Videos are such a powerful tool in a childbirth and parenting preparation series. Seeing someone in labor can help to prepare them for what that might look like and feel like. Seeing a birth in a hospital setting (or at home if you’re teaching a home birth class) can help them start to imagine what their birth will be like and also gives them an opportunity to see maternity care procedures. Seeing a newborn baby squirming around helps them grasp what their baby might be like at birth. And seeing a baby and a breast come together is essential preparation for breastfeeding.
So, where can you find great videos? Here’s a collection of what I know about. PLEASE add comments with more details on these resources or with recommendations for other videos you would use in class.
Other than Injoy, almost all of the videos listed are free of charge. I put a $ sign at the end of the listing if you have to purchase them.
If you can afford them, I think that nothing beats Injoy videos. Learn about their videos, and preview clips at https://injoyhealtheducation.com/. Consistently high quality, fairly diverse families featured. They intersperse clips from births with animated graphics of things such as the descent of the fetus during birth, and offer clear, easily understood narration about the birth process, breastfeeding, or newborn care. Childbirth educators who only work with clients planning out-of-hospital births may feel they are too medicalized, but if most of your population is planning a hospital birth, I think they appropriately balance working toward a lower intervention birth while also learning key information about interventions. $$
Other Options I have used:
Mothers’ Advocate. This series was jointly produced by Injoy and Lamaze and covers Lamaze’s 6 Healthy Birth Practices. All the benefits of an Injoy video, but free of charge. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaEXrckfk_s3x7i6gZhD5xQ. They are from 2010.
I made a video about newborn cues. You can learn more about it in this post.
All the videos from here down were recommended by other birth educators for use in classes. If the person who recommended the video gave details about what they liked, I included those notes. I have not watched them all myself so please review in detail yourself before using in a class!
Evidence Based Birth by Rebecca Dekker, phD – her blog is great but I have not yet watched these videos, which include a full birth class series called “Birthing in the Time of COVID”. https://www.youtube.com/user/EvidenceBasedBirth/featured
Mandy Irby Birth Nurse – includes a multi-video series called Online Lamaze Class: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKzlDuEA1X68s4_Jh-UD82w
Alice Turner, doula and birth educator. Lots of videos with tips on comfort techniques and more. https://www.youtube.com/c/AliceTurner
Gentle Cesarean from Brigham and Women’s Hospital: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5ivEYQQ380
Beaumont Hospital has a full series of videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IJp1VSxZno&list=PL_OlobI2SUiqVkMWcLy8yvY3-5jzLAYpR
Hello Baby from the Childbirth Media Center: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE6D2082C92555A96. These are good, but they are really OLD – we had them when I started teaching 25 years ago. (To all the old educators out there… these are the Carl and Donna videos.)
For talking about pushing and a way to practice it more concretely when an urge is obviously not present. https://youtu.be/5TRnHcdQE6E
Cesarean video – from Australia, so note any differences between what’s shown and your local practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-y4C1G59IA
Playdough Surgery – cesarean. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utCS5rzNkfU There’s information here on using it in birth classes. https://www.lamaze.org/Connecting-the-Dots/Post/series-brilliant-activities-for-birth-educators-reducing-anxiety-around-cesarean-births-1
Examples of what real labor looks like:
Alice Turner, Lamaze educator, recommends 5 birth videos with info on why she likes each video – find her recommendations and links to those videos at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSAXOgKD1kw
Birth of Easton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKMZyYJmiG8
Birth of Sloane – the person who recommended this said: “Home birth – Great partner support and example of different positions – no nudity – 6 mins 31 seconds – good sounds – baby born in water – interesting example of cord cutting by burning.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSyCal8fqig
Blake Andrew Isom. “Shows how the partner was right where the mother wanted him to be. He gave words of affirmation but you don’t hear them in the video. She had a doula at her birth so the husband was able to stay right with the mom holding her hands and comforting her.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8I1WF60U-Q
Denver Birth Videos. The person who recommended them said “I found this birth videographer from Colorado. She had so many beautiful videos on her website that demonstrated so many coping techniques and different things to try even in early labor like walking up stairs etc. Lots of great partner support and she has a huge range of types of births (home birth, water birth, land birth, hospital birth etc.). I personally messaged her and asked if I could use her videos in my classes and she gave me permission.” https://www.monetnicole.com/birth-videos?fbclid=IwAR1hiUd7gERN3IqP9KjHyr7w-c9vcm4QKURUr7Uc4pTXI2UnnAA7z6LZ3z0
Compilation of scenes from many births: https://vimeo.com/335523310?fbclid=IwAR2ReOU8q6WAsb9P_dxQ23xgwTVxDMxMogTLYimnGwg1qthZKgLLcpsHwMY
Great video with a Black dad talking about ways to support a postpartum parent: https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/postpartumforpartners
