BIRTH PLANNING - | What. | How. |

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GIFT: BIRTH PLANNING WORKSHEET
              HOW TO CREATE A SIMPLE, ONE-GLANCE  BIRTH PLAN  FOR BUSY NURSES TO FOLLOW

            HOW TO CREATE A SIMPLE, ONE-GLANCE BIRTH PLAN FOR BUSY NURSES TO FOLLOW

These pointers apply to all types of birth:

Hospital (natural / induction / epidural / medicated / c-section)

Birth Center (with or without complications) 

Home Birth

 

Birth is Beautiful. No. Matter. What.

 

As a Doula and Childbirth Educator, I get asked a lot of questions about actually planning for the big day itself. There is A LOT more to consider than simply choosing either a medicated or un-medicated birth.

What is the point of a Birth Plan?

According to Mayo Clinic:

“Although you may have in your mind how you want your baby’s birth to be, your choices may not be heard effectively if you don't have a birth plan. Who do you want present in the delivery room? Do you want to be offered medication for pain management? If so, what type of medication? Do you want a natural birth and to use alternative measures for comfort? Do you want to freely move around during labor? Do you want to use hydrotherapy? Do you want your baby continuously monitored? These are just a few items that can be included in your birth plan.”

 

Birth can sometimes be described as a marathon, which is why it is so important to prepare and PLAN well.

A lot of the process is unpredictable but I am a firm believer that it is definitely not uncontrollable.

You, dear mom-to-be, have an immense amount of power over the decisions made about your body and your baby, even in a tight situation!

Your choice, your voice.

 

That is what led me to offer: 

BIRTH PLANNING SESSIONS

On the day of your session, we will explore topics like:

1.    What is your dream birth?

  A *sample* of the Custom Visual Birth Plans I make.   Nurses, OB's and Midwives are often busy and have more than one birthing mother to attend to at a time! They also change shifts.  A Birth Plan bridges the gaps in communication to keep your wishes met and distractions to a minimum on your birthing day. 

A *sample* of the Custom Visual Birth Plans I make.

Nurses, OB's and Midwives are often busy and have more than one birthing mother to attend to at a time! They also change shifts.

A Birth Plan bridges the gaps in communication to keep your wishes met and distractions to a minimum on your birthing day. 

2.    What kind of birth does your current pregnancy indicate? (any complications, prior birth experiences)

3.    Which procedures are you comfortable or uncomfortable with? P.A.I.N and F.E.A.R (options, alternatives)

4.    How to know you have chosen the best provider for your hopes and goals

5.    How to talk to your healthcare provider about these topics (big one)

6.    In case of emergency or change of plans…

7.    What parts of birth does your partner understand or have no understanding of yet? (crucial)

8.    What will be your partner’s role in labor? (resources for guidance and ideas)

9.    Newborn Care

10.  Tips to prepare and plan for the best possible experience and outcome

+ PLUS, anything else you would like to talk over with a Doula! (within time limits)

 

(Value: $95)

HOW:

6 simple steps below =>

1.    CALL or EMAIL and request a free 20 minute phone consultation (introduction, tell me a bit about your pregnancy, current plans, partner role etc)

2.    *Pick a date and time (Starbucks, Panera etc. for example or your Home)

3.    Place deposit ($25 – included in total value) via Paypal

4. Receive a form by email that helps you consider and pick what you would like and what you would not like for your birth

(The form does not have to be complete for you to return it, just as much as you are able to fill at the time. Options you put down can be altered over time as it is OK to change your mind and plans in the process).

- If you already have a written birth plan, you can email it to me, to give me an idea of the resources to prepare for you and what topics we will focus on.

5. *Meet in person. {1 hr to 90 minutes long} You get to ask questions, get guidance, tips and resources. We will work on completing your Birth Plan.

6. Receive your finalized Custom Visual Birth Plan (sample pictured above) via email to print and take along.

 

===> plan a session <===

Other Options

*PHONE AND EMAIL PLANNING ONLY:

For those that would find communication via phone and email enough, and opt out of meeting in person, the process is the same except for Steps 2 and 4.

You will have access to me by email for the duration of time that it takes to finalize your Birth Plan. (about 1 – 2 weeks)

(Value: $50)

 

**CONVERT WRITTEN PLAN TO VISUAL TEMPLATE: 

If you already have a written Birth Plan that you are confident about, and would like it converted to a Custom Visual Birth Plan, email it to me (with payment via Paypal) and I’ll return it to you completed within 1 week.

(Value: $30)

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Wishing YOU all the BEST,

Caroline J., Doula

PDCBE

How to cope with FEAR during birth

In being human, experiencing fear is normal and even beneficial to our survival. We have hormones, like the famous adrenaline, that trigger fear in us when there is a perception of danger, giving us a chance to respond accordingly and fast (fight or flight).

However, if we overreact to fear or are not able to manage it in order to navigate the situation at hand effectively, it can become debilitating. There can a reluctance to do what needs to be done or if there are sustained levels of stress hormones in our system, it can hinder other hormones that assist with our coping and wellbeing.

When it comes to birth, some fear is normal. It is normal for a mother to fear for her wellbeing and her baby as a basic survival instinct. In small doses, this is can be a healthy form of fear if it triggers an urge to prepare well for the anticipated process.

 

If a laboring mother experiences fear, adrenaline is released into the blood stream. If adrenaline levels continue to be sustained, then cortisol (the stress hormone) levels rise accordingly.

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If adrenaline and cortisol are released, and the fear not addressed and resolved before the 2nd stage of labor, it hinders the production of oxytocin and endorphins.

 

This can be due to many reasons, for example:

- negative expectations or memories of birth (first time mother/ poor past birthing experience/ high risk)

- a lack of coping mechanisms or preparation

- a stressful environment (noise and distractions, lack of privacy, lack of inclusion in decision making, harsh lighting…)

- Some fear can be triggered as labor intensifies as a natural reaction to pain

 

The body needs to be relaxed, and the mind at peace during birth, for oxytocin production and release. 

1. Oxytocin causes contractions

2. Endorphins act as natures pain relief during labor.

3. The release of adrenaline and cortisol naturally counteracts oxytocin and endorphin release.

 

FEAR can slow down and even stall labor.

FEAR can make the whole experience itself unpleasant and lead to the use of unnecessary interventions.

 

How to work with FEAR:

Oxytocin is the 'FEEL GOOD' hormone.

Do things that make you feel good during labor, yes! Partners can be prepared to help with this.

Does your partner know how to boost your oxytocin? 

Loved ones can be guided to avoid 'stressing out' around you.

Is there someone that wants to be at your birth that is easily stressed out OR something that easily stresses you out? 

The high levels and fluctuating hormones of birth make you very sensitive to the environment and even the attitudes and feelings of those around you. Choose who to invite to the labor and delivery room and who will wait to meet the baby later. 

How will you ensure quiet and privacy and feelings of safety and respect in your birthing room?

 

Read on to learn HOW to plan ahead!

 

minimize stressors > feel safe

 

 1. One of the most important things is to take good Childbirth Education Classes so the birth process is not a complete mystery. No need to stress-out about the 'unknown' when you can educate yourself all about it. 

Knowledge is power, but too much knowledge can be overwhelming and confusing. Google can be a pregnant woman’s convenient friend at times but can also be a source of outdated, inaccurate or fear-based information.

Find a local, trained person, to consult with for evidence-based information.

Then from there, specific fears can turn into questions and questions into answers, suggestions and tips.

 

2. Another great way to ease fear is to be choosy about the books and media about birth that you are looking at.

Choose positive birth stories, read positive affirmations, write a journal of hopes and dreams for the birth.

