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.
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) has released a new report showing Oklahoma's Cesarean rates. Want to know how your hospital stacks up? Check it out here!
Over the last twenty years, the C-section rate has continued to steadily increase without any improvement in maternal or neonatal outcomes. OHCA publishes these rates in an effort to help lower cesareans that are not medically indicated.
Individual provider rates are published, however they are referred to with a confidential ID number, so the public does not know what numbers belong to what providers.
Hospital rates are also published. Overall C-section rates range anywhere from 16.7% at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center to 47.6% at Adair County HC Inc. The average rate is 30.2%. This is roughly 1 in 3 women.
Lastly, rates are published by region.
Rates like these are about average for the USA. Nationally, the rate is 32.2%. When compared nationally, United States rates are on the higher side.
Stay tuned for part two, how to lower your chances of a cesarean birth.
1. Your choices are ENDLESS!
Whether you want to give birth in a hospital, birth center, or at home, Norman has you covered. There are a number of providers who can accommodate those wishes. Norman offers one of the few birth centers in the state, Community Midwifery Services (CMS), located right off Main Street!
2. There are VBAC options.
Even though VBAC isn't yet offered at the Norman Healthplex, it is an option at CMS and with home birth midwives who serve Norman families. As more and more women are looking for VBAC providers, Norman is answering that need.
3. The care providers are fantastic.
Every nurse, doctor, and midwife I've worked with in Norman has been fantastic and committed to helping families towards their birth goals. The care providers here really want to see you happy and successful!
4. There are no restrictions on midwives.
The state of Oklahoma has no legal restrictions on midwives. This provides a very unique benefit to Oklahoma families. Midwives here are not bound by strict rules and regulations and are free to serve your family in the way that fits you the best. If you don't want to do a certain test, no problem! There is a midwife who will accommodate that. Say you have a breech baby but still want to attempt a vaginal delivery.. no problem! There are midwives here who are expertly trained to handle that. Say you are looking for a home birth after 3 cesareans...Not a problem! There are midwives who will support you.
5. You have many childbirth education options.
Whether you are a hypnobirthing gal, or a Bradley method mom there is a class in Norman for you. The Healthplex and CMS offer classes and there are many private childbirth education teachers as well. Sooner State Doula offers childbirth education as well as cloth diapering, baby wearing, and breastfeeding classes.
6. Norman has an amazing mom and birth community.
Peer to peer support can be so helpful during the transition into motherhood. Luckily in Norman there are a number of local moms groups and a thriving birth community.
With the baby care market now racking in over $47.7 BILLION a year, its no wonder buying a baby shower gift is harder than ever. Even with a registry, buying the right gift can still seem like an impossible task. Most parents register for upwards of a hundred items or more. How is the gift giver to know what is the best gifts, and what are the worst? Sooner State Doula can help :)
Truly, the best gift a new mom can receive is the love and community of the people who care about her. New motherhood is full of so many changes and emotions that your presence really is that important to her. However, if you want to shower the new parents with gifts, now you can travel to the store with ease!
If I had a dollar for every time I'm asked if a doula is just for natural birth, I would have a heck of a lot of dollars. This is a common myth that needs to be stopped in its tracks! Every mom can benefit from a doula. Whether she is planning an induction, an epidural, a home birth, or yes, even a cesarean.
A large portion of the doulas role during a cesarean birth is to provide informational support. A doula can help you and your partner know what to expect with a cesarean section and help create your birth plan. A birth plan will help you organize your thoughts and feelings and help you feel more in control. Most people do not realize that they have any options during a cesarean birth but a doula can inform you of these.
Here are some options you may have for a cesarean birth:
Your doula can help relieve fears before, during and after the surgery. If you are disappointed that you have to have a cesarean section, your doula is there to discuss your feelings with you and your partner She will help you practice relaxation techniques, and talk to you during the procedure to keep you calm. Your doula can help keep your partner calm so that they are effective support for you during the birth. The doula will empower you to advocate for yourself in the ER by reminding the surgeons of your birth plan and wishes.
