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:

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

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Getting everything set up and ready….

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

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

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Gentle Delivery’s display and welcome table

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The cafe all ready to serve refreshments

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Heidi Loomis, CNM giving comments after the film screening

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

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

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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

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Do I Need a Doula if I’m Planning a Homebirth?

Do I Need a Doula if I’m Planning a Homebirth?

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So you’ve heard of the advantages of having a doula with you if you’re planning a hospital birth. The positive aspects include such things as: continuous support that doesn’t change shift, possibility of laboring in the comfort of home knowing someone will help you decide when it’s time to go in, someone who can help you and your spouse keep perspective and act as a liaison with the medical staff, a friendly person to call directly with questions during those last days before labor, and the list goes on. All of these things sound good, but if you’re planning a home birth, then you don’t need all this, right?!? You already know who your caregiver will be, you’re staying in your comfy home, your midwife will provide support and perspective, and you can call your midwife directly…which means that a doula is totally unnecessary, correct?!? Well, that’s a question I hear often, and I wanted to take some time to explore how a doula can actually be a great benefit at a homebirth, as well. If you’re trying to decide whether or not you want to add a doula to your birth team, hopefully this post will give you some help, and maybe even answer some of the questions you have.

To get some input on this subject, I contacted several different groups of midwives, doulas and birthworkers, and asked them to tell me from their experience how homebirths could benefit from doula support. Their responses were very helpful, and provided the bases of what I am going to share below.

When it comes down to it, a midwife and doula offer to distinctly different services. While both are attempting to provide women with personalized, professional care, they are coming at it from two different angles. A midwife’s job is to help ensure that mom and baby both maintain the low-risk status. She is concerned with providing a safe, professional and knowledgeable environment to women seeking out-of-hospital births. This means that she must put mom and baby’s safety first-which sometimes means that she will have to stop providing labor support in order to monitor heart tones, for instance.  There are also those times when the midwife will need to conserve energy in order to maintain the needed mental and physical alertness needed for the actual delivery, which may mean not being able to constantly apply back pressure for hours on end! For some mamas, especially those who appreciate privacy, a midwife and her assistant may be all that she needs in order to feel supported and cared for, but there are others where this may not feel like enough. As a midwife myself, I seek to provide labor support whenever I can, but I am also always acutely aware of what is going on medically. The role of a doula is that of providing consistent emotional support and physical support. Because she does not have to be responsible for the medical aspects of birth, she is free to focus on helping the couple work together, and helps mom to achieve the space and birth atmosphere that she desires, without distraction.

At a homebirth, a doula can:

  • Give valuable input and educational support during the prenatal period.
  • Provide early labor support, and help the couple decide when it’s time to call the midwife to come.
  • Free dad up to focus on mom by paying attention to other details (like keeping the tub water warm, setting up the bed, changing linens as needed, keeping birth atmosphere tidy, etc.).
  • Keep mom and dad fed and hydrated.
  • Help the birth team to remember mom’s preferences-whether it’s the desire for quiet and privacy, or a certain music playing at a certain time, she keeps everyone aware of what mom wants.
  • Help with comfort measures such as massage, positioning techniques, etc.
  • Provide positive encouragement about progress and what is happening.
  • Give mom support during pushing, especially for those families where daddy wants to catch, and mom still needs support by her head that is focused on HER.
  • Assist with childcare as needed, especially if children are present for the birth.
  • Help the mom to feel an extra measure of help and support, through extended availability before and after, and checking on mom’s emotional well-being during the initial postpartum period.
  • Protect and nourish the new family’s space as nursing and bonding are taking place.

A doula is especially beneficial when:

  • A mom is expecting her first baby or is planning a VBAC. The potential for prodromal labor and/or need for extra physical and emotional support make a doula an especially good choice for these moms! For the same reasons, moms who have a history of long labors may also find a doula an excellent addition to their birth team.
  • Mom is lacking other support systems. For single moms, or those who have no family or close friends nearby, a doula can be a tremendous asset in providing a consistent, dependable support person during the pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum periods.
  • When using a very busy midwife, or if your midwife has travel plans over the time you are due. If you know there is a good possibility that you may be using your midwife’s backup, then having a doula whom you have already connected with can help make that a smooth transition, as you won’t have to totally “start over” with your birth team.
  • If your chosen midwife usually practices solo (without an assistant). In these cases, it may be hard for her to provide consistent labor support, as she will have many responsibilities to stay on top of.
  • When mom knows that she needs extra hands and extra support. Some moms prefer quiet, privacy and extreme “hands-off” during labor, while other moms know that they would relax better when surrounded by encouragement, positive input, touch, massage, etc.
  • If you’re planning to have your children present at the birth, and don’t have a specific care-giver for them. This can allow dad to spend time with mom or with the other children, and know that no one is being neglected!

