Preparing for Natural Childbirth

Before you go into labor, your preparation for a natural birth begins. In fact, they may begin even before you conceive! Preparation means arming yourself with knowledge through research and knowing your options. Here are some tips on how you can prepare for natural childbirth.

You Can’t Know Too Much

As you research the stories of women who had terrible birth experiences, you will probably find this common thread: ignorance. These women lament how they “just didn’t know” or that “no one told them” what to expect. This is why it’s vital to learn everything you can about the birth process, and from a variety of sources.

If you already know you want a natural childbirth, then look at books and websites that are supportive of this choice. Learn about the physical process of birth – how it happens, what happens, and so forth. Also, read up on the immediate hours following birth, an area many women forget about in their research. You will want to make sure those precious hours are protected so that you can give your baby the best possible entrance into the world.

Avoid Frustrating Confrontations

You may not have the option of surrounding yourself with naturally-minded healthcare professionals during your pregnancy. If this is the case, you might want to perfect the “smile and nod” method of interacting with traditional OBs. Just remember that your doctor is not infallible, and you still have a choice. After you “smile and nod,” just go home and research what he or she said yourself and make your decision.

Everything from glucose tests to labor induction can be questioned, researched, and opted out of. It might help to bring copies of your latest research and respectfully explain to your OB why you have chosen to forego a particular procedure or method. Some OBs have ended up supporting women who’ve done good research to back up their choices.

Learning to Cope

Going in prepared is key to coping with your labor experience. Understand natural pain relief exercises you can do and visualization exercises during labor. One of the most important things to remember is that your body is designed to give birth – those sensations you feel that can seem so overwhelming are your body doing its job! Try to relax and let it do its work.

Work with your body rather than tensely fighting against it. Some midwives describe this as “welcoming” or “embracing” the pain, as a welcome sign that the baby is on its way and the labor is moving along.

Have a Birth Plan

Begin by writing out your entire plan, then tweak it, taking out unnecessary points and emphasizing important ones. This plan may end up being viewed by you alone, or you may have it reviewed by your OB. If you are in a situation where you see multiple OBs, such as at a military hospital, you can bring this plan along for each OB to review. The important thing is for you to know your plan thoroughly and share it with whom you think needs to be in on it.

One resource I highly recommend is The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland. Anyone who books me as a doula will receive a copy of this book during our first prenatal session in addition to other goodies hand selected just for you. We also work through the creation of your birth plan together and I educate you about the process of birth so you can make informed decisions and have the birth of your dreams. SCHEDULE YOUR FREE CONSULTATION WITH ME  

Birth Education Classes

Attending birth classes can go a long way toward relieving the anxiety and doubt that so many women and their partners have about labor and delivery. These classes tend to build confidence in your ability to give birth. Birth education is also an important tool in making informed decisions and having the labor and birth you want.

Here are some tips and suggestions as to what you can expect at a birth education class, and how you can find the right class for you.

What Happens in the Class?

Usually, you will attend the class with your partner if possible. Some couples say the classes brought them closer together.

Classes last anywhere from six to eight weeks. During this time, you will learn some of the following.

* How the process of birth works. Many of us are surprisingly ignorant of how a normal birth happens. Childbirth classes will help explain this. This helps take the surprise out of the labor process – it can be very powerful, and if you don’t know what’s going on, it can be frightening.

* You will likely learn relaxation and coping techniques.

* Interventions and hospital procedures are explained and discussed.

* The class will probably offer opportunities for you to ask questions, share fears and experiences, and/or assure others.

* Your partner will learn how best to support you during labor.

* If your class is in the hospital (which they usually are), you will probably take a tour of the birthing facility. Make sure you take the opportunity to ask questions.

How to Find a Class That’s Right for You

If you are not planning on a hospital birth, you may not want to take the local hospital’s classes. Or if you choose an alternative birth in the hospital, it’s a good idea to take the class to find out the hospital’s policies regarding interventions and such. Here are some tips for finding the right class for you.

* Lamaze classes are helpful for women seeking natural childbirth that is facilitated by controlled breathing. You’ll learn about body positioning, labor support, pain relief techniques like massage, and breastfeeding.

