Author: Gloria Hines

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The Epidural Doula.

The Epidural Doula.

 

“I don’t need a doula, I’m getting an epidural.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that, and I’ve had to bite my tongue.  An epidural is not suddenly going to make this an easy DIY experience.

Let’s get real here for a few minutes. Don’t worry I am not going to talk you out of your epidural, just going to educate you so that you don’t walk into this blindly.  

 

“Pain coping”

Nobody signs up for a natural birth because pain sounds exciting. You can read that again. In a non-medicated birth, hormones flood your body making you capable of withstanding the immense pain. In the case of an epidural, your medication blocks both pain and pleasure hormones. With pain being the stronger of the two, sometimes that’s all you’re left with and you feel the pain without the endorphins to help you cope. You’re typically confined to a bed to be monitored properly, thus reducing many natural pain coping measures.  An epidural doula can help. She knows how to get you through the remaining pain. There are pressure points, massage techniques, essential oils, etc that she is trained to use effectively for pain reduction in such times. And that’s just if you decide to get a ‘parking lot epidural’. Deciding to naturally cope through labor as long as you can, has been shown to help shorten labors. Have an epidural doula by your side to get you through the toughest part, she will help you reach your epidural at the most effective time.

 

“Relaxation”

Many moms report that after getting an epidural even though their pain went WAY down their anxiety went WAY up. Someone close to you can help somewhat with this just by being by your side, but epidural doulas are trained in relaxation techniques and are some of the most naturally compassionate and empathic people (in my humble opinion). They are going to help by calming your fears – they’ve seen this before many many times! They are going to help by reminding you who you are and why you’re doing this (There’s a baby at the end of this tunnel!) And they can even take your mind off of it by creating beautiful imagery with their words. Giving you tasks relevant to you can really help anxiety; for one woman, singing hymns got her through labor beautifully! Once relaxed, most women dilate much faster -if you’re anxious, this is going to be a long labor.

 

“Breastfeeding”

Although there is no known adverse effect on baby with an epidural, there has been evidence that babies born via epidural are less likely to breastfeed than those born in unmedicated labors. The good news is that mom’s with (epidural) doulas are much more likely to succeed in breastfeeding than moms without doulas! If you plan on breastfeeding and getting an epidural, hedge your bets and hire an epidural doula. She knows how to help you and baby get a good latch, and she is there for advice and education on your breastfeeding journey.

 

“Your Birth Plan”

You won’t feel quite yourself in an epidural. Even though you will be awake  (Unless you’re choosing to nap, hooray!) many moms report grogginess, forgetfulness, and feeling ‘out of it’. If you have a birth plan, especially with instructions regarding the baby following birth, it’s important to have an epidural doula there. A dad/partner or friend is emotionally involved and therefore not often the best advocate for your birth plan when the moment arises. The doula will not speak on your behalf but will remind you, or ask you what you want when the doctor is present. The doula will pause the caregiver from performing any actions until they have your consent. That alone makes an epidural doula invaluable.

 

“Prenatal and Postpartum”

Yes, even epidural doulas will be a phone call away during pregnancy or postnatally. Many epidural doulas (like myself) will attend a prenatal doctor’s appointment with you to help facilitate communication, ask the right questions, and receive the truthful answers. An epidural doula will also check up on you postpartum. An epidural is not easy to heal from, and because it interrupts the body’s natural process of carefully cascading hormones, sometimes things go awry afterward. Having someone watching over you that knows what to look for, how to help, and who to recommend, is a tremendous life saver.

 

Hey mom, whatever you choose, epidural, un-medicated, or anything in between, arm yourself in education and don’t be ashamed of your choice. This birth is for you and baby, no one else. Make the best decisions for the two of you, but however your birth – I hope you choose a doula. A birth team doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart. Whenever, however, let’s make this birth glorious.

Why are people choosing home birth over hospital birth?

Why are people choosing home birth over hospital birth?

In a day and age where we have such incredibly advanced medicine that has prevented and cured countless deaths, diseases and debilitations why in the world would someone choose to deliver their baby at home over a hospital? There are several ranging reasons but here are the top reasons I have found people would rather have a home birth. (and they’re not as crazy as you think.)

