Register Now for the 2016 ICEA Annual Conference!

You are invited to register for the upcoming ICEA Annual Conference to be held in Denver, CO, USA, October 13-15, 2016. This year’s theme is “Reaching the Highest Peaks in Evidence Based Practice.”

Before you register, please read the full directions below to familiarize yourself with the new process.

Please keep in mind, members must be logged in to register, and nonmembers must create a profile in order to register. Registrants can check out for everything at once by continuing to add items to their cart. However, please remember the system will only keep each item in the cart for a limited amount of time before it deletes the items.

Click here to register for the Pre-Conference Workshops.

Click here to register for the Annual Conference.

Click here to make your hotel reservations at the beautiful Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel at the reduced rate of $159/night.

Sponsor, Exhibit, and Advertising opportunities have also been released! All of these are great opportunities for you to demonstrate your continued support of childbirth education, and to connect with attendees in the pregnancy, birth/postpartum, and lactation professions. Click here to learn more about these exciting options.

The agenda will include topics of current relevance to those in the childbirth education field. In order to ensure maximum relevance and to create the best conference experience, the ICEA Conference Committee is continuing to tirelessly work on session topics and speakers. This information will be released at a later date, so keep checking our website for the most updated information!


What is the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes? by Donna Walls, RN, BSN, IBCLC, ICCE, ANLC

It is an undisputed fact that breastmilk is the healthiest choice for infant feeding.  We have moved past the days of hoping families realize that “breast is best.” It is now recognized by the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services, and most maternal-child health organizations that breastfeeding is a national priority and increasing rates […]


4 Ways Acupuncture Can Support a Healthy Pregnancy

Although pregnancy and childbirth are a beautiful, natural process, there is no denying that many women struggle during this time. Early miscarriages, pain and nausea throughout the pregnancy, and difficult labor are just a few of the possible complications. An increasing body of scientific research supports the use of Eastern medicine, particularly acupuncture, in conjunction with Western treatment methodologies. Here are just 4 of the ways that acupuncture can support a healthy pregnancy.

1. Reducing the Risk of Early Miscarriage

Pregnancies have the best chance for success when both partners are in optimum health. Work with your patients to develop a holistic approach to health including nutritional counseling, a targeted exercise plan, a prenatal vitamin, and elimination of such unhealthy habits as smoking and drinking. Incorporating herbal medicines such as chasteberry and black haw can also help to relax the womb and create an environment that is friendly to pregnancy.  In addition, acupuncture has been repeatedly shown to improve the chances for a successful pregnancy, particularly during the first 12 weeks when miscarriages are more likely to occur. Acupuncture helps regulate the endometrial lining, ovarian function, thyroid, and other bodily systems that are vital to healthy pregnancy. It also assists in managing stress and calming the body.

2. Minimizing Morning Sickness and Joint Pain

“Morning sickness” is an age-old and extremely common symptom of pregnancy, which can actually last all day. Some women experience only mild nausea, while others face frequent vomiting that can dramatically impact their lives. Traditional Western supplements, such as vitamins B6 and B12, as well as ginger, can help minimize the effects.  However, a three-pronged Eastern treatment regimen can vastly improve the efficacy of these supplements. The Eastern approach blends nutritional therapy, acupressure, and acupuncture. Taken together, these safe and natural remedies can produce remarkable results in many women.  In addition, the majority of pregnant women experience some pain in the back and joints. This is a natural function of healthy weight gain, coupled with ligament-loosening pregnancy hormones and a shift in the center of gravity. For some women, however, this pain can be severe and even life-limiting. Acupuncture, in conjunction with massage, posture refinement, and lifestyle changes, can go a long way toward alleviating pregnancy-related pain.

3. Inducing Labor

When a woman passes her due date, traditional Western medicine calls for either labor induction through the administration of synthetic oxytocin, or a Caesarean section (C-section). While there is nothing wrong with these approaches, some of your patients might prefer a more natural option.  When the pregnancy is otherwise healthy, acupuncture can sometimes be used to induce labor naturally through the targeting of specific points. This encourages the body to release natural oxytocin and begin the labor process on its own. While it is not right for every woman, acupuncture on its own or in tandem with Western methods is a viable option for many.

4. Turning Breech Babies

A breech baby is one that is not in the traditional head-first position at delivery time. You might be familiar with External Cephalic Version (ECV), the complicated manual procedure that is sometimes successful in turning breech babies. This procedure works well in some cases, but babies that cannot be turned are usually delivered by C-section. Acupuncture provides you with another option to try.  Acupuncture-moxibustion is an ancient Chinese technique that has been used to turn babies for centuries. It involves burning the herb moxa, popularly known as mugwort, at specific acupuncture points. Traditionally, the dried herb is compressed and rolled into a cigar shape stick. Two sticks are lit and held over the appropriate acupuncture point, close enough to the skin to feel the heat, but not close enough to risk burns.  The disadvantage of this traditional method is that it produces a great deal of smelly smoke, making it less than an ideal choice for most clinics. However, a variation uses a charcoal preparation of moxa, which provides the same benefits without the smoke. Both versions work well for many women.

