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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.

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.

 

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.
blueberries are a great food for pregnancy

10 Most Nutritious Foods For Pregnancy and Postpartum

We are so excited to feature a post today detailing the 10 Most Nutritious Foods for Pregnancy & Postpartum from our resident pregnancy exercise and nutrition expert, Katie Dudley. We believe that part of preparing for a healthy, natural birth is preparing our bodies with optimal nutrition. Katie's list is something every pregnant woman should read.

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During our first few visits to our care provider, we often receive a long list of foods to avoid, but we rarely discuss the foods that we SHOULD consume to support a more safe and comfortable pregnancy. In preparation for baby we hear even less about what we should eat once baby has arrived and our body is healing to provide nourishment for our breastfeeding child. The following is a list of foods that help to combat many of the common pregnancy symptoms and well as provide you with better care for postpartum healing. Incorporating these foods on a regular basis will help to crowd out the less nutritious foods that may contribute to common ailments in pregnancy and postpartum.

Bananas

Photo credit: Billy Wilson Photography / Foter / CC BY-NC
Photo credit: Billy Wilson Photography / Foter / CC BY-NC

Bananas contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are perfect for many common pregnancy symptoms. Early on in pregnancy, bananas are a great source for alleviating nausea and morning sickness. They travel well, so keeping a banana on hand in your purse or bag is easy. This can come in handy for any muscle cramps and also regulating blood sugar during the day. Bananas are a great prebiotic food that aid in digestion and nutrient absorption for baby’s development. Another digestive benefit is they can help mom with symptoms of constipation and diarrhea that can occur throughout pregnancy. Later on in pregnancy, many of the nutrients found in bananas assist in reducing swelling and high blood pressure.

Berries

blueberries are a great food for pregnancy
Photo credit: maira.gall / Foter / CC BY-ND

Another excellent prebiotic food that promotes healthy digestion and nutrient absorption, berries are among the highest foods in antioxidants. Berries are considered superfoods as one of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can consume. They contain a high amount of fiber for regularity and satiety, but are low in sugars, helping keep mom’s blood sugar stable. They are the fruit of choice for mom’s who at a higher risk for gestational diabetes. High in vitamin C, berries give your immune system a boost to keep mom and baby well. Even better, they are a great natural source of folate, which your body can readily convert for baby’s development.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is excellent for pregnancy
Photo credit: looseends / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Bone broth can be an excellent source of protein and fat to enhance mom’s immune function and provides essential amino acids for growing baby. Essential minerals that aid in brain and nerve functioning are also found in fresh bone broth. With its rich nutritional content, bone broth is great way to reduce symptoms of morning sickness. This is particularly helpful when it is difficult to get foods in. The vitamins and minerals in homemade broth make a perfect food for both pregnancy and postpartum as they aid in the growth of nails, skin, hair and connective tissues. This serves as an important function as they help mom’s body grow with baby as well as recover once baby is here. These same nutrients also condition the digestive tract and keep things working smoothly.

Dark Chocolate (Real)

Dark chocolate can be excellent food for pregnancy
Photo credit: Chocolate Reviews / Foter / CC BY-ND

Yes! Dark Chocolate. Real dark chocolate (not the processed, sugary kind) has some of the highest levels of antioxidants of any foods. It is higher than berries, red wine, and high quality dark chocolate (70% or more cacoa) made from raw cacao, is quite the nutritious food and is a perfect option for those sweet pregnancy cravings. A surprising source of fiber, dark chocolate can even contribute to good digestion. High in minerals like iron, magnesium, cooper, zinc, selenium, potassium, and manganese cacao keeps mom energized for baby’s growth and development. The varieties of minerals also improve circulation and lower blood pressure. Quality dark chocolate can also be a nutritious pick me up for mom with a small amount of natural caffeine. With less caffeine than a cup of coffee, be aware of consuming this late at night and when breastfeeding.

Cultured Foods

Yogurt and other fermented foods are excellent during pregnancy
Photo credit: roboppy / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Found in cultures around the world throughout history, cultured and fermented foods like real yogurt (read ingredients), sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, kefir, pickled vegetables, coconut yogurt, organic buttermilk, organic sour cream and probiotics are a healthy way to incorporate healthy bacteria into mom’s system. A balance of bacteria in the body is necessary for many bodily functions like making B vitamins, good digestion, nutrient absorption, immune function and mood. The bacterial flora in mom’s body is especially important for the baby as he passes through the birth canal and takes on the flora from mom. This is also true during breastfeeding. Recent studies have even shown that the bacteria are also found in the placenta and may help prevent preterm births. There is current evidence that if mom and baby have a healthy balance of flora, there is also less chance of colic, thrush, digestive upsets, and allergies. Consuming cultured foods is particularly beneficial to moms that have GBS, have been on antibiotics or have a history of taking them.

