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preparingforhomebirth

Preparing for a Home Birth

preparingforhomebirth

Should you prepare for a home birth?  While it is true that you are more likely to have a natural birth when birthing at home, there are still many things that you can do ahead of time to prepare for a fabulous experience. In truth, a home birth requires just as much preparation as any other birth. Here are five tips on how to prepare for a home birth.

Step 1- Carefully choose your midwife-

All midwives are not created equally. They vary in their qualifications, certifications, experience, and even legality from one state to the next. It is important to know what your midwife has to offer and if that is what you want and feel comfortable with for your birth. (This post has a list of questions to ask a home birth midwife.)

Some women really crave a motherly confidant, others somebody who totally trusts birth. Some women prefer somebody with a similar faith to them, while other women are most concerned with emergency supplies and skills.

Here are some things that may be important to you as you choose a home birth midwife:

~Applicable medical skills, experience or certification. Asking about their skill and ability in resuscitation of the newborn, stopping hemorrhage both with pharmaceuticals and with herbs, suturing, and starting an IV, are all important.

~Relationship and connection.  Pick somebody who you not only trust to handle any emergency that might pop up, but who you also like and feel comfortable while very vulnerable.

~Experience and education are important.  Where did she receive training? How many births has she attended? Is she CPR certified? Can she start an IV easily? Do those things matter to you?  What laws governing midwifery care will apply to your birth?  What is she uncomfortable or unskilled at?  Will these things merit transfer? This link has a basic break down on the different types of midwives and what they do.

Step 2- Take a good birth preparation class-

There is a pervasive idea that you don't need a class if you birth at home because nobody is standing at the ready with an epidural in your house.You still have to labor and birth no matter where or how you have your baby. For this reason, a comprehensive childbirth class is an important part of preparing for a home birth. Knowledge is powerful, not just in improving your experience, but in helping you be more prepared for any outcome possible.

There are many reasons a home birthing couple can still benefit from a childbirth class.

~It prepares dad. Not all dads are excited to read volumes in preparation for a home birth, but a class can be incredibly beneficial in communicating that information in a fun and informative way. A birth class that prepares him well can do heaps of good not just for his comfort, but also your enjoyment of the birth. It is a sad truth that sometimes the birthing woman feels a little resentful of a clueless partner after a hard labor and many a dad feels useless and helpless when he isn't prepared. (We love this post full of photos of incredible birth partner dads. Birth can be an empowering experience for both people in the relationship!)

~Many women, even those who home birth, need to learn to relax.  They also may need to learn how to navigate the hospital system in case of transfer. Sometimes a transfer to the hospital is necessary. This doesn't happen too often, but the experience can be much less traumatic if your birth class also prepared you for things outside of your plan. In fact, our resident midwife advisory board member has noticed that her clients transfer less often if they are well prepared with a Birth Boot Camp class.

Step 3- Prepare your home-

Home birth requires mom to prepare some things in advance on the home front. Even if you have helpful family and friends, it is still nice to have an organized house with lots of things set aside in the freezer.

One of the most helpful things you can do is prepare or purchase meals in advance before your home birth. This can be fairly painless if you simply choose one meal a week to double in the months leading up to your birth. Using a disposable pan for the mean going in the freezer can make clean up after baby even easier.

Some recipes that can work well are: shepherd's pie, homemade macaroni and cheese, stuffed bell peppers, lasagna, and enchiladas, chicken and rice with veggies, or various soups.  Even if you have numerous meals delivered by friends and loved ones after the birth of your baby,you may have a few days before anybody knows you had a baby where those frozen meals come in handy. In addition, after the baby comes and the meals have stopped, it is nice to have something ready for those days when baby needs extra attention and feeding.

Getting your birth kit ready and organized in an easy to access place, having a clean bathroom and clean sheets (with a spare), having your midwives number programmed into your phone (and your partner's phone) are all additional ways you can prepare your home for the new baby.

