African American Childbirth Educator

Program Description

The African American Childbirth Educator Training Program was developed by the ICTC in order to increase opportunities for African American women and their families to access childbirth education services that are conducive to their cultural and community needs. A secondary aim of the program is to address the lack of a diverse workforce in childbirth education.

Disparities in the number of African American women who attend childbirth education classes exist and the shortage of the African American child birth educator has been identified as a barrier for women to access these services. Pregnant women, especially new mothers, need access to classes that are culturally relevant and local in order to reduce these barriers.

Creating a safe space for pregnant women and their partners to ask questions about pregnancy, birth, and new born care is a vital component of a healthy pregnancy, a positive parenting experience, and a strong community. The ICTC’s years of experience have shown that new African American mothers and fathers benefit when information is delivered by trained professionals who reflect their racial identity, honor their cultural beliefs and traditions and engage them in sharing their experiences.

African American families need childbirth educators who will emphasize labor and birth as a normal process, provide strategies for stress reduction, and foster women’s confidence in mothering.

The ICTC Childbirth Educator Training Program is a pilot project designed to certify a cohort of African American trainees with the education, skills, confidence, and resources they need to provide women and their families with culturally competent prenatal education and support. ICTC hopes to empower pregnant women and their families to understand the process of labor and birth, allowing them to make informed choices during the prenatal period.

The training includes an overview of the history of childbirth education in the United States, an overview of infant and maternal mortality, patient rights, and traditional and current birth practices. The training also covers: the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy and birth; nutrition during the childbearing years; breastfeeding; and postpartum and newborn care. These childbirth educators can help build stronger communities and empower women to advocate for a healthy birthing and parenting environment.

This transformational learning experience will give trainees the opportunity to engage and share in a group setting within an environment of collaboration, respect, and trust. Trainees will increase their knowledge of birth justice issues, business savvy, and professional development.

Training Outcomes

Specific topics of the training include: cultural awareness and sensitivity; birth terminology (anatomy and physiology of preconception, conception and pregnancy);  nutritional needs for the childbearing year and infant feeding; the psychosocial/emotional changes in pregnancy; the stages and signs of labor and birth; labor and delivery support and coping skills; pros- and cons- of obstetrical interventions and procedures; cesarean birth and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC); postpartum and new born care; prematurity, low-birth weight and infant mortality prevention; traditional birth practices; breastfeeding technique; empowerment and advocacy;  adult learning strategies and effective teaching skills; professionalism and business skills; and much more.

ICTC Childbirth Educators Provide Information On:

  • Signs of labor and comfort measures
  • Cesarean section prevention and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)
  • Pain medication options
  • Advantages of natural child birth
  • The role of the partner during labor and recovery
  • The role of a Doula
  • The newborn and bonding
  • Patient rights
  • Creating a birth plan
  • Places of birth

Applicant Criteria

The application process includes two letters of recommendation and a two-hundred and fifty word essay, written in a 12 font, times roman of the applicant’s goals and objectives for becoming a childbirth educator.  For those who speak other languages or are challenged in other ways, may tape their essays or have an oral interview by phone. Applicants must have the minimum of a high school diploma or GED, however, a two year associates degree or other continuing education certification is preferred. Participants must be at least 18 years of age.


Childbirth Educator Certification Requirements

A provisional certificate is earned by those who successfully complete the training.

To complete the certification process, provisional childbirth educators must also complete the following: self-directed study (5 books and book reports), observe one childbirth education series (conducted by a certified childbirth educator), participate in a peer breastfeeding training, conduct 12+ hours of student teaching through externship, observe one birth, and pass the CB-Ed final examination.