Posts Tagged ‘postpartum’

Passenger or Driver: The Importance of Informed Consent.

Monday, June 15th, 2015

PASSENGERYes, it almost sounds like a Dr. Seuss-ism – “Would you rather be a passenger or a driver?” Most of us would rather be the driver, I would venture.

In every other aspect of our lives, we exercise informed consent. We want to be involved, in control, and overseeing every detail. Take for example the research we do in buying our next car, cell phone, or home. Think about how much we invest in knowing our stuff, so we can avoid the sales pitch and just get exactly what we want because we desire to make a responsible informed decision.

Yet, when it comes to our health care–prenatal care in particular–we often content ourselves with being a passenger. We readily abdicate responsibility for our health by laying down our questions and concerns to take the word of a stranger. We leave our right to informed consent in the waiting room.

Why is that?

“But, they’ve gone to medical school for a million years! What do I know?” Of course, their expertise is invaluable. Their advice is often sound. While they have an intimate knowledge of the human body and its various pathologies, they do not have an intimate knowledge of your body in particular. Its quirks and signals that are all too familiar to you.

What many fail to realize is that, no matter which role we choose to play in our health care, the consequences of any and all decisions are carried by the patient. By you and me. For the physician, it is out of sight, out of mind, not because they are inhumane, but because they are human.

When it comes to prenatal care in particular, we see a unique dilemma, because the health care we receive has more to do with a physiologic process, rather than pathology or disease. This isn’t a broken femur, a tumor, or a chronic illness. It is not even a parasite, in spite of the tongue-in-cheek proclamations of many. It is something our bodies do naturally, without a lot of help. It is a process more in need of general oversight, rather than active management.

Pregnant or not, it is imperative to understand that the practitioner is hired for his or her advice. It is up to the patient to decide what to do with it. We have many options.

1. Follow the advice without question.
2. Question the advice, decide what to do.

  • What are the benefits?
  • What are the risks?
  • What are my alternatives?
  • How does this advice apply to my personal case?
  • What happens next if it doesn’t work?

3. Get a second opinion.
4. Discard the advice in favor of an alternative outside traditional medicine.
5. And more…

Medical decisions are rarely black and white.

The key is to remember who it is that carries the weight of the risks. It is ultimately the patient. There are many factors that play into the reasoning behind your doctor’s recommendations–not all of which are health-related. (That’s another post for another day, however.)

In the end, all you have to do is decide which set of risks you are most willing to live with. That is true informed consent.

Only the driver can decide that. Not the passenger.

In which seat will you choose to sit?

Thanks for reading.

Our best to you,
Desirre & Tiffany

Why take childbirth classes anyway?

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Why take a childbirth class anyway-Why take childbirth classes anyway? You and baby are made for this process, so what is the big deal?  You go into labor, have many contractions, eventually become fully dilated and push out a baby. Bam. It’s nature! Right?

Not quite, I’m afraid.

In a perfect world, women would grow up around pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum to soak it all in. Younger girls would assist the mother, participating in many aspects of her care, and would then gain valuable in-person true life experiences that give her encouragement, education, and confidence going into her own pregnancies, births, and postpartum times. Aunties, grandmothers, daughters, cousins, and friends all would participate in this womanly art of birth. If this were still the case, it would put the need for childbirth classes to an end.

Sadly, women in our culture are all too often discouraged, educated with fear, and lack confidence about all things related to pregnancy, labor, birth and early postpartum. It is a mystery to most women as they grow up, and very few have regular access to normal birth. Indeed, the body of a woman isn’t something that is expanded on widely in health classes, or talked about with any raw clarity. The female body, and what it can do, is shrouded in mystery from puberty to the end of life. So, we need good childbirth classes because women have been giving birth in a vacuum for a long time, and have lost the knowledge they once would have grown up with.

Women and babies deserve better. Women and babies deserve to have positive, foundational knowledge to pass down to the next generation. Women and babies deserve the care that can come when the veil is torn, and the mystery becomes clear.

