Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Do You Doula?

Emily says,
 With my first two pregnancies, I didn’t hire a doula. Heck, I don’t even think I knew what a doula was. I felt that giving birth was a completely private event, and I only wanted to share that experience with my husband and necessary medical staff.
~Read her story to find out what changed her mind and how a doula impacted her subsequent birth experiences.

Crystal says,
my sister-in-law announced that she would be using a doula for her second child’s delivery.  ”A what?” I asked…”a doula.” was the reply.
With three children to my credit, I have always been happily pro drug, pro hospital, pro doctor.
Read her very well written account of a doula attended birth to see what changed her perspective of a doula and made her say..
at the risk of sounding like a crazy, hippie-dippy, sparkly rainbow lover and magical loving fruit loop of a nut job, I will put it out there.  I will say it.  This magical gift of a woman, this doula was wonderful. 

In what was, for me, the comfort zone of beeping machines, copious hand sanitizer and droves of personnel equipped with advanced degrees and special badges, I watched the most basic of all things natural unfold.  A woman, comforted, coached and calmed a laboring mother while she brought her baby into the world.  It was a revelation for this mother.  How a delivery could go so smoothly...
Because we are led to believe that laboring women need monitoring, constant checking, IV’s, medications, interventions and whole carts of instruments to bring a human being into the world.  When maybe the most effective, and dare I say most important vehicle to assist in delivery is a calm companion.  Someone who knows, with unshakable conviction that women were designed to have babies.  That birth is not an instantaneous process.  Someone comfortable with the fact that labor and delivery take as long as they take, and someone that is adept at soothing a mother through the pain and anxiety of childbirth.

Dads say,
When my wife told me that she wanted a doula, I was hurt. I truly though with our first baby I'd be able to be the end all be all for my wife
after the birth they say,
Now I don’t know how anyone could manage to give birth without one. Our doula really helped bring me together with my wife as she gave birth. My wife remembers my constant support and never failing love or knowledge. She remembers the doula as a nice person who did some stuff in the background. We won’t give birth without a doula.
Find out why!

What do the experts say?


The Cochrane Collaboration finds,
Given the clear benefits and no known risks associated with support, every effort should be made to ensure that all laboring women receive continuous support. This support should include continuous presence, the provision of hands on comfort and encouragement.
Pam England declares,
Asking your husband to be your sole guide through labor is like asking him to lead the way on a climb of Mt. Everest.  He may be smart and trustworthy, you may love him, but in the HImalayas you'd both be a lot better off with a Sherpa!
John H Kennell, MD writes,
If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.
In this Net Wellness article he says, a doula is  
a risk-free option for pain relief during childbirth.

Penny Simkin, PT says,  
support and assistance of a doula during birth enhances postpartum recovery
In her book, The Birth Partner, she explains,

While the doula probably knows more than the partner about birth, hospitals and maternity care, the partner knows more about the woman’s personality, likes, dislikes and needs. Moreover, he loves the woman more than anyone else there. The combination of partner and doula, along with a caring staff gives the woman the best chance of an optimal outcome.
Suze Orman says,
 a doula is a need not a want  
~on Can I Afford It? Bethany

 DONA Position Paper: The Birth Doula's Contribution to Modern Maternity Care

More about "what's a doula" 

How do I doula?


I support your birth, your way.  Visit my website and my Doula Match Profile to learn more about my qualifications and the services I offer for you on this Journey of Life.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What's A Birth Circle? {A Birth Circle Topic}

A Birth Circle is a place for expectant and newly postpartum mothers to connect with birth professionals and other families in the community.  We provide a safe, non-judgmental place to share your stories and explore the desires you have for your birth experience.  Our goal is to provide you with information to make informed decisions regarding your maternity care and newborn. We know that every birth is beautiful and hope to enhance your bonding and breastfeeding experiences. The journey into parenthood and growing your family is one filled with decisions
-- we are there to support you on this beautiful Journey of Life.

