Lets face the fact that many people go about birthing a baby with ZERO plans. That often leads to a dissatisfying experience for you and your family. Honestly what don't we plan for in life? I know that not everything we plan turns out the way we plan it, but that do not stop anyone of us from making the plan in the first plan. It's a flexible plan. I heard someone say, "That if you have a goal and don't have a plan, you plan to fail."
So, jump on your ipad, iphone, android, laptop, computer or other smart device and get your plan together with us! Make sure you are logged on and locked in here by 6:00PM Friday March 27, 2015. We are happy to help you in this journey.
What is this strange creature I keep finding on my newsfeed? All the pregnant crunchy, vegan, pregnant hippies are talking about them and they say I should get one too.
That, dear lady, is a doula. Doo-lah. It's a Greek word that means "a woman who serves". More accurately, a doula is an amazing-selfless-staywithyouallnight-pregnantladyhelper/warrior.
You can insert "crunchy" in there too but not all of them are. Many of them are just like you. Hemp clothing and letting the twins swing free is not an inherent doula requirement. You ask, "So what do they do? I'll have my partner with me. I don't need one more person seeing my lady, thank you very much." Well, here's what's up. She is basically on call for you for an entire month around your due date. This means she will always be in town and even miss the Garth Brooks concert she was planning on going to for an entire year so that she can be with you when you push that beautiful squishy pink thing into the world.
She will also be completely sober for that month. All for you. Even though that Cabernet on the counter is calling her name oh so sweetly after a crazy jungle-gym-mom of a day with those three little peeing/boogery tornados that share the house with her left the home in beautifully "creative" shambles today. Her phone is on it's loudest setting. Always. She'll pick up during dinner. She'll pick up in the tub. She'll pick up at 2 am because you think your water just broke (even though you really just peed yourself...it's okay, it happens!) and happily talk you through it while wiping the sleep from her eyes, taming her wild mane, and smelling her armpits to see if she needs to take a sponge bath before driving to your house if you happen to be in labor. And she's happy about it too.
She knows things!
Did you know that being "head down" is not enough for baby to be in the right position? How about that you have a choice when it comes to cord clamping, baby baths, and episiotomies? Doulas aren't just fancy birth coaches who show up right before you have a baby. They spend hours and hours with you before birth day comes. They make sure you're prepared even if you aren't taking child birth classes. You and your partner will learn things you never knew about that swimming bundle in your belly, your kick-a...awesome vagina, and how contractions actually work. She'll also prepare you for all the prodding your wonderful OB is going to be doing to your lady parts and remind you that NOBODY touches your hooha without your say. Ever hear of GBS? Well she'll talk to you about that one and explain how it's done to take the surprise out of that q-tip your doc will whip out and swab your vagina and bum hole with. The more you know.
There's no such thing as "TMI".
She knows what it's like because she's had babies of her own and has seen so many women go through this before you. She knows what's normal and she knows what's not. And NOTHING grosses her out. Did you hear me? Nothing. So when you send your doula a picture of your underwear filled with the biggest, globbiest, would-fit-in-the-entire-palm-of-your-hand booger thing you've ever seen, she won't gag. She literally smiles and does a little happy dance while explaining to you that it was your mucous plug that just came out and yes, it's completely normal.
She loves girl talk.
She'll talk to you about anything that worries you, no matter how small. She's already had these conversations.
"Do I...do I need to shave or is that weird?"
"What if I poop in labor?! I can't. I just can't if I poop. I'll die."
"How do I poop after having the baby?! I CAN'T. It's impossible. I'll die."
"He wants to watch but I don't want him to see it. He's not allowed to look. Is that okay?"
"Am I going to be normal again? I don't want to have the constant 'oops I sneezed and peed' or 'it's like a hot dog being thrown down a hallway' scenarios."
She likes this stuff. No, she doesn't think you're weird. No, no hot dogs in hallways.
She is the guardian of your birth space.
Birth plans, birth plans. They're all different and she memorizes them all. And she enforces them like those small town police men who enforce the 25 mph speed limit. Just kidding. She's even better. She is the warrior guardian of your perineum and will do kung-fu with the doctor if necessary to to keep your lady bits intact. Because no episiotomy was ON YOUR BIRTH PLAN. She'll guard that placenta like a hawk and make sure it makes it to your ice-chest and not the trash can. She'll barricade the doors so that anesthesiology will have to call maintenance to take the door off the hinges to get to you. She guards your space to the best of her ability so that you feel safe and can birth your baby in peace. And she has no qualms about telling your mother-in-law that you don't want her in the room. (Always with grace, of course.)
Doula. Not husband.
She is your helper, not your husband. She does not want that job. What she does is everything else so that he can focus on being a husband, not a nurse, not the birth plan police, and not the labor position expert. He can focus on supporting you and loving you without worry. The doula assist him in helping you as much as he feels comfortable and gives him the tools he needs. How to do hip squeezes, how to massage you (or not), and reassurance that everything is going the way it should. Maybe she can even give him a chance to nap if you are feeling merciful.
She will never leave your side. Ever.
When she finally gets that call that you want her there with you, she will drop everything, hand over child care so she has nothing to worry about, and finally, finally put her phone on silent. Because girl, this is now all about you. Beautiful strong you who is doing the most womanly thing ever. And no matter how long it takes, she will stay with you. Hours. Days. And she won't leave right when baby arrives either. She will stay as long as it takes for your new family to feel safe. She will help your gorgeous new mini-you eat her awesome boob-food correctly without hurting you. And then she'll be back the next day and during the first week to check up on you (and steal some baby-holding time) while she listens to your take on your birth story, good or bad. She will never say "at least you have a healthy baby" if you had a less than ideal experience. She will listen. She will probably cry with you because you both have a strong bond now. She sympathizes and understands that it sucks that things did not go your way. She knows that how you feel about your experience is important. Aside from your partner, she may understand better than anyone else. She was there and she fought for you. Now cry it out, mama, while she holds you, cries with you, and reassures you that your are the best mother for this baby and that you are a birthing queen. She'll mean it all too.
