Monday, December 29, 2008

Judging Progress in Labor

Dilation is not the only thing happening when a mother is laboring to deliver her child.
She can take weeks to dilate or hours. So, that is not always a good marker.
More importantly is the position of the baby in relation to the cervix (the stations) & how "ripe" the cervix actually is. (effacement)
Even more important is the emotional "map" of labor.
Follow this link at the Birthing Naturally website to see what emotional checkpoints that a support person can learn to recognize, as to how labor is progressing through each of the stages of labor.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Virtual Labor

Only one who believes in women's bodies to birth & who may or may not be pregnant would enjoy this, but I thoroughly did. This tool is based on natural birth.

I love this Virtual Labor online of "what-to-do" and of what you CAN do when labor starts.
At each stop in the labor you will be required to make a decision about how to respond. The next part of your labor will be randomly selected based on the way you choose to handle the current situation. There is no right or wrong answer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Breastfeeding Positions

New Breastfeeding Positions that mothers do not widely know.
I, personally tried them both when nursing my first son, without knowing I had found something not many moms knew... I was just using "trial & error", when my baby was fussing endlessly!

Whether you have already had a baby or are anxiously awaiting your firstborn, if you are breastfeeding or plan on doing so, you've probably heard of the standard breastfeeding positions: the cradle hold, the cross cradle hold, the football hold, the side-lying position. But there's a few more breastfeeding positions you might not have heard about, and these can be just as effective, if not more so, than the standard four.

The positions: Straddle & Prone

The Australian hold, the instinctive hold, the skin-to-skin position, the self-attachment position, uphill feeding, posture feeding – these are all terms that refer to one basic kind of nursing style – a prone position where Mom lies flat or nearly flat on her back (on a couch, on a bed, in a reclining chair) with Baby lying flat on his tummy on top of Mom. This position allows Baby to self-attach easily at the breast.
If you're worried about your baby being able to breathe while lying face-down on top of you, don't be. "Being prone is fine, as long as Baby is lying on Mom and no one is holding his head down," Watson Genna says. "Babies have very good antigravity reflexes. When they are lying on their bellies on Mom, they can lift up their heads well. This is part of their normal 'getting on the breast themselves' behaviors."

You can use this prone position with any age baby, but Garber Mendelson says it is particularly useful for moms of immediate newborns.

Read on for more info here, on the website. It has more info on the Straddle position, which is baby sitting on mama's knee, with pillows under his/her bum if they are not long/tall enough to reach breast.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Epidurals Can Stall Labor" Study

New Danish Study says:
"The vaginal examinations at the woman's admission to the labour ward provided several prognostic indicators of dystocia later in labour. Expecting a child with a high birth weight and the use of epidural analgesia were also associated with the risk of (labor) dystocia, the latter association being particularly strong."

We know labor dystocia is a risk of epidurals, but to see yet another study on it keeps us confident in the-less-interference-the better policy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Birth Circle next Monday!

Hi Friends,

I am hosting the Staunton/Waynesboro/Augusta County Birth Circle next Monday evening at my home in Staunton. It is at 7 p.m. Stay as long as you'd like up 'till 9 p.m. Will you come?

Share stories, experiences, suggestions, or just come to listen.

We will have some goodies, beverages & bring the kids, too!

Fun, fun!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy

I am writing today about Pelvic Pain in pregnancy, as a client of mine has been struggling with this for a while.

Specifically, I am thinking, as she mentioned to me, that it may be SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) It occurs when the symphysis pubis joint becomes sufficiently relaxed to allow significant 'gapping' or instability in the pelvic girdle.
SPD is a result of a combination of factors:
  • an altered pelvic load
  • hormonal and biochemical alterations causing ligament laxity and,
  • a weakening of pelvic and core musculature during pregnancy

You may have SPD if you have one or more of the following:

  • localised to your symphysis pubis, (see pic) including shooting, stabbing and burning pains, grinding and audible clicking sensations and/or persistent discomfort.
  • Pain radiating to lower abdomen, groin, perineum, thigh, leg and back
  • Difficulty in walking, climbing up or down stairs, rising up from a chair, impaired weight bearing activities, e.g. standing on one leg or lifting/parting the legs, turning in bed, getting out of the car

Here are some things pregnant women with SPD can do to minimize their discomfort.

Make a "nest" of pillows for a more restful sleep!
  • Avoid activities which cause discomfort, e.g. lifting, carrying, prolonged standing, walking and strenuous exercise

  • Rest more frequently in a position which is comfortable, such as:
    lying with your knees bent and supported
    lying on your side with a pillow between your knees
    sitting with your knees slightly apart
    avoid sitting with legs crossed.

  • Mild to moderate exercise, including abdominal wall and pelvic floor exercises, is acceptable.

  • Avoid straddling and squatting movements, which means moving with knees apart (hip abduction), when getting in and out of car.

  • Try to keep knees together, while
    getting in and out of bed.

  • When moving in bed, try to keep legs together particularly when moving from side to side.

  • Do not push with one foot as this will worsen the pain.