How do you imagine your birth? Visualize the best-case scenario...

Take the parts in the movie where the woman's water breaks and suddenly she is in active labor and about to push the baby out in the car and everyone is STRESSED OUT and in a hysterical panic... with grain of salt!

Thankfully, that is hardly the way it happens. 

Find movies with a positive depiction of women giving birth WITHOUT FEAR, for example, Organic Birth (DVD) or The Business of Being Born (DVD). There are plenty on Youtube as well but the point again is, be very selective. 

(For ideas on good books to read, take a look at our Lending Library here)

 

3. Writing a Birth Plan <== click here to create one) can help organize a birthing environment you will feel safe in.

A Birth Plan is not just a piece of paper to hand to the Nurse. 

It serves YOU above all.

In a way, it helps you imagine and 'rehearse' for your birthing day.

Sure birth is unpredictable, but having a GOAL and a PLAN to achieve that goal, is over half the preparation for childbirth!

 

4. Choose people that will give comfort and support that does not feel 'judgmental' or like 'pressure' to you, even if some fear does arise. People that understand how to meet your fluctuating needs in childbirth, with understanding. Loved one's in the room can help make us feel safe. However, is ok to be selective if you have a feeling a particular person's presence could be a stressor or distraction! 

- Are you and your partner on the same page about Childbirth?

- Are you and your OB or Midwife on the same page about your options, wishes and fears?

- Are the people that will be with you in the room prepared to support you emotionally, hands-on and in good decision making?

- Will there be stressors or distractions? Can you avoid them? How will you cope?

 

These are just a few good questions to help you plan and prepare yourself and those who wish to be there for you.

 

5. During labor, there are techniques that work very well to calm feelings of fear when they naturally arise: 

- proper breathing

- deep relaxation  

- visualization

- aromatherapy

- affirmations

- prayer/ meditation/ ritual

 

Pick, learn and practice the techniques that would work for you ahead of time so that during labor, you will find relief quickly when you need it.

Affirmations, prayers and meditations can be written down and brought to the labor room for you to read.

Comfort items from home are comforting to look at or hold. Consider packing some small sentiments in your birthing bag. 

 

6. A Doula can also be a perfect addition to a woman’s support system when it comes to coping with fear.

The extra prenatal support can help one

- explore fears 

- learn vital coping techniques

- help turn your childbirth wishes into plans you can count on

Most importantly, during LABOR AND BIRTH, a Doulas hands-on attendance and calming influence in the room can guide the birthing experience to the mother's best wishes.

 

 

I wish you a FEARLESS birthing day!

 

 

What has been your experience with Fear, Pain and Birth so far?

Did this article bring up any questions?

Please do share your story with us in comments below!

 

I AM AFRAID THAT________________________________________________?

WHEN I AM AFRAID, I _________________________________________________?

 

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Let’s discuss more topics like these!

SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel  and “LIKE” our Facebook page to know when a new topic video is up.

And don’t go before you,

Download your FREE Practical Postpartum Planner just for stopping by.

FOLLOW our mother-baby world on Instagram and Pinterest!

 

LENDING LIBRARY

Welcome to our lending library!

You may borrow any of these books and other available tools and resources while you are under our care. Talk to your Doula Erin or Caroline about which ones. (limit 2 at a time)

The information you take in, especially during your pregnancy, should be uplifting, truthful, and informative. Here is a list of a few books we would be happy to lend for your reading pleasure. 

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Hypnobirthing - Marie F. Mongan

Rediscovering Birth - Sheila Kitzinger

Yoga for Pregnancy, birth, and beyond - Francoise Freedman

Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful - Gurmukh

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth - Ina May Gaskin

The Birth Partner - Penny Simkin

The Doula Book - Marshall Klaus, John Kennell, Phyllis H. Klaus

Misconceptions - Naomi Wolf

Baby Catcher - Peggy Vincent

Listen to me good - Margaret Charles Smith & Linda Janet Holmes

A good birth, A safe birth - Diana Korte & Roberta M. Scaer

Birth your way - Sheila Kitzinger

Prenatal & Postpartum Depression - Shoshana S. Bennett & Pec Indman

Your Best Birth - Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth - Henci Goer

Eating for Pregnancy - Catherine Jones & Rose Ann Hudson

Readings for after your birth:

Heading Home With Your Newborn - Laura A. Jana & Jennifer Shu

The Happiest Baby on the Block - Harvey Karp

The no-cry sleep solution - Elizabeth Pantley

Medications and Mothers' Milk - Thomas Hale

Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care - Benjamin Spock & Steven J. Parker

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers - Jack Newman & Teresa Pitman

Other recommended reading: (these are not yet on our library collection)

  • Birthing From Within - Pam England & Rob Horowitz
  • Birth Reborn - M. Odent
  • Active Birth - J. Balaskas
  • Preparing for Birth with Yoga - Janet Balaskas
  • Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering - Sarah Buckley, M.D.
  • A Holistic Guide to Embracing Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood - Karen Salt
  • The Expectant Father - Armin A. Brott

 

FREE! Practical Postpartum Planner

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Postpartum: Expectations vs reality

There is a saying: it takes 9 months to grow the pregnancy body on, it takes at least 9 months grow it off.

Many mother’s and even their partners imagine that if all goes well, the bodily changes quietly snap back into shape without any bother. The emotional state of the new mother is expected to be of joy and enthusiasm moving into her new role. As we know from a long history of women having babies and from advances in medicine and psychology, this is not a realistic or healthy expectation.

The reality of the postpartum period is often more jarring due to the fact that it is not discussed nearly as much as the actual pregnancy and delivery are.

The grand event of meeting one’s baby can often be followed by a sense of being overwhelmed. The new mother may be exhausted in spite of the fact that they now have to care for the infant by establishing breastfeeding and bonding. If this process is not approached with gentle support toward the mother’s need for rest, replenishment and even privacy, it can trigger feelings of stress in some women. Unfortunately a woman feeling these mixed emotions may further judge herself as not having the appropriate emotional response to her baby. This can compound into deeper mood problems. It can also hinder breast milk production. It is important to discuss and even plan out how to approach these instances in a way that provides her with the coping skills, support, space and time she needs to adjust to the changes.

> Around week 1: estrogen levels plummet and are replaced prolactin. These hormonal changes can lead to emotional mood swings commonly known as the ‘baby blues’.

Symptoms include, feeling weepy, irritable or resentful toward the lifestyle changes, anxious about the baby’s health, fatigued or disillusioned.

> 80% of women will experience the baby blues. (If feelings of sadness persist into the second month she should be guided to get screened for postpartum depression.) 

Consider having a Postpartum Plan in place before birth.

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Doulas are excellent at guiding this process. Include family member and friends in this plan by thinking of tasks that the new mother would usually meet daily and delegating them for some time (see how to organize daily tasks during the postpartum period in our *FREE Planner). For instance, if a friend comes over to see the new baby, the mother should be aware to continue to take it easy and not fret over houseguests. If they offer to help, doing a handful of dishes/ laundry or running an errand is more appropriate than having the new mother try to juggle all these roles. If they ask if they can bring something, ask them to bring food for the new mother!

> Additionally, the immense hunger felt during pregnancy continues postpartum with some women even experiencing cravings. This is due to a demand for more calories especially if breastfeeding. The increased intake is also one of the body’s demands to support the healing process.

If she has other dependents in the family, they may still rely on her for daily meals. Making freezer meals ahead of time or organizing a meal train is a thoughtful way to support a woman in her early postpartum days. Good meal planning and grocery shopping planning is a lifesaver! (we offer these services in our Postpartum Doula Care plan!) 

