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Certification: Code of Ethics for Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators

Purpose

To assure quality and ethical practice, the Lamaze International Certification Council has established a Code of Ethics for Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators (LCCE educators), and a process by which unethical or other objectionable practice may be addressed.

Code of Ethics for LCCE Educators

PREAMBLE The primary mission of Lamaze Childbirth Education is to promote, protect and support normal birth. This mission is rooted in a core set of values. These values are the foundation for childbirth education’s unique purpose and perspective.

The Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator Code of Ethics offers a set of values, principles, and standards to guide decision making and conduct when ethical issues arise. The Code of Ethics serves six purposes:

  1. The Code identifies the core values on which childbirth education’s mission is based.
  2. The Code summarizes broad ethical principles that reflects the profession’s core values and establishes a set of specific ethical standards that should be used to guide childbirth education practice.
  3. The Code is designed to help childbirth educators identify relevant considerations when professional obligations conflict or ethical uncertainties arise.
  4. The Code provides ethical standards to which the public can hold the profession accountable.
  5. The Code socializes new childbirth educators to the profession’s mission, values, principles, and standards.
  6. The Code articulates standards that the profession can use to assess whether childbirth educators have engaged in unethical conduct. The Lamaze Certification Board has formal procedures to adjudicate ethics complaints filed against its members.

ETHICAL PRINCIPLES

The following broad ethical principles are based on childbirth education’s core values. The core values, embraced by Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators are the foundation of the childbirth educators’ unique purpose and perspective:

Value: Dignity and worth of the person

Ethical Principle:Childbirth educators respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.

Childbirth educators treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity.

Value: Respect for the normal, natural processes of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding, and women’s inherent ability to give birth.

Ethical Principle: Childbirth educators embrace the Lamaze philosophies of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and parenting.

Childbirth educators promote, protect and support normal birth and breastfeeding.

Value: Integrity

Ethical Principle: Childbirth educators behave in a trustworthy manner.

Childbirth educators are continually aware of the profession's mission, values, ethical principles, and ethical standards and practice in a manner consistent with them. Childbirth educators act honestly and responsibly and promote ethical practices on the part of the organizations with which they are affiliated.

Value: Competence

Ethical Principle: Childbirth educators practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.

Childbirth educators continually strive to increase their professional knowledge and skills and to apply them in practice. Childbirth educators should aspire to contribute to the knowledge base of the profession.

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ETHICAL STANDARDS

The following ethical standards are relevant to the professional activities of Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators. These standards concern (1) childbirth educators’ ethical responsibilities to clients, (2) childbirth educators’ ethical responsibilities to colleagues, (3) childbirth educators’ ethical responsibilities in practice settings, (4) childbirth educators' ethical responsibilities as professionals, (5) childbirth educators’ ethical responsibilities to the profession of childbirth education.

Some of the standards that follow are enforceable guidelines for professional conduct, and some are aspirational. The extent to which each standard is enforceable is a matter of professional judgment to be exercised by those responsible for reviewing alleged violations of ethical standards.

1. Childbirth Educators' Ethical Responsibilities to Childbearing Women

1.01 Commitment to Childbearing Women

Childbirth educators’ primary responsibility is to promote the well-being of the childbearing woman. In general, the woman’s interests are primary

1.02 Self-Determination

Childbirth educators respect and promote the right of childbearing women to make informed decisions (informed consent and informed refusal) and to assist childbearing women in their efforts to identify and clarify their goals

1.03 Informed Consent

Childbirth educators should provide full, accurate, up to date information upon which childbearing women are able to make informed decisions, either informed consent or informed refusal. Childbirth educators should use clear and understandable language to present benefits, and risks, as well as reasonable alternatives, and the right to refuse or withdraw consent.

1.04 Competence

Childbirth educators should provide services and represent themselves as competent only within the boundaries of their certification

1.05 Cultural Competence and Social Diversity

(a) Childbirth educators should understand culture and its function in human behavior and society, recognizing the strengths that exist in all cultures.

(b) Childbirth educators should have a knowledge base of their clients' cultures and be able to demonstrate competence in the provision of services that are sensitive to clients' cultures and to differences among people and cultural groups.

1.06 Conflicts of Interest

(a) Childbirth educators should be alert to and strive to avoid conflicts of interest that interfere with the exercise of professional discretion and impartial judgment. When a real or potential conflict of interest arises, childbirth educators should first disclose the conflict to clients and then take reasonable steps to resolve the issue in a manner that prioritizes the clients' interests and protects clients' interests to the greatest extent possible.

1.07 Privacy and Confidentiality

(a) Childbirth educators should respect clients' right to privacy. Childbirth educators should not solicit private information from clients unless it is essential to providing services. Once a client shares private information with the childbirth educator standards of confidentiality apply.

