Course Catalogue

These courses are continually being improved, so specific topics and lecture titles are subject to change.

Midwifery Herstory 

Description : I invite you on a journey through time…We’ll trace how birth changed from “social birth” in the Colonial period of the American history to a birthing woman being “alone among strangers” in a hospital. We will meet heroes: Anne Hutchinson in the 17th century, Hanna Porn in early 20th, and Raven Lang in 1970s, as well as some villains, including Dr. DeLee, who believed that birth was a pathology, and taught doctors to “rescue” birthing women by drugs, routine episiotomy and forceps. It is my hope that, by the end of the course, the students will be able to re-dream midwifery, and to find a way out of the current mess.

Learning Modules:
1. In the Beginning, Women Were Helping Women
2. Licensing of Doctors, Paving the Way for for Licensure of Midwives
3. How Birth Moved Into the Hospital
4. How Doctors Used the State to Eliminate Midwives
5. Midwifery Renaissance: The Story of the Santa Cruz Birth Center
6. Where Are We Now? The Future of Midwifery

Learning Objectives :
- Discover the historical roots of women as healers and midwives across cultures
- Explore the rise and fall of midwifery in the developed world
- Describe the history of the licensing and regulation of midwives in the US, and the effects (intended and unintended) of this process


Speaking Your Truth : Content Creation for Birth Workers 

Description : Writing, podcasting and video creation can be an important part of midwifery, and will certainly be an important part of the Indie Birth Midwifery School. We need to be able to communicate effectively in writing with our clients, students and with our communities. We want you to be able to create great documents, articles, manifestos and audio and video content to help build the new midwifery paradigm, and to help your clients in their decision making processes.

Learning Modules:
1. Content Creation and Birth Work
2. Communicating “Sensually”
3. Storytelling- Structure, Transition and Formatting
4. Preliminary Research and Creating Your Thesis Outline
5. Thesis Creation and Outlining
6. Finding Your Audience- DIY Photos and Videos & Your Final Project

Learning Objectives :
- Identify the basic elements of writing including tone, style, audience, context, and you will apply them to your work
- Explore your voice as a writer through personal content creation projets
- Learn how to attract an audience and hold their attention


Listen: The Art and Science of Relationship Building in Midwifery (6 Weeks)

Description : Listening, communication, connecting and relationship building – these are the hallmarks of radical, client-centered midwifery and are difficult skills to teach and hone. We will guide you through the components and multiple perspectives and techniques so that you can begin to intentionally develop this craft. We will provide you with heartfelt readings, examples from the lives of real midwives, and exercises to become artful in your own communication skills.  

Learning Modules:
1. Holding Space to Observe & Listen
2. Non Violent Communication
3. Techniques for Goal Setting with Clients
4. Using our “Coaching” Skills
5. Discussing Fears
6. Boundaries and Flags

"This course was very special to me. It came at a time in my life where I really needed it. It happened to fall over Christmas break, my sister was home and my grandfather became really sick, in and out of the hospital throughout the holidays. Usually when my sister, my parents and I get together, there is always a huge fight. We had our fight but this time it was different. I used my new communication practices and was able to listen with more empathy and I realized we were just afraid. We were afraid of losing the glue that held our family together. I told them about expressing our feelings in a way that we are clear about our needs (whether we wanted a listening ear or a solution), so that we don’t leave room for confusion and blame. Of course, I prefaced this with telling them that “this will sound cheesy and I am going to sound crazy but really listen to what I’m trying to say”. Thankfully, it worked." - Julianne, IBMS student

Learning Objectives :
- Explore the role of the midwife as counselor, coach and practice active and non-judgmental listening
- Distinguish supportive care from codependency, and boundary-setting - define what a healthy midwife/family relationship looks and feels like to you.  
- Understand various communication techniques including: mirroring, active listening, strategic questioning and nonviolent communication.


The Wise Woman Within (2 Weeks)

Description: Part of learning about birth is learning about ourselves; who we are, where we come from, why we are here and how to access our fantastic power as Wise Women. This is a self-directed, 2 week experience to play with how you can do this (or continue to do this) for yourself.


Birth Models Around the World and Envisioning the Future   

Description: If we are going to create something new and incredible for our communities (and we are!), we need to first see what birth models already exist and if they are promoting the same values and outcomes we hope to see where we live. There are many enticing features that we can borrow from other models and places, and we hope that this exploration inspires you to dream a new birth model up that meets your communities needs and your deepest desires.