> For the first 6 weeks postpartum: a mother’s energy levels are still lower than her baseline. This is due to the fact that the body has just been through incredible changes and is now adjusting to a more limited sleep schedule, rebalancing hormones and using up resources for breastfeeding if that is the case. The good news is, with enough rest and good nourishment, aerobic capacity increases up to 20 percent within the first 6 weeks postpartum.

> As far as the physical body adjusting, the initial shockers are the after pains and the bleeding. The uterus is shrinking gradually to control bleeding and return to its pre-pregnancy state. This causes abdominal cramps (after pains) as the uterus contracts to make descent back into the pelvis.

> Breastfeeding speeds up this process, by stimulating the production of oxytocin, which triggers contractions, shrinking the uterus back to its normal size. Some of this may be very uncomfortable and discouraging to some new mother’s. Educating and implementing comfort measures, like the application of a warm rice sock to the abdomen during breastfeeding and good posture for back support and good nursing positions for a good latch can be extremely helpful. (Watch a video on comfortable breastfeeding on our YouTube Channel here.)

> The uterine contractions also cause heavy bleeding (lochia), which lessens over time as it heals. The bleeding is a source of discomfort for many. It is important to prepare the new mother ahead of time on how much bleeding to expect and the best protection to use to save herself spare laundry if possible.

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(> Fun word: PADSICLES - a cross between a maxi-pad and an ice pack. DIY in free planner!)

> The pelvic floor and the genital area undergo trauma in the process of childbirth. If the woman had a vaginal birth, there will be swelling and soreness and there might be stitches from tearing or an episiotomy. This is a source of fear and anxiety for many especially when it comes to facing using the bathroom. Getting urine, which is naturally acidic, on tender skin can be painful. Reduce the discomfort by the use of frozen pads, sitz baths and sitting on a ‘donut’ if necessary. Another issue some women face is urinary incontinence after childbirth. This can be a source of embarrassment and worry especially if the mother thinks that it is a permanent change. Kegel exercises (click link to watch a video on that) strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Thankfully, this resolves itself over time in the normal process of healing.

> The changes of pregnancy and the process of delivery slow the movement of food through the intestines. This leads to complications with bowel activity. New mothers may feel bloated, gassy or constipated. If breastfeeding, there is also an increased demand of fluids and so if the intake is not increasing, constipation ensues. The pressure to the pelvic floor causes some women to develop hemorrhoids. The best solution for bowel problems is prevention by ensuring adequate intake of fluids especially water and fiber. If not contraindicated a stool softener can be used to ease constipation and prevent impaction. As with all medicine, consult a healthcare provider first.

> In the case of cesarean sections, the incision is usually the most delicate part of physical postpartum recovery. It is crucial for the new mother to have the support she needs so she can follow her providers rules for bed rest and to avoid over exertion until she is cleared.

> Shortly after the birth of the baby, most women lose an average of 9 to 12 pounds (6 to 8 pound baby, 1 or 2 pounds of placenta weight, 2 pounds of blood and amniotic fluid). However, by law of nature, any other excess weight gained to support the pregnancy will take at least the same amount of time it took to gain, to lose. For this reason, it is very beneficial to be honest and open about the expectations for postpartum body image. Many women will struggle with the new way parts of their body appear. It can be a bummer to find that one cannot squeeze right back into their favorite pants.

> Decreasing estrogen levels may cause hair to thin. This is only temporary and it should grow and thicken by month 3.

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A focus of taking time for self-care simply for the sake appreciating oneself may ward off any feelings of poor self-esteem and help the process be a more self-loving one.

Never underestimate the importance of finding support and friendship through other local mother’s for example by joining a group on social media like Facebook.

> Encourage healthy eating habits, preferably, not strict diets and gentle exercises several times a week to begin feeling more and more like oneself.

> By week 6, most new mothers get the green light from their provider to be intimate. Apart from self-image as discussed above, there are many things that might get in the way of postpartum sexual intimacy. Sheer exhaustion, changed household schedules, nervousness about what her partner will think of her changed body and apprehension about whether it will hurt or if it will feel the same. A woman’s sex drive is naturally low in the period after childbirth due to hormonal changes that happen to facilitate recovery and successful breastfeeding. This has the likelihood to cause relationship issues for a couple unless openness and patience are employed. Encourage the woman to be honest with her partner about her own feelings, fears and process. Encourage the partner to be willing to learn and adjust to the differences in their sex life. If this is difficult, it may be advised to get counseling or consult a trusted peer.

'We live in a culture that displays celebrity mothers bouncing back to their pre-pregnancy shape almost instantly. It is easy for women without the right people and resources surrounding them to feel alienated during this transition into motherhood. It is helpful to know that this does not have to be the experience and a major role of the doula is to facilitate this education.'

What are your postpartum expectations that this article mentioned OR what did you not know?

Tell us your side of the story in comments below!

Confessions of a first time Doula -written June 2016

I imagine that as I await my first labor as a doula, that it feels much like a first time mother waiting for their baby to be born. There are feelings of anxiousness, fatigue, hope, and love. And questions. Tons of questions! Am I equipped for this job? Will I be good enough? Will I be able to comfort properly? Will everything go okay? Can I provide the space that was asked of me? So many of these questions enter out minds as we get ready to explore the world of the unknown. We always fill our our minds up with questions that we will have no answers to until we are actually living in that moment. Even some that will remain unanswered until a later point in our lives. 

A revelation was recently brought to light to me during a yoga study. More often than not we allow our heads to lead us over our hearts. Physically, most of us stand on two feet and it's rare that our hearts are below our heads. Emotionally this rings true also. We hear and read all of this talk about "Let your heart decide", and 'Look deep within your heart, it will guide you', but really? How often do you take that advice? Our brains and ego instantly take over and start telling us things that contraindicate our hearts. This all stems from an overpowering emotion that we all possess- FEAR. Now don't get me wrong, I do believe fear has some benefits. In fact, I believe that fear and questioning is an essential part of learning a new lesson. If we weren't passionate about something, we wouldn't question it. We wouldn't be afraid. So caring deeply about a subject, a career, a new journey will tend to work alongside fear. But take time to consider this quote from Marianne Williamson, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."

The beauty that slowly unravels behind all of this, is the fact that most of the time after learning the lesson, we understand and recognize that we are equipped and have every single tool we need to succeed. And we grow. And we begin to tear down the fearful questions more and adapt to exactly what is. We stop the worrying about if we will be good enough and start to adapt to the thought that we are doing our best. We remind ourselves to be compassionate not only to others but especially and most importantly to ourselves. And we begin to listen to our hearts, we start to allow them to take the lead. And we start to hear with our hearts what each situation or moment calls for. And then finally, we start to act from our heart, performing intuitive healing and nurturing. 

F. ace

E. verything

A. nd

R. ise

With an open and less fearful heart,

Erin 

POSTPARTUM DOULA CARE

Our support does not end after you give birth! You've planned for the birth, why not plan for postpartum?

Why a Doula, not a nanny?

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A professional postpartum Doula is trained specifically on a new mother's immediate recovery and newborn/ infant care needs in the period right after birth.

She can help make the family's transition smoother, by easing new baby stressors, new mom anxiety, family overwhelment and the adjustment period confusion. 
---:>>> How prepared are YOU for your Postpartum? Download our FREE Practical Postpartum Planner!

some postpartum doula care benefits you get: 

+ Specific, practical newborn care tips 

+ Meal planning (including snack prep) and grocery shopping planning

+ Breastfeeding/ bottle/ pumping set-up and support (watch a quick Breastfeeding 101 video on our YouTube Channel here)

+ Light housekeeping and living space maintenance

+ A break and some much needed rest for yourself and your family

+ BONUS: Unlimited postpartum Q and A with an expert all to yourself! 

