Let’s Talk About Consent

Consent is something that many people in society now talk about when speaking in the sexual sense but consent has so many facets and doesn’t just relate to having autonomy over your body as it relates to sex. It is also important to remember that you have autonomy over what happens to your body while your are pregnant, in labor/giving birth and postpartum. You can always ask questions to your provider if you need clarification or if your intuition tells you something isn’t sitting well. You have choices and ultimately all decisions are up to you!

In my childbirth education classes that I teach, I always discuss “using your BRAIN”. The word BRAIN when used in that sense is an acronym meaning:

B – Benefits

R – Risks

A – Alternatives

I – Intent

N – Not now and maybe Never

When being told by a provider to do something during your pregnancy, birth and postpartum it’s ok to ask questions and use your BRAIN. Ask your provider what are the benefits and risks of what they are recommending? Are there any alternative things that could yield the same result? Why is it that the provider wants you to do “said thing” (meaning why are they recommending it) and remember that you can always say not now or never. You have choices! I can’t Express this enough!

You decide what happens to your body. Everything from vaginal checks, inductions, medications and medical procedures for you and baby, testing, etc… is YOUR choice. No one has the right to do anything to your body without your consent and unless it is an emergent situation there is always time to talk about options. You have a voice and it deserves to be heard.

The tips that I have for you are:

– Education is KEY! You must be educated on your options if you are to make informed decisions. A childbirth education class and a doula can really help educate you on your options and provide evidence based research! Others opinions are great but when making informed decisions its important to know facts.

– If you have a partner, make sure they are aware of your wishes so they can advocate for you if you are unable to. Also, if you have anyone else present at your birth (i.e. a doula, family members, friends) make sure they all know your wishes too!

– Have many conversations with your providers and have them document your chart so that the practice and providers are aware of your wishes too!

– Design a birth plan. Make it less than a page, bulleted and straight to the point. Even though you may deviate from your birth plan it’s still important that the nursing staff also know what your wishes for your ideal birth experience are so that they are able to assist you in achieving those as long as its medically safe to do so.

In closing, please know that your body is just that…it’s YOURS. You have more power over your pregnancy, birth experience and postpartum period than you may believe!

If you feel you may need help understanding your choices, we would love to help educate and guide you as well as help advocate for you and your baby!

6 Reasons Your Partner Needs a Doula – Even If They Don’t Realize It Yet

So, your estimated due date is getting closer and you are starting to get nervous. There are several things about your labor and birth experience that you truly want to happen, but you aren’t sure what to do to ensure that they happen. You talk to someone from your parents group, read something on social media or hear from a dear friend that they hired a Doula, so you do some research. You realize you want a Doula too! So now…how do you get your partner on board?  We’ve put together a list to help – 6 reasons your partner needs a doula.

You have decided that you truly want a Doula for your birth but your partner is worried that its a waste of money, or they worry that they will be pushed aside and not be able to be the main support person. Here are some reasons to share with them that will help them understand how valuable having a Doula is to both you and them!

1. Hiring a Doula will allow your partner to not feel so stressed to remember everything from every class you took during your pregnancy!

You remember… All of those classes to prepare yourself for your little one. All of that information that you were given! It can be overwhelming! Having a Doula at your labor and birth makes the stress of having to remember everything dissipate! Your partner can truly enjoy being your support person because they have someone there to help guide them to help you! Its a win-win!

2. Nurses and Doctors come and go, but a Doula is a constant presence. 

Both doctors and nurses have other patients and they also have their own schedule. Shifts change and there is charting that needs to be done so they will not be able to remain by your bedside the entire time. In addition, there are some nurses and doctors that aren’t well versed in comfort measures, position changes and the like. Would you rather have someone that is by your side through your labor and birth that is there solely to enhance your birth experience or would you rather have nurses and doctors that are in and out all of the time?

3. Everyone has to use the restroom and eat eventually! 

Even the human body has its needs and limits! There will be a time that your partner has to use the restroom or needs to nourish and hydrate but feels bad for leaving your side, so they suffer and compromise their own health and safety in the process. With a Doula present, your partner can leave to go and do those things without feeling as though they have abandoned you. That way they can be in tip top shape in order to continue to be your main support person. Your partner isn’t going to be what you need them to be if they can’t take moments to take care of themselves.