  1. Comfortability.

Hospitals evoke feelings of safety for many people, because they know if something serious happens, they can help. For many though, (and I would venture to say most) if we knew everything would go perfectly regardless, we would feel much more comfortable laboring at home. Under normal circumstances hospitals poking and prodding, weird gowns, rules, and regulations, harsh lights, bustling people everywhere makes us nervous. When you’re trying to deliver a baby, little sensitivities matter a whole lot. 1 in 4 women report being fearful, anxious and overwhelmed due to their unfamiliar hospital environment. Fear actually causes more pain by tensing your body and causing you double the work. Fear increases tears and prolongs birth. I will one day dedicate a massive blog just to the link between fear and pain. But the point is, if you want a fantastic birth, you need to be where you feel the most comfortable and at peace. That could very well be a hospital for you! But if you are wanting a homebirth and are high risk, I would highly recommend you hire a doula to create that environment for you to in the hospital setting – it can be done!

  1. Safety.

Okay, I know. This one sounds backward. We do the hospital for safety right? Yes, sometimes. Other times and in other ways, home births can be safer. The hospital is full of very sick people. That’s what it’s there for. Your home probably isn’t. Many parents fret over exposing their fresh baby to multiple illnesses and diseases on their first day in the world.

Let’s talk about the C word. American hospitals are the best in the entire world for life-saving, high-risk procedures in childbirth, but the very worst (in comparison to other developed nations) for delivering safely in normal low-risk birthing conditions. We have a 23.9% Cesarean rate for low-risk pregnancies! Another study says 31%! That needs to be stopped! Home birth with a certified midwife in the US is at a 5.2%. Whoa. Remarkably better.  Is it understandable now, how some might choose to have their low-risk birth at home with a midwife rather than at a hospital? Parent’s might also choose home birth for safety reasons because it means they won’t have an unnecessary induced labor, and they’ll typically have much fewer interventions. While doctors tend to think cost/benefit ratio and opt for more interventions for the worst case scenario (which some mothers love), most midwives are very good about minimizing any intervention unless necessary.

 

  1. Cost and/or lack of insurance.

For a low-risk birth in the hospital, you’re looking at about $18,000 for a vaginal delivery or $28,000 for a C-section. Whoa, mama. Most of it will be covered by some good insurance if you have it and people are, on average stuck with a bill of $3,400

Prenatal care done by a hospital is around $2,000 without insurance. Insurance might pay all of it, but many times people are left with small bills throughout their pregnancy.

The average midwife at a home birth cost around $2,500 including their prenatal care. That’s not all folks! Insurance can cover anywhere between 30%-60% of midwifery costs and midwives are typically more than happy to work out a payment plan with you. You do the math! These crazy home birth people sound a lot less crazy now, huh?

  1. You can (almost) do whatever you want!

As long as everything is going well:  You can use candles, incense, or essential oils. You can have your older kids participate. You can eat whatever, whenever. You can labor the way you want. You can stuff a whole lot of people in there if that’s your thing. You can keep your baby skin to skin as long as you like and not be pressured to do anything you’re uncomfortable with. You won’t have anyone waking you up every hour or half hour to monitor you. You don’t have to get up and get into traffic or bad weather to get to a hospital. Homebirth is what you make it.

    Home birth is definitely not for everyone. I won’t try to pretend it is. It’s for low-risk moms that live close enough to hospitals in case of emergency, it’s for those that feel safest in their home and prefer not to be monitored. A mother’s instinct is a powerful thing, and I would just advise every pregnant woman and her partner to do as much research as possible. Don’t settle for less than your perfect birth.  Meditate and visualize on how you want your labor and delivery to look. Ask a potential midwife how she would handle emergencies. And then trust yourself, you’ve got a little one coming that’s going to need to trust you too.

Essential Oils for Relaxation During Pregnancy

Essential Oils for Relaxation During Pregnancy

One issue that many mothers will face, especially towards the latter stages of their pregnancy is staying relaxed until it is time to give birth. Lowering the stress and anxiety is important when it comes to delivering a healthy child. Mothers who are anxious or overly concerned are not only putting themselves through a considerable amount of stress, they are also subjecting their babies to that as well. In serious cases, this may lead to complications that might have been avoided if the mothers could stay relaxed and calm. One simple and effective method for keeping calm and relaxed is the use of essential oils. For many years, essential oils have been used to help induce a natural state of relaxation. They can be used for women who are pregnant to help them relax as well.