Ask questions about your own adjustment progress and your baby's = receive the evidence-based, no-judgement support that fits you. 

You receive these tried-and-true tools that work well and will stay with you and your family long after postpartum!

And more! How can we serve you?

Value: from $100 - $300 {starter package}

*25% off 1st session for all Birth Prep Doulas Labor services clients. That makes the Starter Package a good sampler*

Book a 1 hour consultation to assess your needs. It's FREE.

START YOUR PLAN

OR

Request/ Give GIFT CERTIFICATES right here!

 

P.S: you get $1 off per hour for every additional week (5 days) that you book.

We’ve been there. A newborn adds to the financial demands of a family and for that reason, the longer you need support, the deeper the discount we offer as a relief to your family.*

 

What does that look like?

You choose! Below are your FOUR customizable options:

1. the welcome home baby plan: 

+ 3 days, 4 hours each {Starter Package}:

Postpartum Doula care and support to assist during daytime adjustment to new baby. You'll receive meal planning and prep assistance, light housekeeping, help with breastfeeding, bottle feeding, pumping (set up, prepare milk, sanitize bottles, storage etc). A much needed breather where your Doula can mind the baby while you shower, nap, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while it’s still hot for crying out loud (pun intended!). Or you can just do absolutely nothing, for the sake of your sanity (which is perfectly ok and highly recommended. You’ve earned it, you’ve just been through a marathon) The ideal solution to your most your most overwhelming days!

OR

+ 2 overnights, 8 hours each: 

Overnights are perfect for the first few days home with baby to ease the transition period. The new mom may be exhausted, or it may be more difficult to move in and out of bed due to soreness or after c-section. A Doula staying overnight can either hand you baby to nurse or she can feed them when they cry, burp them and soothe them back to sleep so you can catch up on your much needed rest for recovery.

OR

+ 1 week:

This plan can be arranged as 1 week worth of care (3 days, 2 nights) 

 

*A “Week” is considered to be 5 days to ensure a rested and enthusiastic Doula. The days do not have to be consecutive or fall on the same calendar week, but can be spread out and adjusted.

** Client-preffered shifts (longer days, shorter nights or mix and match) are available.

 

2. The Self-care Plan (2 weeks): 

Perfect for the client who just needs some self-care time; a break, some rest and relaxation, a time out and chores or errands caught up. Spread out your Postpartum Doula Care package over 2 weeks to give you ample time and space to take care of yourself for full healthy recovery. 

3. The Recharge Plan (3 weeks): 

When the first hectic couple of weeks just isn't enough to recharge your energy for your newly expanded family! Ideal for families with an adjusting older sibling, multiple children or other challenges. 

4. The Smooth-transition Plan (1 month): 

Many families find the initial weeks after the arrival of a baby to be particularly challenging. This especially hits home if your partner has to return to regular work hours shortly after arrival of the new baby.  Postpartum Doulas are trained to help families navigate the process so that they can make efficient plans that work for long after the postpartum period and ensure healthy adjustments that are best suited for everyone

When it comes to your family, you can't go wrong with well thought out prior planning!

 

I make myself available to give postpartum support to you for up to 8 weeks after birth. *Scheduling can be done as soon as you feel ready after the birth of your baby or after you go home.

**However, placing a deposit for postpartum support before your birth, to secure a priority in our schedule, is recommended.

 

 

Make your plan

 

 

Birth Prep Doulas are always striving to make our support to you as comprehensive as possible. Our goal is to make it easy to find the care your family needs and deserves, all in one place!

Welcome to Motherhood and at your service,

Your Doula, Caroline. 

 

 

Wherever you are, Be all there

I bought a shirt the other day that says, "Wherever you are, Be all there". It serves as such a great reminder for us to live and breathe in each present moment so we don't miss out on what truly is happening. It really isn't just in the physical sense of the statement. In fact, that part is pretty easy. We show up for work, show up for lunch, a movie, or even a hospital- our body is there, but where are our heads? Have you ever engaged in a conversation with someone to realize that when it is over, all you thought about was if you fed your dog or not? You missed out on what may have been something you needed to hear, something someone wanted you to hear....an experience. 

We need to remind ourselves to invest in every moment emotionally as well. We often don't want to because sometimes what we are feeling is scary or sad. Maybe we think that by feeling it- it will hinder our ability to be happy. If we don't experience these emotions as they arise and be all there with everything that we are, we're losing something. We're missing the point. Also, there is a pretty good chance that whatever we are suppressing will come back with vengeance in the most inopportune time.

In labor, a woman may experience the most intense feelings of her lifetime. She has no choice but to be all there. Natural instincts buried deep within our body, deep within our genes, deep within our ancestors past all come to surface. If we don't invest in that moment, we are missing out on the grandeur miracle of life. Just as fast as the surges of labor move through a laboring mama, she comes closer to reaching the highest state of euphoria. There is no moving around it, only through it. No light without dark, no joy without pain. 

So feel it. Feel it all. Soak in it. Laugh, scream, cry, dance, curl up in a little ball and hold yourself tight, just be all there.

Most common labor mistakes #2

ACTIVE LABOR:

“Do these 3 things and you won’t feel a thing!” “Don’t do this and you’ll be done in exactly X hours!”

Most of us women would be happy to try almost anything that promised to make birth easier or at least shorten the process. But as nature has it, every one of us is as unique as the children we grow in our bodies and bring to earth with our unconditional love and courage.

Is there a right way and wrong way to birth? If only it was that clear…

For this reason, we decided that instead of the word ‘mistakes’, the words ‘misjudgements’ or ‘miscalculations’ are more compassionate. Let’s face it, labor is no joke.

Early labor may be bearable enough for some to continue with light daily activities. We discussed why this is recommended, along with other suggestions in the article on Common Mistakes: Early Labor. But at some point, the intensity of those sensations changes.

You might be in Active labor when... your contractions feel stronger and harder to bear.

So, unlike before, the distractions may not be working as well anymore. You are finding that you have to stop what you’re doing each time. These are major cues that your body and baby are getting really serious about this birth thing.

How exciting!

Now what, dear Doula?

That’s your cue!

Start timing the contractions again. (Wondering about WHEN, WHY and HOW to time contractions?)

What you are looking for is length and duration.
Longer, Closer, Stronger

 

 

Assuming you had told your OB/ Midwife when you went into labor and depending on whether you chose to have your Doula join you in early labor, let your birthing team know about this new development.

The onset of Active labor is when a woman feels the strong need to do something about the contractions. This in a natural urge designed by our bodies to help baby along. 

So let’s talk about some tempting misjudgements that might go against the natural progression of labor.

 

 

 

 

Doing nothing

This is a go-to whenever we are are in pain or discomfort. Sitting still in a way that feels more comfortable or the good old fashioned bed-rest.  Even though this offers a sense of relief, it could contribute to a longer labor and increase back pain due to pressure on the spine.

If for some reason the mother chooses to or has to stay in bed, it is encouraged to change positions or to lay side to side. Even the smallest change for just a few contractions is helpful.

Moving in rhythm with contractions and changing positions also makes it easier for the baby to navigate the pelvis.

Gravity is a laboring woman’s best friend.
(After a Doula, that is.)

If you would rather hang out in your room for privacy or other reasons, a Doula has got a mind full of positions to ease discomfort and aid the progression. We also bring a ‘bag of tricks’ full of labor equipment you can use.

