Preparing for birth-some excellent resources!

Preparing for birth-some excellent resources!

images-1

I love collecting birth resources-be it books, DVD’s, magazines, articles-you name it! The only problem is, with the limited amount of “extra” time I have (or don’t have!), I don’t always get a chance to preview and read the resources I collect right away. And I find myself hesitant to pass along information to clients and friends that I haven’t read or previewed myself.

    This winter I’ve found myself in the remote hills of Arkansas, with more time on my hands than usual, as my husband is teaching at a small winter Bible School for young people. Keeping the children occupied is my main job here, but with the absence of our usual activities and schedule AND having all our meals provided, I’ve enjoyed the chance to finally dig into some of the resources that have been sitting on my shelves at home waiting for me to get to them.
    So, with that introduction, I want to mention a few EXCELLENT resources that would be worth any of you expectant moms, or anyone wanting to learn more about birth, to take time to watch or read. I can’t believe I’ve had these around this long and didn’t realize what treasures they were!
img_5935
The first one I’ll mention is the Parent Class DVD by Spinning Babies teacher Gail Tulley. I’ll confess that this one I have recommended to clients as I’ve taken one of her classes in person myself, and know she has alot to offer. But I didn’t realize how many jewels were in this educational presentation! It was a great refresher to me as a midwife, as Gail does and excellent job of teaching you how to help “make room” for your baby in your pelvis, and help your entire body to function more efficiently with less discomfort. The only drawback with this DVD is that, while she is teaching this class to a participating group of expectant couples, she does get fairly technical with some of her explanations. But in the long run it is helpful, as I think it helps you to get a better idea of WHY some of her positional suggestions and exercises help to eliminate certain issues. Using a great variety of teaching aides, examples, charts and object lessons, Gail shows you how exactly the uterus, baby, brain and body all work together, and how you can help. This would be great DVD for an expectant couple to watch together, or for any midwife or doula to watch in order to give you some great ideas of how to help your clients through specific issues and achieve better positioning for babies. It is well worth the $ you would need to invest, in my opinion! You can find out more about Gail, and purchase this DVD here.
    Next in my pile of resources was a book by Ina May Gaskin. If you’ve been in the childbirth realm long, you’ll recognize this name as one of the most famous midwives in the USA. Ina May has been practicing since the 1970’s, and is probably most well known for her involvement with births on “The Farm” in rural TN. People have come from all over the world to have their babies in this community that has come to be known for it’s amazing work with natural childbirth. I’ll admit that while I’ve appreciated many of the things I’ve read or heard taught by Ina May, I was still a bit skeptical of her book “Guide to Childbirth”. I think I was expecting it to have a real “back to earth” or “hippie” type flare, which I know can turn off families who are looking for evidence-based and scientific information on preparing for birth. I was in for a big surprise! Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth has been amazing. Written in an easy-to-read manner, it is full of so much helpful information. Starting with birth stories to help women realize that birth is both natural and do-able, it then proceeds to teaching you about the things you really need to know about how your body works, how to care for yourself during pregnancy, how to understand tests and the “whys” behind them, helpful suggestions for choosing both caregivers and birth locations, ways to prepare for labor, and the list goes on. I love her honest, down-to-earth style of writing, yet all of her information is based on evidence, research, and studies, and she includes citations and information for further study. If you are wanting just one book to help you understand pregnancy and prepare for birth, this one is it. And it’s not just for moms planning to birth at home-there is information in this book that would help anyone to be better prepared and ready for the amazing experience of labor and delivery.
    The last resource I’ll mention here is a DVD that was given to me by one of my clients. She had purchased it during her last pregnancy, and wanted to pass it on to other moms when she was done with it. “Practicing for an Active Birth”  is basically a childbirth class presented by Instructor Neri Choma by Birth Coach Method. While Neri could probably be a bit more dynamic in her teaching style (I’d suggest watching 30 min. at a time-the DVD is about 2 hrs. and 15 min. long), she does a very good job of helping  you to understand the process of labor and the terms used to talk about each stage, and gives couples LOTS of great position and relaxation techniques. Using charts and models, she helps you to learn how to visualize what is happening during each stage of labor, and how you might be able to help facilitate comfort and relaxation during each stage, working together as couples. While I think that it is best for couples to take a live childbirth class whenever possible, this would be an excellent option for those who might not have that opportunity in their area.
    I personally feel like much of preparing for a great labor and birth involves understanding how your body works so you are not tensed with fear of the unknown. If you KNOW what is happening, understand WHY you are experiencing certain sensations, and have IDEAS for what to do and when, you and your partner will be able to relax and work together much better. Moms (and dads!) that are prepared tend to do much better emotionally and physically through the marathon of labor. I would strongly recommend you look into any or all of these resources as ways to prepare for a wonderful experience of bringing your baby into the world.
    I’d love to hear about what worked for you. Do you have any favorite resources you would care to share with others? Tell us about it in the comments! And consider sharing  this post with your pregnant friends to help them hear about ways they can prepare for labor and birth from the comfort of their own home.
Advertisements
Celebrating Birth Expo 2016 Photo Report

