Preparing For Birth Game Night!

Click here to visit the Preparing for Birth site.

Click here to visit the Preparing for Birth site.

Preparing for Birth is opening our doors for a night of postpartum themed games, food, and fun! All are welcome.

-Henna: Like face painting for grown-ups!
-Babywearing: Try various carriers, and get tips!
-Cake: Who doesn’t love cake?
-Food and drinks.
-Postpartum-Themed games and activities: Yay activities!

We can’t wait to see you and your family.

Warmly,
Preparing for Birth

To RSVP on our Facebook event, click HERE, or just show up!

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From (Emotional) Hurdles to (Booger) Slalom: The Parenting Olympics

faerylandmom:

This post deserves a slow clap.

Originally posted on The Ugly Volvo:

For those of you angry that having a child prevented you from qualifying for the Sochi 2014 Olympics (or the wherever-they’re-holding-them-2016 Olympics), remember that while you may be losing at international sports competitions, you’re still in the running for a few other medals:

Event 1:

olympics weightlifting

To level the playing field, this event is divided into multiple weightclasses:

Newborn

Infant

Toddler

Exhausted Older Child

Young Child + Stroller, and

Young Child + Uncomfortable-to-Carry and Bizarrely-Heavy Car Seat/Carrier

*               *             *

Event 2:

olympics emotional hurdles

A feat of less-obvious athleticism, some people train for YEARS to master this event.  Gold medal goes to anyone who manages not to lie awake night after night second-guessing all their decisions or, if that proves too difficult, anyone who doesn’t break down crying for no particular reason on a Tuesday.

*               *               *

Event 3:

olympics slalom

Medals are awarded for multiple categories, including “fastest wiping,” “best use of snot-sucking…

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Childbirth Education Myths Series at Preparing for Birth

The second post in our childbirth education myths series at Preparing for Birth is up! Click HERE to read it, and contribute to the conversation. Your input is what keeps us growing, changing, learning, and makes us better able to serve those who come to us.

In the meantime, I am working out an outline of blog posts I would like to start here at Birth In Joy. Any ideas? What would you like to see me write about?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

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A Dad’s Perspective on Nursing (and Nursing in Public)

Originally posted on The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies:

by Jay Parr

A quiet moment in the country.

That special bond between a mother and her child.

I was about twelve, riding the DC Metrobus home from school, when a woman started complaining loudly about another woman breastfeeding her baby on the bus. I didn’t see anything, so I don’t know if the nursing mother was covered up or not, but that’s irrelevant here. The complaining woman made her way up to the driver, a taciturn and tough-looking man who looked like he would as soon cut your throat as say hello (I remember him because he drove that route often). He focused on the afternoon traffic as the woman complained, until he came to a light and she demanded, “Well? Aren’t you going to do something?”

The driver looked out at the cross traffic for a moment, absently drumming his fingers on the fare box, then turned to the woman and shrugged.

“Baby’s hungry.”

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NEW Blog Series at Preparing For Birth!

Working with the women at Preparing For Birth has been a joy and a source of growth and challenge for me. Desirre Andrews (owner, operator, and midwife extraordinaire) has encouraged me to jump into the workings of the office with both feet, and to give voice to whatever I’d like to try. I finally decided to come out of the corners and really give more of myself to this wonderful group of women and clients who have come to mean so much to me.

I decided I would start blogging regularly for PFB, tapping into the brain and heart power of my fellow doulas and educators. While I put the words to paper–or, rather, to keyboard–the message comes from all of us at Preparing For Birth, in the hopes that our unified voice would bring to light new perspectives on various issues in the perinatal world.

First up: A blog series debunking some common myths people believe about childbirth education. A sample:

MYTH #1: “I’m having a homebirth, and my midwife will do all my education.”
Home birth families often see childbirth classes as an extra, rather than a valuable and necessary tool to help them have the birth they are hoping for. The most common objection they have is that they will be able to get all the education they need from their midwife. While midwives do educate their clients to some extent, this perception that they can (or should) cover everything is a myth, for several reasons.

To read the whole post, click HERE.

What do you think? What would you like to see me write about here, at Birth In Joy?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

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The Human Microbiome: considerations for pregnancy, birth and early mothering

Originally posted on MidwifeThinking:

This post was co-authored by Jessie Johnson-Cash and based on her presentation at the USC Midwifery Education Day.

The human microbiome is rather fashionable in the world of science at the moment. The NIH Human Microbiome Project has been set up to explore correlations between the microbiome and human health and disease. To date the human microbiome as been associated with, amongst other things obesity, cancer, mental health disorders, asthma, and autism. In this post I am not going to provide a comprehensive literature review – this has already been done, and the key reviews underpinning this discussion are: Matamoros et al. (2012) ‘development of intestinal microbiota in infants and its impact on health’and Collado et al. (2012) ‘microbial ecology and host-microbiota interactions during early life stages’. Instead I am going to focus on what this means for pregnancy, birth, mothering and midwifery.

What is the human microbiome?

