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Childbirth + Newborn Education

Q

Teaching Hiatus

Thank you for visiting Open Circle and your interest in our center. We will be taking a teaching hiatus beginning in April 2024.*

While away from teaching, we are preparing a self-paced version of our unique, experiential-based childbirth and parenting education courses.

Kaeli will continue to see a small number of families for consultations and doula care. For other services, we invite you to visit our local resources page to explore classes and supports from local providers with a range of specialties.

Over the past 20 years, we have been nourished and had our work deepened through sharing time with each of you who has come through our doors. It has been an honor to witness new birth and community between families grow.

As we enter our own process of gestation, transformation and eventual re-birth, we would love to continue to support thriving connection. We’d love to hear about your family’s adventures, reflections on your experiences at the center, and to reconnect you to other families you met while at Open Circle. Let’s connect!

*Birth Education ending 4/7, Prenatal Yoga ending 4/28

©Lisa Gendron | Agroterra Birth

Pregnancy, birth, and parenting require a leap of faith into the unknown. How can we surrender control, but still have tools to support our safety in birth and ability to stay connected to ourselves + our families, no matter where our birth journey takes us?

Join other expecting parents in dynamic classes to prepare for birth and early parenting. Build internal tools to connect to the wisdom of your body, heart and mind; maintain + strengthen your relationships, and learn practical tools to feel a sense of agency  in your birth. Each class combines informational instruction, community discussion and experiential exercises including mindfulness, breath + movement practices.

Discover what families and maternity care professionals have to say about our programs. Listen to some of our birth meditations and instructional videos + reach out if you have questions!

“My husband and I took your childbirth series in preparation for the birth of our son. I can’t tell you how much it helped us gain strength + confidence in going through the end stages of pregnancy, labor, + childbirth. I ended up having a long 4-day induction but thanks to you (and our team of doulas – who we also wouldn’t have thought to enlist if not for the classes) we were able to make informed decisions about interventions + ultimately managed to have a successful vaginal delivery.”

B.K. Providence

CHOOSE FROM THREE OPTIONS:

Individual Workshop: Choose any class from the 9-week seriesClick on individual class links below to learn more + register.

7-week series (in-person or live-virtual)
   * with supplemental pre-recorded videos

9-week comprehensive series (in-person or live-virtual)
all classes from 7-week series, plus:

UPCOMING SERIES DATES

7 SUNDAYS 
3-6pm IN-PERSON:
*covid vaccination required

 a. Sun Feb 4, 11, 18, 25, Mar 3*, 24* Apr 7
9-week series adds
*Sat 2/17 (2b) *Thurs Mar 21 (6-9p online) (4b)

 

7 TUESDAYS
6-9pm ONLINE: 

a. Tues Jan 9, 16, 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20
9-week series adds:
*Thurs Jan 18 (2b) + *Thurs Jan 25 (4b)

b. Tues Feb 27, Mar 5, 12, 19, 26, Apr 2, 9
9-week series adds:
*Thurs Mar 7 (2b) + *Thurs Mar 21 (4b)


* signifies different day or week/s off
Pl
ease check the schedule carefully.

Series Registration Instructions:

  1. Choose the 7- or 9-week series option below. Follow the prompts to create an Acuity account and complete your payment.
  2. After paying, go to each individual workshop page to choose the date you’d like to attend. If signed into Acuity, it will automatically enter your redemption code and add you to the workshop roster.

Curious about whether our classes are right for you? Our curriculum is structured to support all types of birth, including home, unmedicated, medicated, medically complex and cesarean. 

Preparing for an unmedicated birth? Classes 1-3 provide especially important strategies + coping tools for homebirth + physiologic birth.

Open Circle offers prenatal massage as well as postpartum massage with baby in Providence, Rhode Island

©Lisa Gendron | Agroterra Birth

UPCOMING SERIES DATES

 IN-PERSON:
*vaccination required

7 Sundays 3-6pm
 Feb 4, 11, 18, 25, Mar 3*, 24*, Apr 7 
9-week series adds
*Sat 2/17 (2b) *Thurs Mar 21 (6-9p online) (4b)
 

ONLINE: 

7 Tuesdays 6-9pm
Jan 9, 16, 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20
9-week series adds
*Thurs Jan 18 (2b) +
*Thurs Jan 25 (4b) 
 

7 Tuesdays 6-9pm
Feb 27, Mar 5, 12, 19, 26, Apr 2, 9
9-week series adds:
*Thurs Mar 7 (2b) +
*Thurs Mar 21 (4b)
 

* = day changes or week/s off
Pl
ease check schedule carefully.