Celebrating Birth Expo 2016 Photo Report

Thanks to each and everyone who helped to make the Celebrating Birth Expo a success! With over 30 different services, care providers and businesses sponsoring the event there was a great variety of information, goodies and prizes! If you attended and have helpful feedback for possible future events, I’d love to hear from you. Here’s a few photos to give you a glimpse into our day:

IMG_3284 - Copy

Some of my fantastic helpers for the day…couldn’t have done it without Beth and Hannah!

IMG_3050IMG_3051IMG_3041

IMG_3039

Getting everything set up and ready….

IMG_3075

Gift bags for each of the attendees to carry their goodies in

G

IMG_3080

My junior helper-she just HAD to attend the Birth Expo, too! 

IMG_3137

Gentle Delivery’s display and welcome table

IMG_3113

The cafe all ready to serve refreshments

IMG_3222

Heidi Loomis, CNM giving comments after the film screening

IMG_3216

In the auditorium getting ready for the screening of “Why Not Home?”

IMG_3240

IMG_3266

The Calvary Harvest Fields location was a lovely place to host this event…

IMG_3269IMG_3202IMG_3178IMG_3165IMG_3103

IMG_3088

Lots of fantastic displays and community interaction! 

I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see many of “my” babies, and am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about what our community has to offer new and expectant families. In case you missed it, I’ll post a link to the event page where you can see a list of all the sponsors, along with their contact info and/or websites. If you’re interested in a future event like this, send me an email with your thoughts and comments. Thanks!

Celebrating Birth Expo & Why Not Home? Screening

Some Recommended Reading

Some Recommended Reading

As we’ve headed into a new year, I’ve been taking the time to update old records/files/paperwork, etc. One of the fun things I’ve updated is my current library list. While the internet can be an excellent resource for many topics, I still enjoy a good book that can stay on my nightstand, or be read while I nurse baby (one of the best things about having a nursing baby is getting guilt-free time to sit and read a book!). This past year I was introduced to a number of books that I had not read before, and I thought it’d be fun to share a few of those titles to you, in case you’re looking for something new to read!

IMG_9707

One of the library shelves in my office

  • Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin: I found this jewel at a thrift store this summer, and picked it up just because of Ina May’s name. It’s a great resource to have on hand if you’re wanting some extra help or information on breastfeeding issues. One thing I appreciated was that she actually dove into the issue of tongue-ties causing nursing difficulties, which is something that many manuals on breastfeeding overlook. Overall, this book was a great easy-to-read book that I would recommend adding to your home library!

 

  • Pushed: The Painful Truth about Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block: This book is not your “feel-good-warm-and-fuzzy” type, but if you’re in to making informed choice, and understanding the politics and protocols that go on behind the scenes, especially here in the US, this is an eye-opener. Jennifer explores the history behind different changes to the maternity care scene, how insurance companies dictate much of hospital’s protocols, how our lack of understanding our bodies and understanding the normal function of birth contributes to the rise of interventions, the limitations in so many areas of good alternative care options, and more. While it can be a bit depressing at times, it was definitely educational, and helpful in understanding risks vs. benefits of different medical choices.