Learning Objectives :
- Demonstrates an understanding of the three models of care.  
- Explore how birth models look in other cultures
- Create a unique vision for an ideal birth model in your area 


The Heart of What We Do : Wise Woman Prenatal Care 

Description : This course explores the Wise Woman tradition as it applies to care in pregnancy. We explore the history of prenatal care and how to help create a more efficient, effective way of walking with women during this time. The purpose is to redefine prenatal care and open up conversations with our clients as to how they want to be served. You will study all the basic prenatal care skills and general topics that come up in the course of prenatal care.

Learning Modules:
1. Wise Woman Prenatal Care & Initial Visit
2. Weeks 12-20 of Pregnancy
3. Weeks 20-28 of Pregnancy
4. Real Life Prenatal Care
5. Weeks 32-40 of Pregnancy
6. Weeks 40 and Beyond

Learning Objectives :
- Reflect on modern day prenatal care and critique the effectiveness of the mainstream, medical prenatal care system
- Communicate with clients the risks/benefits, pros and cons of testing options and alternative options throughout pregnancy
- Demonstrate the ability to teach women basic prenatal skills and an understanding of why and when these skills may be used


Placentation and Early Fetal Development 

Description: This course explores early pregnancy in detail and gives students the language to discuss this phase with families and other caregivers. It seeks to demystify the process of fetal growth, and expand our discussion beyond what is physically measurable in the baby. You will learn the incredible origins of pregnancy, why our culture has such a fear around the first trimester, and how to help families navigate this time.


Pregnancy Nutrition - A Pillar of Midwifery Knowledge 

Description : Midwives are healers within the larger community context, and as such have always worked with food and plants as our primary form of medicine. Learn about digestion, macro and micronutrients, the science that supports eating traditional diets, how nutrient needs change in pregnancy, and why optimum nutrition is crucial for mamababy health and wellness. Explore ways to counsel women around their eating, and help them tap into their intuitive ability to nourish themselves and their babies. You will be challenged to try new foods, keep your own food journals, practice counseling, and create valuable written and video content (perhaps a cooking class!) for your community.

Learning Modules:
1. Introduction into Nutrition: Micros and Macros and Digestion
2. How Nutrition Needs Change During Pregnancy
3. RDA’s and Alternative Perspectives
4. What Now? Counseling Skills and Your own Food Stuff
5. Intuitive and Mindful Eating
6. Culturally Sensitive Food Counseling, Food Security, and Different Diet Types

Learning Objectives :
- Explain the essential nutritional needs of pregnancy to clients.
- Accurately identify an adequate diet and an inadequate diet through the use of food journals
- Accurately and sensitively communicate constructive criticism to clients through counseling techniques.
- Describe how you can best help a client with limited resources get the food she needs


Anatomy and Physiology of Labor and Birth

Description : This course familiarizes the student with the body of the birthing woman and her fetus. Understanding the A&P of birth is paramount while facilitating an undisturbed birth. This course will prepare the student for understanding what is happening internally during a normal labor and birth, as well as give her a secure understanding of the mechanics of birth, so that she can make informed suggestions when challenges arise.

Learning Modules:
1. The Bones & Soft Tissue of the Pelvis
2. The Fetal Skull & Movement Through the Pelvis
3. Labor Progress
4. Assessing Babies Well Being
5. Normal Labor Variations
6. Prolonged Labor

Learning Objectives :
- Describe in detail the physiology of the labor process, labor contractions and the maternal changes that allow a baby to exit her body vaginally 
- List and describe the cardinal movements of the baby during labor
- Memorize the anatomy of the bony pelvis and soft tissues.


Introduction to Diagnostic Testing For Midwives

Description : This course sheds light on the growing list of diagnostic tests that are available, and often routine, during mainstream pregnancy care. It allows the student to speak intelligently and confidently when discussing testing and proceeding with caring for women with or without prenatal tests. We will also talk about options for how to help families get access to testing they would like, as well as the basics of phlebotomy.  