  • Push equally with both feet to move about the bed.
  • Adopt good posture, avoid bending and twisting.
  • If swimming, avoid the breast-stroke with the legs kicking outwards.
  • Ice packs can be used for five minutes at a time or an ice cube can be rubbed on the symphysis pubis for 20–30 seconds
Wear a maternity support belt for maximum stability.
The height of fashion, all the moms are wearing them!! :)

Most of this post material taken from:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cheatin' at Birth Classes...

How to cheat & NOT take a birth class; not generally recommended, but I have attended more than one set of parents that had never taken a class & was happy with the outcome at the birth of their child.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Early Labor Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes made in "EARLY LABOR" of a pregnant woman. This is referring to when it is safe for the mother to deliver:

  • Paying attention too soon.
  • Not sleeping
  • Not eating
  • Stopping regular activity
  • Going to the hospital too soon

One of the hardest lessons for first time mothers to learn is that you should really try to ignore your contractions until they demand your attention. It seems one of the most common mistakes women make is to pay attention to labor too soon. If you cannot ignore them, then it is time to pay attention, I assume.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Due Dates "Estimated" Ones, That Is...

After reading a blog post by DoulaMomma, I was inspired to once again, post on what having an "estimated" due date really means... it should be Due MONTH, note single out a DAY on the calendar. It is too stressful!

You're more likely to have your first baby at around 41 weeks (and a day, to be precise).
But almost everyone thinks their baby will be "early"... due to the fact that they feel they may burst!
Obviously some of them will be early, and about 5% will be right on time, as 2/3 of my children were, and many are "late".
But the whole idea of estimated due dates is that they are an "ESTIMATE"...
seeing as e.d.d.'s were not so focused on in earlier times... it was just that, truly an "estimate".

I think our minds and our connections to our babies are powerful -
So if you are waiting on your baby, have a talk with them.

Also, what was your cycle like when you got pregnant?

If it was longer, eg. 33 days, then your date might be off - that dial-a-baby chart is based on 28 days, getting pregnant on day 14. Same deal for shorter cycles - maybe you're a little more pregnant than your date indicates and you'll be "early". Either way, no one has been pregnant forever - your baby will come. - (DoulaMomma quotes)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome New Baby, Andrew!

This is to welcome a new baby, Andrew.
He weighed in at 8 lbs. 4 ozs.
I attended the birth of him on Thursday of last week.
Yes, it was on the American holiday, Thanksgiving!

He is a precious blonde. He was born happy and alert- nursed beautifully, too!

Good job, mommy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Latch On Animation Video

Wonderful animation on WHERE nipple needs to be for good latch.
Very informative for all breastfeeding moms!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

If You Give a Woman an Epidural...

If you give a Woman an Epidural...
You all know the book "When You Give a Mouse a Cookie"?

The Big, Bad Epi
Well, here we go....

If you give a woman an epidural, she'll need a big bag of lactated ringers to go with it, the lactated ringers will keep her blood pressure from plummeting when she gets her epidural, but it will also swell her tissue with excess fluid so her legs and breasts will swell and she'll be shedding water weight for days if not weeks.

The fluid in her breasts will make it hard for the baby to latch on at first, so the nurses will think the baby's not able to nurse and they'll recommend some formula, just until the nursing goes better, this will probably make mom feel insecure and crappy about her mothering skills and it could interfere with bonding.

After the epidural's in, she'll probably need a catheter because she won't be moving around much anymore, and hey! she can't feel anything below her belly button anyway!

If she gets the catheter, she might get a urinary tract infection to go with it.

Once she gets the epidural and the catheter, even with the extra fluid, her blood pressure might drop anyway in response to the medication she's getting, she might get some epinephrine which has the following common side effects:Anxiety; difficulty sleeping; dizziness; fearfulness; headache; nausea; nervousness; paleness; sweating; tremors; vomiting; weakness.

If she's unlucky she might even experience these side effects:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); fast heartbeat; irregular heartbeat; wheezing.If she gets the fluid, the epidural, the catheter, and the epinephrine, the baby might not respond very well, so the doctor will want to know what the baby's heart rate looks like all the time, and the doctor will also want to see whether mom's contractions are strong enough to dilate her cervix, so an electronic fetal scalp electrode will be screwed into the baby's head, and another special catheter, one that measures the strength of the contractions, will be pushed up inside mom's uterus.

Of course, to do this, the bag of waters would have to be broken, so that the catheter can go in. Once the bag of waters is broken, the doctor will be paying close attention to the time, because doctors don't like women to walk around with a ruptured amniotic sack for much longer than a day, even if the mom and baby need longer to birth.

When she gets her fetal scalp electrode and the intrauterine pressure catheter is in place, the contractions might not look very strong on paper, so the nurse or doctor will do some cervical exams, to see how things are going.

Lots of people, from the nurse, to the doctor, to the resident, to the medical student might put their fingers up inside of mom's vagina, so they can get a better idea of what's going on.

But it's no big deal how many people put their hands up there, because remember, mom can't feel it!

If they put their fingers up there over and over again, mom might get sick.

She might get a fever, she might even get a fever in response to the epidural!

But the doctors won't know exactly what's causing it, so they'll just give her a full spectrum anti-biotic to cover everything.

And if they give her a bunch of anti-biotics over the course of labor, she might get a yeast infection to go with it!

