Childbirth, Pregnancy, Video

What to Expect From Active Labor During Childbirth

A sample video from the online childbirth preparation course, Birth Transformed, https://birthtransformed.teachable.com/p/birthtransformed

Childbirth, Pregnancy

7 People You Need In Your Life When Pregnant

Who you choose to spend time with during pregnancy makes a difference. 

Pregnancy sprinkles change on just about every area of your life. These changes can create feelings of instability, anxiety, and other not so fun emotional gremlins.

This time of change gets a lot easier when you to surround yourself with individuals who will support you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Seeking out the following individuals, and inviting them on your journey to motherhood, will not just make your own experience easier, but will create a happier and healthier space for your baby, in and out of the womb.

1. A Medical Care Provider Who Gets You and Supports You

Medical care providers are often viewed as medical wizards possessing omnipotence- we give them a lot of power.

Ensure the person you’re choosing to hand a piece of your power over to is someone who deserves it.

Find a care provider that makes you feel safe, that makes you excited about being pregnant, that fills you with hope, and is stoked when you hand over your list of birth preferences.

Find a care provider who radiates support for your unique needs and desires during pregnancy and birth; that type of care is your birthright.

2. A Mom-Friend Who Only Gives You Advice If You Ask For It

It’s fun to have someone to commiserate with when your pregnant back is harassing you, and your feet have assumed the texture of Playdoh. It’s less fun when all you want to do is have a cathartic session of complaining with someone who gets it, but instead, you’re met with advice.

Find a friend that’s so down to bitch about crummy pregnancy symptoms, cry about how amazing (and insane) it is to be growing a person inside you, and process all the other pregnancy goodies and non-goodies without telling you how to fix it, or “enjoy it now because it won’t last.” Find a friend who is safe to Just Be You with.

3. A Pregnancy Massage Therapist Who Gets You In All The Right Places

I didn’t receive a massage until the middle of my third trimester, because I didn’t know what I was missing. My incessant heartburn, achy back, and paper-thin temper were all soothed by the end of that first massage, and stayed that way for about a week. 

I hopped on that wagon for the rest of my pregnancy, and my massage therapist (who was a mama of two) became one of my friends (see #2) that I could complain, cry, and laugh with, without any judgment or unwanted advice (but, sometimes I would beg her for advice because she knew her stuff, about all the things.)
 
4. The Vulnerable Side of Your Partner

Did you know your partner (if your partner is a male) will experience a drop in testosterone during your pregnancy? This drop in the “masculine hormone” facilitates their ability to be softer and more nurturing. 

While these changes may be initially jarring for your partner, it also opens a gateway into their vulnerability. 

Coaxing out the vulnerable, more emotionally open, side of your partner could help them reconcile with their hormonal changes by seeing how you positively respond to the resulting vulnerability and openness, and how the shifts can deepen the bond in your relationship.

Being able to share your concerns, fears, and hopes about the massive change careening into your lives will make you and your partner feel less alone and more secure in your partnership. 
 
5. A Doula Who Has No Agenda But Helping You Have Your Optimal Birth

While your medical care provider will help to ensure your body and baby remain physically safe throughout pregnancy and birth, a doula can help you feel emotionally safe, which in turn creates more physical well-being.

If you choose to hire a doula, ensure you feel comfortable around them and safe to freely express yourself.

When you tell your doula your desires for your birth, you want them to be all in, instead of trying to impose their views of the “right way” to birth on you.

It’s all about you mama.
 
6. Your Kindest Self

The goal of finding this person, who conveniently lives inside you, is not about putting on a happy face for others, but locating that tender space within where you cut yourself some slack for not feeling totally jazzed about birth, or freaking out at the sight of your ballooning body, or thinking that there’s no way you’ll be a “fit mother.”

Your kindest self won’t knock you for having these thoughts and fears, but will whisper a calming “shhh” into your heart and give you a long hug. And if she really loves you, she’ll put you down for a nap.

 
You’re spectacular; remember that as you seek out these fabulous people existing outside your home, inside your partner, or within yourself. You deserve to have a tribe of loving, supportive, and judgment-free folks lifting you up and making you feel like the human-growing-goddess you are. 