So, to tie all of these comments up, you can see that a doula can be a lovely complement to a planned home birth. The moms who have experienced doula care at a homebirth made comments such as “I wouldn’t do it any other way”, “it was the ultimate support group”, “I gained a trusted friend”, “My doula could be someone my midwives could never be (though my midwives were awesome and perfect for me)…All her energy and focus went to me, she had no other obligations”, “she provided a different perspective”, “the little things made a big difference…her doing things that allowed my partner to stay with me was key”. The midwives who have had doulas present at births say, “Doulas are worth their weight in gold, literally!”, “The women who have both feel SO supported”, “Having a doula…helps to share the load, and each individual has something different to bring to each unique situation”, “Doulas provide a different type of connection”,  “I think there are some births where there is plenty of work for many hands…and some where there isn’t”.

All that said, I do want to underline the fact that each mother and each birth is unique. While having a doula can make your birth experience even more special, I totally understand that it is not the choice for everyone. For some mamas a more private, intimate and quiet birth environment with as few people as possible is better.  And this is totally okay. It’s one of the beautiful things I appreciate about the option of birthing at home…the birth team can be personalized to suit the preferences of the individual mom. Each mom/couple has to figure out what is right for them, as this is what will enable them to relax and give birth in the best way. The goal of this article is not to make you feel like you HAVE to hire a doula! But for those who have wondered if a doula could be beneficial, my hope is that you now have a better picture of how a doula can fit in to your homebirth plans, and how this option can make a mama feel even more supported.

Did you use a doula for your homebirth? Or have you been a doula at a homebirth? I’d love to hear about it! And if you’re looking for a doula, be sure to check out www.doulamatch.net in order to find out about doulas offering services near you! For those living in central PA, I’d be glad to refer you to some excellent doulas who serve the surrounding areas.

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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!

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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!

 

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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!

 

So, you’re interested in a VBAC….

So, you’re interested in a VBAC….

DSC_0632cThis is a subject that I get asked about frequently. There are many mamas out there, who, for a variety of reasons, are looking into their options concerning a pregnancy and birth after a previous cesarean section. The first question usually centers around whether or not I will take on a VBAC client…so let’s start with that, and then look into some ways to make achieving a VBAC a reality.

When it comes to considering a VBAC mom as a possible homebirth candidate, it’s helpful to have an idea of why the c-section was performed in the first place. You have the legal right to your medical records, so ask for them! Sometimes they don’t shed light on the subject, but frequently you’ll have a clue as to what actually happened, which may not have been clearly explained to you at the time. Was it due to a surprise breech? Was baby’s head in a bad position (such as posterior or asynclitic)? Did your water break, putting you on the clock, and labor didn’t start in time? Was it a case of “failure to progress”, where labor didn’t proceed, or you got “stuck” and then were tired? Or perhaps baby’s heart tones dropped, making it a fast emergency? Whatever the case, understanding what all took place helps to paint the picture, and give me an idea of what hurdles you might face in this next birth. And it might help you in knowing what to prepare for-for instance, if your c-section was due to a bad position of the baby, then we’ll be much more proactive at integrating exercises to help with optimal positioning. There are very few situations which risk a mom out of the option of a homebirth, but getting a clear picture of what happened before helps us to determine your eligibility. And perhaps you would feel more comfortable pursuing your first VBAC in the hospital setting…either way, these next suggestions can be beneficial and productive in helping you prepare for your birth!

I like to tell VBAC moms the same thing I tell first time mamas…preparing for birth is like preparing for a marathon. You don’t just decide to run a marathon today and achieve it tomorrow. It takes WORK to prepare your body for it! Most mamas planning a VBAC have not yet had a baby vaginally, so in that respect, we focus on preparation in the same way we do for a first birth. Not to make things sound negative, but it’s good to be prepared for the long haul-and prepare your body to be able to cope with it. Eating a healthy diet and consistent exercise both contribute to this. Regular walks, workouts, squats, etc. can all help to build up your stamina for labor and pushing. I’d also suggest seeing a chiropractor, especially during the last trimester, which can help to ensure good alignment of your pelvis and good positioning for baby. I highly recommend checking into Gail Tully’s website: spinningbabies.com, as well as following her suggestions in her DVD entitled “Daily Essentials”.