How Essential Oils Work

Inhaling the aroma or scent of certain essential oils that are placed into the air through a diffuser or when used in massage therapy causes the mind and the body to become more relaxed. This is because the sense of smell is the only sense that is directly connected to the brain. In the back of your nasal passages, a small part of the brain is exposed which allows for direct contact to happen with the scent of essential oils.

The result is chemical changes that occur in the brain which promotes relaxation, a lessening of tension, and a reduction of stress which is important for women in their second and third trimesters. Using a diffuser means that the air itself inside the room is filled with the aroma of essential oils. Rubbing it on the skin produces a similar result and some of the essential oil will be absorbed into the body as well.

What Essential Oils Promote Relaxation

Of course, you will need to select the proper essential oils that promote relaxation so you can stay calm and relaxed in preparation for the eventual birth of your baby. The recommended essential oils are as follows:

  • Frankincense
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Grass
  • Mandarin
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Ylang Ylang

All these essential oils promote relaxation in one form or another. Lavender is the most common arguably because it is the most well-known. However, the other essential oils also provide ample relaxation which helps women in their second and third trimesters feel relaxed, sleep better, and have more energy during the day.

In addition, many essential oils have antiseptic qualities which mean that they help destroy germs or bacteria. When applied to the skin, they can help prevent infections along with slowing down or even stopping potential colds and viruses which can be most uncomfortable and annoying during pregnancy.

It is important to remember that while some essential oils induce relaxation, others may induce labor to begin unexpectedly. So, you will need to avoid the essential oils of clary sage, clove, cinnamon, and rosemary. Make sure that you are not exposed to these essential oils or you might face unwanted contractions.

10 Special Baby Shower Gift Ideas

10 Special Baby Shower Gift Ideas For The Most Deserving People In Your Life.

We all know to get diapers, binkies, little onesies, etc. But when the shower is for your best friend that’s supported you through thick and thin? Or your partner/ wife just got pregnant? What about when your sister is finally pregnant after trying for years? We all have those times when diapers just don’t cut it for the closest people in our lives. We have to get them something amazing. Something that is unique, over the top, and perfect for them or their baby. Here is a list I made of 10 special baby shower gifts that will make a lasting impression.

1. Give Her a Doula.

Well as a doula, I may be a little biased (Maybe not). But I believe the best gift you can give a new mama is peace of mind and a beautiful labor. Buy her a doula for a baby shower gift. You and some of her friends or family may want to chip in together to afford such a quality gift. I would highly recommend NOT picking the doula out, but rather presenting her with money for the average cost of a doula, and some top suggestions (maybe even call in a few interviews for her! The less work for mama, the better) But she has to feel that connection with the doula before the hire. I promise you, she will be thanking you for your baby shower gift for months (or years!) to come.

2. A Book That Will Speak to Her Motherhood

This is a book written by my husband about my mom, his mother in law. My husband lost his own mother to cancer at a young age. He went through hell and back many times over, searching for someone to replace his mother. That person who he found was my mother. This book speaks volumes without saying many words but will have you in tears by the end of it. It is a book every mama of a boy needs.  Check it out at Chris & Glow.

 3. Unique Gift For the Baby

Want to buy the cutest thing in the world for the baby that no one else will be getting? These little booties are handmade from Nepal where the profits go to help provide clean water to the people of Nepal. Made from yak wool, they are worth going gaga over. You can buy them HERE. You won’t regret this buy after you see that cute newborn rocking a pair of them.

4.  Baby Throw Pillow

A thoughtful custom gift for a new mom would be THIS but you could only buy it after the baby is born. But it’s beautiful and holds the moment. How fun would it be to have one of these pillows in every child’s room?