(b) Childbirth educators should take precautions to ensure and maintain the confidentiality of information transmitted to other parties through the use of computers, electronic mail, facsimile machines, telephones and telephone answering machines, and other electronic or computer technology. Disclosure of identifying information should be avoided whenever possible.

(c) Childbirth educators should not disclose identifying information when discussing clients for teaching or training purposes unless the client has consented to disclosure of confidential information.

2. Childbirth Educators’ Ethical Responsibilities to Colleagues

2.01 Respect

(a) Childbirth educators should treat colleagues with respect and should represent accurately and fairly the qualifications, views, and obligations of colleagues.

(b) Childbirth educators should avoid unwarranted negative criticism of colleagues in communications with clients or with other professionals. Unwarranted negative criticism may include demeaning comments that refer to colleagues' level of competence or to individuals' attributes such as race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, and mental or physical disability.

(c) Childbirth educators should cooperate with childbirth educator colleagues and with colleagues of other professions when such cooperation serves the well-being of clients.

2.02 Confidentiality

Childbirth educators should respect confidential information shared by colleagues in the course of their professional relationships and transactions. Childbirth educators should ensure that such colleagues understand childbirth educators’ obligation to respect confidentiality and any exceptions related to it.

2.03 Interdisciplinary Collaboration

(a) Childbirth educators who are members of an interdisciplinary team should participate in and contribute to decisions that affect the well-being of clients by drawing on the perspectives, values, and experiences of the childbirth education profession.

(b) When a team decision raises ethical concerns and the disagreement can not be resolved within the team, the childbirth educator should continue to advocate for the childbearing woman by attempting to resolve the issue through appropriate channels.

2.04 Referral for Services

Childbirth educators should suggest a referral to clients to other professionals when the other professionals' specialized knowledge or expertise is needed to serve clients fully or when additional service is required.

2.05 Incompetence of Colleagues

(a) Childbirth educators who have direct knowledge of a childbirth education colleague's incompetence should consult with that colleague when feasible and assist the colleague in taking remedial action.

(b) Childbirth educators who believe that a childbirth education colleague is incompetent and has not taken adequate steps to address the incompetence should take action through appropriate channels established by employers, and Lamaze International.

2.06 Unethical Conduct of Colleagues

(a) Childbirth educators should take adequate measures to discourage, prevent, expose, and correct the unethical conduct of colleagues.

(b) Childbirth educators should be knowledgeable about established policies and procedures for handling concerns about colleagues' unethical behavior, specifically the policies of Lamaze International.

(c) Childbirth educators who believe that a colleague has acted unethically should seek resolution by discussing their concerns with the colleague when feasible and when such discussion is likely to be productive.

(d) When necessary, childbirth educators who believe that a colleague has acted unethically should take action through appropriate formal channels.

(e) Childbirth educators should defend and assist colleagues who are unjustly charged with unethical conduct.

3. Childbirth Educators’ Ethical Responsibilities in Practice Settings

3.02 Education and Training

(a) Childbirth educators who function as educators, sponsor teachers for students, or trainers should provide instruction only within their areas of knowledge and competence and should provide instruction based on the most current information and knowledge available in the profession.

(b) Childbirth educators who function as educators, trainers, or sponsor teachers for students should evaluate students' performance in a manner that is fair and respectful.

3.03 Performance Evaluation

Childbirth educators who have responsibility for evaluating the performance of others should fulfill such responsibility in a fair and considerate manner and on the basis of clearly stated criteria.

3.04 Commitments to Employers

(a) Childbirth educators generally should adhere to commitments made to employers and employing organizations.

(b) Childbirth educators should work to improve employing agencies' policies and procedures and the efficiency and effectiveness of their services to ensure that they are evidence-based.

(c) Childbirth educators should take reasonable steps to ensure that employers are aware of childbirth educators’ ethical obligations as set forth in the Lamaze International Code of Ethics and of the implications of those obligations for childbirth education practice.

(d) Childbirth educators should not allow an employing organization's policies, procedures, regulations, or administrative orders to interfere with their ethical practice of childbirth education. Childbirth educators should take reasonable steps to ensure that their employing organizations' practices are consistent with the Lamaze International Code of Ethics.

4. Childbirth Educators’ Ethical Responsibilities as Professionals

4.01 Competence

(a) Childbirth educators should accept responsibility or employment only on the basis of existing competence or the intention to acquire the necessary competence in a timely manner.

(b) Childbirth educators should strive to become and remain proficient in professional practice and the performance of professional functions. Childbirth educators should critically examine and keep current with emerging knowledge relevant to childbirth education. Childbirth educators should routinely review the professional literature and participate in continuing education relevant to childbirth education.

