Why was this class developed?
In 2014, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a joint statement denouncing waterbirth. In response, hospitals all over the U.S. began suspending their waterbirth programs.
The ACOG/AAP statement has been roundly criticized for its low scientific quality. The statement included multiple gross errors, misrepresentations of study findings, and omissions of important research evidence. The opinion placed a strong emphasis on low-level evidence from “case reports” (like letters to the editor), while completely ignoring higher-level evidence from large observational studies that showed excellent outcomes in studies on thousands and thousands of women and babies. Among other flaws, the ACOG/AAP statement referred to “drownings and near drownings” that did not actually occur.
As hospitals suspended or shut down their waterbirth programs, mothers, midwives, nurses, and physicians alike lamented the loss of waterbirth in their hospitals, as strong evidence shows that waterbirth is a safe, evidence-based option for pain relief during labor.
So what can we do to bring waterbirth back?
When evidence-based childbirth options such as waterbirth are taken away—the last thing we should be doing is giving up! Instead, stand up and DO SOMETHING about it! This class gives you the knowledge, skills, and tools that will help you bring waterbirth back!
What will I get out of this course?
The “Bring Waterbirth Back, Baby!” course will give you all the tools, tricks, and tips you need to bring waterbirth back to your community hospital. We will start by using the famous "change theory" to describe how change occurs in hospitals, and discuss why it is so important that you form a team to tackle this issue.
Together, we will talk about the driving forces that can bring waterbirth back, and the restraining forces that can keep waterbirth at bay. You will learn how to set up a rally, how to talk with the media, and how to start a petition. You will be empowered by a brief cognitive therapy session, in which you will take a deep look at a hidden barrier to fighting waterbirth bans. You will also be able to debunk the flawed ACOG/AAP statement in front of hospital administrators.
The class concludes with a fascinating series of interviews with people across the U.S. who have been involved in overturning waterbirth bans, including: an obstetrician champion for waterbirth, a nurse midwife, a mother, an attorney, and Barbara Harper, RN-- the founder of Waterbirth International.
Will I get anything else for taking the class?
As part of your membership in this class, you will be invited to join a closed Facebook group of mothers and professionals who are working on reversing waterbirth bans in their hospitals.
You will also be given access to an incredibly useful "Waterbirth Ban Toolkit" that contains all kinds of downloadable documents, templates, and handouts that you can use in your mission to reverse waterbirth bans.
The Waterbirth Ban Toolkit includes the following files and documents for you to download:
Who is teaching this class?
This class was designed and organized by Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN, a nurse researcher and founder of Evidence Based Birth. In 2014, Rebecca spent four months conducting a systematic review of the literature on waterbirth.
When she saw how many people were dismayed by the suspension of waterbirth in their communities, Rebecca gathered all of the resources and knowledge she could find into one course—to give people a better chance of being able to reverse waterbirth bans and restore waterbirth as an option for women in their community.
Can you guarantee that we will be able to reverse waterbirth bans by taking this class?
To be totally honest and up front with you—there are many barriers to waterbirth. For one, the ACOG/AAP Opinion Statement is very powerful-- because of the liability concerns it has created. By simply taking this class we cannot and do not guarantee that you will be able to reverse waterbirth bans in your community. However, this class is the first time all of the knowledge, skills, and tools to fight waterbirth bans have been gathered into one online resource. So your fight to overcome waterbirth bans will be strengthened by what you learn here, and you will have access to materials that will make your fight both more productive and more strategic.
What if I want to start a new waterbirth program?
I want to make sure that you understand this—the “Bring Waterbirth Back, Baby!” class is specifically focused on reversing waterbirth bans in hospitals that previously had a waterbirth program. This class will not teach you how to START a new waterbirth program—that is a huge topic by itself. If your goal is to start a waterbirth program, and you are starting from scratch we recommend that you contact Waterbirth International for their assistance.
However, the lessons and materials in this class could be very helpful for anyone who is trying to overcome administrative barriers to implementing waterbirth in the first place. For example, if your hospital administrators are resistant to starting waterbirth because they are worried about the ACOG guidelines—then this class will likely be very helpful for you. If you're not sure whether this class is right for you, you can always sign up. You have 30 days to request a refund if you find out the class doesn't meet your expectations.
