How does one decide to take childbirth classes, to hire a Doula, to birth in or out of a hospital? First, allow me to introduce you to Jon & Ashley Attard. They were expecting baby #1 together and Ashley desired a natural out of hospital experience. Jon wasn't new to birth, he has a ten year old son, but he was new to playing an active role of Coach during labor. You see, with his first son, he had not attended any childbirth education classes and only filled the role of spectator during a medicated birth in a hospital setting. The trouble going that route, is most men have zero prior knowledge or applicable skills instilled in them to assist their wife during her birth marathon thus leaving them feeling powerless and simply having to watch their loved one in pain. With this labor & birth, not only would he assume his role as husband coach eagerly, he would have training from the YourBirthHelper team on ways to best handle labor and assist Ashley with more productive positions, effective proven relaxation techniques to help reduce her pain, coach her throughout various stages of labor & birth, labor with her at home, assess her labor & when to leave for the birth center, etc. Nope, willingly assuming his role as a trained husband coach, he understood he would be ever present, hands on while lovingly assisting Ashley. To compliment his active participation, they would also have the assistance of a team of helpers. Together, they would bring their baby into the world! Yes, Ashley was planning a complete opposite experience of Jon's first. When Ashley explained to Jon what a doula was and why she desired to hire one he was not offended. Actually, he admitted during their initial consult, he felt quite clueless when it came to childbirth. More so, with his easily excited/nervous personality, he could possibly be too freaked out during hard labor to know what to do and how to help her, especially should she have a first labor worse case scenario. (That was, of course, before he trained).
Step One: Chose training that WORKS. Anyone can say they teach a childbirth class, but it is way more than just saying you took a class. You need skills to take with you. You need at least the basics: how to eat properly to grow a healthy placenta, healthy uterus, healthy baby & keep mom healthy & low risk, (especially if considering an out of hospital birth). You need a proven exercise & relaxation plan that grows with you. The closer you get to your due date, the more time you focus on your homework, finish strong. You need skills including: what does mom do during labor, what does dad do during labor, how does dad help mom reduce unnecessary pain & discomfort, etc. You must APPLY what you learn. The best case scenario would be the twelve week preparation in The Bradley Method® a proven tested method of natural birth. Bearing you make good decisions, you do not have medical reasons for surgery, mom stays healthy & low risk and you actually apply what you learned, the method is quite successful in drug free, low intervention birth. On average, 87% of couples who properly train & prepare experience low intervention drug free birth by choice. Search www.bradleybirth.com to find an affiliated teacher near you. Keep in mind as with all others, these are independent instructors. It is important to know the experience level of who is teaching your class. If your work schedules simply will not allow you to participate in a 12 week course, consider at least attending a few training workshops like YourBirthHelper.com offers. You need to, at least, acquire the basics and begin prepping your body by the second trimester, if all possible. Then a labor role play can be particularly beneficial to your coach, closer to your due date. Practice makes perfect. What comes natural to us in labor is often the opposite of what we should be doing to reduce discomfort. Having zero training is never a good plan, despite your choice to medicate or not, have an in hospital birth, birth center or home. Training is key and can prevent a multitude of problems near term & throughout pregnancy in general.
First, Jon recognized he was pretty clueless about how to help. In his words...
Jon: “I wanted some professional to help Ashley birth naturally & free of medical intervention. The thought of the pain she would be in just blew my mind. I didn’t know where to even tell her to put her legs or how to breathe! At our initial consult, I was left feeling confident that I could be a great coach and you would help guide me!
Pam: "After training, Jon not only knew how Ashley should properly breathe, but helped her with a variety of positions both throughout early, active & late labor and actively supported Ashley during the birth, as well. I could not have been more proud of him!"
Step Two: Choose a DOULA you feel comfortable with. Start by searching local doulas in your area. Often your doctor, midwife or birth center can make a referral. Likewise, check in with your mommy groups, are there local speed dating events, etc. You can hire a Doula at any time, but keep in mind like your practitioners, they work from a calendar. It is helpful to doula's to at least be able to hold your due date in their planner. With babies being quite unpredictable, some on time, some two weeks early, some two weeks late, the earlier you hire a doula, typically the better. What if dad starts feeling overwhelmed in late pregnancy? No worry, YourBirthHelper.com has taken clients due anytime, but again thats not the best case scenario. Having some time to get to know your doula, get some training in, etc. is the best plan for success. Join in our #BirthFamily events around the city. You can't ever go wrong surrounding yourself with likeminded people. I think Jon enjoyed the help of the #CharlotteDoulaDreamTeam as much as Ashley did! Often men in particular, do not realize the Doula serves as support to the couple, to achieve their wishes, for their birth, their way. Dad included!
Jon: "I would tell other men, not to worry about the little stuff, because as you guided me, I learned more and more that as a team, we would be able to get through it and have a successful labor."