* Bradley classes are another form of a natural birth method designed to teach women how to relax and “embrace” the labor. Bradley classes also offer students education in nutrition, exercise, and other prenatal care. Breastfeeding is also part of Bradley education.

* If you choose a conventional hospital birth, your local hospital will probably offer classes on site as part of your plan to birth in their facility.

If you’re interested in our childbirth education classes, check the upcoming classes and register online HERE:

Is a Home Birth Right for You?

While the concept of giving birth at home is certainly not new, its resurgence in modern society is rather recent. If you’ve heard about the “home birth movement” and want to learn more, or perhaps are considering a home birth for yourself, you may have lots of questions. It’s important that one of the first questions you answer is, is a home birth right for me?

Here are some tips, options, and so forth to help you decide if this is an appropriate option for you.

“It’s a Baby, Not an Emergency”

Have you heard this one? Maybe you’ve read it on a bumper sticker! Regardless, the above quote is something midwives and other homebirth advocates often cite. Why?

The basic premise behind home birth is the belief in birth as a normal, healthy process that only requires medical intervention when true problems arise or are present. The basic concept of home birth is that normal childbirth does not warrant a screaming trip to the ER. So understanding this important, basic concept behind home birth – and deciding whether or not you agree with it – is a good first step toward deciding if home birth is for you.

Who Is a Candidate for Home Birth?

Home birth suits women who have low-risk, healthy pregnancies (which is the majority of pregnant women). Some midwives and naturally-minded advocates of home birth stretch the meaning of “low-risk” a bit so that it’s beyond the medical definition of the term.

For example, obstetricians generally categorize all pregnant women over the age of 35 as “high risk” simply due to their age. But some midwives have attended home births where the mother was a first-time mom and was over the age of 35. So it pays to get various opinions about your risk level as you are being evaluated.

Where You Feel Secure

Some women feel more secure surrounded by the latest medical equipment and technology, with lots of hospital staff on hand. Others may find this intimidating, preferring the privacy and relative peace of home.

Still, other women feel more secure having control over their birth experience, which may be best accomplished in a home birth. Some moms don’t feel like they can relax in their own home; they can’t stop the feeling that they need to clean up or do something. Take some time to consider where you feel the most secure, and what would be stressful and what would be relaxing.

Preparation

Home births do require some preparation. Of course, you will have the usual prenatal visits with your midwife or healthcare provider, but you will also need to prepare your home for the event. Making meals ahead and freezing them is important, not only for your family but for the midwives who may be staying in your home for some time during the labor.

You will probably be advised to sterilize washcloths and towels by baking them in the oven in paper bags, and you may need to invest in some olive oil or other natural lubricants. If you want aromatherapy, candles, special music, etc., you will need to get those things together and ready. You will also need to make sure your local ambulance and emergency services can find you, and you might even want to alert them as to the pending home birth.

5 Self-Care Tips for Busy Moms

Moms are constantly pulled a million different directions, finding themselves far too busy to get done what they need to get done, let alone worrying about self-care.

The busier moms find themselves taking care of themselves less and less as they get busier taking care of their families. We’re here to help; we’ll provide you with simple tips to get in your much-needed self-care to get you back to feeling your best. It’s natural to put your kids first, but you can’t neglect yourself completely; you’re important too.

1) Get in Activity Daily
It’s good to keep yourself active. However, depending on the age of your child you may get more than your fair share of activity. Physical activity can help your body release endorphins which can improve your mood and increase your energy.

Do whatever activity you enjoy that gets you active. You could walk around the park with your stroller, do yoga in your local studio when you can, use a workout video; do whatever will get you active each day.

2) Stay in Touch with Those Close to You
Taking time to nurture important friendships and relationships is a crucial part of your self-care. It’s not always easy to pay them a visit, especially when they live far away, but there are other, simple ways you can still put the effort in to show them you care.

You could call them for a few moments when you’re doing dishes or taking a walk once or twice a week and keep in touch. You could write them a card or letter, send them a gift, or something along those lines to let them know you’re thinking of them.