What if I decide I don’t want the class?
If you sign up for this class and realize that it’s not exactly what you are looking for, don’t worry—you can simply request your 30-day refund—no questions asked.
How long does the class take?
There are about 3 and a half hours’ worth of video and audio in this class. Since the entire class is recorded and hosted online on Udemy, you can watch the class at your own pace. Udemy also has iPhone, iPad, and Android apps, so you can watch the class on your mobile device.
Can I earn continuing education credits?
Yes, you can earn a certificate for 3.5 nursing contact hours for taking this class. Evidence Based Birth is an approved continuing education provider by the Kentucky board of nursing. Kentucky Board of Nursing approval of an education organization does not constitute endorsement of program content. Nursing contact hours are accepted by most doula, childbirth educator, and some midwifery organizations. To get your certificate, you will simply take a short quiz after you finish the class. After passing the quiz, you will be able to instantly download and/or print your certificate.
Is there anything else I need to know?
If you want to fight a waterbirth ban in your hospital, the "Bring Waterbirth Back, Baby!" class will give you the tools and tricks—and street knowledge—that you need so that you can be better equipped to bring waterbirth back to your community.
Welcome to the course! This video has your course orientation.
Let's get started by introducing ourselves and talking about our roles in the fight to bring waterbirth back!
In this lecture, I will briefly introduce you to Lewin's theory of change, and how it is used in hospitals to promote change.
Let's talk about the forces that can drive change in a positive direction!
Cristen Pascucci, Vice President of Improving Birth.org and founder of Birth Monopoly, gives us some great advice on exactly HOW to hold a rally.
This content will also be available as a Word document handout in your "Waterbirth Ban Toolkit." Feel free to share with members of your team!
In this brief video, I will demonstrate how to start a www.change.org petition using the materials in your Toolkit. I will also show you an example of a successful change.org petition for waterbirth!
Let's talk about how to meet with stakeholders! You will need to have some notes and a pen so that you can jot down the people you intend to meet with. You will also be given a list of supplies to bring with you to your meetings.
In this lecture, we talk about how hospital administrators and physicians might think you are crazy, and why it is important to carefully and concisely debunk the ACOG/AAP statement, without bias or emotion.
This is part 1 of a demonstration on how to debunk the ACOG/AAP opinion statement on waterbirth.
This is part 2 of a demonstration on how to debunk the ACOG/AAP opinion statement on waterbirth.
I interviewed Gabrielle Volkman, a mother in Nebraska, who together with other mothers in the community worked to bring waterbirth back. Despite the fact that the hospital would not communicate with them, their targeted consumer pressure campaign really worked!
I interviewed Susan Jenkins, who is an attorney who has been working on midwifery and birth issues for the past 30 years, about her thoughts on waterbirth bans.
Read the transcript of my 30-minute interview with Barbara Harper, founder of Waterbirth International, about waterbirth bans.
Rebecca L. Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN is the founder and author of the internationally-known website, Evidence Based Birth. Rebecca is an assistant professor of nursing at a research university in the U.S. She teaches pathophysiology and pharmacology to undergraduate nursing students, and she serves as a mentor for doctoral students in Nursing.
Rebecca's research has been recognized with many awards, including the Promising Young Investigator Award from the American Heart Association. Rebecca is a board-certified clinical nurse specialist and an advanced practice registered nurse.
In May 2012, Rebecca realized that it was very difficult for the average person to find information about evidence-based maternity care. Realizing that she had the research and writing skills to meet this need, Rebecca coined the term "evidence based birth" and founded Evidence Based Birth. The mission of Evidence Based Birth is to promote evidence-based practice during childbirth by providing research evidence directly to women and families.
Founding Evidence Based Birth led to new opportunities for Rebecca. In November, 2012, she joined the executive board of directors of Improving Birth.org, a non-profit whose mission is to bring evidence-based care and humanity to childbirth.
Rebecca has given many presentations about evidence based birth to nursing students, medical residents, college students, and midwives. In 2013, her speaking engagements included the American College of Nurse Midwives annual conference, the Virtual International Day of the Midwife. and the March of Dimes Perinatal Professionals seminar series.
In addition to being a prolific writer, researcher, and teacher, Rebecca is wife to Dan and mother to three young children.