If she gets a yeast infection she might give the infection to her baby too, then the baby would have thrush, which could cause more breastfeeding problems.

Once she's got the fluid, epidural, iupc, fse, the catheter, the cervical exams, and the anti-biotics, her contractions might poop out altogether, so she'll get some pitocin.

The pitocin will blast her body into labor, making her contract harder and harder, faster and faster, but it won't cross the blood-brain barrier like natural oxytocin does, which is what triggers our bodies to create nature's pain killers: endorphins, so the contractions will be excruciating and very difficult to work with.

And if the contractions are very difficult to work with....chances are....

.She'll want an epidural!

Thanks to Red Pomegrante for this post... it rocks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If you Want to Breastfeed Your Baby...

To make breastfeeding successful,
inform yourself with the how-to's
& surround yourself with supporters of breastfeeding.
Talk to ones who were successful at it.
It is a bond like no other you will ever
experience in your life.

"I make milk. What's your superpower?" T-Shirt

Here are some resources for mom's who are breastfeeding or would like to breastfeed.
La Leche Leauge Meetings held in Waynesboro
breastfeeding online.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Doulas are for DADS, too!

Doulas are for Dads, too!

As a doula, part of the work that I do is fostering the relationship that the couple has.

Part of the beauty of this work is that we can really help the dads to have a better birth experience too and also give them the opportunity to support his partner is his own way, whether that be right in there in the thick of it all, or in a more back of the scenes way.

The moms don't have to get upset at their partners when he just doesn't seem to know what to do because we are there guiding him while we serve both of them.

I don't think the dads are giving over their role at all. I do find, however, that at some point during labor even the most actively supportive dads step back just a bit into a more protective role and allow the "women's work of birth" to take over. Most of the time when this happens it is as labor becomes very active, just before full dilation when it can get very intense. They always come right back to it when she is pushing.

There was some study done, maybe by Klaus and Kennell showing that moms who have doulas and their spouses with them feel closer to their spouses after the birth than those who don't have doulas.
A good doula makes the dad look like a hero!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

3D Medical Animation of Normal Vaginal Birth (Childbirth)

This is what NORMAL BIRTH looks like... but of course this LOOKS much easier than it will actually present!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dog Birth at Our Home!

I have news from our home!
We have a litter of puppies... I got to witness this amazing process, too! (that is why I am posting it on this blog, as I have done on my personal blog, too)  I know it is not human birth, but it is a similar concept, huh?!   :)

Our dog, Sadie, was acting funny on Wednesday, early in the morning.  She usually sleeps till 9 am or so, so when I awoke to find her pacing back & forth & nesting in the box I had made for her, I knew what was going on.

6:30 a.m.- She asked to go outside, I waited for her, because I could tell she was anxious.  She did her business & then came immediately inside to her box.  
She was 'circling' in the box.  She started breathing heavy & licking repeatedly.
7 a.m.-  She gets in the box to stay.
7:15 a.m.-  Sadie is visibly pushing/grunting.
7:30 a.m.- Shaking, drooling heavily, trying to rest.
7:45 a.m.-  1st puppy born (blonde female)
8 a.m.-  More contractions
8:09 a.m.-  2nd puppy born (black female)
8:17 a.m.- 3rd puppy born (brown female)
8:43 a.m.-  4th puppy born (black w/white paws male)
8:55 a.m.-  5th puppy born (black female)

Sadie ate each placenta, each sac off of the pups.  I only helped remove the first sac, as she looked dumbfounded... I waited for 3 minutes to see if she would do it, then only removed it from the face of puppy, the puppy was not moving, was perfectly still for 3 minutes.  When she did finally squeal, Sadie knew exactly what to do from there.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Breastfed Babies may end up Better Behaved

Add yet another potential benefit to breast-feeding: Fewer behavioral problems in young children.

The new study reviewed more than 100,000 interviews of parents and guardians of children between the ages of 10 months and 18 years who participated in the National Survey of Children's Health.

Parents were asked about breast-feeding and about their child's behavior and mental health.
Examples of questions included:

  • Are you currently concerned a lot, a little or not at all about how your child behaves?
  • How he/she is learning pre-school or school skills?
  • Has a doctor or health professional ever told you that your child has behavioral or conduct problems?

Parents of children who were breast-fed were 15 percent less likely to be concerned about their child's behavior, compared to formula-fed infants. And the breast-fed children were 37 percent less likely to have a medically diagnosed behavioral or conduct problem, according to the study.

Read the full article here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Take Childbirth Education or not??!!

As a 21st century mom, it's harder than ever to find the time to prepare for childbirth.
"You're busier than ever before, and have less and less time to go hunting through pregnancy book after pregnancy book, just "hoping" you're prepared. And, when you're living in such a fast-paced world day in and day out, juggling schedules, researching your options, and setting aside the time to attend live childbirth classes is virtually impossible."

"Skimping on your natural child birth education is the sure-fire way to end up with the long, complicated birth experience you desperately want to avoid."

"For less than the price of a nice dinner out - just $48.95 - you can learn to be fully mentally, emotionally and physically prepared to meet your child, free of any fears or anxiety about giving birth.I really want to encourage you to make natural child birth education a priority in your life. You"ll have absolutely nothing to lose, except your worries and fears about giving birth!"

