Do It Yourself Newborn Photography Tips

In the current economy and with the easy availability of advanced cameras, a lot of new parents are looking to take their own pictures of their newborn baby.

Although North America’s Top Newborn Celebrity Photographers Keri Meyers & Jennifer Blakeley recommend you hire a professional newborn photographer, they have developed some tips for those looking to handle the photo shoot independently, but most importantly, safely.

Says Keri Meyers,

“If you’re going to handle the shoot yourself, the most important tip is safety.  Always ensure your newborn baby is in a safe environment and position,” added Meyers, who recently launched with Blakeley.  The site is dedicated to helping new parents find the industries top photographers in their area.

For new parents that want to handle the shoot themselves, Keri & Jen have offered up these Top 10 Do-It-Yourself Newborn Photography Tips:

1. Natural light – Instead of using a harsh camera flash, position the baby and yourself in a room that has natural light coming from a window.  This will help to create more subtle and appealing shadows and texture.

2. Depth of field or blur – Use a large aperture with a long focal point, and if that doesn’t make sense to you, then stick your digital camera on “portrait” mode, and it will provide you a nice and soft background blur.

3. Get in close – Get down on the floor and get as close to the baby’s eye level as possible with your camera.  This will give you a more personal point of view.

4. Clear the background – Clothes, pillows, empty water bottles, whatever the case, de-clutter the background.

5. Soothing Sounds – Use white noise (i.e. hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, or iPhone app).

6. Timing is everything – The first few days and couple of weeks when your baby is still sleepy and curled up is the most ideal time for a newborn photo shoot.  Make sure your baby is well fed, and wait for your precious little one to doze off.  Patience is required to maneuver your baby into the correct position.

7. Don’t forget the “small things” – Those cute, tiny hands and feet are going to grow FAST, so get them on camera before it’s too late.

8. Don’t forget the “firsts” – Your baby’s first bath, steps, crawl and even first piece of “human food”, make sure to capture as many “firsts” as possible.

9. Candid photos – Sometimes the best photos are caught in the “spur of the moment”, so carry your camera phone whenever possible.

10. Get in the shot – Your child will want to know what mom and dad looked like while you were taking the photos, so don’t forget to ask someone to take your photo, or get a tripod and self time a family photography.


For more information, visit


About Keri Meyers & Jennifer Blakeley

Keri Meyers & Jennifer Blakeley are considered North America’s top celebrity newborn photographers in the business.

The duo has photographed Ian Ziering of Beverly Hills 90210 fame and his wife Erin and their newborn baby Penna, Brian Austin Green & Megan Fox and baby Noah, Donald Trump Jr., Vanessa Trump and their newborn baby Spencer and Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg, his wife and their newborn daughter Adeline, to name just a few.


Curious to learn more about Birth Boot Camp and our natural childbirth classes?  We have an online birth class option and natural birth instructors in your area.  We also offer a comprehensive two disk breastfeeding DVD, “Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE”.

Birth Boot Camp- Training Couples in Natural Birth


California Training Wrap-Up!

In September, Birth Boot Camp hit the road and did an instructor training workshop in beautiful southern California.  We are so excited to welcome all our new west coast Birth Boot Camp instructors!

Sept 2013 Group

We had a lot of demand to venture away from Texas to do an instructor training, but what finally sold us was this unbelievable ocean view. wink wink

We had a great time in San Clemente, CA with our newest instructors.  We learned together.

 We practiced some relaxation techniques together, so that our future instructors could better teach those wonderful dads who take their classes.

Afterwards, they even said nice things about us.

“I thought it was a well-balanced presentation of content, Q & A, and special circumstances.”

“There are so many resources that support us as instructors!”

“Having the workshop be the final step for all of us made all the difference.”

“The pre-workshop reading was so beneficial and even though it was so much work it was great for all of us to be on the same page with our knowledge during the training.”

(We require all of our instructors to do their learning before the training.  All 11 of the required books must be read and reported on.  This ensures that all trainees have the same knowledge base and are able to begin teaching almost immediately after their training.)

“I am really excited about the materials, the videos, and how easily it is all organized…wow!”

(Included in the price of training are birth videos and extra resources for your class.  Instructors don’t need to spend more money purchasing extra materials, except for manuals for their students, in order to teach.)

“Thank you for making this all happen. I hope it was as meaningful/successful for you as it was for me. I am so proud to be a part of this movement.”

“After looking at many education/instructor trainings, I really feel this is the most well-rounded, modern and balanced training.”

