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Taking The Fear out of Birth Prep- The Cycle of Cs

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How do we take the fear out of birth prep? Every childbirth educator is aware of the Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle. It is frequently talked about as we help prep students for birth. Helping students understand that their emotional state can impact their physical experience of an event such as birth is eye opening and important. However, our words are powerful and lasting, especially if we focus on fear and pain. Today Amanda Devereux, co-creator of Birth Boot Camp DOULA, talks about re-thinking our reliance on Fear-Tension-Pain with a shift to something new and vastly more positive. Check it out. She has good words to share.

It is imperative that prep for birth help remove fear. There’s always more than one way to look at things and it’s time for a different perspective on the Fear-Tension-Pain Cycle. We all know the value of understanding this cycle, but when a woman is in labor this mental image and these words are not where her energy, nor ours as doulas, should go. Pointing out a person’s tension, fear or pain is never helpful.  Instead, a good doula sees the tension, notices the fear, and then takes steps to help relieve tension or help remove the fear. We can then offer ways to help cope with pain in labor.

When we turn the cycle inside out and look at how great labor really works, we can see the Cycle of Cs. This is where birth happens and this is where a good doula finds her work. The three Cs of labor are:

Confident – When a woman has confidence in her ability to birth her baby and confidence in her baby’s knowledge of birth, her fears are gone. She knows this journey is the perfect one for this baby and she makes way for this little one’s birth. Although doubt may sometimes creep in, her confident roots gained from childbirth education and innate wisdom will give her footing. Her birth team will remind her of the magnitude of her strength and continue to further build her confidence.

Calm – Birth is primal, raw and sometimes loud; but even in this there is calm. A mother’s confidence leads to this calm. Laboring mothers are reassured by the smiles and supportive eye contact of their team, by routine, and the calm energy offered by all those confident in her ability to birth this baby. A laboring mother finds calm in her atmosphere, smells, sounds and rhythms.This becomes the grounds for her coping.

Coping – Each birth is unique and will require that a mother discover just how to best cope with the sensations of the birth of this baby. Her calmness and trust in her abilities will allow her to open her mind, heart and body to this birth. Though this she will find ways to cope. As she moves further through her labor and her baby nears, she will find increasing confidence through her ability to cope.

When we see in a mother the fantastic strength and power she shows us when she is birthing, we are seeing what has always been there. Her strength, her power – these are not new, she’s just reaching depths that she likely never knew she had. As doulas, it is our job to help her move through the Cycle of Cs, to shed light on her confidence, to help provide the calm and to make way for her to find her best way to cope.

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Amanda Devereux is a doula based in New Orleans, owner of Nola Nesting, a mother of three and co-creator of Birth Boot Camp DOULA. Join Amanda at Birth Boot Camp DOULA training and help couples have amazing births in your own community. 

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Foam Rolling For Pregnancy

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Today we are pleased to share a guest post from our resident fitness and nutrition expert, Katie Dudley. Katie has created a program for our online and in-person childbirth education classes that is second to none. In fact, there is nothing that even comes close in depth and uncompromising quality when it comes to pregnancy health and nutrition. One element that she felt was imperative to our program was the practice of foam rolling or myofascial release. Here she explains how this practice, when properly done, can be helpful and effective. In your childbirth class you will receive much more in-depth instruction each week. Enjoy and have an amazing pregnancy!

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Throughout the course of pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through a vast amount of physical changes to accommodate for baby’s growth. As the body progresses during pregnancy the added weight and pressure of the physical changes may exacerbate preexisting muscle imbalances or create new ones. This growth places an abnormal amount of weight on a woman’s frame often causing a rotation of the pelvis and slight curvature in a women’s lower back (lordosis). Lordosis, a malpositioned pelvis, knee pain, hip pain, leg cramps, and back pain can all be caused by muscle tension and imbalances creating discomfort in mom-to-be.

The tension and imbalances are often a result of sitting for long periods, poor nutrition, stress, altered movement patterns, dehydration, and bad posture. Most of these symptoms are preventable and for a more comfortable pregnancy and better birthing process, we should be proactive in addressing them. Along with balanced daily nutrition, consistent pregnancy exercise and flexibility work, one of my favorite methods for alleviating pain and discomfort during pregnancy is through self myofascial release.

Self myofascial release or “foam rolling” is a convenient and inexpensive form of self massage. It is administered by using body weight and a high density foam roller to address knots and adhesions in our muscle tissues. From chronic positions like sitting or altered movement patterns (created by our daily physical habits), our tissues can become matted down and unable to contract and be activated properly. For example, when people sit at a computer or in the car all day, certain muscles, such as the glutes, become mashed down making it difficult for them to be activated correctly, thus placing more work on the lower back and hips. When this happens it alters our biomechanics, putting emphasis on the wrong muscles and joints to move our bodies. This is even more noticeable during pregnancy. By placing pressure on these trigger points and the surrounding tissues using a foam roller, we can help release the tension. This allows for greater blood flow and better muscle activation which relieves discomfort.

