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J Perinat Educ. 2008 Spring;17(2):45-9. doi: 10.1624/105812408X298381.

Childbirth education at the crossroads.

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JUDITH LOTHIAN is a childbirth educator in Brooklyn, New York, a member of the Lamaze International Board of Directors, and the associate editor of the Journal of Perinatal Education . She is also an associate professor in the College of Nursing at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey.


In this column, a reader expresses concern that attendance at childbirth classes is declining at the same time the cesarean rate is rising. The history of childbirth education is discussed in the context of both access to information and changes in maternity care since the introduction of formal childbirth education. Changing goals and contemporary challenges facing childbirth education are discussed. The need for a new model of educating and empowering women is identified, and ideas for changes are explored.


Internet; cesarean rates; childbirth education; evidence-based practice; information-technology; maternity care practices; normal birth; pregnancy resources; pregnancy support

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