Besides getting your body ready, you need to prepare mentally and emotionally…and this includes educating yourself about the particular risks and concerns that affect VBAC mothers and babies, as well as talking with others who have gone through similar experiences. This support can be invaluable in helping you to work through your past disappointments and set realistic expectations. Some excellent resources that I encourage all VBAC moms to consider are:

  • VBAC Facts by Jen Kamel (She teaches an amazing class based on research surrounding VBAC safety. You can attend a live seminar, or take a webinar at your convenience.)
  • Read books on the subject:

C-Section by Mark Zawkowski, MD,  Natural Childbirth After Cesarean: A Practical Guide by Karis Crawford

  • Look into the “International Cesarean Awareness Network” (ICAN) and glean from their website…there are chapters throughout the US that meet regularly, where you can talk with other moms and learn from their experiences.
  • Join a facebook support group for VBAC mamas, and ask questions and hear about how other mamas achieve their VBAC.
  • Read evidencebasedbirth.com, and consider taking the class they offer online regarding “Failure to Progress”.

 

This information is hopefully enough to get you started with resources…blessings as you pursue your quest for a beautiful, natural and safe birth!

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are considering a home birth, perhaps the following are questions you have wondered about. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any specific questions…I’d love to help you in any way I can! Please note, these questions and answers pertain specifically to my practice here at Gentle Delivery Childbirth Services, and may not apply to other midwives and practices.

Q. At what point in my pregnancy should I contact you?
A. You are welcome to contact me at any time-with preconception questions or as soon as you find out your pregnant. A free no-obligation consultation where you can ask questions and see my office can occur at any point, but I typically schedule your first actual appointment once you are between 10-12 weeks along, as that allows the baby to be mature enough to hear the heartbeat. The earlier you are in touch, the greater chance I will have an opening over the time you are due, though it’s never too late to talk with me about your options, either…we can begin care late in the pregnancy when necessary, too!

Q. What does a normal prenatal look like, and where does it take place?
A. Prenatal appointments normally take place in my home office, usually on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, although other times are possible. I generally expect to take anywhere from 30 min. to an hour, with the goal being able to spend enough time to answer any questions or concerns a couple might have, as well as including education regarding exercise, nutrition, positioning, childbirth, etc. At each visit a urine sample is checked, weight is recorded, BP is taken, and baby is listened to, measured, and palpated to see his or her position. Other testing and/or procedures will be performed as needed. The normal schedule for visits is every month until 28 weeks, followed by bi-weekly appointments until 36 weeks, and weekly visits thereafter. A home visit is performed at 36 weeks, in order to give myself and any other birth attendants a chance to see your location in normal daylight hours! 

Q. Do I need to see a doctor besides seeing you for prenatal care?
A. That honestly depends upon your personal preferences. The prenatal care I give would be similar to what you would receive from a doctor, including labs and referrals for things like sonograms. Most of my clients do not see a doctor while receiving care from me, as it keeps costs down and keeps them from multiple prenatal care visits. If your OB office is open to co-care, it can provide you with a seamless transition in case of transport, especially if it is covered by your insurance provider. If care with an OB is covered in full by your insurance provider, you may benefit from continuing care with them in order to have the costs for your labwork and other testing covered completely.

Q. Will my insurance cover your services, or how can I afford it?
A. Sadly, many insurance companies do not cover home midwifery care, though it is always worth checking into thoroughly. I would be happy to provide you with some information on how to best discuss this with your insurance company, and I am also willing to give you a written statement complete with insurance codes to submit to your insurance company. In order to keep my own costs down, I do not file insurance, but I do try to make care accessible to all families by charging a sliding scale fee based upon your family’s income. Keep in mind, too, that when using insurance, you will have a co-pay, and for some people the cost of my services are either similar or lower than the co-pay amount you would be paying with a hospital delivery.

Q. I notice you have a student working with you. How does that influence my care?
A. When a student is interning for midwifery training, their level of involvement varies according to where they are at in their studies. A student midwife begins by observing all aspects of midwifery care, and applying the academic knowledge she has already received to practical, hands-on situations. As her experience expands, so do her opportunities-she assumes more responsibility depending upon her level of experience and skill. Students are always grateful for any opportunity afforded them to learn, and would love to be as involved with your care as you feel comfortable with. I always strive to make sure the client feels completely comfortable with any care provided by a student, whether that is allowing the student to feel for baby’s position and fundal measurement, or whether it is as extensive as allowing the student to participate in a high level of care during delivery. Whether you prefer lots of involvement or minimal involvement, a student generally acts as my birth assistant during the actual labor and delivery, helping to provide labor support, take notes, and in general act as my second set of hands. 