Pregnancy is an extremely individualized condition, and no remedy, Western or Eastern, is right for all women. However, incorporating acupuncture into your practice provides you with an additional valuable tool for improving success rates and helping your patients experience the most natural and comfortable pregnancy that they possibly can.


Located in Pacific Palisades, with satellite clinics in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, Thumos Health Center offers patients exceptional personalized care. If you are ready to take the first steps toward a more integrative approach to your health care, we invite you to phone 310-428-1215 to schedule an appointment at any of our Los Angeles locations. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.


Preventing Stillbirth with Count the Kicks! by Tamela J. Hatcher M.Ed.

What is someone told you that approximately every 20 minutes in the United States a baby is stillborn.

Heartbreaking, isn’t it….but what if?

What if you knew a simple, no-cost technique that could save some of those lives?

Wouldn’t you want to tell everyone you knew?

Together, we can.  

The birth of a friendship, the birth of a cause…

Over the years we have been there for each other: sharing the unfathomable first days and weeks after saying goodbye to our daughters, surviving their birthdays without them, enduring successful and unsuccessful subsequent pregnancies, celebrating the births and birthdays of our other children, and reaching out to families who have recently lost a baby to stillbirth and infant death.

We are five Iowa moms who met in 2003 after each lost a daughter to stillbirth or infant death. When we met, we had no idea that our baby girls – Emma, Grace Biondi, Jayden, Grace Elizabeth and Madeline – had given us a powerful gift – the gift of friendship.

Beyond friendship…

We founded Healthy Birth DayTMdedicated to preventing stillbirths and infant deaths through education, advocacy and parent support and launched the Count the KicksTM program in 2009.

Ask How. Ask Now.

Count the KicksTM is dedicated to educating expectant parents about the importance of tracking their baby’s movements daily during the third trimester of pregnancy. The goal of Count the KicksTM is to improve the chances of delivering a healthy baby and prevent unexpected birth complications and even late-term stillbirth.

As a parent, it’s reassuring to Count the KicksTM to make sure your baby is active and healthy, and counting kicks may reduce the stillbirth rate.

Scientific studies1 indicate kick counting, a daily record of a baby’s movements (kicks, rolls, punches, jabs) during the third trimester, is a safe and simple way to monitor a baby’s well-being in addition to regular prenatal visits.

1Tveit JV, Saastad E, Stray-Pedersen B, Bordahl PE, Flenady V, FrettsR, et al. Reduction of late stillbirth with the introduction of fetal movement information and guidelines – a clinical quality improvement. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2009;9:32Childbirth 2009;9:32


By keeping track of each time your baby kicks, rolls or pokes, you can monitor your baby’s health and begin to create a bond with him or her. Starting at the 3rd trimester, begin counting.  Here’s how:

•             Pick a time when your baby is active and count at the same time each day.

•             Count your baby’s kicks with the FREE Count the Kicks! App or download a Kick Count Chart.

•             If it takes more than two hour to count 10 kicks, try waking the baby up and count again.

•             Call your provider right away if you still count fewer than 10 kicks in 2 hours, or if you notice a significant change in your baby’s movement pattern.

Download the FREE Count the Kicks! app today

When we started Count the KicksTMwe had a dream that if we could save just one baby our efforts would be worth it.  We are proud to say that since the launch of Count the KicksTM, Iowa’s stillbirth rate has decreased by 26%!  We are committed to achieving the same results across the country.

More importantly behind each number is a story – a name.  Allow us to introduce you to some of them.

“I just wanted to write and say how deeply thankful I am for this initiative! I now have a 3 month old little guy home in my arms that wouldn’t have been here without Count the Kicks….I was told that our little Cooper would not have made it through the day had I not been counting kicks and paying attention to his movement. I praise God every day for this initiative and being in tune with my baby before even meeting him.”

– Cooper’s mom

“…the doctor said her blood levels were so low she wouldn’t have made it if we’d waited another 10 minutes to deliver her. So because of your campaign I was more aware of her movement and able to bring attention to a problem, and because of that problem saved her life!”

-Erika, new mom to Chesney

“This was my third otherwise healthy pregnancy and I felt like somewhat of an expert, not needing to read up on what I should expect while expecting. 🙂 The only new information I received from my doctor was your “Count the Kicks” brochure…I am so grateful to you and your campaign for bringing awareness to this important issue. I am so glad we received your brochure, because of which we took the time each night to get to know our unborn baby and his kicks. It TRULY helped to save our Ryan’s life.”

– Ryan came into the world in January 2013, and had a true knot in the umbilical cord.

Lastly allow us to introduce Alexandra (Alex) who ICEA member, Tamela Hatcher helped save by sharing Count the KicksTM in her childbirth education program.

As told by Alex’s mother,

“ The best laid plans….As first time parents, we had our birth plan all laid out.  We wanted the golden hour, delayed cord clamping, natural birth, straight to the breast.  A c-section was my biggest fear.  Then Thursday Oct. 3rd came, and everything changed.  I had been busy at work trying to get everything transitioned in anticipation of my due date, almost 3 weeks away.  When I was finally able to sit down at my desk, my reminder to count kicks was blinking at me.  I suddenly realized that my little acrobat hadn’t moved all day.  I immediately knew something was wrong and the only question was whether I went to my doctor’s office directly across the street or straight to the hospital.  I called the doctor’s office and headed over.

