Workshops for Pregnancy, Birth + Early Postpartum
7 or 9-week Online and In-Person Comprehensive series:
Body, Breath, Heart + Mind: A Contemplative Birthing Workshop
Individual Birth Education Workshops:
1. Understanding Birth
2a. Movement and Partner Support for Birth
2b. Massage, Hands-on Support, Acupressure
3. Working WITH the Sensations of Birth
4a. Informed Consent, Family Rights, Birth Plans
4b. Interventions, Procedures, Cesareans
6. Newborn Care
7. Breastfeeding + Bonding
©Lisa Gendron | Agroterra Birth
Tuesday evening workshops are offered online, over zoom.
Sunday afternoon workshops are held in person in Pawtucket, RI (proof of vaccine required).
HOW TO CHOOSE A SINGLE WORKSHOP OR SERIES: Planning on an unmedicated birth? Planning on using epidural/pain medication? Classes are for anyone preparing to give birth however they choose to birth*. Choose to attend individual classes or take the full 7-week or 9-week comprehensive series. Class fees cover both the birthing person and their birth partner(s). Interactive and community-building, classes provide time to learn from experienced teachers, connect with your birth support, and meet other expecting families. Please review our cancellation policies here.
*If you have a scheduled cesarean planned, please contact us for classes that will be supportive in preparing for your cesarean birth and newborn.
Looking for private classes or consultations? Please inquire here.
Birthing: Body, Breath, Heart & Mind: a Contemplative Workshop
Pregnancy, birth, and parenting require a leap of faith into the unknown. How can one do this, but still retain a sense of safety and empowerment? Join other couples to explore the journey of birth and early parenthood through experiential exercises, mindfulness-based practices, group discussion and lecture presentations. Learn how turning to the wisdom of your body, heart, and mind can guide you to lean into the uncontrollable nature of birth, while making effective and important choices for your family. Discover a deep trust in the birthing person’s ability to give birth, the birth partner’s capacity to support, and baby’s active participation in his/her arrival. Workshops topics include: the process of labor; labor support; standard US birth practices and interventions; understanding + advocating for your rights; transitions into parenting; newborn care and breastfeeding. For a summary of each individual workshop in the series, please read the descriptions below.
My husband and I both found [Open Circle]’s birthing class extremely helpful. Kaeli has a wonderful gift of gently delivering empowering information that helped my husband and I feel more connected in our own unique pregnancy, birth and post-birth experience. The class covered important detailed information about what to expect during the birthing process that was not covered by our healthcare providers. The information [that was] presented also helped us identify and communicate what each of our needs was throughout the birthing process and post-birth.
How to Enroll in 7-Week and 9-Week Series:
To ensure your enrollment, please register at least one day in advance.
1. Choose the correct start date for Class 1. From In to Out: Understanding Birth.
2. Click the “Enroll Now” button.*
3. Choose the 7 or 9 Week Series pricing option and complete your payment. We will automatically enter you in the remaining series dates class rosters.
4. Classes may be taken out of order and from different series. To choose different dates for any of your classes, please email us with your chosen dates at least two weeks in advance of the class you are hoping to attend.
*Please note, some browsers (including Safari) don’t function well with our website enrollment system. In this case, please register using your Open Circle MindBody account or the MindBody app.
UPCOMING SERIES DATES
Tues, July 19, 26, August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
(Classes 2b + 4b: Thursdays, August 4 + 11)
Tues, Sept 20, 27, Oct 4, 11, *25, Nov 1, 8
Tues, Nov 15, 22, 29, Dec 6, 13, 20, *Jan 10
Tues, Jan 17, 24, 31, Feb 7, 14, 21, 28
Sun, July 10, 17, 24, 31, August 14, 21, 28
(Classes 2b + 4b: Saturdays, July 23 + August 13)
Sun, Sept 11, 18, 25, Oct 2, 9, *30, Nov 6
Sun, Nov 13, 20, Dec 4, 11, 18, *Jan 8, 15
Sun, Jan 22, 29, Feb 5, 12, 19, 26, March 5
Sundays 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Tuesdays 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Classes 2b: Saturdays, Sept 24, Nov 5, Feb 4
Classes 4b: Thursdays, Oct 13, Dec 8, Feb 9
Class dates in parentheses are part of the 9-Week Series.