P.S. Until 12.31.17 you can get 10% off my favorite baby carrier at ErgoBaby.com! Just use the super simple coupon code BBMkp9VIniU 😉 And, FREE shipping! 

Childbirth, Pregnancy

Why You Need to Forget About Your Due Date

There are few events as anticipation-worthy as the birth of your child. You’ve been growing your little nugget for many months, wondering if they’ll look like you or your partner, if they’ll adore you or ignore you, if they’ll be smiley or stoic… so many “what ifs” to discover. And now, you’re almost there. You’re so close your heart can taste the sweet flavor of that first meeting.

But wait, when will that meeting occur? On your due date, right? Maybe. Maybe not.

According to a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences there is a variation of 37 days in pregnancy length of women who conceived naturally and knew the date of their conception, “even after excluding women with complications or preterm births.” A 37-day range!

This study suggests that fetal development rates are unique to each mother and baby, proving there is no way to determine exactly when you will go into labor, unless you need artificial induction or a cesarean section because of special circumstances.

So, you’re required to sit pretty and not so patiently wait for Baby to give the signal that he’s ready to come out.

To make the waiting game a little easier, try out the following suggestions.
1. Relish the Last Days In Your Current Life

You deserve to experience joyful anticipation as you near the unknown birth date of your baby- not increasing anxiety because Baby didn’t come on the day she “was supposed to.”

So, instead of trying to force Baby out by dousing your meals in hot sauce, slipping some Castor oil in your orange juice, or lunging up and down your street while eating dates, lie on the couch with your partner and binge on a show that’s wildly inappropriate for children, get a pedicure, or, if you already have a child, take them on a date.

When you give your mind something to focus on (besides the fact that you haven’t gone into labor) it’s easier to enjoy the final days of spending time with the current makeup of your family and self – because as you might have heard, everythingchanges after Baby emerges.

2. Distract Yourself With Relaxation

Feeling bummed after your due date has passed not only negatively impacts your mental state but can cause your body to kick into a “fight or flight” response. In this state, your body floods with stressor hormones, your muscles tighten, your breath becomes shallow, and your blood redirects to your defense organs (the uterus is not a defense organ.) These unfavorable conditions can block your uterus and baby from flicking on the green light of labor.

To get into a Zen zone ripe for the onset of labor, practice relaxation techniques like meditation, a soak in a warm bath, deep breathing, yoga, or a prenatal massage.

Distracting yourself from laboring thoughts may be all you need to move into it.

3. Stop Telling People Your Due Date
 
I’ve seen women dis-invite mothers, sisters, best friends, and others from their child’s birth because they became so annoyed with these folks hassling them on their due date, and every day thereafter.
 
If you’re asked over and over and over again if you’re in labor (when you’re not in labor) you may begin to feel like you’re doing something wrong–that your body doesn’t know what it’s doing–that your baby doesn’t want to come to you. These are untrue thoughts, but thoughts that can send you into labor uncertain about your birthing abilities and frustrated with your supporters.
 

The best way to fend off the “are you in labor yet?” calls and texts, is to share the general time of month you’re due, instead of the exact date your care provider offered.

If, for example, your care provider gave you the due date of May 18th, say you’re due “mid-May.” If you’re given the due date of January 27th, you could say, “I’m due the end of January/ beginning of February.” Or, you could just share the month, without further details.
 
If you’re pressed for an actual date, fib and say your doctor had trouble determining an exact date, so they gave you a range instead.
 
As you, and those you share deets of your pregnancy with, shift focus from a number on the calendar, to a trust that Baby will come when they’re supposed to, you’ll find more enjoyment in the final phase of pregnancy, your body will relax enough to go into labor when it’s ready, and annoying “check ins” on The Date won’t happen.
 
Hey girl, don’t be afraid to be vague.

P.S. Until 12.31.17 you can get 10% off my favorite baby carrier at ErgoBaby.com! Just use the super simple coupon code BBMkp9VIniU 😉 And, FREE shipping!

Childbirth, Pregnancy

5 Essential To-Dos Before Getting Pregnant

Why wait until pregnancy to soak your Self in tender loving care?

By taking steps now to nurture the health of your body, and overall life, you can infuse your eventual pregnancy with heightened vitality and a more peaceful and appreciative energy.