If you feel up to it, grab your partner or a family member and take a slow walk down the hall. Feel free to pace back and forth in the room. If you are having a home birth, stroll around your house. You are likely to find that you have to stop at each contraction. Having someone by your side is priceless as you can use them for physical support. You are going to appreciate all the encouragement you can get. Enjoy the company of someone willing to walk the walk with you.

 

Doing Everything

Ah, you can’t win can you? Yes you can, I promise!

There is the complete opposite staying in one place: trying every single position and comfort measure you learned because that is what you are ‘supposed to do’.

It’s great to change positions and techniques during labor, but how do you know when to do what?

The amazing thing about our bodies is that, if you are focused enough, you can pick up on the natural cues on what to do.
 

Try positions and techniques in response to cues from your body; not just "try everything." Once you find a good position or technique, continue through several contractions until you feel your body needs a change.

One of the most humbling lessons as a Doula is to learn to ‘lead by following’. This is one way we honor a woman’s innate wisdom. We may make suggestions and help along the way, but above all we trust that women are capable. Forcing changes during labor can be distracting and can pull mental and physical energy away.

*Wait, I thought distractions were good for labor?

Stick around dear mom, there is a time for everything.

 

Distractions

We established that distractions are great in Early labor. Focusing too much on bodily sensations too soon can cause unnecessary stress and get the mother tired way before she needs all her energy. Active labor is a whole different ball game though...

Active labor feels more intense physically and so it takes a lot of mental energy to go through. At this point, too many distractions can cause the mother to lose her focus.

Having someone beside you to talk to during labor can be calming and reassuring. The down side of this is that, the mother might feel obliged to respond and be an active part of conversation in the room.

It is not easy to be there for someone and give them space at the same time.
This is a balancing act that a good Doula practices.

There is a lot of benefit in being mentally present at the labor. It is easy to miss out on your body’s cues or become irritated or anxious based on what is happening in your environment. This can trigger stress hormones, which do not interact well with birth hormones, leading to a stalled or longer labor.

Relaxation at this stage of labor is a priority. Calming or inspiring music is one way to set the mood for the mother.

If the TV is on in the birthing room, let it be by the mother’s choice and that she has the say on what should be on. Preferably, something pleasant that she does not have to pay too much attention to or to follow.

Sometimes visitors or other staff in the room get carried away talking about topics not relevant to the mother. It is ok to give a polite reminder to keep such conversations out of the room.

As Doulas, we respect the 'birthing space' as a mother’s own NEST.
We allow the mother to set the tone and the pace.

 

So, imagine you've made it this far but there is still a way to go... *They say the next stage of labor, Transition, is the hardest and that it is when women are most likely to ask for an epidural. Next time we discuss how true (or false) this is.

 

 

Most common labor mistakes

 

‘Mistakes’ is a strong word when describing a woman’s reaction to the experience of labor. I imagine telling a woman in labor she’s ‘making a mistake’ might lead to even more anxiety about a process that is already naturally stressful! It might make her feel that she is "failing" at being in labor.

One thing we know is that stress hormones get in the way of labor hormones. The way a woman and her partner and labor team handle the entire process can either enhance or hinder the process.

How about we call them ‘miscalculations’ or ‘misjudgements’?

Miscalculations in early Labor:

Timing contractions

Wait, but aren’t you supposed to time contractions? Yes you are. The reason for timing contractions is to determine if you are actually in labor or pre-labor, also called Braxton-Hicks contractions. (Timing contractions also determines what stage of labor you are in.) At some point, first time moms, will ask, “What do contractions feel like?” Ah, the million dollar question. As a Doula, and a 2-time mom myself, I still do not feel confident I can give a one-size-fits-all answer to this. I can only describe my own experience and sometimes I can’t even find the accurate words. We are all as unique in our reaction to our bodies preparing to bring a mini-human into the world as we are in our every day personalities, habits and tastes. “You will KNOW when you are in labor…” is something many women are told. Movies would have us believe that when your water breaks (usually a huge, dramatic gush), then you’re having a baby right now!!!

But what about women whose water never breaks?

So, when exactly is it really Labor?

Here's the 4-1-1:

Contractions 4 minutes apart, 1 minute long each, for 1 hour.
What you are looking for is CONSISTENCY.

 Ok, so you’ve timed them for an hour, now what? This is where the ‘misjudgments’ are likely to come in. Do you dash to the hospital? Do you start the comfort measures you’ve learned? Call everybody with the news? Keep timing? There’s excitement and there’s apprehension of everything laying ahead for mom and baby!

Most likely you'll tell your partner first that you are actually in labor. You should let your OB or Midwife know you are definitely having consistent contractions. If you have a Doula, this is the perfect time to call her for support. As your Doula, I would say "great!" How are you handling the exciting news and the contractions? If nothing seems alarming, let’s STOP TIMING.

Here’s why:

For one, timing the contractions and counting the hours will not make the process any faster. If anything, it can add unnecessary stress. Stress leads our bodies to produce catecholamines (stress hormones) that can actually slow down, and even stall labor. Also, can you imagine how long and boring that could get?

So, dear Doula, what to do, what to do?

Here’s a good rule of thumb:
When in labor, do life.
When labor is all you can do, then do labor!

I cannot stress enough the importance of relaxation and distractions during early labor. Remember, your uterus knows how to contract. Trust your body.

Some ideas of what to do in early labor:

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Sleep:

This is easier said than done, especially for first time moms. There’s excitement, there’s nervousness… and there’s partners as well with their own reactions. However, do give it a fair try. Have some sleepytime tea if that helps. Listen to some relaxing music or watch a mindless show to shut your mind off. Have your partner give a soothing massage. Make love if you feel up to it. Then try and get your zzzs in.

If a laboring woman is tired her body's ability to handle stress and discomfort is compromised. So, if the contractions woke you up in the middle of the night, and are bearable enough, find a way to go back to sleep dear mom. You’ll be glad you got the rest; you’ve got some ‘labor’ cut out for you in the morning.

Eat:

Your hospital may have a policy that restricts eating during labor. This is usually a safety precaution in case the mother needs a cesarean. This rule leads many women to think they should not eat anything at all the minute labor begins!

Labor takes a lot of physical energy. Eating light in early labor is an excellent way to store up on this natural resource and prevent exhaustion when you need all the strength you can get. Pick snacks you crave and enjoy. Make your favorite meal, or have your partner/ family make it with you or for you. Cooking can be a fun and satisfying distraction. Go out to eat! Enjoy the look on people’s faces when they ask you when you are due and you answer, “Right now...”

As labor progresses, your desire to eat naturally goes down. When you feel you have an appetite, that’s because the body needs food to store up for fuel later. Hunger is a sign you are most likely still in early labor. Eat up, dear mom. The baby wants it (wink).

Live:

It is tempting to stop everything and lie down as soon as labor begins, especially if it’s your first labor. There is also the misconception that you have to speed to the hospital/ birthing center as soon as you start labor. This is also likely to happen if you have more people than just the mom paying attention to labor too soon. Family and friends mean well and want to be helpful to you in labor. They care about your safety, they do not want to see you in discomfort and they want to pamper you as well.  These 2 misjudgments could set the mother up for a longer and slower labor. It can actually increase the stressfulness of the event or cause mental and emotional fatigue due to boredom.

So long as physically possible, I would encourage mom to continue normal, light activities during labor. So, go to baby’s room and finish setting up. This is sure to put a smile on your face and take you to a relaxed place in your mind. Make sure everything you need is in your bag. If you have other children, doing an activity with them while talking about the new baby's arrival into the world is such great bonding for the family. Prepare snacks for yourself for later, for example, chop fresh fruit or make sandwiches. Take a walk around the neighborhood or at the beach. Go to a store you like to look around or to the mall to people watch. Go sight seeing at the park with your partner or a friend. Really, it is not unsafe to go about your regular daily routine in early labor as long as you are medically sound.