Series Registration Instructions:

  1. Choose the 7- or 9-week series option below. Follow the prompts to create an Acuity account and complete your payment.
  2. After paying, go to each individual workshop page to choose the date you’d like to attend. If signed into Acuity, it will automatically enter your redemption code and add you to the workshop roster.

Curious about whether our classes are right for you? Our curriculum is structured to support all types of birth, including home, unmedicated, medicated, medically complex and cesarean. 

Preparing for an unmedicated birth? Classes 1-3 provide especially important strategies + coping tools for homebirth + physiologic birth

7-Week Series: $325 per couple/birth team
9-Week Series: $395 per couple/birth team
Single Workshop: $75 per couple/birth tea

Many HSA’s and FSA’s cover childbirth and breastfeeding education. We can provide an itemized receipt, but encourage you to contact your HSA/FSA to confirm coverage. 

We offer Income and Resource-Based pricing to support access for families with lower income or fewer resources. To apply, please complete the application and call or email us to register.  

Income-based series range from $75-$295
Income-based single workshop prices range from $25-$50. See our fee chart.

Some families have had success in being reimbursed for classes. We do not bill insurance directly but are happy to provide an invoice for you to submit to your insurance co.

We cannot guarantee coverage; you will want to check if your insurance covers birth, lactation and/or parenting education from non-contracted, independent, certified educators. 

 

1. From In to Out: Understanding Birth

Traveling to the “land of birth” is like parachuting into an unknown universe. It can be magical and the adventure of a lifetime. It can also be overwhelming and strange. Often, it is all of these, and so much more.

Understanding how birth works and baby voyages from “in” to “out” is an important part of working toward a healthy and empowered experience.

Through lecture, experiential exercises and group discussion, discover the key forces impacting your birth. Learn how trusting your sense of safety and the wisdom of your body supports the process of birth and can guide you in key decisions.  Explore the special roles of the baby, birth parent + support person as you learn the stages of the labor journey, and how you can work together to support birth.

Detailed Syllabus and Dates

2. Labor of Love: Movement + Partner Support for Birth

How can movement help a baby be born? Does kneeling really open the pelvis wider than lying down? How on earth does a baby fit!? Can you stand while pushing the baby out? How can you use movement if you’ve had an epidural? And how can support people be most helpful and engaged in birth?

In this duel-focus class, learn how movement helps our body and baby’s body find their best fit; support sensation coping; and increase endurance and confidence.

Then delve into birth partner support tools, practicing how to be sensitive to a laboring person’s needs and how to offer physical and emotional supports.  Together discover the powerful connection that is built between birth partners as they breathe and move together.

Detailed Syllabus and Dates

2b. Labor of Love: Massage, Hands on Support, Acupressure (part 2)

In part 2 of the Labor of Love class,* dive more deeply into labor support tools. Receive guidance while practicing hands-on techniques including counter pressure, acupressure and labor massage. *This class can only be taken in combination with Labor of Love, Part 1)

Continue on to learn about the pushing stage of labor, including options and different approaches in the medical field to the the second stage of labor (pushing and birth), and the distinct practice of following your body’s urges in unmedicated birth. Practice effective pushing positions and sensory awareness.

Detailed Syllabus and Dates

3. Power + Pain: Learning to Work WITH the Sensations of Birth

How do we cope with birth? However we experience it – unmedicated, medicated or surgical – the sensations and emotions of birth are immense and intense!

Using a potent experiential exercise, storytelling + group discussions, this workshop explores what it means work WITH intensity or pain, instead of against it, and the labyrinthine internal journey that birth takes us on. Birth partners will come face to face with the important role of supporting the birthing parent to find their own endurance and strength, all while being witnessed and trusted to birth their baby. 

As you engage in direct and challenging experience, discover the many coping tools you already hold inside. Discover new coping strategies through listening to stories of laboring families, and the shared experiences of other class participants

Few simulated opportunities allow us to practice this deep calling forward of internal resources, and families often leave this class with new thoughts and insights. 

Detailed Syllabus and Dates

4a. Informed Choices: Advocating for Our Families

Many families don’t realize the choices or rights they have in birth, or how much engaging in choice-making can impact the health of their births + adjustment to parenthood. Unfortunately, the US maternity and social care systems are widely recognized to inadequately protect the  physical + emotional health of families.