 

  • The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence by Judith Lothian: While this one has been around for awhile, I had never taken the time to pick it up and read through it. I found that it really wasn’t all about a particular “method” for birth, but more about understanding how your body works, and how to work with it. Clear, concise information written in an easy-to-read style, with birth stories to boot.

 

  • Cut, Stapled, and Mended: When One Woman Reclaimed Her Body and Gave Birth on Her Own Terms After Cesarean By Rosanna Rosewood: This one deserves a disclaimer-while the story was fascinating, I don’t recommend or agree with everything this mama pursued in her quest for a VBAC. However, this book helped me to understand many of the challenges that brave VBAC mothers must make as they recover, heal, and prepare for birth from an emotional, spiritual and physical standpoint. I found it valuable as I seek to help mothers who desire a VBAC without having personal experience.

 

Besides the mentioned books, I’ve encountered a few new resources that I would heartily recommend:

  • Spinning Babies DVD’s: The Parent Workshop & Daily Essentials. Gail Tully, the instructor of these DVD’s and the brains behind the Spinning Babies website, has so many tips, suggestions and information to offer-and it all helps to make pregnancy more comfortable, understand your body, and encourage baby to be in good postion…which ultimately helps your labor, birth and recovery to go so much smoother! If you haven’t spent time on Gail’s website, it’s worth looking in to!

 

  • VBAC:Know the Facts by Jen Kamel: Jen has compiled an immense volume of research and facts surround VBACs, and presents them in a fascinating seminar that can be taken online or attended live. This 6+ hour seminar addresses subjects such as myths, actual research results, how and why different hopsitals have different protocols, what complications can increase risks (and how to avoid some of them!), and the list goes on and on. If you are considering a VBAC and have questions, or just want to learn more about the subject, this would be a very worthwhile investment. I learned so much from it!

 

IMG_9708

More books…and they don’t all fit here, either!

This past year I had a friend who contacted me-she was newly pregnant, lived in another state, and wanted to know where to start in figuring out what she wanted for her pregnancy, birth, caregiver, etc. What a list of questions! And where do you start?!? So I’ve been on a quest to find factual, evidence-based information to help new moms in making decisions and sorting through all the myriads of opinions and information. If you have a resource that was particularly helpful to you, I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to comment (below), leave a message on the facebook page, or send me an email at: gentlemidwife@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!

And if you want to check out my updated Recommended Reading/Library List, feel free to look at it here:  https://gentlemidwife.wordpress.com/recommended-reading/  Remember, clients have access to this library as part of their maternity care package!

 

Preparing yourself for labor and birth…

Preparing yourself for labor and birth…

During pregnancy (and even before!), it’s important to spend time preparing and educating yourself about what to expect during the remainder of pregnancy, and for your upcoming labor, birth, and postpartum period. Fear of the unknown can cause more tension, thus causing more pain, and adequate preparation can help you to avoid not knowing what to expect. Moms and dads who have seriously prepared for birth are often rewarded with a much more satisfying birth experience, especially due to the fact that they had a better idea of what to expect, and what was going on with mom’s body during the different stages. Being able to learn about the natural processes, how these things affect mom and baby, what positions can help at what times, etc. all serve to enable a couple to work as a team as they bring their baby into the world.

childbirth456While it’s ideal to take a live childbirth class whenever possible (this gives you personal time with the instructor, the chance to ask questions, and the fun of interacting with other couples experiencing pregnancy), there are often times when there are no natural-minded classes available in your area, or when time constraints make it impossible to attend a series of classes. When this is the case, don’t give up the desire to be prepared! There are many different online classes, videos and books that can all help to educate you on the labor and birth process, and this list is intended to give you some pointers on where to start:

Actual Childbirth Classes-either online or DVD:
http://birthbootcamp.com/online-childbirth-education-classes/online-class-faq/ Birth Boot Camp is an intense class, available online or in various locations around the US, focusing on preparation for a natural childbirth by teaching relaxation techniques, exercises, etc., taught by midwives, childbirth educators, lactation consultants and others.