 

Whatever you do however, it is imperative that you have alerted your medical provider and Doula that you are in labor. It is also very important to have your affairs in order, for example, bag packed and handy, car fueled, childcare arranged. If you are travelling to a hospital or birthing center for the birth, stay within a decent mile radius of the location. Travel closer if you anticipate a lot of traffic.

Most importantly, do enjoy this special day. Happy birthing day!

 

*How, then, do you know when you are no longer in early labor? 

You will notice a change in the intensity of contractions. They start to feel stronger and longer. You might also have to stop an activity to relax through the contractions. Then is when to start counting and timing contractions again.

In our next article, we talk about the most common mistakes in active labor.

7 recipes to fix 7 cravings and 7 woes of pregnancy

What are you craving the most? What pregnancy discomfort has just got to go? Here are some ways to cave in without making pregnancy any more uncomfortable than it needs to be.

 

 

1. Something... Sweet. Cold. Light. Refreshing.

Remedies: Nausea

How about Popsicles?

 

Creamy Berry Ginger Pops

2 cups strawberries, hulled & quartered

2 bananas, sliced

2 cups blueberries

1 cup apple juice

1 cup Greek yogurt, vanilla

2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add into popsicle molds. Insert popsicle sticks in each mold and freeze for 6 hours (or until firm)

 

Slushy Citrus Ginger Pops: 

2 cups lemonade

1 cup apple juice

1/4 cup ginger ale

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

4 teaspoons grated ginger

2 teaspoons honey

Mix all ingredients together. Add juice mixture in popsicle molds. Freeze 6 hours. (Insert popsicle sticks in the molds after about 1 hour when the mixture is firmer)

Yes, yes you just had desert in the morning. What? The baby wanted it. Also, nobody likes that feeling like they’re sea-sick on perfectly dry land all day. Bye nausea...

 

2. Something... Decadent. Small. Filling

Remedies: Fatigue

 

No bake PB &J Energy bars

 

 

1¾ cup pitted dates (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, then drained) (Raisins can be used instead)

½ cup dried cranberries (like Craisins)

1/3 cup chunky peanut butter

3/4 cup quick oats

Honey to taste (optional)

 1. Soak the dates (or raisins) in warm water for 15 minutes, and drain.

2. Place dates (or raisins), dried cranberries, peanut butter, and oats in a food processor and blend until combined well.

3.    Scoop mixture into a square baking pan, and firmly press down to make an even layer.

4.    Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to set.

5.    Cut into 8 rectangle bars.

6. Store in the freezer or fridge.

Now you’re good to survive the work day, make it to Prenatal Yoga class and nest, nest, nest away.

 

3. Something… like Icecream

Remedies: Extra protein and fiber. Lactation booster

 

Mama’s icecream

1 frozen banana

1/4 cup quick oats

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp flaxseed (up to 2 tbsp for nursing mom’s)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

3/4 cup milk

3 cups ice (or to desired consistency - less ice makes it a smoothie!)

What a perfectly delicious way to cave in to that sweet-tooth and get extra protein and fiber.

 

4. Something… that’s not plain old water

Remedies: Swelling

 

Cucumber lemon water

Add lemon juice and cucumber slices to your water.

It not only flavors it, but lemons can help reduce swelling common in legs and feet later in pregnancy. Lemon juice is a mild and safe diuretic that can help your system rid itself of excess water. Cucumbers are also a mild, natural diuretic. They contain silicon and sulfur, which stimulate the kidneys to be more efficient.

Anything to make hydrating not quite so boring.

 

5. Something… Warm. Soothing

Remedies: Insomnia

 

Chamomile lemon balm tea

1 cup hot water

2 teaspoons dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon dried chamomile

1 teaspoon honey

Steep for 5 min. Filter and enjoy

Stress be gone, mind be still and sleep tight like a baby 

 

6. Something Veggilicious

Remedies: Indigestion

 

7. Apples and carrots juice

2 carrots

2 green apples

½ cucumber

1 rib of celery

½ inch ginger root

Run all the ingredients through a juicer and enjoy, with ice or without.

What a refreshing way to get your veggies and fruit for the day in a yummy glassful and be able to stomach it! 

Settle down, bellies everywhere.

What are (or were) your strongest pregnancy cravings and how did you fix them? What about the most unbearable pregnancy discomfort? Feel free to share them, and any recipes you've tried, below!

 

You'll Do... My what?!

Doulas are hippies that want you to have your baby under a tree by a spring with a family of deer cheering you on... Have you heard something in those lines? I kid, of course I'm exagerating in my description, but hopefully, such old rumors no longer exist. That's what this article is about. Clearing the misconceptions about what a Doula really is. What's the point of a Doula anyway?

A lot of our clients know from the get go that they want a Doula through their pregnancy and at their birth. Some moms and families however only understand the value of a Doula after talking to one and having our exact role broken down.

Thoughts that might go through people's head:

'My Doctor is going to think I'm undermining their expertise by bringing a Doula'
'The nurses at the hospital are gonna think we're total weirdos when we walk in with a Doula'
'Why does my wife think I'm not good enough to support her during labor?'
'I have a midwife so she'll meet every little need I have'
'My mom and sister will be there with me, they'll be my Doulas'
'No thanks, I don't want a total stranger in my family business, I prefer privacy'
'I'm totally not having a natural birth! A Doula will try to make me feel bad'

Truth is, there might be a tiny possibility that these scenarios have happened in somebody's story. Good news is, Birth Prep Doulas, do not bring a 'report card' into your life. What I mean by this is that is that, our bottom line policy is to offer unconditional support, honor your choices, respect your space and work in harmony with your team of supporters including you Doctor/ Midwife/ Nurses/ spouse and family. 

No judgement from us. Zero. You call the shots and we get on board and keep everyone involved focused on your wishes, comfort and well-being.

 

Let's talk Doctors and Doulas. Many modern Doctors appreciate a good Doula on the team. Birth Prep Doulas understand that to keep these relationships efficient for the mom to be, being professional at all times and working within our scope of practice is important.

Midwives are medical professionals and focus on the woman and baby's medical progress and safety. This makes it a bit difficult to be available for some of the small detailed needs that do come up during labor. A Doula is there for this sole purpose. We get you a fresh cool rag, we rub your back, we help you change positions, we hold your hand, keep the mood in the room right... You name it, we're at your service.  It is never an interruption or a bother for us because this is exactly what we are there for.

Nurses as well know the value of having a knowledgable assistant with the laboring mother at all times. Having worked as a Nurse myself, I can not underestimate the peace of mind it gives one  to know that they can focus on the woman's and baby's medical needs while the Doula handles other aspects of labor. When it comes time to document or be with other patients, the Doula keeps the pace going while the Nurse is out of the room. And at the end of the day, Nurses have to clock out. Doulas do not change shifts!

Family members too sometimes need to leave the room for a break or for other life obligations. Husbands, moms and sisters have personal knowledge of the mom-to-be, which is very reassuring to her. Doulas on top of that, have skill sets and an educated understanding of the progression of Labor and can help in explaining some of the medical terms if need be. Doulas do not replace dads, or moms or sisters... We are happy to work on your team, alongside them.

Privacy is a big deal to most of us! No wonder medical  professionals are held accountable to protect your personal information by HIPAA (HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It's a law that protects your private information) Birth Prep Doulas understand the sensitivity and intimate nature of pregnancy and birth. We include a HIPAA form for all our services that both parties sign. All the information you give your Doula is between you and your Doula, period. We do not reveal clients identity and we do not post any client details on social media (unless requested or authorized). 

