Archive for the ‘postpartum’ Category

5 Things Midwives, Doulas, and Postpartum Moms Love

Monday, July 6th, 2015

5 Things Midwives, Doulas, & Postpartum

As I was in the shower today, after two births in 24 hours–one in the hospital as a doula, the other at home as a student midwife–I was appreciating the perfect temperature of the water, the smell of my shampoo, and the utterly clean feeling I had when I stepped out onto the mat. I was positively luxuriating in my shower! I couldn’t help but compare it to the first shower I took after my babies were born. That first shower post-birth is simply divine.

This got me on a train of thought I hadn’t really contemplated before.

Midwives, doulas, and postpartum mothers share a sisterhood in more than just birth. There are five things we all love after a birth, whether it was our own or one we attended.

    1: Taking off the sweaty/goopy bra.
    Taking off the bra at the end of the day is magnificent enough. Imagine peeling off a sweaty, potentially goopy and wet bra! Birthing a baby is hard work, and so is attending a birth. (Not on the same level, obviously, but we often get very physical, sweaty, and wet too) Oh, the glorious freedom of a bra slipped off and tossed aside!

    2: That first shower.
    Letting all the mess of birth wash down the drain. The sweat of hard work. The fluids, vernix, and blood of the birth. Even some of the heightened emotions are shared. They are on different scales but are sourced in the same hormones. And yes, birth professionals tend to get a little baptized with the birth fluids too. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to get into that warm shower and just feel clean again!

    3: The first meal.
    Whether it’s steak and eggs, sushi, fried chicken, gyros, cheese and crackers, bananas and peanut butter, smoothies, or a fistful of Cheetos, it doesn’t matter. No food tastes as good as post-birth food.

    4: The first nap.
    Most births happen in the wee hours before dawn, so everyone involved loses some sleep. Combine that with a hit of high-inducing oxytocin, endorphins, and adrenaline, and you have a perfectly natural sleeping potion circulating in your blood. The first nap post-birth is the best! Even if it’s interrupted by a hungry baby, or a text from a client (we’re usually still on call), it’s still lovely to sleep. Mostly because we are in bed. It’s all about the bed. And the cool side of the pillow.

    5: Seeing your kids again.
    There’s something about a family coming together again after the birth of a new baby. After you’ve come home from the hospital, or your kids were brought back home from Grandma’s, being together as a family with a new member to induct is just plain special. Some of my favorite post-birth memories, when my kids were born, were introducing them to their new tiny sibling. Now, walking in the door from the latest birth, and being greeted by four sets of arms hugging me, and four voices saying “Yay! Mommy!!!” is such a blessing.

What is your favorite thing after having a baby and/or attending a birth?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

Scavenger Hunt Contest

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Preparing for Birth is having an online scavenger hunt to ring in December.

 

You could win this cute pocket diaper.

 

Here is the scavenger hunt:

Answer:

1)      How many births has Desirre Andrews attended?

2)      Name a doula that is working through Preparing For Birth?

3)      How many on average gel capped pills can be made from a placenta?

4)      What breast pump brand does Preparing for Birth have for sale?

 

Answer these and provide a link to the source:  

5)      What is the most common risk of induction?

6)      What is an evidence based reason for induction?

7)      What is the Bishop Score used for?

8)      What are Daniel Berwick’s three principals of patient centered care?

 

Find:

9)      A picture of a child nursing in a funny position.

10)   A picture of artwork that’s at least 100 years old depicting a woman in labor.

 

Bonus Questions:

1)      What is your favorite pregnancy or childbirth related blog?

2)      What is your favorite pregnancy or childbirth related book?

Send your entry to nichole@prepforbirth.com by 9pm Wednesday December 5th.

The winner will be announced Thursday, December 6, 2012, and must be able to pick up the prize in person. Everyone who enters will get a coupon for a free birth or postpartum plan session with one of the doulas from Preparing For Birth.

EMAB and Doulaparty Team Up

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

 

 

Join the #doulaparty on Twitter or follow along at DesirreAndrews.com, June 22nd 6pm PT/9pm ET to kick off summer birth work with something extra special!