After the birth, your doula is there for you while you process your feelings. Whether in the recovery room, the postpartum room or at home, its great for moms to have someone to talk to. Your doula can refer you to resources like ICAN and other support groups.
Just having an extra set of hands can be a bigger help than is realized after a cesarean. If dad wants to photograph and touch his baby while the baby is in the warmer, the mother is left alone on the surgery table. If the baby must go immediately to the NICU, and dad goes with the baby, the mother is also left alone. This can be an extremely scary time to be alone - the procedure continues for around 45 more minutes as the surgeons suture you back up, and you may continue to feel discomfort and concern for your baby. The doula can stay by your side throughout all of this to keep you calm and comfortable.
The doula can also help with breastfeeding after birth. This is no small feat after having major abdominal surgery! The doula can help you navigate how to hold your baby and get the baby to latch, in addition to all the regular breastfeeding support typically provided postpartum.
You will be surprised how much having this kind of support can really help with your recovery!
,Last week you vetoed the Parental Rights Immunization Act. This bill would simply require doctors make the "Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: Vaccine Excipient and Media Summary" available. This is a four page document listing ingredients and substances used to make the vaccine. The bill also asks that doctors discuss risks and benefits, the vaccine injury compensation program, and give parents a VIS sheet (vaccine information statement), which is already required by federal law.
As a doula, I deal with informed consent a lot. I teach clients what informed consent means, I give them specific questions to ask to obtain informed consent, and in the labor and delivery room I empower them to make their own informed decisions. What is currently being given to parents is not enforced and is not informed consent. When I took my own daughter to the pediatrician for shots, I was not given a single VIS sheet. In fact, when she was born I was given the Hepatitis B consent form slipped in with my discharge paperwork. It didn't matter if I consented to it or not, because they had already given my daughter the the vaccine just minutes after she was born, two days before.
The VIS sheets are sometimes loosely referred to as informed consent forms, but this is not true. VISs are written to fulfill the information requirements of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, not as informed consent forms. The VIS pales in comparison to a vaccine package insert. The VIS includes little to none of the important information I would give my clients as a doula.
HB3016 is a common sense bill. Of course parents should be made aware of ingredients in vaccines. We are made aware of what ingredients are in our foods and other medicines. Why not vaccines?
As a mom to a child with food allergies, this is extremely important to me. Mary, if your daughter was allergic to beef, neomycin, or yeast, wouldn't you want to be aware those things are in childhood vaccines? If you know you have a family history of an allergy to eggs maybe you would want to delay the flu vaccine just a little while longer... That is your right as a parent and you should be made fully aware of the ingredients so you can make an informed decision.
You boast that you have signed "every pro life bill that has come to your desk", but this isn't true. HB3016 would make parents aware of the use of aborted fetal cells in the manufacturing of some vaccines. In essence, this is a pro life bill. You vetoed it.
I would also like to address the Oklahoma chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics which appears to be instrumental in your veto, you copied their action alert almost word for word in your reasoning for vetoing the bill. The bill requires doctors make 4 pages available, not 34 as they led you to believe. The 4 pages only have to be made available in some way, whether that is on a computer screen or posted on a wall in their facility. They are not required to give a copy to every single parent. We do not believe this bill will result in lower vaccination rates. In fact, literature supplied by the American Academy of Pediatrics is clear that trust established between pediatrician and parents is the single biggest driver of vaccination rates. Scaring, shaming, blaming and firing have been proven to negatively affect rates. HB3016 opens up meaningful conversation about vaccines, allowing parents and doctors to discuss their concerns and establish trust.
I am angered and upset that you pandered to special interests instead of your constituents. Myself and other directors for the Oklahomans for Vaccine and Heath Choice made the trip to your office where we were only allowed to speak with a secretary. We brought, in hand, exactly what HB3016 requires. You did not even discuss your concerns with the authors of the bill, instead they had to hear your concerns through the grapevine. I write this open letter to make the facts of HB3016 known, and in the hopes that the next time you are being pressured to veto a common sense bill, you would maybe think about it as a mother and future grandmother, as a pro life woman, or as a human with a basic right to informed consent
Miranda is a birth and postpartum doula serving the central Oklahoma area.