Following, are actions you can take to begin preparing your Self for the epic journey into motherhood you are hoping to begin.

1. Prep Your Body

Make your body the optimal vessel for new life by phasing out habits like drinking, smoking and heavy caffeine use, and…

  • Begin taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid
  • Eat organic fruits and vegetables (if possible)
  • Limit your intake of fish that is high in mercury
  • Just say no to processed foods
  • Under the supervision of your care provider begin a moderate exercise regime, if you don’t already have one
  • Up your water intake
  • Replace chemical-laden cleaning agents with organic alternatives (like vinegar, water and baking soda)
  • See your dentist
  • Schedule a preconception visit with your medical care provider who will look at the landscape of your health and fertility and make any needed recommendations to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy and birth (and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion!)

Phew! It’s a lot, but so worth it.
2. Nurture Your Romantic Relationship

A strange side effect of preparing for pregnancy is that romance is quickly pushed aside to make way for “the business of becoming pregnant,” and the woman begins treating her romantic partner like a business partner.

Ensure that you stoke that love, and don’t infuse too much business into “business time,” by going on regular dates (where you don’t talk about ovulation or pregnancy tests), write each other love letters, or do other activities that remind you why you’re wanting to create a whole new person with your current person.

3. Assess Your Finances, Then Plan Accordingly

Yup, making, baking, birthing, and raising babies costs money. First, take a good look at your health care coverage and determine if it will adequately cover your prenatal care needs, making sure you understand how much your deductible is and what types of care providers and birth facilities are covered. If, for example, you have your uterus set on a birth center birth, but you’re only covered for a hospital birth, you’ll need to consider what you’d have to pay out of pocket for that birth center care.

Next, take a look at your assets, monthly bills, and the income of both you and your partner – are there any adjustments that need to be made to ensure you’ll feel secure when baby arrives?

A major consideration is your employment. Do you work from home? Do you work in an office that offers paid maternity leave? No paid maternity leave? How will your work, and the attached income, mingle with a new baby? It can be overwhelming to chew on all these financial logistics but it’s better to do it now, than when you’re submerged in pregnancy hormones.

4. Massage Your Mental Wellbeing

Your body isn’t the only aspect of your health that needs nurturing: your mind will be a major player in a successful conception, gestation, and birth, so it’s essential to give it the care it needs.

If you feel that you have, or are at risk of developing, a mental disorder it is best to consult with your medical care provider and receive recommendations for mental health specialists. If you feel that your mental and emotional state is stable, but you would like to explore the inner workings of your mind, you may want to consider the services of a hypnotherapist, meditation teacher, or other type of alternative specialist.

5. Make a List of Dreams, Then Dive Into (Some of) Them

While your life will blossom in ways you didn’t even think were possible after you have your child, there will also be new limitations placed on your life. For example, it will be trickier to pick up and travel at a moments notice, go all-in with starting a new business, or read those one hundred books in one year after baby is born.

Make a list of all the dreams you would like to see come to fruition then rate them, with the items at the top being dreams you want to make happen (or at least begin pecking away at) before Baby is born, and the rest being actions or experiences you would be happy to explore with your little one in tow.

An added benefit of this exercise, and the attached dream-fulfilling actions, is that it can help to distract you from the stress of waiting for that positive pregnancy test, which may actually help you get pregnant.

So, go ahead and start checking off these boxes then . . . ready, set, toss that birth control!

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Press

Bringing Harmony and Balance into Motherhood

Today, I’ve invited Bailey Gaddis, author of the book, Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood – to join me for a dialogue about what it takes to create a balanced and harmonious experience as a mother. Her book was recently published by New World Library and is already receiving rave reviews.

Before she was a beloved pregnancy blogger, certified birthing doula and childbirth preparation educator, Bailey Gaddis met her own pregnancy by buying a bunch of books — which, for the most part, made her even more confused, insecure, and scared. So by adopting the principles and philosophy of feng shui, the Chinese system of a connected inner and outer harmony, she wrote her own book – one that guides women to their balanced center and supports them in tapping into the primal energies brought forth in the birthing and motherhood experience.

Here’s what she had to say on the topic of balance and harmony in motherhood.

