Today we are changing the course of our topic and featuring Tory Asfahani, MPH, LCCE of Tory L. Asfahani, LLC. Tory teaches Lamaze classes through DC Lamaze.
Tory has always been interested in women and children’s health and earned her Master’s Degree in Maternal and Child Public Health several years ago. For about 10 years she worked in health research, but after taking a childbirth class while pregnant with her first child she felt a calling to health education, specifically childbirth education. She was impressed with Lamaze International’s program and began studying for her certification in 2008. Within a year she was certified and teaching. She absolutely loves what she does! It is extremely rewarding and she always feels honored when couples take her class because she gets to be a part of such an exciting and important time in their lives.
When asked to describe her Lamaze childbirth classes, she explained that she educates women and their partners about the childbirth process with the goal of increasing their confidence in their ability to birth their baby, and empower them to make the birthing decisions that are best for them. She wants each couple to have a positive childbirth experience. The class is small, but interactive, with plenty of time for practicing breathing and relaxation exercises as well as asking questions.
What separates Tory from other instructors is her class setting. Her classes are small, and held in the comfort of her home. Tory gives each couple the opportunity to share me what they hope to get out of the class so that she can make sure to answer all their questions and can tailor the class to meet their needs. It’s not a “canned” class. Clients tell Tory that she has a calm and welcoming demeanor which helps them relax and feel comfortable participating in the class.
Her greatest achievements are the positive feedback from couples who have taken her class. She considers it a “win” regardless of how their birth went (no medication, epidural, c-section). It always thrills her whenever they tell her the class helped with their confidence and decision-making.
When asked, Tory answered that not taking a childbirth class is one of the biggest mistake parents or would be
parents make. Depending on the type of class, a childbirth course usually provides 8-10 (or more) hours of education and can help walk you through all the “what if’s” of childbirth. Another mistake would be parents sometimes make is not asking questions of their providers. She stresses that it’s okay to ask why a test is being done or why your doctor has suggested a particular medical intervention. Often times parents do have options but don’t know what those options are because they don’t ask questions.
Tory's goals always include finding new resources and tools for her clients to use, both in class and online. She is also certifying as a postpartum doula and hopes to have that completed this year.
Tory teaches a 10 hour, 4-week class series, which means that her classes are held one night a week for about 2 ½ hours and her students meet with her four times. One of the advantages of a class series is that the information is spread out over 4 weeks so participants get more time to absorb the information as well as practice relaxation and comfort measures during labor.
Tory and her husband have three young children who enjoy helping her prepare for class each week. Her kids also love the brownies she bakes for her Lamaze class as they “graduate” each month because they know they get to help eat them.
As we end Tory's interview, here's a tip for all parents to be out there: "Ask your OB/midwife questions as soon as you think of them. Don’t wait until the day you go into labor. Your healthcare team would much rather answer your questions ahead of time vs. in the heat of the moment, and you’ll have more time to process their answers as well!
Consider a labor doula. Many women mistakenly believe doulas only support unmedicated or “natural” birth. Not true! Doulas support families through medicated births, unmedicated births, inductions and even c-sections."