Step 4- Take healthy pregnancy nutrition and exercise seriously-

Another important part of preparing for a home birth is nutrition and exercise. It is amazing the impact our own nutrition and exercise can have on the comfort and low risk status of our pregnancy and birth. Choosing to birth anywhere means you are responsible for preparing your healthy body and staying low risk. If the words "eat healthy" or "exercise" frighten you a little, your birth class will be incredibly helpful on this front too. The food log contained in your workbook and the incredible exercise program developed by Katie Dudley for Birth Boot Camp, are helpful for both the beginner and the expert.

You can get started now with a few of the many pregnancy exercises that Katie covers, by reading this blog post. She has also found great relief for women through foam rolling. You can read more about foam rolling during pregnancy here.

Step 5- Hire a doula-

A doula is a welcome addition to a hospital birth, but they are also an asset in a home birth setting. The time that your doula spends with you before the birth during visits, during the birth, and after during the postpartum period, is not just helpful, it can be sanity saving. The time of labor and birthing is a time in life where more support is always needed.

At Birth Boot Camp DOULA we strive to also give our doulas exceptional education regarding breastfeeding and how to succeed. This knowledge on the part of your doula is one of the greatest skills she brings postpartum.

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No matter where you are planning on having your baby, education, trusted relationships, nutrition and exercise, a prepared home, and a supportive doula are a wonderful addition to your preparations. Birth is designed to be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Embrace it.

doulas don't empower women (doula backrub)

Doulas Do Not Empower Women

One common belief about doulas is that hiring a doula will automatically "empower" you. This isn't quite the case. What is true is that doulas can help you empower yourself. We love this guest post from doula and VBAC mom, Alex Rounds. Read it and share it with someone you care about. A doula just might improve their birth.
doulas don't empower women (doula backrub)

Doulas do not empower women, women empower themselves. But having a doula helps.

A few years ago, I had to explain what doulas are to family members, friends and acquaintances.  Now the work is a little less strange and doula work is a little better understood. I see fewer confused faces when I introduce myself as a doula. It’s nice. Word is spreading that women with continuous support from doulas are more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births, shorter labors, less use of interventions such as anesthesia, epidurals and cesareans, and even have babies with higher APGAR scores (Hodnett E., Gates, S., Hofmeyr, G., & Sakala C. 2013).

Still many people don’t know what doulas are and many who would like doula support do not have it. I’m happy to share that rates of doula support are increasing because that tells me more women are having better births with lower rates of interventions. As Kozhimannil et al found, doula support in birth lowers risk of cesarean by as much as 60-80% and increase comfort and satisfaction for one of the biggest events in the lives of parents (2014). But more women want doulas. We are an underutilized resource and the body of evidence for the effectiveness of doula support is growing. If you think you might want a doula, don’t hesitate. We want to help.

Maybe you have heard of the “cascade of intervention” that can lead to more medicalized birth and cesarean. That’s one thing we can help temper. Sometimes it may feel like an intervention is the only option, and one intervention often leads to more. Doulas help women and their families evaluate choices and make sure expecting parents are aware of their options. Medical interventions come with risks, some may seem small, but risks are cumulative and some have known long term consequences.

Doulas work with women to help them use and build their own strength. We help women realize their own strength by supporting them. We are there to offer physical comfort, emotional support, and provide up to date, accurate, evidence-based information to the best of our abilities aiding the process of childbirth. Through this process fewer interventions are needed or elected by the informed and supported family.

Doulas do not prevent women from using medical interventions but offer alternatives so that women may choose what is right for them and do not feel the need for interventions. Doulas do not empower women, but they do help women empower themselves.

We support women and their families. And when women do choose interventions, it’s usually with more time to talk about their choices, receiving more information and after offering or exhausting non-medical strategies.

