What value does a Doula bring to a birth?

When you hire a doula, you are hiring someone who has dedicated their lives to learning about the care and support of birthing individuals and their families.

What value would you put on a product that could shorten your labor, provide a more positive outlook on your birth and postpartum period, and substantially lower your chance of having a cesarean that isn’t medically necessary?

What if I told you there is a way to have all those things and more, and it will change your life forever? What if I told you it’s as simple as hiring a doula?

In a Cochrane review from 2013 women with doulas were shown to:

Be more likely to give birth spontaneously, i.e. give birth without cesarean, vacuum, or forceps
Be less likely to use pain medications
Be more satisfied with their overall birth experience and the days immediately postpartum
Have shorter labors
Have babies that were less likely to have low five-minute Apgar scores

A doula is not just another member of your birth team. A doula’s sole purpose is to form a relationship with you and your partner in order to better support you throughout your pregnancy, labor and delivery, and early postpartum period.

Nurses and doctors provide wonderful medical care; however, they have multiple patients and cannot be by your side through your entire labor. Your doula will be by your side the moment you need her, whether that is at your home or hospital, and through the duration of your labor. The value of hiring someone who is there for you from start to finish is immeasurable.

Your needs, wants, and desires come first. Doulas are there to cheer you on, support your decisions, ensure you have someone to lean on, provide security, and help research information. They are there to help your partner connect with you deeper so that he/she can support you more fully.

I have worked hard to facilitate professional, supportive relationships with the care providers in the community. When you hire a doula, you are hiring someone who has dedicated their lives to learning about the care and support of birthing individuals and their families. You are hiring someone who is knowledgeable, certified, and experienced in this field of expertise and that is priceless!

Reduce Joint Pain During Pregnancy Naturally

Arthritis is primarily a disease of inflammation and what you eat is important to your health and healing.

Arthritis and joint pain are not uncommon these days with a huge percentage of people who suffer all these ailments without knowing there are effective natural remedies. This is especially true for expectant mothers who most likely think that it’s a normal occurrence because of extra body weight during pregnancy or any other such time for that matter. For arthritis sufferers in general, this is a leading cause of disability. It seems modern medicine is powerless against it and has little to offer except pain killers.

The keyword is inflammation !

Arthritis is primarily a disease of inflammation and what you eat is important to your health and healing. There is no need of suffering as a result of this. There are effective natural remedies for reducing joint pain. One of the most effective way to overcome inflammation is when the first symptoms appear, simply by avoiding inflammatory food.

Change of Diet and Lifestyle
Joint pain during pregnancy can be reduced by changing diet and lifestyle. Try out some safe exercises like walking, jogging, swimming and any other that your Ob or Midwife recommend as this can help you to become less sedentary. Try to drink a reasonable amount of water. It helps to flush out harmful toxins in the body which can cause inflammation.

Add This to Your Diet
When you change your diet to reduce joint pain during pregnancy start with foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, E and B complex. Include foods such as: ancient grains, natural dairy products, pasture raised meats and eggs, and nuts. Also, eat foods rich in zinc to offer natural relief from joint pain. Some types of fish like wild caught tuna, salmon, herring, and sardines have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric and Ginger also have anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger makes tasty tea which provides a soothing relief of joint pain as well as an upset tummy or nausea.

Foods to Avoid
Public enemy number 1: SODA yes, even diet soda. Drinking sodas causes weight gain and contributes to type 2-diabetes, but it doesn’t stop there. It causes many other far-reaching health problems including arthritis. Soda can cause osteoporosis because it contains phosphoric acid which gives soda its tangy taste.

Foods to avoid: Corn and soybean oil, cottonseed, safflower, canola and sunflower oils. Other arthritis and pain activator are: Processed snacks, crackers, chips, granola and energy bars, any deep fried and fast foods, baked goods and cookies, mayonnaise, margarine. Plants that may aggravate arthritis pain are: Potatoes, chili peppers, green and red bell peppers, tomatoes, as well as products made from hot sauce, ketchup, dried red pepper flakes etc. By cutting out most of these foods you will find your inflammation and joint pain improving or disappearing.

As every day becomes less painful and more enjoyable you will gain pleasure and peace of mind. Let’s hope this will help you to navigate some of the more common discomforts of pregnancy. See the Recipes Category under my blog Posts.

Chiropractic for a Healthy Pregnancy

Photo by Michalina on Unsplash

Proper prenatal care is a vital part of having a healthy pregnancy and uncomplicated delivery. But did you know that a chiropractor can actually help make your pregnancy go more smoothly? In fact, it is so common that some chiropractors will even specialize in care for pregnant women. If you’re experiencing any of the issues below during your pregnancy, look for a chiropractor to help you.

Low Back Pain
Low back pain is extremely common in pregnant women. This is caused by your shifting center of gravity as your belly and your baby grow, placing strain on the muscles of your lower back as it tries to accommodate for the extra weight it must carry. Sometimes, this can cause your back to shift out of alignment. If you have severe low back pain, a chiropractor can provide you with a spinal adjustment so that your body can better support your changing body and you can be healthier and more comfortable throughout the remainder of your pregnancy.