“After having watched childbirth classes that taught a “method,” I am really excited to bring a class home that gives couples the tool box.”

(One thing we pride ourselves on is not being a “method.”  Our students learn dozens and dozens of tools, so that they can have their best birth.  We don’t expect them to fit into any mold.)

The entire Birth Boot Camp team was thrilled to meet everybody!


We love our instructors and know they are the best in the business.  If you are interested in becoming a natural birth instructor with Birth Boot Camp, will be traveling all over the country in 2014.  You can find us in Houston, Texas in February, Indianapolis, Indiana in June and Orlando, Florida in October.  We would love to have you join us!

Curious to learn more about Birth Boot Camp and our natural childbirth classes?  We have an online birth class option and natural childbirth educators in your area.  We also offer a comprehensive two disk breastfeeding DVD, Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE.

Birth Boot Camp- Training Couples in Natural Birth

11 Reasons To Take a 10-Week Birth Class

11 Reasons To Take a 10 Week Birth Class

When preparing for a natural birth, couples inevitably must make decisions about what is most important to them and what fits into their financial situation.  Birth classes are offered everywhere and vary greatly.  From buffet style hospital classes (where you pick and choose which classes you need), to independent “crash” courses, to just doing some self study, there are many choices for expectant parents.

Some feel like they can prepare and learn well on their own and don’t feel their budget allows for a birth class when information is readily available elsewhere.

At Birth Boot Camp we and our instructors teach comprehensive 10-week birth classes.  Why should you and your partner invest both the time and money in a class that lasts almost three months?  Here are a few reasons why.

1.  Community

One major benefit of a longer birth class is a sense of community that inevitably develops among those that are learning together.  For many, this is one of the most important aspects of their class.  Those peers that attend with you are in your same time in life and have similar goals.  These classmates/friends who are also planning a natural birth while others look on with either confusion or disapproval, can become a very important support system.

As couples learn together, the perspective and questions from other students does wonders in growing their own knowledge and helping them learn things that they wouldn’t have even thought of otherwise.

2.  Instructor

Even in classes that are smaller, the support of an instructor who has effectively, “been there/done that” is reassuring.  You know at least one person who has had a natural birth and truly believes that you can, too.  Not only that, our instructors are required to prepare extensively to certify and are required to continue their education and their community involvement every year.

We are so proud of our growing group of instructors and the changes they are making in their communities.  They are expected to have extensive community resources available to you, their student.  They are passionate about birth and they will give you far more than you could ever repay them.  Not only that, your instructor is required to have had a natural birth herself.  Your instructor will often become a lasting friend and source of support.

3.  Time

Ten weeks might sound like a long time, when you sign up for a class (and I have certainly had a few husbands surprised to find out it would last that long!) but the ten weeks is a blessing and not a liability.

You could, literally, spend years studying birth and not learn everything about it.  You could read endlessly on the Internet; you would find lots of information, but filtering through it would be difficult, even overwhelming.  Our curriculum is designed by instructors and birth professionals who have narrowed down precisely the information that is most important for YOUR birth.  We want you to succeed and the time you put into your education will be an obvious benefit to you when you go into labor.

4.  Practice

An integral part of any Birth Boot Camp class is the art of relaxation.  It may feel awkward, at first, to “relax” in front of other people, but that might just be the most important preparation you do for your birth.

While we encourage all of our students to also practice relaxation at home (it can be very hard to learn how to relax in two weeks, and virtually impossible whilst in the throes of hard labor), the ten weeks gives you ample time to get comfortable with the concept and execution of couples relaxation.

In-class relaxation is also invaluable.  Most couples will be birthing with others present.  The time spent practicing in class gets you fully prepared to labor in your chosen birth place.

5.  Nutrition

Nutrition is a much debated, but deeply important aspect of healthy pregnancy and natural birth preparation.  One of your earliest classes will cover precisely that and will include a fully functional and easy to use “Chow Chart” for you to track and observe your own nutritional intake.

Midwives tell us that their clients who take a Birth Boot Camp class eat better and know more.  They have the added support of a group of loving peers, the knowledge  of a teacher, and more accountability in their weekly class that they will ever get with a once monthly visit to a care provider.  Taking a solid class gives you the nutritional information that you need early in your pregnancy and then gives you the support you need to thrive.

6.  Date night!

With all the preparations for a new baby, it can be easy to let certain things slide, such as time together as a couple.  A weekly class makes date night an essential during the last half of your pregnancy.  The time spent in class is great for meeting new friends and building community, but perhaps even more important in strengthening the couple bond.