Echoing the long held assertions of natural birth advocates, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2014) recently sited doula support as an effective and harmless strategy for preventing unnecessary cesareans. Cesareans carry risks that many women, even those who have undergone them, are unaware of according to the Listening to Mothers Survey II (2006). These include: severe maternal morbidities––defined as hemorrhage that requires hysterectomy or transfusion, uterine rupture, anesthetic complications, shock, cardiac arrest, acute renal failure, assisted ventilation, venous thromboembolism, major infection, or in-hospital wound disruption or hematoma––was increased threefold for cesarean delivery as compared with vaginal delivery,” including complications that effect long term reproductive health.

In the last few years, we have begun to see the cesarean rate dropping very gradually from a high of 32.9% to 32.7% (Hamilton, B.E., Martin, J.A., Osterman M., & Curtin SC, 2014)/ The efforts of many to improve maternity care, from individuals, consumer advocate organizations, labor doulas, medical professionals, medical organizations and collaborative organizations made up of all of the above, are beginning to turn the tide. But we still have a long way to go.

The late, great Marsden Wagner (former Director of the Women and Children’s Health for the World Health Organization) wrote, labor and birth are functions of the autonomic nervous system and are therefore out of conscience control. . . two approaches to assisting at birth: work with the woman to facilitate her own autonomic responses - humanized birth; override biology and superimpose external control using interventions such as drugs and surgical procedures - medicalized birth. Doulas are clearly part of the humanizing model. In a way that an untrained friend, partner and even your own Mother (probably) can’t, a doula can help guide and engage a willing support team, including moms, partners, siblings, kids and occasionally medical providers connecting the team to the laboring woman and improves outcomes as well as satisfaction. Friends and loved ones can help women feel better about their birth, but they don’t reduce the use of interventions (Cochrane, 2012).

Doulas help women so women can make choices about their care. We can’t guarantee outcomes, but we can help women improve theirs. I hear people say that doulas empower women. I don’t agree. Doulas do not empower women, women empower themselves. But having a doula helps.

If you think you might want a doula- then you probably should. If you don’t already want a doula, maybe you should consider the conclusions Hednet, et all came to… “All women should have support throughout labor and birth.” A doula is one of the best kinds of support you can have for your labor and birth.


Alex Rounds, Doula

In a nutshell, Alex Rounds is a moderately well-adjusted human being.  She is a member of La Leche League, a Breastfeeding Counselor, and Mom. She has three fun, quirky and ever-challenging sweet kids. Presently, Alex's time is consumed with homeschooling, studying midwifery, volunteering, providing breastfeeding support, and attending birth as a doula. You can find Alex at www.AlexTheDoula.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/alexthedoula.

 

 

References

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine. (2014) Obstetric Care Consensus Series- Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean. Delivery. Number 1. 2014, March

Declercq E., Sakala C., Corry, M., & Applebaum S. (2006) Listening to Mothers II: Pregnancy and Birth. New York: Childbirth Connection, October 2006.

Hamilton BE, Martin JA, Osterman MJK, Curtin SC. (2014) Births: Preliminary data for 2013. National vital statistics reports; vol 63 no 2. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2014.

Hodnett E., Gates, S., Hofmeyr, G., & Sakala C. (2013) Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database Systemic Review. 2013 Jul 15;7:CD003766.

Kozhimannil, K., Attanasio, L., Jou, J. , Joarnt, K., Johnson, P., & Gjerdingen, D. (2014) Potential Benefits of Increased Access to Doula Support During. American Journal of Managed Care. 2014. Vol 20. N 8. Retrieved from http://www.ajmc.com/publications/issue/2014/2014-vol20-n8/potential- benefits-of-increased-access-to-doula-support-during-childbirth/3#sthash.fwMhGi3R.dpuf

Wagner, M. (2000). Fish Can’t See the Water. Retrieved from https://www.birthinternational.com/articles/birth/18-fish-cant-see-water)

Carrollton, TX birth class

Childbirth Classes in Carrollton, TX

Carrollton, TX birth class
One of Caryn's Childbirth Class Reunions in Carrollton, TX

We love introducing you to our many AMAZING birth teachers. Today you get to meet Caryn who is amazing for a reason. (Can you say "VBAC warrior!?") And if you happen to need a childbirth class in Carrollton, TX, then she is the gal for you! Check her out.