 

I am very excited that Earth Mama Angel Baby is sponsoring this weeks live chat. EMAB has amazing products for all types of birth professionals and families.

 

A note from the EMAB Team:

 

Are you a midwife, doula, nurse or obstetrician looking for pure, safe products to comfort postpartum mamas and brand new babies? You’ve come to the right place! Earth Mama Angel Baby offers safe alternatives for your clients who are concerned with detergents, parabens, 1,4-Dioxane, artificial fragrance, dyes, preservatives, emulsifiers and other toxins. Earth Mama products are used in hospitals, even on the most fragile NICU babies, and they all rate a zero on the Skin Deep toxin database, the best rating a product can receive. Earth Mama only uses the highest-quality, certified-organic or organically grown herbs and oils for our teas, bath herbs, gentle handmade soaps, salves, lotions and massage oils.

Earth Mama now offers a Birth Pro Cart for wholesale pricing available for birth support professionals! Join Earth Mama Angel Baby on the #doulaparty chat Friday June 22 to talk about their new shopping cart plus answer any questions you may have. Earth Mama will be giving away Postpartum Bath Herbs and Monthly Comfort Tea, Mama Bottom Balm, Mama Bottom Spray, and a grand prize of their new Travel Birth & Baby Kit!

Top 10 Things I’d Do If I Were Pregnant Again

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Image from decalsground.com

We all have things we’d like to hit the rewind button for. Today, I thought I’d share the top ten things I’d do differently if I were to miraculously find myself pregnant again. Why not? It’s not something I’ve shared before on this blog. I don’t often get very personal, but I’d like my readers to see me as a real person, who has made real decisions about birth.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order:

The Top 10 Things I’d Do If I Were Pregnant Again:

Image from richmondmidwife.com

1) Have a water birth.

The first time I’d heard of water birth was at our group tour of the birth center where DS #1 was born. In answer to another mom’s question, the midwife leading the tour said something like “No, we don’t do water births here, because we don’t think babies were meant to be born that way.” They did allow moms to labor in tubs, and I tried it. My labor practically stopped. I didn’t know then that if you get in the tub too early, the water can slow/stop your labor. I never thought twice about it all the time I was birthing my four children. Now that I have seen several water births, I would definitely choose to have a pool set up in my house for that purpose.

2) Have my placenta encapsulated.
This is an option I had no earthly idea about when I was having children. I think it could really have helped me with a whole slew of issues. I never struggled with baby blues or a PPMD, but I did have pretty roller-coaster-y emotions in the immediate postpartum days. Also, I have never been able to say that my milk supply was abundant, and I think the reassurance of the placenta pills’ ability to boost supply would have been a welcome comfort to me.

3) I would take a comprehensive, independent childbirth class.
Since I am a certified childbirth educator, I don’t think I’d actually take a full course, but I would probably take a refresher workshop of some kind, just to see if there is any new information out that would be important for me to know, and to give my husband a chance to internalize information he has heard at random since I became a doula. There is always room to grow, and I think we would both benefit from additional education.

One more thing. If I found out that I had to birth at the hospital, for some medical reason, I would definitely take a full, comprehensive course. Since I have never birthed at a hospital, I would really need to fully equip myself for the big differences I would face.

4) I would take a breastfeeding class.
Breastfeeding, for me, though a beautiful experience, was a struggle. I never had cracked, bleeding nipples. I never had to overcome hospital “booby traps,” because I never birthed in a hospital. I had the full support of my husband, my friends, and my mother.

Still, I was never able to meet my breastfeeding goals. When I look back, I know it was simply a lack of basic knowledge of how breastfeeding works. I hadn’t even read a book about it. I think that, if I were pregnant now, that is the first class I would sign up for, and would make sure I had the phone number to some good lactation support.

Image from portlandplacentaservices.com

5) I would make placenta prints.
Before I had it encapsulated, of course. I would frame them and hang them in my living room. They’re gorgeous when done correctly.