Read more on Moonlight Muse

Childbirth, Pregnancy

How Does A Doula Help Throughout Your Pregnancy? The Benefits Are Real

*Quoted as expert in article.

Doulas aren’t medically trained, so they can’t provide medical advice, but there’s still a lot they can do to support your pregnancy — including helping you understand the advice your doctor gives you.

Bailey Gaddis, C.Ht, HBCE, of Your Serene Life, tells Romper that she offers two prenatal appointments lasting one-to-two hours. During this time, she helps new moms write their birth plans, and discusses any concerns they may have about labor. She helps moms prepare the house for baby, provides hypnotherapy (one of her specialties), and acts as a “sounding board” when moms have issues with their medical care provider. One of Gaddis’s major goals is to reduce anxiety, which is important, because chronic stress can negatively impact your pregnancy. She explains:

Childbirth, Pregnancy

Doulas Are F*cking Awesome

*Quoted as expert in article

Tracey O’Halloran had one C-section and didn’t want another, so she found a hospital that would respect her wishes — and a doula, Katie Prendergast.

Once labor began, Tracey says, “I was in full-blown freakout pain and fear … She encouraged me to get on top of the wave and ride it out and reminded me this was all normal and my body was designed to do this. I don’t know if the pain became more manageable or I became better at managing, but that was a game changer.” Katie rocked Tracey and her husband together in the midst of her contractions. She kept Tracey’s husband from chattering at her during contractions. “So many little and bigmoments, even to the gentle suggestion of using mineral oil when baby’s head got a little stuck,” Tracey tells Scary Mommy. “I am so, so so thankful.”

Tracey had it right: Doulas are amazing.

Read more on Scary Mommy!

Childbirth, Parenting, Pregnancy, Press

Inspired Conversations with Linda Joy

Curious about what’s it’s like to navigate the emotions of an unplanned pregnancy? Or, many of the other wonderful/crazy/confusing/transformative challenges of the journey into #motherhood? Tune into to my interview on the Inspired Conversations with Linda Joy radio show today at 2pm ET here, http://omtimes.com/iom/shows/inspired-conversations/ #pregnancy #childbirth#fengshuimommy

Inspired Conversations_Bailey Gaddis

 

Childbirth, Pregnancy

Become the Queen of Quickies

*Excerpt from Feng Shui Mommy

Exercise does not have to be held together by laces, sweat-wicking spandex, and a Jillian Michaels playlist you found in a fitness magazine. Toning and stretching your muscles and livening up your heart rate can happen anyplace, anytime. Of the suggestions below, some are a few of the endorphin-eliciting quickies I partook in while my uterus was packing a baby, and some are ideas from the human-making babes I’ve worked with. I encourage you to try these, then work out your creative nature by thinking up new ways to get in a quickie.

Squats:

While you’re doing dishes, scrolling through your phone, or engaging in any other stationary activity, squat into it. A squat is an excellent way to prep your birthing muscles and get comfortable assuming the most effective birthing position, which is . . . a squat. Play around with the squat until you find a position that you feel secure in while it’s causing your glutes and thighs to tighten. No need to assume a full squat; bending your knees a bit and lowering your tush a few inches is effective. Squat for as long as you feel comfortable, and upgrade the benefits by dropping some Kegels into the mix.

Read more on Lexi Yoga

Childbirth, Pregnancy

The Best Ways To Prepare For A C-Section, According To Experts

*Quoted as expert for this article.

No two birth stories are alike, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some universal guidelines that can help any mom-to be. If you plan on having a Cesarean delivery (or even if you don’t — birth is unpredictable) then you might be relieved to know that there are actually quite a few ways you can prepare for your C-section.

If you aren’t familiar with the procedure, c-section is “the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus,” according to Baby Center. In most cases, the end result will leave you with a thin, horizontal scar slightly below your bikini line.

Due to multiple chronic illnesses which affected my pregnancy — Lupus, an autoimmune disease, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, and scoliosis, to name a few — I knew well in advance that I was going to have a medically necessary C-section. This gave me plenty of time to research, and it also gave me plenty of time to worry about every hypothetical situation in the book. Thankfully, you can ease your mind by knowing what to expect when you check out these things you can do to prepare for your C-section.

Read more on Romper