Birth Boot Camp – online childbirth education {Interview}

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NPT – So Sarah, tell us about why this company was started. Aren’t there already plenty of people out there teaching natural birth?

SC – Thanks so much for doing this interview! This amazing journey all began with a friend of mine, Donna Ryan (Banned From Baby Showers). I have known Donna for years, she was actually MY natural birth teacher before I had my first child. She mentored me as I did my own birth teacher training a few years later and we have always stayed in touch and I have turned to her for advice and help as my own classes grew. Donna and I were both teaching a different method for years, she for about a decade. We loved it because it worked, but much of the curriculum was outdated and we knew that more families would be interested if we could offer them something more.

One day Donna called me up and told me that she had been finally working on her OWN idea. She told me it was called Birth Boot Camp and asked me if I would be willing to be involved. I am honored to be included with this group of women.

There are a few things that make Birth Boot Camp different and that we have striven to include and focus on so that we can offer our students the BEST education possible so they can get the natural birth they are looking for.

Donna wanted to offer online classes. She had been teaching for years and had seen a strong need for a really comprehensive class that was available for people who simply couldn’t attend a live, instructor led, class. She had, on her own, developed some DVD classes but she wanted to take it to the next level, make them more professional, and make them more available by putting them online. This is one thing that makes Birth Boot Camp unique. For couples that need an online class (due to scheduling difficulties or lack of an instructor in their area) these comprehensive online birth classes are a GIFT. And so far, a great one. Our online couples are having amazing births!

We also have an amazing instructor training in place and are training in the Dallas area every few months. For our instructors we offer a course that works well for people that are interested in teaching in depth classes that focus on natural birth, gentle and instinctive parenting, incredible breastfeeding education, and strong involvement of the birth partner or father. Our teachers finish training and have skills, confidence, videos for their classes, games, and the ability to teach. I believe they are armed better than any other instructor out there.

NPT- The name, Birth Boot Camp jumped out at me. Why the name? It isn’t very feminine!

SC – That is funny you say that because I initially had the same response! Then I told my husband, “Hey, Donna is thinking about starting this thing called Birth Boot Camp….” His reaction helped me understand WHY this name, “I LOVE IT! What a great title!” he said.

Photo courtesy of Birth Boot Camp

The fact is that birth doesn’t just involve a mother, it involves her partner too and often that partner is a man. We wanted these classes to appeal not just to mom, but to her partner too so that the entire couple unit would be excited to attend.

As I mentioned before, one reason Birth Boot Camp was developed was for people who couldn’t attend live classes. Donna had worked with many of these couples in the past who were deployed military families and video classes were their only option. This also led to the unique names for our curriculum. That, and our belief that in the current birthing climate, getting a natural birth takes some serious effort and work and knowledge, just led us to know that this name was the right approach for us.

NPT- What should pregnant women expect from Birth Boot Camp?

SC -Women and their partners should expect a ten week long series that covers what we, as birth professionals, have found students need in order to succeed. Our board is made up of lots of intelligent and experienced women. They include. midwives, Chiropractors, a physical therapist, a physical trainer, doulas, a massage therapist and an IBCLC (lactation consultant) to help give people the whole package- EVERYTHING they would need to get the birth they want. As a teacher, I want my students to succeed, that is what they hired me for, that is what they want, and so it matters to me deeply. That is the question we asked ourselves as we worked on this. What do pregnant women need?

They will get a comprehensive series that covers WHY they should birth naturally, nutrition and exercise for pregnancy, common procedures in pregnancy, choosing where and with whom to birth, what happens in labor and how your partner can help you, relaxation, avoiding unnecessary interventions like c-sections, postpartum adjustments, breastfeeding and gentle baby care. We want our couples to feel confident and prepared and closer together as a couple by the time they are done with our series.

They will also be able to watch up-to-date birth videos in class, have an incredible manual, extra resources via e-mail for their own study and an in depth breastfeeding DVD from our resident lactation consultant, Mellanie Shepphard.

NPT- As an educator, what do you think some of the “misconceptions” are that people have about birth?

SC – Great question. I think that a lot of what we think about birth comes from the media- it is painful, dangerous and happens about five minutes after water breaks suddenly! Then you give birth to a clean three month old baby! Basically, a lot of our perceptions aren’t necessarily based in fact, but what looks good on TV or gets good ratings.

But fear of birth goes deeper than that. I think many women hear horror stories from their mothers and their friends. It is not unusual for women to be told to just “get the epidural” or that they don’t, “get any gold stars” for going natural.

The fact is though that birth DOES matter to women no matter how they experience it. We should honor and respect this sacred time. It is worth our effort, our education, and our time. Birth matters to women and their partners and their babies. Education can replace that fear with confidence and yield a joyous birth. That is what we want women to know!

NPT- So why aren’t drugs the ideal “treatment” for birth?

SC – Well, first, I don’t think birth needs to be “treated” with anything other than reverence and respect. Birth is not a medical emergency, it is a transitional and transformative right of passage, but it doesn’t have to be frightening.

There are certainly times when drugs are the right “treatment” for birth, but I think that they are pretty obviously overused. When I ponder the very common epidural I just go back to common sense. Does an epidural even make sense?

What is my body telling me with it’s sensations? (In birth it is often telling us to move, walk, sway, eat, rest, etc.) If I numb these sensations, what else am I disrupting? Does it make sense to be lying down and numb for something that sure looks like it would benefit from gravity and movement? Will this numbness inhibit my babies ability to come out and my ability to help? Why has nature designed my body to feel this?

When I answer these questions myself, it just seems obvious that drugs, though sometimes necessary, really put a kink in the works when it comes to birth. I could numb a headache with a pill. Or I could look at why I have a headache. Am I stressed, hungry, thirsty, tired or overwhelmed? Maybe I should address the CAUSE of the headache and honor my body’s messages before I simply numb it. The same applies to birth. Listen to the mechanism, it works!


Birth Boot Camp are generously offering our readers $25 off their online classes until September 30th, 2012. Just use Coupon code: NPTSAVE
You can click through to their website using the pic below.

We would love to see birth changed for the better! If you are interested in becoming a Birth Boot Camp instructor, you can find more information on the site.