Our topics change each month and will include trouble shooting in breastfeeding and the benefits of extended nursing, choices involving newborn procedures, GBS, babywearing and attachment parenting, questions for your health care provider and pediatrician, pain management in labor (natural, medicated and alternative options), positive/negative thought and how it affects your labor, natural family planning, infant massage, prenatal fitness and nutrition, tantrum tamers and parenting with love, benefits of placenta, choices for your birth place, childbirth in pop culture, meet the doula, meet the photographer and much, much more!  We hope to see you there!

Yavapai County Birth Circle meets twice a month   
First Saturday at 4pm in Cottonwood
Third Wednesday at 4pm in Prescott 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Birth of our Society

The quality and outcome of childbirth in our society is in need of reform.  This is a life changing event for a family and should be recognized as such. Throughout time our statistics in health outcomes have declined along with the quality of care a woman receives.  Options have been stripped, the compassion and art of birth is being lost in the rush of our culture. Today it is common to find birth rushed and controlled and being born of those demands we continue to live those demands. [This is no way to live!] We need to recognize this as a problem and begin remember the midwifery model of care and give birth back to the mother.

The birth of her baby will impact a woman for the rest of her life; this occasion will affect what kind of mother she will be, the kind of lover she is and ultimately determine how she perceives herself.  If her birth experience left her feeling strong and able she will be empowered and confident; birth matters.    Ask any woman her birth story and you’ll see the flood of emotions come back to her.  ACOG defines delivery as the extraction of a fetus.

The state of maternity care in the United States renders us third highest of developed nations for maternal mortality rate.  In a nation where we flaunt our technology this statistic is shameful.  Our cesarean rate is 32% when the World Health Organization recommends no higher than 15%. Hospitals emphasize standardized care across the board for this personal life event.  Putting a woman in a hospital, treating her as if she has an illness, completely undervaluing her power and ability to birth her own baby is not the appropriate approach to birth.  Maternity care should protect mothers from complications rather than creating them.  Far too often care providers are managing birthing women in the most time efficient, convenient manner; cost being a huge influence of how they provide care and further influence coming from insurance companies and new technology that is released before its full impact can be determined. Indeed, we are seeing today the effects of the epidural and still seeing more negative outcomes than positives as a result of standardized continuous fetal monitoring. These fetal monitors interfere with the ability to labor comfortably; whatever happened to women being attended individually and monitored by their personal birth attendant?  This can’t be done in a hospital when the demand is for more patients, nurses stop by for scheduled readings and care providers step in to “deliver” the baby or if the machines determine a problem.  In other developed nations such as Holland, home is the place of choice for birth, yet here the first thing we do is call a trained surgeon and pick a hospital.  At home we can’t control labor and birth like we can in a hospital but that’s just the thing—like Mother Nature, birth is not meant to be controlled.  In a hospital, a woman must be firm in her request for staff to ‘sit and wait’ because it’s so common for them to speed things along, manage her pain “the easy way” and turn the bed for the next patient. Those who are aware of their options have to exert great effort for what they want, negotiate to prevent what they don’t want and constantly repeat their desires.  If health care providers were to protect the mother’s space, being there when needed to assist as she birthed, patiently sitting on their hands when not needed, birth could become the sacred, peaceful event it was meant to be.

Today, the media has instilled into women fear surrounding birth. From the introduction of hospitals, came a veil, separating fathers for a time, and stripping birth from its normal role within the family when girls once saw birth many times prior to their own experience. In this harsh environment complications were born where we sought to make things easier.  Doulas are said to create a buffer for this harsh environment as well as provide continuous emotional and physical support for the mother and even for the father allowing him to participate at a level that he feels comfortable.  Prepared childbirth aims to give women understanding of the physiological process of birth, understanding the hormones, emotions, variations of 'normal' and their options. There are various methods of prepared childbirth that equip women with means of coping and accepting their labor in a positive, relaxing way.  The goal of prepared childbirth is to take away fear and instill confidence; doulas facilitate this preparation. Unfortunately only 36% of women will take a childbirth education course and only 3% will use a doula.  Fear of birth results in negative outcomes, while acceptance is attributed to positive birth outcomes. 

