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

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Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Instructor Training, October 2014

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We just finished up our 10th (!!!) natural childbirth instructor training for Birth Boot Camp. It is hard to believe that we have achieved this milestone. Here are some highlights from our most recent training in Dallas/Fort Worth Texas.

This picture shows our instructors geared up and ready to go. The first part of training consists of introductions and learning from Birth Boot Camp founder, Donna Ryan and trainer, Sarah Clark, about how to help couples prepare for a natural birth.

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Below are April Francom and founder Donna Ryan. April oversees all our administration and instructor certification. When you apply to become a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator, April will be the person who guides you and helps answer your questions.

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Training isn’t just sitting in chairs though. Below you see all our instructors practicing relaxation. Relaxation training is such an important part of birth that we don’t just talk to our instructors about it, we make sure the have the opportunity to practice and put it into action.

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(Only one person fell asleep…)

The last evening of training revolves around teaching topics! Each instructor receives a topic that they present to the group. Admittedly this scares the heck out of most of us, but sitting together and taking the opportunity to practice teaching birth related topics is one of our favorite parts of training. And, since we have each instructor evaluate us, we know it is one of their favorite parts too! Each and every one will leave confident in her ability to communicate and instruct their future couples.

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Ebo’nae was a bit of an overachiever. She wrote an entire poem about her topic and presented it to the group. These ladies always impress!
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Instructor Stephanie made up her own mnemonic to help dads remember how to handle labor with grace. Impressive!

 

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Jillian was one of the most energetic and fun instructors we have met. Her students are in for a good time!

Training wraps up with some professional head shots. Whooo, aren’t they gorgeous?! Each of our childbirth instructors is listed on our website and we make sure they all get a professional head shot right next to their bio and location. Not only does this streamline our organization, but gives you something to use as you go off to promote yourself and fill your classes.

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As you can see, they kept taking pictures even after their head shots were done. We love how close these educators are by the end of training. It is wonderful to spend time with women you share a passion for birth with!
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These ladies were sister-in-laws and attended training together. We love it when childbirth education is a family affair!

This training also featured something new- an introduction to Birth Boot Camp DOULA. On the right is Maria who will be one of the trainers (alongside Amanda who lives in New Orleans) for Birth Boot Camp DOULA. On the left is Nancy who will oversee certification for the program. We love having people work together to make our programs organized and incredible.

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Below are some of the ladies who help make Birth Boot Camp happen. On the left, Donna Ryan- founder, Sarah Clark- instructor training, April Francom- instructor certification, and Alexa Gumm- recruiter.

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Thanks for taking the time to enjoy our little weekend adventure with us. We truly have a passion for childbirth education and know that these women will make a difference in their community and in the world.

You can’t have too many dedicated people who really care trying to make birth better. Join us- you won’t regret it!

Apply to become a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator or doula TODAY!

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Changing Lives Through Childbirth Education- An Interview With Rebecca Grochowski

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Today we want you to meet Rebecca, a natural childbirth teacher in Mansfield, TX. We love our instructors and all the talents they bring to our company as a whole. If you would like to become a childbirth educator, we would love to have you at training! The process is a big one but well worth the effort. You can find more information about becoming a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator here.

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 Rebecca Grochowski and I am a stay at home mom in addition to teaching Birth Boot Camp. I am married to an amazingly supportive husband who is a bit of a birth junkie himself (though he may not admit it)! I have one beautiful daughte

Rebecca, childbirth educator in Mansfield TX

r named Emma who is 2.5 years old and I’m currently pregnant again. When I was thinking about getting pregnant initially, a church friend had just had a natural birth with a doula. I didn’t even know what a doula was at the time!

I did some research and called her just to chat about preparing for pregnancy, etc. She told me to watch the Business of Being Born. As soon as my husband got home from work that day, we sat down to watch it. That was all it took and I knew I would have a natural birth! We hired a doula and took comprehensive childbirth classes. I had my daughter at Harris Methodist Fort Worth with the UNT Midwives. My awesome husband caught our daughter and it was the best experience of our lives! I feel that my natural birth also allowed us to have a wonderful start to breastfeeding and a very successful breastfeeding experience. After Emma’s birth, I couldn’t get enough information. I loved reading birth books and watching birth videos. That’s when I decided to take my passion to the next level. I applied to be a Birth Boot Camp Instructor and the rest is history. I am really looking forward to the home birth of our next baby sometime in January!