Childbirth Classes in Carrollton, TX

First, could you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your own birth experiences and how they influenced your desire to teach childbirth classes.

My name is Caryn Westdyk and I have been married to my husband Steve for 9 years and have 5 beautiful children. When we found out we were expecting our first child, I did very little to prepare or educate myself about birth. In fact, I just randomly asked for an OB recommendation and went with it. I had no idea that there was a problem with the rising cesarean rate and had no idea that there were risks involved with induction and medical interventions. I trusted my OB because I liked her, and never questioned anything. Looking back, there were red flags all over the place that I should have been questioning, but I had no education to give me any clues. My first birth ended up in a cesarean after an induction that didn’t quite go as planned. With my second child, I had learned a little about VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) but still hadn’t educated myself enough to know that I probably should find a new OB if I really wanted to prepare for a VBAC. My second birth also ended up in a cesarean, really for no reason at all. My third birth was a planned cesarean because my OB told me, “You no longer have a choice.” When I found out I was expecting #4, I was terrified to have another surgery (the third was by far the hardest.) I reached out to find out if there were any OBs that would consider a VBAC after 3 cesareans. I found the most amazing OB that was right under my nose all along! I went on to have an amazing natural VBA3C and then had another VBA3C with my 5th child this past year. Because of my experiences, I am passionate about VBAC but am also passionate about educating first time moms to prevent the first cesarean if possible.

Caryn teaches birth classes in Carrollton, TX.
Caryn with her family.

 

What first got you interested in birth?

Even before I had my first VBA3C, I started getting interested in learning about birth. I didn’t know much yet, but I had several friends who had VBACs and natural births and it made me want to learn so much more.

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

VBAC is obviously my biggest passion concerning birth! There is just nothing like a great VBAC story.

There are lots of different birth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp?

I learned about Birth Boot Camp shortly after I had my first VBA3C (vaginal birth after three cesareans). I was on a VBAC high and was so passionate about helping other women achieve their birth goals. I talked with my doula about the program and she thought it would be a perfect fit for me to get started as a birth professional. The more I learned about Birth Boot Camp, I thought the curriculum was pretty incredible and loved the support they give to their instructors. I was excited about being a part of the start of a new program and teach my own birth classes in Carrollton, TX.

Tell us a little about your Birth Boot Camp training experience. Where did you train? What did you like about it?

I trained in Grapevine, TX in November of 2012. They were some of the most fun few days I have ever had! I loved being in a room full of like-minded women, learning about one of my very favorite topics! It was great to get to know the other instructors in training. My favorite part of the training was when we were assigned a topic to teach. I was terrified (as I am always nervous speaking in public) but loved getting the opportunity to teach and learn from the others.

How is teaching your own classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it? 

My first year was great! I loved getting to know each of my students and still keep in touch with most of them today. It was so fun to see the changes and growth in each of them. My favorite moments have been when couples have changed their birth plans based on what they learned in class. I love hearing their birth stories after their babies are born! This second year I have taken a bit of a break as I have had another baby, but am looking forward to teaching another childbirth class in Carrollton, TX, this January.

Tell us a little about your students. How do you believe childbirth education is having a positive impact on them?

I have had amazing students! It seriously has been such a joy to get to know each of them. Most of my couples have come to me already planning to have an out of hospital birth, but one couple stands out in my mind the most. When Casey and Sam Hawkins started the class, they thought Casey was going to have to have a cesarean because she had partial placenta previa (where the placental is partially covering the cervix.) If it didn’t move in time, she would have to schedule her c-section. She wanted to take the class anyway, because she really desired a natural birth and wanted to be prepared just in case. Each week, I could see she was growing more and more discouraged at the thought of having a c-section and was becoming dissatisfied with her OB choice, based on what she was learning about red flags in class. Toward the end of our 10 weeks, she was so excited to share with us that she confirmed by ultrasound that her placenta had moved just enough to be cleared for a vaginal birth. We all rejoiced with her! She hired the doula that had come to speak to our class, and switched to an amazing midwife at one of the birth centers nearby. She had her baby completely natural a few weeks later, not even making it to her due date! She is now very involved in birth work by documenting births through photography and was the photographer at my last birth!

To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?

This work truly matters and truly makes a difference! With the cesarean rate on the rise, it is so crucial to help women prevent the first cesarean. I am constantly amazed by how many women are unaware that this is even an issue. I think it is so important for first time moms to be educated and prepared for their first birth.

Where can we find you? 

My website can be found here: www.inspiringbirth.com. And my Facebook page can be found here: facebook.com/inspiringbirth

I would love to have you join me at my next childbirth class in Carrollton, TX!

Interested in how Birth Boot Camp can help you achieve your VBAC goals? Check out this video. Education really does make a difference.

 

doula at water birth

50 Things Doulas Do Best

50 Things Doulas Do Best

What do doulas do best? Well, that is actually a much longer list than the one below. Doulas have an amazing array of skills, many of which can't really be put into words. It is no secret that at Birth Boot Camp we love doulas. Here are just 50 of the many amazing things that doulas do best. Not sure what all of them are or how they will benefit your birth? Call your doula and ask her if she knows. You will be amazed! Good luck and happy birthing!

  1. Pack snacks
  2. Hip Squeeze
    doula double hip squeeze
  3. Rebozo
  4. Listen
    DSC_0554
  5. Comfort
  6. Horse-lip demo
  7. Moaning with you
  8. Getting up early
  9. Going without sleep
  10. Or food
  11. Pumping in strange places
    Doula Pumping
  12. Questions
  13. Phone calls
  14. Support
  15. Recommendations
  16. Hand holding
  17. Back rubbing
    doula back rub- one thing doulas do best
  18. Massage
  19. Interesting things with tennis balls and frozen rolling pins
  20. Remembering the hot pack
  21. Cup holding
  22. Bendy straw bringing
  23. Staying calm
  24. Believing in you
  25. Staying quiet
    doula at water birth
  26. Smiling when you need it
  27. Wiping your brow
  28. Bringing cool washcloths
  29. Bringing warm washcloths
    water birth- something doulas do best
  30. Getting ice chips
  31. Getting a steak (when ice chips just aren’t cutting it.)
  32. Pressure points
  33. Filling birth tubs
  34. Boiling water
  35. Slow dancing
  36. Supporting dad
  37. Feeding dad
  38. Helping siblings
  39. Breastfeeding tips
    doula at a birth
  40. Postpartum support
  41. A friend to call
  42. Birth story listener
  43. Natural birth supporter
  44. Keeping unwanted (but excited and well-meaning) visitors at bay
  45. Manipulating a hospital bed better than inspector gadget
  46. Having unwaivering faith in your abilities
  47. Providing non-judgemental support
  48. Recommending care providers
  49. Partner calming
  50. Fix your pony tail

There is so much more that your doula can bring to your birth: doulas are truly priceless! Not looking to hire a doula, but would rather become one? Check out our doula certification. We have tried to develop the absolute best doula training program out there covering not just comfort measures but how to run your business and intensive postpartum and breastfeeding training. Check it out!

 

Childbirth classes in College Station and Bryan. TX

Childbirth Classes in College Station, TX

Childbirth classes in College Station and Bryan. TX

We are pleased to introduce today one of our childbirth instructors in College Station, TX. Cheryl is a busy mother of five who taught natural childbirth classes prior to her becoming a certified Birth Boot Camp instructor. We are so glad to have her join us! Her sweet passion and knowledge have helped make us a better company. Welcome Cheryl!

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First, could you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your own birth experiences and how they influenced your desire to teach childbirth classes.