4. When everything feels like chaos; you have your Doula there to let you know that things “are normal” or to tell you “what to expect next”. 

Sometimes labor can feel intense and may get a bit overwhelming. Having a constant support person that is educated and well versed in all things childbirth will help put your mind at ease. You won’t need to worry about what’s “normal” and what’s not or what to expect next so you can emotionally or physically prepare. An educated Doula will share all of that with you! They are there to be your childbirth guide and confidant. They are there to assure you what’s happening is “ok” and to educate you on what’s to come so that your partner can feel more confident and less nervous. A more confident partner equals a more confident laboring person and that leads to a positive birth experience for everyone involved!

5. A Doula is there to offer encouraging words and guidance to both of you.

When you hire a Doula that Doula is there for both you and your partner. An experienced Doula is able to guide, support, encourage and empower both you and your partner simultaneously. That way when you look back and the birth experience, you both will smile and view the birth experience as a positive one!

6. Your Doula is just a text/phone call/email away for each of you. 

Support during your labor and birth is important but the support leading up to your special day is equally important. Your Doula will be a sounding board for both you and your partner. They will talk with both of you about your worries, concerns and fears as well as wishes and desires. Having an educated support person to be there for you both as your impending “birth” day approaches will help you both to feel ready and educated for your big day! Feeling educated, supported and validated will only lead to a more positive birthing experience for both of you!

Having a Doula can assist with these things and so may more during your pregnancy, birth and postpartum so that when you both look back at your entire experience you both feel loved, supported and empowered. Doulas are there to help enhance the birth experience and make it as close to your ideal birth experience as they possibly can. They are there to help and never hinder the bond that you and your partner have.

So take some time, interview several and find the best fit for your both. Listen to your intuition and it will never steer you wrong. Then you both can have a positive and amazing birth experience that you can reminisce on for years to come.  If you have any questions, please contact us here.

What you want to know before baby comes home!

Many people say: I wish I would have known more before I had the baby! There are several things that you can do to prepare yourself and your home for baby’s arrival! Here are a few of the things that I feel are super important.

 Pre-made Meals

Ok, so let’s get real! The last thing you want to do after having a baby is cook! Yet, you need healthy and nourishing meals in order for your body to recover and if you are breastfeeding to provide breastmilk to your little one! So, start around 30-32 weeks! Make a meal or two a week and freeze them (make sure to label them too)! Stay away from gassy foods like cabbage and broccoli and spices like curry. That may make baby gassy and that won’t be fun for anyone involved! Making meals is really helpful because all you do is literally take it out of the freezer and pop it in the oven! Not only is it easy but it’s also healthy! It’s the best of both worlds!

Stock up on healthy snacks

Healthy snacks purchased before baby comes – You are going to be hungry!! Maybe even more hungry than you were when you were pregnant (especially if you are breastfeeding). Get snacks in bulk! I promise you won’t regret it! Not only should you get them in bulk but get a few baskets and some snacks in each one and place the around the house where you think you will be nursing. Add a couple bottles of water in the basket too just in case you forget yours! It’s very important to be drinking water while breastfeeding and if you can get a snack in, even better! Nourish your body often and with healthy foods and it will be kind to you in return!

Tucks Pads

After you push a baby out, the struggle can be real south of the border! Many women get hemorrhoids after giving birth and tucks pads are a great thing to have on hand. They cool and sooth your bottom! They are really inexpensive to which is an added bonus! I do recommend getting the name brand tucks pads and not an off brand. For some reason the name brand ones just work better.

Sitz bath

Sitz bath is LIFE after you have a baby! Your vaginal area and perineum will be sensitive, sore and swollen so a sitz bath with help heal and sooth that area! To prepare a sitz bath you can simply mix the following herbs (or as many as you can gather) with approximately 1.5 cups of Epsom salt in a large bowl:

1/4 cup Comfrey Leaf

1/2 cup Lavender Flowers

1/4 cup Plantain Leaf

1/2 cup Red Raspberry Leaf

1/4 cup Yarrow Flower

1/4 cup Calendula Flowers

1/4 cup Uva Ursi Leaf

Once you have stirred up the mix, please 4-5 tablespoons in little sachet bags. Tie the bags up and when you want to take advantage of this amazing blend you simply fill the tub up with warm water 2 inches or so and throw a sachet in. Let the herbs steep into the water for 5 minutes or so and then get in, sit down and let them do their magic! Do that as often as you need to for relief.