What first got you interested in childbirth?

I have actually always been interested in birth. From the time I was in sixth grade, I decided I wanted to be an OB/GYN. Throughout my later high school years, I actually interned with a local OB/GYN and witnessed several births, including scheduled cesarean sections. I loved it at the time and never really thought anything of it.

Obviously, my life took a different direction which I am very thankful for. It wasn’t until watching the Business of Being Born that I realized that the medical view of birth was not “normal”. After learning more and personally experiencing natural childbirth, I couldn’t wait to share the knowledge!

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

My passion is teaching women that their bodies are made to birth babies. I believe that God made women to birth babies and breastfeed. Our bodies know exactly what to do and they should be allowed to do it. This is true for low risk, healthy moms which make up the majority of pregnant women in our country. Obviously, we live in a very medical, convenience based culture which has led to the high rates of induction and c-sections. It seems from the outside that women have so many choices, which is great. The bad thing is that many women don’t realize that they don’t have to be induced at 39 weeks for no medical reason or that a breech baby doesn’t have to automatically mean a cesarean. I love educating moms and dads so that they have options. The power is in their hands and they can truly make informed decisions about their birth.

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

When I was researching companies to certify with, my personal childbirth education instructor recommended Birth Boot Camp. After looking at the program, it seemed like the perfect fit! I also love that we cover EVERYTHING in these classes. You will walk away with knowledge of pregnancy exercise and nutrition, relaxation techniques, comfort measures, the pros and cons of interventions, stages of labor, newborn procedures, the postpartum period, newborn care, and so much more!

I love that we provide the tools for your toolbox so that you can customize your birth experience. I have always said that every pregnant woman needs a Birth Boot Camp class. Even if you are the mom who wants an epidural in the parking lot, you will still need all of this knowledge so that you can make truly informed decisions!

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

I attended Birth Boot Camp instructor training in October 2013 in Grapevine, TX. It was a wonderful experience! I loved meeting women from all over the country who shared the same passion for birth. I learned so much during the training and we had so much fun. It didn’t feel like work at all!

My husband and daughter came along and had some great bonding time. My husband loved it so much that he is already looking forward to our Birth Boot Camp instructor conference in 2015!

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

I have absolutely loved teaching each class! From multiple couples to private classes, I love getting to know the moms and dads. It is so wonderful to see them working together to achieve their personal birth goals. So far, I’ve had hospital births, birth center births, and home births. Every one has been awesome and I love hearing the birth stories at our reunion!

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

Even though I had learned so much about birth and the curriculum before training, I was still nervous to actually teach. I had previously been a kindergarten teacher, but there is something totally different about teaching adults. We received numerous helpful tips from Donna and Sarah which gave me ideas I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. We also taught a specific topic to the group. That helped get rid of a lot of my anxiety and I received constructive feedback. I still get a little nervous before the first class of each series, but once I meet my couples and we dive in, I absolutely love it! I’m always so amped up after each class is over!

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

In each of my classes to date, I have had moms of 1-2 children. Each one of them has been unhappy with aspects of their previous births which is what originally led them to Birth Boot Camp. I have loved watching these couples use the tools they learned to have the birth they’ve always wanted. I recently had a mom with two previous cesareans. She had never birthed a baby vaginally. With the knowledge she gained from Birth Boot Camp, plus an amazing support team of doulas and midwives, she rocked out her VBA2C like it was nobody’s business!

When moms and dads have the knowledge of evidence based practices and their tools for how to cope with labor, they are empowered and end up with great experiences. Even if things don’t go the way they thought, these couples usually still end up feeling good about the birth because they were able to make informed decisions about their care.

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

I am very blessed to live in a large community of birth professionals here in Dallas/Fort Worth. I am constantly seeing a positive change because more women are demanding a better standard of care. I love sharing this information with women because it might just mean the difference between a vaginal birth and a cesarean. Knowledge is power and I see the results of that all the time!

Where can we find you?

Rebecca-Grochowski, childbirth instructor, mansfield, TX-BBCI

You can stop by my website: www.tinyblessingsbirth.com. My next childbirth class in Mansfield, TX begins Saturday, November 1 and I hope to see you in it!

 

 

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Prodromal Labor- What Is It and What Can You Do About It?