Based on a chart by Matamoro et al. 2013. Adapted and extended by Jessie Johnson-Cash. Based on a chart by Matamoro…

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Doulas Benefit Care Providers, Too.

Image credit: apperson.com/support

I’ve written a lot about the measurable benefits of trained labor support for women and their families, which is important. However, I believe firmly that doulas have great potential to benefit care providers and staff as well. As one more important piece of the birthing puzzle, doulas can either add to or detract from the big picture of any birth they attend.

When a doula is at her best, when she understands her role and her scope of practice, she brings freedom, communication, and peace to the place of birth.

Part of my Scope of Practice as a CAPPA-certified Labor Doula reads as follows:

During labor and birth, the labor doula provides the mother and her partner with physical, emotional, and informational support. She facilitates and promotes self-advocacy, informed choice, and effective communication between the family and care providers. She seeks to foster a cooperative, respectful, and positive atmosphere with all members of the birth team so that the mother can birth with confidence. (emphasis mine)

What does “effective communication” look like at a birth?

It looks like a bridge. A sturdy, well-built bridge that begins with openness, humility, and an extended hand from the doula to the staff member or care provider that does not interrupt their conversation with the client.

It’s remembering that the client chose her care providers just as much as she chose her doula.* That fact alone should elicit basic human respect from the doula toward those caring for her client. Period. Regardless if that respect is returned or not. Doulas do no one any good unless we do our best to leave those chips on our shoulders at home. We do best when we take the high road, and treat everyone on the birth team with dignity and respect.

Side note: respect doesn’t mean agreement or likeability. It simply means getting along, and choosing to work together toward a common goal: The safety and health (physical, mental, and emotional) of both mother and baby.

When a doula sees herself as an integral part of the birth team, and understands that everyone else there has their place (as long as her client chose them), there are a lot of benefits she has to offer to the care provider and staff she is working with.

Among those benefits:

  • Added perspective–Doulas can often get very creative when coming up with ways to help a labor progress effectively before medical interventions are truly needed. Care providers often appreciate suggestions that don’t interfere with safety, and that seem to help the mother.
  • Someone labor-sitting–Care providers are rarely available to labor sit as long as a doula can. Even home birth midwives may not have as much opportunity to do so, and usually arrive later in labor than a doula would. This means that a doula can fill in the provider and staff on what has been going on, what tricks have been tried, and things that may be relevant to improving her client’s care. The doula can often provide clarification where the mother’s or partner’s recollection is fuzzy. This helps the care provider have a more accurate picture of how labor is going.
  • Continuity of care for patient–This is one of the hardest things to provide as a care provider. Nurses, doctors, and hospital-based CNM’s change shifts–no matter what. Even home birth midwives may have to send a backup if two births are happening simultaneously. The doula provides one continuous thread of care, and we all know that this works out to better quality care in general. Also, can bond more quickly with the new people on shift, making her care easier for the staff and/or care provider, as they have to spend less time establishing trust.
  • Bridge of communication with patient–Doulas teach their clients to ask good questions, relevant to their own care, and how to understand the answers they’re given. This helps the client to build trust in her chosen provider, which makes caring for her easier for the care provider. A doula’s presence should facilitate togetherness at a birth, not a sense of “us vs. them.”
  • Extra set of hands–As much as care providers love to do hands-on care, many times they are simply not able to do so. Doctors, nurses, and even home birth midwives and their assistants, can easily get bogged down by charting, checking and setting up needed equipment, and (in hospitals) caring for other patients. This is as it should be, since the safety and health of the mother-baby dyad rests on their shoulders. Any non-clinical care they get to do is icing on the cake. Doulas have no such worries impeding their care. Non-clinical care is their only focus.Therefore, care providers are able to focus solely on their number one priority: the health and safety of mom and her baby.

I know that the above benefits are really more indirectly beneficial to the care provider. However, when there is benefit to the birthing woman, there is benefit to her care provider as well. The patient load of most OB’s is such that it can be extremely difficult for them to individualize care. After all, the care provider has as little time, per appointment, to get to know their patient as the patient has to get to know them.

Therefore, if there is any way for a doula to help build bridges, encourage their client to ask good questions, and utilize whatever time they have with their care provider, it enables and empowers the care provider to do what they want to do most: Provide evidence-based, individualized, humane care to their patients. This results in good feedback for them, and encourages them to be more open to the next client asking questions or wanting something different than the basic standard of care.

In short, the presence of a doula can mean heightened communication, empowerment, and a positive experience for everyone on the birth team, not just the mother.

*I understand that many women only have very limited, or no choice, when it comes to their care provider, due to geography, local/state laws, financial constraints, or other factors. Still – they ultimately still have chosen their care provider, rather than birthing unassisted at home. Therefore, they are placing some modicum of trust in that care provider. I appreciate feedback on this.*

Care providers: How often do you work with doulas? What do you appreciate most about good doulas? What tips might you offer to doulas who are still learning, or who need to understand your perspective better? What ideas do you have to foster better relationships between clinical and non-clinical professionals?

Thanks for reading!

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

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