http://spinningbabies.com/classes/eclass-for-pregnant-parents-2 Gail Tully teaches an incredible class on optimal fetal positioning, and this is a link for the online childbirth classes that she recommends.

http://injoyvideos.com/mothers-advocate-dvds.html This DVD is a “mini childbirth class”…30 min. of good advice and information, available to purchase, or on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/MothersAdvocate
Other Helpful Links/DVD’s:
http://spinningbabies.com/videos/spinning-babies-video Taught by Gail Tully at Spinning Babies, the Parent Class DVD is an excellent resource for teaching couples techniques and exercises for encouraging baby to get in a good position and prepare mom for birth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZDeozklQw8&app=desktop An older Lamaze video, this shows several moms in labor, and talks about ways to be prepared for natural childbirth.

http://www.happyhealthychild.com/ This DVD set, available through Amazon, is taught by a variety of OB’s, midwives, doulas, and other professionals. It covers prenatal nutrition, labor preparation, natural childbirth, birth choices, newborn care, and more in a lecture-type style.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xath6kOf0NE, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDP_ewMDxCo, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze53Ep-gwBQ&index=5&list=PLD8C569116E48F504, Short, 3D animated medical videos giving excellent visuals on the birth process, contraction action, station explanation, and more.

http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/ Excellent documentary explaining birth choices in the US. Features quotes by OBs, midwives, doulas, and home/natural birth moms. Available to watch for free on youtube!

http://www.mothering.com/articles/6-birth-videos-used-prepare-child-siblings-entrance/ Various birth videos

http://babies.littlethings.com/husband-wife-home-birth/?utm_content=buffer0f17b&utm_medium=Facebook&utm_source=sungazing&utm_campaign=PFPost A really sweet home water birth video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvk08EfgECk A brief overview of the stages of labor.

One more thing to note…if you live local, I’d be more than happy to share with you some of the great options for live childbirth classes in this area!

Preparing for your birth…

Preparing for your birth…

Newborn-Baby-FeetThis information is written specifically to give first time mothers  and first time VBAC moms suggestions for how to improve their chances at achieving a natural, easier delivery. But that doesn’t mean this is just for them! All of these suggestions can help ANY mom as she prepares for an optimal birth!  Pregnancy and  childbirth is such a special and exciting time, and it is also something to be prepared for ahead of time. It is good to keep in mind that a woman’s body was designed to give birth, and that, normally speaking, your body does know what to do to get the baby out. On the flip side, though, is the fact that this is the first time your body has ever experienced this process. Because of this, labor can sometimes last longer, and be more physically demanding, as your body takes the time it needs for all of the muscles and bones to work together and stretch to allow your baby to enter this world. If you have invested time and effort into preparing ahead of time, your body will benefit, both in the labor and recovery processes. Just think, you wouldn’t run a marathon without giving adequate training and preparation-and so it is with childbirth. You must condition your mind and body to give you the best results.

Throughout the pregnancy:

–          Read and educate yourself! Take childbirth classes, together with your husband. This will help you both to be informed about the physical and emotional processes, and allow you to discuss ideals, hopes, and dreams before labor begins. I believe that education can also help to reduce the level of pain, as it helps you to understand what is going on in your body, instead of fearing the unknown. The more you can find out ahead of time, the more able you will be to relax, knowing your body is doing what it was intended to do. There are many books, DVD’s, and classes available-talk with me if you need suggestions!

–          Eat a healthy diet. A diet full of good, healthful foods (vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates), and low in sugars, fats and simple carbohydrates, can help you in several areas. One, it doesn’t build a huge baby. A smaller baby is easier to push out! Secondly, it allows your body to be able to function at it’s optimal ability, as your energy level is increased. Thirdly, good nutrition can build better skin integrity, which decreases your chances of tears.

–          Exercise regularly. Exercise is an extremely important factor, as labor and birth are very much physical events. Stretching, and building up your endurance level throughout the pregnancy will enable you to persevere if your labor gets long and tiresome. Throughout the last few weeks, walking briskly (until your pelvis hurts!) for at least 45 min. every day, can help to encourage the baby’s arrival to happen sooner rather than later.

