Birth Boot Camp® Natural Childbirth Education Classes – Online and Instructor-

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Birth Boot Camp both at MANA with Dona Ryan and Alexa Gumm

Birth Boot Camp Visits MANA Conference!

Birth Boot Camp has been busy lately. With a recent instructor training and a pending doula training, we managed to fit in a visit to the MANA (Midwives Association of North America) Conference last week. Alexa Gumm (our recruiter) and Donna Ryan (our founder) had a great time and were able to meet so many of the amazing midwives who are out there working so hard to make birth better and more accessible for women everywhere. Here are some highlights from their trip.

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On the drive out to St Louis, Donna and Alexa got to meet up with some of our Tulsa, Oklahoma instructors. From left to right Kelsey Oliphant, Joey Minick, Donna Ryan, Maggie Butterfield and Alexa Gumm. You can find all of our Oklahoma childbirth instructors here.

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Can you believe the amazing view from the hotel room?! St Louis is a beautiful city!

Donna and Alexa headed out to mingle with midwives at MANA.

We love these beautiful ladies and their tireless work for birthing women! Alexa and Donna headed out to meet and mingle with midwives at the MANA conference!

Birth Boot Camp booth at the MANA conference.

The booth! This is where the magic happens. We love the colors and design that our new Birth Boot Camp DOULA program has brought. Amazing!

Alexa meeting famous midwife from the Farm!

Our very own Alexa Gumm meeting a legend of midwifery, Carol, who is one of the Farm Midwives along with Ina May Gaskin. What a week!

Birth Boot Camp instructor, Lauren Hunter.

We love our Birth Boot Camp childbirth instructors! This is Lauren Hunter, who teaches childbirth classes in Saint Louis with her very own new baby.

Birth Boot Camp both at MANA with Dona Ryan and Alexa Gumm

Donna and Alexa working the booth. They got to meet so many wonderful women at the MANA conference. Can you see those beautiful new Birth Boot Camp DOULA booklets? And all the amazing coupons and brochures that were handed out? We love this job!

More than midwives at MANA, there was a friendly dog!

There were more than people friends at MANA. This is Maggie, a french bulldog who made gremlin sounds and came to visit our booth.

Midwife and homeopath, Cheryl, from Longmont. Colorado.

One of the many people we had the opportunity to meet was this midwife and homeopath, Cheryl, who works in Longmont, Colorado. Good times!

That sums up some of the highlights of the recent Birth Boot Camp trip to MANA. We love helping get the word out about the work we are doing to help women and their families have more access to education regarding their birth. There is much to be done but we are so excited to be part of this process. If you are a midwife and are interested in having some of our brochures or coupons to give to your clients, please contact Birth Boot Camp! We would love to help you out.

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What Your Doctor Wants To Tell You About Birth, But Can’t

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Too often, medical doctors are portrayed as the bad guys in the birthing world. In truth, there is a lot we don’t see and which they really can’t talk about. We are excited to share this guest post today from Jessicca Moore, a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA. Jessica is currently raising money to help finish a film all about medical personnel who birth at home. (There are more of them than you would think!) You can read more about her film, “Why Not Home?“, on their website. Her words are wise and incredibly helpful. Happy birthing!

If you’re planning a hospital birth in the US, you’re likely seeing an OB/GYN. Some of you are seeing a family doctor or a certified-nurse-midwife (CNM) who will attend you at the hospital.

Doctors and nurses are trained not to impose their own values and beliefs onto their patients. To the woman who says she doesn’t want to feel any pain during labor and wants an epidural as soon as possible, our training tells us to accept this as her choice and support her in it. To the woman who says she wants an unmedicated natural labor, our training tells us to accept and support this choice as equally valid.

Your provider is supposed to maintain some professional distance and remain unbiased toward her patients. Because of this, she likely won’t tell you about how difficult her recovery from her c-section was and how she couldn’t pick up her toddler for weeks.

She won’t tell you about the intense rush of emotion and joy that came over her when she gave birth to her daughter after a long 30 hour unmedicated vaginal birth. If she did, you might feel like you should do it the way she did, or do it differently, depending on her story.

In your 10-15 minute visits, it can be hard to delve deeply into all the possible risks and benefits of each decision, the research, and your personal values and preferences. Even if you did, the chances that that provider is going to be the one attending your birth are pretty slim.

So much of birth is out of your control. Once you’re in labor, things can go any number of ways.

If you want to have a natural birth, here are some things you can do to stack the deck in your favor.

  • Get prepared. There are lots of great childbirth preparation programs out there. Try a few and see what fits. Knowledge is power when it comes to birth.

  • Read birth stories. Positive ones. Listen to your friends who had great births. Focus on those. Your birth can be great too.

  • Get support. Hire a doula. Don’t think you can afford one? Call and talk to a few. You may be surprised. If you can’t get a doula, ask friend who has experienced birth and knows your plan to be there to support and advocate for you. Your partner will be having their own experience. Don’t rely on them to be everything for you.

  • Get informed. What is your hospital’s c-section rate? Trying for a VBAC? What’s the VBAC success rate at your hospital? Birth by the Numbers has a great site for getting this information. www.birthbythenumbers.org

  • Ask questions. Especially if something doesn’t feel quite right. Is the induction necessary? What if we wait 2 more days? It’s your body and your baby. You’re allowed to ask questions.

  • Take care. Rest. Eat well. Stay active. Try prenatal yoga. You’ll be that much better off entering labor if your body is strong and healthy.

Do all that, and then let go. Birth is big. Birth is beautiful. There’s no one right way to do it.

