Birth: The Science of Pushing

We’ve all seen the TV shows and movies where women are giving birth. The water breaks...and all hell breaks loose. There’s generally lots of yelling, panic, and terror. It’s what we’ve come to expect, right? No wonder women are afraid of giving birth. Who wouldn’t be? But is the media’s portrayal of childbirth truly realistic? Does birth have to be so out of control?...

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Informed Consent During Childbirth

Picture this scenario with me: You’re nearing the end of your pregnancy. You’ve spent most of your mental energy over the last months thinking about what you want out of your birth. You’ve planned and prepped; you’ve shopped and read. You’ve talked to friends and family who have been through childbirth and you’ve hired a doula to help you with pain management and emotional support. You’re all set! But are you really?...

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6 Steps To A Successful VBAC

The good news is that VBAC is slowly becoming more widely accepted in medical maternity care. And you have the ability and right to find a care provider and birth setting that are supportive of your desires to birth vaginally after a cesarean. If you’ve had a cesarean and you’re wanting to increase your chances of having a successful vaginal birth in the future, then read on...

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Five Tips From a Doula: What Every Dad Needs To Support His Partner

Dads have needs, too. There, I said it...because it’s true! Sure, they may not be as great as the mother’s need to push out a human. But Dads truly have a need to be supportive of their partners in labor. All Dads feel a need to protect their partners; to create safety. But when Dads try to control situations in birth that are out of their control or aren’t their decision to make in the first place, they can get into trouble. That isn’t to say he can’t still protect, because he can...

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My Doula Journey: Birth #3, Part 2

So there I was, in the lobby of the hospital becoming my I-am-woman-hear-me-roar self. The nurse looked up at me as if coming out of an over-worked fog and said with wide eyes, “Oh. Okay, ma'am.” She got up from her seat to come around and open the door to the maternity wing. I was walked into the closest triage room so they could check my progress. My husband and I knew the routine so we walked right in and took our places. He walked around the bed to lay the bags down and I climbed onto the bed and took everything off except my sports bra. I was in my unfettered zone; there were no rules of decency or proper etiquette that could contradict my primal, birth brain...

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My Doula Journey: Birth #3, Part 1

Three years after my second birth, my husband and I both agreed that we would like to have one more child. I felt mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared this time. Both of my children were in preschool a couple days each week and I was older and wiser. Time and experience and nearby family helped me to feel unafraid...

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My Doula Journey: Birth #2, Part 2

The 5:45 am drive to the hospital was surreal. The city (Birmingham, AL...a noticeably dangerous place to give birth) was quiet and still on a chilly Saturday morning in February. The sun was just beginning to light the downtown landscape in pinks and oranges. We drove quietly; my husband, still groggy from a half-night’s sleep, and me, feeling listless, defeated. Contractions were about 5 minutes apart and I silently breathed through them as he pulled into the valet and let me out to sit in the waiting area...

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My Doula Journey: Birth #2, Part 1

My journey to becoming a doula continued as my family grew. I had been a new mom for 4 months, enjoying and bemoaning all together the newness of the postpartum stage. The nights were long but the baby was so sweet. My daughter had begun sleeping for longer stretches at night and Spring was in the air, my favorite season. I found a new sense of content and discussed with my husband wanting to start trying for another baby. After two months, we were delighted to see a positive pregnancy test....

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My Doula Journey: Birth #1

My journey as a doula began over 10 years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child. My husband and I, high school sweethearts, married in college and were eager to start growing our family. We anticipated having kids at a young age so that, Lord-willing, we could enjoy our empty nest years as still young people, ourselves. So, at the age of twenty-one I was happy to find out I was pregnant...

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The Fourth Trimester: Caring For The New Mom

In the birth world, we like to call the first 3 months or so after a birth, The Fourth Trimester. This term signifies that in many ways, life is still not back to normal for the new mom. Before the baby turns 3-months-old, he/she is still very clumsy, delicate, and wholly dependent on people taking care of them. Likewise, the mother’s body is recovering from the physical, mental, and emotional demands of childbirth while in a heightened state of fatigue. What can we do as friends, family, and doulas to come alongside and care for these new moms in our lives?...

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The Two Most Important Decisions When Planning Your Birth

When a woman becomes pregnant and begins to think about the birth, she quickly realizes there are many choices ahead to make. “Do I want to use medication? Do I want a natural birth? Do I need a cesarean? What’s an episiotomy? What will this cost? What does insurance cover?” Pregnancy can seem like a daunting time of research and self-evaluation. And I’m not here to tell you it shouldn’t be. It’s in our maternal nature to begin thinking through these options to find out what kind of mother we want to be and what kind of children we want to raise. But I would like to offer what I believe to be the two most important decisions you’ll make when planning your birth: care provider and location...

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Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders: A Personal Story

I am a birth doula with first-hand experience in Postpartum Depression (PPD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and ongoing bouts of anxiety. With every family I serve, I seek to stress the importance of learning how to recognize the signs of depression and other Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs). Once thought of as an extreme case of the “baby blues,” we now know that Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders affect at least 1 in 7 pregnant women. Women with clinical depression and/or anxiety during pregnancy or the year following childbirth account for a much larger portion of society than just a seldom “extreme case.” ...

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What Is A Doula?

Historically, women in childbirth have counted on the wisdom and support of other women in their community to nurture and guide them into motherhood. To continue that important role, today's birth doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth, with the goal of helping the birthing woman achieve her own definition of the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible. ...

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Top 5 Misconceptions About Doulas

I’ve noticed a lot of confusion from the general public about doulas. And it’s understandable. Doulas aren’t portrayed in television or movies. You don’t hear about us on the news. Most people will never even meet a doula; and if they do they may not ask any questions. (I’m pretty sure my dad thinks I’m a doctor of some sort.) ....

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