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You are 38 weeks pregnant. It is 10pm at night and your labor starts. YAY! Contractions are 7 minutes apart, steady and lasting about 45 seconds. They don’t feel like Braxton-Hicks contractions, so this must be the real thing! Steady, real, feeling like labor.

This goes on until 2am when suddenly, everything stops.

No contractions.

No labor.

The next night the same thing happens. And the next, and the next.

Welcome to prodromal labor.

Though not often talked about and poorly understood, prodromal labor is an important subject. Likely the cause of many early trips to the hospital, emotional and physical exhaustion on the part of the mother, and dashed hopes of natural birth, prodromal labor is something that needs to be talked about more and understood better.

What is prodromal labor?

Prodromal labor is usually defined as a labor that starts and stops, sometimes for days on end. Prodromal labor feels like real labor, it acts like real labor and in many ways it is real labor. Sadly, it eventually stops and doesn’t result in a baby like active labor does.

Andrea, a birth teacher in Granbury, TX described her prodromal labor like this:

“My second pregnancy I had 3 days of prodromal labor. I started having contractions on Sunday. They would last for several hours and would get closer together but never closer than 5 minutes apart. After a few hours they would fizzle out and then a few hours later start back up again.

Other women experience this for weeks. Kristin, a Chiropractor in Burleson, TX described it thus:

“I had 3 weeks of prodromal labor with my third baby with contractions every 15 minutes on the dot. I knew the time by my contractions. Occasionally they would get closer…every 5 min for several hours or every 2 1/2 min for hours in the evenings. It really messed with my emotions.”

Different than Braxton-Hicks (which causes no cervical change and which can feel spotty and is generally painless) prodromal labor contractions feel like regular labor and even an experienced mother may be confused and unsure of what is going on. Cori, a birth teacher in Salinas and Carmel, CA said this about her prodromal labor with her third pregnancy, “I went to the doctor thinking I was in labor one of the nights. I had labored twice before, it felt real.” Her contractions would last for roughly 6 hours, coming every 5-10 minutes.

Prodromal labor is also different than early labor: prodromal labor doesn’t produce a baby in the next 12 or even 24 hours. It starts and seems serious, and then fizzles out, often at around the same time each day.

You can’t talk about prodromal labor without discussing the emotional impact it can have. Hailie an birth instructor in Abilene, TX said that, “I was REALLY tempted to just go to the hospital – I knew they’d give me Pitocin when labor stalled and I’d end up with a baby. It took a lot of energy and willpower to stay at home. It was the most emotionally exhausting thing I’ve ever been through. Prodromal labor almost derailed my attempt at a natural birth.”

What can you do about prodromal labor?

As you have probably guessed, prodromal labor isn’t something that anybody wishes for or really enjoys. Is there anything you can do about it?

Many birth professionals feel that prodromal labor is the result of poor positioning on the part of the baby. Sometimes a baby that is positioned “sunny side-up” or posterior will want to move into a more optimal or anterior position.

To remedy this, labor is triggered and the body, the uterus and the baby try to make that baby turn into an anterior position. But, after a few hours the body will take a break, only to try again a bit later.

If positioning issues are the cause of your prodromal labor, then there are a few things that may help:

Chiropractic- Every Birth Boot Camp 10 week childbirth class will have a focus (class 3) on chiropractic and the huge help it can be in labor. Chiropractic adjustments specifically those done by an ICPA certified chiropractor, can help align the spine and pelvis and allow the baby to move into a more optimal position.

Position changes- Another thing your class will talk a lot about is position changes for the mother. There is actually a LOT you can do to help encourage an anterior fetal position and your birth class will cover this over and over again. From hands and knees position to birth balls to lunges, there are many tools at your disposal. Spinningbabies.com can also be a great resource for this. Your class will guide you AND your partner through specific things that may help.

Fixable or fate?

It is possible that this is just how some women labor, and maybe you are one of these women. While it doesn’t sound fun, it is possible to have a positive and even natural birth experience with prodromal labor. The bad news is that it can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. The good news is that you and your partner will have lots of practice sessions where you can put into use all the relaxation techniques and positions you learned in your birth class. The other good news: often when a woman who has prodromal labor finally goes into the “real thing”- it goes quickly. Your body has been working, warming up, and getting ready for your birth.

Prodromal labor isn’t a sign that you don’t work, but the opposite. Your body is trying to get ready for a great birth! Patience can be hard, especially with the added stress of expectations from yourself and others and the weight and discomfort common at the end of pregnancy. Rest when you can, enlist  outside help in the form of your chiropractor, doula, midwife and partner, and give yourself permission to cry when you need to. You CAN still have an amazing birth.