Hi, my name is Cheryl Amelang, mama of five littles and married to my high school sweetheart.  I have had 5 lovely home births with midwives.  They were all amazing. Growing up, my mom always talked about birth like it was a normal, wonderful thing in a woman's life and something we were made to do. My husband and his siblings were all born at home so choosing a natural birth at home with a midwife was an easy decision for us. I never doubted my ability to give birth without medication. After the birth of our first son, I was so ecstatic about my experience that I wanted to shout it from the roof tops! I absolutely loved giving birth. That is when my passion for birth was sparked.     

What first got you interested in childbirth? 

After my first was born I wanted to share my birth story with everyone who was willing to listen!  When I was pregnant with my third baby I read the book "Giving Birth" by Catherine Taylor and fell in love with the idea of becoming a doula, but with three small babies at home I knew that wasn't the time.  It wasn't until I was pregnant with my fourth, and after a conversation with a friend who was pregnant with her first baby, that I considered teaching childbirth classes in College Station, TX.

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

I want women to be educated on the choices they have in childbirth. So many women get sucked into the "that's just what we do" model of care and don't even know that they have options! I want women to have a say in the way they birth, where they birth, and the kind of care they receive throughout it all. Different women have different needs and make different choices, and that's ok, but they should be educated and know why they made those choices.

There are lots of different childbirth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp?

I actually certified with a different company and taught for 2 years before switching to Birth Boot Camp. I heard about BBC, thought it was interesting but was just fine teaching where I was. The more I looked into it, looked at the materials, and talked to different board members, I was sold.  Birth Boot Camp is a complete curriculum. It includes topics that are important to me and I love sharing with my classes such as breastfeeding, newborn care, even things like baby wearing, sleeping arrangements, and cloth diapering.  Information the other classes are missing. I really feel like my students leave my childbirth classes in College Station, feeling prepared for birth and taking care of their new baby.

Tell us a little about your Birth Boot Camp training experience. Where did you train? What did you like about it?

Training was so much fun! I trained in Houston last February with an amazing group of women from all over the country.  When you are working on your certification and waiting for training you are put in a private Facebook group with other pre-certs so I felt like I knew some of the girls before we actually met at training. The days were long and jam-packed with information but Donna and Sarah were awesome at keeping things interesting and fun. We covered each class, how to teach them, demos and games for each, relaxations, and comfort measures. I truly left feeling prepared to teach childbirth classes.

How is teaching your own classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it? 

I have taught 3 series' since March and I am loving it!  These classes are so much fun to teach.  You really interact with the couples and get to know them.  Probably my favorite part of class is the relaxation exercises.  I love stepping back and watching the couples work together and learn what will work for them during their labor.  It's a really sweet time.  I'm always sad when the 10 weeks is over but that means their birth is soon and that's very exciting!

In what ways did the Birth Boot Camp teacher training help prepare you for teaching actual childbirth classes?

Donna and Sarah do a spectacular job preparing us to teach. I love that we do all of the reading, writing, and studying requirements before instructor training so we are all on the same page when we get there. That gives us time to really learn the materials during training.

Tell us a little about your students. How do you believe childbirth education is having a positive impact on them? 

Most of my students have been couples who choose to birth at home or birth center with a midwife.  Many of them have hired a doula after learning about them in class. I have received great feedback from my moms and dads, saying they felt very prepared for their births, which makes me so proud of them. They work very hard to educate themselves. Committing to 10 weeks of childbirth classes is no joke!
To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?
I love hearing stories of couples who educated themselves, made choices that are best for them, perhaps even changed providers and then go on to have an amazing birth! That is so empowering! Birth is important! Birth is powerful and life changing! I want all women to have the
opportunity to understand why it's so important.
Where can we find you? 
You can find me at www.darlingbirth.com and on Facebook at Darling Birth.  I teach childbirth classes in Brenham and Bryan/College Station, TX.
Check out this video of Cheryl talking about why she loves teaching natural birth classes.
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