Your class won’t just be about birth.  It will be about the two of you preparing for YOUR unique birth.  We don’t give any magic bullets that will guarantee a special experience if you just follow the rules.  No, we give you the tools that you need to fill your tool box.  You take it from there.

7.  Homework

One thing that we at Birth Boot Camp are incredibly proud of is our student manual or “Field Guide.”  Each and every student gets one and it is a treasure trove of information, personalized activities, tips, and take home work.  In fact, we have had instructors say that the Field Guide is, all by itself, worth the price of the class.

With over 150 pages of glossy, colorful, information, the Field Guide helps you go home after class and continue learning, practicing, growing, and preparing for your best birth experience.  Maybe you haven’t done homework since college, but when preparing for your birth, it is time to start again!  Your 10-week birth class will help you get ready and focus your learning.



8.  The Partner

I know that when I, personally, took my first birth class, I was prepared with a lot of knowledge about birth.  I was going to have to actually do it, so I felt a burning desire to get ready!  My husband, on the other hand, simply didn’t feel the pressure that I did.

A birth class for us, and for most of the couples that I teach, is great for mom, but priceless for her partner.  Not only will he learn how to comfort, support, touch, talk, and help mom through labor, he will gain in confidence and excitement.  One of the most touching things I witness at the end of a 10-week series is how excited the dads are.  They KNOW they can do this.  They aren’t frightened anymore.  More than that, they know that their partner is going to rock this birth.

Having a partner who simply believes in you and your innate ability to birth is priceless and a huge asset to your experience.

9.  Repetition

When learning about birth, there is simply tons to know.  From choosing the right care provider and birthplace, to breathing and pregnancy exercise, the information can become overwhelming.

We train our instructors to use a variety of teaching techniques, so that every student can learn and retain what they need.  Your in-class time, your Field Guide and take home work, and your own personal reading, will all work together to make sure that the information that is most necessary for you will be firmly implanted in your memory.  There is simply no way that this can be done in a shorter or “crash course” type class.

10.  Breastfeeding Information

When we first organized Birth Boot Camp childbirth education we talked to real women and asked them what was lacking in their birth classes.  One answer that was overwhelmingly repeated was that women needed more information about breastfeeding.

To us, the breastfeeding relationship is monumental in its importance.  We include with every class a copy of our two disk DVD set, Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE.  With hours of information (in addition to the breastfeeding information that will be covered by your instructor, who has, herself, breastfed), this DVD is like a whole other class.

Many couples today are paying for separate breastfeeding classes from a local hospital.  We include breastfeeding in our comprehensive curriculum. Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE is taught by renowned IBCLC (internally board certified lactation consultant) Mellanie Shepherd.  Mellanie is a treasure trove of information, and by the time you finish watching her DVD, you will be well prepared for breastfeeding.

11.  You will be more likely to have a natural birth!

Last, but certainly not least, Birth Boot Camp students have a much higher chance of having a natural birth!  Our classes are fairly new, but we expect similar results in the future.  You can see our one year anniversary results here.


We know that preparing for birth can be overwhelming and time consuming.  As women who have birthed naturally, we can also assure you that you will not regret the time you spent and the friends you made, preparing for one of life’s greatest adventures- the birth of your new recruit.


Curious to learn more about Birth Boot Camp and our natural childbirth classes?  We have an online birth class option and natural birth instructors in your area.  We also offer a comprehensive, two disk breastfeeding DVD, Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE.

Birth Boot Camp- Training Couples in Natural Birth

Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Labor, and Postpartum

Essential oils have the power to make you more comfortable through pregnancy, labor, and even postpartum.  But first,, what are essential oils?

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in various parts of plants. It is the “lifeblood” of the plant and without it, plants couldn’t survive or thrive. These same compounds can help with any type of health concern our family has such as illness, allergies, pain, and emotional issues. They are 50-70 times more potent than herbs so you can imagine how powerful they can be.

As with any type of herb or natural medicine, make sure that you are purchasing the best quality essential oil on the market. Lower quality oils may state that they are 100% pure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are 100% pure essential oils without fillers. I like to use oils from companies that use third party testers to ensure the quality. There are a few companies out there that do this type of testing. If you are using oils on newborns and during your pregnancy, you want to make sure of this purity.

So how do you use essential oils to help with common issues that most women experience during pregnancy? Here are some ideas that have helped my clients tremendously during various stages of pregnancy and labor.