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From Epidurals To Home Birth- Meet Instructor Hailie in Abilene, TX

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Birth class couples after playing a game to learn how epidurals work in Hailie’s birth class!

We are excited to share with you a series of articles highlighting our diverse group of birth instructors. These are the amazing women who are doing real work trying to make birth better for women and their families all over the world. Today we introduce Hailie Wolfe, a birth teacher in Abilene, TX, mother of five (and kinda famous You-Tuber) who has birthed in so many different ways. In fact, one of her birth videos is featured in our classes! We love Hailie and we are sure you will too. Thanks and enjoy!

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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 birth classes.

My name is Hailie Wolfe and I own Country Bumpkin Birth Services in Abilene, TX. I have five children – four of them were born in the hospital; three of which were medicated and one was unmedicated.

My medicated births were very standard hospital births. There were several things that I didn’t like about those experiences, but it was years before I realized that how I was made to feel for those births really DID matter. I had some wonderful nurses, but oddly enough, the one I remember most was the one who treated me terribly and that makes me sad. I was given routine episiotomies. I was given the highest pitocin drip on more than one occasion. I thought all of this was “normal”.

When I became pregnant with my 4th child, I decided I wanted to do things differently. At the time, we planned for #4 to be our last baby and I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to experience birthing naturally. I came to view it almost as a rite of passage I had missed out on because of my ignorance during my previous pregnancies. When I gave birth naturally, I finally understood WHY it was so important. I had an easy postpartum recovery for the very first time. I was on a birth high for days and felt very empowered.

I enjoyed birth so much that it influenced our decision to add another baby to the family. My fifth child, a surprise breech birth, was born at home in my bath tub. You can watch her birth video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFabMR4sg5g

I was able to have a natural birth with self education, but the whole time I was pregnant with my 4th child I wished there was an accessible class where I could get the information in one place. That inspired me to become a Birth Boot Camp instructor. I wanted women in my community to have easy access to this important information. 

What first got you interested in the realm of birth?

Looking back, I always have had an interest in birth itself. I remember as a teenager being really into watching shows about birth on the Discovery Channel and being disappointed when they didn’t actually show the baby come out. When we had to watch The Miracle of Life in high school health class, I was secretly excited to see what it would look like for a baby to come out.

I’d like to say that I was so inspired by birth that I went into the medical field after high school, but that would be a lie. I didn’t want to go to nursing school because I didn’t want to wipe butts or clean up puke – no gross stuff for me. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that was in the job description for motherhood, because I signed up for that without concern! I became an elementary teacher where I wiped noses and pulled teeth. What can I say? I have a mothers’ stomach.

The point that REALLY got me interested in pursuing birth work was when I went through a very painful induction with my third child and had a terrible recovery. When I decided to go natural with my fourth and I had such a wonderful experience – that was when I really discovered my passion sharing birth with others.

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

Over the last few months, I’m becoming increasingly interested in reaching disengaged dads. I hear birth workers constantly blast dads for thinking birth classes, doulas, etc. are a waste of money. It hits home for me because my husband was one of those dads. He pretty much agreed to hire a doula just to make me happy – but then seeing was believing for him. He was amazed at how much better the experience was when we birthed with a doula. I want to figure out how to reach the skeptical dads like my husband, and I want to reach them before their wives are insisting on having a doula because they’ve been through a bad experience. I’m preparing to host a Doula Dad night soon so that my husband can speak to other dads about the benefits of having a doula. I’m hopeful that hearing another dad’s perspective will encourage others to be more open about birth preparation.

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

I actually have a dear friend, Megan Martin, who teaches classes in Burleson, TX. When I voiced my interest in Birth Boot Camp she really encouraged me to go for it. I didn’t even do very much research on other programs. The organization is very transparent about their beliefs, which perfectly align with my own birth philosophy. It is clear, concise, and complete, and those are attributes that will truly prepare couples for birth. I knew early on that it was the right program for me to teach

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

I attended Birth Boot Camp instructor training in July 2013 in Grapevine, Texas. I really enjoyed getting to meet and gain knowledge from other woman across the country who share the same passion as me. I love my children with my whole heart, but it was refreshing to stimulate my brain for a few days alongside a great group of ladies.