You are powerful. You are capable. You can do it.

If and when you need help, it will be there for you.

No one can tell you how it will go for you.

You and your baby are starting your journey together. You’ll have your own unique experience.

Your doctor may have seen hundreds or thousands of births, but they’ve never seen yours.

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Jessicca Moore is a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA where she lives with her husband, two children, and two sheep. She is currently in production on her first feature-length documentary, “Why Not Home?” The film follows hospital birth providers who chose to give birth at home. You can watch a trailer and get more information here: www.whynothome.com and support the project on kickstarter at bit.ly/whynothome through October 10th.

Follow the project on twitter and instagram @whynothome and facebook at facebook.com/whynothome

You can find Jessicca on twitter @jessicca_moore

(Photos by Erin Wrightsman, used with permission.)

What is Mother-Friendly Care?

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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: Read more

Rules for Talking to a Laboring Woman

Preparing for birth is a unique time in a woman’s life. Many women spend their lives looking outward, seeking to serve others. But in labor and birth a woman has the opportunity to be at the center for a brief moment, and to have those around her serve her, listen to her, and help her in any way they can.

Occasionally, however, those close to a birthing woman use it as an opportunity to fill their own needs or express their own fears to the mother or those closest to her. While it may seem obvious to most, dumping our own emotional baggage on a pregnant or birthing woman is actually inappropriate. Sadly, there are many who have missed the boat on this particular subject.

How many birthing women are surrounded by people (including family) at their birth that they didn’t even want present? How many pregnant women must listen to the horror stories of others simply because they have a round belly and are, obviously, expecting? Birth, however, is not about making those that surround a woman happy and comfortable. A great birth team seeks to make the mother and her closest loved ones happy and supported so that they and the baby can have the best experience possible both physically and emotionally.

The Goldman and Silk “Ring Theory,” as discussed in this LA Times article, explains the idea that during times of extreme stress (such as turmoil or illness) the person most affected or at the “center” has the privilege of receiving emotional support, and the ability to “dump” outward. That is, the person at the center can ask for help, and the people outside can offer.

The idea that “support goes in, needs expressed go out” doesn’t just apply to illness; it works beautifully in labor, too.

When a woman is in labor she should be at the center of the circle, the center of attention, and the person who is focused on. She can request anything from those around her. Support should always flow towards the center from the outer circles, and requests should flow outward. For example, random strangers should not act as though the birth is theirs or that their needs are more important than those of the laboring mother. The mother should not have to support her partner, doula, or family. When the focus
of support stays on the mother, the entire labor goes better and she feels safe and secure.

Remember this simple rule of birth etiquette when attending a birth. Remember, also, that very soon that laboring woman will be a mother and all of her attention will be focused outward on her precious child. We can focus our love and support on her for a few hours to help ensure that both mom and baby receive the best start possible.

Choosing a provider: Understanding the medical and midwifery models of care

What is the difference between the midwifery and the medical model of care?

One of the first decisions that a woman makes, after her discovery of pregnancy, is her choice of care provider. In most countries, there are two basic care providers available- the obstetrician and the midwife. There are many factors that contribute to which provider will work best for your birth. A basic understanding of the common differences in their approach can help you make the best decision for your family.

Midwifery model of care-

Most midwives, whether working out of a hospital or attending home births, practice what is known as the “midwifery model of care.” The basic midwifery approach to birth and the pregnant woman tends to be more holistic. This means that they look at all factors which may contribute to the health and safety of the woman and her birth. Emotions, living situations, nutrition, and education should all be addressed by someone providing the midwifery model of care.

At the time of birth, this care provider will be aware of and trained to spot things that may go wrong, but will, overall, consider childbirth a natural process that frequently proceeds normally and safely.

Those trained in the midwifery model of care routinely refer out to an obstetrician when they observe that the pregnant woman needs to be cared for by someone with a deeper knowledge of pathology.

The Citizens for Midwifery note that,

“The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence

of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.”

Medical model of care-

A practitioner using the medical model of care, as is common among western medical doctors, tends to approach the patient from a problem solving approach, searching for the defect or dysfunction and trying to fix it. Unlike the midwifery model of care that seeks to understand the whole person and prevent unnecessary intervention or surgery, things are viewed from a pathological model searching for the problem and a solution.

Obstetricians, who provide the bulk of medical care for birthing women in the United States of

America, frequently approach their patients and their pregnancy and birth from this angle.

Which is right for me?

When choosing your care provider, there are many factors to consider. One would be your own philosophy towards birth. Do you view birth as a normal life event or as a pathology or disease?

Assessing your own beliefs will help you choose a care provider that best matches your own needs.

Another thing to consider is your own health and wellbeing. If you or your pregnancy are high risk, for some reason, then choosing an obstetrician who approaches birth from the medical model of care and who is versed in your risk factors in particular may be the choice that works best for you and your family.

It is also important to realize that not all midwives use the midwifery model of care and not all obstetricians use the medical model of care. You may be able to find an OB who views birth as a normal, healthy life event and approaches it with minimal interventions. You will also find midwives who have come to view birth as dangerous and pathologic and who have high intervention and cesarean section rates in their practices. Interviewing your individual care provider and asking for experiences from other mothers, doulas, and your childbirth educator will help give you some idea of their practice and philosophy.

Take your time and research your care provider. Your birth and your baby are worth the effort!

References:

Citizens for Midwifery- “Midwives Model of Care” brochure

http://cfmidwifery.org/mmoc/brochure_text.aspx

CIMS- Coalition for Improving Maternity Services

http://www.motherfriendly.org/MFCI/

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