In most cultures midwives provide the primary care for expectant mothers and obstetricians are there in case of complications.  This is not to say that all ob’s are medicalized but that is their training—in managing complications prenatally and in labor & delivery.  In the 1920’s when birth moved into the hospital, doctors slandered midwives to gain more patients and attract attention to their “nice, shiny facilities”; there became a rift between these two birth professionals.  Across the United States midwives face animosity from obstetricians and hospitals when in fact, their goals should be the same—a healthy mother & baby and a satisfying birth experience.  The birth experience will influence bonding between mother and baby as well as overall maternal health, therefore, this aspect cannot be ignored.  The problem remains in the great divide between obstetricians in midwives.  It is immensely important that we bridge that divide as well as heed to the “do no harm” creed in obstetrics care. It would be prudent of us to follow suit of those cultures where birth is attended by a midwife and medical interventions and ob’s come in play as necessary.  Birth is a natural life event, an important part of the Journey of Life, and should be treated as such; it’s not a money-making endeavor. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Saving Money

After the birth, how much does it really cost to have a baby?

There's an old adage that says "all you need is a boob and a drawer" while today's society demands much, much more.

Do you really need the bouncer, the bumbo, the boppy AND the swing?
the teethers, the play mats and maybe a sling?

The truth is, parenting isn't expensive, things are.
But there are things you'll need as your child grows.

Check out this Baby Cost Calculator from babycenter to see how much your baby's first year of life may cost. 

One really great way that I've found to save money is to pick and choose, for example...

saving money, baby gear
"A Natural Approach to Baby's First Year"

Other great ways to save:

Simple mattress sheets $15....

A booster $20................

A play yard with mattress $60...

Bring an extra outfit along........
Instead of a.............

Instead of a..............

Instead of a...............

 Instead of the..............

Ditch the.................
Crib set $40 +

Highchair $35 +

Crib $160 +

Bib $6

Baby shoes $14 per pair

I just saved you at least $155 right there. That's enough to buy a stroller, depending on the style you pick.
Do you really need the high-tech stroller? Or will an umbrella stroller suffice?
Maybe you run- those jogging strollers are amazing but a splurge. Take note when shopping for baby gear and decide "do I need this?" or "do I want this?"

For the gear you just can't live without, try a second-hand store. Or perhaps you can rotate baby items with a few friends; baby's are in and out of clothes and bassinets faster than you can blink, so most of these items are gently used.  Buy gender neutral so that you can use things like bouncers or swings for future children. Get creative-- your lil one will be.  They'll love pots, pans, boxes, water bottles, laundry baskets and a whole bunch of stuff you already own!

Advertisers in America know their stuff.  They know how to target you to buy certain things for you child.  This one will make her read. This one will make him a karate master. This one is for the cool kids.

Not to endorse credit card spending in any way but simply to share the simple joys of childhood.

I for one cannot deny the amount of money I would save if I chose to cloth diaper (not to mention it's far better for the environment) but I just don't want to sacrifice the convenience of disposables.

Breastfeeding is clearly more cost effective than formula; not to mention it's ready-made! and it's a great fix-all. highly nutritive and perfectly made for your baby.

No more mush!  Ditch the baby foods in favor of baby led weaning. You won't regret it!
Or you can make your own baby food.
You can make a lot of things on your own to save money - laundry detergent and baby wipes, for starters.
Do the math!  Doing a budget, actually following the budget, can save you a bundle.
More math - How much are you really making by going back to work?  How can you make the best of this?
Consider a home care over a group setting day care.  All those mommy meet-ups and tot play groups you thought were for social calls and baby stimulation -- think again!  For working moms, this is your chance to network.  Ask around, you may find a mom who offers child care out of her home; some of these moms even get certified.  Or how about another mommy friend who also works - what's her schedule like?  Trade-offs can be very helpful!

Another tedious but note-worthy option is couponing.  If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

This is an expensive but rewarding part of the Journey of Life, how do you save money?

Contact info

Jennifer Valencia | Labor & Postpartum Doula | 928.300.1337


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