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Yes, my dear, you do need childbirth education, even if you have a doula!

Let’s start with what a doula is.  A birth doula provides physical, emotional and informational support for a family through pregnancy, labor, birth and early postpartum.  Doulas usually meet with birth clients for an interview and two prenatal visits prior to birth.  We have a lot to cover in these meetings.  We have to develop a relationship and I have to get a feel for what our rhythm will be, how you like to be touched, comforted, spoken to. And how your partner plans to help and is best supported as well.  Imagine how long it takes to find this stuff out while dating. . . . at best, I’m doing this in six hours.  Yup, doulas are awesome!  Read more

Win a Free Copy of Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE!


The-Ultimate-MRE

In celebration of our 4,000th Facebook “like,” Birth Boot Camp is giving away a free copy of our new and incredible DVD, Breastfeeding: the Ultimate MRE. This two disk DVD set is so full of information, you will want to watch it again and again.

Breastfeeding: the Ultimate MRE (Meal Ready to Eat), is over three hours of breastfeeding information. From getting the proper latch, to storing your pumped milk at work, to information about normal infant sleep cycles, you will be armed with the knowledge you need to have a successful and joyful breastfeeding relationship. Read more

Rules for Talking to a Laboring Woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instructor Spotlight: Rachel Johnson

The backbone of Birth Boot Camp lies in our amazing instructors. Our natural birth instructors can now be found from coast to coast and more are training all the time. We love working with these wonderful women and watching them change lives through education. Today we are featuring an interview with one of our earliest trainees about what being a Birth Boot Camp Instructor means to her. (And if you can’t find an instructor close enough to you for a live, our online natural birth classes are available virtually anywhere around the world.)

What got you interested in becoming a natural childbirth educator?
During our first pregnancy we went through 10 weeks of live natural childbirth classes by Birth Boot Camp founder, Donna Ryan. She gave me and my husband accurate, up to date information. We were able to take what we had learned and decide what was best for our pregnancy and baby. We have been married for 8 years and have had three fabulous home births! These experiences inspired me to help make natural childbirth education available for everyone, because it brought reassurance and confidence for some of the most meaningful moments of my life.

There are lots of different birth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp?
I was impressed with Birth Boot Camp materials! They have created an outstanding teacher curriculum, Student Field Manual, and extensive breastfeeding DVD built on a foundation of truth and excellence. Students benefit from the treasury of information that reflect cutting edge statistics and the very best in natural childbirth education.

What most impressed you about the Birth Boot Camp training?
During instructor training I was most impressed with the way that the Birth Boot Camp Advisory Board was determined to serve us and wanted to see us succeed! The marketing training has help me beyond what I could have imagined. I love team teaching as it gave us hands on experience in the art of communicating natural birth knowledge and content to prepare us for teaching live classes. (Part of every training is an opportunity for the instructors to teach to the group.)

How is teaching your own classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it?
It has been very rewarding teaching live classes and it’s going really well! I started teaching live classes almost immediately after certification, about a month later. Many couples have gone through my classes already.

Tell us a little about your students. Can you see how having a comprehensive natural childbirth education is positively impacting their birth experiences?
My students occupations range from Balloon Artist to Police Officer and everything in between. They have had births in hospitals, birth centers and at home. Several dads told me at the end of the first or second class night something like, “I thought this was going to be boring, but it turns out you make it fun and I actually look forward to class each week.” Students have made friendships that lasted beyond class and I enjoy keeping up with my students as we formed great friendships as well. One of my amazing moms said, “Our Birth Boot Camp classes really helped me achieve such a redeeming childbirth experience in-contrast with my first three births.”

We would love it if you would share (with permission) with us your favorite student birth experience so far.
Student Birth Story: Baby Axle’s Birth Story (Attachment written by my student, given with permission and pictures with permission as well!)

To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education changing lives and birth in the world.
Women everywhere are becoming more aware that they have choices when it comes to having their babies. Mothers often choose to deliver naturally because they have been educated and embrace the idea that giving birth is a normal, beautiful, and physiological process.

 
 
Rachel Johnson is a Birth Boot Camp instructor in Fort Worth, Texas. She is due to have her third baby at home any day. She took her first childbirth class from Birth Boot Camp founder Donna Ryan. As a passionate teacher, she has guided many couples on their journey to a joyful, natural birth experience.
For more information about her Fort Worth natural birth classes click here.