Learning Modules:
1. Wise Woman Model Diagnostic Testing and the Prenatal Panel
2. Vaginal Infections, UTI’s, STI’s, Genetic Screening
3. Blood Type/RhD Factor/Antibody Testing
4. Gestational Diabetes Testing
5. GBS Testing and End of Pregnancy CBC
6. Testing for Complex Situations & Fetal Testing: IUGR, BPP, NST, AAT

Learning Objectives :
Describe the available prenatal tests, when they are offered, and how they are performed
Demonstrate the ability to discuss the pros, cons and results of prenatal tests


Healing Arts in Pregnancy for the New Paradigm Midwife 

Description: This is a survey course about using alternative treatments and modalities within midwifery for common pregnancy complaints. Students will practice doing further research on topics that clients might bring up, like heartburn, nausea, insomnia, etc, and then will practice compiling and sharing information in a digestible format for future clients.


Indie Birth Midwifery Skills Prep

Description: This course provides students with clinical knowledge in the form of videos on the what, where, when, how and why you would use certain midwifery skills.

Learning Modules:
1. Prenatal Skills
2. Assessing Labor Progress & Vaginal Exams
3. Introduction to Venipuncture, IV Placement and Rectal Fluids
4. Listening to Fetal Heart Tones in Labor
5. Shoulder Dystocia, Postpartum Hemorrhage and Neonatal Resuscitation
6. Skills After the Birth


Tending to Mental Health in Pregnancy and the Postpartum 

Description : Mental health issues in pregnancy and the postpartum are common, and something all midwives need to be equipped to help clients deal with. We will learn about how mental health can be affected by pregnancy and the postpartum, and how issues typically present. We will look at the tools we have for screening, and will talk about how to refer clients to get the help they need. 

Learning Modules:
1. The Importance and Impact of Perinatal Mental Health
2. Mental Health Issues that Arise In Pregnancy
3. Mental Health Issues in the Postpartum
4. Mental Health Stressors and Risk Factors
5. Non-Birth Parent & Fetal/Infant Mental Health Considerations
6. Providing Trauma Informed Care & Tools

Learning Objectives :
- Describe what mental health conditions are most common in pregnancy and the postpartum
- Demonstrate the ability to use mental health screening tools appropriately


Research Methods for Midwives Who Want to Question the Status Quo 

Description : We need midwives who are critical thinkers, who can enter into conversations around research and evidence and be the people to ask the right questions as research moves forward. This course will give you a foundation in research methods so that you can continue to learn and grow throughout your midwifery career.

Learning Modules:
1. Introduction to Research and Evidence Based Midwifery
2. Research Paradigms
3. Quantitative Methods and Randomized Controlled Trials
4. Qualitative Methodologies and Methods
5. Feminist Reserach Methods
6. Research Design & Process and Research Question and Hypothesis Development

Learning Objectives :
- Demonstrates an understanding of research terminology
- Demonstrate the ability to find relevant articles, journal articles and books as you research difficult and obscure topics
- Describe quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods approaches to research
- Complete a literature review, showing your ability to critique research
- Critically analyze research using your knowledge of the research process


Exploring Herbalism and Plant Magic 

Description: This course explores the different forms of healing and medicine that plants can provide. The purpose is to provide basic knowledge about herbalism so that students can begin utilizing herbs in their own life, and provide basic counseling around herbs with clients.  

Foundations in Childbirth Education

Description : Teaching is an important aspect of community midwifery and one that is often neglected for other projects in the life of a busy midwife. This course will help you think through the history and purposes of childbirth education, and refine the content you think should be included when you are teaching one on one or in group settings. We will also look at basic theories of teaching and learning so that you can be an effective teacher. This course is designed so that students can confidently incorporate childbirth education into their midwifery services (or start now!).

Learning Module:
1. History of Childbirth Education & Creating a New Paradigm
2. Begin Your Class Design
3. Roadblocks
4. Creating Visual Tools
5. Getting the Word Out
6. Evaluating the Class

Learning Objectives :
- Understand the history of childbirth education in the US and other locations
- Develop an outline for your own set of classes 


The 4th Trimester - Supporting the Postpartum Time as a Modern Midwife 

Description : There has been a refocusing on the postpartum time in the last few years, but midwives still have not put much of the amazing wisdom and practices into, well...practice! And within the midwifery community there is still so much dogma and routine involved in the care of a well newborn and mom. What do mamas and babies REALLY need during the postpartum time? How do we do our part to provide that? Join us to sift through the approaches, traditions and skills to find a way that you will provide care in the 4th trimester.