I am not affiliated with this site at all....but fully agree with what her point is....

Knowledge is power. That cannot be more true in this world of birth, that is upcoming for you & your family!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Epidurals & Tattoos have a Connection??!!

What in the world could tattoos have in common with epidurals?

More than you might think.

The future may be one of the last things on the mind of those desiring a stylish look with a tattoo, but most likely they aren't aware of some of the other lesser-known problems that might occur with the permanent injection of dyes.

But, the whole reason for the post is this part:

What about epidurals? This is another area of potential problems with tattoos. With the popularity of tattoos on women's lower backs, these often large and ornate tattoos cover the specific sites where epidural needles are usually inserted. The most common reason for an epidural is for pain control during childbirth, but they also are used sometimes during certain surgical procedures when general anesthesia is not advised.

Back in 2002, a couple of anesthesiologists from Vancouver, Canada, wrote about a small study they did with three patients in labor who had lumbar tattoos. The doctors wondered if this was a potentially problematic situation because theoretically the epidural needle could pull down and deposit the ink near the spinal cord. Even though the study was small and they did not have problems with these particular patients because they inserted the needle where there wasn't ink, their article in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia caused many other anesthesiologists to change their practices.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Birth Circle NEXT MONDAY, the 20th!

Hi friends,

It will be Birth Circle time again next week.
We hope you can join us for good information, advice & snacks!
It is at Kelly's home in Staunton, VA.
Email me for directions, if you need them.
It is at 7 p.m. on Monday, October the 20th.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kegel Exercising Benefits in Pregnancy & Beyond

Ahh, Kegels... the exercise of perineum champions!!!

Kegel exercises can help prevent incontinence, & abdominal, pelvic, vaginal & urethral pain during pregnancy.
Doing Kegels regularly can also lessen the risk of vaginal tearing during childbirth.
Following the birth of your child, they can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, increase nerve activity & blood circulation in the sexual organs & preven postpartum incontinence.

*Do 6 Kegels each time you empty your bladder, while pregnant, for best results. Hold them for up to 10 seconds each.

*Do Kegels every day in either a seated or standing position during pregnancy & on into the rest of your life!!!
Reference: Holistic Pregnancy & Childbirth by James Marti w/ Heather Burton

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Doppler More Powerful than Ultrasound Exams

According to Anne Frye, midwife and author of "Understanding Lab Work in the Childbearing Year" (4th Ed.)p. 405:

Doppler Devices: Many women do not realize that doppler fetoscopes are ultrasound devices. (apparently, neither do many care providers. Time after time, women are assured by doctors and even some nurse midwives that a doppler is not an ultrasound device.) . . . .
Not well publicized for obvious reasons, doppler devices expose the fetus to more powerful ultrasound than real time (imaging) ultrasound exams. One minute of doppler exposure is equal to 35 minutes of real time ultrasound. This is an important point for women to consider when deciding between an ultrasound exam and listening with a doppler to determine viability in early pregnancy. . . . .
If you have a doppler, put it aside and make a concerted effort to learn to listen yourself! Save your doppler for those rare occasions when you cannot hear the heart rate late into pushing or to further investigate suspected fetal death. " copyright l990, Anne Frye, B.H. Holistic Midwifery.

Personally, after 23 years of attending births, I would not permit a doppler in my house if I were pregnant. You always know that something is ultrasound because there will be "jelly" involved. If you want a cheap listening device for the baby's heart just save the core from a roll of toilet paper. Put one end on the lower belly and the other on hubby's ear.

If you want to know your baby is doing well, count the fetal movements in a day. Starting at 9 a.m. count each time the baby kicks. There should be l0 distinct movements by 3 p.m.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Difference Between Doulas and Midwives

A common misconception is that we, as doulas, can do what a midwife does. That is NOT true. Our roles seem the same, but in the midst of the laboring mother's world, the roles are different, yet both lead to raising the chances of having a normal birth.

Why have a Doula?

♥ Great testimony that rings true in most births with a doula attending. ♥

Monday, September 8, 2008

Birth Circle next Monday!

Come together to explore this significant time in your life.

Pregnant Women at any stage and New Moms
and anyone interested in Birth in general!
This Birth Circle will give you the opportunity to
focus on your pregnancy and transition into Motherhood.
There will be time to ask questions and to share
experiences with other Mothers and Mothers to be.
I host a Birth Circle at my home in Staunton, VA- every 3rd Monday at 7p.m. Please join us, if possible. We would love to have you!
Email me here for more info & directions:
Children are welcome & we will have light refreshments!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pelvic Types- 4 Different Kinds!!

Many women do not realize that they can have one of four different TYPES of PELVISES. Some women's pelvises are a mixture of two or three or four though!
I learned it in my 'doula training'. Not Surprisingly it was like a mini-midwifery course!

The 4 Basic Types of Pelvis' are: Round, oval, triangular and flat .
They are different shapes in different women.

Why it matters: Rotation and descent of baby varies between the different shapes!!
Some women cannot 'squat' because of the certain shape they have, some women have naturally flat bellies, when not pregnant, because of their specific shape, some women have "boyish'' hips because of their pelvis shape...