(c) Childbirth educators should base practice on best evidence related to maternity care practices and teaching and learning.

(d) Childbirth educators should maintain certification.

4.02 Discrimination

Childbirth educators should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, or mental or physical disability.

4.03 Private Conduct

Childbirth educators should not permit their private conduct to interfere with their ability to fulfill their professional responsibilities.

4.04 Dishonesty, Fraud, and Deception

Childbirth educators should not participate in, condone, or be associated with dishonesty, fraud, or deception.

4.05 Misrepresentation

(a) Childbirth educators should make clear distinctions between statements made and actions engaged in as a private individual and as a representative of the childbirth education profession, Lamaze International, or the childbirth educator’s employing agency.

(b) Childbirth educators who speak on behalf of Lamaze International should accurately represent the official and authorized positions of the organization.

(c) Childbirth educators should ensure that their representations to clients, agencies, and the public of professional qualifications, credentials, education, competence, affiliations, services provided, or results to be achieved are accurate. Childbirth educators should claim only those relevant professional credentials they actually possess and take steps to correct any inaccuracies or misrepresentations of their credentials by others.

(d) Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators are entitled to use Lamaze® licensed marks in conformance with the philosophy, principles and written policies of Lamaze International.

4.06 Solicitations

Childbirth educators should critically evaluate the consequences of endorsing specific products before they distribute any materials (such as, but not limited to, free samples or educational materials developed by companies that market such products) to childbearing women.

4.07 Acknowledging Credit

(a) Childbirth educators should take responsibility and credit, including authorship credit, only for work they have actually performed and to which they have contributed.

(b) Childbirth educators should honestly acknowledge the work of and the contributions made by others.

5. Childbirth Educators’ Ethical Responsibilities to the Childbirth Education Profession

5.01 Integrity of the Profession

(a) Childbirth educators should work toward the maintenance and promotion of high standards of practice that are consistent with the Lamaze philosophies of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting.

(b) Childbirth educators should uphold and advance the values, ethics, knowledge, and mission of the profession. Childbirth educators should protect, enhance, and improve the integrity of the profession through appropriate study and research, active discussion, and responsible criticism of the profession.

(c) Childbirth educators should contribute time and professional expertise to activities that promote respect for the value, integrity, and competence of the childbirth education profession. These activities may include teaching, research, consultation, service, legislative testimony, peer review, presentations in the community, and participation in Lamaze International.

(d) Childbirth educators should contribute to the knowledge base of childbirth education and share with colleagues their knowledge related to practice, research, and ethics. Childbirth educators should seek to contribute to the profession's literature and to share their knowledge at professional meetings and conferences.

5.02 Evaluation and Research

(a) Childbirth educators should critically examine and keep current with emerging knowledge relevant to childbirth education and fully use evaluation and research evidence in their professional practice in order to practice using best evidence.

6.0 Childbirth Educators’ Ethical Responsibilities in the Broader Society

Childbirth educators should collaborate with other health professionals and concerned persons in promoting local, regional, national and international efforts to meet the health, safety and education needs of the childbearing family.

7.0 Grounds for Mandatory Sanctions

1. Conduct prejudicial to the professional standards established by Lamaze International for Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators.

2. Obtaining, attempting to obtain, or knowingly assisting another to obtain or attempt to obtain certification or renewed certification by a false or misleading statement or failure to make a required statement, fraud or deception in an application, reapplication or any other communication to Lamaze.

3. Misrepresentation of Lamaze certification or renewed certification status.

4. Irregularity in connection with an Lamaze examination including, but not limited to:

a. Copying answers

b. Permitting another to copy answers

c. Falsifying information required for admission to an examination

d. Impersonating another examinee

e. Falsifying education or credentials

f. Providing and/or receiving unauthorized advice about exam content during the examination

5. Failure to:

a. Pay required fees

b. Provide required written information  

c. Update information timely

6. Unauthorized possession, use, or distribution of, or access to Lamaze materials including examinations, Lamaze® licensed marks, logo, credentials, and/or certificates.  

7. Limitation or sanction, whether voluntary or involuntary, by a governmental regulatory board or professional organization relating to public health or the specialty of childbirth education.

8. Conviction in a court of law, after all appeals have been exhausted, of a felony or misdemeanor which may affect public health or safety.  Such offenses include, but are not limited to:

a. Drug or alcohol offense.

b. Job related negligence or misconduct resulting in endangerment to the health and/or safety of a client.

c. An act of physical violence such as murder, rape, robbery, etc.

9. Other violation of a Lamaze standard, policy, or procedure as provided in the Lamaze Certification Exam Application Booklet or other material provided to candidates or certificants, as amended from time to time in its sole discretion.

Approved: March, 1993
Reviewed and reapproved: June 2006