6) I would exercise.
Now that I have started trying to take care of my body, and can see the immediate benefits to my emotions, my confidence, and my overall well-being, this is something I would do during pregnancy. Though I did eat well, I never officially exercised with any of my kids, except for the occasional walk with a friend. I know that if I kept up a good exercise routine, I would probably enjoy my pregnancy more.

7) I would try a few different baby-wearing carriers.
For all four of my babies, I had a trusty ring-sling. One was a hand-me-down, and one was custom-made for me by a dear friend. I loved my ring sling, but there were some definite downsides to it. I had no idea there were any other carriers out there that would be properly supportive of my babies (Snugli’s and others like them are not ergonomically correct for a developing baby). So, if I were pregnant again, I’d hook up with the local “baby-wearing lady” in town, and try something new.

Image from hottopic.com

8) I would YouTube/Facebook/Tweet my birth.
I wasn’t on any kind of social media during my other pregnancies, but this time, all my friends would be hearing from me regularly! I’d probably try to facebook/tweet pictures and thoughts as I labor, and be able to announce my little one’s arrival as soon as he got here!

9) I would have professional prenatal photos taken.
This is something I really wish I had done before. I look at all the adorable baby bump photos around me, and sigh a little, wishing I had done the same.

10) I would have a professional photographer at my birth.
There is nothing as powerful as positive birth images. Images that reflect the intimacy, the intensity, the power, the strength, and the sacredness of birth.

There, that about covers it. I can come up with a few more, but I’ll leave that up to you! What would you do if you were pregnant again? If you’re already pregnant, what kinds of things are important to you? What are you doing to enjoy your pregnancy this time around?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

Inconsistent Breastfeeding Advice = Consistent Frustration for Moms & Babies

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

I was excited to see this issue addressed at Best for Babes, because it is something I have seen over and over in pretty much every hospital birth I’ve attended as a doula.

When a woman hears one thing from her L&D nurse, another from the baby nurse, and still another from the lactation consultant, it is no surprise to see her and her baby battling uphill to do something that they were both designed to do. The amount and quality of training for the many professionals women encounter during the birth and postpartum period in the hospital varies widely. Then, there are the individual experiences of the women in the profession that – like it or not – color the advice they give.

It can make a woman’s head spin!

As a labor doula, I see so many women go from a sense of satisfaction in their labor and birth, to frustration and discouragement in the immediate postpartum period. One thing I hear all the time from these mothers is this very complaint: inconsistent advice. I’m there to help with initial latch, but I am always upfront that my training only extends that far, and for any issues they come across, they need to speak with a lactation professional.

I have begun sharing some basic tips with my clients before I tuck them into their bed in the Mom & Baby unit, in the hopes of mitigating this factor somewhat. I have seen some good results, but until some truly fundamental changes are made in most hospital lactation departments, these results are sadly limited. I find my role gravitating more and more to peer support and referrals to independent professionals.

In the interest of making even a small difference, I would like to share a little bit of advice I give to many mothers who are planning to breastfeed their babies. The most fundamental piece of advice I can share is this:

At the very least, request to see the same consultant throughout your hospital stay. This will help streamline the advice you’re given, as the consultant will have helped you from the first, and will be familiar with the options you and your baby have already tried.

Also, decline advice from anyone who is not from the lactation department, as you can have no guarantee of what they are basing their advice on. Smile, nod, and let them go about their business as you do what you think is best. And for heaven’s sake, don’t let them grab your boob and shove the baby’s head in! Babies don’t need that much “help.”

Take an independent (i.e. non-hospital), evidence-based breastfeeding class, if at all possible, especially if you have never breastfed before. Watch a lot of good breastfeeding videos (check out Dr. Jack Newman’s website).

You can also take a good breastfeeding book to the hospital with you, and consult it as needed while you’re there. Here are three great ones: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, The Breastfeeding Book, or The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers.