So, you see??

Why it does not matter: Because NO MATTER WHAT PELVIS YOU HAVE, you can birth your baby vaginally!!
I would love to share a site called that can give you more info on this.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

6th Birth Attended

I attended a birth on 8-21-08. One day shy of being 2 weeks overdue! It went fabulous.
Mommy wanted to labor at home as long as possible, but seeing as her cervix was not ripe enough for labor to begin, she used an inserted "helper", having to STAY at the hosp. then.

It worked within 12 hours... she had contractions that made her 'stop talking' through each one, starting around 9 - 10 a.m.

I arrived at the hospital around 11 a.m. She was working through them easily, as they were on the mild side.... just 'showing themselves'. She was still laughing then.
After a couple of hours of intense labor, from about 1-3, she was about 9cm. No more laughing.

She hit 10cm & baby was born around 3:45p.m.

The cord was around his neck, so the midwife cut it before he was fully born... he was born, turned pink & was making everyone in the room cry tears of joy. He weighed 7.5 pounds & is nursing beautifully.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Virtual Labor

Only one who believes in women's bodies to birth & who may or may not be pregnant would enjoy this, but I thoroughly did. This tool is based on natural birth.

I love this Virtual Labor online of "what-to-do" and of what you CAN do when labor starts.

At each stop in the labor you will be required to make a decision about how to respond. The next part of your labor will be randomly selected based on the way you choose to handle the current situation. There is no right or wrong answer.

Fun, fun for all my Birth Junkie Friends!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Using a Rebozo in Labor

I have a doula client due in August that loves the "hip squeeze". I was hoping to utilize a rebozo in helping her in labor. My doula-friend has one at her home that she made. I am hoping she will allow me to use it.

Here are some ways to help a mother in labor, to use a rebozo for management of pressure.

  • Have the mother sit in an upright position. Place the rebozo so that it is under the mother's arms and goes over her chest. The coach stands behind the mother, holding the ends of the rebozo to support the mother's weight. The coach can gently sway the mother from this position.
  • Have the mother get in a hands and knees position. Wrap the rebozo under the mother's belly and around her thighs so that the coach can hold the ends above her. The coach will gently sway the rebozo side to side.
  • Wrap the rebozo around the mother's eyes and ears, blocking and muffling incoming sights and sounds to help the mother relax.

Here is a link to more info on using a Rebozo .

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Prevent Cesarean Surgery

"...real quotes spoken by women who have had both cesarean and vaginal births, it presents invaluable information that is researched based. All women of childbearing age will benefit from this educational movie. It is a must see!"

Please inform yourself, so as to avoid any unecessary pain, including emotional pain.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Preparing for Labor: Exercises you can do

Preparing for labor
During the final months of pregnancy,
a few simple exercises can help prepare your muscles for labor.

For example, Kegel exercises help tone your pelvic floor muscles. Simply tighten your pelvic muscles as if you're stopping your stream of urine. Try it for five seconds at a time, four or five times in a row. Repeat throughout the day.
Various other exercises target the muscles that will receive the most stress during labor and delivery.

Tailor sitting
The tailor sitting position stretches the muscles in your thighs and pelvis. It also improves your posture, keeps your pelvic joints flexible and increases blood flow to your lower body.
Sit on the floor with your back straight. Bring the bottoms of your feet together, pull your heels toward your groin and gently drop your knees. You'll feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Try tailor sitting anytime you're able to sit on the floor.
If it's difficult to sit in this position, use a wall to support your back or place cushions under each thigh. Remember to keep your back straight.

Pelvic rock
The pelvic rock stretches the muscles in the lower back, which helps relieve backaches.
Rest on your hands and knees with your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach, rounding your back slightly. Hold the position for several seconds. Then relax your stomach and back, keeping your back as flat as possible. Repeat several times. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions.
You can do a similar exercise leaning against a wall. Simply stand up straight and push the small of your back against a wall.

Wall slide
Squatting during labor can help open the pelvic outlet, which gives your baby more room to descend through the birth canal. But squatting is tiring. It may help to practice ahead of time.
Try the wall slide. Stand with your back against a wall, your feet shoulder-width apart. Slide down the wall until you're in a sitting position. Hold the position for a few seconds and then slide back up. Repeat several times. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions.
For less stress on your knees, try the wall slide with an exercise ball behind your back. You can also squat without the wall. Keep your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

May is International DOULA Month!

The month of the Doula has arrived! May is International Doula Month!
Doulas provide much support for women in pregnancy, in labor & afterwards.
Emotional, physical & informational support is their focus, for ALL mothers & their families.

Here are some questions to ask when choosing a Labor Doula for your birth:

Choosing a labor doula: Answers to your most-asked questions

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Midwives' Model of Care

The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes.

The Midwives Model of Care:
*Monitors the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
*Provides the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
*Minimizes technological interventions
*Identifies and refers women who require obstetrical attention

The Big Push for Midwives Campaign
The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

April is Cesarean Awareness Month!

What is Cesarean Awareness Month?

An internationally recognized month of awareness about the impact of cesarean sections on mothers, babies, and families worldwide.

