BIRTH DOULA SUPPORT
What is a Doula?
A birth doula is not a midwife, and does not deliver babies. A doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother, and/or couple before, during and just after birth.
What effects does the presence of a doula have on birth outcomes?
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doulas presence at birth:
-Tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
-Reduces potentially negative feelings about one's childbirth should things not go as planned
-Reduces the need for Pitocin (a labor inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
-Reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as incidents of unnecessary cesarean sections
What effects does the presence of a doula have on the mother?
When a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer c-sections and requests for medical interventions and less risk for postpartum depression.
What effects do the presence of doulas have on babies?
Studies have shown that babies born with doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries, breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers during the postpartum period.
Does a doula replace a nursing staff?
No. Doulas do not replaces nurses or medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure, temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal exams or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to provide evidence-based information, comfort, and support to the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.
Does a doula make decisions on my behalf?
No. A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in any medical care.She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman's decisions.
Will a doula make my partner feel unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.
When should the doula arrive?
Sometimes when I have arrived too early in a labor, I notice that labor seems to stall or slow down. It makes me wonder if the woman is relying too much on my guidance, and me, rather than her own instinctive voice. Pam England in the book Birthing From Within writes, “Well-intentioned, but excessive, support in early labor (as when a birth companion hovers solicitously) can make you feel helpless, weak and dependent.”
Begin a labor project. Some labor projects may surround areas of cleaning or nesting for the baby. Perhaps washing and drying the clothes you have bought for the baby. Sorting items in the nursery. Working on the birth announcements or thank you cards for baby gifts. Putting together photos of the family. Painting the belly cast. Journaling a pre-birth story for the baby. Reading a book on breastfeeding or parenting. Exploring the area of birth art and fantasizing on what the baby will look like. Doing things that will enhance the bond you have with your baby will help you to connect and begin to unfold.
When your doula arrives too early she interferes with the natural process of letting labor unfold. She may be close to you, but she is still an outsider of sorts. This is the time to start allowing your mind to totally trust your body’s ability to give birth. It is essential that a woman start to see how her body can manage through the early stages of labor, building confidence in her ability to handle the ever-increasing intensity of labor. Having access to her doula for conversations regarding anxieties or fears that may arise is helpful. But having a doula there in early labor causes some women to feel pressured to perform and she feels her labor is being watched. This can be an empowering time of self-discovery.
I don’t believe in trying to force labor to begin. If it is early in the day, a normal routine of daily activities should be attempted. Until labor demands your attention, you should go about as normally as possible. If it is late in the day, a restful walk followed by a warm bath will help the mom achieve rest before labor becomes more active. The most important thing is for her to mentally prepare and have a mindset that will help her to let go and unfold for the upcoming birth. Eating, drinking and resting are essential for any impending labor.
As your labor begins, I suggest you call and let your doula know that things may be starting. If it is in the middle of the night, don’t wake your doula. You will benefit more from having a doula that is well rested if this is truly your labor beginning. And if you can go back to sleep, do so- waking to find her number and call her often sets adrenaline into motion and getting more sleep becomes impossible. But call her if you need her no matter the time of day. If it is during the day, stay in touch with your doula, keeping her abreast of any changes or concerns that she may be able to help you with.
As your labor progresses, you may want your doula to come to your home. She can help you with pain coping techniques, positioning and ideas that may help labor progress. At the point in your labor that you want to move to the location for the birth, she will accompany you. This will help the transition from home to the birthplace be smoother.
BRADLEY METHOD BIRTH CLASSES
Why take classes in The Bradley Method® of natural childbirth?
This method is unlike any other in that it will offer both you and your birth coach a deep understanding of how pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting go. 90% of “Bradley birthers” look back on their entire experience positively even if plans changed during the course of the labor.
What is the difference between The Bradley Method® and other types of childbirth classes?
The Bradley Method® is unique. Our classes stress the importance of Healthy Baby, Healthy Mother and Healthy Families. We attract families who are willing to take the responsibility needed for preparation and birth.
The Bradley Method® Classes:
1. Teach a natural childbirth method that works - Natural childbirth is an important goal since most people want to give their babies every possible advantage. Without the side effects of drugs given during labor and birth. The Bradley Method® classes teach families how to have natural births. The techniques are simple and effective. They are based on information about how the human body works during labor. Couples are taught how they can work with their bodies to reduce pain and make their labors more efficient. Of over 1,000,000 couples trained in The Bradley Method® nationwide, over 86% of them have had spontaneous, unmedicated vaginal births. This is a method that works!
2. Provide each couple a 130 page Student Workbook containing the class curriculum, study guides, vocabulary, information on pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, coaches/doula training, ways of handling pain in labor, pre-birth bonding, staying healthy and low risk, nutrition, protein counter, general assignments, birth plans, relaxation exercises, labor rehearsals, certificate of congratulations, pictures and more. The workbook provides standardization and insures couples that their teacher is teaching according to today’s standard of classes in The Bradley Method®.
3. Provide excellent coach/doula training - Coaches face some special challenges in labor. They need special training as well as the mother. This is not a spectator sport! We begin by teaching the coach how to help her during pregnancy to be aware of things that help her be as healthy and low risk as possible. What to expect in the natural course of a birth, how to avoid unnecessary pain in labor, how to support and be an advocate for this mother. Coaches learn a series of relaxation techniques and effective labor and birth positions. The classes provide relaxation practice and labor rehearsals. They are designed to educate and motivate coaches and make them a valuable part of the birth experience.
