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

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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.
Julia West teaches childbirth classes in Grapevine, TX

Childbirth Classes in Grapevine, TX

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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?

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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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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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