It's about educating yourself to the pros and cons of major abdominal surgery and the possibilities for healthy birth afterwards as well as educating yourself for prevention of cesarean section.

Cesarean awareness is for mothers who are expecting or who might choose to be in the future.

It's for daughters who don't realize what choices are being taken away from them.

It's for scientists studying the effects of cesareans and how birth impacts our lives.

It's for grandmothers who won't be having more children but are questioning the abdominal pains and adhesions causing damage 30 years after their cesareans.

CESAREANS are serious. There is no need for a 'catchy phrase' to tell us that this is a mainstream problem. It affects everyone. One in three American women every year have surgery to bring their babies into the world.These women have lifelong health effects, impacting the families that are helping them in their healing, impacting other families through health care costs and policies, and bringing back those same lifelong health effects to the children they bring into this world.

Be aware. Read. Learn. Ask questions. Get informed consent.

Be your own advocate for the information you need to know.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Some important Birth Information for Mums

Important Birth Information
Giving You and Your Baby the Best Chance for a Fantastic Birth Experience
1. Be with people who think you can do it. Keep numbers to a minimum, and to people with whom you are familiar.

2. Labor is active. Keep moving as long as you can. I don't mean you have to keep standing, just be as normal as possible, moving and being in positions that are comfortable. When you have a contraction, lean forward on someone or the wall or a chair. On your hands and knees is a good position to try, and I have noticed that the majority of the women who have given birth with me have done so on hands and knees.

3. You know your body better than anyone, and if you "listen in", you will know exactly what to do, even when you think you don't. Ask your partner or support person to remind you and to see to it that you are asked before anyone makes a decision about what you "should" do. SLOW DOWN, take your time. You can also take the time to "listen in" to your baby.

4. Don't try to be strong, talk about how you are feeling and what you are thinking. When you can access your feelings, whatever they are, you can then use the energy however you choose. Make the sounds that are comfortable for you. You are and your baby are the ones who matter, the ones everyone is there to support!

5. Breathing is very helpful, and holding your breath is not. You will know how to breathe, for you. Keep relaxing your jaw, and opening your throat and pay attention to the breath. "As above, so below". The mouth and jaw and throat represent the pelvis and the birth canal. It is enough to do to pay attention "above", "below" is perfectly designed to birth a baby.

6. You always have a choice about what you Speak Out, no matter how your body is feeling. "NO" causes the body to contract, and "YES" causes the body to open. It may sound silly, and "Yes" and "Thank You" with a contraction will support you to stay focused on what is really important. I have seen it seem to work miracles.


8. After the birth, see to it that you and your baby are together, or that it is with your partner. Make sure that you receive nurturing and support in physical forms. The baby and you are one unit, things don't change just because it is outside now. This doesn't mean that you can't put it down, just that you know that you need baby as much as baby needs you. You need to be cared for so that you can give what is needed.

9. Choose an overall focus for yourself for the birth. Expansion is one that I know has been very successful. Another woman chose to think of her labor and birth as a sensual, sexual experience. Opening like a flower is wonderful. Pictures of full-blown roses and the lotus are images that are helpful. What images and aromas give you a sense of completion and wholeness and comfort?

10. Allow yourself to receive all the love and support that is around you. Make clear choices and then trust that you make the right choices for you and your family.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Breastfeeding? Have questions?

Baby refusing breast? Sore nipples? Pacifiers? Pumping Issues?

I cannot praise the La Leche League enough, in its helpfulness in all issues surrounding breastfeeding your child. It is what they do, it is what they are there for.
Click below for access to their FREE helpline. You WILL receive the support you need, but YOU need to reach out for it!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Another Birth

I attended my 5th Birth this weekend.
It went beautifully & I am thrilled for the mother, as she achieved the birth she wanted, through a lot of hard work on her part, of course!!! It is very empowering for the mother to have this happen.
I love so much supporting mothers & their family in the births of their new babies.
I wish all moms knew about childbirth assistants & understood the value of having a midwife & other support persons attend the birth of your child. I used to think I only wanted my spouse at the birth of our children, but looking back, I now realize that is is soo much pressure on the father to try to understand something that he does not. Not that having ONLY a spouse as a coach is detrimental to a normal birth, but having other 'women' there who 'know' is so encouraging, ya know what I mean? Though, god doulas help to make the husband/significant other, look like a "hero". I strive to keep the husband involved, if he chooses.
As a doula, I like to help 'protect' the birth memory by writing a log of the birth, hour by hour, event by event, so the family can look back & see exactly what happened when.
All the mothers have seemed to really enjoy this & I plan on continuing it.

I love what I do & love being whatever the mother needs me to be, at this momentous time in their life.
::::::::::Do You Doula?::::::::::::

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Benefits of attending a BIRTH CIRCLE

Come together to explore this significant time in your life.
Pregnant Women at any stage and New Moms and anyone interested in Birth in general!
This Birth Circle will give you the opportunity to focus on your pregnancy and transition into Motherhood. There will be time to ask questions and to share experiences with other Mothers and Mothers to be.
I host a Birth Circle at my home in Staunton, VA- every 3rd Monday at 7p.m.
Please join us, if possible. We would love to have you!