Many of us do not have the time or resources to visit the chiropractor or massage therapist as much as we would like. Regular foam rolling can help achieve similar results in between visits. The foam roller is a great maintenance tool. Often times we try to stretch the pain and tension away, but without relaxing the trigger points, it is difficult to increase muscle extension of shortened, tight muscles. By applying the myofascial release technique, you will create better range of motion and strength through the proper length/tension relationship between joints. There will be less tug of war on your frame.

By reducing overall tension in your body through foam rolling and balanced nutrition, you may find benefits in many different areas:

-Greater strength and muscle activation

-Less fatigue and better energy

-Decreased aches and pains (lower back pain, sciatica)

-Relief from physical demands of pregnancy and new baby

-Increased blood flow

-Better sleep

Not only is foam rolling beneficial for mom, it’s great for dad too. Myofascial release is safe for most individuals. Those that should avoid foam rolling are individuals with neuropathy, sensitive skin conditions, and severe swelling. When rolling, you want to avoid joints, spine, neck, lower back, abdomen, chest, and varicose veins. Pregnant women should also avoid their inner thigh, belly, and inside of their calf muscle. Mom may need to modify foam rolling as she progresses in her pregnancy. She should only roll to her level of comfort and adjust where needed. Moms with diastasis recti may want to avoid any prone positions during foam rolling.

Foam rolling is a great addition before or after exercise and is complimented by stretching afterward. Fit it in when you can, on the living room floor watching TV or at night before bed. The more consistently it is administered, the better your results will be.

How to foam roll:

Using a high density foam roller, roll muscle groups like calves, peroneals, hamstrings, quads, glutes, hip flexors, lats, and upper back. Roll slowly, taking your time making sure to release tension. Allow the muscle to relax. Rolling should be tender, but not unbearable. Spend a few minutes on each area. You may use a lacrosse ball or tennis ball for smaller areas like your upper back.

1) Sit on foam roller or floor

2) Position foam roller on targeted muscle group

3) Support your body in a comfortable position with neutral spine

4) Slowly roll until you find a tender place, keeping body relaxed

5) Making sure to breathe, allow tension to release in surrounding tissues, about 30 seconds to 1 minute

6) Move on to other areas of the targeted muscle

As with any new exercise, consult your care provider first.

You can have an amazing birth- and pregnancy! Thoughtful and conscientious nutrition and exercise can help you along this path.

 


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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.

5 things you need from your doula certification

5 Things You Need From Your Doula Certification

5 things you need from your doula certification

We are pleased to share thoughts from Amanda Devereux today. We first met Amanda when she certified to become a Birth Boot Camp childbirth instructor. Struck by her passion and intelligence, we soon recruited her to help form the Birth Boot Camp DOULA program along with Maria Polduka. By systematically looking at what existed, what was lacking, and what professionals needed, they developed something truly unique. Here are few reasons why your doula certification should give you more than just letters after your name.

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I am familiar with the increasing numbers of doulas disheartened by the certification options available to them. Doulas work hard to complete their certification and often feel they don’t gain much more than letters at the end of their name. Many are choosing not to recertify with their original certifying body because they gain little from maintaining their certification. I fully believe that when a person completes their doula certification they should be proud of the letters at the end of their name, not just because of their meaning, but because of what they get. You deserve more than just letters. Much more. Here are just five of the top things you get with Birth Boot Camp DOULA certification. We’ve set our standards high – expect a lot from us!

1. Confidence

You will not only know some doula techniques, you will be confident as a doula and business person.  You will know how to gain clients, interview and get contracts signed in addition to being confident working as a doula. Confidence is an important key to success in any business, but especially one that involves the interpersonal skills needed in doula work. From interviewing potential clients, to handling the variations of labor, you will be confident and poised.

2. Business Support

Birth Boot Camp DOULAS receive business training, contracts, all of their paper work and filing; and each of their clients receive a copy of Supporting Arms, a book just for Birth Boot Camp DOULA clients to help them prepare for their birth.  This means no crazy handouts and no copying and printing- it’s all ready for you.

3. Marketing Support

Birth Boot Camp DOULAS receive marketing training at their workshop and have continued marketing support available to them including websites, business cards, promotional materials and stock photography – this is all INCLUDED. You will have access to marketing videos you can watch at any time from a marketing professional which will guide you in the days ahead. We do this because we want you to be successful and fulfilled through your passion for birth.

