Pregnancy

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!

Are you watching “9 Months That Made You”?

I will admit I watch a lot of TV. I watch it to unwind and relax, but I also use it to learn and discover new things. Recently I stumbled upon a PBS series called “9 Months That Made You.” I am one episode in and hooked!

Now I know by being a doula and childbirth educator that this show is right up my alley. I mean it is kind of like continuing education for my work! But if you are growing a human in your body currently, or did grow one, or know someone who grew one, or if you grew in someone’s body, then this show is a perfect fit!

So in the first episode they break down what it is like for a baby to grow beginning with the moment of conception. It then goes on to describe what happens in hours! And then days and weeks. The detailed things they discuss is amazing. How much of our lives that is determined by the processes in the first few weeks is astonishing!

Within the program different families from around the globe are highlighted to show their genetic differences. These differences are due to developmental things that can happen during the time period of growth that they are focused in on in the episode. The first episode even features a scientist studying living a long life and how it may be determined while you are still in the womb!

So yes I am a geek when it comes to science and babies. I can’t wait to finish the series. It really celebrates the variances in humanity. So if you are looking to add something to your queue and you are into learning check out this PBS series on Netflix. You can find out more about it here:
https://www.pbs.org/show/9-months-made-you/

I can’t wait to see what new information I learn next!

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!

How to Induce Labor Naturally

by Andrea Stainbrook

For many pregnant women there comes a point where you are ready to be done being pregnant. You want to meet your baby! Sometimes it is out of eagerness, or sometimes it’s because you have been past your due date…for a while. Sometimes your doctor lets you know a medical induction will be happening soon so you want to do everything in your power to coerce this baby to come on its own if you can. Whatever the reason we are all in search of safe things we can do try to and convince our babies to emerge.

First off before doing anything that may be known to cause labor you should check in with your care provider. They will advise you if the option you want to do is a good fit for you.

The number one thing to do is to get oxytocin flowing.

Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone.” This hormone is important as it plays a huge role in labor. It causes your uterus to contract! So releasing this hormone is a good way for a body to potentially go into labor.

5 Ways to Stimulate Oxytocin

  1. RELAX- Being chill creates a perfect, comfortable environment for oxytocin to be released. If you are tense, anxious, or fearful you may release adrenaline which will actually counter the oxytocin.
  2. SEXY TIME- Orgasms release a burst of oxytocin. So getting in the mood will help your body get in the mood to give birth. If your partner is a male, the sperm acts as a cervical ripener which is a bonus. Even just simply being romantic helps. Watch your wedding video, or reminisce about the day you first met.
  3. NIPPLE STIMULATION- Our bodies release oxytocin when a baby latches to nurse. By stimulating our nipples we can get our body to react in a way that is similar to when a baby is trying to feed. The trick here is having someone else stimulate your nipples. Breast pumps can be used, or a partner can hand express your breasts to simulate that body sensation of nursing your baby.
  4. MASSAGE- Relaxing into a massage is a good way to get that love hormone flowing. Whether a partner or a friend is willing to help or you go to a massage therapist, the results should be a more relaxed mood and oxytocin release.
  5. FEEL GOOD ACTIVITY- Watch a silly rom-com that makes you smile! Cuddle with your partner! Cuddle your older kiddo! Take a stroll in nature. LAUGH.

If you are feeling good, relaxing the best you can, and releasing oxytocin, you are setting yourself up for labor to begin. Stressing out raises cortisol levels and adrenaline. These fight the hormones that make it easier for labor to start. A relaxed body is one that wants to go into labor.

Other labor inducing ideas:

Getting up and moving is believed to be helpful. It causes your pelvis to move and open. This helps the baby navigate its way down and perhaps baby gets the message to begin labor. Walking, bouncing on an exercise ball, and doing some squats are ok things to try. Swimming is great to alleviate the gravitational pull on your belly. Dancing is a fabulous way to incorporate movement and release the love hormone at the same time! Turn on some music, sing along, and go to town!

Some may use food as a means to start labor. Some of these have scientific backing and some have anecdotal backing. These are good to again mention to your care provider as each provider has their own lines of thinking about these.

  • Dates (These have some science that shows it helps ripen the cervix when consuming 6 a day for 4 weeks.)
  • Pineapple (No official studies exist on eating fresh pineapple per se but it contains an enzyme believed to soften the cervix.)
  • Eggplant or Spicy Foods (The idea is these upset your digestive system, which then can upset your uterus and cause it to contract.)
  • Bananas (The thought process behind these are to help you maintain proper potassium levels so that your muscles contract normally.)
  • Thyme tea (Is thought to bring on uterine contractions.)
  • Red raspberry leaf tea (Although there is currently no scientific evidence supporting it as an induction method is believed to help tone the uterus.)
  • Licorice root (Real licorice, not the candy 😉 , contains the chemical
    glycyrrhizin. This chemical may increase the production of prostaglandins.)

Another option is trying holistic care. Acupressure points can be used. Some massage therapists may be trained in this knowledge. Regular chiropractic visits with a Webster Technique trained chiropractor can help keep your pelvis aligned and your baby in a good position.