Overnight Maxi Pads

Go to a store where you can buy these in bulk. You never know how many you will need. After you give birth you may bleed for quite some time. So having these awesome things will be a benefit! Trust me! There are overnight pads that you can get that are thin and much more comfy yet still very absorbent. You don’t have to wear the huge overnight diaper pads if you aren’t comfortable.

Pad-cycles – It’s a super funny name, I know! But…they are awesome and super easy! All you do is take some of those overnight pads you purchased in bulk and squirt Witch Hazel, Aloe and if your daring some Lavender Essential Oils on them. You then stack them on top of one another in the freezer and use them after you have baby for the first few days. The pads are super absorbent so they are helping because your bleeding, the Witch Hazel is keeping everything clean and disinfected, the Aloe is healing and Soothing and the Lavender is healing also. It’s the TRIFECTA!!

Mesh disposable panties – People don’t realize how incredibly comfy these things are until they wear them for the first time! Typically if you birth at a hospital they have these for you to use while you are there. I always recommend to my clients to ask for more before they go. They cover your whole tummy and just hold everything in place. Plus you can throw them away and not have the hassle of washing them AND you don’t have to worry about ruining your own undies! Don’t worry… if you need more you can always purchase some from Amazon or other retailers!

Breastfeeding Bra or Tank & Pads – Breastfeeding is tricky enough without having to fight with your clothing or constantly leak all over the place. So do yourself a favor and purchase a few breastfeeding tanks and bras as well as pads to place inside the bras to protect against leakage. You will thank me, I promise you that! Plus…they are super comfy! Bonus!

Coconut Oil – No need for fancy nipple creams! Use coconut oil! Apply a small amount to your nipple and areola before and after every feeding to help sooth your nipples! Coconut oil is an antibacterial, anti-viral and an anti-fungal. It’s ok for baby to ingest so you don’t have to worry about washing it off after every feeding like you do with many other nipple creams. And it’s super inexpensive!

Breast pump – I don’t recommend pumping until 4-6 weeks after giving birth unless for some reason you need to. It’s important for your milk to regulate and for baby to get used to breastfeeding (should that be what you choose to do). Introducing another nipple before 4-6 weeks can make breastfeeding more difficult. But, some people aren’t able for one reason or another to breastfeed so making sure that you have a pump on hand (preferably before baby comes) will just have you a step ahead of the game. You never know when you will need it so having it as a just in case just gives you peace of mind! Who doesn’t want peace of mind as a parent!

So… now… you have prepared yourself for your postpartum period! Being prepared for when baby comes home will allow you to enjoy your postpartum period that much more. There will be less to worry and stress about and you can just enjoy time with your little one! You will be able to be still and allow your body time to heal too. So you win, your baby wins and your family wins. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Important things to do and get before you give birth!

Many people say: I wish I would have known before I had the baby! There are several things that you can do to prepare yourself and your home for baby’s arrival!! Here are a few of the things that I feel are super important!

  • Pre-made Meals – Ok, so let’s get real! The last thing you want to do after having a baby is cook! Yet, you need healthy and nourishing meals in order for your body to recover and if you are breastfeeding to provide breastmilk to your little one! So, start around 30-32 weeks! Make a meal or two a week and freeze them (make sure to label them too)! Stay away from gassy foods like cabbage and broccoli and spices like curry. That may make baby gassy and that won’t be fun for anyone involved! Making meals is really helpful because all you do is literally take it out of the freezer and pop it in the oven! Not only is it easy but it’s also healthy! It’s the best of both worlds!
  • Healthy snacks purchased before baby comes – You are going to be hungry!! Maybe even more hungry than you were when you were pregnant (especially if you are breastfeeding). Get snacks in bulk! I promise you won’t regret it! Not only should you get them in bulk but get a few baskets and some snacks in each one and place the around the house where you think you will be nursing. Add a couple bottles of water in the basket too just in case you forget yours! It’s very important to be drinking water while breastfeeding and if you can get a snack in, even better! Nourish your body often and with healthy foods and it will be kind to you in return!
  • Tucks pads – After you push a baby out, the struggle can be real south of the border! Many women get hemorrhoids after giving birth and tucks pads are a great thing to have on hand. They cool and sooth your bottom! They are really inexpensive to which is an added bonus! I do recommend getting the name brand tucks pads and not an off brand. For some reason the name brand ones just work better.
  • Sitz bath – Sitz bath is LIFE after you have a baby! Your vaginal area and perineum will be sensitive, sore and swollen so a sitz bath with help heal and sooth that area! To prepare a sitz bath you can simply mix the following herbs (or as many as you can gather) with approximately 1.5 cups of Epsom salt in a large bowl:
    • 1/4 cup Comfrey Leaf
    • 1/2 cup Lavender Flowers
    • 1/4 cup Plantain Leaf
    • 1/2 cup Red Raspberry Leaf
    • 1/4 cup Yarrow Flower
    • 1/4 cup Calendula Flowers
    • 1/4 cup Uva Ursi Leaf