-Morning Sickness- Peppermint is a wonderful oil that can be used directly on the abdomen, rubbed on the feet, or used as a tea to calm sick tummies. Lemon has also shown to alleviate that queasy feeling with a drop placed under the tongue or a few drops mixed in with water throughout the day (it tastes good and helps with water retention too!)

-Isomnia- Lavender helps to promote relaxation and a deep sleep. Simply rub a couple of drops on chest and the back of the neck. If you struggle with smells during your pregnancy, simply put the oil on the bottom of your feet. As a side note, lavender also helps with false labor pains and helps promote healthy circulation.

-Pain- who doesn’t suffer from pain during pregnancy? I haven’t met them yet! Peppermint can help with pain or migraines by simply rubbing it on the area that hurts. My favorite blend of oils for pain is called “Deep Blue” from doTerra Essential Oils (if you use another brand, please note the individual oils below). This is a combination that includes blue tansy, wintergreen, chamomile, helichrysum, osmanthus, and peppermint.  It feels wonderful and is on my “must list” for labor and delivery as well!  As an added bonus- frankincense will help increase the effectiveness of any oil and is the best oil to reduce inflammation.

-Migraines and headaches- Place frankincense, peppermint, and lavender one at a time on the area that is painful. It is amazing how this combination works on headaches. I find it also comforting that I am not putting any type of harmful chemicals in my body during pregnancy when I choose to use a more natural approach and use essential oils.

-Breast or nipple tenderness- Lavender and geranium will help relieve breast tenderness. Roman Chamomile is a wonderful oil that helps soothe sore nipples.

One of the most common questions that most women ask when deciding whether or not to try essential oils is “are they safe during pregnancy”? If an essential oil is pure, it is safe during pregnancy, but as with any new type of treatment please consult with your doctor or health professional.  One of the only oils that you should avoid during the first two trimesters of pregnancy is Clary Sage. This is a great oil if you are past your due date and hoping to induce labor. However, make sure to avoid it in the early stages.

I will be writing a second part of essential oils that focuses on postpartum issues and the usage of essential oils. Topics will include oils that can help with milk production or reduction, as well as oils that can help with a fussy or colicky baby. In the meantime, feel free to contact me via email for specific questions.

Wendy Bunnell is a mother of six children. She has had the privilege of adopting two of these beautiful children, having two traditional births, and two natural home births. Wendy has studied and taken hundreds of hours of education in the field of essential oils.  Wendy teaches classes on natural health and essential oils both in traditional classroom settings as well as online webinars each month.  You can find Wendy online at on Facebook at or via e-mail at

Curious to learn more about Birth Boot Camp and our natural childbirth classes?  We have an online birth class option and natural birth instructors in your area.  We also offer a comprehensive two disk breastfeeding DVD, “Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE”.

Birth Boot Camp- Training Couples in Natural Birth

What is Mother-Friendly Care?

Mother-Friendly is short for the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI).  There are 10 steps, which an institution or care provider must take in order to be considered “mother-friendly”.  .  They are very specific and some steps are harder to achieve than others.  Do not just assume that your care provider is Mother-Friendly.  Ask them.  These steps are based on evidence and what produces the best outcomes in birth.

A Mother-Friendly Care Provider, Hospital, Birth Center, or Home Birth Practice:

1.  Offers all birthing mothers access to a doula, or anyone else they wish to have at their birth.  She also has access to professional midwifery care.


2.  Provides their statistics to the public about all aspects of their birth care, including measures of interventions and outcomes.


3.  Is respectful and sensitive to the beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s ethnicity and religion.


4.  Provides the birthing woman with the freedom to walk, move about, and choose her positions during labor and birth and discourages the supine (flat on back) position.


5.  Has clearly defined policies and procedures for collaborating with the original caregiver during the perinatal period when transfer from one birth site to another is necessary.  They will also link the new mother and baby to appropriate community resources, including during and after the pregnancy and follow-up breastfeeding support.


6.  Does not routinely practice the following procedures that are unsupported by scientific evidence, including by not limited to the following:


* enemas

* IVs

* withholding food or water

* early rupture of membranes

* Electronic Fetal Monitoring (EFM)

* Induction rate of 10% or less

* episiotomy rate of 20% or less, with a goal of 5% or less

* total c-section rate of 10% or less in community hospitals and 15% or less in high-risk hospitals

* VBAC rate of 60% or more with a goal of 75% or more.


7.  Educates staff in non-drug methods of pain relief and does not promote the use of analgesic or anesthetic drugs not specifically required to correct a complication.


