Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Your Best Birth

After watching Ricki's and Abby's documentary film "The Business of Being Born", I looked into to their endeavor to inform women about the natural options for birth and stumbled upon their new book "Your Best Birth"; I checked it out at my local library and I really have become inspired by it! The two main chapters of interest for me are chapters 4 (Midwives: Not Just for Hippies Anymore) and 5 (Doulas: Labor'sLove). In chapter 4 a fascinating statistic is stated: "The rule of thumb is that a prenatal visit with a home birth midwife lasts from forty-five to sixty minutes; with a hospital-based midwife the visit is from fifteen to twenty minutes; and with a doctor it is from five to six minutes...midwives take on fewer patients so they can spend more time with them at each appointment." The passage goes on to say: "Prenatal appointments with midwives, which can start as early as eight weeks into pregnancy, are generally longer, more comprehensive, and more personal. They tend to focus on more holistic care, caring for the whole woman, which in addition to your physical health means asking you about your diet and your relationships, the stresses you're feeling, and what is going on at work and with your kids. The process is personal and intuitive as well as medical, tailored to the woman's individual needs." (77-78, Lake and Epstein). This chapter also describes the difference between a Certified Nurse-Midwife and a Certified Professional Midwife (which I aspire to become). A Certified Professional Midwife is defined as follows: "This kind of midwife has studied pregnancy and birth formally through a program that does not require a nurse certificate. in order to gtet her credential, she needs to verify that she has completed the required clinical training, which includes attending births and doing prenatal care. Currently, most of these midwives attend births at home."(pg. 78) I also love this aspect of a midwifes philosophy: "Ultimately a midwife wants to empower you to push your own baby out safely and she will be there to 'catch' it. Midwives don't like to use the word 'deliver' as this takes away from the mother's active participation in the birth." (pg. 82). In this chapter Leslie Turner's (a midife who graduated from Yale and is now in New York City) story is told...I find it very interesting and enlightening that she says, "While most people think about a midwife in the role of attending births, in actuality it is so much more. Midwives are trained to work with women throughout the lifespan, far beyond their reproductive years. While I love providing family planning and prenatal care and attending births, my work with postemenopausal women is so enriching. In my current position I work with women of all ages, from thirteen to ninety, as well as all races and backgrounds. Being a midwife is about so much morethan assisting a woman through the process of birth. It is about assisting a woman through the process of life; providing her with information and a safe space to make choices that support her physical, emotional, and social health." (81, Lake and Epstein). This is so encouraging to me for I interested in woman's (as well as children's) health as a whole; while I am intrigued with the birthing process I also desire to become well educated in women's health for their entire lifetime.

In chapter 5 about doulas it states, "Doulas are trained through an apprenticeship program during which they take childbirth classes, observe women in labor, and remain after the birth to help in postpartum care. They assist in these births under the guidance of a more experienced doula before they are allowed to assist a midwife or physician on their own. After each of the births their work is evaluated by a doctor, a midwife, and the parents." (93-94, Lake and Epstein). My first endeavor is to become a doula (yet like I mentioned in my profile my husband and I are in the process of saving money for purchasing land and building our dream home so I have decided to put my education expencenses and aspirations on hold for the time being and focus on educating myself with limited funds). This chapter says of doulas: "Many women who hire a doula go through childbirth education with her. She helps you explore your ideas and feelings about birth and can work with you to finalize your birth plan." This is just want I would love to do for women: comfort, educate, and learn with them...natural health is my main focus. The passages goes on to say, "A woman who trusts her doula and has worked with her over the course of the pregnancy, and through her anxieties about childbirth, may find it easier to surrender to the birth and can find the transition to the second stage of labor more comfortable." On page 97 of this chapter it states: "If you cannot afford a doula, there are volunteer doulas in some areas (look for these organizations online). Often, but not always, these are less experienced doulas working on their education." I would definitely fit in with the "less experienced" and for some of my friends who are pregnant who can't afford a doula I am willing to assist them with support and advice (for which I obtain through research)...and maybe at some point I might become a volunteer doula when I decide to start working towards my doula certification.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Burt's Bees Bundle of Joy!

