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Highlights from the ICEA Conference

For sure, the highlight for me was getting to meet (Dr.) Sarah Buckley. She presented three general sessions on her game-changing new report, Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing: Evidence and Implications for Women, Babies and Maternity Care to be published next month on the Childbirth Connection website. In recent years, we have learned more and more about how important breastfeeding is for the health of babies and mothers. Sarah’s report documents why normal, physiological birth is so critical to the health of babies, women, and future generations. We will let you know via Twitter and Facebook when the report is released. The Family Way and JM Birth Consultants joined together to host a reception open to all ICEA Conference attendees honoring Dr. Buckley. To our delight, she recited her famous placenta poem. If you get the chance (and those of you attending the DONA/Lamaze Conference starting today will), go hear her speak. And definitely look for her new report coming out soon.

Did you know that perinatal depression is the most under-diagnosed obstetric complication in America? Dr. Pec Indman shared current research about PMAD (perinatal mood anxiety disorders). My most important takeaway from this excellent talk was that pregnant women need to know the symptoms of PMAD and if they are at increased risk. Postpartum Support International has an excellent 13-minute video that can be shown in childbirth classes to address this important issue.

I also enjoyed Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackets’s general sessions on birth trauma and on infant sleeping locations. Both important topics for childbirth classes and issues that are in the news. Two new books have been published recently on these topics, both of which I highly recommend – Traumatic Childbirth by Cheryl Beck, Jeanne Driscoll, and Sue Watson and Sweet Sleep by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Linda Smith, and Teresa Pittman.

Obviously, I could only be in one break-out session at a time, so I most likely missed some excellent presentations. But I especially enjoyed Protecting Your Birth Business with attorney Robert Turner, Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About: Using Visual Prompts for Engagement and Discussion with Diane Sampson, and New Strategies for Active Birth Preparation with Stephanie Larson. Turner discussed many of the nitty-gritty topics necessary for setting up a business such as the importance of written contracts, partnerships vs. corporations, and leases. Diane Sampson shared some delightful and hilarious short YouTube videos which are great for for childbirth classes. Check out this one about the pain of watching a childbirth video. Not all our students are as excited as we are about watching birth  – use this one to start a good discussion. Stephanie Larson teaches fun Dancing for Birth classes, helping students to stay in shape and to learn moves which will aid progress and comfort during labor and birth.

ICEA did a great job putting on this conference. Now off to the combined DONA/Lamaze International Conference!

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