8.  Encourages all mothers and families, including those with sick or premature infants, to hold, touch, breastfeed, and care for their babies to the extent compatible with their conditions.


9.  Discourages non-religious circumcision of the newborn.


10. Strives to achieve the WHO-UNICEF “Ten Steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative” to promote successful breastfeeding.  Those ten steps to becoming baby-friendly are:

    1.  Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.

    2.  Train all health care staff in in skills necessary to implement this policy.

    3.  Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.

    4.  Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.

    5.  Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.

    6.  Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk unless medically indicated.

    7.  Practice rooming in; allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.

    8.  Encourage breastfeeding on demand.

    9.  Give no artificial teats or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.

    10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from hospitals or clinics.

Next time someone says they are Mother-Friendly, you’ll be able to know exactly what that means.  It’s not just a catchphrase.  A true Mother-Friendly birth place or provider does more than just avoid hostility with their clients; being mother friendly means truly supporting healthy, evidence based birth.  Step number six is pretty intense and where a lot of care providers do not qualify for Mother-Friendly status.

Mother-Friendly status is what all care providers should be striving for.  Ask your care provider if he/she is Mother-Friendly and what they are doing to become Mother-Friendly.  Birth Boot Camp has based its curriculum around the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative and seeks to educate all our students and prepare them so that they can best find a Mother-Friendly provider.  This is the way we are going to change maternity care in the US.  This market is consumer driven, and you are the consumer.


Curious to learn more about Birth Boot Camp and our natural childbirth classes?  We have an online birth class option and/or natural birth instructors in your area.  We also offer a comprehensive two disk breastfeeding DVD, “Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE”.

Birth Boot Camp- Training Couples in Natural Birth



The Rh Factor & Your Pregnancy

Rhesus (Rh) incompatibility is a pregnancy topic that is very near and dear to my heart, since my blood type is Rh negative and my husband’s is Rh positive.  My midwife discussed it with us early in my pregnancy, and I spent a lot of time researching it on my own.

What is the Rh factor?  There are four main blood types – A, B, AB, and O.  Blood types are further classified according to whether or not there is a specific protein found on the surface of the red blood cells.  If the protein is there, the blood type is Rh positive.  Otherwise, your blood type is Rh negative.  About 83-85% of people are Rh positive, meaning 16-17% are Rh negative.

Why does it matter?  Most of the time, it doesn’t.  The one time it is really important, though, is during pregnancy.  If a woman who has Rh negative blood is pregnant by a man whose blood is Rh positive, there is at least a 50% chance that the baby will also have Rh positive blood.  When an Rh negative mother is pregnant with a baby who is Rh positive, it is called Rh incompatibility.

If Mom’s blood is exposed to Baby’s blood, her immune system will recognize the Rh protein as a foreign substance and will produce antibodies in response.  (When this happens, the mother is now Rh sensitized or isoimmunized.)  Those antibodies can in turn cross the placenta and enter Baby’s bloodstream, where they will attack Baby’s Rh positive red blood cells.  If Baby’s blood cell count gets too low, he could develop hemolytic disease.

What happens next?  Depending on when sensitization happens, the result could be mild or severe or somewhere in between.  If a baby develops hemolytic disease while still in the womb, intrauterine blood transfusions may be necessary to stabilize Baby’s blood cell levels.  The most common result of hemolytic disease is severe anemia at birth, but it can also cause jaundice, or even brain damage or heart failure.

Don’t freak out yet!  If this is your first pregnancy, there is likely not much to worry about.  During pregnancy, your blood and your baby’s blood do not usually intermingle; the risk of isoimmunization during pregnancy, especially a first pregnancy, is only about 2%.  Some things that can put you at risk for isoimmunization are:

  • amniocentesis
  • chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
  • bleeding during pregnancy
  • blunt trauma to the abdomen
  • placenta previa
  • placental abruption
  • prior miscarriage
  • prior termination
  • external cephalic version (to turn a breech baby)
  • ectopic pregnancy

How can I prevent Rh sensitization?  The most common medical way is through the use of injected Rh immune globulin, most commonly known as RhoGAM.  Referred to as a blood-based vaccine, RhoGAM contains antibodies to the Rh protein, is believed to destroy fetal blood cells in the mother’s blood supply before her blood has a chance to make her own antibodies against them.  It is administered as an intramuscular injection, usually into the buttocks.