As you are waiting for the big day of the birth of your baby you may want to try some of these. Bottom line do what feels good to you and only do as much as you want to do. Doing all the things doesn’t necessarily increase your chances. Only your baby will truly decide when the perfect time is.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

What’s love got to do with it?

by Andrea Stainbrook

Love and labor go to together.

Common questions doulas are asked are:

“How do I get labor started?”

“What keeps a labor going?”

“What can help me in labor?”

These are all fabulous questions.  Some are surprised to hear our answer for all of these questions is love.  What’s that?  Love?!  Yes.  Let’s break down love and labor.

Oxytocin is the “love hormone.”  It is the feel good hormone that your body releases during labor to keep your uterus contracting.  Do you know when else oxytocin is released?  Whenever you have that warm and fuzzy feeling.  You know when you watch a romantic comedy and we all see the plot, we all know how this ends, but you find yourself smiling and feeling nice anyway?  That is good ole’ oxytocin working.  Hugs feel nice,  sharing a meal with another, memories of favorite vacations, these all stir up that hormone.

So anything to release oxytocin in labor can help get a labor moving or started, and also help you through labor by making you feel good while it continues to progress.

You can use to this knowledge in the birth room.  The uterus needs to keep contracting to bring baby down.  If you have a partner you care deeply for they can be useful in labor to keep that oxytocin flowing.  Getting into positions where you are facing one another can help facilitate that exchange.   My favorite position is “8th Grade Slow Dancing.”   The birthing person can place their hands on the shoulders of their partner while the partner places their hands on the birthing person’s hips.  You both can sway and dance together during or through contractions.  You may giggle at first and that is OK because giggling is good too! Laughter releases the love-hormone.

Romantic love of a partner is just one form of love.  Other oxytocin inducing ideas:

  • Hang up photos of a vacation you truly enjoyed

Thinking about our favorite spots can make us smile.

  • Set out framed photos of your other children, or loved ones
  • Place favorite movie quotes around the room
  • Positive birth affirmations
  • Music that gives you the feels
  • Being told funny or heart warming stories

Love is such a wonderful thing!  As you can see it can play an integral part of your labor.  What other things do you think you can do during labor to keep the love hormone flowing?

 

Baby outings? Can I really shop with my baby?

By Andrea Stainbrook

An outing with your baby doesn’t have to be hard!

Babies are squishy and adorable and well frankly a lot of work!  Normal outings like heading to the grocery store, or to shop for some new clothes can feel like daunting tasks.  I know I sometimes rather wait for my hubby to come home or ask grandma for help so I can do these tasks alone.

And while alone shopping is super fun at times it may not be practical to try to plan for every outing without our cute little tag-a-long.

Oh hey Mom great choice!

Babies can become a part of the mundane outings or the fun shopping days!

Here are tips for successful shopping days out!

Think ahead!  

  • Make a plan.
  • Limit where you will go for the day just in case baby isn’t up for it.  If you are prepared to only hit up  a store or two and not conquer a marathon of shopping you will be setting yourself up for success!
  • Prepare the best you can and remember keep your expectations low!

This cute face may make the outing even better!

Baby gear for outings!  

  • Bring with you whatever feeding items you need.  Whether it be bottles, or your breasts, or baby is old enough for snacks, kiddos get hungry.
  • Favorite toys are a must!  Anything to help with distraction.
  • Some people like those cute little shopping cart covers.  Sometimes you are able to attach toys to those.
  • Remember if baby is in it’s bucket car seat still always place it in the bottom of the shopping cart.

Where do we go?

  • Grocery store.  Bring a list!  Many grocers try to get the kids excited now with either finding the store’s mascot while you are there or offering free fruit.
  • Superstores.  (Or Book and Toy stores.)  Just want to get out and go somewhere?  Let your kiddo explore the toy or book aisles for fun.
  • To your local baby store!

Make it a fun day to remember!

Local Baby /Children Stores

These tips should help you as you venture out.  As a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula I have even become a part of these outings too and help parents feel more confident doing so.    Fill out our inquiry form if you rather shop with us!

Where do you think you will head first?

 

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Do you know the signs?

If you are pregnant, or if you have been pregnant before, you have probably heard of preeclampsia. It’s a condition that can occur during pregnancy and maybe you or someone you love had it.

Preeclampsia can be an extremely serious pregnancy condition that can happen at any time. There are usually warning signs, however, and moms-to-be who get regular prenatal care are generally screened for them at doctor visits.

So, what is it? It’s a hypertensive condition that affects mom AND baby and occurs in 5-8% of all pregnancies, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation. It usually occurs after the 20-week mark of pregnancy and it can occur up to six weeks AFTER delivery. The foundation estimates that hypertensive disorders in pregnancy like preeclampsia cause 76,000 maternal and 500,000 fetal deaths annually.