Private to some may also mean that they feel like a complete stranger is coming into their personal lives. I can totally relate, especially with everything that could go down during birth. It's a natural instinct. Even animals in the wild are known to seclude themselves when in labor. Which is why Doulas hold several prenatal meetings with the mom-to-be. Partners and family members are welcome to these as well. Birth Prep Doulas will come to a Doctor/Midwife visit if requested. We are happy to meet with the mom-to-be, wherever she chooses, and work on building a comfortable relationship. We are available to her throughout the pregnancy for any questions or even just to chat about the day. The Doula/ client relationship is unique in how personal and how fast it develops. Our goal for the day you deliver, is for you to feel like your Doula is a professional, yet your friend at the same time!

Women have so many options on how to birth. Birth Prep Doulas celebrate that!

We pride ourselves in offering non-judgmental support to all. We leave our personal preferences out of your story. As our mission statement states, "We believe that given the right information and with the right support, women are capable of making the right choices for themselves and their babies." 

We truly believe and live this mantra. Our hope is that you get to live it too.

What are your thoughts on the true role of Doulas?

 


 

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Labor Day: weekend VS Labor Day: baby

Summertimes last big event is upon us. Labor day weekend is here and that means one of two things: Party! – or Boooo!

Goodbye sunshine, hello wind with leaves in it... means different things to different people. Adios vacation fun vs long-time-no-see-you Mr. homework…

Ah, but I bet you didn’t think about how similar Labor Day Weekend might be to the other Labor day. We’ll call it Labor Day: Baby.

Well, let’s explore.

Planning a Labor Day: weekend vs planning for Labor Day: baby

1. Is it gonna be Party! or Boooo...? (or even Boo! as in, Halloween is around the corner and who knows what else?)

As a mom myself, and a Doula, I say always go with Party! Could be life without babies is ending for you, and your family or you’re gonna have that one extra tush to clean now. But how about celebrate the arrival of a precious new mini human into your life by actually celebrating on their literal birthday? You, mom, deserve to celebrate yourself for 9 months worth of strength and patience and the incredible milestone of birthing your baby. Dads know babies are to be celebrated but, hey dads, mom’s deserve to be celebrated too!

2. Location, location, location.

Are you going to have a Labor day weekend party at your house, go to a friend’s house or forget houses and getaway? This choice determines a lot of things, a big one being, your budget.

As for Labor Day: baby, the options affect a lot of things! Hospital? Birthing Center? Home? How’s your budget? What’s more comfortable for you? Where do you feel safest? What matters most to you? Luckily for mom’s, babies give us 9 months to figure out where they are going to make their grand entrance. If this decision is making you feel clueless, Doula’s are a great resource on picking a birthing location and provider. At the end of the day, it’s your choice, we’re happy to stand by your side with information as you map it.

3. Invites:

How many people are invited to this party anyway? Are you a full house person or are you more private? Just like having a house party is different than going on a getaway, your birthing location of choice determines the number of faces you will encounter on your big day. Great news is that, you can decide some details of this in your birth plan. Even greater news: DOULAS DO NOT CHANGE SHIFTS! Nurses and Doctors at hospitals and Birthing Centers my change shifts, heck, even family in the room may need a breather. This means that no matter how much the faces change through your day, there is always one constant on your team.

4. Food and beverages:

Let’s admit it, when I say Labor Day weekend, you say food! Labor Day....

How about Labor Day: baby? This is one of the most commonly asked questions about labor. Can I eat? A lot of factors go into this. Your medical provider/ midwife will give the best answer. Most unmedicated birth professional actually encourage the laboring woman to snack and drink to keep up her energy and stay hydrated. Hey, it called labor for a reason. Hospitals have different policies about this and other things factor in, for example your chances of having a C-section. Eating too close to surgery poses a risk of aspiration. If allowed, Doulas always bring easy to consume snacks along for mom and other people in the room because, well, the munchies happen. What a great thing to bring up as you plan your birthing day though! Hey, what about food?

5. Entertainment and decorations:

Why red, white and blue of course! Labor Day: weekend is covered.

Labor Day: baby however is a lot more nuanced than that. Home births and Birthing Center allow a lot more flexibility on you decorating your room to feel special to you. Candles (never real ones), personal bedding and pillows, music (dance party anyone? No? How about relaxation music to set the mood) aromatherapy, birth affirmation cards, you name it. It is your space. Nothing to encourage you to keep going at your labor than your baby’s little first outfit hanging in sight.

A fellow Doula of mine once said to a client, 'we’ll set it up like a spa day in there.' I say a really intense spa day but, yes please! Also, did you know that you do not have to labor in a hospital gown in most hospitals? So go ahead, pack that pretty comfy gown from home.

And why not? It’s your baby’s birthday and your birthing day.

Happy Labor Day weekend to you all!

And to all the mom’s getting ready for Labor Day: baby, I wish you a Happy Birthing Day!

 

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PRENATAL YOGA PRACTICE

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You may be looking for ways to relax and stay fit during your pregnancy, but did you know that Prenatal Yoga can help prepare your body and mind for labor and birth?

  • Improves your sleep
  • Manages stress and anxiety
  • Increases the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
  • Decreases lower back pain, nausea, and other pregnancy discomforts
  • Brings out that glow...
  • And more!
Erin 'the yoga' Doula is a 500 Hour Registered Yoga teacher as well as a Registered Prenatal Yoga teacher.'

See erin teach some prenatal yoga tips that you can start using at home on our YouTube Channel!

Pregnancy can come with many more 'gifts' than just the baby we all look forward to meeting.

From the glow to the stress. The bump to the back pain. The belly to the bloat. The excitement to the the fatigue. The restlessness, the sleepless nights and sometimes the dread of the labor day...

This is where Prenatal Yoga comes in to save our sanity.

Birth Prep Doulas know that just like other types of childbirth-preparation classes, Prenatal Yoga is a crucial and gentle pregnancy friendly exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering, focused breathing and more.

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Would you like to find out how and when to arrange sessions?

 

Request Schedule

 

Throughout your 9 month rollercoaster, to the day you meet your precious one,

Birth Prep Doulas has got your back! (literally and figuratively)

 

PLACENTA ENCAPSULATION {In-home service}

“What if someone told you that they made a single supplement that could:
+ prevent postpartum depression,
+ made sure you had enough breast milk for your new baby,
+ hurried you along the post-birth healing process,
+ gave you plenty of energy,
+ built back your blood supply and iron count,
+ and gave you and your baby just the right nutritional and hormonal support for the first month after birth?
Would you be interested?
Well, nearly every new mother can have the opportunity to experience a great postpartum, by using one simple resource.
= THE PLACENTA.” 
(Source: The Natural Healing Power of the Placenta)
 

Your amazing placenta naturally contains: Selenium, Iron, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Pyridoxine, Oxytocin (the love hormone), Progesterone, Relaxin, Prolactin (necessary for breastmilk production), Endorphins, Thyroid-releasing hormones, CRH (which regulates the stress hormone cortisol)

 A sneak peek of the final part of the process - bonus points for leaving your kitchen cleaner than I found it!

The science is that, your placenta already contains all the hormones and nutrients typically lost during birth! Placenta pills simply replenish these nutrients back to your body boosting your postpartum recovery and overall balance as a new mom.

>>Read an evidence-based study on the effects and safety of Placenta ingestion>>:

Placenta Research

It's really not all that weird once you start to understand the indispensable benefits to taking all natural, neat little happy pills, with minimal to no side-effects!