Most doctors want to give pregnant women a prophylactic dose of RhoGAM at 28 weeks; this provides the mother with a passive immunity in case of slight placental tears or some other form of trauma.  RhoGAM is also given if a Rh negative woman undergoes amniocentesis, CVS, or some other invasive form of testing.  According to the package insert, “if RhoGAM is administered… early in pregnancy (before 26 to 28 weeks), there is an obligation to maintain a level of passively acquired anti-D by administration of RhoGAM at 12-week intervals.”  This is because RhoGAM is thought to only be effective for 12 weeks after you receive it.

The Rh protein is present on the blood cells of an Rh positive baby starting around 8 weeks.  So if miscarriage or termination occurs after that, or an ectopic pregnancy lasts at least that long, then there is a risk of isoimmunization.

Otherwise, RhoGAM is recommended to be given within 72 hours of delivery if the baby has Rh positive blood.  (After birth, a simple test of the cord blood can determine the baby’s blood type.)  If Baby has Rh negative blood too, than RhoGAM is completely unnecessary.  The 72-hour-deadline is somewhat controversial; there is little information one way or the other regarding effectiveness after that time period.  The package insert does say that in one study, RhoGAM provided protection in 50% of women who were given it 13 days after delivery.

Note that RhoGAM does not do any good if it is given after a woman has become sensitized.  To be effective, it must be given before isoimmunization occurs.  And once a woman becomes sensitized, those antibodies are with her for life.  Any future pregnancies will automatically be considered high risk as a result.

Is Rh immune globulin safe?  Of course (say the manufacturers)!  RhoGAM is made using antibodies derived from human plasma, but the donors of the blood have been “carefully screened by history and laboratory testing to reduce the risk of transmitting blood-borne pathogens.”  The plasma undergoes fractionation and filtration to further ensure safety of the finished product.

As with any pharmacological product, RhoGAM has side effects.  These include: injection site reactions (swelling, redness, mild pain, warmth), skin rash, body ache, headache, fatigue, and slight elevation in temperature.  Also possible are signs of a hemolytic reaction, which may include: fever, back pain, nausea, vomiting, hypo- or hypertension, hemoglobinuria/emia, elevated bilirubin and creatinine, and decreased haptoglobin.  Allergic reactions are rare, and no fatalities due to anaphylaxis have ever been reported.  The package insert indicates that you should be observed for at least 20 minutes after receiving the shot, presumably to watch for signs of allergic reaction or other severe side effect.

RhoGAM is a Pregnancy Category C drug.  According to the package insert, “The available evidence suggests [RhoGAM] does not harm the fetus or affect future pregnancies or the reproductive capacity of the maternal recipient.”  Suggests.  For the record, Pregnancy Category C is described thus: “Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks.”  Basically, the FDA does not know whether or not RhoGAM is safe for your baby.  But they believe the benefits to the mother outweigh potential risks to the baby.

Some babies have been born with minor Rh sensitization, presumably from prenatal exposure (that prophylactic dose at 28 weeks).  This fact is confirmed by the product insert.

The Healthy Pregnancy Book says, “If within a couple of days after birth baby tests Rh positive, baby may also be given an injection of RhoGAM.”  The book does not say what the purpose of this administration would be.  The package insert, however, expressly instructs, “Do not inject the newborn infant.”

Other concerns about RhoGAM are related to the other ingredients.  RhoGAM was once formulated with thimerosol, which contains mercury, but does not seem to be anymore.  (This is hard to confirm.)  There are still fairly widespread concerns that RhoGAM may contain mercury or aluminum, although RhoGAM’s website declares that it contains no preservatives.

Is it effective?  Studies seem to indicate so.  Rates of isoimmunization vary depending on the source. Up to 10-14% of women may become Rh sensitized without RhoGAM.  That number drops to less than 2% when RhoGAM is given postpartum, and to 0.1-0.2% if given during pregnancy as well.

