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What is a Doula?

doula baby

 

 

Definition: a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.

The word “doula” comes from the Greek meaning “a woman who serves”.

Studies show that in doula attended births:

*Labors are shorter

*Babies are healthier

*There are fewer complications

*Breastfeeding is more successful

*Spontaneous vaginal birth is more likely

*Less likely to need or ask for pain medications

*Less likely to have a Cesarean Section, vacuum or forceps-assisted birth

 

There are 2 different types of Doulas: Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula

Birth Doulas – Offer education and assist women in planning and carrying out their birth plans and expectations. They stay with the women throughout labor and offer emotional support, help with physical discomforts, creats an open line of communications between the women, her partner, and her care provider.

Postpartum Doulas – Offer education and support on things related to after birth such as breastfeeding, physical and emotional recovery, newborn care, bonding, light housekeeping and meal preparation. Research shows that families transition much easier with a good support team including a doula.

 

DOULA DO’S AND DONT’S

Do’s:

*Prepare and educate women and families for birth

*Help create a birth plan that includes expectations, wants and needs, and things you are uncomfortable with

*They help create a safe space allowing comfort, open communications between families and care providers, and emotional support

*They are advocates for mothers and partners during labor and childbirth

 

Dont’s:

*They are NOT medical professionals and therefore do NOT offer or perform any medical services such as exams, fetal heart monitoring, medical diagnosis, deliver babies, etc.

*They do NOT judge you or decisions you make

 

How much does a Doula cost?

Fees can be anywhere from $400-$1000 depending on the individual doula and the services she provides.

 

 

RESOURCES

http://www.dona.org/mothers/

http://americanpregnancy.org/planningandpreparing/postpartumdoula.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11595/what-is-a-doula-and-why-you-should-have-one-during-after-birth.html

http://ssbdoula.weebly.com/birth-services.html

http://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/

 

 

Posted in After Birth, Home Birth, Hospital Birth, Labor, VBAC, Water Birth. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , .

Wise Words on Home Birth vs Hospital Birth from an OB/GYN Herself!

Here is a great article from OB/GYN Aviva Romm, who was once a Midwife and incorporates the midwifery model of care into her practice today. She makes some very interesting points and explains why she chose to have her four children at home and why she would still choose home births today. I have posted a few quotes from her article but please, go read the whole article! 

 http://avivaromm.com/choosing-home-birth

 

 

There are very real health reasons for women to consider birthing at home.  These include mom’s safety, baby’s safety, and the economic sustainability of our health care system.”

“Now, having been through obstetrics training I can honestly say that I’d feel even more concerned about having my baby in the hospital – unless absolutely medically necessary.”

“There are not only immediate risks to the mother; we know that babies born by cesarean section miss out on the benefits of exposure to the vaginal flora that they’d otherwise come in contact with if born vaginally – and this lack of exposure can predispose a baby to disrupted gut flora and significant consequent health problems. Additionally, babies born by cesarean get a dose of antibiotics before birth via mom’s system, adding to the double hit on gut flora!”

“Obstetric Evidence Is Reliable Only 30% of the Time”

I wasn’t brave at all – I was simply terrified of having my babies in the hospital!”

“I was just having a baby, not an emergency appendectomy! I didn’t want all of these potentially dangerous interventions for something that was almost always natural and safe. It sort of reminds me of those commercials for a medication for something benign like a foot fungus. You know, you’ve got a little athlete’s foot so treat it with something that can cause “heart problems, coma, and death.” It’s just overkill for something that’s usually just not that big a deal in a healthy person.”

“As a midwife I’d observed the loss of autonomy that too often occurred when a woman set foot in the hospital – the transformation that occurred with the ritual of shedding her “real person” clothes in favor of the hospital johnnie, and with it the shift of going from being an independent, capable woman into “a patient” – which culturally equates with being dependent, helpless, and sick – qualities that are a far cry from feeling empowered and strong”

Posted in Home Birth, Hospital Birth. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , .

6 Benefits of Ingesting Your Placenta

www.adventuresinchildbirth.com

 

I know what you are thinking, ‘Do people really eat their own placenta?’. The answer is YES, the practice is called placentophagy.

Benefits of Ingesting Your Placenta

1. Decreases postpartum depression

2. Increases energy

3. Increases and enriches milk supply

4. Decreases postpartum bleeding

5. Helps increase iron levels

6. Helps with sleeping problems

 

Interesting Fact: Almost all mammals, with a few exceptions, will naturally and instinctively ingest their placentas after childbirth.

The placenta is rich in nutrients and filled with natural hormones that you quickly lose after childbirth. Ingesting the placenta helps balance that immediate loss and allows your body to slowly adapt to such a change. It is such a great way to help with postpartum healing naturally.