* signifies day/time changes or if class skips week(s)
Please check the schedule carefully.
Step-by-step instructions can be found here.
1. From In to Out: Understanding Birth
Traveling to the “land of birth” is like parachuting into an unknown universe. It can be the adventure of a lifetime or can be overwhelming and frightening. Understanding how it all works is an important starting point to preparing for a positive, empowering experience. Spend an afternoon or evening with other couples and learn how baby travels from inside to out. Discover the important role of the baby, the mother, and the support person. Explore how emotions and thoughts shift and change through the process of birth, and how you can work together with, not against, the natural power of birth.
Can’t thank you enough for your classes on labor/delivery. I was able to deliver him lying down on my side. Your pushing info along laboring techniques all came in very handy. [Our doctor] said we had done our homework!
2a. Labor of Love: Movement and Partner Support for Birth
Does squatting really open the pelvis wider than lying down? How on earth is a baby going to fit out of there? Don’t I have to lie on my back while I’m pushing the baby out? How can I use movement if I’ve had an epidural? What if I want to labor on hands and knees? Come together with other expecting mothers and birth partners to discover answers to these questions and more. Together we will practice movements, postures and breath practices that support the labor and birth process. Learn why breath and movement help us cope with the sensations of birth, and how movement helps the body adapt to birth and the baby find his/her best way out. Discover how the birth partner’s physical support and hands-on techniques can help the mother throughout labor. And discover the powerful connection that is built between birth partners as they learn to breath and move together.
2b. Labor of Love: Massage, Hands-on Support, Acupressure
3. Power + Pain: Working WITH the Sensations of Birth
Whether the sensations of birth are called “rushes,” “waves,” “pressure,” or “pain,” few will argue that the sensations are immense and intense – and they must be, to move the baby out of the body. Learning to cope with this level of intensity asks woman to find deep power and belief in herself. Using experiential exercises and group discussions, this workshop explores what it means work WITH intensity, instead of trying to push it away or change it. Discover how, by bringing your attention to yourself and your breath, you already have the tools needed to work with the powerful sensations of birth. Birth partners will learn how important they are to helping a woman find her endurance and strength through the birth process. This class is recommended to women planning the use of an epidural as well as women planning on birthing naturally. It is medically recommended for most women to labor without pain medication until they are in active labor. These methods will support a woman up until the point she is able to receive pain medications, or, if she so chooses, until she births without them.
4a. Informed Choices: Understanding Informed Consent, Family Rights, and Birth Plans
Birth is filled with contradictions. We cannot control it but must learn to ride whatever waves it brings us. At the same time, there are many opportunities to steer the course of our birth. Families often don’t realize the choices and rights they have, or how strongly these choices can impact their births, experience, and postpartum health. Join other couples and explore the importance of making intentional choices in practitioner, birth location, and practitioner or hospital practices and procedures. Learn about building positive relationships with your medical team, and your legal right to informed consent or refusal of all procedures and interventions. Learn how to use this information to create a birth plan that represents what is important to you as a family, and which can be easily read and responded to by your medical team.
4b. Informed Choices: Understanding Medical Interventions, Procedures, and Cesareans
Because [Open Circle] took the time to teach us about c-sections, and the choices we have, the integrity of our birth plan remained intact . . . Even though [our instructors] weren’t physically present at our birth, I felt like [they] were with us! [Open Circle is] an amazing gift to the RI birth community and I feel so blessed that we were able to cross paths!
5. A Brave New World: Newborn Family Care
As birth approaches, we tend to know much more about pregnancy and birth, than we do 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 mom’s body in the weeks and months after birth? How do our relationships change? How can we support ourselves and our partners/families through these changes? When and who do we call for help? Spend an afternoon with your birth partner or family to engage in discussion and activities that can help make your adjustment into parenthood less stressful and more supportive of the new family. Simple but effective tools can help you know better what to expect, and create an effective support network in the 4-8 weeks after birth. Preparation and support can profoundly impact the mother and baby’s physical healing and adjustment, and the entire family’s emotional well-being during the precious and challenging postpartum time.