–         See a Chiropractor-if your body is not in alignment before labor, this can really slow things down and keep the baby from descending. While having regular adjustments can be helpful, it’s an especially good idea during the last 3-4 weeks, as it can help your body to relax and get the baby into the best possible position before labor begins.

–          Visit http://www.spinningbabies.com and try some of Gail’s suggested techniques for helping baby to achieve the best position. Regularly implementing techniques such as inversions and belly sifting can help to reduce your overall labor time by helping your body to stay aligned and encouraging good position of the baby!

–          Practice relaxation. If you can learn to relax, go limp, and let your body work before labor begins, then the better able you will be to do this during labor. Remember, fighting pain and discomfort works against you during labor-you must open up, let go, and relax in order for your uterus to function the most efficiently. And the more efficiently it works, the easier it will be on you! In practicing, pick times of the day when you can work on letting each area of your body go limp. Find out what helps you to relax: water, music, massage, etc., and then have these available during labor.

During the last 5 weeks:

–          I encourage moms to take the following supplements:

  • Gentle Birth Formula ~ this is a specially formulated blend of herbs in a tincture form that work to help prepare the uterus for the upcoming birth. You begin at 35 weeks by taking 2 dropperfulls a day throughout the first week, and increasing the amount to 2 dropperfulls 3x/day for the remaining weeks. Mothers who take this herb usually have more “warm-up” contractions, which help the cervix to begin dilation and effacement before actual labor. This tincture can be purchased through In His Hands Birth supply at the same time that you order your birth kit.
  • Super Primrose Oil or Borage Oil ~ this supplement is in a soft-gel form, and you begin taking 1-2 capsules orally beginning at 35 weeks. Around 36-37 weeks, you may begin inserting one capsule vaginally at night when ready to go to bed. The high GLA content and natural prostaglandin that these oils contain helps the cervix to soften, making dilation easier. It’s a great way to give your body a head-start towards dilation!

In closing, remember to keep yourself hydrated, rest often, and take care of yourself. And when labor begins, try to get some rest before getting excited.   You need to conserve the energy for later. So think about some activities that provide fun distraction (games, movies, going out for supper, etc.), and try to focus on other things until the contractions become consistent and strong enough that you can’t be distracted through them….

More Information about the Summer Childbirth Education Class

Alright, I finally have more detailed information regarding this summer’s childbirth education seminar. This all-day class will cover topics such as prenatal nutrition, exercise, explanation of the childbirth process, tips for couples on how to work together during labor, positions and comfort measures for labor and birth, suggestions on writing a birth plan, and much more! There will be opportunity for you to ask questions, meet other couples who are sharing similar experiences, and learn together about the miracle of birth. Designed especially to help those planning a natural childbirth, this class will help you to better understand and prepare for your upcoming birth from a Christian perspective. I strongly encourage couples to attend together, as well as any other support people who are planning to be present at your birth.

In order to enable the best concentration and involvement, please make other arrangements for your children, with the exception of nursing babies.

When: Saturday, July 10th, 2010
Schedule: 10am-Noon, break for lunch-we suggest you bring your own, as there aren’t many restaurants close by, 1pm-3pm
Location: the home of Heidi Nisly, cpm ~ 9101
W. Red Rock Road, Partridge, KS 67566
Cost: $75/couple (note: for those using Gentle Delivery Childbirth Services, this class is included in your total fee)

A workbook, drinks and snacks will be provided for your enjoyment!

Taught by Kelsey Hobbs, CPM
Please register by July 5th in order to ensure availability of materials.  Feel free to call if you need more information or have questions. Email: gentlemidwife@gmail.com ~or~ phone: 316-253-0099    Please pass this information on to anyone you know who might be interested!

Summer Childbirth Classes- Date is set!

Just wanted to let you all know….I’m planning to teach another childbirth class seminar on Saturday, July 10th. There are a few more details that are in the process of being figured out before I give you all more info, but go ahead and mark your calendars and let me know if you are interested!!  Feel free to let others know, as well!     email: gentlemidwife@gmail.com