Preparing for a little bundle of joy can be overwhelming for any expectant parent. Armed with encouragement and education from these top St. Louis childbirth and parenting professionals, however, new families may begin their journey toward parenthood empowered with answers and confidence.
Newborn Family Coach
Kim Martino-Sexton, Boehmer Chiropractic
7930 Big Bend Rd.
Webster Groves, MO 63119
Price: $300 per couple or individual
Newborn family coach Kim Martino-Sexton earned her master’s degree in education long before she ever became a certified childbirth educator. After experiencing a successful natural childbirth with the Bradley Method for her first pregnancy, teaching the method herself was the perfect transition as she journeyed into motherhood. Kim taught the Bradley Method of natural childbirth for 12 years. Since then, she branched off and independently designed her own curriculum for the class, “Joyful & Informed Childbirth.” Her experiential, hands on class has been successfully empowering St. Louis families since late 2009. The coach brings her veteran experience of attending more than 400 births as a DONA trained birth and postpartum doula to her childbirth classes. Couples may expect to learn all of the possibilities for birth, how to determine what they want for their birth and the importance of being flexible because every woman’s body is different and there isn’t any one way to have a natural birth. “Joyful & Informed Childbirth” prepares the bodies and minds of attending couples, which has proven to shorten the length of labor to an average of less than 12 hours. Sexton recommends expectant parents take her class anytime between 14 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Circle of Life Doula Services
10030 Manchester Rd.
Glendale, MO 63122
Price: $225 per couple or individual
Julie Guttman’s career working with new and expectant families began 10 years ago as a certified lactation counselor for the Women, Infants and Children program. Shortly after, she became a certified DONA birth doula and has now attended more than 450 births. After a few years of working as a doula, she desired to even further assist St. Louis’ expectant and new parents. A respected colleague encouraged her to begin teaching childbirth classes based on her lactation and doula experience without a designated certification. For the last six years, her curriculum has reflected that freedom to teach freely about what happens in hospitals and in home births. Her classes contain an eclectic mixture of expectant moms whose desires range from planned epidurals to home births. This variety of classes expands each family’s child birth experience. Families may expect to learn optimal fetal positioning for a faster, easier labor and birth, relaxation techniques to use when experiencing discomfort, and how to communicate with the staff and be a self advocate. Guttman is also training to become a certified professional midwife. Her belief is that pregnancy and child birth are part of the journey to becoming perfect parents, so she works to empower parents on their special day.
Suzanne Tucker, PT, CIMI
Richmond Heights, MO
Price: $10 per group class/$75 private sessions
Suzanne Tucker is a licensed physical therapist of 20 years with 12 years experience as a certified infant massage instructor. In addition, she is the co-owner of the holistic outpatient rehab center, Brentwood Center of Health, and co-creator of the popular mommy blog, mymommymanual.com. Inspired by her findings doing pediatric home physical therapy, Tucker immediately became certified as an infant massage instructor to make these techniques accessible to all babies. Infant massage has been well documented over the years, proving it offers huge psychoemotional and physical development benefits. In addition to helping babies deal with stress, infant massage aids in parent-child bonding, constipation relief, and minimizing colic and fussiness. With the know, love, massage baby massage class, families can not only expect to learn valuable massage techniques, but they will gain a very powerful bonding tool and the opportunity to connect with other new parents. Families are encouraged to take this class as soon as they are comfortable getting out of the house with their new little one. Infant massage techniques may be used for children of all ages and are ideal for new parents, adoptive parents and grandparents.
Cara Shrum is a St Louis Family & Parenting Examiner at Examiner.com, creator of the St Louis natural birth and parenting resource site, Birthing411.com, and natural childbirth workshop presenter. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.