I know how it is. You say to yourself, “Oh, shucks. I took the IBCLC® exam 10 years ago and I passed. I’m all good.” Then, a few minutes later, you say, “Oh. That was 10 years ago. What new stuff will they put on the exam this time?”
Certainly, there are always some topics you can count on; I have addressed those and will continue to do so. But you should also expect some topics you probably didn’t see on the IBCLC exam 10 years ago.
1. LGBTQIA Communication
In my view, IBLCE has made a big push for candidates (and recertificants) to have better communication skills. Hence, I strongly suspect a heavier emphasis on communication skills in general. And, seemingly everyone these days is trying to do a better job communicating with the LGBTQIA community, so be prepared.
2. “Pump and Feed”
Here in the United States, there is seemingly an epidemic of full-time pumping for healthy, term infants who can suckle. I’ve addressed details of “pump and feed” elsewhere. And I’ve interviewed a leading researcher for this topic on my podcast. I admit, I’m wondering if it’s too early for this question to appear. Even though it would not have been on the IBCLC exam 10 years ago, and even if it’s a little early to see it now, you should anticipate it, just in case it appears.
3. Body image treatments and issues
Honestly, writing this blog or doing my podcast has taught me the importance of addressing body image issues. For example, laser removal of hair is one of my most popular posts. But people also want to know about body modifications, varicose vein therapy, hair dye, and all sorts of things related to body image.
4. Bariatric surgery
This goes along with the idea of body image. More than 80% of people who undergo bariatric surgery are women. Therefore, this seems like a women’s issue. I wrote a post on this and conducted an interview with Dr. Allison Childress. I’m sure you would not have seen this topic on the IBCLC exam 10 years ago but don’t be surprised if you see it now.
5. Exercise and sports
The American Heart Association now recommends that adults have at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Mothers are also adults — and those who try to comply with this recommendation have raised real-life questions to me. So, don’t be surprised if such questions are on the exam. Listen while I give you much more information on exercise before, during and after pregnancy.
Seemingly everyone these days is talking about the microbiome. I’ve addressed that in several places, including a post, an interview with Dr. Kirsty Le Doare, and an interview with author and filmmaker Toni Harman.
Do you remember this being on the IBCLC exam 10 years ago? Nope, me neither. But be prepared.
7. Gut hormones
Even the phrase “gut hormones” wasn’t on my radar 10 years ago! But in the past few years, I’ve dedicated an entire page in the manual of my Comprehensive Lactation Course about gut hormones. I cover gastrin, somatostatin, glucocorticoid, cholecystokinin (CCK) and more. Be prepared to have a general idea of what these hormones accomplish.
8. Diagnostic tests
Seriously. Did this topic even cross your mind as something you’d see on the IBCLC exam 10 years ago. I doubt it. Yet, more and more women of childbearing age are having more and more diagnostic tests. These might be tests involving radioactive dye, surgical removal of tissue and/or a biopsy, and much more.
9. Biological Nurturing
To my utter astonishment, I’ve never had a question on biological nurturing. But it’s a hugely important topic, and I strongly urge everyone be prepared for it.
10. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative
OK, we all knew that Baby-Friendly could have shown up on the IBCLC exam 10 years ago. Or 15 or 20 or 25 years ago! But did it? Not that I can recall! I think we are well overdue to see those questions now. I have an entire category of posts dedicated to BFHI; you’ll want to read at least some of those.
I have no crystal ball. But I feel very aware of trends and issues, and how those might play out on an exam. And certainly, all of what I’ve just suggested here is fair game.
Additionally, you should realize that now, there were no “case studies” on the IBCLC exam 10 years ago. You should expect those, too.
Well, what do you think? Do these ring a bell as something relevant for the upcoming exam? Tell me in the comments below!