Traditional Childbirth Educator Certification

ICEA certified childbirth educators have verified that they have the necessary knowledge and experience to enable them to facilitate expectant parents' mental and physical preparation for pregnancy, labor, birth and parenthood. This program promotes the concept of the childbirth educator as an advocate of the natural process of childbirth and the right of the expectant parent to make informed choices based on the knowledge of alternatives.

Steps To Certification

Candidates must first enroll in the program and become an ICEA member. The following four prerequisites must be completed within two years (the exam is the last step).

  1. Complete the referenced reading list.
  2. Acquire a minimum of 16 ICEA approved contact hours by attending any one of the following workshops/trainings:
  3. Successfully complete an evaluated teaching series (at least 6 hours).
  4. Observe a minimum of two labors and/or births.
  5. After steps 1-4 are completed, apply to take the certification examination.

Candidates will choose their own date and location to take the exam. Applications should be submitted no less than 30 days before the selected exam date. The candidate will find a proctor to administer the exam.  The proctor can be any professional (another educator, administrator, librarian…etc…no friends or family members).  There is a place on the exam application to where you will specify this information.  Once the main office receives the completed application packet and fee, they will hold the file until about two weeks prior to the specified exam date and then mail your exam directly to the proctor.  Exam testing is also offered at ICEA's annual convention at a reduced fee.

The Ten Program Parts

Candidates may access the 10 Parts of the PCBE Program on-line for self-paced, independent study. Each Part contains an overview, program objectives, an outline of key concepts, and an outline with references to the program texts and ICEA Position Papers. Following are the 10 Part of the program:

  • Part I - ICEA and Family-centered Maternity Care
  • Part II - Informed Decision-making and Evidence-based Teaching
  • Part III - Teaching Skills for the Childbirth Educator
  • Part IV - Curriculum Development
  • Part V - Healthy Lifestyles and Reproduction
  • Part VI - The Labor Process
  • Part VII - Coping Skills for Labor
  • Part VIII - Transition and Birth
  • Part IX - Complications, interventions, and Unexpected Outcomes
  • Part X - Postpartum and the Newborn Care

Estimated Costs For ICEA Certification

Referenced Readings For This Program Are:

  • Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn, by Simkin, Whalley, Keppler, Durham, & Bolding (2010)
  • Evidence and Skills for Normal Labour and Birth: A Guide for Midwives, by Walsh (2012)
  • Maternity & Women's Health Care, by Lowdermilk, Perry, Cashion, & Alden (2012)
  • The Labor Progress Handbook: Early Interventions to Prevent and Treat Dystocia, by Simkin & Ancheta (2011)
  • Prepared Childbirth - The Educator's Guide, by Amis & Green (2015)
  • Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding - by Smith (2010)
  • Beyond the Blues: Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression & Anxiety, by Bennett (2015)

Purchase the referenced readings at the ICEA Bookcenter and receive a discount on the bundled set.
Regular/Non-Member Price: $320.00
Sale/Member Price: $295.00

Other suggested, but NOT mandatory readings include:

  • Goer, H. & Romano, A. (2012). Optimal care in childbirth: The case for a physiologic approach. Seattle, WA: Classic Day Publishing.
  • LLLI: The Breast Feeding Answer Book (2012).
  • Buckley, S.& Gaskin, I.M. (2008). Gentle birth, gentle mothering: A doctor’s guide to natural     childbirth and early parenting choices. Celestial Arts. 
  • Gluckman, P., Hanson, M., Seng, C. Y., & Bardsley, A. (2015). Nutrition & lifestyle for pregnancy & breastfeeding. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

There are no questions from these texts on the ICEA International PCBE Exam. 


Forms And Guidelines:

    Networking Opportunity160.34 KB
    Contact Hour Guidelines143.38 KB
    Evaluated Teaching Guidelines and Forms Bundle495.13 KB
    Certification Examination Guidelines144.74 KB
    Guidelines For Scheduling And Proctoring The ICEA Certification Examination153.31 KB
    ICEA Childbirth Educator Certification Philosophy142.39 KB
    ICEA Membership Requirements141.31 KB
    ICEA Special Candidate Categories131.79 KB
    Labor Or Birth Observation Guidelines 153.45 KB
    Labor Or Birth Observation Verification Form163.79 KB
    Labor Or Birth Observation Questions136.65 KB
    Self-Assessment Sheet For Labor Or Birth Observation138.1 KB
    Sample Letter Requesting Permission To Observe136.5 KB
    Recertification 133.26 KB