshaw, 2009)
  • Greater satisfaction with the couple and parent-infant relationships after birth (National Childbirth Trust, 2010)
This downloadable resource has a great list of questions you should ask any prospective childbirth educator as well as topics that should be covered in class. The importance of preparing one's self, and educating one's self, on what to expect, how to manage, and how to advocate for one's self during pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding, and life with a newborn cannot be overemphasized. Birth is a process a women's body is inherently designed to carry out beautifully, but for which she is often under prepared and under supported. Every woman should be afforded the ability to enter motherhood with confidence in not only her body's abilities but also confidence in making informed, empowered decisions for herself and her newborn. It is not just important for birth, it is important for the rest of her life as a woman and as a mother. Resources: Ferguson, S., Davis, D., and Browne, J. (2013). Does Antenatal Education Affect Labour and Birth? A Structured Review of the Literature. Women and Birth; 26: e5–e8. Koehn, M. (2008). Contemporary Women’s Perceptions of Childbirth Education. The Journal of Perinatal Education; 17(1):11-18. Lamaze for Parents : Lamaze for Parents http://www.lamaze.org/ National Childbirth Trust, (2010). NCT Antenatal Services – Policy, Practice and Evidence. Retrieved from: http://www.nct.org.uk/sites/default/files/related_documents/1AntenatalReportFINALWITHOUTBLEED_0.pdf Schrader McMillan, A., Barlow, J., and Redshaw, M. (2009). Birth and Beyond: A Review of the Evidence about Antenatal Education. Retrieved from: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130107105354/ http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_110371.pdf Stoll, K. H., & Hall, W. (2012). Childbirth Education and Obstetric Interventions Among Low-Risk Canadian Women: Is There a Connection? The Journal of Perinatal Education, 21(4), 229-237. doi:10.1891/1058-1243.21.4.229




Is a private class a better fit than small group classes?


When exploring class formats and options, some wonder, why choose private childbirth classes?

  • They allow for flexibility and individualization
    • Classes are based around the expectant parents' schedule when typical weeknight classes may not accommodate everyone's availability
    • If parents are looking for an individualized approach, tailored to their unique needs and wishes for labor and birth
  • For those who suffer from social anxiety or feel uncomfortable with group activities or sharing
    • Allows expectant parents to ask questions and open up about things that may affect their labor and birth that they may not feel comfortable doing in a group setting
  • Tailored education and preparation for possible challenges of a unique nature that may present during pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding or for the newborn
    • Chronic Illlness
    • Autoimmune disease
    • Congential challenges
      • Chromosomal
      • Cardiac
      • Other malformations (cleft lip/palate, etc)
    • Previous surgeries
      • Breast augmentation/reduction or single mastectomy
  • There is a history of abuse or past trauma that may resurface during prenatal care, labor, birth, or breastfeeding.
    • A private educator can help expectant parents navigate these experiences with private discussions, assistance in formulating a plan, providing tools and techniques, and connecting expectant parents with community resources like counselors to collaborate in their care.
  • There is a history of a previously unsatisfying or traumatic birth experience
  • Single expectant parents either without a coach or with a friend/family member as a support person who don't feel like they fit in with the typical childbirth class couples
  • LGBTQ individuals or couples looking for a class that is inclusive, sensitive to their needs, and supportive
  • Expectant parents on bedrest unable to attend a traditional class




Why should I choose your classes over the ones offered at the hospital?


Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators (LCCE) are specialists in what they do.

  • I have specialized training in evidence-based birth as well as teaching strategies for educating adult learners and have passed a certification exam testing my knowledge.
  • I have a deep passsion for working with individuals seeking a safe, healthy, empowered, and satisfying birth experience.
  • I want every expectant and new parent to feel equiped and prepared to care for and feed their new baby.
  • I bring years of experience to this role:
    • As a Registered Nurse with my Bachelors of Science in Nursing, and also having aquired an addional Maternal-Newborn Certification (BSN, RNC-MNN)
    • As a breastfeeding specialist as both an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC)
    • As a mother of three children who experienced three very different births and also experienced breastfeeding challenges and successes with all three children.
Unfortunately, many hospital-based classes are not taught by certified childbirth educators. They are usually nurses, who no doubt have experience in hospital nursing and birth, but their scope of knowledge is often limited to the facility in which they work and they type of birth they usually see (and if we are going by statistics in the US, is often highly medicalized and laiden with interventions). The CONTENT of class content is very different.
  • The education you receive in my classes is not based on a certain facility's policies and procedures.
    • Rather, it is based on current evidence-based information on labor, birth, and breastfeeding.
    • We know from the evidence that birth can safely happen not only in a hospital but also in a birth center or at home.
The FOCUS of class is very different.
  • Many hospital-based classes are focused on what to expect:
    • when you arrive
    • what you can and cannot expect to have happen to you or your baby
    • what you can or cannot do
    • how things work at that facility
    • what procedures to expect, etc.
  • Prenatal classes should be about so much more than "what to expect"!
The importance of preparing and educating one's self on not only what to expect, but also how to manage and cope (with pain, with unexpected circumstances, with fear and anxiety, relationship changes, etc.), and how to advocate for one's self during pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding, and life with a newborn cannot be overemphasized. Many support persons also feel unprepared to support their partners and bring their own anxieties and concerns to the table. Every person should be afforded the ability to enter parenthood with confidence in not only the body's ability to give birth, but also confidence in making informed, empowered decisions for themselves and their child. This is an important process of self-actualization as an indivdual and a necessary skill for the rest of your life as a parent.




Who can come to my class with me?


