What is Evidence Based Birth - Interview with Joyce Dykema

Meet Joyce Dykema!



She’s a doula, a mom, a passionate birth educator and a cool human.


I met with Joyce over lunch recently to discuss her class for expecting parents, Evidence Based Birth®️ Childbirth Class. As a birth nerd and huge advocate for birth education, I had to either get pregnant to take her course, or pick her brain over eggs and potatoes. I chose the latter.


I want to share my interview with her because I strongly believe that the information she teaches is invaluable to expecting parents. Even if you've given birth before, you will learn at least one (and likely 2 or 3 or 10) new, interesting and helpful thing(s) you wish you'd known before you ever had kids. Joyce is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about what she teaches, and she's humbly making a huge impact in our community of birthing moms.


I learned that Joyce has a background in psychology and biological science, and studied animal behavior in grad school. Although she ultimately chose not to work in a lab with rats, her background has served her well in her career as a doula and childbirth educator.


How long have you been working in the childbirth industry?

Since 2009, after I had my first baby. For that birth I had 2 doulas (one in training) and 2 midwives (one student). It was a challenging birth because my son was posterior, but I was able to have a natural delivery with an episiotomy as the only intervention, and credit that in part to my amazing support team of doulas and midwives.


What inspired you to work with expecting moms?

My own transition into motherhood. I found it much harder than I thought it would be and learned quickly that moms need a lot of support.


What is the Evidence Based BirthⓇ Childbirth Class?

The class is a complete and comprehensive childbirth education class tailored towards first time parents. The class covers: 1. Comfort measures for birth 2. Evidence based care and 3. Advocacy so you can effectively communicate what you want to your birth team. It’s also a unique format, because it is part online part in-person. The bulk of your learning is done at home, when we meet as a class we dig in deeper and discuss the information we have learned.


Who should take the class?

Everyone! But more specifically, anyone who wants to keep learning, dig in deeper, be well informed and prepared for birth.


What sort of things will parents learn?

This course was written by a nurse with a PhD. After an unsatisfying experience giving birth to her own daughter, she was inspired to investigate the current maternity care system and how it compares to the evidence in the research. She was astonished to learn that much of what was done to her, and is routinely done around the country, is often more harmful than safe for laboring moms and babies. This course will bring awareness to what is broken about the current system and how you can advocate for yourself to get better care within that system.


You will learn about the different stages of labor, how birth progresses, physiological processes, and how to navigate the maternity care system. We will also discuss a wide variety of comfort measures and the research behind them, acupressure techniques, pros and cons of pharmaceutical methods, and how your partner can be an advocate for you in the delivery room.



Why is it important for parents to learn about evidence based birth? Isn’t that what doctors are for?

Evidence based care is the gold standard in medicine, but for a variety of reasons, the routine practices of labor and delivery care in much of the US are not evidence-based. In many cases, the evidence from high-quality research has shown that the same routine practices are actually harmful for laboring women and babies. Just because a practice is used routinely does not mean that it is the best (or even a good) approach for an individual birthing couplet.


But it is possible to have a good experience within the current system. Taking responsibility for your birth by being educated and involved is the easiest way to have a satisfying birth experience.


At what point in pregnancy should parents sign up?

Ideally you will begin the class when you are 26-32 weeks pregnant, so you will be 32-38 weeks at our last class. That way the information is fresh in your mind when you go into labor


When and where is the class?

Classes run throughout the year (starting approximately every two months) and run for 6-weeks at a time. Classes are held in Lincoln, NE in a hybrid (online and in-person) format. You can find more information about upcoming classes on the Doulas of Lincoln website or the Evidence Based BirthⓇ website. You can also contact Joyce Dykema here.


How much does it cost?

There are two options available for purchasing the course. Students are also eligible for a $100 discount on Joyce’s doula services once enrolled.


Basic package is $200 and includes:

  • Registration and bonus materials for the class

  • 3 months of access to the Evidence Based Birth®️ website for parents

Deluxe package is $250 and includes:

  • Registration and bonus materials for the class

  • 6 months of access to the Evidence Based Birth®️ website for parents

  • Your choice of a birth ball or rebozo

  • Private online meeting with Joyce to discuss your birth plan

How do parents sign up?

You can sign up through Joyce’s website via Eventbrite


What else should parents know?

The class is structured in a hybrid format as part in-person and part online. You will do the bulk of your learning online. Lessons are assigned to be completed online on your time, and in-person class time is used for digging deeper and reinforcing what you’ve learned with the instructor, as well as hands-on activities / practice. There are 2 in-person meetings and 4 video conference meetings using Zoom.


Have more questions? You can contact Joyce at Joyce@doulajoyce.com.


If you want to learn more great ways to prepare for an amazing birth experience, download my FREE guide: "8 Steps to Prepare for Your Best Birth"

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