How else can I reduce my chances of becoming Rh sensitized?  The most important thing you can do is to be as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.  Here are some other ideas:

  • Make sure your diet has adequate protein.  A pregnant woman needs at least 80 grams of protein daily.  For that matter, make sure your entire diet is healthy.  A whole foods diet will help make your placenta as strong as possible, which will reduce your risk of isoimmunization.
  • 1000mg of vitamin C daily may help strengthen the membranes.  Vitamin C is necessary for tissue repair and wound healing, and your body needs it to produce collagen (see next bullet point).
  • Avoid fluoridated water and toothpaste.  Fluoride has been shown to interfere with collagen production, and collagen fibers are what attaches the placenta to the uterine wall.
  • Take 1 gram of powdered activated charcoal daily; activated charcoal absorbs toxins in your system, which can keep you from getting sick.  Do not use at the same time as you take any other supplements, because it may interfere with absorption of them.
  • Take 1 teaspoon of magnesium powder dissolved in water daily.  Among other important functions, magnesium helps your body build and repair tissues.
  • Kelp, sea vegetables, and mineral supplements can help strengthen the placenta.  Sea vegetables are a good source of iodine, a lack of which has been linked with preterm birth and miscarriage.  Kelp also contains potassium, calcium, and iron.
  • Take 1/2 cup of elderflower infusion daily.  The use of elderflower in pregnancy is considered controversial by some (discuss with your care provider first!), but it is thought to be helpful for anti-inflammatory purposes and detoxification.  It contains antioxidents, which help protect you from cellular damage.
  • Consider delayed cord clamping.  According to Sheila Kitzinger in The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth, “If a woman is Rh negative with an Rh positive baby, there is a case for delayed cord clamping.  If the cord is clamped while still pulsating, fetal blood is retained in the placenta, blood vessels rupture as the uterus contracts, and the chances of Rh positive blood being pushed back into the mother’s bloodstream are greatly increased.”
  • Let the third stage of labor progress at its own pace and avoid cord traction, especially before the placenta has separated from the uterine wall on its own.
  • Consider placentophagy.  According to, “A very interesting adaptive theory is that consuming placenta may actually affect the mother’s immune system, by suppressing her body’s inclination to create antibodies as a response to antigens present in the baby’s blood… Placentophagia may actually cause a suppression of this response, allowing her to have successful subsequent pregnancies.”


Disclaimer:  I am not a medical professional, and my intent with this article is not to tell you what to do.  Please discuss with your care provider and work together to make an informed decision regarding your care.


This article is used with permission and first appeared here :

Holly Scudero Web
Holly Scudero is a Birth Boot Camp natural childbirth instructor in  San Diego, California.  She is the mother of one beautiful boy born joyfully at home.  You can find her website and class schedule here.  

Curious to learn more about Birth Boot Camp and our natural childbirth classes?  We have an online birth class option and or natural birth instructors in your area.  We also offer a comprehensive two disk breastfeeding DVD, “Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE”.

Birth Boot Camp- Training Couples in Natural Birth

What an Honor

Last year, we were honored to be named the #1 Childbirth Class in DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth) by Fort Worth Child magazine. We have been nominated again this year and would be honored to have you vote for us! Just follow the link below to cast your vote.

2014 Best for Moms & Babies |




















Curious to learn more about Birth Boot Camp and our natural childbirth classes?  We have an online birth class option and natural birth instructors in your area.  We also offer a comprehensive two disk breastfeeding DVD, “Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE”.

Birth Boot Camp- Training Couples in Natural Birth

Natural Birth FAQ for Families

Natural Birth FAQ for Families

Sometimes, when preparing for a natural birth, the people most worried about everything are not even the ones giving birth but their concerned family members.  Birth is a big deal and trepidation, questions, even unease, is normal.  Here are some answers to frequently asked questions posed by those whose loved ones are preparing for a natural birth.

Q)  You are birthing with a midwife?  Do they even have any training?  Why not choose an OBGYN?

A)  This is a common concern and a legitimate one.  After all, if there are doctors with more years of school behind them assisting in births, why opt for what may appear to be a lesser trained midwife? 

Many couples today, however, are re-discovering the benefits of a trained midwife attending their birth rather than an OB.  In fact, more and more hospitals have midwives on staff and they see the majority of pregnant patients and are having fantastic results medically and yield very happy customers. 

Do midwives have training?  Yes they do.  Midwives are well trained in what every woman hopes for: normal birth.  While equipped to notice the danger signs if things do go wrong, a good midwife will also have the wisdom to “leave well enough alone” when needed. 

Hospital based midwives are almost always CNMs or “certified nurse-midwives”.  A certified nurse midwife is, typically, a registered nurse who has gone on to obtain a masters degree in midwifery.  They usually work with a physician to whom they refer any women who show signs of needing the more pathologically trained OB, who can deal with complications of pregnancy. 

An OB is an asset in many cases, but when a woman is healthy, more and more hospitals and women are finding they aren’t always needed. 

Q)  OK, but what about these home birth midwives?  Are they nurses with extra midwifery training? 