4. Lactation Training

Doulas often help mom initiate their first latch and check on breastfeeding during a postpartum visit.  This means that doulas really need more breastfeeding training than just attending a breastfeeding class.  Birth Boot Camp DOULAS not only take a full breastfeeding class covering newborn through weaning, but attend a lactation workshop focused specifically on doulas and lactation support. This ability will set you apart and make you more than a doula who can provide counter pressure in labor, but one who can help mom and baby have the best start.

5. Mentorship and Community

All Birth Boot Camp DOULAS have available to them mentorship by experienced doulas and peers as well as continued community, which is invaluable in this line of work.  The culture of Birth Boot Camp is one of support – both personal and professional.  From sharing marketing ideas, celebrating births and professional highs and lows – this community is unbeatable.


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Amanda Devereux is an accomplished doula in New Orelans, a registered nurse, a childbirth educator, and co-creator of Birth Boot Camp DOULA. 

 

 

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

Birth Boot Camp Visits MANA Conference!

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

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

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

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

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

Birth Boot Camp booth at the MANA conference.

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

Alexa meeting famous midwife from the Farm!

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

Birth Boot Camp instructor, Lauren Hunter.

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

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

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

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

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

Midwife and homeopath, Cheryl, from Longmont. Colorado.

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

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

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8 Things to Consider When Choosing Doula Certification

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There are a variety of doula certifications available for women venturing into the thrilling and rewarding work of supporting families at the time of birth. There are so many available that it can be hard to choose when you are new to the birth scene. We love this list of things to consider when choosing a doula certification. Written by our very own Birth Boot Camp DOULA trainer, Amanda Devereux, she simply knows what she is talking about. Not only is Amanda an experienced and successful doula, she, along with Maria Pokluda, helped form the stellar Birth Boot Camp DOULA program. Enjoy her words and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We would love to help!

8 things you should consider when choosing doula certification-

1. Will I learn how to support a woman during labor and birth?

Of course, a doula training should actually train you to do the work of a doula. One of the doula’s main jobs at the birth is hands-on, physical support and knowledge during the labor and birth of the baby. Online or distance courses simply can’t provide this in the same way an in-person training can.

2. Will I learn how to support a woman’s partner during labor and birth?

Birth support is more than just supporting the laboring woman. The doula should not be the center piece, the partner is her hero and champion; the doula is the partner’s life line!

3. What type of business support and training will I receive?

Having the skills of a doula is just part of this. Learning to be an entrepreneur is equally important. Will you learn interview skills? Will you be provided contracts? Will you gain networking tips? Will you be prepared to leave training and launch a successful business? The skills to support at birth will find little foothold if you lack the ability to implement them and let people know about the incredible service you offer.

Nancy Rebarchick (left) and Maria Pokluda, part of the Birth Boot Camp DOULA team, show off some of the beautiful materials we have created for our doulas.
Nancy Rebarchick (left) and Maria Pokluda, part of the Birth Boot Camp DOULA team, show off some of the beautiful materials we have created for our doulas.

4. How will this certifying body market me?

You pay a good chunk of money for training and certification. What do you get from this? Is your certifying body promoting you? Providing marketing materials? Anything else?

5.What type of lactation training is provided?

A doula typically helps with baby’s first latch and then with some breastfeeding support at a postpartum and often times in between. You should know what training is provided for this. You should be comfortable not only with providing support during this time but with knowing when to refer. Truly being able to help in the precious first days of breastfeeding will often require more than just personal breastfeeding experience or attendance at a La Leche League meeting.

6. Is the philosophy of the program congruent with my own ideas of birth work?

A certification agency should offer you something – a community- and this is most beneficial to you when the philosophy of the program is one that promotes your work and passion. Ideas relating to birth abound! Find an organization that you can truly get behind.

7. Am I comfortable with the Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics?

Do you find it limiting? Does it help you build your professional practice? Does it result in greater professionalism? Doulas are present for one of life’s great events. A doula who doesn’t understand how to practice in an ethical way or within her scope can cause heartache for the entire community.

8. What do I gain from re-certification?

Re-certification, in professional fields, is important to show that an individual is current in their area of expertise, is safe to practice and is maintaining their knowledge and standards as a professional. You should gain more than the maintenance of letters at the end of your name. Doula re-certification should offer you personal growth as well as continued business, education and/or marketing support.

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Amanda Devereux, Birth Boot Camp DOULA trainer


I am proud to say Birth Boot Camp DOULA offers all of this and more.  Learn to doula beyond “The Birth Partner.”  Whether you are an aspiring doula or an experienced doula, we offer you MORE.  Join us in 2015. 

Click here for a Birth Boot Camp DOULA application.

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