4. Offer comprehensive education - When you take a class in The Bradley Method® you don't need most "extra" classes that are commonly offered. The Bradley Method® classes cover it all: nutrition, exercise, being more comfortable during pregnancy, the coaches role, introductory information about labor and birth, advanced techniques for labor and birth, complications, cesarean sections, postpartum care, breastfeeding (we do recommend La Leche League meetings) and caring for your new baby. Our classes cover a few topics that are rarely discussed in other classes like: how to reduce the need for an episiotomy and the likelihood of a tear, how to avoid needing a cesarean, how to make the best of it if a cesarean is necessary, and what the coach should do if the baby is accidentally born in the car.
5. Keep classes small enough for individual attention - The Bradley Method® classes average 3-6 (or 6-8) couples per class. Classes are kept small so that your instructor can get to know you and present a class that meets your needs. Small classes are also important so that you will have the space to do plenty of practice in class. Studies have shown that the Hawthorne effect (the effect of personal attention) makes for better learning and successful results.
6. Use only certified instructors - Certified Bradley Method™ instructors are trained professionals and experts in the field of childbirth education. Most of them have given birth naturally themselves or attended many unmedicated natural births. They have undergone an extensive training program with the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth™ and are required to complete continuing education requirements and reaffiliate every year.
What supplies do you use and how they are stored and sanitized?
The supplies we use during the encapsulation process are all stainless steel and food-grade plastic. All equipment is washed with hot soapy water and sterilized with a bleach solution after each use. The preparation area is fully cleaned and sanitized with bleach solution prior to and after processing of the placenta. All equipment is thoroughly washed and sanitized after use.
If I have a cesarean section can I encapsulate my placenta?
Yes, absolutely. Please speak with your health care provider so they know you plan to take your placenta home with you.
What do I need to provide for the processing of my placenta?
Contemporary Birth Services will provide all the materials necessary for preparation of the placenta. All you need to provide is your placenta.
How should the placenta be handled or treated from the time of birth until the time of processing and preparation?
If you are having a hospital birth, ask your nurse to double bag the placenta in a biohazard bag or ziplock; or in a hospital provided plastic container. We recommend bringing two of your own zip lock bags and/or a plastic food storage container. Although hospitals typically have a container for the placenta, please do not rely on the hospital to provide a container. The placenta should be put on ice and refrigerated within 2 hours following the birth. Bring a cooler to the hospital to keep the placenta cold with ice following the birth. Either arrange to have a friend or family member transport the placenta home after delivery, or schedule a pick-up from the hospital during day time hours with Contemporary Birth Services. The placenta must be properly refrigerated or frozen until preparation. If the placenta will be prepared within 72 hours after delivery, then it may remain in the refrigerator. If however the placenta will not be processed until after 72 hour after delivery, then it should be placed in the back of the freezer where the temperature is most consistent.
If you are having a homebirth, ask your midwife to double bag your placenta and refrigerate it. Storage is the same as mentioned above.
As your placenta service provider we will help with logistics for the big day and make sure you have all the resources you need for a successful transportation of your placenta.
How long will the process take?
The process usually takes about 48-72 hour turn around for placenta pills, from the time the placenta is pick up, until the finished capsules are delivered.
How do I obtain my placenta following the birth?
If you are having a homebirth, your midwife will usually double bag your placenta and ask if you want it refrigerated, frozen or thrown out. Follow the guidelines mentioned above for handling and storage guidelines. It is helpful to talk with your care provider about your wishes for the placenta before you go into labor.
If you are having a hospital birth, be sure to speak with your primary care provider ahead of time. Find out what your hospital’s policy is for the release of placenta. Tell your primary care provider you plan to take your placenta home after birth. This should be noted in your chart and mentioned in your birth plan. You may also need to sign a release/waiver to take home your placenta.
What are the different ways to encapsulate placenta?
We offer two methods of preparation:
Raw Start Dehydration Method: the placenta is thinly sliced raw, prior to dehydration. Moms who take raw pills have experienced high bursts of energy, with almost immediate effects.
Traditional Method: inspired by the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) preparation of lightly steaming the placenta before dehydration. Moms who take TCM pills report a tonifying effect, or a building of energy.
Can I “DIY” my own placenta?
Yes! Women and midwives have prepared their own placentas for centuries.
While you definitely can prepare your own placenta, hiring a placenta arts specialist will help the process before and after your labor be more joyful, and efficient.
When you are expecting your little one there are countless considerations you and your family are making all at once. Hiring a caring professional to prepare your placenta will ease your load, and leave you with capsules and tinctures you will use for many years.
What is it?
The spiritual healing art of Reiki works by channeling positive energy into your body, with Reiki practitioners typically placing their hands on the affected areas of the body that need a boost, offering this energy and your body takes in the energy where most needed.
Who is it for?
This type of bodywork is beneficial for everyone; children, pregnant women, men, people who are ill, and even pets.
What is the session like?
The session typically lasts about 50 minutes and may or may not involve some touch on the feet and head, but otherwise the hands hover above the body. Emotions and thoughts may arise during the session. It’s nice to bring a journal or use your phone to jot down whatever comes to mind after the session. Eyla will send you “Session Notes” with what she felt, heard, and saw. You may receive some recommendations but they are by no means a medical diagnosis. Just things to pay attention to.