Birth affirmations are a wonderful way to keep your mind in a good place before and during birth. This free website has some printable coloring pages with some great affirmations. There are even some specifically for waterbirth! If you have had a traumatic birth in the past or maybe it's your first one or you just want to enter birth in a very mindful way she also has a free workbook of sorts to work through. There is also a color book about homebirth to read to kids about ages 2-6 or so. All absolutely free! How cool is that?
Doulas have become much more popular and often recommended to moms, especially if they desire a natural birth in a hospital. There are proven benefits, and mothers are telling their friends how much they needed their doula. Sometimes there has been a misconception, however, that doulas are not needed if you're using a midwife in an out-of-hospital birth. Your midwife is the same as a doula, right? Nope!
A midwife and a doula have two different jobs on your birth team, and one doesn’t replace the other. Both provide support and a relationship before, during, and after the birth of the baby, but they work together to make birth the best it can be. Doulas meet the family and talk about the birth plan prenatally, spend as much of labor with the family as they want, and provide home visits to help postpartum.
Midwives know that the doula can spend the earlier parts of labor with the family if they need someone with them, and she can rest and prepare for the latter parts when she’ll need to be at the top of her game. She can do occasional assessments of the baby and mother, but leave the doula to help with the comfort of the mother for the long haul. This lets the midwife continue with her prenatal appointments and other clients through the early (and sometimes many!) hours of labor.
When midwife and doula are in the birth room together they still have different jobs. The midwife will be primarily concerned with the baby and mother’s health. She’ll need to be charting blood pressure, temperature, contractions, baby’s heart rate, and other important health indicators that she really needs to be focusing on. Since a doula is not providing medical care, she will be free to continue to offer words of encouragement, physical relief, and making mom’s comfort her primary focus.
Studies show that having a doula lowers the chances of Cesarean, the need for pain medication, medication to speed labor, and instrument deliveries. Women have shorter labors, babies have higher APGAR scores, and mothers feel better about their birth experience afterwards. Who doesn’t want that?
Doulas will be with a mother throughout labor if needed. They are there to provide comfort and help to not only the mother, but the entire birth team. Making sure everyone is fed, hydrated, calm, and rested as much as possible is the doula’s job. She can provide massage, words of encouragement, and suggest positions and activities that can help with specific situations, since every labor is different. Since doulas are experienced with birth, they understand that it takes time and can point out signs of progress that may otherwise be missed, giving motivation along the way. They make sure the environment is one conducive to birth and answer those little concerns and questions that are so prevalent during the last weeks of pregnancy and first weeks of motherhood.
Fathers and other close family members are such an important part of the labor experience, and doulas in no way take their place. She serves as an example of how to act around a laboring woman in the different parts of labor and what kinds of things she might find comforting. If the family wants to be very involved, then a trained doula can show them several different comfort measures to keep mom relaxed during her contractions. After all, just the presence and touch of a loved one is extremely calming. The doula can then be a second set of hands and take care of periphery needs so that the family can stay together with as little interruption as possible. When dads need a break, the doula can quickly step in so that the mother is never left alone and the support is unbroken.
Birth is such an important time that every mother should be supported in every way possible. It is a natural and beautiful event, but can be made so much less stressful when professionals who are experienced with all aspects of it are part of your team. So if you’re wondering if you need a midwife or a doula, the answer is-BOTH!
Group B Strep is a bacterial infection that can cause some serious problems in some of the babies that become colonized. This bacteria is quite common, as a quarter of women have it. It is routinely tested for around 36 weeks of pregnancy and often treated with antibiotics in labor. Even if a woman tests positive it is rare (around 1 in 200) for a baby to get sick from it, even without the antibiotics.
There has been the question of whether it is safe to waterbirth if a woman tests positive for GBS. Does the birth pool become a breeding ground for this potentially dangerous bacteria? This possibility has been cited for hospitals not allowing women to give birth in the water. The question has an answer now that a study has been done on thousands of waterbirths. There were only 1 documented case of early GBS in a baby born in water. In fact, this shows a protective effect! In other words, you're more likely to pass GBS on to your baby in a "dry" birth. It's possible the water washes the fluids off of baby before the bacteria can "take hold" in his system.
Perhaps I can look forward to the day that a woman at my local hospitals doesn't have to get out of the water at 8 centimeters when it's helping her labor. We go into much more detail about GBS, waterbirth, and place of birth choices in my San Angelo childbirth class.
There seems to be lots of good birthy stuff online today. Here's a good read from the Washington Post, I Had a Home Birth and I'm Not Stupid or Brave.
I've never seen a birth of triplets, especially not a natural, vaginal one!
The giraffe, Katie, is also due soon at the Dallas Zoo and they have set up a live birth cam.
I'm a natural childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding specialist, and doula in San Angelo, TX. Here is where I put healthy recipes, current research, and helpful articles for pregnancy, postpartum, and life in general. Check back often!