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More Topics You Should Expect on the IBCLC Exam

Smiling Black woman on couch balancing laptop.

In a previous post, I highlighted some topics you should expect to see on the IBCLC exam. Today, I’ll go through a few more of those topics to help you fully prepare.


A while ago, ILCA basically banned the term, “mother.” They have since backed off because some “mothers” were pretty ugly about it. But I do think that issue will somehow crop up on the exam.

I can’t help but say, Karleen Gribble’s article was very logical in explaining that much of this “language” issue, while politically correct, causes some serious issues in the medical world.


In the past few years, I’ve talked more about communication with the LGBTQIA community. I stand by that, but I think the test items will now include issues related to the clinical management of breastfeeding in LGBTQIA families.

When I think about what they might put on the IBCLC exam this year, I’m thinking beyond just the communication aspect. I’m thinking about gender-related clinical management, including in co-parenting, milk supply, induced lactation, hospital policies, and more.

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.

Mental health

Especially post-COVID, mental health is almost a for-sure topic, in my estimation.

And no, I do not think you’ll see anything on the exam about COVID. I’d be willing to bet that the exam that’s administered in 2023 was drafted before we had much research to give even halfway reasonable answers about the transmission and effects of COVID related to breastfeeding.

Why would I made that assumption?

Because like any document created by a committee, the exam must be reviewed, squabbled over, revised, squabbled over again, and revised as many times as needed before the content is agreed upon. That doesn’t begin to address issues of editing, proof-reading, translating into multiple languages, production, and much more.

If anything appears on COVID – which I doubt – it would be more along the lines of how to support the mother who is isolated or unsupported. Hence, I seriously doubt COVID will be put on the IBCLC exam this year.

Emergency Preparedness

Have we had more emergencies in the last few years, or is it just my imagination? Seems like we have.

I’d bet money that questions about emergency preparedness will be put on the IBCLC exam this year. I’ve covered the role of IBCLCs during emergency preparedness and how to help families during emergencies.

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.

I’ve never had a question on diagnostic tests. But that won’t stop me from taking a stab at what I think you might see this year!

Questions about diagnostics might be tests involving radioactive dye, surgical removal of tissue and/or a biopsy, and much more.


I think the big one will be smoking. I have several posts related to smoking including:

I’d also wonder if they will give questions on other substances like CBD.

We’ll never know exactly what topics to expect on the IBCLC exam, but being aware of new topics and changes or advancements in familiar topics will help you go into the exam with confidence, as well as help you in your lactation practice.

How are you preparing for new topics or advancements in topics over the years? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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