5. A Clay Handprint/Footprint Keepsake

This adorable kit allows the moment to be commemorated well. This is a totally safe, non-toxic, and easy to use clay kit.  This is a peaceful activity mom will love doing while in recovery mode. What a perfect way to capture forever how tiny and sweet the newborn is. A perfectly classy gift – get it HERE

 

6. Lumberjack Baby Beard Beanie

For a baby boy, these hats are to die for! Handmade and sold on Etsy, they are perfect for a baby born in the cold winter months and needs a hat for his whole face! (Hey, can I have one my own size please?) Get a bearded baby HERE.

7.  Blessingway

Nope, not the same thing as a baby shower. A Blessingway is a Native American traditional ceremony to bless and empower a woman before her birth. People may write down prayers or words of affirmation and make something beautiful out of it. They may draw henna on mom’s belly and make crowns of flowers. It can be as serene or as light-hearted as you want. Many different things can be done to make each Blessingway unique and special. Doulas can sometimes plan and host these anywhere from $100-$500. Either pay a doula or plan a Blessingway ceremony yourself!

8.  Prenatal Massage

So, this can go two ways. If you’re on a budget and a great massager… go for it! Every pregnant woman is secretly just waiting around for someone to offer them a massage – like at all times. I’d look up prenatal massage video’s on youtube to get some more specific tips and tricks and also to know what to avoid so that you don’t send her into early labor! If you are going to buy her one, make sure it’s for a place that specializes in prenatal massage and has good reviews. You don’t want her to always remember your gift as the one that gave her gas pains or something worse! Here is a good place in KC.

 

9. Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is the unglamorous gift from someone who knows what’s up. Those who have been through a tough pregnancy understand the need for alignment and adjustment. The body completely changes in pregnancy and everything feels out of place. Putting it into alignment has some great health benefits along with the natural relaxation. The benefits are: maintaining a healthier pregnancy, controlling symptoms of nausea, reducing the time of labor and delivery, relieving back, neck or joint pain, and possibly preventing a potential cesarean delivery.

10. Prenatal Yoga or Birth Workshop Classes

Being happy and healthy is essential to a good pregnancy, quick delivery, and a healthy baby. Help your mama friend prepare, relax, and embrace motherhood with prenatal yoga or a birthing class.

For a great birth workshop in Overland Park, KS, I recommend Birthing Beyond.

 For Prenatal Yoga in KC , I  recommend Home Holistic.

Whatever you decide to get her or the baby, put some thought into it, put some heart into it, and splurge a little (she deserves it right?). Be her right hand, help her rock this pregnancy, labor, and early motherhood!

Let me know what you chose for the soon-to-be-mommy in your life!

What To Know When Giving Birth At A Hospital

What To Know When Giving Birth At A Hospital

First of all, you have more rights in a hospital while giving birth than you probably know. Most women have no idea what is allowed, what to ask, or what to assume. That’s ok though because I am going to lay it ALL out for you so that you are so prepared, and so in control.

So here is what you should know legally: it is your body, it is your baby’s body. You really are in control. You have the right to refuse any treatment and walk out of the hospital or birthing center at any time.

Consent papers

From the beginning, when you get those consent papers they want you to just glance over and sign? Don’t. Actually look carefully through them and cross out the things you don’t want to sign for, (Yes, you can do that) and add in things that are a must (you can do that too)…Then sign. They will have the right to refuse you service if something is just absolutely against their policy, but for the most part, they will comply with your wishes or work with you to facilitate them.

Informed Consent

Doctors many times will just assume that if you’re not asking questions it’s because you already know, and because they have to be efficient with their time, they won’t explain things they don’t have to. So don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. Ask about the risks and side effects of IV drugs, an epidural, or a C-section. Ask about the complications and benefits of breastfeeding or formula feeding. Ask about their specific hospital’s C-section or forceps rate. Whatever is important to you.  Ask about their policy for premature babies or complicated labors. And then you get to decide whether or not you give consent. If you don’t consent they can’t legally force you into any care regime. You might have to leave or get a new provider. But most doctors are very reasonable, and I think you are too. There is a reason you want your birth at the hospital, so trust their knowledge and experience, chances are they want to help you achieve your birth plan as well. They must give you the full information without holding back anything they think might scare you. This increases mother satisfaction greatly; knowing what you’re signing up for when you decide on something, is extremely important.