Eggs

Eggs are packed with nutrients necessary during pregnancy
Photo credit: cobalt123 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

This nutrient dense, superfood will keep mom satiated and energized throughout the day. Eggs are an excellent whole foods source of protein during pregnancy and postpartum. Eating a sufficient amount of protein in a balanced diet protects mom from various health concerns like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. High quality eggs are also a source of healthy fats, that are important in baby’s brain development as well as help to lower mom’s risk of postpartum depression. In addition to healthy fats and protein, pregnant and nursing moms can get many of their essential vitamins and minerals from eggs like iron, calcium, and vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins and minerals are important in supporting a healthy pregnancy as well as postpartum healing and recovery.

Green Vegetables

Leafy greens are an excellent source of nutrition during pregnancy
Photo credit: jirfy / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Dark leafy green vegetables are the ultimate superfoods full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants perfect for mom and baby. With a recommended 9-11 servings of vegetables and fruit a day, incorporating several servings of greens provides an excellent source of natural folate for baby’s development that your body can easily convert. They are full of fiber to keep mom full and her digestive system running smoothly. Nutrient dense dark greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, swiss chard, and arugula are a non-dairy source of calcium and full of immune boosting minerals. These help to prevent many pregnancy related complications like pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and anemia. Incorporating green vegetables throughout the day keeps moms energy levels stable without raising her blood sugar. If you have difficulty getting greens in at multiple meals, add them to a smoothie, mix them in a stir fry, add them to eggs, or have a side salad.

Healthy Fats

Avocado and other sources of healthy fat are excellent for pregnancy
Photo credit: mikemennonno / Foter / CC BY-NC

Healthy fats play an essential role in baby’s growth and development. They are particularly important in eye and brain development or as Dr. Sears would say, “Growing a little fathead”. Ours brains consist of almost sixty percent fat and it is important that enough fat is provided for proper brain function. According to several studies from the Harvard School of Public Health, they found that pregnant women who eat a diet rich in healthy fats reduce their chances of allergies and developmental delays. Consuming a variety of healthy fats is crucial for mom and baby throughout pregnancy and postpartum. During pregnancy they will help mom to stabilize her blood sugar, improve digestion, and regulate blood pressure. With less sleep and a more demanding schedule, moms need all the help they can get. Eating various healthy fats like a moderate amount of cold water fish, avocados, flaxseed, flax oil, chia seed, olive oil, coconut oil, organic grassed meat, and nuts assist mom in absorbing the nutrients her body needs for sustained energy as well as postpartum healing.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a great nutritional source for pregnant women.
Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA

Mushrooms are often overlooked for their nutritional benefits, but they are actually packed with essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, they are one of the few food sources of Vitamin D. This comes in handy during those winter months when it is more difficult to get appropriate levels of vitamin D from being outdoors. In combination with the antioxidants, D can boost mom’s immune system as well, keeping risk of infections lower. Sufficient levels of vitamin D will also support baby’s bone and teeth development. Recent research has been shown that proper levels of vitamin D in women reduce chances of postpartum depression. With an abundance of B vitamins, mushrooms can alleviate symptoms of morning sickness and increase mom’s energy levels. Mushrooms are also an iron rich food, helping with the increased blood volume during pregnancy.

Onions & Garlic

Garlic and onions are a fantastic source of healthy nutrition for pregnancy.
Photo credit: Ruby's Feast / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Part of the allium family, not only do they help our meals taste great, but onions and garlic are some of nature’s greatest medicines. They both are excellent anti inflammatory foods as well as support your immune system and balanced cholesterol. Rich in antioxidants, garlic and onions protect moms from various health conditions during pregnancy like pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure by promoting healthy circulation. By increasing circulation, these properties reduce pregnancy related swelling. Raw garlic also contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which may assist in keeping illness and infections away. This can be beneficial for pregnant and breastfeeding moms avoiding unnecessary medications. Check out our free pregnancy nutritional e-book for more information and ideas for recipes.


Katie Dudley, nutritional and exercise expert for Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Education.

Katie Dudley, HHC, CPT, CES, PES is passionate about natural health and wellness. She enjoys educating and empowering others to take control of their own health.  She believes women can have an amazing pregnancy and birth. Katie earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Georgia with a focus in Child and Family Development and Educational Psychology. Following her love of fitness and nutrition, a trainer since 2005, she is a Certified Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement Specialist and a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach. Katie currently has a private Holistic Health Coaching Practice, Cornerstone Integrative Fitness and Wellness, where she works with women and families all over the country. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family.

Read more from Katie!

Exercises for a great pregnancy and birth.

Foam rolling for pregnancy.