Jon also learned, not every stage of labor is overwhelming. In fact, most couples do not need any assistance during early phases of labor. We teach if its not at least a 60 second contraction, go about your business as normal. In fact, many practices ask healthy moms to use the 4-1-1 meaning 4 minute apart or less contraction frequency, at least (60 seconds) 1 minute long duration, consistent for over an hour prior to heading over. For many couples, a great majority of their labor will be managed at home prior to arrival at their birth place, as was the case for Ashley. Since she was birthing at Baby & Company Charlotte, they suggest arriving during Active Labor (around 6cm as ACOG suggests). Jon & Ashley took comfort in knowing they had 24/7 access to consult or acquire tips for the earlier phases. After training, Jon was able to properly assess the stages of labor and made a great decision of when to leave for their birth place. Simply put, he rocked his coach role at home and at the birth center. As you can see here, even in late labor, Ashley and Jon enjoy some laughter during a break between her powerful contractions.
Pam: "With quality education comes knowledge, when knowledge is applied that becomes power! It is not that mom can not take another contraction physically, but often a lack of emotional support during her labor that holds her up or causes increased pain levels. Mentally, she should be "ever present" on this most important work, freeing her mind of all other matters. Her body needs her to relax, sink down & surrender to her uterus. Her job is to fill the uterus with air, lean in and stay out of its way. It matters that her coach loves her enough to help her through the contractions and has the skills to assist her into productive positions, etc. There are some tricks to the trade. We can make our labor & birth harder by doing things incorrectly and we definitely can make labor easier to manage when we do things right during a contraction. That takes practice it does not typically come instinctively. I do believe most men truly want to assist their wives, they just don't know in advance what to do. Much like us women...remember, just because we have the body parts, does not mean we know what to do with them during labor, birth or breastfeeding for that matter."
Ashley: "I could not be more pleased with what a great help Jon was and he has continued to be since we came home! Both of us totally misjudged his abilities!!"
Dr. Robert A. Bradley: "A trained husband Coach can do way more for his laboring wife than any amount of medication."
Jon: "Actually seeing the birth happen and being a big part of it was my favorite aspect of the process!"
In engineering, The Hawthorne Effect (the effect of personal attention on another) is extremely powerful.
In birthing, the teamwork aspect goes a long way. When dad has the right training & tools to help mom, quite remarkable results occur.
Ashley & Jon parents were both 12 hours away, in different directions. They knew
they wouldn't have a support team of family members in Charlotte to help out. Therefore, when they found out what exactly a doula was, they immediately were on board with hiring one. Ashley first looked over several different profiles and websites for doulas in the area and kept coming back to YourBirthHelper.com
Ashley: "I honestly felt something in seeing your picture on your doula speed date profile, which ended up being a picture of you with a couple you helped deliver twice.
Our reasoning for wanting a doula to support us while laboring at home initially was because of the birth center delayed arrival and just wanting you there closer to delivery. I knew we were going to be laboring at home for a big majority of the time. I was very proud that I labored the first 12 hours on my own, while texting you to confirm that I was legitimately in labor! Once that 13th hour hit though, the pain got more intense and I knew I needed you and your team to head my way. I started really feeling more labor pains and Jon started to get nervous. I guess if someone was to have a hospital birth, they may not be concerned with laboring at home, but knowing what we do now, we would recommend laboring at home, regardless of the planned birth location." Your own environment with familiar surroundings and family pets can be very comforting during the labor process. They have a keen sense of awareness when mom is near or in labor. It is recommended to bring the baby's first (unwashed) hat home so family pets may acquire the scent of the baby prior to baby's homecoming.
Ashley: "I knew from the start of my pregnancy that I wanted a natural delivery and that I did not want to deliver in a hospital. I also know that we are very lucky that I had such a healthy pregnancy and easy delivery, there are so many things that could happen. I believe the birth center
and your workshop totally helped prepare us and helped with our goals! Once labor started, it was just needing everyone to keep reminding me what my plan and goals were to keep me on the right path!!"
Happy "Birth"day Noah Ross Attard, weighing 8lbs 1 oz, 19 3/4" long ten days early. Mom & Dad couldn't be more proud and neither could the entire YourBirthHelper #CharlotteDoulaDreamTeam! Special thanks to Baby & Co staff and the amazing Nancy Cook & doula apprentice, Allison Termeer (who gave birth herself just 17 days after)!
#YourBirthHelper #naturalbirth #SymbioticBirth #DrugFreeBirth #BirthCenterBirth #HusbandCoachedChildbirth #Daddyhelpedbirthme #DelayedCordClamping #BabyCo #CharlotteBirthFamily #DoulaAssistance #Doula #LaborCoaching #Birthwithoutanepidural