Doula

What are birth affirmations?

In the process of birth the birthing person typically will need some encouragement and emotional support. Birth affirmations are simply that! They can even be your birth slogan or mantra! The best part of birth affirmations is you can select those that resonate with you and create ones that truly speak to you.

Why use them? Labor can be long. Labor can be hard. And at some point in labor self-doubt can creep in. Having some reminders that lift you up can help you through intense parts of birth. The goal is to make you feel good about the process and keep things positive. These little sentences can act as your own personal cheerleader!

One example of an affirmation for labor.

Tips for finding and creating affirmations:

Check out our Pinterest page of affirmation ideas

-Use lyrics from your favorite songs

-Scan your birth books for parts that truly speak to you

-Buy affirmations already printed out in card form, like these

-Seek inspiration from your favorite movies or books. It doesn’t have to be directly related to birth to be useful and encouraging!

-Take inspirational quotes from uplifting calendars

-Seek out your favorite poet, philosopher, or public speaker for words of wisdom and inspiration

-Ask your provider what their favorite things to tell patients are

Birth affirmations are for every birth desire.

Whether you want a natural birth or an epidural or a planned cesarean birth, encouragement and positivity are always useful.

So you got your inspiring words…now what?

-Your partner, doula, or support person can read these aloud during the birth.

-You can create a booklet of them to flip through.

-Type or write them on cards and hang them around your birthing room.

-Create wish flags or a bunting out of fabric or paper. Then write the affirmations on the flags. String these up in your birth room.

Birth affirmations are simply another tool to help you cope throughout the labor process. You may find them useful and use them the throughout your whole labor. It never hurts to arm yourself with as many tools as you can. Birth affirmations can be an easy and great tool to use and have with you as you bring your baby into this world.

Written by: Andrea Stainbrook

For a Moment Like This

“For a moment like this…. some people wait a lifetime.”  Ain’t that the truth Kelly Clarkson?

When I envisioned my births I envisioned myself like a lot of the videos and pictures I saw and loved.  I pictured dim light and quiet whispers.  I envisioned myself humming and swaying through contractions as they intensified.  I was planning a waterbirth and just thought I would rest there as long as possible. Then at that climatic moment, where I would be so relaxed and quiet, I would pull my baby  up and he or she would crest the water and greet me with a gentle cry and cuddles on my chest.   I could see it perfectly.  It would be beautiful.  

To be clear those births exist.  They are beautiful.  They are a great ideal to envision and strive for.   But know… it is still BEAUTIFUL if it’s not what you envisioned.   My births were not far off from this in many ways.  But in many ways my ideal I envisioned and what it looked like were way different.

You are a version of yourself on the day you give birth.  Who knows what mood and tone you may really take on.  I was not as quiet and peaceful as I imagined.  And although I got my hair done the night before and I painted my nails a few days prior… real life may not be perfectly coiffed hair and runway ready faces.

For my second amazing birth I hired a professional birth photographer.  Worth every penny and it is so great to have these photos forever.   One photo I was so excited to see was what that moment when I see my baby for the first time looked like.  Seeing other pictures of this moment captured I couldn’t wait to see that look of love and that special glow.

My first photo is beautiful.

It shows everything I felt at that moment.  Estelle came in a hurry and the last 15 minutes were intense.  After having a long labor with my first I couldn’t believe this went so fast.  I was processing a lot.  Anyhow I have full on ugly cry, “what in the world,” look.   I’m obviously happy and overjoyed.  You CAN see that too.  I’ll admit it wasn’t at first what I hoped.  I didn’t want to frame it.   Although I did want to cherish it.

WEBfirstlook5757

Birth is so many feelings and emotions wrapped into one.  If you look close enough at this one you may see all of them.  <3

No matter what we strive for, what unfolds, birth and the many faces we wear during it is simply beautiful.

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

Newborn Sleep Guidelines

It is always a good idea to stay up to date on current recommendations. The AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics, has specific guidelines for safe sleep practices.

Placing babies (through one year old) on their back to sleep is the most current recommendation for safe sleep. Room sharing is considered ideal for the first six months. This means having your baby on a firm sleep surface, i.e. crib or bassinet, laying on its back somewhere in the room with you the parent. Swaddling your baby is just fine! Keep loose items and bedding away from your baby.

Many babies like to be swaddled.

Sleeping in a Rock n’ Play Sleeper is not safe and the item has been recalled.

Here are some recommended links and articles from the AAP:

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx

https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/child_death_review/Pages/Safe-Sleep.aspx

https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/

Our Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas stay current with the recommendations set forth by the AAP and follow their guidelines when caring for your baby. If you have more questions or concerns reach out to your pediatrician.

When do I head to the hospital?

The day has arrived! You think you are in labor!

First how do you tell if it is really labor?