The first sigh of relief was when I got hooked up for the non-stress test, and they found a heartbeat.  As I was being monitored, there was no change in the heartbeat, which indicated no movement.  I was sent to Mercy’s maternity triage department for more extensive monitoring.  Further observation and an ultrasound showed no movement, despite all the poking and prodding to get her to move.  The baby needed out sooner rather than later.  My husband and I agreed there was no need to try and induce, we just needed her out and safe, so an emergency c-section was the new birth plan.

At 7:06pm, Alexandra was born with a heartbeat and an APGAR of 1.  She was gray, not breathing, and she certainly wasn’t moving.  All I knew from my vantage point on the operating table was that she was born and the room full of people was dead silent.  I anticipated going into it that they would have to work on her a bit, but the silence continued far longer than I would have thought.  I finally asked my husband if she was breathing, and he shook his head no.  One of the nurses went to the hallway and said “You guys need to get in here” and a bunch of people came rushing into the room to work on our daughter.   Finally my husband perked up, turned to me and told me she was breathing and had pinked up.  I have never known such relief in my life.

Alexandra required a stay in NICU for a week, and we couldn’t have been in better hands.  There was some type of infection that caused her to get so ill, and I still have to stop and catch my breath when I think about what could have been if we hadn’t been aware of the importance of counting your baby’s movements.  Up until that point, it had been smooth sailing with no issues in the pregnancy, and we had just had an ultrasound on Tuesday to check her size, and everything was fine then.

Thanks to counting kicks, we have our beautiful daughter.

–       Sarah B.


Summary of the 2015 Lamaze & ICEA Joint Conference

Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas was the site of the second joint Lamaze and ICEA Conference.  But the glitzy Vegas strip had nothing on this conference!

Celebrating fifty-five years, ICEA exhibited in style with an extensive “walk-through-history” addition to our exhibit booth.  Thanks to members Vonda Gates, Elizabeth Smith, Donna Walls, Barbara Crotty, Jennifer Shryock, Chris Maricle, and former member Kim Dungey, the walk-through-history was a gigantic success! With memorabilia that covered nearly all of the 55 years, conference goers were treated to everything from photos, to original binders, conference tote bags and a complete listing of all of the ICEA presidents past and present!

During the Board of Directors’ Meeting prior to the conference, new board members were elected from the slate of nominees compiled by the nomination committee (committee chair: Connie Bach Jeckyll with members Dolly Wagner, Candy Mueller, and Jeanette Schwartz).  On January 1, your new Board members will be Vonda Gates (Secretary), Nancy Mitchell (Director of Communications), Tamela Smith Hatcher (Director of Education) and Bonita Broughton (Director of International Relations).  We are thrilled to have such talented women join this already hard-working and phenomenal board!

A primary focus of our exhibit was also our scholarship programs, introducing the Military Mothers Initiative and taking “Spare Change for Scholarships” – earning a little under $100.  We were able to help many interested educators and doulas become new members, as well as give away a new membership to Susie Williams, who happens to be entering the Military Mothers Initiative Scholarship program. A highlight of the table was also the new “I’m an ICEA Fan” fan which was distributed to each conference attendee.

Friday evening, ICEA President Connie Livingston welcomed all ICEA members to her suite for a 55th birthday celebration of ICEA.  Nearly 100 attendees participated and we enjoyed a marble cake with Bavarian cream center.  It was really great to watch the sun go down on the Spring Mountain Range and Toiyabe National Forest.  Not to mention the gradual coming-on of the lights of the strip as the sun set.  The President’s suite was the James Bond suite, with memorabilia from several James Bond movies!

Saturday was the annual ICEA Membership Meeting, with a report from board members and staff.  You can find a copy of the Membership Report here:  . The Meeting culminated in the 2015 ICEA Awards Ceremony.  Four outstanding ICEA members were recognized for their amazing accomplishments: Vonda Gates – Outstanding IAT of the Year, Dolly Wagner – Outstanding Member of the Year, Ana Paula Markel – President’s Award and the 2015 Doris Haire Lifetime Achievement Award to Nicette Jukelevics (author/creator of the new VBAC Education Project (

Attendees enjoyed many amazing speakers at this year’s conference, including our own members Tamela Smith Hatcher, Ana Paula Markel, Donna Walls, Elizabeth Smith, Nicette Jukelevics, and Patricia Predmore.  The closing speaker was Jennie Joseph, midwife from Florida who inspired us with her dynamic solution to maternal/infant morbidity and mortality in terms of racial disparity.  Jennie’s moving speech caused a standing ovation in the closing of the conference.

Be sure to watch our ICEA Facebook Conference Connection page (and your mail box) for the upcoming “Save the Date” announcement of the 2016 conference site!  Our very creative and innovative conference committee is already planning a conference that you’ll really want to attend!

So plan now for Fall 2016!