GS Workshop Comparisons

Aside from the Great Starts™ Professional Childbirth Educator Workshop, there are several other childbirth educator trainings nationwide. Things to consider when making a choice:

Instructor’s Experience:

Our lead instructor, Janelle Durham, has a master’s degree in social work, more than 18 years of experience working with new parents, and is an experienced childbirth educator, lactation educator, parenting educator, postpartum support group leader and doula. She has taken several of the other childbirth educator trainings, including workshops by Passion for Birth (affiliated with Lamaze International), ICEA, CAPPA, Birthing from Within, ALACE, and Seattle Midwifery School (now known as the Simkin Center at Bastyr University), plus training as a doula, postpartum doula, doula trainer, and lactation specialist. she brings the best of all those trainings to our workshop. She has also managed programs that provide childbirth education classes to 1500 families a year, and postpartum support groups to 2000 families per year, so has a strong grasp of the administrative aspects of the work.

Length of training:

We would strongly recommend that you pick one that has at least 21 hours of training. Although some of the shorter programs have excellent things to say, we do not believe that they offer enough class time to adequately learn the material. A typical childbirth preparation class is 8 – 12 hours, so in a training, they can’t cover the content you would teach and cover how to teach it, as we do. Our longer class time allows for more class content, more bonding between students, more real-life examples from the instructors, and, most importantly, more opportunities to practice teaching.

Opportunities to present:

We recommend that you pick a workshop that requires you to do three or more mini-teaching sessions / presentations during the workshop and receive feedback from your fellow students and an experienced educator. We believe that this practice teaching is one of the single best ways to prepare to be an educator.


We would also recommend that you choose a training which covers:

1. Informed decisions: a fair, unbiased presentation of all the options, which allows students to choose for themselves the maternity care options that best help them meet the goals for their birth.

2. Research-based, current information about maternity care practices.

3. A wide variety of comfort techniques for managing labor sensations so that the birthing woman has lots of tools that she can adapt to her needs during labor.

4. Interactive teaching techniques using AV’s, dialog, games, discussion, and more; never just lecture! In order to help you easily compare our training to other available trainings, we summarize the key information about ours here.

In order to help you easily compare our training to other available trainings, we summarize the key information about it here.


Great Starts Professional Training Workshop
Class Time 26 hours of class content
Audience Appropriate for trained professionals, such as midwives, nurses, experienced doulas, and physical therapists. A very well-read layperson with personal experience with birth might also be successful in the training.
Content Content assumes that you already have a solid working knowledge of the information a childbirth educator needs to know about pregnancy, labor and birth. Class time focuses on how to teach that information to students, in ways that are clearly understood, easily remembered, and able to be adapted and applied by the students to meet their needs.
Practice teaching Practice teaching: 3 sessions per student. One ten-minute lecture with AV’s on a challenging topic. Two ten-minute demonstration and practice sessions on physical skills such as exercise, breathing, and relaxation techniques. “Teachbacks” are done before a small peer group and an experienced childbirth educator. Students are encouraged to use a variety of teaching techniques, and cover a variety of topics.
Readings and Class Materials Required reading: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (Included) – Covers all the information you might cover in a class, in language appropriate to most students. We assume you have read additional texts in the past with technical details about birth prior to the class. At the workshop, students are given a binder with articles, sample teaching materials, and a study guide with additional resources for furthering their learning.
Postpartum Includes how to teach postpartum, breastfeeding, and newborn care.  The primary emphasis, however, is on general teaching skills and curriculum design, and on teaching labor and birth.
Format Format: Five weekend days, 12-6pm (spring); or, four consecutive weekdays, 9:00am – 5:00pm (fall)
Location Parent Trust’s Center For Strong Families. 2200 Rainier Avenue S. in Seattle
Size 6 – 12 students
Continuing education credit -Parent Trust for WA Children is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP16764, for 25 contact hours for the Great Starts™ Professional Childbirth Education Workshop.
-Approved for 24 hours of continuing education credit with the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA).
Cost Cost: $565 for early registration (+$45 for late registration).
Instructors Experienced childbirth educators, whose professional backgrounds include social work, nursing, and physical therapy
Certification Options Training prepares you to certify directly through Great Starts, or ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) (may also qualify for other organizations)
Additional Benefits Attendees of the Great Starts™ Professional CBE Workshop receive $100 discount on Great Starts™ Certifcation fees (new or renewing) within 2 years of attending.