So you notice you are having contractions and they seem to come and go. You can try timing them. To time a contraction you time the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next contraction. This is how far apart they are. Note the duration of the sensation as well. What you should start to see is a pattern. There are many apps for timing this or you can use an old fashioned watch or clock.

Check out the apps available to you on your phone before labor begins. There are many to choose from!

Longer, stronger, closer together is the key to a labor pattern.

Your contractions should fall into a rhythm of sorts. Maybe they begin at 8 minutes apart lasting about 30 seconds. Then you feel a shift of intensity and you time them again. Now you notice they are 6 mins apart lasting 40 seconds. This appears to be a labor pattern. The sensations are getting longer, feeling stronger, and are closer together than they were before.

When is it time to head to the hospital?

The 5-1-1 or 4-1-1.

When your contractions are 5 minutes or 4 minutes apart, lasting one minute long, for the course of an hour, it is time to head to the hospital. Ideally you will get to the hospital in an active labor pattern.

Notify your provider that your are heading in or you can always ask them if they feel its a good time to come to the hospital as well. Of course talk to your doula as soon as you think anything is going on. She can offer suggestions, listen, and remind you of ways to cope!

Not sure if it is in fact labor? Looking for guidance on how to distract and cope through early labor? Call your doctor/midwife and your doula!

There are some variables that can change when to head in. If you are high risk, GBS positive, or your water is broken, are some instances that can change the timing. It is a good idea to discuss with your doctor or midwife what it looks like when you think you are in labor. Let them tell you what they prefer in your specific instance.

So remember, longer, stronger, closer together and the 4-1-1 will help you decide when it is time to go! Safe travels ahead!

How to write a birth plan

Birth plans, birth wishes, birth preferences, or whatever you prefer to call it can be a useful tool. The work of going through what is important to you and your partner in your birth is likely the best part of creating a birth plan, no matter if you actually print it out.

Birth wishlists can be a great way to give the care team you are working with an idea of the ideal birth you hoped for. This way if paths stray from what you envisioned the staff can help keep it as close to your ideal as possible.

What you can include in your plan:

  • Basic information: your name, partner’s name or support person’s name, doula’s name, important phone numbers, your care provider’s name
  • Important items to know about the birthing person: allergies, or medical conditions the staff should be reminded of
  • Ideals for coping and what is important to you in early and active labor: After going through options in birth include those that really stand out to you as what you hope for in this birth.
  • Pushing preferences
  • Placenta plans: If choosing placenta encapsulation services it is a good idea to have this on your birth preferences sheet as a reminder. Also mentioning if you intend to use a cord blood banking service.
  • Cesarean birth preferences: items like clear drapes used, support people you want present, skin to skin if possible after birth.
  • Newborn care: erythromycin eye ointment, vitamin K, hepatitis B, circumcision/intact
  • Feeding preferences: it is nice to note if you are planning on breastfeeding, or formula feeding, or some combination

A smart idea is to write a long detailed plan for yourself that goes through all the options and ideals you have. Then that plan is for you. Trim and omit the unnecessary items to create a simpler plan to hand in to your birth staff. Creature comforts like dim lighting, do not need to be on your staff’s plan.

Pro-tips for birth plans

  • Keep it simple! Bullet points and simple statements to convey your wants is ideal. Also birth plans should not be so detailed you are telling your provider and staff how to do their job. Some plans simply state one item, for example “We would prefer open communication throughout the entire process.”
  • Be positive! Use phrases like “we prefer x,y,z” instead of “NO X,Y,Z!”
  • Thank the staff! Your care providers and nurses want you to have a lovely experience. They work hard and long shifts. Tell them how excited you are to be at that facility with the wonderful staff you have selected.
  • Make it fun! Say what?! If you can find a way to make it funny, or light, or cute in some way, the staff will enjoy reading it. Some clients in the past have made it sports themed, or added a funny comic. One couple made it look like a movie poster!

When making your birth wishes list explore all the things you envision or hope for. It is a great activity to get you thinking about the experience you’d like. A place you can learn about your birthing options is through a childbirth education course. Check out Metro Detroit Doula Service’s offerings today!

by Andrea Stainbrook

Gas, Constipation, & Hemorrhoids. All things poop in pregnancy.

Often people don’t share about their poop issues they experience in pregnancy. They can be all too real. Let’s dive in and learn about these common issues.

GAS

Blame the dog if you want but odds are you will be gassier in pregnancy. This can start early on and at any time. We can thank all this extra farting to the increased levels of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone actually causes the muscles of the digestive tract to relax. Because of this more gas can escape. On top of that, as your baby grows, the pressure in your abdomen also increases which adds to more gas being pushed out.

HOW CAN I HELP REDUCE THE GAS?

-Add more exercise to your daily activity. By doing this you can stimulate digestion and keep the gas moving.

-Eat smaller meals throughout the day.

-Avoid trigger foods. Some foods that can be triggering are: fatty & fried foods, beans, sprouts, broccoli and whole grains.

