Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Review of Birth Boot Camp

Below is a review of Birth Boot Camp, an online course to prepare couples for natural childbirth. It's written by my older sister, who had her first baby about 8 weeks ago. Birth Boot Camp had originally contacted me to review their childbirth education program. I suggested my sister since I wasn't currently pregnant at the time.

Review of Birth Boot Camp
By Diedra S. Jardine

As an expectant first-time mom, I wanted to have an unmedicated birth, and for medical reasons I needed to be in a hospital setting. I knew that I’d need to thoroughly prepare not only to give birth naturally in a hospital but also to avoid unnecessary medical interventions. Birth Boot Camp ($300 for the 10-class course, available at gave me the knowledge and tools essential for preparing for unmedicated birth, and also bolstered my confidence in my ability to succeed. I highly recommend Birth Boot Camp to other women who are looking for tools to help them have a successful unmedicated birth, whether in a hospital, birthing center, or home birth setting.

Birth Boot Camp is a series of ten online classes aimed at couples—not just mothers—preparing for an unmedicated birth. I took some of the online classes on my own and had my husband watch others with me, depending on the lesson material. Each class lasts from one to two hours and is available whenever students wish to view it online.

While the online format inherently precludes interaction between instructor and students, the instructor and other presenters supply sufficient information about most topics as to answer most basic questions that participants might have. A significant number of additional resources, presented as part of each class, guide students in finding further information.

The supplemental resources include stand-alone videos and online resources related to each class, a training manual with weekly assignments and further resources, recommendations for further reading, and a DVD. The supplemental resources offer students further reading on material presented in each class. The weekly assignments contained in the training manual reinforce concepts taught in each online class and assist each student to apply the concepts taught in preparation for the upcoming birth.

Donna Ryan, the course instructor, speaks from her perspective as both an experienced natural childbirth educator and woman who has had multiple unmedicated births. Donna is knowledgeable and her presentation style is engaging. Also a part of each class are medical practitioners—from midwives to obstetricians—who offer medical explanations of certain concepts, as well as couples who prepared for natural childbirth and subsequently had various birth experiences, from unmedicated births to births with various medical interventions.

The ten classes cover topics including the advantages of natural childbirth, prenatal exercise and nutrition, various birth settings, the phases of labor and the immediate postpartum period, support for birthing mothers, tools for identifying when medical interventions are and are not necessary, birth plans, adjusting to life with a new baby, and breastfeeding.

The materials presented as part of each class are thorough and, for the most part, unbiased. Donna does share numerous anecdotes throughout and rarely cites sources when presenting information; women who want a strictly factual course may be put off by Donna’s anecdotal, conversational style. At first I disliked how anecdotal it was, but that only lasted through the first class or two as she was introducing the material. The classes are organized logically, with information presented in each class building off that which was presented previously.

Birth Boot Camp offers thorough preparation for couples interested in unmedicated childbirth. Both first-time parents as well as couples who have had medicated births but would like to prepare for an unmedicated birth can benefit from this course. The course is convenient, informative, generally unbiased while being oriented towards unmedicated births, and well worth the cost. Birth Boot Camp helped me reach my goal of an unmedicated childbirth—which happened for me after four hours of active labor, all of which occurred at a hospital—and helped this be a positive experience for me, my husband, and my new son.

My sister and nephew


  1. Congratulations! What a beautiful head of hair on that sweet baby!

  2. Hello Rixa,

    This is off topic because I have not read the blog post you wrote. I was looking for your email and was unable to locate it on your blog. Currently studying for the IBCLC exam and had a question about research for you. I am




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