Breathe

This morning I came across this wonderful article in the Journal of Perinatal Education. In it, fellow doula Mary Esther Malloy, advocates for a slowing down at the moment of birth. A moment in which mother exhales and lets go of the birth that she has accomplished and inhales the moment of meeting her baby, slowly, deliberately, purposefully. According to Malloy, this momentary pause is the place where we are, “finding our babies… finding ourselves as mothers, and finding our way into a new state of being.”

Waiting to Exhale: How to Unhurry the Moment of Birth

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It’s MINE! Shared decision-making and evidence-based practice in childbirth

This is a brief, but interesting interview with Maureen Corry, MPH, Executive Director of Childbirth Connection on the subject of shared decision making.

Right off the bat, Corry mentions exactly what came to mind for me when I was confronted with the term “shared decision making”. She says,

…we’ve heard some concerns from women that shared decision making means giving up some control of decision making to the care provider – essentially a move away from informed consent and refusal. Because of the history of childbirth in the United States, and many troubling practices that still happen today, childbearing women are justified in being concerned about their rights.

Continue reading

Why Doula?

“Do you have any children of your own?”

This is a question that sometimes comes up when I talk about my work, whether I’m talking with a potential client or just chatting with someone at a party. Sometimes, when I respond with, “no, not yet.” and a smile, I’m met with a puzzled look. On a few occasions, the puzzled person has come right out and asked me, “so, why did you become a doula then?”

In honour of International Women’s Day today I thought I’d take a stab at answering that question. Continue reading

Late Spring Prenatal Classes

There are spaces available for my May/June Prenatal Class at the Centre for Social Innovation. This is a six week course designed to help you feel confident, calm and prepared as you approach your birth and new parenthood. It will also provide your partner with skills and knowledge that will aid them in supporting you during labour and birth, as well as postpartum.

Classes will be held on Monday evenings, from 6-8:30pm, beginning May 6th, 2013 at CSI Annex (720 Bathurst St.). This series is ideal for those expecting to give birth between late June and August.

**Please let me know if you are interested in the course but not available on week nights.

To register, email me at heather@socialinnovation.ca. The fee for the course is $240 per couple. Discounts are available for doula clients.

Topics for the course will include (but are not limited to):

-natural pain management and coping strategies for labour

-the physiology of labour and birth

-positions for labour and birth

-risks and benefits of common interventions (including pain medications)

-self-advocacy/informed decision-making skills

-breastfeeding

-postpartum care

-newborn care and characteristics

Wondering why you should take an independent class instead of one offered by your local hospital? 9 great reasons here.

Weekend Prenatal Classes!

Too busy to attend a six-week prenatal series? Then you’re in luck! Due to popular demand I am now offering weekend prenatal courses at CSI Annex (720 Bathurst St.). Email me now to register!

The first weekend course will be held Saturday March 16th and Sunday March 17th, 2013 from 10am to 5pm.

The course is $240 per couple.

Topics will include (but are not limited to):

-pain management and coping strategies for labour

-the physiology of labour and birth

-positioning for labour and birth

-risks and benefits of common interventions

-breastfeeding

-newborn care, characteristics and abilities

-parenting options

Education is the key to having a birth experience in which you feel confident, calm and in control.

Don’t Believe the Hype

This article from The Wall Street Journal provides some great historical information that connects meaningfully with my previous post (Home)Birth is Safe.

The author, Nathaniel Johnson notes that,

In 1923, Mary Breckinridge started the Frontier Nursing Service in rural Appalachia….Within a decade, the astonishing impact of that care was apparent. The women the Frontier Nursing Service cared for, who were desperately poor and usually gave birth at home, were 10 times less likely to die in childbirth than the average American at the time. The nation as a whole wouldn’t catch up until the 1950s, after the widespread acceptance of antiseptic and the discovery of antibiotics.

Given that antiseptic practices and the use of antibiotics are available and in use in midwife-attended home births today, it makes sense that, as Sheila Kitzinger has argued, it is not a high level of medicalization that makes birth safer – it is overall health: access to good pre-conception, prenatal and postpartum healthcare, good quality nutrition, access to clean water and access to skilled birth attendants. This has been borne out the world over, regardless of whether women are typically birthing at home or in hospitals. Access to medical interventions for the few women who actually need them is important, which is why midwives are thoroughly trained to detect possible complications before they become problematic and why they only support home births for women who are not at risk. Obstetricians are trained to deal with problems when they arise, but midwives are far more likely to be able to prevent them in the first place. Continue reading