Julia West teaches childbirth classes in Grapevine, TX

Childbirth Classes in Grapevine, TX

Trevor_Julia_Canaan2014-1024x682

Today, we introduce Julia, a hardworking and beautiful wife, mother and childbirth educator in Grapevine, TX. We love our natural birth instructors and appreciate all the work they are doing as they promote childbirth education and Birth Boot Camp in their own communities. It gives us great pleasure to introduce them to you and let them tell you a little bit about themselves and their passion. Find a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator in your area! 

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

I am a stay-at-home mom of one and one on the way. My husband and I have lived all over Texas and recently moved back to the DFW area. Our first son was born at the Katy Birth Center with a wonderful midwife. She encouraged me to get really health-conscious during pregnancy, prompted us to take a birth class, she loaned me books about birth and introduced me to Ina May’s writing and she really encouraged me spiritually and emotionally. When labor started, my husband and I were excited and confident. Labor progressed steadily and we worked together through each contraction, both happy to be putting our newfound knowledge into practice. The environment at the birth center was peaceful, quiet and calming. I remember vividly thinking everyone seemed so calm! Our son was born after 10 hours of labor, 1 hour of pushing and weighed 9 lbs 4 oz. It was the most incredible day- even though it was the hardest work my body has ever done, I would relive it all if I could! We are now anticipating the arrival of baby #2 in just a few weeks!

What first got you interested in the realm of birth?

I was always a sort of squeamish person. I did not like talking about blood, bodily fluids, anything private or personal and especially not childbirth! I did not want to think about pregnancy or labor until I had to. About a year after I got married, my sister had a medicated birth that really opened my eyes. I started researching more about natural birth, reading birth stories and looking up midwives in my area. During my first pregnancy, my passion was sparked and I became a fiend for all birth and pregnancy literature I could find! After my son’s birth, I knew I wanted to help other mothers to gain confidence in the natural process of birth and to eliminate the need to go through unnecessary interventions.

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

I believe birth can be a beautiful, empowering, bonding experience for a couple and that it was designed to give mothers confidence to carry them through motherhood. I know too many mothers who feel like the experience was stolen from them or that birth was just something to “get through” to get a baby. Many women feel confused about the things done to them during labor and delivery, when she should be involved in every decision made about her body and her baby. No matter the birth women choose, I don’t think any woman should be made to feel unimportant, uninvolved or in the way of the delivery of her baby. I truly believe that if women don’t know their options, they have none. My passion is to provide women with evidence based information, encouragement and support.

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

I was originally drawn to Birth Boot Camp because I felt like the materials and the themes would appeal to dads. My husband’s knowledge and confidence had a huge impact on my confidence. He knew that birth was normal and he knew I had worked hard to accomplish my goals. Not only did he offer labor support, but he supported my nutrition and fitness goals and he never doubted my ability. I know every woman needs a partner that is prepared and supportive, in pregnancy and birth. As I learned more about the curriculum, I was so excited to know that it did not just focus on the process of birth, but on staying low-risk in pregnancy, preparing emotionally and mentally and having good communication with the entire birth team. Many women do not realize the impact their care provider will have on their birth and I love that Birth Boot Camp provides important questions for women to ask and gain confidence that they are in the right hands! This class also provides information what to expect when pregnancy or birth do not go as planned and the options women have even in those circumstances. It is such a well-rounded curriculum and I am proud to teach it.

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

I attended the training in Grapevine, TX in April 2013. I loved the discussion in the room and was so thankful to hear input from nurses, doulas, educators and other moms who all had the same passions. I was in a room full of women with incredible knowledge and experience!!

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

Teaching class is so fulfilling and fun! I love meeting new couples and hearing their thoughts and hopes about birth. My favorite moments are the ones where I see a “lightbulb” go on and I can tell a couple is learning something new. Where else are they going to hear the real statistics about maternity care in our country and around the world? Or get a real understanding of how the placenta functions? How many women don’t really understand many of the prenatal tests and how the results can impact their births? We are able to have open discussions and I am happy to give them the information they need to make their own decisions! You’d never know I was squeamish before to talk about bodily functions! ;)

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

Julia-West-web

I have seen first hand that a positive birth experience can impact a family for years to come. I know the birth process can have long term effects on the mother’s health, physically and emotionally. And I am fascinated by the science that shows the birth process can have lifelong health effects on generations. But mostly, I believe that God designed and created birth to “work,” and when we try to fix something that is not broken, often the experience is not as safe or fulfilling as it could have been. Common thinking in our country is that birth should be left up to the experts, birth is dangerous for all women, and the more controlled the birth, the safer it is. I hope to give every woman I know confidence, comfort and encouragement to have a voice in pregnancy and birth.

Where can we find you?

I teach at the lovely Grapevine Birthing Center. You can find out more about my class at inspiredbybirths.com.

Want to learn more about Julia? Check out her video on youtube where she talks about why she loves natural birth.

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