There are various pathways to follow your dream and passion to become a childbirth educator, or birth and parenting educator. Here are a few facts and ideas to get you started:
- There is NO registration process for childbirth and parenting educators in Australia. Anyone can legally set up their own private business to provide this service, however consumers expect a high quality professional service from qualified educators.
- Birth and parenting educators who are listed on a professional register (AHPRA) are bound by the rules and regulations of their profession, eg: midwifery, physiotherapy.
- As the only national professional body representing Australian birth and parenting educators, Childbirth And Parenting Educators of Australia, Inc (CAPEA) has a process that recognizes the skills and knowledge at various levels of childbirth and parenting educators in Australia as a CAPEA Certified Educator.
- In 2011, CAPEA developed National Competency Standards. These have now been revised and updated in 2018 National Competency Standards(2018) and an Assessment tool, both highly regarded in Australia and United Kingdom.
- Pay rates for educators working within existing maternity services vary greatly. There are no national or state Awards just for birth and parenting educators, so they are employed under a range of award structures.
- Private Health Funds may provide rebates to clients attending birth and parenting and associated courses. Childbirth and parenting educators working privately, as well as managers of public and private maternity service courses, will need to periodically liaise with Private Health Funds to maintain eligibility for client rebates.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
- CAPEA recommends due diligence if you are setting up your own private practice, including considering professional indemnity insurance options.
- CAPEA is unable to recommend any particular insurance companies.
- Public and private maternity services employing birth and parenting educators usually provide vicarious professional indemnity.
If you are already working with expectant and new parents and:
You have a sound knowledge of pregnancy, labour, birth, breastfeeding, role of support people, becoming new parents and Australian maternity care systems because …
- Either you are registered on the AHPRA Professional Register, eg; midwifery, physiotherapy, nursing (maybe with additional maternity, child and family health qualifications), medicine, psychologist, and others
- Or you provide doula services, teach pre-natal and/or post-natal yoga or other similar services
… You will need additional skills in adult learning and group facilitation to provide excellent birth and parenting education to small groups.
If you are already experienced in teaching, adult learning and group facilitation:
You will need to learn in some depth and in a formal, accountable way about the many aspects related to pregnancy, labour, birth, breastfeeding, role of support people, becoming new parents, infant communication and optimal growth and development, Australian maternity care systems, as well as current and changing trends, debates and guidelines.
Being passionate to share your personal experiences and wisdom alone is not sufficient to meet the required in Standard 2.1 of the Australian National Competency Standards 2019.pdf.
Before you sign up to any childbirth educator or early parenting training course:
Ascertain the target group with whom you wish to work.
Ascertain which current skills and/or knowledge you already have, and those that you need to gain.
When applying for any training course or workshop, you should read the terms and conditions thoroughly BEFORE paying, asking questions about assessment procedures, results, certification, professional recognition, refunds, etc.
Thoroughly investigate the claims made by the provider of the training course re:
- Research results derived from a single provider of a course
- Training content and requirements
- The certification process:
- who or what organisation awards the certificate of successful completion - is this important for you?
- is the certificate recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) - is this important for you?
- what Competency Standards and Assessment processes are used?
- Recognition and portability of the qualification across maternity and/or early parenting organisations in Australia and other countries
- Qualifications of the trainers - do they hold:
- adult education and group facilitation skills?
- any health professional background - is this important for you?
- Professional relationships with maternity service providers and professional organisations, as well as consumers
The following list is not exhaustive and only contains suggestions for you to explore. There may be other excellent courses for you.
CAPEA does NOT recommend or endorse any particular course or provider listed below.
Childbirth And Parenting Educators of Australia, Inc (CAPEA)
- Provides short 2-4 day workshops in adult learning and group facilitation
- Require presumed knowledge of pregnancy, labour, birth, breastfeeding, role of support people, becoming new parents and Australian maternity care systems.
- Presented irregularly in various states, so check our Calendar for Educators or Training Courses for educators
LARGE PUBLIC MATERNITY SERVICES with a Birth and Parenting Education Service may offer short or longer courses in adult learning and group facilitation, predominantly for health professionals from that area health service. Examples include Enquire at a large public health maternity service near you.
Lamaze International has existed in USA for over 60 years. Educator training has been available in Australia since 2016 through Birthwell Birthright, and open to all interested in maternity care, with additional components for those not currently working as registered health professionals in this area. Those who complete all the components may apply for international Lamaze Certification. The mission of Lamaze International is to advance safe and healthy pregnancy, birth and early parenting through evidence-based education and advocacy. Their vision is “knowledgeable parents making informed decisions.” This training course has been endorsed by CAPEA.
Calmbirth ® was developed to educate and empower pregnant couples so that they may experience pregnancy, labour and childbirth with the tools necessary for the most positive outcome. It provides training programs for Calmbirth ® facilitators, all of whom must also hold a current, relevant, Australian professional health registration.
Hypnobirthing Australia provides a widely used and accessible childbirth education program. Mothers and their birth partners are prepared with the knowledge, confidence and tools for a calm and empowered birth experience. Face-to-face and online course options are available for all types of births - the focus is on a positive birth experience. Childbirth Educator Training is also available in locations throughout Australia and online - click here for further information and dates.
HypnoBirthing International - The Mongan Method - started in USA in 1990, now backed by over 27 years of experience, research and impressive results around the world. The Australian Faculty of HypnoBirthing International has been in Australia since 2000, and provides practitioner and childbirth educator training with an Australian perspective that meets internationally recognised Certification as a HypnoBirthing International Practitioner. HypnoBirthing International teaches the birthing mother to tap into and follow her body’s own wisdom; mothers learn how to follow their body’s own instincts, while the birth partner learns how to support mum for an easier and calmer birth.
Doulas provide a range of support to expectant parents that may include facilitating birth and parenting education groups. See Australian Doula College and Birth Right or try an internet search for ‘doula college’.
Yoga groups that specialise in providing care and classes for pregnant women and new mothers. The internet will help you find providers nationally that train yoga practitioners to facilitate pre- and post-natal groups.
Childbirth International – USA-based, offers flexible on-line training programs that fit in with your family, your work and your busy life.
Lactation Courses to support breastfeeding mothers and her family:
Training programs to support new parents:
Bringing Baby Home © workshops are based on research by John & Julie Gottman to prepare couples for life with a new baby and helps them be the best parenting team possible. Accredited Trainers of this highly acclaimed program are available in Australia
Circle of Security © is a relationship based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment security between parents and children. Training courses for facilitators available in Australia.
Triple P ® gives parents simple and practical strategies to help them confidently manage their children's behaviour, prevent problems developing and build strong, healthy relationships. Triple P is currently used in 25 countries and has been shown to work across cultures, socio-economic groups and in all kinds of family structures. Training courses for facilitators available in Australia.
Infant Massage training courses to teach infant massage to parents
Certificate IV in Training and Education
Other pathways include:
International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) - USA
National Childbirth Trust (NCT) - UK