Women learn in community. Quilting bees, canning day, and wash day didn’t really go away. It’s merely been replaced by play dates, mom groups, and social media. Childbirth classes are one more great way to bring women together over a common goal so that they can learn from each other. It serves the purpose of re-integrating the knowledge of generations of birthing women into the modern world.

A good childbirth class will help a woman and her partner to:

  • Gain current evidence-based information.
  • Learn how the female body works and why.
  • Understand how she and baby labor together.
  • Utilize tried and true techniques.
  • Be encouraged and grow in confidence.
  • Practice role-playing of common scenarios.
  • Solidify her unique birth philosophy.
  • Sharpen communication and consumer skills for real life application.

Why a childbirth class? Because women don’t need to be told what to do. They need to be helped and supported in what they believe is best for themselves and their babies. Because women need to discover that they are so much more capable and strong than they ever thought possible. Because they deserve a foundation of knowledge to base their decisions on.

Why a childbirth class? Because women deserve better than the status quo.

Tiffany & Desirre

Click HERE to see our available classes.

 

In Honor of International Doula Month

Monday, May 11th, 2015
May Is International Doula Month!
 Not only were we able to celebrate World Doula Week recently, I found out that there is an entire month to celebrate doulas! Now, I could re-state all the facts about professional labor support. I could share famous doula quotes. I could toot my own horn, as it were.
However, I don’t want to do this. I would really prefer to sing the praises of my excellent clients, and what a joy it has been to serve every one of them over the past seven-plus years. Doulas would not be doulas without the need for it, and that starts with birthing women reaching out for the help a doula can offer.
So, this goes out to my clients.

Thank you.

Thank you for choosing me to walk with you, whatever your journey.

Thank you for asking questions.

Thank you for learning and growing, and letting me be a part of that.

Thank you for sharing your strength, dignity, and unique experiences with me.

You are amazing. You are the reason I love this work.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

NEW Class Schedule at Preparing For Birth!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Click to go to registration page!

Click to go to registration page!

Have you registered yet? We are accepting registrations for our May/June and July/August classes! Register for July/August classes by June 1st, and receive an early-bird thank you gift!

Here’s what our Tuesday night line-up looks like:

    Essentials for Childbirth 4-week Series

  • May 5th-26th
  • July 7th-28th
  • Essentials for Postpartum 4-week Series

  • June 2nd-23rd
  • August 4th-25th

Wondering About Weekend Options?

    Early Pregnancy Workshop*

  • May 9th
  • July 11th
  • Essentials for Childbirth Condensed

  • May 16th
  • July 18th
  • Life With Baby

  • May 23rd
  • July 25th
  • Essentials for Postpartum Condensed

  • May 30th
  • August 1st
  • Basics of Breastfeeding

  • June 6th
  • August 8th

Specialty Workshops (COMING SOON!)

  • VBAC Intensive Workshop
  • Embrace Grace Childbirth Essentials
  • And more!

While we’re at it – I want to hear from YOU! Since we’re starting up the ol’ blog again, I want to know what topics YOU are most interested in! What would you like Team Preparing for Birth to write about?

I’d like to open with a Q & A series. Email any question you have regarding home birth, midwifery, doulas, childbirth education, pregnancy, labor & birth, breastfeeding, and/or pregnancy fitness to tiffany@prepforbirth.com, and we will answer all your questions in series over the next several weeks.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

Brand New Class Offerings

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

spring cleaning

We are spring cleaning at Preparing for Birth. out with the old format and in with the new! We are very excited to now be offering Saturday workshops and 8 weeks of Tuesday night classes.

Classes are now a la carte or bundled. You choose what suits you best in your pregnancy and postpartum periods.

For first time mothers, we recommend our Comprehensive Essentials Bundle. This includes every class we offer as a series.

For those who have had a baby, we recommend our Essentials for Childbirth Condensed as a refresher course and any other Saturday classes of your choosing.

For those with specific needs or require alternate day or night options, we offer in-office private classes designed with your needs in mind.