*Emergency disclaimer

If your life or the child’s life is in immediate danger, your care provider does not have to go into a full analysis of what they are doing, with the risks/complications/side effects etc. This is a good reason to speak to them beforehand about all of their policies and procedures. (and do a little googling at home)

 

After Birth

After birth, you can refuse anything you want to refuse. That goes for vaccinations, circumcision, washing, eye ointment, vitamin K shot, etc. I strongly suggest you don’t just tell them not to do something because it sounds scary, but do your research and speak in depth about anything that sounds bothersome to you with your doctor before your birth. Typically, the hospital will give you between a few minutes to an hour before they whisk the baby away to be washed and observed for complications. You can let them know if you want the baby to stay with you and get that important ‘skin-to-skin’. They will let you know if that is dangerous or not for your child’s specific physical state. The hospital may have you release them from liability if you choose this. You may also decide you want to feed the baby as it shows signs of hunger, and not on the feeding schedule of the hospital. If you know the newborn’s early signs of hunger* then this is fine with hospitals as well.

All in all, as much as you can, communicate with your provider beforehand or bring your doula to your appointments with you to make sure that you are fully heard, understood, and advocated for. It definitely helps to have your unbiased, focused doula at your birth for this as well. She can make sure you are understanding everything and that you are giving your full consent before moving forward in procedures. Have a plan, but be flexible because it will probably change a little. Birth is a little crazy like that.

*Waiting until a baby screams to feed it can lead to a constantly screaming baby, which is very tough on a new mother. Catching the earlier signs helps the baby understand it doesn’t have to always scream to be fed and it won’t until it gets very hungry – like in the middle of the night. It will make the distinction instead of crying as a first resort. This is a very small thing you can do, that can make a world of difference.

Note: This article is intended as general information only and is not intended to serve as legal advice or as a substitute for legal counsel.

How A Rebozo Is Helpful For Pregnancy And Labor?

How is a Mexican shawl (rebozo) helpful for pregnancy and labor?

A rebozo is one of the more underutilized birth items that doulas rave about. This thing single-handedly has changed many people’s birth so drastically that they won’t even try going into birth without one. You’re going to want to bookmark this on your computer for later.

A rebozo traditionally is a beautiful Mexican shawl, but more recently has been used for pregnant women everywhere. You can easily use a folded sheet or long scarf as a replacement, just know that the rebozo should be about 8 feet long.

REBOZO SIFTING IN PREGNANCY

 

    If you have been told you have a breech baby, or just that the baby is not in optimal position for that point in your pregnancy, you can begin doing what is called rebozo sifting.

You can do this is many positions. An easy position would be to get on all fours or to rest on a birthing ball and have your partner wrap the rebozo around your waist (make sure you go the full width of the waist from below breasts to the hips). Once you are wrapped and feel comfortable, your partner would grab both ends, taking the weight of your belly off of you and GENTLY shifting back and forth. Once you get the hang of it, try it in different positions and see which one feels the best for you.

You can’t rebozo too often. Twice a day is ideal if you’re in a hurry to get that baby in position, but you can do as little as once a week if you’re still several months out.

What is great about this is you can only move the baby into a better position. You can’t rebozo the baby into a bad spot.

Another reason to use this in pregnancy is to prepare for the labor, so even if your baby is in a great spot, you might just get comfortable with this practice so you both can jump into the routine on delivery day!

And mom, you’re going to love doing this if your pregnancy has been rough on your back. It’s going to feel like your dessert at the end of the day to get some of that weight pulled off of you.

 REBOZO SIFTING IN LABOR

Rebozo sifting in labor is used for the same main purpose of positioning the baby ever so slightly to the least painful, most optimal location. Many times women go through the excruciating pain that is unnecessary; the baby was not quite at the right angle and hitting at the cervix. This doesn’t have to be a part of your labor. Rebozo sifting can definitely help, but also it’s not a cure-all for the pain in labor. Labor is still usually painful regardless.

The other use for a rebozo in labor is just to relieve the mom of back pain. If you really take the time to learn about all the positions you can do with a rebozo, it can help alleviate many different areas of pain throughout labor.

Now, if you’re having a homebirth this will be a really easy transition, as you’ve had all the practice and the locations for positioning yourself. A hospital birth can still be done! I would advise you to bring your birthing ball and don’t expect them to have unlimited pillows for your knees. If you don’t have access to a birthing ball, just lean in on the edge of the bed using whatever you brought or whatever is around for your knee cushioning. You can cradle it under your armpits as you crouch to the ground and your doula or partner would stand above you in front carrying all of your weight (don’t worry partner, it sounds harder than it is). You can also try it on all fours in the hospital bed with your partner or doula standing above you sifting. You will probably get weird looks from the nurses and doctors. That’s ok!

The situations you would NOT use a rebozo in.

  • High-risk pregnancy. If you are having complications or you are in danger of having a high-risk pregnancy, you absolutely need to speak with your care provider first and foremost and make sure that the rebozo will be not a problem.
  • If you have seen any signs of the possibility of a miscarriage, you should not be using the rebozo.
  • If you do not think you can be very gentle, don’t use it or try it. Being rough with the rebozo could jerk around the baby and/or the placenta or cause other problems. But when used gently it is considered safe.

If you’re still unsure of positions or what exactly to do, there are a ton of youtube videos that can help walk you through. Remember practice, practice, practice! Good luck on your rebozo journey, I hope it works amazingly for you!  

How To Choose Your Perfect Doula

Choosing The Perfect Doula For Your Particular Birth Is Important

For every would-be parent, bringing a new life into the world is a crazy but very special experience. To make the pregnancy and labor leading up to the birth great, it is so important to find the right birth doula to fit your needs and desires.

Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do when interviewing for a doula for your birth team!

DO make sure the doula is supportive of your choices from the get go. Go over your desires for your birth and how important each thing is to you. Most doulas are very supportive, but some have their own agenda. So if you have a doula that keeps trying to get you to change your mind on something you’re fully committed on – drop her! That will not play out well in the delivery room.

DO make sure the doula you are interviewing is inclusive and doesn’t ignore your husband or children in the interview. This day is about you becoming a mom, but also he’s becoming a dad, and other children get to be ‘big brother’ or ‘big sister’ If she isn’t paying attention to them now, she won’t in the birth room later. The spouse is often too shy or sometimes lacks the understanding to ask for things in that intense delivery room, but a good doula is going to make sure he is included to the extent he wants to be. When it’s time for the children to meet their newest sibling, the doula should create the right environment for that to happen.

DO ask about pricing. Why are they the cheapest you found? Why are they more expensive than most? What is included or not included? What kind of experience are they bringing? Is it worth more to you for a doula that has been doing it longer?

DO ask about discounts and insurance. Has this doula ever successfully gotten insurance to cover part of her services? Does she offer discounts if you book her in your first trimester or if you’re due next month? Or if you pay her off by a certain time? Or if you’re a family needing assistance due to unfortunate circumstances?

DO have the doula provide some massaging on you in the interview! I know it sounds crazy, but you want to make sure that her touch isn’t annoying/too rough/too soft/etc. While you’re at it, make sure she has essential oils to massage you with, if essential oil benefits are something you’re looking forward to! I will be writing a blog here soon on the benefits of essential oils in birth.

DO find someone that’s warm, open, and makes you feel very comfortable. Just because she is knowledgeable and nice doesn’t mean she is right for you. The delivery room is a very vulnerable place and you shouldn’t have someone who’s presence in the room makes you feel uncomfortable, that goes for your entire birth team!


DON’T do all the talking. This is a common thing doulas do to make it seem like they’re a perfect fit for you. They just have you do all the talking, they nod their head and agree with everything you might say. You think she is perfect until the day of, which by then is too late. Find out what is important to you in a birth doula and ask her who she is and what she does. What are her beliefs in birthing and why should you hire her.

DON’T wait until the last minute to hire your doula. The earlier the better, you will usually get a lot more benefits from her. If you are not sure what to ask your doctor or midwife, your doula can help you by either making a list of questions with you or attending your appointments with you. She can help you make a birth plan. Sometimes it’s free, and sometimes it is included in her birth classes. She can also give you or recommend great prenatal sessions. She should also be able to answer all kinds of questions about your birth and what to expect and how to treat your body and prepare it for labor.

 

I am a Christian Kansas City Doula advocating for a powerful mama. Wherever she wants to birth, however, she wants to birth. Let’s make it glorious.

What Is a Doula And Do I Really Need One?

What is a Doula?

Doula comes from the Greek word doulē  meaning ‘female slave.’ It has come more modernly to mean a woman who is trained to effectively assist another woman in childbirth.

A doula in a more expansive form is a person trained to help mothers (and fathers!) in the preparation, delivery, and postpartum process of giving birth. The doula is not a medically-trained assistant, but rather a skilled professional that provides emotional, informational, physical, educational, and yes, even spiritual support during the birthing process. A doula is trained to provide unbiased support so that the mother can feel confident to make good decisions in a high-pressure environment. The doula will assist in many physical aspects including Rebozo sifting, position changing for optimal delivery, massage, relaxation and breathing techniques, guided imagery, aromatherapy, soothing music and so much more. Their tools usually include a peanut ball, a birthing ball, a rebozo, essential oils, affirmations or scripture cards, their enormous heart, knowledgeable mind, and various experiences. 

With the knowledge and experience of a doula, you can be confident that you have someone on your side that will tell you the truth and is not biased or having some kind of agenda other than a healthy mom and baby. She knows your birth plan, and she knows your past birth experiences, she knows what you’re like when you’re coping well, and not so much. She has a hundred good suggestions should you feel the need to try something different. It’s good to have someone truly on your side.

The doula should also know how to facilitate communication between the mom and the care providers. In the chaos and pain and exhaustion, many moms feel left out of the decisions when there isn’t someone there advocating for her. A doula will never speak for you, but rather make sure you understand everything that’s going on, and make sure the doctor is explaining and giving you multiple options. This empowerment has been unbelievably valuable to the vast majority of women with doulas.

The right doula is a calming companion, encouraging the woman to let go and succumb to the wisdom of her body, so her body can successfully birth her baby. When a woman is stressed, fearful, and tense, her body reacts with a fight or flight response that releases chemicals and hormones called Adrenaline, Cortisol, and Norepinephrine. This release can slow or stop the production of Oxytocin, the hormone that causes the contractions in labor, thus slowing down the entire labor and creating more exhaustion, fatigue, inability or self-doubt and thus the process repeats itself. Relaxing is essential to a smooth birthing process.

The ultimate goal of a good doula is to give the mother an experience that’s empowering, healthy, and positive with good memories to last a lifetime.

Why Hire a Doula?

There are good reasons to hire a doula, especially if you will be delivering your first child. The services of the doula are most often reasonably priced and you can set the terms of their participation. But even if they are expensive in your city, you have to decide how important birth is to you.

Physical Benefits for Mom

  • Studies have shown a 50% decrease in C-sections when a doula was present.
  • overall labor time is typically cut by 25%.
  • 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin (an inducing medication).
  • 9% decrease in the use of any pain medication.
  • 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery.
  • 34% increase in birth satisfaction.
  • 40% decrease in the use of forceps (A process in which the doctor has to pull the baby out in a hurry because of fetal distress).

Emotional Benefits for the Mom

  • Women feel better prepared for the emotional and physical aspects of birth.
  • Women feel nurtured and cared for.
  • Women are much more highly satisfied with the individual care they receive.
  • Women’s individual perception of their labor is much more positive.
  • Mothers who are supported by a Birth Doula on average spend more time with their baby.
  • Women bond more easily with their babies with a doula’s techniques and education.
  • Women feel better prepared to be mothers.

Benefits for Baby

  • Shorter hospital stays for baby because babies tend to be healthier with a doula’s continual support.
  • Four times more likely to have a healthy birth weight with a doula’s continual support.
  • Mothers who were supported by a Birth Doula spend more time with their baby.
  • Babies had fewer septic workups.
  • Reports show a significant decrease in reports of vomiting, colds or a runny nose, cough, and poor appetite and a significant decrease in reports of diarrhea.

 

So now is when you decide how important these things are to you. A doctor, nurse, midwife, friend, and partner are all incredible and important pieces to the birth team, but absolutely none of them can take the places statistically of a doula. There is a doula for everyone woman… there is a perfect doula for you.

If you’re wondering how to choose the right doula, that’s my next blog!