Prep Work for Pregnancy

Good nutrition in the 3 months leading up to when you conceive can help you get ready to create a safe and nutritious haven for your unborn and rapidly developing baby. The first 3-8 weeks of pregnancy are vital for fetal development. This is often before you even know you are pregnant! So planning and getting your body in prime condition is very important. Good nutrition habits can also increase fertility, meaning it may help you to get pregnant faster.

Women with poor nutritional status have been linked to a number of negative outcomes, both for the mother and the baby. This includes decreased fertility, gestational diabetes, neural tube defects, autism, obesity in later life, an increased risk of pregnancy complications, low birth weight babies, and a number of other risks. Wow! That’s a scary list. There is good news, though. There are small things you can do now, to be the healthiest you.

Start taking a prenatal vitamin at least 3 months prior to conception
You may not be getting enough of the proper nutrients in your diet. The right prenatal vitamin contains important nutrients that you need and may not get enough of in your diet. Look for one that is natural, meaning it doesn’t have any additives or fillers. Beware of nutritionally deficient prenatal vitamins.

Lose (or Gain) Weight
Underweight women are more likely to give birth to low birth weight  babies and increases the risk of birth defects. Being underweight may also negatively affect your menstrual cycle.  Overweight women have increased risks for complications in pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and can see a reduction in fertility.

Focus on Key Nutrients

  • Folic Acid intake is linked to neural tube defects and 70% of cases likely could be avoided with proper folic acid intake. 800mg a day for at least 4 weeks prior to conception and continuing  through pregnancy is recommended.
  • Iron – in order to avoid a deficiency during pregnancy, stock up now! Eat high iron foods, make sure your prenatal vitamin has iron, and get a blood test if you are unsure of your levels. Lots of women are at risk for iron deficiency anemia. If you are deficient you can increase your intake by eating the lean meats, chicken, and iron rich vegetables.
  • Essential Fatty Acids – These play a key role in brain development, so make sure to eat plenty of these good fats.  Sources such as nuts, avocado, and fatty fish will give you plenty of tasty Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats.
  • Iodine – Insufficient iodine levels may lead to fetal brain damage and may also increase the risk of miscarriage. 150 μg per day during preconception and 220 μg per day when pregnant are recommended.
  • Zinc – Adequate levels of zinc can help increase fertility and is also important for your baby’s development. Oysters, roast beef, and peanuts are all rich in zinc.
  • Vitamin D – Insufficient levels of Vitamin D have been linked to preterm birth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and prenatal infections. Get your levels checked to see if you have a Vitamin D deficiency and if so, get a good supplement to increase your levels. Check out www.grassrootshealth.net for information on what your levels should be and how to get them there.

Quit Smoking/Taking Drugs
This one is super important and can impair fetal growth. Smoking and drug use also have a negative effect on fertility. Quit now before you start trying for a baby.

Reduce Alcohol
This is a good chance to minimize your alcohol intake. Drinking can decrease fertility and increase the risk of complications in those vital first few weeks of pregnancy.

Reduce Caffeine
Start weaning yourself off those morning cups of coffee (this one is hard!). More than 200-300 milligrams of caffeine per day may reduce fertility by 27 percent. Caffeine also impedes upon your body’s ability to absorb iron and calcium, which are needed for fetal development.

Exercise
If you don’t already have an exercise routine in place, now is the time! Exercise insures that your body is in tip top shape to handle the stresses of pregnancy.

Mimimize Environmental Pollutant Exposure
Try to avoid chemicals found in paints, paint thinners, paint strippers, strong cleaning products, and insect and weed killers. They can store up in your body and be passed on to your baby leading to a higher risk of asthma, ADHD, and cancer. Eat organic to avoid pesticides and watch what fish you eat to minimize your exposure to mercury.

If you are already pregnant, it is not too late to make these changes! Remember, this is the start of your baby’s journey through life. Providing a place for them to grow where they are exposed to all the nutrients they need will set them up for a healthier life.

 

My name is Vanessa Wells and I started True Nature Nutrition in 2011 with the goal of providing nutritional consulting services to the North County area, and online. I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Auckland. After a few years of working in an office, I returned and completed my Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition (BS in Nutrition without all the 101 classes) and am working towards an MSc in Human Nutrition. I realized that my “dream job” was not in an office building. I love discovering how interesting and important nutrition is in life, and the impact that food has on the environment.
Then my daughter was born and my eyes were opened to the world of healthy eating for life. Giving your child the best health in life begins before they are even conceived and good habits start to develop in the womb. The foundations for a lifetime of good nutrition is laid in the first few years of life. It’s my goal to help women give their children the best start possible, with healthy eating for the whole family.

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