You also may consider scheduling an appointment to meet with the head of the lactation department before you give birth, and ask about the qualifications, training, and philosophy of the consultants who work in your hospital. If possible, find one you seem to line up with in philosophy, and request to wait for her shift before getting any lactation advice in the hospital.

Consider your place of birth. Revisit the idea of an out-of-hospital birth place, especially if your hospital is not certified Baby-Friendly. I have yet to see homebirth moms struggle quite as much as their hospital counterparts, no matter how great the birth was. When moms and babies are comfortable, uninterrupted, and given support, they tend to have far fewer issues – and this does not really happen in the hospital, despite the kindness and good intentions of the hospital staff.

Side note: Most midwives have decent training and experience in breastfeeding basics, but if there is an issue beyond that, please turn to peer support you can find in La Leche League, or an IBCLC, stat!

Last, but not least – if you still feel the hospital is the best option for you: Did you know that you can opt to sign an AMA (Against Medical Advice) form, and get home early!? As long as both you and baby are healthy, you should be free to leave the hospital within several hours of giving birth, and try this breastfeeding thing at home in your own bed! I highly recommend this option if your hospital is known for anything that is not baby-friendly, especially if they make a habit of separating moms and babies in the early postpartum hours.

One last note.

When you try a new piece of advice, give it more than one feeding before you decide it’s not working. Trust your instinct – when you know, you know, but give each trick a solid try. This can be different for different circumstances, so make sure you always ask the advice-giver how soon you should see a difference.

I truly hope this has equipped you a little more thoroughly to navigate the first breastfeeding days, and to minimize the inconsistent advice you will receive. Hey – you can’t avoid it all!

Have you experienced this problem of inconsistent advice? How did you handle it? What was the impact on you and your baby, if any? Do you have any tips to offer?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany Miller, CLD, CCCE

Postpartum Preparation

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Planning and preparation toward the postpartum period is very important.  Sometimes it is even more important than pregnancy and birth preparation due to circumstance or birth outcome.  Too often labor, delivery and perhaps the “stuff” that goes with having a baby take priority, while the incredible change that occurs with having a new baby is seemingly ignored.

Below is a listing of important information to think about, investigate, understand and/or plan for.  Make a note of people in your immediate life that can be a resource as you go through the list.

Look carefully at class descriptions you may take in your local area, some are very thorough and others may only be introductory or without valuable content.

Here’s to postpartum preparedness!

Common Physical Changes and Needs for the Mother (first days or weeks)

  • Uterine involution, after pains and bleeding
  • Breast expectations and breastfeeding norms
  • Hormones and symptoms
  • Healing – Vaginal tears, episiotomy, cesarean, perineal soreness or swelling, hemorrhoids
  • Nutrition
  • Night sweats or urination
  • Fatigue

Common Psychological Changes

  • Mother and Father/Partner Changes
  • Processing the birth experience
  • Processing becoming a family
  • Postpartum mood disorders
  • Peer and professional support resources

Understanding Your New Baby

  • Babymoon
  • How baby’s feed
  • Attachment
  • Infant development
  • Normal sleep patterns
  • High, average or low need baby’s

New Family Dynamic

  • Coping with sleep deprivation and exhaustion
  • Managing stress
  • Grieving the changes
  • Siblings and pets
  • Knowing how to get the right support
  • Postpartum doulas and practical support

Making Your Best Decisions

  • Defining Parental Roles – Financial, Baby Care, Changing the Status Quo
  • Choosing a health care provider for your baby
  • Early Infant Health Care Decisions – Vaccinations, Circumcision, etc.
  • Parenting philosophies
  • Developing your parenting style
  • Where baby will sleep
  • Boundaries with family and friends
  • When to seek professional help

Relationship Care

  • Realistic expectations
  • Sexual intimacy
  • Practicalities of life
  • “Dating”
  • Priorities

Single Parenting

  • Arranging practical support
  • Making a community
  • Parenting needs

Unexpected Outcomes

  • Processing a difficult birth
  • Babies with medical needs, coping and advocating
  • Dealing with loss, grief, and trauma

We also offer a postpartum strategies class that goes into more detail on many of these topics.