Once you have stirred up the mix, please 4-5 tablespoons in little sachet bags. Tie the bags up and when you want to take advantage of this amazing blend you simply fill the tub up with warm water 2 inches or so and throw a sachet in. Let the herbs steep into the water for 5 minutes or so and then get in, sit down and let them do their magic! Do that as often as you need to for relief.

  • Overnight pads – Go to a store where you can buy these in bulk. You never know how many you will need. After you give birth you may bleed for quite some time. So having these awesome things will be a benefit! Trust me! There are overnight pads that you can get that are thin and much more comfy yet still very absorbent. You don’t have to wear the huge overnight diaper pads if you aren’t comfortable.
  • Pad-cycles – It’s a super funny name, I know! But…they are awesome and super easy! All you do is take some of those overnight pads you purchased in bulk and squirt Witch Hazel, Aloe and if your daring some Lavender Essential Oils on them. You then stack them on top of one another in the freezer and use them after you have baby for the first few days. The pads are super absorbent so they are helping because your bleeding, the Witch Hazel is keeping everything clean and disinfected, the Aloe is healing and Soothing and the Lavender is healing also. It’s the TRIFECTA!!
  • Mesh disposable panties – People don’t realize how incredibly comfy these things are until they wear them for the first time! Typically if you birth at a hospital they have these for you to use while you are there. I always recommend to my clients to ask for more before they go. They cover your whole tummy and just hold everything in place. Plus you can throw them away and not have the hassle of washing them AND you don’t have to worry about ruining your own undies! Don’t worry… if you need more you can always purchase some from Amazon or other retailers!
  • Breastfeeding Bra or Tank & Pads – Breastfeeding is tricky enough without having to fight with your clothing or constantly leak all over the place. So do yourself a favor and purchase a few breastfeeding tanks and bras as well as pads to place inside the bras to protect against leakage. You will thank me, I promise you that! Plus…they are super comfy! Bonus!
  • Coconut Oil – No need for fancy nipple creams! Use coconut oil! Apply a small amount to your nipple and areola before and after every feeding to help sooth your nipples! Coconut oil is an antibacterial, anti-viral and an anti-fungal. It’s ok for baby to ingest so you don’t have to worry about washing it off after every feeding like you do with many other nipple creams. And it’s super inexpensive!
  • Breast pump – I don’t recommend pumping until 4-6 weeks after giving birth unless for some reason you need to. It’s important for your milk to regulate and for baby to get used to breastfeeding (should that be what you choose to do). Introducing another nipple before 4-6 weeks can make breastfeeding more difficult. But, some people aren’t able for one reason or another to breastfeed so making sure that you have a pump on hand (preferably before baby comes) will just have you a step ahead of the game. You never know when you will need it so having it as a just in case just gives you peace of mind! Who doesn’t want peace of mind as a parent!

So… now… you have prepared yourself for your postpartum period! Being prepared for when baby comes home will allow you to enjoy your postpartum period that much more. There will be less to worry and stress about and you can just enjoy time with your little one! You will be able to be still and allow your body time to heal too. So you win, your baby wins and your family wins. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Plus Size Friendly Doula At Your Service

First let me start off by saying, you CAN BIRTH VAGINALLY AND NATURAL AND BE PLUS SIZE! There are many OB Practices that may try to veer you away from birthing naturally but your body is fully capable! I am a plus size friendly Doula and here to let you know that I am on your side! I am here and I have the education and experience to help plus size moms labor and birth their way! So lets dive in!

There are three very important things to remember as a plus size pregnant person!

