Change: A Reflection of the Past Thirty Years as a Childbirth Instructor by ProQuest


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 A Reflection of the Past Thirty Years
            as a Childbirth Instructor
By Donna Berger

     Thirty years ago, I embarked on          The gymnasium added to the environ-               hospital. The curriculum was very infor-
a journey that lead me to people and          ment for exercises, but it was large and          mal, beginning with what they knew.
places I never dreamed of reaching. To        we were unable to observe everyone.               I used models, videos and posters to
think it all just started with a sign on            In time, classrooms were added to           teach about the birth process. Even
the nurses’ lounge bulletin board that        the facility. These classrooms housed             though the situation was not ideal, my
read, “Anyone interested in teaching          10-12 couples, were carpeted, con-                one goal was met. Labor room nurses
childbirth classes see Carol.” Within a       tained a storage cabinet for supplies,            would tell me that moms would come
month, I began my career as a child-          and microphones were no longer                    to the hospital and tell the staff they
birth instructor.                             necessary. This was a wonderful change            were in labor because they attended
     But over the years many aspects          that aided in classroom interaction and           the class and knew the symptoms.
of childbirth education have changed.         rapport. However, with this change                     My non-English speaking patients
Even though in some individuals eyes          came the one classroom to one instruc-            were shown videos. Five other instruc-
the word “change” has negative con-           tor concept. This was very scary for              tors and myself were filmed teaching
notations for me the changes I have           me to be on my own, but immensely                 short segments of the classes. I was
encountered have lead to my growth            added to my growth as an instructor. I            filmed teaching the signs of labor and
not only as an instructor but also as a       was totally responsible for the process           when to come to the hospital. The
person.                                       and progress of each class assigned to            videos were then dubbed with their
                                              me. This made me begin to develop my              language by an interpreter. Handouts
Environment                                   own style and curriculum.                         that were computer generated in their
     When I first started teaching, I               The classroom environment can               language accompanied the video.
taught in a large gymnasium with an-          add to the learning process. How-                 Again, my one goal was attained. Walk-
other instructor. Approximately 20 cou-       ever, sometimes we need to reach the              ing in the hall of the hospital one day,
ples attended. Team teaching allowed          student in their environment. Ten years           I met one of these expectant mothers.
us to learn from each other’s styles and      later, I was asked to start classes for           She pointed at me and said in broken
stories, and we supported each other.         the clinic patients and a non-English             English, “Contractions five minutes
We were still at a one instructor to          speaking population seen at the clinic.           apart, come to hospital.”
ten couple ratio, but because of the          Both groups were lacking in transporta-
class size, it was difficult to establish a   tion and could not attend the evening             Childbirth Instructors
relationship with each couple. Though         classes, but they were able to make                     Thirty years ago, most instructors
we allowed time for questions and   
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