SimLab Provides Insights into Childbirth

EYCD and CLA students observe simulated childbirth scenario

Students in Jill Behnke’s Child Growth and Development class visited the Allied Health SimLab at Dakota County Technical College to participate in a simulated childbirth scenario. Behnke, an Early Childhood and Youth Development instructor, was excited about the collaboration between her program and other programs in the college’s Health & Human Services department.

“It is wonderful when programs can work together to support student learning,” she said. “The Allied Health SimLab is a great way for my Early Childhood students to learn more about labor and delivery, a topic we cover in our curriculum. My students have given me positive feedback about the opportunity to observe the childbirth process.”

Jay Reeves, B.S., NREMT-P, an allied health instructor at DCTC, conducted the simulated childbirth. Noelle, a maternal and neonatal birthing simulator made by Gaumard, covered the motherhood role. Brandice Carlson, a Child Life Assistant major, served as Reeve’s assistant during one session of the simulation. The newborn baby (christened Sawyer for the purposes of this article), another Gaumard manikin, played the infant role to perfection.

“The purpose of this simulation is to show that childbirth is a normal process,” Reeves said. “One of the first things I ask a group is how many have given birth. The simulation gives mothers a different view of what they experienced, revealing aspects they may have missed because they are busy giving birth. Mothers and future mothers get to see what’s happening to their baby during the delivery.”

Allied Health SimLab Simulated Childbirth Scenario Gallery

Student Perspectives

Brandice Carlson
 Brandice Carlson • Age: 31 • Gladewater, Texas
  • Major: Child Life Assistant
    • Pursuing A.A.S. degree
    • Brandice already has her Medical Assistant A.A.S. degree and EMT certificate from DCTC
  • High School: Gladewater
  • Why DCTC? Location and accreditation
    • CLA program is a great fit for her career goals
  • What do you like about the CLA program? Hands-on experiences
    • Learning opportunities from child life specialists in the field
  • Future career plans: Earn her Bachelor of Science in Child Life from Utica College in New York
    • Utica has the top child life bachelor’s program in the nation
    • Go on to become a neonatal physician assistant
  • Background: Married to Eric since July 2007
    • Couple has two daughters, Brianna, 3, and Natalie, 2
  • U.S. Navy, six years active duty, two years as a reservist
    • Served as a nuclear (NUC) electrician aboard USS George Washingtona Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier
    • Served as an electrician aboard USS Iwo Jima, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship
  • What did you learn from the simulated childbirth scenario?
    “I didn’t know the normal fetal heart rate is 130–150 beats per minute or that the placenta is examined after the baby is born to make sure it’s intact.”
Dani Johnson
Dani Johnson • Age: 19 • Lakeville, Minn.
  • Major: Early Childhood & Youth Development
  • High School: Minnesota Virtual Academy
  • Why DCTC? Mom went to DCTC as an accounting major
    • Close to home
  • What do you like about the CLA program? Very hands-on coursework
    • Classes fit together well
  • Future career plans: Work with children full-time
  • Background: Enjoys reading—everything
  • What did you learn from the simulated childbirth scenario?
    “I’ve never seen a birth and I only imagined what it would be like. It was interesting to see how the simulation worked. I liked the way Jay explained everything as it happened.”
Kayla Sarcone
Kayla Sarcone • Age: 21 • Rosemount, Minn.
  • Major: Early Childhood & Youth Development
  • High School: Rosemount
  • Why DCTC? Convenient
    • Great commute
  • What do you like about the CLA program? Fulfills her wish to work with preadolescent children
    • Enjoys working with preadolescents; they are still learning and curious
  • Future career plans: Because child education is a wide-open field with opportunities beyond teaching
    • Likes the idea of becoming a director of a daycare center
  • Background: Son Ryan Daniel, 15 months
  • Enjoys blowing glass
    • Interested in taking glass-blowing classes at the college level
  • What did you learn from the simulated childbirth scenario?
    “I had a hard time not tensing up when my son was born, which meant I didn’t dilate. The simulation lab helped me see the birth process from the baby’s perspective, which might make things easier for me in the future.”
For more information about the Early Childhood & Youth Development and Child Life Assistant programs at DCTC, contact:
  • Jill Behnke
    Early Childhood & Youth Development Instructor
  • Dawn Braa
    Child Life Assistant Instructor
    Early Childhood & Youth Development Instructor
For more information about the Allied Health SimLab at DCTC, contact: