It is a common misconception that doulas only work with parents planning an unmedicated birth. This could not be farther from the truth! For parents planning on using an epidural, a doula can still support the family is a number of ways...
In honor of the first day of world doula week, here is a small sampling of some of the families I am honored to have supported! Each family imparts something special and teaches me something new. I'm continually amazed at how unique each birth is. I love what I do.
Happy world doula week! Please leave me a comment telling me how your doula was a benefit to your family. I cant wait to hear!
There really is no right or wrong when it comes to your labor playlist. Listen to whatever makes you happy! Most moms seem to perfer a slower soundtrack during active labor, but in early labor many moms like to get up and dance. Music apps like Spotify and Pandora have even released birthing playlists that feature curated music for laboring moms. If you perfer to make your own soundtrack, here are a few song suggestions to get you started.
Birth affirmations are a powerful tool used during labor. Positive words can help you maintain mindfulness during your pregnancy and seeing those affirmations during labor help to ground you and keep you in control. If you are interested in using birth affirmations during your birth, check out these birth affirmations from around the web. Some contain scriptures, some are geared for natural birth, some are geared for everyday life. Whatever kind of affirmations you are looking for, these should satisfy your need!
Printable Scripture Cards
Tricking the Mind: 20 Printable Mantras to Get Through a Natural, Unmedicated Childbirth
8 Free Printable Birth Affirmations
Affirmations and Becoming Your Own Cheerleader
Free Printable Credit Card Size Positive Affirmations
Inspirational Printable Quotes
Brave Quote Printable
40 Birth Affirmations Cards
11 Printable Birth Affirmations
Pretty Printable Birth Affirmations
Neutral Birth Affirmations
A whopping 80%-90% of women experience some degree of morning sickness. I experienced it with both my children. With one of my pregnancies I suffered through Hyperemesis Gravidarum, AKA the nausea from hell. If you are like the majority of women who are experiencing morning sickness, here are a few survival tips.
As a doula, I attend all types of births. Hospital births, home births, birth center births, inductions, surgical births, births on water, births on land, epidural births, and pain medication free births. I believe that you can have a spectacular birth in any of the above ways. However, if you are wanting a natural birth, here are some tips to help you get there!
1. Get prenatal education
Having some type of prenatal education is SO important! There are tons of different natural childbirth class options. Some favorites are Bradley, Lamaze, Hypnobabies, and Birth Boot Camp. I am trained in the Bradley method and find that its common sense approach to childbirth works beautifully for most of my clients. Not being in the correct mindset and not knowing what to do are the two biggest road blocks when trying to achieve a natural childbirth, and good prenatal education addresses them both. If you are interested in natural childbirth classes, check out my classes page for upcoming dates.
2. Hire a doula
I'm not just saying it because I am a doula, I promise. Science actually backs up the fact that the presence of a doula increases a womans chances of having a spontaneous vaginal birth and decreases her chances of using pain medications. How does a doula do all of that? Well since she is a trained childbirth expert, she takes the weight of birth from you and your partners shoulders. You can rest assured that your doula is going to take care of all the little details and help keep you informed about all of your options. She can translate the medical jargon your doctor may use into words that you and your partner can actually understand. Your doula knows millions of tips and tricks for optimal positioning, speeding labor, and keeping you comfortable. Her presence increases your self esteem, and decreases anxiety, which makes for shorter, easier labors, that are more likely to be free of interventions and pain medications.
3. Hire a good care provider, and pick a good birthing location
Your birth team can make or break your birth experience, and I dont just mean your personal support. Your medical team makes a huge difference as well. Some hospitals have ammenities that significantly help with pain management, such as tubs or showers for hydrotherapy. Some routine procedures can make a huge difference as well. Consider heart rate monitoring, does your hospital require constant, or intermittent monitoring? Do they have wireless monitor options? The most common heart rate monitors used are made of 2 large belts that go across your belly. Not exactly the most comfortable during contractions (I bet a man invented them...). If your hospital prefers constant monitoring, this can severeley limit the postions you can labor in, because in some positions its hard to hear the baby. Another common rule that can really help or hinder natural birth, is eating during labor. Without a little bit of nutrients, moms can run out of energy during a long labor. Some providers and nurses are also more "natural friendly" than others. Do some research and ask your friends and doula for their experiences and reccomendations. Remember that its never too late to switch providers. If your provider doesnt see eye to eye with you during pregnancy, you shouldn't expect for that to change during birth.
4. Aim for low interventions
Some interventions are medically needed and unavoidable, but the majority of interventions are done for mother or provider comfort. Many interventions can unknowingly add to the pain level of labor. For instance, artifical rupture of membranes (letting the doctor break your water rather than it breaking on its own) can cause a lot of extra pain during labor, but this is rarely mentioned! Think about it, your baby is surrounded by a cushion of boyant water that is pressing on your cervix evenly during contractions. Take that away and instead your babies head is pressing on your cervix. This can also cause the baby to get stuck in a bad position, because they dont have the bag of water surrounding them allowing them to easily change positions. A non optimal position can cause extra pain and back labor. This can also cause your cervix to dialate unevenly, because the babies head is not placing pressure evenly on your cervix.
5. Spend early labor at home
Early labor can sometimes be a long, long process. Most moms are most comfortable spending it at home. At home, you can lounge in your favorite clothes, you can eat and drink whatever and whenever you want, you can take a bath or a shower, or even an uninterupped nap. You can watch your favorite movie or blast your music up loud if you want. At the hospital you are generally hooked up to some monitors, a nurse is checking on you regularly, and they just dont have all of the comforts of home. Early labor can seem so much longer when you are not in your own comfortable space. This can lead to more stress, more pain, and more suggestions for interventions (most commonly to speed things along). Especially for first time moms, there is usually plenty of time to get to a hospital, and your doula can help you decide when it's really time to go.
6. Take it one contraction at a time
Instead of thinking of labor as this long marathon event, just focus on what you can do to get through this one single contraction. We dont know how long labor will take, so dont waste your energy fretting over it. Just accept that it is a process and that your body knows exactly what it is supposed to be doing. If you focus on labor one bite size piece at a time, it's a lot easier to manage than thinking about all the hours you may or may not have left to go. Contractions during active labor are generally 60-90 seconds long. Think about what you can do to get through the next 60 seconds and do that. You can do anything for 60 seconds. :)
I've joined The Coop! The Coop is a co-working space for women right in the heart of downtown Norman. I am so excited about this new venture and you should be too!
What this means for my clients:
Sooner State Doula
317 E. Main Street
Norman OK 73069
A day with a newborn doesn't have to be hectic and tiring, as it is often depicted. New moms can be confident, efficient, and prepared, if they have the right help! That's where a postpartum doula comes in. But what does a postpartum doula really do? Well, lets take a look at an average day.
8:00 AM: My husband wakes me up as he leaves for work. Geez I'm tired.. The baby was up probably a million times last night. It seems like no matter what he is just not content. I remember that the doula is coming by at 9 and feel much better. I guess I should take advantage of the sleep while I can!
9:00 AM I wake up to a soft knock on the door. Yay! The doula is here! I roll out of bed and answer the door in my PJ's. My doula wont judge me, and I know that. I tell her about our broken sleep last night and she lets me know the baby is going through a growth spurt. Oh duh! that's why he's eating 24/7. I feel so much better now that my doula has assured me my baby is acting normally and it will soon go away. The doula says I should go take a shower and she will take care of the baby.
10:00 AM I take a hot, long, relaxing shower. I even take time to shave my legs, which hasn't happened since probably the second trimester. My belly was so big I couldn't reach! I go into the kitchen and am greeted by the smell of bacon. Now this is how I want to start everyday! On the table, there is a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon waiting for me. The doula has the baby in the sling and he is happy and content. The dishwasher is unloaded and I hear the laundry going. How does she do it?
10:15 AM I gobble up my breakfast while the doula sets me up a nursing area. She grabbed some water, a snack, the TV remote, phone charger, and the book I'm reading. I get settled on the couch and she hands me the baby who is starting to get hungry. We talk about my plans and goals for the day. She explains that her goal is to work herself out of a job. She is going to lay the foundation and equip us to be the best parents we can. We set a goal of one chore per day, to keep me feeling accomplished and productive, and one outing a week, to keep me sane. She notices that I hold a lot of tension in my shoulders while I'm nursing and helps to correct my position. Wow! That's much more comfortable!
10:45 AM We talk a little bit about my labor and delivery and my postpartum doula listens as I admit I really wasn't all that happy with the birth. She doesn't tell me "well you have a healthy baby!" Or "You should have done this or that." She just listens and holds space for me to work through my feelings. As the baby finishes up, we hear a large PBBBBBHHHTTTT. Oh great.. another poopy diaper. My doula offers to change the diaper which I happily accept. I changed 4 poopy diapers yesterday and am glad for a break.
11:00 AM The doula returns with my baby, he is in a new outfit. She explains that he got some poop on his clothes and the changing table, but how in the world did she change him without any screaming?? And why isn't she covered in poop? I always manage to get it all over myself. She sets up a blanket for tummy time and shows me how to get on the ground and talk to him, so he likes it more. While I admire my happy, clean, and cute baby, she throws the poopy stuff in the washer.
11:30 AM Time for a little nap. The doula shows me a trick for swaddling the baby and settles us into bed as she goes to make us some lunch.
12:30 PM My husband arrives home for lunch just as we are getting up. We sit down to eat as the doula takes the baby so I can enjoy a hot meal with two hands for once. This is so nice, I never want her to leave! When we finish, the baby starts to get hungry. My husband really wants to give him a bottle of pumped milk. I'm a little nervous about nipple confusion and bottle preference, but the doula let's me know she will teach us the proper way to bottle feed, so that our breastfeeding relationship isn't compromised. I relax as she instructs my husband on how to pace bottle feed and the baby happily drinks his bottle. My husband kisses me goodbye and is back to work.
1:00 PM The doulas shift is coming to a close but I'm feeling confident and relaxed. She reminds me of my chore goal for today and I'm able to get it done quickly and easily as the baby naps in the swing. This parenting thing is easy! Why was I so nervous? My doula lets me know she does overnight care as well, which could really help during the growth spurt. She says she will bring the baby to me when he is hungry, then when he is done nursing she will take him back to the nursery to change his diaper and get him back to sleep. I never even have to leave my bed! I schedule her to come over tomorrow night. Sounds like just what I need! As the doula leaves I realize that I feel renewed, and energized. I'm ready to tackle the rest of the day.
To schedule a shift with a postpartum doula, contact Miranda at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm introducing a new format for classes! Most classes are taught in a private, in home setting. This has some extra benefits, like ease and comfort for you, however there are also benefits to group class settings. If you are interested in learning in a group setting, or interested in earning your class for free, consider hosting a semi private class! Interested couples would open up their homes one night a week, to a small number of other couples. This number is set by the host family. You can invite one other couple, or five. Totally up to you! For each couple, you receive $100 off of your class fee. For example, if you host a home birth course ($300) and you open your home up to three couples, your class is paid for! If you receive over your fee amount (four couples for example), you may put the $100 discount towards any other Sooner State Doula fees. Birth services, postpartum services, or other classes! Yippee! To learn more about class options, check out the class page, or contact me below.
In honor of my second daughters first birthday, I wanted to share with you some of the lessons I learned during this new phase of life. It has truly been a crazy ride transitioning into a family of four. I was definitely unprepared for just how hard it would be. As our life is beginning to (finally) become a new kind of normal, I wanted to write about the top five lessons I have learned so far.
Happy Birthday my sweet Elaina Mae. You are a blessing and have brought so much joy to our family.
Miranda is a birth and postpartum doula serving the central Oklahoma area.