A Road to Placental Encapsulation

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

The below post is written by a mother of 3 wee ones. She graciously accepted my request to share her journey to placental encapsulation. I have personally witnessed a significant in Kailah’s postpartum between baby 2 and three overall along with her milk supply increase. I am truly amazed by the differences.

_______________________________________________________________________________

My Experience With Placenta Encapsulation by Kailah Brost

Not all crunchy people are born that way. In fact, the more blogs I read the more I realize that that becoming “crunchy” is a process for most people.

Since my first birth I have considered myself to be “semi-crunchy”, but I think that my last birth experience officially graduated me into full fledged crunchiness. I mean, not only did I have a homebirth, but I (gasp!) had my placenta encapsulated so I could ingest it!

I had heard about placenta encapsulation some here and there, but hadn’t thought about it as something I would do. The first time I gave it consideration was when I lost my milk supply with my second baby at 5 months – just like it had happened with my first baby. I worked with a Lactation Consultant with both, and tried just about everything, but we couldn’t get it back up and had no idea why it had gone in the first place.

So when I found out I was pregnant with baby number 3, I knew I was going to give placenta encapsulation a chance. Couldn’t hurt right? And as fate would have it, the new leader of our local ICAN chapter was a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. One of our meetings I was the only one who showed up, so I got to pick her brain. She also sent me to www.PlacentaBenefits.info and gave me a study on the placenta and hormones and I was amazed at the what the research had to say.

We all know that with the birth of a baby our hormones come crashing down around us. Well, all those hormones we lose – thyroid, progesterone, prolactin, etc – are in the placenta and ingesting it gives us doses of those hormones that help keep us from crashing so hard. Thus Postpartum Mood Disorders are much less likely, milk supply is boosted and can come in faster, and energy is increased. After looking at that, I was sold. Who wouldn’t want all that while introducing a baby into the family, especially with 2 other very small children?

Right after my son was born, one of my first calls was to the Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. The baby was born at 5pm, so she came up the next morning and started on the 2 day process. Day one was preparing, cutting it up and putting it on a dehydrator. Day 2 was grinding it up and putting into capsules for me. I had an average sized placenta and ended up with 117 capsules.

We had decided I would take enough for just a couple weeks so I could save some for the time when my supply traditionally decreased. I took 2 3x/day for 2 days, 2x/day for a week, and 1x per day for a week. I could not believe how I felt! I wasn’t sleeping continually, I didn’t mind getting up in the night with the baby, and I felt so calm and at peace with the world. The night I started taking them, almost 3 days post partum, my milk supply came in with a BANG! I was actually on facebook chatting with my doula for help I was so engorged. It rapidly resolved itself, however, and an awesome breastfeeding relationship was established. Three weeks postpartum my mother-in-law came to visit, and she stressed me out so badly that half way through her visit I started taking them once a day again. Amazingly, it worked! She was still driving me nuts, but suddenly I was calmer about it and able to focus and make it through the week.

The best thing for me was how it affected my breastfeeding. My supply was much stronger than it had been with my other two. I LOVED watching my baby get so beautifully chunky! However, a couple of weeks ago at 4 ½ months postpartum, my supply again dipped. I immediately took out my reserved placenta capsules and while we work on figuring out why my body does this, I am using them to keep my supply at a good level.

It’s fun for me to see the journey to crunchy I’ve taken. I was sick in November and saw the PA in my Dr.’s office. While going over my history I noted I’d done placenta encapsulation and he was really fascinated. The Dr.’s wife is a nurse in the office and a friend of mine. She told me later that the PA came to her and asked if she’d ever heard of ingesting the placenta. “Oh,” she replied, “you must have met Kailah.”

Bio:

Kailah is wife to an amazing man, and babywearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, stay at home mountain mama to 3 kids under 3 whose births turned her into a crunchy birth geek, and VBAC and homebirth advocate.