Q. Who will attend my birth? Is is okay to invite others to be present in addition to the birth team?
A. Normally I attend births with one or two qualified assistants. These ladies are usually either skilled students or birth attendants, and enable me to know you are getting the best care possible, allowing both baby and mom to be cared for in case of emergency. Besides this, whomever else you choose to have present at your birth is up to you. I’ve been at births where it was the bare minimum of people, and I’ve been to births where there was a crowd! The main issue is that you feel totally and completely at ease and comfortable with whomever is present, as that can majorly impact your experience.

Q. Are children welcome to attend the birth?
A. It’s your birth, so you get to decide if you want your children present or not! If you are planning on having your children attending, I strongly recommend you having an extra person handy whose sole responsibility is caring for your child(ren) so that you can focus on the delivery.

Q. Do you do waterbirths?
A. Yes! Laboring and delivering in the water are both options. For many people, their home tub is comfortable enough, but if you’re wanting to use an actual “birth pool”, I can put you in touch with rental possibilities.

Q. I had a cesarean with my previous delivery, does that rule out a home birth?
A. I am happy to help women VBAC whenever possible. For most women, a VBAC at home is statistically safer than a repeat c-section. Make sure you get a copy of your previous medical records, and we can discuss your particular situation in person in more detail.

Q. What birth positions are options at home?
A. There are about as many options as there are women!  One benefit to delivering at home is the flexibility to figure out what works the best for you…whether that is squatting, laying in bed, standing in the shower, or wherever you are the most comfortable. I have a traditional “birth stool” that I bring along to births which gives you the option of a low squat, but most women instinctively find a position that works the best for them.

Q. Are you prepared for possible emergencies?
A. Yes. I maintain current certification in both neonatal resuscitation and CPR, bringing along emergency equipment in case of a baby with breathing difficulties. I also carry equipment to assist with stabilizing a mom in the rare case of hemorrhage. It’s my goal to make your home birth experience as safe as possible, which includes careful monitoring of both baby and mom during and after labor, so as to catch any concern that is out of the scope of “normal”. Consistent prenatal care combined with healthy, low risk moms lowers the chance of emergency procedures drastically, but your birth team stays alert for any signs of possible surprises. We can discuss this question in more detail during your consultation if you wish.

Q. So, laboring at home sounds nice, but what about the mess that comes along with birth?
A. Most people are surprised at how little mess is involved. I have families purchase disposable underpads (available at most drugstores) and a cheap shower curtain, which we use to protect surfaces such as the bed and carpet for the actual birth. These things get thrown away afterwards, and myself or my assistant will start laundry before we leave your home. We also make sure to tidy things up so that you aren’t left with clean up!

Q. How do I go about getting documentation for my child?
A. I will file all needed paperwork with the state, which includes the official birth certificate and request for a social security number. I also perform the newborn screening test on your baby during the home visit which occurs 24-48 hours after birth.

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Sweet baby feet as baby is being weighed during the newborn exam!

 

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….

Photos from a home birth…

First, I have to mention that I am still excited about the special birth I had the honor of assisting with early yesterday morning. It was one of Heidi’s clients, and after much prayer and anticipation, we were thrilled to witness a lovely VBAC-it was a beautiful birth anyway, but the fact that it was her first vaginal birth following a c-section with her first pregnancy added an extra-special dimension. I barely made it, with only 20 minutes or so to spare!

Now, I’m excited to finally have pictures to post of a birth that occurred back in January. This mama had a photographer there, and has generously allowed me to use some of the photos in order to share her experience with others. Thanks, Kristina!

So, for those of you who enjoy pictures, or are just curious to know a little more about what a home birth looks like, here you go….

Mom was laboring in the tub as the birth was getting closer, with her support people and myself surrounding her

Doppler and other supplies sitting nearby

My dear assitant, Heidi, stands ready to lend a hand when needed, as an aunt peeks in to check on progress

Heidi charting progress as the labor continues

This mama worked beautifully with her contractions, allowing her body to relax and open

Baby Z in mom's arms just moments after birth

All snuggled up and meeting various family members

I begin the newborn exam, while Heidi charts in the background

Taking all his important measurements

Footprints

Heidi and I after everything is finished

Mom and baby enjoying some time together