3) Prioritize Sleep
It’s tempting to try to make the most out of the time your kids are asleep, but it’s important to get sleep yourself. The Director of UCLA Sleep Disorders warns mothers of the risk of limiting their sleep:

“We know from research studies that chronic lack of sleep has adverse health consequences: people who consistently sleep less than six hours experience increased appetite, which causes weight gain and increases the risk of depression, cardiovascular disease, and type two diabetes.”

Sleep is a crucial part of your mental and physical health. Getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night is one self-care treatment you can’t afford to miss out on.

4) Eat Right
Eating right is a great self-care routine to instill. You can experience both short term and long-term effects by eating healthier regularly. It’s tempting to go for the quicker, unhealthy option for yourself, but eating right is better for your body and sets a positive example for your kids. It’ll help to provide you with more energy and better overall health.

5) Prioritize Your Health
We always make sure to carefully note each checkup and appointment for our children, knowing the exact month to return for yearly checkups, but we rarely take as much are with our own. Your health is important; take special care to make appointments for your yearly checkups and don’t miss any regular exams.

As a mom, you probably struggle to find time for yourself. You put your kids before yourself, which is commendable, but it leaves a void in your self-care routine, resulting in your neglecting yourself. We hope these few, simple tips will help you find a way to squeeze in some self-care time during your hectic life.

You are important, and your needs deserve to be valued. You can easily improve your mental and physical health by integrating these simple self-care tips.

Question: What are you doing to take care of you? Share below!

Need help taking better care of you? Hire me as your postpartum doula here.

The Power of the Postpartum Plan

Expectant Mothers spend a great deal of time creating their birth plans. They take time to think through how they want to enter the birthing space, who they invite into that space and how the decisions they make affect them and the baby. They type these plans out and moms give them to their birthing partners so everyone is on the same page about their wishes. This plan is all about mom and how everyone on her team can support in having a happy and healthy delivery. But what about the postpartum period?

The same careful thought and consideration should go into the creation of a postpartum plan. What do you want to have happen when you arrive home with the baby? Who do you or don’t you want in that space to preserve your peace? What supplies will you need? What meals and herbs will you need? How can everyone come together to provide the best space for you to heal?

We live in a “snapback” society focused too much on how quickly moms can get back to their pre-pregnancy size and back to business as usual. The norm has been that this needs to happen within 6 weeks postpartum. When ideally mothers need well over a year to fully get back to anything!

In other cultures, mothers are given special care and honor whether this is their first birth or eighth birth. Each child is precious and unique and each delivery and postpartum period deserves the right amount of dedication and care. For most mothers family comes by a few times to check on the baby and they dryly ask mom how she doing and feeling but most of the attention is on the baby. The physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health of mom is neglected.

The postpartum plan is a space where you as mom can draft your wishes of what you will need help with as they adjust to life with their sweet little one.

Here are a few ideas and resources to include in your postpartum plan:

Who will take care of meals? Your body needs to heal and be replenished and renewed. Your openings need to be closed and bound.

Who will keep your home clean? You need to keep unwanted germs out of your healing space.

Who will you call on for support? You need the contact information for professional support like doctors, therapists, childcare, close family members.

How will you cope with your feelings? What self-care strategies will you put in place to

What will you do when you need a break from the baby? Don’t feel bad if you need too, it’s a validated feeling. Do you have on-call help from your spouse or will he be at work?

What is your plan to take care of your body? Yoga? Pilates? Gym? Chair Stretches?

How will you celebrate your successes? 

Postpartum Resources

Meal Train-To schedule postpartum meals

Care-Find assistance with nannies and babysitters for support

Talkspace– Online therapist

Amazon Fresh– Online grocery service

Amazon Home Service– Homecleaning Services local to you

The First Forty Days: Nourishing the New Mother

Postpartum Doula Services with Regina

 

Reasons You Need A Doula to Support Your Pregnancy

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Birthing a sweet baby into this world is both an exciting yet anxious time because each women experiences something different.

Much of what we know about pregnancy can’t really be explained until it’s experienced and now your here! Having a support system is going to be critical during this time because you’ll have questions and concerns and as your doula I want to help you be at peace.  Continue reading