6. A Baby! Now whatt!? – Newborn Care
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 as we explore these amazing, sweet, and strong (if confounding!) little beings. Learn that instead of being made up of random and impossible to understand behaviors, they are actually highly organized and communicative. As we begin to recognize the journey our newborn has made from inside to out and the ways she engages with the world, we discover how to more confidently and effectively respond to her needs. As we learn to respond to his needs, we discover a calmer, more settled baby, and a life that supports parents’ rest and well-being, as well as baby’s.
Earth hard to my heels
Bear me up like a child
standing on its mother’s belly.
I am a surprised guest to the air.
7. The Nursling – Breastfeeding + Bonding
Most women are given strong messages about the importance of breastfeeding for her baby’s health. Some expect it to be a natural and easy process that just happens. Others have heard all kinds of horror stories about the difficulties that can occur. Others feel pressured to try, but uncomfortable and uneasy about the idea of it. Not many of us are told that it is a joint effort between us, our body and our baby, and that like any new skill, it can take time and effort to learn and succeed at. Join us as we explore the wide range of experiences different mothers can have. Learn about the ways we can support the breastfeeding relationship and baby’s health beginning immediately after birth and in the first days and weeks. Explore both benefits and challenges to the newborn and the mother and how and where to reach out for additional help when it’s needed. Class will provide information on: skin-to-skin after birth, the breast-crawl, establishing breastfeeding, understanding the hormones of bonding, milk production and milk release, nursing positions, and breast health. Resources for support with pumping, latch issues, formula feeding and going back to work with be provided.
Over the course of five weeks, parents or caregivers are taught a full massage sequence to support the health of their baby and to cultivate connection between parent and baby. Parents/caregivers will massage their own baby while the instructor demonstrates on a doll. There are many benefits of infant massage for the parents as well as the infants, including a measurable lowering of stress hormones! Topics such as the benefits of infant massage, learning your baby’s cues, and understanding infant behavioral states are explored through group discussions. Special sequences and techniques to support babies with colic or digestive issues and babies with special needs or sensitivities are also covered.
Cesarean Scar Self-Care Workshop
A workshop for women who have had c-sections, perineal tears or episiotomies. How our scars heal can have a vast impact on our health, including organ health, back health, and fertility. How we feel about our cesareans, episiotomies or perineal tears can have an impact on our connection to our bodies, our births, and our babies, and how we feel about future pregnancies. During this workshop, you will learn simple massage techniques and movement to support your scar in healing well and functionally. We will spend time exploring ways to reconnecting emotionally to our scars and our bodies.
The type of movement and touch taught will be adapted to when you had your surgical birth, and no time is “too late” to practice the supportive movement and self-massage provided in the workshop. Mothers six weeks postpartum or less must obtain written clearance to attend from their OB/Midwife.
Instructor Kaeli Sutton is a massage therapist trained in manual scar rehabilitation, and a doula and childbirth educator with many years of experience working with women who have had cesarean births, both inside the operating room and out.
Self-Care For Breast Health
Breast health is often something we think about only in connection with breastfeeding or in the case of illness (mastitis, blocked ducts, etc) or disease (cancer, cysts, etc). In actuality, we have the power to support the health of these important parts of our identity, sexuality, and reproductive systems on an ongoing basis. Additionally, spending time physically connecting to the breasts also provides an opportunity to develop a more caring and active relationship to our own bodies, and in the case where our connection to our breasts has been broken, to “reclaim,” our bodies as our own.
Join us as we learn self-massage*, supporting the health of our chest muscles and breast tissue, and supporting healthy lymph flow. (Lymph is one of the main “protectors” of our body’s full system, fighting disease and illness throughout our lives). In addition to learning self-massage, we will discuss basic breast care and clothing and bra choices that support breast and full system health.
This class is for both lactating parents and women/breasted people of all ages.
*All massage will be taught and practiced fully clothed, Videos of massage directly on unclothed breasts will be shown.