During my hotel stay for the training, I was roomates with Lauren McClain, creator of MyBreechBaby.org. She taught me so much about breech birth during break times and when we’d stay up late chatting. I remember thinking how great it was that I was learning all this new breech information in preparation for teaching other moms. I never would have dreamed that I would personally be putting all that information to use when I delivered my own surprise breechling just three weeks later. I will never forget Lauren.

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

Each series I’ve taught has gone great! The part I enjoy most is getting to connect with couples and share information that I wish I had known earlier in my birthing years. It makes me feel like I am making a difference. It is also incredibly enjoyable to see dads gradually become more and more engaged in birth preparations. Over the 10 weeks it gets very “real” for them. It’s a neat process to watch.

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Hailie with her youngest baby, born at home.

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

I was really nervous at instructor training when we had to individually teach a specific topic. It was reminiscent of my elementary teaching days when the principal would come in for observations; judgement from colleagues can be intimidating. BUT, it was completely judgement free with lots of constructive feedback and I even learned new information from some of the other trainees during their presentations.

I also really liked that we practiced relaxation exercises and labor positions in groups. You’d be surprised how difficult it can be to read aloud using a “yoga voice” for the first time ever. It was great practice, though! I was 36 weeks pregnant at the time, so it was super relaxing to be the guinea pig for some of those – I felt like I was getting pampered at the spa!

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

I feel like my students are benefiting so much just from hearing about all the choices they will be making for in preparation for their births. My students almost always leave with a list of questions for their care provider that they would have otherwise never known to ask . I truly feel that it’s also helping the dads be able to connect with the pregnancy on a more meaningful level. As the series progresses, I notice dads becoming more confident in their ability to make joint birth decisions,  and also more confident in their ability to be a good support to their wife on the day of baby’s arrival. Seeing the friendships develop between the couples is great too.

To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?
Specifically in my community, where we have a 37% cesarean rate, I am hopeful that my empowered students will go out into the community and share the impact that education had on their births. I really feel this will lead to more and more couples investing in their births and having more positive experiences. Also, when we as women are educated, we can hold our doctors accountable and at a higher standard. This is the first step in lowering the astronomical cesarean rate in the Big Country.

Where can we find you?
A few different places, actually! Come visit me. I LOVE communicating with moms and dads who are interested in birth!
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Rock Your Natural Birth…at the Hospital! – Guest Post By Lauren Rauseo

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Today we have a guest post from Lauren Rauseo. A mother of three and author of the recently published book, “Natural Birth for the Mainstream Mama,” we are excited to share her thoughts on some basic things that can help you have an amazing natural birth in a hospital. Her book just happens to mention us as a possible childbirth education option and we couldn’t be more pleased! As you can see, she gives some great advice for getting the birth you want in the hospital, and she manages to do it in a funny, approachable and readable manner. Check out a review of Lauren’s book here and find it on Amazon.

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So you are planning a natural birth. You imagine dimmed lighting and quiet music as you labor, and a peaceful entrance for your baby. The thought of monitors, drugs and a doctor shouting, “Push!” at your va-jay-jay gives you the heebie-jeebies. Maybe you don’t see yourself popping this kid out on your living room sofa, but you long for a more home-like experience.

While the hospital offers comfort that you’re in the right place in the event of an emergency, it also brings a few challenges when preparing for an intervention-free birth. Follow these five tips so that you achieve your goal to go au naturale at the hospital.

1. Choose your hospital and care provider wisely.

This is, hands-down, the most important piece of advice you’ll get. Even if you’ve been with your OB/GYN since you got your first period, you need to interview him like you two just met. What is his C-section rate? What were the reasons for his last 10 surgical births? And since you never know who will be on call on the big day, are the other providers in the practice aligned philosophically? Don’t forget to find out what the hospital policies are as well. How long can your water be broken before the baby needs to be born? Are you allowed freedom of movement during labor? Are different positions encouraged for pushing? What are the monitoring requirements for a low-risk delivery?

Listen to not only what he is saying, but also how he is saying it. If your hunch is that he is not supportive of natural birth, then he probably isn’t. Even if your due date is close, it’s never too late to find a care provider that’s more in line with your birth plan. Consider switching to a midwife. Her expertise lies in trusting a woman’s body to do what it was physiologically designed to do, and not looking for crisis at every turn (but don’t worry; she can recognize warning signs when there is something that requires attention).