Email me here for more info & directions:

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Making Nursing Work, while Working


Women have always combined work and breastfeeding. You can too. Take at least 6 weeks to focus on your baby and breastfeeding, if you can. The longer you delay going back, the easier it will be for both of you!

Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC talks about Combining the two, for a smooth transition & a continued relationship. She discusses Timing, Equipment, Childcare, Expression of your Milk, Storing of the milk, Supplements, Bottles & a Working Mother's Rights. You have a recognized right to breastfeed your baby. If you need help protecting that right, contact your physician, La Leche League, or a certified lactation consultant. Read the full article here:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

C-Section----- MAJOR SURGERY & how to avoid one

What every pregnant woman NEEDS to know about Caeserean Section Surgery & its risks!!
Please download this free copy of the booklet now!

  • What Every Pregnant Woman Needs To Know About Cesarean Section helps a pregnant woman understand:

  • maternity care trends that may influence her birth

  • her legal right to "informed consent" and "informed refusal"

  • what is at stake in the decision about whether to have a vaginal or cesarean birth

  • situations that can lead to surgical birth

  • tips to follow in pregnancy and at birth to increase her chances for a safe and healthy birth.

Click to download ourfree cesarean booklet

The best way to use the cesarean booklet is to read it early in pregnancy, use it to make your plans, and go back to it as needed. You can use it to discuss the issues with your partner and your doctor or midwife. If a topic is difficult to understand, ask your caregiver for help.

The 2006 revised edition updates rates of cesarean and other procedures, the list of endorsing organizations, and website addresses. We have also added more details to the companion at-a-glance summary comparing risks of cesarean and vaginal birth.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Having a Baby? 10 Questions to ASK...

Have you decided how to have your baby?
The choice is yours!
First, you should learn as much as you can about all your choices.
There are many different ways of caring for a mother and her baby during labor and birth.
Birthing care that is better and healthier for mothers and babies is called "mother-friendly." Some birth places or settings are more mother-friendly than others.
A group of experts in birthing care came up with this list of 10 things to look for and ask about. Medical research supports all of these things. These are also the best ways to be mother-friendly.
When you are deciding where to have your baby,

you'll probably be choosing from different places such as:
• birth center,
• hospital, or
• home birth service.
Here's what you should expect, and ask for, in your birth experience. Be sure to find out how the people you talk with handle these ten issues about caring for you and your baby. You may want to ask the questions below to help you learn more.

  • "Who can be with me during labor and birth?"
  • "What happens during a normal labor and birth in your setting?"
  • "How do you allow for differences in culture and beliefs?"
  • "Can I walk and move around during labor? What position do you suggest for birth?"
  • "How do you make sure everything goes smoothly when my nurse, doctor, midwife, or agency need to work with each other?"
  • "What things do you normally do to a woman in labor?"
  • "How do you help mothers stay as comfortable as they can be? Besides drugs, how do you help mothers relieve the pain of labor?"
  • "What if my baby is born early or has special problems?"
  • "Do you circumcise baby boys?"
  • "How do you help mothers who want to breastfeed?"

The link to the full article is below.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Creating a Birth Plan for your VBAC

Your VBAC: Creating A Birth Plan
Two to three months before your due date, your doctor will begin discussing with you different options available to you for your labor and delivery. It is important to ask questions and voice your concerns about the hospital you will be delivering at, the hospital staff, or certain hospital procedures. Another wonderful way of voicing your concerns and needs is by creating a birth plan. A birth plan can be very important in making your labor and birth a wonderful and easy experience.
Birth plans usually consist of information about yourself and your pregnancy as well as what you expect from your doctor, hospital staff and what you want during your labor and delivery. Another wonderful aspect of creating a birth plan is that it leaves nothing open for discussion. So many times doctors will take it upon themselves to perform a procedure, such as an episiotomy, before ensuring that the mother is comfortable with it. Labor and the delivery of your newborn is an exciting and anticipated event. It's up to you how you want this event to go.
If you do decide to create a birth plan, be sure to let your doctor know that you will creating one. Also, it's important to ask your doctor what birthing methods, such as birthing balls, hot tubs, rocking chairs, will be available to you. Doing so will help you get a better idea of what methods you want to take advantage of.

Here are just a few of the basics for your birth plan:
**Be sure to note whether or not you prefer an episiotomy, or if you would rather tear.
**Be sure to note your ideal birthing environment. Would you prefer giving birth with more than one family member present?
**What would be the idea birthing environment for you? Would you prefer the lights turned down low or perhaps have soft, soothing music playing?
**Be sure to note your desire for or against pain relief. Noting this will ensure that if you don't want pain relief, you won't be asked ten times if you do want it. And, noting that you do will ensure that the preferred pain relief method is readily available.
**Be sure to note, if having a boy, whether you want him circumcised or not.
**Be sure to note whether or not you would like to be able to walk around during labor, use available birthing equipment such as birthing balls, rocking chairs or hot tubs.
**Be sure to note whether or not you want your partner to be the one to cut the umbilical cord.
**Be sure to note how you want to push. Do you want to squat? Lie on your side? Lie on your back?
The tips above are just the beginning of the basic birth plan. Make yours as personal as possible so that your doctor will have an ample idea of what you want your birth to be like. While creating a birth plan isn't necessary, it is a good idea to do so. Birth plans will ensure that your birthing experience goes just as you want it.