**Mental health in the postpartum will be covered in Mental Health in Pregnancy and breastfeeding issues will be covered in Lactation Science and Breastfeeding Support course in the Advanced Program

Learning Modules:
1. Why the Postpartum Period is so Vital
2. The First 72 Hours - The First Few Weeks
3. Indie Birth Postpartum Approach
4. Ayurvedic Perspective
5. Potential Complications
6. Long Term Pelvic and Vaginal Health

Learning Objectives :
- Explore the variations of normal in the physical, mental, emotional and sexual experiences of postpartum women
- Develop a tool to help prepare clients for the postpartum, much like a "birth plan"
- Demonstrate knowledge of postpartum care of the breasts, perineum/vagina, and placenta. 


When Birth Doesn’t Go As Planned : Birth Trauma and Transport 

Description : This course focuses on the variety of situations that arise which make transport to the hospital necessary. We will discuss the reasons for transport, what transport can and/or does look like, how it feels for the birthing family, how it feels for the midwife and what care looks like during and after the transport. 

Learning Modules:
1. Your Own Identity as a Midwife
2. When Transport is the Best Choice
3. Birth Trauma Basics
4. Healing for Women and Families
5. Healing for Midwives
6. Modalities and Resources for Healing

Learning Objectives :
- Collect resources to assist women in working through past birth trauma
- Accurately identify situations in which transport to a hospital is suggested and/or necessary
- Demonstrates ability to discuss the process of transfer of care
- Develop a continuing care plan for clients that transport to the hospital before, during or after birth


Apprenticeship - A Time-Honored Tradition

Description : This course focuses on the development of the relationship between preceptor and apprentice, and how students may best prepare themselves for participating in a responsible, respectful manner. We believe that high quality academic learning, plus an apprenticeship is the gold standard for midwifery training, but how this looks and the complexities of the process are often ignored. We will dig into these topics so that you will be more prepared to apprentice as well as precept when the time comes.  


The Journey Through the Pelvis and an Exploration of the Dystocias 

Description : The distance a baby must go from womb to earthside is really not very far at all, and yet it is often quite a journey. In this course we will investigate the pelvis, the pelvic floor and the way in which the uterus pushes the baby through both. We will also explore the ways in which babies can have trouble passing through, and the relevant techniques to help them be born. Of course, we know that labor and birth are not merely physical, so we will also spend time learning about the energy and emotion for both mother and baby during the birth process.

Learning Objectives :
- Review the anatomy and physiology that pertains to shoulder dystocia
- List the risk factors for and rates of shoulder dystocia 
- Demonstrate the ability to identify a shoulder dystocia
- Develop skills and solutions for dealing with shoulder dystocia
- Create a comprehensive review of the available evidence, studies and expert knowledge on the topic of shoulder dystocia (risks, rates, skills, outcomes, alternative perspectives)


Part #1 - Badass Business Skills Course

Description : This course explores the business side of birth work. We will discuss women's work and how to begin to honor it, for others and for ourselves. We will work on creating a lifestyle that supports our calling and a calling that supports our life. You will practice seeing income as a gift, as holy.

Learning Objectives :
- Explore your calling to midwifery as a viable means of financial stability and freedom
- Examine your relationship with money and how that affects your work


Building Your Confidence in Recognizing and Handling the Rare Complication of Postpartum Hemorrhage 

Description : Midwives have long had techniques for preventing and handling excess blood loss after birth. It is assumed that postpartum hemorrhage is common, and that there is nothing to do to prevent or treat besides the use of pharmaceuticals. This course will return the conversation to time honored midwifery techniques while also looking at how we can utilize new tools and technologies in a sacred way. You will learn about the science and art of manifesting an undisturbed thirdstage, and working with clients who want to reclaim this part of the birth process. 

Learning Objectives :
- Define the relevant anatomy terms and describe the physiological process of the third stage of labor
- Investigate your own fears and beliefs around PPH
- Create a resource for clients on preventing postpartum hemorrhage
- Identify the causes of PPH and the appropriate tools and solutions to manage each variety
- Describe the ways in which blood loss can be estimated, as well as how accurate those methods are


Part #2 Badass Business Skills Course 

Description : This course explores the way in which business building and community building intersect, and how you might begin to craft the vision for your offerings.