Whomever you like! Research has shown it is beneficial to have continuous support during labor, birth and the immediate postpartum. For that reason, you should have a dedicated coach if possible. Your coach could be your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, partner, close friend, mother, sister, doula, etc. Whomever you chose should be comfortable with birth, understand and share your view of birth, and should be someone you trust and with whom you feel safe. If you are planning on having a secondary support person with you during your labor and birth such as a doula or other female support person, it may be appropriate for them to attend part or all of your class as well, but only if you would like them to.




How can I pay for classes or services?


For private classes, only a deposit is required to hold your place in class. The remainder is due before the start of the first class.​ This remainder can be paid via card (credit, debit or HSA/FSA) or by check/cash in person on the day of class. For Group Classes, the full class fee is due when booking online to confirm your registration and can be made by credit/debit, HSA/FSA card or PayPal. If you would like to arrange a payment plan, please contact me rather than booking online and you will be billed in installments. If you anticipate paying for classes or services would be a financial hardship, please contact me. I am willing to work with lower income families to come up with a reduced price or payment plan based on your income. For questions regarding insurance or HSA/FSA payments, please see the next question.




Do you accept insurance or HSA payments?


Payment for all classes is due at the time of booking or of service. However, I encourage you to call your insurance provider or read your coverage information on whether prenatal education is covered under your plan. If they offer full or partial coverage, it would also be helpfulf for you to ask for the codes covered. You are more than welcome to submit a claim to your health insurance provider for reimbursement. I can provide you with a "Super Bill" for services rendered with the appropriate billing codes. For lactation services, please see the page Insurance Coverage. Another option is for you to use your Health Savings Account (HSA). Some HSA cards I am able to accept at the time of our visit, but others are not accepted by my card reader. In that case, you may pay by another means and I will provide you with an invoice/bill for you to submit to your HSA provider for reimbursement. Again, it is your responsibility to ensure that prenatal education and lactation services are approved expenses under your plan if you are planning on reimbursement.




What can I expect from a Virtual Class?


While virtual prenatal classes are not what many parents expected to take, they are still a lot of fun, allow you to be in the comfort and safety of your own home, and I have incorporated hands-on elements you can do at home to make the most of your learning expereience! You will have your class booklet mailed to your home which includes all the info from class as well as a companion web-app access code that has more checklists, videos, and more for you to use! You willl also receive access to the additional handouts I provide in class via PDF format. For most classes, it will be helpful to have a few items handy to make the most of your learning expereience and the hands-on portions. Here are what would be best to have ready: ALL CLASSES: Notebook and pen for notes if you like Snacks and water! NEWBORN CLASS: - Doll or stuffed animal (to be your "baby") - Diapers - Wipes - 2 towels and 2 washcloths - Receiving blanket / swaddle blanket BREASTFEEDING CLASS: - Doll or stuffed animal (to be your "baby") - Breastfeeding/nursing pillow, or 2 other bed or throw pillows CHILDBIRTH / LAMAZE CLASSES - 2 bed pillows - Exercise ball (if you have one or would like to purchase one)





Lactation Support

What can I expect at a postpartum lactation consultation?


I want to ensure I help you, support you, and give you the resources you need to be successful in meeting your breastfeeding goals. In order to do this, you can expect the following:

  • I will ask you to access the Lactation Client Portal prior to our visit so you can provide me with a thorogh history both for yourself and your baby as well as to sign some important documents
    • This portal also allows you to chat with me or message me confidentially in a HIPPA complient way, records all of our communication in your client record so you can view it at any time, allows you to view the documentation from our visit and also any electronic versions of educational materials I have provided to you.
  • At our visit, I will ask you some more questions to gather additional information about your baby's feeding patterns, output, your feeding goals, your feeding questions/concerns, and more.
  • I will conduct a through assessement of your infant (including their oral cavity and suck), your breast anatomy and a full feeding
  • We will formulate a care plan to address any challenges you are experiencing
  • I will provide you with a number of electronic and/or print educational resources from evidence-based sources that you can reference after our visit
  • I will, with your permission, fax documentation of your lactation visit and plan to your care provider as well as to baby's care provider
  • I will make any necessary referrals to other support professionals as appropriate
  • You will have the ability to follow up with me either electronically (via the portal, by phone, virtually) or in-person for continued support.




What can I expect at a prenatal lactation consultation?


I want to ensure I help you, support you, and give you the resources you need to be successful in meeting your feeding goals. Some expectant parents have unique needs or challenges that can benefit from some advance planning prior to baby's arrival. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Those who have nursed before but were unsuccessful or faced many challenges nursing a previous child
  • Are adopting or are a non-birthing parent and looking to induce lactation
  • Will be facing possible breastfeeding challenges with this current pregnancy (multiples, anatomy issues, previous breast surgery, congenital challenges, etc.)
In order to best help you, you can expect the following:
  • I will ask you to access the Lactation Client Portal prior to our visit so you can provide me with a thorogh history both for yourself and your pregnancy if applicable as well as to sign some important documents
    • This portal also allows you to chat with me or message me confidentially in a HIPPA complient way, records all of our communication in your client record so you can view it at any time, allows you to view the documentation from our visit and also any electronic versions of educational materials I have provided to you.
  • At our visit, I will ask you some more questions to gather additional information about your unique circumstance
  • I will conduct a through assessement of your breast/chest anatomy
  • We will formulate a care plan to address any challenges you are expecting
  • I will provide you with a number of electronic and/or print educational resources from evidence-based sources that you can reference after our visit
  • I will, with your permission, fax documentation of your lactation visit and plan to your care provider if appropriate
  • I will make any necessary referrals to other support professionals as appropriate
  • You will have the ability to follow up with me either electronically (via the portal, by phone, virtually) or in-person for continued support both before baby arrives and after.




How can I pay for lactation services? Do you accept insurance or HSA/FSA Payments?


For more information on insurance coverage for lactation services, please see Insurance Coverage