Copyright 2004 Jaime Warren

Benefits of Kegels in Pregnancy & Afterwards

Ahh, Kegels... the exercise of perineum champions!!!

Kegel exercises can help prevent incontinence, & abdominal, pelvic, vaginal & urethral pain during pregnancy. Doing Kegels regularly can also lessen the risk of vaginal tearing during childbirth.

Following the birth of your child, they can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, increase nerve activity & blood circulation in the sexual organs & preven postpartum incontinence.

*Do 6 Kegels each time you empty your bladder, while pregnant, for best results.
Hold them for up to 10 seconds each.

*Do Kegels every day in either a seated or standing position during pregnancy & on into the rest of your life!!!

Reference: Holistic Pregnancy & Childbirth by James Marti w/ Heather Burton

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How to Make Breastfeeding Difficult (this article is meant to be facetious)
Linda J. Smith, BSE, FACCE, IBCLC
1. Tell the mother to "feed on a 4-hour schedule" or "get the baby on a schedule." This results in a low milk supply and a hungry, frustrated baby and frustrated parents. Be sure to blame the crying on breastfeeding. If this doesn't work, warn her to limit the length of feeds, which will accomplish the same thing.
2. Be sure to "get the baby used to a bottle." This can result in a confused baby who refuses the breast. It's also a great way to lower the milk supply and undermine the mother's confidence.
3. Tell her she doesn't have enough milk if:
"The baby wants to nurse again after only 2-3 hours"...OR
"The baby will take 2 ounces of formula after nursing"...OR
"Your breasts aren't full and uncomfortable all the time"
Since milk supply insecurity is the primary cause of lactation failure, this will introduce an element of doubt and fear to the whole process.
4. Tell her she can't or shouldn't nurse if:
"She wants to eat chocolate (or Mexican food or cabbage, etc.)"...OR
"She smokes or wants to take medication"...OR
"She's going back to work/school in a few weeks"....OR
"She wants to go out in public...nursing requires privacy"...OR
"Her breasts are too small (or large)"...OR
"Her mother couldn't"...OR
"She's too nervous"...
Find as many reasons for NOT breastfeeding as you can, and look for ANY reason to interrupt it. Put as much distance between mother and baby as possible.
5. Insist that "Dad should give the baby a bottle or he'll feel left out." This is another good way to minimize the importance of breastfeeding.
6. Tell her it may hurt to breastfeed, and that sore, cracked nipples are normal. Pain is an excellent adverse stimulus. Don't teach her how to position the baby correctly. Do give her a nipple shield, give the baby lots of bottles to disrupt the proper suck, and tell her to rub her nipples with a rough towel to "condition" them. And be sure to tell her every "horror story" you've ever heard about breastfeeding, in graphic detail.
7. Tell her to give the baby formula, glucose water and cereal right from the beginning, to make the baby sleep. This is another good way to insure inadequate milk supply. Tell her that her milk might be too rich or too thin. Try and make her think that formula is the "safer" option, and that there is something wrong with her milk even if she's lucky enough to have enough of it .This will further shatter her confidence.
8. Separate her from her baby at birth, and show by your actions that water, formula, pacifiers, and scheduled feedings are the appropriate way to care for the baby. Since she is especially vulnerable at this time and will follow your example, be sure to tell her how little breastfeeding matters. This will help her distrust her instincts even more.
9. Don't teach her the normal course of infant behavior. Don't warn her about growth spurts and frequency days. Don't call or visit her, and be sure to abandon her in the critical first two weeks. Blame breastfeeding for anything you can think of, and make up reasons to stop breastfeeding if necessary.
10. Give her plenty of formula samples to take home to further weaken her confidence. Make sure the literature you give her has many references to formula, and doesn't tell her how to keep her milk supply up. Make sure she doesn't call a La Leche League Leader, Lactation Consultant, breastfeeding peer counselor, or anyone else knowledgable about breastfeeding.
All these tactics, individually or collectively, will discourage breastfeeding.
© 1986 Linda J. Smith

Monday, January 7, 2008

Seeking Information Can Only Lead to Good Things

"Not to know is bad. Not to want to know is worse.Not to hope is unthinkable. Not to care is unforgivable. "--Nigerian saying

Wow! What a powerful statement I came across online.

Educating one's self on ANY subject WILL matter at some point in your life.

It is NEVER a waste of time to learn more about information that can change your life.

Don't EVER, ever avoid knowledge. Knowing can empower you & help you to make different, postivie decisions. Decisions you may NOT have made, had you not known.

If the outcome is not what you expected, but you applied all you learned- then, you are still empowered because you made an informed decision. NO REGRETS!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wanna be a doula?

Ever think you might enjoy assisting mothers during the birth of their child?
You can take this sample course at Childbirth International's website.
It is the curriculum I used to study to become a doula & I must say, it is extremely thorough & will fill you with so much knowledge, you will think you are studying to become a midwife!!!
lol Anyhoo, check it out!

I highly recommend it!
Doula training