CONSTIPATION

Constipation can happen very early into pregnancy, and it is known to occur at any point and in any trimester. That pesky hormone progesterone relaxing our digestive tract muscles means that things move more slowly. For some their prenatal vitamins or iron supplements could be the culprit as well.

Pro-tip: Address constipation right away, don’t wait! This can help you avoid hemorrhoids from developing.

HOW CAN I HELP ALLEVIATE CONSTIPATION?

-By increasing your amount of daily exercise, you help keep your body functions moving.

-Increase your fiber consumption and drink lots of water.

Squatty potties help get you in a good pooping position.

-Talk to your care provider about your vitamins and if it is related.

HEMORRHOIDS

The dreaded hemorrhoids. These friends usually pop up in the last trimester. Hemorrhoids are simply swollen veins in your lower rectum. Good news is they usually resolve on their own some time after delivery. Between experiencing constipation and so much pressure on the rectum from your growing baby in your uterus, it can be common to experience hemorrhoids. Sometimes they can cause pain and/or itchiness. They can be internal or external around your anus.

HOW CAN I MAKE HEMORRHOIDS GO AWAY?

-Warm baths, or witch hazel soaks & witch hazel pads, can help.

-Being mindful not to stand or sit for too long of stretches.

-Medicated Tucks pads, Preparation H, or other over the counter remedies ease the pain and calms the itchiness.

-If they hang around after your baby is born and are causing a lot of discomfort it is good to talk to your doctor.

In a perfect world none of us would experience any of these, but odds are we will all likely cross paths with one or all of these in pregnancy. Doulas are never too shy to talk about these so never be afraid to give your doula a call!

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

Metro Detroit Doula Services

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? | Meet Yolonda Rabbani

Take a moment and learn all about Yolonda. This driven and thoughtful doula has a fire that burns bright and is dedicated to supporting families. We asked her, and she answered!

What is your doula path?

I believe I found my place as a doula by allowing the journey to organically unfold. A spark occurred while I was in college studying to become a healthcare professional. During my studies, I continued to come across current issues within women’s healthcare that I felt needed more attention. While I chose to continue my studies, I also decided to branch off here and there, attending lectures specifically related to obstetrics hosted by local colleges and healthcare provider networks such as DMC and Wayne State University. Not only was I learning a ton of information about women’s healthcare in today’s society, I was beginning to learn a great deal about myself. The application looked a bit like me, Yolonda, begging all female friends and family (and strangers) to take their reproductive health more seriously and encouraging them to be more engaged in the care that they receive.

While researching for one of my finals, which turned into an opportunity for me to do research for something I actually cared about, I came across an article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The article shared statistics regarding the birth outcomes for women who gave birth with the support of a doula, opposed to women who did not. There was no question about it, having a doula decreased the potential for many invasive as well as non-invasive interventions. Not only improving the overall experience for the mother and her baby but significantly reducing the infant mortality rates, which at that time (~ 2010) was 44% in the community that I now live in.

If we turned on the radio in your car, what would we hear?

NPR or BBC news, or some classic rock, R&B or gospel song from the early 90’s/80’s, maybe a little TuPac.

3 words that describe Yolonda:

Positive, Inspiring, Truthful

I’ve always known deep inside that my place is in women’s care. I can also say that my love for supporting women of all groups grows exponentially with each new client. Childbirth, to me at least, is a sort of rite of passage. I feel like you become part of a tribe of very, very strong women. Transitioning into motherhood comes with many uncertainties, and can be scary even with the support of family and friends. As a doula, I’m able to provide the additional support needed to ensure that every client I work with feels empowered.

What are you reading now?

I have a few books going at the time; The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson (Love this book!), Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know for Sure, and A Course in Miracles by Dr. Helen Schuman.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Learning life lessons the first go-round. That should totally be a superpower, it would save us so much time.

Who is your role model?

I have a few, and who they are tends to change as I continue to mature. I totally love Randy Patterson, co-founder of ProDoula. I can definitely relate to her personal story. The fact that she is confidently and unapologetically her best self is very encouraging to me who, as a young woman was taught to suppress those things that made me different.

The many midwives and female obstetricians who I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from.

My celebrity role model right now is Jennifer Lewis! I just read her book!

This is a bit different, but one of the closest people to me, my cousin and friend Karissa Holmes. It’s a long story but she has been a huge driving force when I felt my weakest. She really helped me get it together and was an example herself of how to work through some really tough challenges.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

Just having a day where I can do whatever I want, even if it’s nothing, is “a favorite thing”, if that makes any sense (smile).

Give us your best piece of advice to expecting parents/new families?

When dealing with the inevitable unsolicited advice, It’s ok to do what’s best for you (and your family), be confident while doing just that!

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr. Seuss

What is your favorite song to karaoke?

Even Flow by Pearl Jam, a classic and a great song!

Contact Metro Detroit Doula Services today to have Yolonda be your doula!