If your care provider truly believes in your body’s ability, your natural birth has a much better chance of happening. Your job is to find that care provider.

2. Assemble a supportive team.

Now that you have the right medical crew lined up, you can rest assured that you wont be offered interventions during your birth unless it’s absolutely necessary. (Half the battle has been won already!) But that doesn’t mean you won’t be asking for an epidural yourself when you’ve been in labor for 24 hours and you’re only 4 centimeters dilated.

That’s why you need your birth peeps cheering you on! First, make sure your partner in life is on board with all this natural jazz from the get-go. You both need to see eye-to-eye on your goals, and he’ll need to stand strong as your advocate that day.

But maybe even more important will be your doula, or labor coach. She’s a non-medical birth professional who actually knows what she’s doing and how to be helpful to you in your time of need. She’s seen a lot of these natural births go down, so she’ll know when it’s time to go to the hospital, how much counter pressure to apply to your hips, and why getting on all fours may help baby into a better position.

3. Make a commitment.

Have you ever said you’re going to decide whether you’ll get up early to exercise when your alarm goes off? How often does that strategy work? I’m guessing never. You must commit to your decision and eliminate the option to hit snooze. Likewise, when someone asks you if you’re going to have a natural birth, your answer should be simply, “Yes.” If yours is, “Well, I’m going to see how it goes,” then you have commitment work to do. You need to walk into this adventure with 100 percent confidence that you will do it.

Repeat after me. “My body was made to birth this baby. It will be hard, but I trust this process. I am about to have the best day ever!”

4. Retrain your brain.

Maybe you’re afraid of committing to this because you are terrified of birth! This isn’t surprising. You’ve been trained to be afraid of this event your entire life. How many times have you heard, “Childbirth is awesome! You’re going to love it!”? Zero. Mostly, you’ve been listening to women regale horror stories, and you’ve been watching ridiculous TV that exaggerates the risks and hyperbolizes the pain of childbirth in the name of ratings. You need to stop all that crap. Immediately.

Instead, surround yourself with women who have positive birth stories to share. There are plenty out there! Common themes will include a supportive midwife, an inspirational doula, lots of movement, infrequent (or no) cervical checks, intermittent monitoring, mother-led pushing, immediate skin-to-skin with baby, and overall, an environment where the mother’s voice was heard and respected.

Go places where there are others who are also preparing themselves for an empowering birth. Try a natural-focused childbirth class, and stay away from hospital-based classes, as those will likely center on risks and interventions. Read natural birth blogs and follow them on social media for constant bursts of inspiration. Once you’re in the right frame of mind, it’s easy to commit to your goal. Don’t fear for this birth; get excited for it!

5. Be patient and relax.

Patience begins while you’re still pregnant. Perhaps 41 weeks pregnant. Remember, your baby knows when to be born. Once labor does begin, trust me, you’ll be glad you refined this skill. Your doula will use comfort measures to help you during labor. Maybe she’ll rub your back, let you squeeze her hand, or read birth affirmations aloud. But none of that will help if you’re tense and working against your contractions. In order for your cervix to open, you need to totally let go and release the tension from your body. Think savasana at the end of a yoga class times a hundred; that’s how relaxed you should be. Practice often so that you’ll be able to bring yourself into relaxation more easily on the big day.

Each contraction only lasts one minute or less, even during the hardest part. And I know you can do anything for one minute. Never think about how much longer you have to go. Just breathe into this one contraction you’re having right now.

So there you have it! Are you ready to rock this natural hospital birth? Remember, every moment of this journey is fleeting, and each minute that goes by brings you one step closer to the prize: Your baby. Come on now, you got this.

If you like what you read here, get the whole book, Natural Birth for the Mainstream Mama, in paperback or ebook. http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Birth-Mainstream-Mama-practical-ebook/dp/B00I3448X0


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Lauren Rauseo is a work-from-home mom to Dylan, Liv and Fiona. Her favorite things are going for walks with the kids to collect “treasures” and singing in the car, and she isn’t afraid to admit that Starbucks, manicures, wine and yoga make the list too. Now that she’s done birthing her own brood, she has moved on to sharing her enthusiasm for natural birth with others through her book, “Natural Birth for the Mainstream Mama: A practical guide to achieving a drug-free birth in a hospital setting”, available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Birth-Mainstream-Mama-practical/dp/1494415321). You can follow Lauren at www.facebook.com/MainstreamMama.

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