Our classroom is a comfortable, open, and inviting. It is a home away from home environment. We use modern technology alongside tried and true techniques.

For a complete listing of our classes, click here.

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!

Social Media and You

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Get your pregnancy, birth or postpartum story heard!

I am looking to interview several mothers/families who have been positively changed, supported or impacted emotionally, physically, socially, educationally and/or spiritually during the perinatal (pregnancy, labor, childbirth, postpartum) and/or into the first year of mothering/processing birth outcomes through the use of/participation in social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Forums, Message Boards, etc.).

Purpose: Information will be used to complete a speaking session about birth and social media, as well as, material for additional writing, educational sharing opportunities.

If you are interested, please email me by October 31, 2011 with your contact information, when due if pregnant, how old your baby is if in the postpartum period and how you were affected by social media.

Contact: Desirre Andrews – Owner of Preparing For Birth LLC, birth professional, blogger, mentor, healthy birth advocate and social media enthusiast. Site: www.prepforbirth.com

Email: desirre@prepforbirth.com

Writing Your Own Birth “Plan”

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

A birth plan has more than one purpose. It begins as a value clarification exercise, then becomes a communication tool with your care provider and ultimately a guide of needs and desires during labor, delivery and postpartum. Even if your birth location does not ask for birth plans, it is a good idea to write one for your own benefit.

Step 1

Clarifying your needs, wants and desires. Here are the  Birth Menu of Options and Assessing Your Feelings we use in class  to begin the value clarification process.  The birth menu is most helpful when you begin by crossing out what you are not interested in, highlighting the items you know you want and circling what you need to research. The AYF worksheet is for you and your husband/partner/non-doula labor support person to go over together to ensure you are on the same page and open up conversation. Doing this prior to 35 weeks of pregnancy gives you more time to coordinate with your care provider or birth location. If you have a doula or are taking a childbirth class, she/he can help you in this part of the process as well.

Step 2

Write down in order of labor, delivery, immediate postpartum and in case of cesarean needs and desires. Your plan really needs to be within one typed page for easy reading and digesting by care provider and staff. The only items that must be listed are care options that are outside of usual practices, protocols or standing orders. Here is the Sample Low Intervention Birth Plan we use to help you see a finished format and types of pertinent information that may be necessary to list.

Step 3

Take your written plan into your care provider. This is a conversation starter, a beginning, a partnering tool. As I encouraged above, early to mid 3rd trimester gives you more flexibility in communicating with your provider and setting your plan in motion. It also gives you opportunity to change providers or birth location if you cannot reach a comfortable agreement.

Step 4

Make any changes.Finalize.  Print out final copy.  Give one to care provider, have one in your bag for labor and birth, give one to doula (if you hired one). Though this is not a binding or legal agreement it can go a long way toward the type of care and birth you want.

Step 5

Gestate peacefully until labor begins!

Blessing the Mother…..

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Blessing the mother ease the period at the end of pregnancy and ease the transition into postpartum.

Ideas that bless before and after birth:

  • Freezer Meals
  • Organizing Fresh Meals for end of pregnancy through first month post birth.
  • Buy baby wearing gear for her.
  • Organize a Blessingway
  • Write down encouraging and affirming words in a beautiful card.
  • Listen to her.
  • Buy her a baby wearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding class, etc. to her desires as a surprise.
  • Organize housecleaning party for end of pregnancy and once or twice postpartum.
  • If she has other children, have them over to give her a rest.
  • Donate toward her doula, midwife or doctor.
  • When she is postpartum, visit her and prepare a variety of snacks so she is never without food.
  • Offer to run errands after the baby is born.
  • Offer to give her time to shower.
  • Buy her a reusable water bottle so she drinks enough fluids.
  • Give her permission to phone you during odd hours after the birth if she needs support, advice.
  • Offer to dog sit or take care of any pets as needed after the birth.
  • Check in on her about 3 weeks after birth to see how she is doing emotionally and physically.

What other ideas do you have to add? Please leave me a comment.

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.