It’s important to know the warning signs, even though some women with preeclampsia have no symptoms. To learn more, read on:

High blood pressure

One of the main signs of preeclampsia is high blood pressure. You can’t tell if you have high blood pressure; it has to be measured by a medical professional. That’s why it is so very important to have proper prenatal care.

pre e 1

Proteinuria

This is a fancy word for “protein in your pee.” And it’s also why your doctor has you pee in a cup during prenatal visits. Your doctor should be checking the protein levels in your urine during visits, to see if the level is changing.

Headaches and nausea

These can be common pregnancy symptoms OR they can be signs of preeclampsia. It’s hard to tell, right? If you have a migraine-like headache that lasts a long time or is exceptionally painful or changes in your vision, call your doctor.

Also, if you have vomiting that happens after the 20-week mark and comes on suddenly, call your OBGYN or midwife. It could be something as simple as food poisoning or a virus but it’s best to be checked out.

pre e 2

Swelling

Many women swell during pregnancy, especially in their feet and for the most part, this is an annoying and normal part of the experience. However, if you have swelling in other areas like your face or hands or excessive swelling in your feet, call your doctor.

Pain

Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, especially as baby grows and moves. However, if you have stomach or shoulder pain that comes on suddenly, it could be a warning sign of preeclampsia.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We want you to have a safe and healthy pregnancy!

 

Why Doulas Are Just Like “Sadness”

Did you watch the Disney movie “Inside Out”?  There is one scene that as a doula resonates with me.   The character Sadness sits down next to Bing Bong after his magical rocket is lost forever.  Bing Bong is clearly upset.  Joy tries to cheer him up.  But Sadness… Sadness listens to him.  Just listens.   She sees him upset and starts with, “I’m sorry that they took your rocket.  They took something that you loved. It’s gone…..forever. ”  Then as Bing Bong opens up she asks questions about the fun he and Riley had on that rocket.   Sadness lets Bing Bong feel his feelings.  By letting him feel his sadness and talk about it she validated his feelings.  A warm embrace and then Bing Bong felt a little better and was able to continue the journey.  film (1)

This is important to doulas.  This is a role we strive to provide.  Not to be “Sadness” per se but to be support that hears you .  We don’t believe you should be a certain way, we just want you to be.  We do not tell you how to feel, we let you feel.

This transcends our doula life and is useful in all relationships.  Parenting, friendships, relatives.  Sadness has it right:

Listen.

Validate.

Support.

That movie has such great lessons to all ages on communication and emotions.  We thank Sadness for being her.  Let us support you and be your listening ear!

 

 

Families Experiencing Loss and Infertility | Resources

From the moment you get a positive test, your dreams and hopes for this new baby comes to life in thoughts of the future, planning, and expectation.  On the other side, you may never get a positive test, or you have had children and now it isn’t working; that all comes with it’s own weight of disappointment and discouragement.

Miscarriage, loss, and infertility are trying times for all families.  When we come face to face with our deepest feelings, it can actually be a lonely place and feel like no one can truly relate.  Many will try to cheer you up, give positive spins on the situation and say well intentioned statements to you because they want to try to help you feel happy again.  However, dismissing or shoving away our feelings doesn’t help us deal with our pain.

Your feelings are real.

…they are valid, and it’s completely ok to have them, talk about them, & express them.  It’s all part of the process in coming through to the other side of the darkness.  Below you will find lists of helpful resources when going through such an event in the Metro Detroit area.

Bereavement/Loss/Miscarriage In-Person Groups/Websites –

Counselors –

  • Embracing Life Counseling – Laurette Lipman
  • Laurel Hicks
  • James Blundo, PLLC

Books –

  • A Gift of Time: Continuing Your Pregnancy When Your Baby’s Life is Expected to Be Brief by Amy Kuebelbeck
  • Celebrating Pregnancy Again: Restoring the lost joys of pregnancy after the loss of a child by Franchesca Cox
  • Not Pregnant by Cathie Quillet (Infertility)
  • Sufficient Grace by Kelley Gerken
  • Empty Arms: Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth & Infant Loss by Sherokee Ilse
  • I’ll Hold You In Heaven by Jack Hayford

Online support recommendations from fellow moms we know:

  • Resolve – The National Infertility Association
  • The Bump miscarriage/pregnancy loss board
  • Facebook group: Miscarriage, Stillbirth & Infant Loss – 3.4K members
  • Metro Detroit Share

Grieving family members usually find it helpful to continue talking about the situation as much as needed, as often as needed and allowing themselves to feel the full range of their emotions.  It’s ok to be both happy and sad at the same time, there is nothing wrong in that.

It can also be healing to do something special to honor your baby like a dedicated memorial stone at the zoo, planting a tree, create a blog or a website, celebrating birthdays, holding on to mementos, also wearing pins, getting tattoos, or applying car stickers of remembrance can help to heal as well.

Sending out virtual hugs those of you in this spot, dealing with life’s unfairness and processing that our worlds will forever be changed or missing something.

If you have something you feel would be beneficial to add to the list above, please let us know by commenting below.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

If you have any questions or needs, we are here for you & will do our best to help.  Give us a call or connect with us via email at info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com, also on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.