Day 2 of the Lamaze International Conference started with the LONGEST 90 minute session, ever!
Yes, I presented a session first thing Saturday morning! My topic was “Studies, Stats and All That Jazz: Finding Your Research Rhythm for Safe and Healthy Birth” – I think it went well, we discussed different kinds of bias, ways to stay current on research, and I highlighted my “Dirty Dozen” favorite sites to find good evidence based info. People showed up, actually participated and asked great questions, the internet worked, and I am happy with how it went.
With that out of the way, I could relax and enjoy the remaining sessions. There were no general sessions on Saturday, it was a day of all breakouts. I really wanted to attend the presenation “Teaching to the Plugged In Mom: Using Today’s Digital Tools in the Classroom and Beyond” by my friend Sharon Muza and Jeanette McCulloch – a new friend I met at the conference. Unfortunately, they were presenting at the same time I was! However, I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek before the conference and give them feedback – and it was great!
I attended a split session that I had mixed feelings about. The first part was “Birthing Like the Stars” – all about how to use celebrity births in your classes. I’m not one to follow celebrities at all and don’t think I’ll use her ideas much. But the second half “Prenatal Education and the Flipped Classroom” really got ideas flowing for my private childbirth classes, and I am so excited to implement some of the ideas! (And no, I won’t tell you what they are until I get everything in place! But there is a shot of some of my iPad notes on the right…) Christine Maria Just did a fabulous job presenting what she is doing and how it could be implemented. I wish she could have had the full 90 minutes!
After lunch and the Lamaze membership meeting was a session from Melinda Delisle, owner of Pocket Pregnancy. She spoke on “Attracting parents to Childbirth Classes in the Digital Age: What live classes can offer that online classes can’t” – she opened by asking those present why they came to the conference when they could just learn about these topics online. The answers – networking, community, hands on learning, connection to others facing similar challenges – were also many of the benefits of live childbirth classes! The barriers to attending a conference and attending CBE were also similar: time, cost, not valuing the benefits, etc.
Melinda discussed the results of a small survey she’s done on the topic and the results of the Listening to Mothers surveys over the years and the reported decline in attendance at live classes.
Then she spent some time teaching techniques that can only be done live and how to market them as the most valuable experience in the class.
Kim James’ presentation Evaluation Power! was a great one. You might think that evaluations are a boring topic, but Kim gave great information on how to write an evaluation that will bring you more useful feedback to improve your classes AND information you can use to market yourself as well. Kim was a rock star, as she’d planned a 45 minute presentation and arrived to find herself with a 90 minute slot. You couldn’t even tell she hadn’t planned it that way. I now want to completely rewrite the evaluations for my classes and for my doula clients!
The last session of the day was another split session, sort of. Meghan Henley and Jennifer Torres each presented a different area of the results from the Maternity Support Survey – a large scale survey that compares doulas, childbirth educators and labor & delivery nurses. Meghan discussed the results as they applied to labor and birth and Jennifer discussed the results as they applied to breastfeeding. Not surprisingly, CBEs and doulas attitudes are more closely related than L&D nurses, though overall, most were closer than I would have thought. Meghan and Jennifer led an interesting discussion asking class participants why they felt that might be. I did enjoy this session, but wished it had come earlier in the day when I didn’t have so much brain overload.
That evening, the conference organizers had arranged for us to parade down Bourbon St with a brass band all the way to Cafe Soule where we had Cajun food. I took a short video as we walked.
After the dinner, I met with a bunch of women for a “TweetUp” – these were all women who had been tweeting about the conference using the hashtag #Lamaze13 – it was a good group and we enjoyed talking until it was time for bed.
Read the third and final installment here.