We cannot fully control the maternity care systems we birth in, or the physiology of our own + our baby’s bodies, but WE CAN learn to make choices that support our bodies + respect our values. We will discuss:

  • making choices that reflect our family’s values and wishes
  • choosing your practitioner, birth team and birth location
  • exploring doula support
  • knowing your legal right to consent to or refuse any recommendation or procedure
  • advocating for your family 
  • creating a birth plan / preferences document
  • tools for managing anxieties + decreasing psychological trauma-risk

Families taking the individual class or the 7-week series will receive two supplementary videos discussing Common Interventions + Procedures and Cesarean Sections. 9-week participants cover these topics in class.

Detailed Syllabus and Dates

4b. Informed Choices (part 2): Understanding Interventions

In part 2 of the Informed Choices Class* families learn about Common Medical Interventions + Procedures in birth and Cesarean Sections.

Learning more about these tools, and exploring your preferences in birth can support having more agency and felling less stress or fear.

Families are encouraged to bring questions, to class, and together we role-play to practice informed consent + refusal in real-life scenarios. This exploration can help with adapting to the unexpected in birth and reducing the experience of trauma.
*can only be taking with Informed Choices Part 1

Detailed Syllabus and Dates

5. A Brave New World: 4th Trimester Family Care

This class uses a flipped classroom model, providing participants with a pre-class video to watch before engaging in in-class exercises.

We tend to know much more about pregnancy and birth than about what happens after our babies are born. Birth is a profound process, but it is also merely a doorway into a new world. What happens to our body in the weeks and months after birth? How do our relationships change? How can we and our partners/families be supported through these changes? When and who do we call for help?

Preparation and community support profoundly impacts the health + adjustment of parent and baby, and the entire family’s emotional well-being during these precious and challenging early months. Spend an afternoon with your partner or support people to explore simple but effective tools to help you know better what to expect, and create an effective support plan for the first 3 months after birth. 

Detailed Syllabus and Dates

6. A Baby Now What?! Understanding Newborns

Our newborn can seem like a tiny, strange creature from another planet. She may not look or act the way we expected, and often seems a random mash-up of confusing wiggles, cries, jerks, staring, sleeping and suckling episodes. Who is this little person? And what, on earth, are we to do with him?

Join other families to explore these fascinating and strong little beings. Learn that instead of being random and impossible to understand, your baby is actually highly organized and communicative. As we begin to know the journey he has made from the womb to your arms, and the ways he engages with the world, we can more confidently and effectively respond to his needs. As we understand her better, and trust ourselves more, we discover a calmer and healthier baby and more joy in the process of parenting.
Note: this class does not cover infant feeding in detail. See Breastfeeding + Bonding

Detailed Syllabus and Dates

7. The Nursling: Breastfeeding + Bonding

Many parents are given strong messages about the importance of breastfeeding for baby’s health. They hear about breastmilk as the “perfect nutrition.” Some expect it to be natural + easy. Others have heard it can be wildly challenging. Still others feel pressured to try, but uncomfortable + uneasy about the thought.

Not many of us are told that it is a joint effort between us, our body and our baby, a like learning a partner dance. Like any new skill, it can take time + effort to learn and often takes support from the whole family!

Join us for a class exploring the benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and feeding parent. Learn how to get breastfeeding off to a good start in the early days + months, and discover tools + resources for adapting to challenges + rough patches along the way.  Be reminded that each infant feeding journey is different, and that supports exist for nourishing our baby when breastfeeding needs time or isn’t possible.

Detailed Syllabus and Dates

©Lisa Gendron | Agroterra Birth

ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR

When women I care for have done their childbirth preparation with Kaeli, they come to their labor feeling strong + ready for the challenge of birthing. I highly recommend Kaeli Sutton and Open Circle!   -Cindy Siegel, CNM

Open Circle instructor Kaeli Sutton has has worked with over 3000 mothers and families over the past 19 years. Trained in multiple pregnancy and postpartum health and support modalities (read more here), her most significant learning has come through her experience as a woman and mother, as well as what she has learned from the thousands of parents and infants that she has had the honor to work with. With a background in mindfulness based traditions, anatomy, kinesiology, bodywork and exercise, as well as infant and human development, Kaeli has developed a curriculum geared toward the health of the entire family — physically, mentally, emotionally and in relationship.