 

 

The known ingredients that give the placenta its healing properties (taken from placentabakery.com):

*Gonadotrohin – the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone

*Prolactin – promotes lactation

*Oxytocin – for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitates bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others.

*Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events

*Cortisone – combats stress and unlocks energy stores

*Interferon – stimulates the immune system to protect against infections

*Prostaglandins – anti-inflammatory

*Hemoglobin – replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common postpartum condition

*Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII – stops bleeding and enhances wound healing

*Gammaglobulin – immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections

 

There are a few ways people go about ingesting their placenta:

*Raw Dehydrated Method: The raw placenta is gently rinsed of blood clots. The cord and membranes are removed from the placenta. The placenta is sliced into small pieces and placed in a dehydrator at low temperatures between 110-120 degrees for 8 – 10 hours. Once completely dehydrated, the pieces are ground up into powder form and packed into capsules.

*Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Method – The raw placenta is gently rinsed of blood clots. The cord and membranes are removed from the placenta. It is steamed with ginger and lemon organic herbs. The placenta is then sliced into small pieces and placed in a dehydrator at low temperatures between 110-120 degrees for 8-10 hours. Once dehydrated, the pieces are ground up into powder form and packed into capsules.

*Placenta Tinctures – A small pieces of the raw placenta is cut and placed in a jar of alcohol for 6 weeks. The jar is given a swirl once a day for those 6 weeks helping along the process of the medicinal qualities being drawn out of the placenta into the alcohol. After six weeks, the contents of the jar is strained of the solids into a bottle using some kind of filter. The result is a tincture.

*Placenta Ice Cubes – Small pieces of the placenta is placed in each cube section of an ice cube tray with water. The tray is placed in the freezer and once frozen, the cubes can be used for smoothies or anything else you’d like to put the ice cubes in.

*Dehydrated Placenta Powder – Just like the raw dehydrated method and TCM method, the placenta is placed in a dehydrator and ground up into powder. Instead of encapsulating the powder, it can be sprinkled while cooking, into teas, for smoothies, etc.

 

 

Here are some other websites for more information on ingesting your placenta and ways to do it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placentophagy

http://www.bellybelly.com.au/post-natal/placenta-encapsulation-benefits-of-eating-your-placenta#.UvGpEvldVdM

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/03/how-to-cook-and-eat-a-placenta/

 

 

Posted in After Birth. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , .

4 Things to Do to Help Labor Along Naturally

As you’re getting closer to meeting your baby, there are a lot of things you can do to help your labor along while staying as comfortable as possible.

 

1. Avoid extra stress and do not pay attention to time – If you are constantly looking at the clock, you will be spending a lot of your energy worrying about what time it is instead of really focusing on your body and what its doing to get ready to birth your baby. Every labor is different and despite hospital policies, most labors have no time limit.  It is a very important time, however,  and you need to be aware of what your body is going through and the signals that its sending you to help you move through contractions and eventually birth your baby. Same advice goes for any stress starters. Do not worry about cleaning, cooking, keeping family constantly updated, Facebook, etc. This is your time. If you have family or friends available for support, delegate those tasks to them. You just keep on laboring and trying to stay comfortable.

Breathing Through Labor

2. Nipple stimulation-Stimulating the nipples helps release oxytocin (the love hormone, also released during orgasm). Oxytocin is the hormone that is needed for contractions. So naturally if you stimulate the production of oxytocin, it encourages contractions. This is a great way to get your partner involved! Allow them to softly rub or pinch your nipples.

3. Stay as active as you can but don’t forget to rest – If you can sleep, do it when you can because soon enough it’ll be like you are running a marathon. If you cant sleep, walk around and move as much as possible. Staying active helps baby move into the correct position needed to birth. Try walking up and down the stairs if you can stand it. If you need to stop for a contraction, face towards the stairs with arms/elbows leaning on one stair and kneeling on another stair with two or three stairs in between. While resting on the stairs move your hips and sway them back in forth-along with gravity, these motions will help the baby to descend.

4. Stay hydrated and eat – Despite hospital policies, it is totally safe and strongly encouraged to eat and drink during labor. You need the energy for labor and you need to stay hydrated. There can be complications due to dehydration and it is very easy to become exhausted during labor so nutritious foods can help you stay energized. I wouldn’t have a huge meal by any means but small bits of snacks such as cheese cubes, yogurt, applesauce, toast, jello, popsicles, things that are easy to chew and swallow. Beverages I suggest would be water, vitamin water,  juice, smoothies, shakes, broth, etc.

A Cup of Yogurt

 

Posted in Labor. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .