When you sign up for any Lamaze childbirth class, you can expect to learn thoroughly about labor, birth, and postpartum through the use of evidence-based resources and instruction. But that's pretty much where the similarities end. A Lamaze class can be taught in a group or privately; a Lamaze class can be covered in one day or over the course of several weeks; and a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator will use a variety of activities, visual aids, and teaching tools to demonstrate different concepts, tips, and techniques. In this new series, we'll be showing off some of the fun and unique tools our educators use in their classes. If you thought you knew all about Lamaze classes before, you might be surprised! The first teaching tool in this series comes from Mindy Cockeram, LCCE, who teaches Lamaze classes in Southern California.
What: A Ketchup Bottle
Inspiration: I watched my son at the dinner table one night work like mad to squeeze out ketchup from the ketchup bottle -- he didn't realize that all the ketchup was at the other end of the bottle, and that he'd never get anywhere until it was at the bottom. I told him to coax it down to the lid gently and then squeeze, otherwise he'd end up working really hard with no ketchup on his plate to show for it. Of course, my childbirth educator lightbulb went on and I knew this was the perfect analogy for women pushing too early in labor!
How I Teach it in Class: In my Lamaze classes, I show a ketchup bottle to parents and talk about how "squeezing" -- pushing -- before the "ketchup" -- baby -- is all the way at the bottom -- further down the birth canal -- is ineffective, frustrating, and tiring. Most educators talk about the importance of "laboring down," that is, waiting until baby is further down and the urge to push is there, once you reach 10cm, but I find it really hits home with this fun visual. I also talk about how, just like you would move a ketchup bottle this way and that to get the ketchup from one end to the other, you also want to move your body and/or change positions to encourage baby to come down prior to pushing. Pushing is usually the most physically demanding phase of labor, so it's important for women to take advantage of the benefits of gravity and positioning before exerting their energy into pushing baby out.
Mindy Cockeram is a recently recertified Lamaze Educator working with a large hospital chain in Southern California where she’s been teaching since 2011. She trained initially through the UK’s National Childbirth Trust in Wimbledon, England in 2006 after a career in the financial markets industry in London. She graduated from Villanova University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in Business Studies. Currently working on a book, she resides in Redlands, California with her British husband and two children