Learning Objectives :
- Create a plan to start and build your business, including any necessary documents and resources.
- Create a vision for your local offerings, from free classes to paid services.


Complex Birth Theory and Technique - Twins, Breech, Prolonged Labor 

Description : This course is an advanced birth course. It is designed to prepare students for births that are outside the scope of “usual practice”. More and more women with these challenges are seeking undisturbed and home births, since mainstream providers are not trained in vaginal birth in these cases. This course will work to create knowledgeable and skilled practitioners who are ready to care for these women who have few options currently. Like all of our classes, this one includes multiple perspectives from experienced practitioners. 

Learning Objectives :
- Collect resources for review and practice when preparing to serve women anticipating a complex birth
- Explore varying perspectives from practitioners that have experience in these variations of normal birth
- Create a checklist for maintaining a level of comfort and safety, for both yourself and your potential clients when anticipating or finding yourself at a complex birth
- Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the potential complications that can arise during these births, when to define these complications as emergencies, and how to resolve them


Part #3 Badass Business Skills Course 

Description : Pull it all together in this course, creating your website and branding materials to reflect your midwifery offerings.

Learning Objectives :
- Create the copy for your website.
- Develop your branding guide for your business.
- Create a website that reflects what it is you offer.


Lactation Science and Breastfeeding Support (3 Weeks)

Description : This foundational course on breastfeeding will give you the confidence and knowledge you need to support your clients. Learn what is normal and expected in the earliest days postpartum, as well as common challenges and red flags. Jacqueline will give you a vast toolkit of natural and holistic ways to resolve most breastfeeding problems with your clients. You’ll work through case studies, build your counseling skills, and dive deep with herbal knowledge and how it relates to milk production.

Learning Objectives :
- Describe the anatomy and physiology of the breast and lactation
- Describe how midwives can facilitate early physiological breastfeeding
- Create a list of resources for your clients
- Correctly identify variations of normal and red flags within a breastfeeding relationship that require a referral to someone more knowledgeable


The Baby’s Transition Earthside and the Art of Neonatal Resuscitation 

Description : Many student midwives struggle with the thought that they will need to help a baby at the time of birth. This course covers the anatomy and physiology of the newborn transition to breathing so that you feel confident that the process works well almost all of the time. We will also cover the foundations and controversies around how to perform resuscitation of the newborn at the time of birth. This course is not NRP certified but will provide the student with knowledge and detail specific to the home birth setting. We will also ask questions about the role of things like oxygen, pulse oximetry, and PPV devices.

Learning Objectives :
- Review the physiology of the fetus and newborn and the change from fetal to newborn circulation
- Recognize the factors that may interfere with normal newborn transition
- Research the controversial issues around home birth and the use of oxygen and pulse oximetry on the newborn at the time of birth


Multidimensional Midwifery in the Prenatal Period 

Description: We will dive deep into all the complications that midwives MUST to be able to recognize even though we rarely see them. We will cover signs and symptoms, theories of etiology, relevant lab work, experiences and stories, case studies, treatments and therapies, co-care, and alternative perspectives. Pre-eclampsia/HELLP; gestational diabetes, preterm labor, pregnancy-induced hypertension and other complications will be covered. This course encourages you to think outside of the box and explore these hot topics from a variety of viewpoints. Great for student midwives or practicing midwives that want to get the newest information from the Indie Birth perspective. 

Learning Objectives:

- Describe both common and less common issues that can come up during pregnancy
- Develop care plans for women experiencing a variety of prenatal issues
- Explore mainstream beliefs about discomforts and challenges during pregnancy as well as the holistic alternative perspectives
- Demonstrate the ability to differentially diagnose issues that come up in the prenatal period

Advanced Counseling and Metaphysical Midwifery (4 weeks)

Description : We know that the birthing year is profoundly impacted by our internal thoughts, beliefs, fears, desires and intentions. Working with women’s internal landscapes in a skilled way requires time, patience, and boldness. This is not what typical midwives do. If we desire to work with women at this level, we have to do our own work at this level as well, and then we can attract clients who are ready to do this life changing work together.

Learning Objectives:

- Develop and/or an awareness of your own internal landscape
- Learn more about the ways in which a client’s belief system will impact her experience
- Dig deeper into the art of counseling women on emotional, energetic and spiritual levels