For talking about helpers vs visitors. FUNNY! Some may not love it because it pokes fun at some worthwhile breastfeeding advice but I preface it and it lightens the mood as a good transition after talking about some of the hard stuff during postpartum. https://youtu.be/joJb71sv_oE
Viral a couple years ago, but the Frida mom commercial is wonderful to open a discussion of postpartum. https://youtu.be/ZAtV-4_hw-w
Safe Infant Sleep for Grandparents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cXwlpSJL08
Breastfeeding / Chestfeeding
First Droplets has a 15 minute overview of Breastfeeding in the First Hour: https://firstdroplets.com/?fbclid=IwAR1ptT-uUB6DpkA21C8Io8Ht-WvFvkKlZHlcMTv6NHpCE33qyfmjucaT1uI They also have great short videos on specific topics like latch: https://firstdroplets.com/abcs/
Global Health Media has very helpful instructional videos on labor, breastfeeding and newborn care. (Like this one on latch: https://globalhealthmedia.org/language/english/) These were filmed in developing countries, so you would want to think about how to introduce them to families so that they see the information is also relevant in the U.S. since they may assume otherwise if they see the more primitive medical equipment. https://globalhealthmedia.org/language/english/
International Breastfeeding Centre (aka Jack Newman’s site) has LOTS of great videos showing specific breastfeeding details, especially close-ups of latch: https://ibconline.ca/breastfeeding-videos-english/
Hug Your Baby has a breastfeeding overview and a newborn care overview: https://hexaflexagon-sparrow-t2kn.squarespace.com/digital-parent-resource-preview $
“Beautiful breast crawl by newborn baby.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNCKd-og3YY
When choosing videos, here are some things to think about or watch out for:
ALWAYS “set up” the video. Tell them
- what they’re going to see
- why you’re showing this video
- what they should look out for
For example, here’s part of how I set up the Injoy Stages of Labor video: “I always show this video in the first week of class, because it provides a full overview of the labor and birth process from start to finish – sort of a preview of everything we will cover during this class series. You’ll see clips from three or four different families giving birth in a hospital, so you’ll see typical hospital procedures as well. I do want to give you a heads up: you will see a vaginal delivery of a baby – if you are uncomfortable with watching that, you can always close your eyes or turn away – but we find for many people it’s easier to see this for the first time when it’s not you or your partner giving birth… What I really like about this video is you’ll have a great opportunity to see what people in labor may look or sound like, what their partners can do to support them in labor, and how the care providers also support them. I want you all to look for some ideas on what each person does to help work with and manage labor pain.”
ALWAYS allow a few minutes to debrief the video. I kind of putter around a bit when turning off the video, turning the lights back on, sitting back down to give them just a moment to gather themselves. (It’s not unusual for someone to get a little weepy during a video.) Then I say “So, what did you see that surprised you? What do you have questions about?” Usually one of them will respond. If not, I may say something that addresses something that I think may worry someone, like “you may have noticed birthing people who weren’t wearing many clothes during labor… I want you to know that is because they chose to take them off, not because it’s typically required.” Then I’ll ask them to share things about whatever I asked them to look for in the video.
Diverse characters / settings:
Think about the students in your classes – age, race, socioeconomics, visions for ideal births, settings in which they will give birth. Make sure that there are people in the video who look like your students and/or have similar life experiences so they can relate, and they will feel like they belong in your classroom. If the people or settings shown are not like your students, give information about why this video was chosen. If you share a birth story video that focuses on one labor from start to finish, that may not feature a family who looks like theirs, so I introduce it by saying something like “this particular video has a single parent who is supported by her mother and doula – but all the support techniques can be done by any support person” or “this person does not speak English, so they have an interpreter at their birth. I like how the video shows all the stages of her labor from start to finish, so we can see how that process unfolds for one particular person. It shows how families might need to change and adapt their birth plan as things unfold differently than planned.”
I typically teach a 6 week series. I try to include some video in each session. I sometimes time it for right before a break so we can watch it, debrief it, then I send them off to break, where they might choose to talk it through with a partner or other students. Sometimes I show it right after break to get their brains back into class mode. I personally like videos that are about 8 – 13 minutes long… long enough to be worth settling in for, but not much longer than that because they eat too much into my class time. Some instructors take the flipped classroom approach and have students watch the videos between classes and discuss in class.
Be sure to also check out my posts on:
AV Aids for Birth Classes – 3-D Models (dolls, pelvises, breasts, and more…)
AV Aids for Birth Classes – Posters and Images (to put on the wall or into a PowerPoint