A)  Some CNMs do work outside of the hospital in birth centers or home settings.  Frequently, however, homebirth midwives are CPMs or Certified Professional Midwives.  CPM training and requirements can vary from state to state and it is always a good idea to look into yours and see what experience is needed to be licensed. 

Experience for a CPM can vary greatly, with some having attended thousands of births, and some less than 100.  Many women love the hands-on, in-home care made available by a home birth CPM.  A well trained and experienced CPM can be a fabulous asset to your birth, able to handle situations as they arise and transfer, if needed.  Be sure to closely interview your midwife, talk to others, and check the background and licensing of your CPM.

Some benefits of a home birth CPM include:

Continuity of care-  You will have the same person attend you through pregnancy and birth.  They know you and your normal and will be alert if things go wrong. 

In-home care-  Having a care provider come to you can be particularly convenient, especially in the first few days following birth.  In addition, many people feel safer having a new baby only exposed to the bacteria and pathogens from their own home, rather than those in a hospital. 

A holistic approach-  Often this type of midwife treats the whole woman, is aware of her family situation, her emotional needs, her nutritional struggles, and all of the things that can play into her health and her optimal birth experience. 

Longer visits- One of the reasons your typical CPM can treat the whole person and understand her needs is that they usually spend at least one hour with mom for every visit.  This allows time to answer the many questions that arise as pregnancy progresses, and watch for things that may be of concern. 

Making the choice that is best for you probably requires research and work, but once decided can be a great comfort.

Q)  Why do you even want a natural birth?  I gave birth to you and it hurt!

A)  Women vary greatly in their desires for birth and what each views as ideal.  Some women want medication for pain, while others see value in avoiding it.  Birth and how to accomplish it is a personal choice and one which must be made individually.  Most women do recognize that there may be some pain involved in labor and birth, even considerable pain.  Still, there is something wonderful in a woman desiring to have that experience, even if that isn’t the experience you had. 

Being supportive of your natural birthing loved one is a great way to grow closer during the often emotional days of pregnancy.  Remember that your daughter (or loved one’s) desire of a birth slightly different than the ones you experienced isn’t a judgment, just a personal choice.  No harm is meant. 

Q)    What on earth is a doula and why would you want one at your birth?! 

A)  A doula is a woman trained specifically as labor support.  Her role is particular- she helps mom and dad through their labor and birth.  She is familiar with comfort techniques as well as hospital policies, personnel, and typical labor signs in a woman.  A doula isn’t usually a family member so it may feel like you are inviting a “stranger” to the birth.  In truth, a doula is often a cherished member of the birth team who has enough professional distance to help, watch, and communicate, without the emotions that can sometimes get in the way with loving family. 

If family members want to also attend the birth, a doula’s role can simply be to facilitate them, help them, guide the process, and support the whole family in what they need.  Mostly however, the doula is there for MOM.  Remember- if mom has a better experience, everybody benefits.

Q)  I had a natural birth without all this crazy preparation.  Why the worry?  Birth is normal!

A)  There have been many women have great birth experiences without much preparation.  We can pretty safely say though, that in the current birthing environment with an average 30+% c-section rate, that preparation is a good thing.  40 or 50 years ago only about 4 or 5% of women had babies via cesarean section.  Today that statistic is much higher and to be avoided it is best to be prepared and not just walk in with a sunny disposition and naive hope for the best. 

Birth stays the same in many ways;  Mom labors and baby comes out.  The politics and policies of birth are constantly in flux, and that explains, in part, the need for preparation in the current climate. 

Q)  I want to be at the birth.  In fact the whole lot of us want to be at the birth!  Can we come?

A)  Just asking if your attendance is welcome and then honoring the answer given you by the family is a great step.  Some families want nothing to do with miracle of birth.  Other family members want front row seats to the blessed event. 

Having the first baby is often a big and scary step for a couple.  It can be something they desire outside support and presence for, or something they would prefer to do mostly by themselves or with their trained birth team. 

Please take the time to listen and communicate as a family and find out when the best time for you to be there might be.  A solution can surely be found, even if it isn’t what you initially wanted!


When a loved one is preparing for birth, questions and concern are inevitable.  Working together you can find a wonderful way to make things work for everybody.  This is the beginning of a fantastic journey for the entire family!

Curious to learn more about Birth Boot Camp and our natural childbirth classes?  We have an online birth class option and or natural birth teachers in your area.  We also offer a comprehensive two disk breastfeeding DVD, “Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE”. 

Birth Boot Camp- Training Couples in Natural Birth