Creating a Birth Planning Workshop

This blog series is designed to help you attract clients by outlining strategies for introductory workshops. This article focuses on hosting a Birth Planning Workshop. Check out the whole series for more workshop ideas.

Birth Planning Workshop

Often, expectant parents may have a general sense of how they would like their birth to go, but may not know where to begin, or what questions to ask. Other times, parents may not have given their upcoming birth experience much thought at all. In any case, providing education about their choices and guidance for planning for birth can make a lasting difference for your clients. 

A Birth Planning Workshop helps parents feel more confident and prepared for their birth experience. It also lets new parents meet you and find out what you offer, especially if they haven't done a childbirth class before. As they learn basics about their many choices for birth such as birth place, health care provider options and interventions, you can emphasize how the content they are learning ties into your more in-depth childbirth course.

Benefits for Parents

Expectant parents "don't know what they don't know." Pregnancy and childbirth are cornerstone life experiences and childbirth educators have a unique opportunity to provide information that parents likely won't receive elsewhere. Giving parents a place to start will help them feel calmer and better equipped to ask questions and be involved in their healthcare and in planning for their birth experience.

Benefits for the Educator/Facility

Hosting a Birth Planning Workshop as an independent educator—or as a service of a birth facility—benefits all parties involved. Educators and doulas will have an opportunity to get to know expectant parents in the community and market other services. By offering this workshop, a birth facility sends the message that they care about the experience and satisfaction of the new parents that they serve. Many facilities offer a "worksheet" or other document with options and preferences, but a workshop takes it up a level. A workshop provides an opportunity for parents to ask questions, engage in conversation and clarify their own hopes and preferences with a knowledgeable professional present to help them out. Parents who sense that a health care provider or birth facility puts energy and time into creating a positive experience for them will be drawn to that person, practice or place, and tell their friends about it.

Topics to Consider

Sorting out preferences for birth and making a plan involves many potential topics. By using our parent book Birth Choices as a guideline for your workshop, you can find inspiration and break down the topics based on what is included in the book:

  • Why the birth experience matters
  • Tips to prepare for a positive birth
  • Understanding history and cultural context in birth
  • Birth viewpoint
  • Approaches to birth
  • Use of medical interventions
  • Health care provider options
  • Birth facility options
  • Evaluating current choices
  • Putting choice into action
  • Healthy communication
  • Creating a written birth plan

Activities to Try

While activities for birth planning may not be as clear-cut as something like a Labor Comfort Workshop, there are a number of possibilities that can serve as helpful and interactive tools for education. Consider:

  • Comparing how birth is portrayed in movies vs reality
  • True or false quiz using birth statistics or other important information
  • Role playing communication with common labor scenarios
  • Presenting "what if" scenarios to generate group discussions
  • Visualization exercises
  • Step-by-step birth plan creating

A helpful for tool to provide structure and discussion prompts in our Birth Choices PowerPoint. It comes with a complementary Teaching Guide with an printable "Birth Priorities" activity for parents that serves as an excellent starting point for diving into the conversation.

Launching Your Workshop

There are many ways to get your Birth Planning Workshop up and running. Team up with your local birth facilities and health care providers to help market to expectant parents. Fortunately, this workshop is appropriate for parents who are at any stage of pregnancy. In fact, it would be appropriate for anyone who plans on having a baby in the future! Write blogs, share on social media, post fliers and team up with other area professionals. You don't necessarily need to partner exclusively with childbirth professionals. Consider reaching out to local chiropractors, lactation consultants or those who work with young women or families such as day cares or colleges.

Ideas might include:

  • A short, free or low-cost workshop that is offered as an add-on to a longer, more comprehensive childbirth course.
  • A live, interactive "webinar" that people can log into from home and take advantage of your guidance and expertise.
  • Scheduling the workshop as part of a group tour of the birth place.
  • Volunteer to teach at a local OB/GYN or midwifery office, pregnancy wellness studio or other complementary business.
  • Organize a mini-conference, open house or birth fair and partner with people or organizations that can benefit all parties (massage therapists, birth photographers, doulas, etc.).

Get creative with your workshop title:

  • Birth Planning for Dummies
  • Beginner's Guide to Giving Birth
  • Questions to Ask Before Labor
  • Birth Planning Matters
  • How to Have a Positive Birth

Draw people in with one or more of these ideas:

  • Offer a discount on your childbirth class to those who attend.
  • Have a drawing for a door prize. This could be birth-related such as comfort items, or more general, such as a gift certificate to a local popular restaurant.
  • Offer extra reward for anyone who brings a friend. Attendants could receive a percentage off the cost of your childbirth course for coming, and additional amounts per friend they recruit to come along to the workshop.

Helpful Resources

Using our new and improved Birth Choices parent book will lay a foundation for you to present an empowering, thorough and interactive Birth Planning Workshop without having to do all the planning yourself. Add the corresponding Birth Choices PowerPoint and Teaching Guide and you can even custom brand your PowerPoint to enhance your professional image and make an even bigger impact on those who attend.

Parent take-home resources:

Teaching and online resources: 


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