Rib Subluxation
During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin. As the name implies, this hormone relaxes the tendons and muscles in your body to let your hips widen in preparation for delivery. However, it can also cause the tendons that keep your ribs in proper alignment to become overly relaxed; this can lead to a rib twisting in its socket, causing a painful rib subluxation. A chiropractor can easily adjust your back and realign your rib so that you don’t have to deal with the persistent pain that comes from this condition.

Remember that pain doesn’t just affect you when you’re pregnant; it can affect your baby as well. If you are constantly in pain, it can cause your baby to develop signs of distress. So take care of yourself and go see a chiropractor for your own health as well as the health of your child.

If you Live in the Grand Rapids Area I recommend Dr Alex Lebon at Simple Truth Chiropractic. Dr. Lebon is Webster Technique Certified, a member of the Michigan Association of Chiropractors and the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, was chosen as one of America’s Best Chiropractor for 2018, and was rated a Top Care Provider by Grand Rapids Kids for 2019.

Dads and Doulas – Working Together!

An involved partner is often incredibly knowledgeable. But when labor gets going and is fast and furious, do you want dad to have to search his memory banks for the right technique?

The purposes of a Doula are many. A Doula can hold space for the birthing woman. She can provide support. She can help connect you with local resources. She can be a gentle guide along a path new to you but loved and familiar to her.

But what about the partner? Many of the couples I worked with wanted as few people as possible present in their birth space. Why have a doula when partner knows everything after a great birth class?! A doula can be a comforting presence for the partner- not just for the mom.

The partner and the mother are better served when the partner can simply be an emotional support person. Expecting dad to remember when a Captain Morgan is necessary as opposed to a squat, or the difference between AROM and PROM while checking into the hospital, applying a fierce double hip squeeze and signing intake forms, all at the same time, is a LOT of pressure for anyone, especially someone who wants to have positive birth memories along with the mother.

Mom and dad are incredible and confident when those first labor sensations begin. That’s a beautiful thing. It is also a beautiful thing when dad doesn’t feel an immense pressure to be everything, remember everything, and do everything for the birth. I want him to have a great experience too! I want him to feel supported and grounded and calm, not nervous about how he will perform and what he will forget.

With a Doula present, dad can focus on loving the birthing mom and being her emotional support. Their relationship matters and his presence (even if he is just holding her hand) is a huge comfort to a birthing mother. He can take breaks! Birth takes time and mom isn’t the only person who needs food and bathroom breaks. Birthing women, however, often don’t want to be left alone. A trusted doula and a dad, working together, are able to rest, eat, and fill their own needs while at the same time always have someone there for mom.

An involved partner is often incredibly knowledgeable. But when labor gets going and is fast and furious, do you want dad to have to search his memory banks for the right technique? Do you want him stressed out about that? A doula allows dad to feel less pressure. He doesn’t have to “coach” or otherwise guide the birth. He can do what he does best- love his partner and he can do so stress-free, knowing the doula is there to fill in the gaps.

Dads and doulas usually communicate more with each other during the birth than anyone else. A birthing woman, if she is encouraged to birth intuitively, won’t be communicating with her words very much. Her support people will be communicating with one another. Keep this in mind when choosing your doula, the partner should be part of choosing the doula because they would be helping each other out as they supported the birthing woman.

Even with a great provider, a perfect birthplace, and an incredible partner, couples could still greatly benefit from a doula. Truly dads and doulas work together. A birthing woman can’t have too much incredible support- but she isn’t the only person who needs support- her partner does too!

Are you planning an amazing birth? Don’t forget about your doula.

Doulas are for dads too!

Fighting nausea without medication

Of the many symptoms suffered during pregnancy, nausea may be the most notorious… and the most elusive symptom to wrangle under control!

Finding a safe, natural, and effective way to manage nausea without irritating your baby doesn’t have to be that difficult. Here are a few ideas you may want to explore:

Ginger is a frequently used as a safe and natural alternative. Just be careful if you have low blood pressure issues, or are taking blood thinners.

Peppermint is another home remedy that many people have success with. Keeping a tin of Altoids around is a convenient approach. Essential oils for internal use or aromatherapy may be effective. Peppermint tea can also be very helpful.

Acupuncture might appeal to the more adventurous expectant mother as a viable alternative. If the needles scare you, then perhaps Acupressure is another avenue to alleviate the symptoms of nausea without drugs.

Lemon may help symptoms. A fresh slice in a ginger or peppermint tea, or as aromatherapy might do wonders for expectant moms.

Meditation is another technique that has shown positive results. Mindfulness meditation often focuses on breathing techniques and positive mental imagery to distract oneself from the source of physical discomfort.

Expectant mothers have come up with some ingenious ways to fight nausea long before the advent of modern medicine. If taking an over-the-counter medicine, or something prescription strength simply isn’t in the cards for you, then hopefully these ideas will help you find a suitable option for fighting nausea that works for your pregnancy goals.