Doulas are, dare I say, amazing, little known, irreplaceable, birth helper warriors who absolutely love the women they serve. They would do anything to help you. They stay up for days at a time with you while you labor. They are as rare as a baby born in the caul and selfless enough to leave their own families to help you grow yours. They don't want you to be alone. So go find yourself a doula. I know some wonderful women who live to doula you.
Certified Birth Doula
My Top 5 Reasons We All Should Eat More Fish
March is National Nutrition Month and as Birth by Design’s resident dietitian I would love to encourage you to use this month to expand and exercise your food knowledge!
Birth by Design has a lot going on this March. On March 11th we will celebrate National RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist) day, and the 3rd week of the month is World Doula Week which BbD will be celebrating with $5 workshops from many different team members in both Little Rock and Conway! Follow Birth by Design Conway Birth Services on Facebook for more information.
In honor of National Nutrition Month I want to talk about one of my favorite foods to “bite into” FISH! The role of dietary fish intake has stirred a lot of interest in the health community in recent years—for good reason. The benefits of a fishy diet are vast. In my own practice I routinely recommend including or even increasing whole-food fish intake. Many of us are familiar with fish as a source of protein but that is really just the tip of the iceberg!
Here are my Top 5 Reasons to Eat More Fish!
Fishy Fat – Many types of fish are a great source for Omega-3 Fatty Acids (aka n-3 fatty acids) and their derivatives EPA and DHA. Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fats, which mean they are liquids at room temperature and are the type of fats dietitians recommend as a part of a health and balanced diet. Omega-3s are great functional fats that aid our bodies in many of their daily tasks including blood clotting and building cell membranes in our brains (vital for baby’s brain growth starting at conception). Certain types of fats such as the popular but elusive Omega-3s are not produced in our own bodies and must be obtained from dietary sources; such as whole-foods and supplements. Fish is a great choice for your diet because it has very low levels of saturated fat and is an Omega-3 powerhouse. Check out this article for more information on Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Vitamins and Minerals – While the vitamin and mineral composition varies between types of fish most fish are a dependable source of calcium, vitamin B2, phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. Fatty fish can also be a source of dietary vitamin D, sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin. Why is this important? Most Americans are deficient in vitamin D, especially during the colder months when exposure to sun is reduced. Vitamin D deficiency is a big problem that results in fatigue, bone pain and weakness, and frequent infections. Check out this website for more about Vitamin D.
HBV Protein – Most of us know fish is a protein source, but did you know that fish is considered a High Biological Value (HBV) protein? In other words fish contains the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) in an amount similar to that required by our body. HBV proteins like fish provide those protein building blocks that our bodies are unable to create on their own. Fish can also be referred to a complete protein source. Fish is a great protein source when is chosen to replace an unhealthier protein sources like red meat, meat with lots of saturated fat, or foods low biological value protein.
Sustainability – Many types of meats and proteins have a large and detrimental effect on our ecological system. While the type of fish and its particular processing history cause the sustainability factor to vary, most types of fish are more sustainable for our environment than more common meats. Fish has half the greenhouse gas emissions of beef, and most fish has a lower carbon footprint than chicken, turkey, pork, beef, lamb, or cheese! For more information on sustainability and the impact of the foods you eat on our environment check out this website.
Your health – This is kind of reiterating my previous four points, but it is worthy of its own discussion! Eating the recommended amount of fish has been a national problem for the entire history of our country (you can blame it on geography if you want but with our food system I can quick poke some holes in that story!) Most importantly for my practice fish is proven vital for healthy brain cell development in infants (and that’s just fish fat!). Fish provides a lot of nutritional benefits that can help moms grow a healthy baby; many of the vitamins and minerals that fish provides are needed in increased quantities during pregnancy. Research has also revealed that fish is very beneficial for cardiovascular health; it can improve lipid profiles (HDL/LDL/Total Cholesterol) as well as help maintain healthy blood pressure and blood glucose levels (1). Resent research shows that regular fish consumption can also play a protective role in metabolic syndrome prevention (2)! Fish may also help reduce depression when consumed 2-3 times a week.
So those are my Top 5 Reasons to Eat More Fish!
What is your favorite reason to eat fish?
Did you learn anything new about fish from this article? If so leave me a comment below!
For more information about eating a healthy and balanced diet at any life stage find a local registered dietitian and schedule a session to get started on your path to a happier and healthier you!!
If you have questions about any of the topics in the article, whole-foods vs supplements, prenatal or postpartum nutrition, sustainability, or Birth by Design services you can email me (Jody the RDN!) at BbDdietitian@gmail.com or visit www.birthbydesigndoulas.com or find us on Facebook!
Jody Beth Wells, MS, LD, RDN
Prenatal and Postpartum Nutrition Counselor and Educator at Birth by Design
Birth Services for all of Central Arkansas
1) Tørris C1, Molin M2, Cvancarova Småstuen M1. Fish consumption and its possible preventive role on the development and prevalence of metabolic syndrome - a systematic review. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2014 Oct 17;6(1):112. doi: 10.1186/1758-5996-6-112. eCollection 2014.
2) Panagiotakos DB1, Zeimbekis A, et.al. Long-term fish intake is associated with better lipid profile, arterial blood pressure, and blood glucose levels in elderly people from Mediterranean islands (MEDIS epidemiological study).Med Sci Monit. 2007 Jul;13(7):CR307-12.