Value: $225

*(package discounts apply)

 

BOOK YOUR PLACENTA PREP

So, how exactly do we turn the placenta into neat little happy pills??

  So glad you asked!

So glad you asked!

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- The whole encapsulation process takes place in the safety and comfort of your own home.

- It's completed over 2 visits, each visit lasting 1-2 hours.

- I bring all of my own supplies/equipment and clean up thoroughly before and afterwards.

- I use the Traditional method only (steamed not Raw – feel free to ask me why!), which loosely follows Chinese medicine and is described below.

Day 1: The placenta is cleaned, examined, steamed and prepared for dehydration. I will need use of your sink and a very small section of counter space. I will leave my dehydrating equipment plugged in on your counter top overnight.

Day 2: I will complete the process by grinding the dehydrated placenta into powder form and encapsulating. You will receive written instructions for storage, handling and guidelines for taking you capsules. I will answer any further questions that you have.

Note: There is no guarantee as to how many capsules your placenta will yield. You can expect between 60-250 capsules. The amount of capsules varies, as does the size of the placenta.

TWO PLACENTA SAFETY FACTS:

1. You can safely freeze your whole placenta for up to 1 year. Yes! 

Some mother’s choose to freeze their placenta as they are not 100 percent sold on the benefits of placenta encapsulation or prefer to have it encapsulated later. This is a risk-free choice with nothing to lose as it is perfectly acceptable to change your mind and it is safe to save your placenta to be prepared up to 1 year later.

2. Placenta capsules once processed can keep in the refrigerator or freezer for 6-12 months to be safely consumed later on or as needed in the postpartum journey and with similar benefits! 

+ Something to consider if you are still on the fence. Feel free to ask me for detailed collection, transportation and storage instructions (safety first always). 

 A sneak peek of the final part of the process. Bonus: I aim to leave your kitchen cleaner than I found it while you enjoy bonding with your brand new baby!

A sneak peek of the final part of the process. Bonus: I aim to leave your kitchen cleaner than I found it while you enjoy bonding with your brand new baby!

"Caroline 'the healthwise' Doula, our Placenta Encapsulation specialist is certified in OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1090.1030 and holds SafeStaff Food handler certification. This sets safety and hygiene precautions that must be taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Safety first always."

AND, Why do we do it in your home?

 

As part of our excellent service to you as Birth Prep Doulas, we hold self-imposed standards regarding your health and safety. As professionals we hold ourselves to the highest of standards. 

  • Your satisfaction is our priority: Although certain regulations allow for the use of any workspace as long as it meets OSHA standards, we guarantee that we are meeting this standard by completing the process right on your space. You will be able to see for yourself our dedication to hygienic standards.

  • We value your peace of mind: We recommend you are responsible for the transport of your own placenta. We process and encapsulate placentas in your home. This ensures there is no risk of cross-contamination with other placentas, or food products.  You also have a chance to get first hand knowledge of the process if interested. This also gives you a chance to receive encouragement and ask any questions regarding postpartum support.

  • We make it easy and convenient: We provide you with a transport kit adhering with the World Health Organization's Guidelines for the Safe Transport of Infectious Substances and Diagnostic Specimens, page 11-Local Surface Transport, complete with instructions. Birth Prep Doulas attending your birth will be happy to do the packing for you. 

  • We respect your property: All the equipment we use is our own that our Placenta Encapsulation specialist brings along and takes with or disposes accordingly. This includes some sterile objects that are used only once, specifically for you. We only need a small area of your kitchen which we clean and disinfect thoroughly before and after the process.

  • We know postpartum waits for no-one: At any time of your convenience, our Placenta Encapsulation specialist will come to your home and get straight to work on your supplements. We respect your privacy and because of this, we offer you the option of having us start the process before you are discharged, in the presence of another family member. We also offer early-bird and night-owl hours if you would rather not be involved in the process, and to leave your day hours free for resting, bonding with baby and visitors.

We know the postpartum period comes with a slew of it's own uncertainties. We guarantee your Placenta Encapsulation will not be one.

Placentas sustain, bond and nourish.

Placentas save Postpartum!

Would you like to explore more about the benefits and science behind this life giving organ? 

 

GET MORE INFORMATION

 

Book your due date on the Birth Prep Calendar and we'll get ready and set to go for your

Placenta Prep!

 

Limitations and Disclaimer:

The Placenta Specialist is not a licensed medical professional and is not able to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any health condition. Services and fees are for the preparation and encapsulation of your placenta, not for the sale of the pills. The encapsulated placenta is intended for ingestion only by the mother that birthed it. Some of the ascribed benefits of placenta consumption are supported by research; however these benefits have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. It is your responsibility to determine whether using placenta preparations may be of benefit to you. Results may vary.

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Why I do what I Do-ula: Caroline's story

I've been asked "So, you're an expert on birth?"

I believe the woman is an expert at her own birth.

Having worked around medical professionals myself, I have a deep respect for Doctors, OB/GYNs, Midwives, Nurses, Doulas and all other trained specialists. We need them. Access to expert care and skill is a gift to mother's, baby's and to us all.

However, no matter her choice in care, the woman's maternity is her own.

There have been thousands upon thousands of pregnancies and births before yours.

Yet you know your own personal journey in intimate ways that set it apart from any other. It's all been done before, yes, but like you know in your heart, this is your time. Whether a first time mom, or a seventh time mom, you instinctively feel that it is this special baby's time to be nurtured.

This is the nesting instinct. That should be honored. The wishes, plans and dreams that carry on from that first bonding between you and your baby growing within, through to those precious first days when you are finally cradling them in your arms.

You alone know what it was like when she or he started fluttering within you. You alone feel those playful kicks in the middle of the night.The grateful somersaults right as soon as you start slurping down that drink or munching on that snack you're craving the most. The tiny hiccups that follow... bubbling in your belly. The fears and the hopes.

You already know and understand your baby in a way no one else can.

Your baby knows no one else but you.

You both have never journeyed this particular adventure before and for this, you deserve to be upheld.

To be celebrated. And pampered of course!

Most importantly, you deserve to be trusted.

 

There's a quirky saying I love: "Every baby comes on their birthday." Well, duh right?

Every baby comes in their own style.

Having two of my own and I can say, I'm the same momma but oh, what different birth stories!

You do not do this alone. Your baby is your destined partner on this beginning adventure.

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I believe your baby knows how to be born. I believe your body knows how to birth your baby.

I believe you and your baby are experts at this birth.

I just want this height of confidence and faith and self-worth for every woman.

An experience that overflows into the rest of life and enhances the transformation of motherhood.

Happy mom, happy baby.

I focus on helping you be assured of your well-being and that of your baby. I want to affirm you, as an advocate for your wishes. To offer guidance as needed. I work to keep your birthing space respected. To aid in your comfort.

Then you can ease into coming unto your own as a mother.

Your baby in their own unique way, will come into this world to find a mom that meets them in an authentic way and able nesting arms.

As your baby is born, so are you as a mother, born.

Sit back in our Blog corner

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We're glad you're here, where we share our knowledge, musings and stories.

From baby bumps to 'sympathy pregnancy' in dads-to-be. Conception to cravings to pushing. Baby tushes and breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. Let's talk family life, 'old wives tales', yoga tips, health tips, recipes...

We invite you into the inspirations as well as the blooper reels of our journey. 
As Mom's and Women first, and Doula's at heart, our journey is every parents journey. 

Hopefully we enrich your story. If we're lucky, you'll stick around and we'll get to hear your story.

Your Doula's,

Caroline and Erin.

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