  1. Choose a Plus Size Friendly Provider! In order for you to be supported with your birth choices and to be supported during your labor and birth it is imperative that you choose a plus size friendly provider. Not all OB’s are created equal and making sure that you are supported in all aspects of your pregnancy and birth can make or break your birth experience. Do you research, ask questions, interview potential OB practices! Remember, you are bringing your business to them! They need to impress you, not the other way around.
  2. Educate yourself! An educated laboring person is an EMPOWERED laboring person! The more educated you are the more you are able to make informed decisions instead of decisions made out of fear. Its not enough to know what the options are, but you also need to educate yourself on the pros and cons of each option. This is a huge moment in your life and going into it educated and empowered will make you remember your labor and birth experience is such a more positive and uplifting way! You deserve a positive birth experience and educating yourself is a great way to help you achieve that.
  3. Hire A Doula! It is important for you to have a supportive labor and birth support team. This includes your medical practice, hospital, nurse, family members that would be present (including a partner if this applies) and a Doula. Having a Doula there to help you articulate your wishes, empower and uplift you and other members of your birth team and help give you unbiased information should decisions need to be made is so so important! Those who receive continuous support during labor by a trained birth Doula are: 28% less likely to have a cesarean section, 31% less likely to use synthetic Oxycontin to speed up labor, 9% less likely to use pain medication and are 34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively. But don’t just hire any Doula. Hire a Doula that has experience with caring for Plus Size Laboring People. There are certain laboring positions that Plus Size Friendly Birth Doulas know and there are also mechanics of the Plus Size Body that Plus Size Friendly Doulas are aware of and well versed in! It is a proven fact that Plus Size Laboring People are at a higher risk for having a Cesarean Section. So by hiring a Plus Size Friendly Doula, you are increasing your chances of having a vaginal birth! Here is a link to find a Plus Size Doula in your area.

Please know that you can equip yourself with all of the knowledge and resources to increase your chances of having a vaginal birth! Its within your power! You just need to recognize that you do have the power and you make the choices! Align yourself with a positive pregnancy and birth team and you will be one step closer to having a healthy vaginal birth! Birth your way!

What To Pack For The Hospital/Birth Center

Labor & Birth Bag

  • Picture ID, Insurance Card and Hospital Paperwork
  • Your Birth Plan (at least 2 copies)
  • *Eyeglasses/Contacts & Solution
  • Bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • 2-3 Pairs Socks with grips
  • Whatever Helps Relax You (Music, Pillows, Electric Candles, Oils, etc…)
  • Heating Pad
  • Fan
  • *Birthing Clothes/Gown
  • Jog Bras/Bathing Suit Tops (If you plan to labor in the water)
  • Lip Balm
  • Headband and/or Ponytail Holder
  • Hard Candies/Peppermints
  • Flip Flops
  • Extension cord for electronic devices
  • *Essential Oils
  • *Essential Oil Diffuser (If at Hospital)

For You & Partner

  • Snacks/Mints/Gum
  • *Medications
  • Toiletries
  • Something to Read and/or Watch
  • Pillows (Ones you don’t mind getting a bit messy)
  • Cellphone Chargers

For Your Partner

  • Camera (with Charger, Memory Card, Batteries and/or Charger)
  • Change of Clothes & Undergarments (Bathing Suit if you want to get in the water with mom)
  • Money (or Credit Card)

Hospital Bag For You

  • Nursing Bras and Pads
  • 2-3 Changes of Roomy/Comfortable Clothes
  • Pillows

Hospital Bag for Partner

  • 2-3 Changes of Clothes
  • Undergarments
  • Snacks
  • Comfortable Pillows

What To Bring For Baby

  • Installed Car Seat
  • Going Home Outfit
  • 1-2 Easy Outfits (t-shirts that snap in the front)
  • Extra Blanket (For The Way Home If It’s Chilly)
  • *A Thick Hat (If It Is A Colder Season)
  • 1-2 Pairs of Socks
  • Nail file

What to bring/prepare for siblings

  • Snacks
  • 2-3 changes of clothes
  • Comfort Items (blanket, stuffed animal, etc…)
  • Color Books & Coloring Utensils
  • Reading Books
  • DVD Player/Laptop to watch movies & Chargers
  • Toiletries (If planning on spending the night)
  • Puzzles/Small Games (without many pieces)
  • Pillow
  • Slippers