Email – zarikailah@yahoo.com

twitter – @klabrost

facebook – http://www.facebook.com/klabrost

Postpartum Mood Disorder Blog Carnival

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

I am opening up my blog to spotlight Postpartum Mood Disorders.  There are still so many misnomers surrounding PPMD that I would like to have others shed light on this very real issue among childbearing women.

  • Details: Blog submission (short author bio, link and text) due January5th, 2011 by email (desirre@prepforbirth.com).
  • Parameters: Can be a personal story and the process of coming through it, prevention, signs of, medical treatments, resources, alternative treatments, use of postpartum doulas, etc.).

I look forward to receiving your posts.

Posptartum and the Great Abyss

Monday, November 29th, 2010

The postpartum period is a critical time for the health, attachment and emotional adjustment for both mother and baby.

It has become the expected norm that women are left with very little medical or care provider support/assistance in handling the many norms, transitions and stumbling blocks that present in the first 6 weeks postpartum with her and her baby.

The general exception to this rule are women who birth at home with a midwife or in a free standing birth center where the rest of the perinatal period has several (approximately 6 visits) scheduled for follow-up care for both mother and baby. In this case, a family practitioner or pediatrician is unnecessary unless a need outside the norm arises.

Sadly with the majority of American women birthing within the hospital environment, she will leave the hospital with a stack of papers, a resource list, perhaps after viewing a newborn video and be left to her own devices until that 6 week appointment with her  care provider (yes, some hospitals offer a visiting nurse once or maybe twice after birth, but is not the norm).

This is so stunning to me. Absolutely hair raising the lack of care women get. It is akin to entering the open sea with a poorly written map and expected to find the “New World” successfully and without setback.

As a doula and educator, I field emails, texts and calls from my clients and students asking questions, needing breastfeeding feedback and help navigating life.  WHERE ARE THE hospital care providers in this time?  Even without being able to offer home visits (except there could be a staff nurse, PA or NP to fill that roll), why are OB’s and hospital CNM’s not having their patients come in to the office at regular intervals post birth? For example, days 3, 7, 14, 21, 30 and then at 6 weeks? This sort of practice could address both emotional, physical needs and very well catch many other things BEFORE they become issues.

The longer I am in the birth professional, I am simply appalled by what passes as good care. No wonder so many women have recovery needs, postpartum mood disorders missed and breastfeeding problems. After months of constant contact and appointments (albeit not usually comprehensive), a woman is dropped into the abyss of postpartum without a safety net.

One practical solution is for a mother to secure a labor doula who would work with her prenatally through the early postpartum period and then hire a postpartum doula to continue care and assist in the rest of the perinatal period.

Another is for the mother to have a trusted, knowledgeable and skilled family member or friend come and stay with in her home from the birth through at least 6 weeks post birth. This person would help the mother learn to mother and not be “nannying” the baby similar to that of a postpartum doula.

Lastly, for truly comprehensive care, there is always the option to switch to a provider that offers it or one never knows what would happen if it is simply requested as part of the maternity care package of her hospital-based provider.

I hope you found this food for thought invigorating! I look forward to your comments.

A Mother’s Body

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Labor?

A mother’s body grows a new person from a microscopic connection.

A mother’s body internally reorganizes to make room for her flourishing baby.

A mother’s body soothes and gives her baby love simply from her beating heart, sounds of her breath and how she rocks.

A mother’s body is hardwired to nourish and protect her unborn child.

A mother’s body responds to her baby’s signals of movement.

A mother’s body assists her baby in turning and adjusting.

A mother’s body answers the call of labor when baby presses start.

A mother’s body hugs and helps her baby move into birthing position.

A mother’s body gives her baby hormones for calm, alertness and stamina in later labor.

A mother’s body works to push her baby into this world earth side.

A mother’s body warms her new baby perfectly skin to skin.

A mother’s body makes human milk to feed and comfort her baby.

A mother’s body is soft and worth nestling into.

A mother’s body is strong, fierce and tender.

A mother’s body is feminine and the epitome of beauty.

A mother’s body is different than before as are you now Mother.