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.
  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 test (no less than 30 days prior to submitting your application) and 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 test directly to the proctor.  Exam testing is also offered at ICEA's annual convention at a reduced fee.

Study Guides

While completing the prerequisites for the certification examination, candidates use the objectives contained in the study guides for self-paced, independent study. Each objective contains an overview, content outlines, key concepts, references, and required position statements and articles. (the study guides weblink will be mailed to you upon enrollment) Each section contains extensive objectives and are divided into the following ten subject areas:

  • Part I - Family-Centered Maternity Care (FCMC) and the Role of the Childbirth Educator
  • Part II - Anatomy&Physiology of Preconception, Conception and Pregnancy
  • Part III - Nutrition for the Childbearing Year and Infant Feeding
  • Part IV - Psychosocial/Emotional Changes in Pregnancy, Abuse Issues
  • Part V - Labor and Birth
  • Part VI - Labor Coping Skills
  • Part VII - Obstetrical Tests and Procedures
  • Part VIII - Cesarean Birth and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
  • Part IX - Postpartum and the Newborn
  • Part X - Teaching Skills

Estimated Costs For ICEA Certification

Referenced Readings For This Program Are:

  • ICEA’s Guide to Pregnancy & Birth (2011)
  • 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 (2014)
  • Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding - by Smith (2010)
  • Beyond the Blues: Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression & Anxiety, by Bennett (2011)

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:

  • The Newborn Child: 9th Edition, by Johnston, Flood, & Spinks (2002)
  • Preparing for Childbirth; Relaxing for Labor, Learning for Life, by Parsons (1997)
  • Creating Your Birth Plan: The Definitive Guide to a Safe and Empowering Birth, by Wagner & Gunning (2006)
  • LLLI: The Breast Feeding Answer Book (2012) /


Forms And Guidelines:

    Networking Opportunity52.59 KB
    Contact Hour Guidelines77.68 KB
    Evaluated Teaching Guidelines73.06 KB
    Evaluator Membership Verification Form60.28 KB
    Form A (Class Assessment)43.92 KB
    Form B (Series Evaluation Summary)73.68 KB
    Form C (Self-Assessment)44.62 KB
    Form D (Evaluator Checklist)33.45 KB
    Form E (Candidate Self-Assessment Checklist)34.24 KB
    Form F (Evaluated Teaching Recommendation)73.21 KB
    Form G (Parent Evaluation)48.84 KB
    Evaluator Responsibilities63.16 KB
    Recommendations For Evaluations Via Tape35.9 KB
    Certification Examination Guidelines74.06 KB
    Guidelines For Scheduling And Proctoring The ICEA Certification Examination80.66 KB
    Certification Philosophy31.17 KB
    Certification Requirements40.89 KB
    Certification Goals41.47 KB
    Membership Requirements32.57 KB
    Special Candidate Categories24.28 KB
    Labor Or Birth Observation Guidelines45.71 KB
    Labor Or Birth Observation Verification Form29.9 KB
    Labor Or Birth Observation Questions30.63 KB
    Self-Assessment Sheet For Labor Or Birth Observation36.61 KB
    Sample Letter Requesting Permission To Observe32.63 KB
    Recertification37.18 KB