Tonight Joe and I are going to a baby shower for our very good friends Shawn and Lauren. A little over a week ago when I was looking at their baby registries I had in mind that I wanted to pick out something "needed and natural", and there it was the perfect gift: Burt's Bees Bundle of Joy Gift Basket which contains all the essentials to pamper a baby; although there were many other "needed and natural" gifts to choose from (Lauren and I both desire natural products); however I have loved using Burt's Bees all-natural products for myself such as there sunscreen, lip balm, insect repellent, shampoo, and conditioner so "naturally" I thought, "I bet they make wonderful baby products too!" This set contains Baby Bee Apricot Oil- 1 oz., Baby Bee Buttermilk Lotion- 7 fl. oz, Baby Bee Diaper Ointment- 2 oz., Baby Bee Dusting Powder .14 oz., Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash (Tear Free)- 8 fl. oz, shower cap and baby come...and these products are not tested on animals. ;-) I can't wait to find out what Lauren and her wonderful baby boy think about this bundle of joy!


Friday, June 12, 2009

The Business of Being Born

Joe and I have recently seen Ricki Lake's and Abby Epstein's new documentary film "The Business of Being Born" and I have shared it with my sister, Andrea, and mother-in-law, Beverly. This was a very inspirational and enlightening film for me, as I had the privilege of viewing natural births. Some of the scientific evidence and statistics are quite shocking...I think this is a very important film for all expectant mothers to see. I love how this film examines midwives as a birthing option either for in home births or in a birthing center. You can check out the website for this film at:


ZenMama with Rainbeau Mars: Prenatal Yoga Workout

I consider myself a yogini...I love doing yoga! My husband, Joe, and I attended a yoga class last fall and we partake in yoga about 3 to 5 nights a week (our two cats enjoy this). My sister, Andrea, and I took a PiYo (pilates and yoga) class this spring which I really enjoyed and learned how to integrate toning techiques into my yoga routine.

The other evening, I tried out a yoga dvd called "ZenMama with Rainbeau Mars: Prenatal Yoga Workout". It was very informative and fun; Rainbeau's calmingly sunny personality and words will most certainly guide the expectant mother to a strong and centered body and mind. You will work through a sequence of postures that are not only designed to keep you happy in the moment, but also to prepare you for the experience of giving birth. Since your yoga practice during this special time will need to be adjusted depending on which trimester you are in, Rainbeau works with two assistants. Together, the three of them demonstrate how each posture should be practiced according to where you are in your pregnancy.


In Aviva Jill Romm's book, "The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices" on page 105 she describes "The Elevator Exercise" for she states, "Another pelvic exercise is often called the 'elevator' by midwives and childbirth educators. The basic imagery is that your yoni (vagina) is an elevator shaft and you are raising an imaginary elevator from the ground floor (your vaginal opening) to the fourth floor (high inside) using just your muscles. You do this slowly floor by floor, then release slowly, floor by floor. You can also release your muscles to the basement by letting them get super relaxed, an excellent practice for totally releasing your muscles to birth your baby when she or he is crowning (the head is showing and aobut to be born)." Rainbeau Mars in ZenMama demonstrates this elevator exercise in this dvd which I found very helpful. I love the way Rainbeau says that "you are making room for you baby" while moving into different postures (Aviva in "The Natural Pregnancy Book" also discusses how important it is to have movement and describes a several essential yoga postures on pages 98-102). In ZenMama, I was surprised with how many yoga postures Rainbeau demonstrated that I have used in my yoga classes; like downward facing dog...Rainbeau does a fabulous job of reminding mothers to caress and express love to their babies while performing yoga.

The Natural Pregnancy Book

I am currently reading "The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices" by Aviva Jill Romm; a very inspiring book for mothers, doulas, and midwives to be! I love the in depth chapter about the use of herbs during pregnancy and the section on relaxation techniques...although this entire book appears to be very compelling. This is a book I can't put down! I love the way Aviva writes she seems so calm and collected and is very knowledgeable; she is a midwife and an herbalist.

natural pregnancy