We are creatures of habit and it is easy to get stuck in a routine, teaching the same things in the same way. This new blog series for educators explores some ideas to help you branch out. Read on to be inspired about new topics and effective strategies to help you get creative this year.
Early Pregnancy Workshop
Nutrition, fitness and other health tips are important. You probably cover these topics in your childbirth classes, but there are two challenges with this approach. First, you have a very long list of information to cover, leaving limited time for health topics. Second, most parents enroll in childbirth classes later in their pregnancy, long past the time they should adopt healthy habits.
Early healthy pregnancy workshops are a great way to educate parents about a variety of prenatal topics and also market other services you offer. There are several approaches to teaching an early pregnancy workshop and a lot of topics you can cover. We break down some options below to help you plan and get started teaching this important information in a way that will make a big impact.
Benefits for Parents
Getting a jump start on prenatal education in an early pregnancy workshop has many benefits for parents:
- Reduce stress levels.
- Answer common questions.
- Provide direction and information about normal changes and what to expect.
Benefits for the Educator
In addition to educating parents, an early pregnancy workshop can help you and your business:
- Introduce parents to other services your business offers (childbirth classes, support groups, doula services, etc.) to get more clients and grow your business.
- Market and partner with local organizations (clinics, hospitals, other local service providers such as nutritionists, chiropractors, etc.).
- Know that you are making a difference in your community by filling in a needed gap for expectant parents.
Topics to Consider
Each community is different, so tailor your workshop to the specific needs of parents in your community. Use this list of topic ideas as a starting point:
- Introduction to pregnancy
- Information on local health care providers and facilities
- Standard prenatal care practices and tests
- Normal body changes and staying comfortable
- Evaluation of current health status and how to make changes to improve
- Top ten foods to avoid (or top ten foods to eat) during pregnancy
Mental and Emotional Health
- Bonding/connecting with partner and baby
- The importance of support
- Provide local and online resources for assistance where there is need
Activities to Try
Lectures can be less effective than hands-on practice for learning. Be sure to include fun activities to create an engaging and interactive workshop, such as:
- Have parents assemble a healthy meal using play food
- Provide a "pregnancy belly" for partners to try on
- Practice a prenatal bonding exercise
- Practice a visualization or breathing technique to reduce stress
- Demonstrate and practice pregnancy stretches or yoga poses
Launching Your Workshop
There are many ways to format and market early pregnancy workshop. Identify your target market (parents who are thinking of pregnancy or in their first trimester) and focus your marketing to reach them. You can write blog articles, share helpful information about early pregnancy on social media, post fliers in local business that cater to pregnancy and/or partner with OB/Midwife practices to get the word out.
Some formats to try:
- Offer a short (one hour) free workshop that provides a sneak peek of your longer childbirth course. Be sure to collect contact information from attendees and let them know of your upcoming classes.
- Make an early healthy pregnancy class the first in a series. If you already teach a longer course, add one to the beginning of your series covering health topics.
- Volunteer to teach an underserved part of the community.
- Partner with people or organizations that can benefit all parties (YMCA, fitness instructors, nutrition counselors, the local WIC office, etc.) and host an event or workshop series together.
Use a creative title to draw people in:
- Feeling Great in Pregnancy
- The Best Start for You and Your Baby
- All Your Questions About Growing a Baby
- You're Pregnant, Now What?
Provide incentives to encourage people to sign up:
- Have healthy snacks and drinks available (or even a meal).
- Offer door prizes and/or a grand prize drawing. Ask local related businesses to donate products or services. This keeps your cost down, gives parents insider information on what is available locally, and provides an easy marketing opportunity for area organizations.
- Give a discount for your other classes to anyone who attends your early healthy pregnancy workshop.
Use these tools to help your early pregnancy workshop get off to a smooth start.