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Tips for a Successful VBAC

Chelsea Gonzales

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There once was a time when mothers were told they would never have a successful vaginal birth after having a cesarean. Fortunately, times have changed, and more and more mothers are making the choice to give it a try. After all, if it can be carried out safely, a vaginal birth is almost always the best option in terms of a mother’s comfort, recovery times, mother/child bonding, and so much more.

If you are considering having a VBAC, you may be wondering what you can do to increase the chances of a successful birth experience. Here are my top tips.

Build a Strong Birth Team

First and foremost, you will need to have a good, strong birth team. This is one of the most important steps you can take, as an unsupportive birth team will be discouraging at best.

Be sure to pick a primary care provider who is willing to attend a VBAC birth. If you are birthing away from home, the hospital or birth center your care provider is associated with must also be okay with your choice. Ensure you trust your midwife or OB completely. If you feel at all uncomfortable or concerned with your care provider, make a switch. Even if your feelings are apparently unwarranted, feeling comfortable during labor and delivery is imperative to a successful VBAC.

In addition to a good doctor or midwife, you will also want to hire a doula. A doula will help ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout labor, and may even make the process move more quickly. Additionally, a doula can help you work through any fears that may arise.

Go Natural

Inductions, epidurals, and other interventions increase the likelihood of a c-section. Considering this is the very thing you are wanting to avoid, you will also want to avoid intervention as much as possible, letting nature take its course throughout the birthing process.

While this make take more time and patience, and while it might require seeking out natural pain management options, it's so worth the end result.

Educate Yourself

Confidence plays an enormous role in the success of any birth. The more confident you are, the more likely you are to be successful.

This is probably due in part to the fact that the more confident women tend to be the more educated women. Therefore, these individuals have a good understanding of their bodies, leading to less fear. They are also better able to make educated decisions throughout labor, meaning they're less likely to be pushed into doing things they don't want to do.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that all pregnant women—and especially those wishing to experience a VBAC—do everything they can to boost their confidence and educate themselves. The best ways to go about this include attending quality childbirth classes and reading as much as possible. Finding books about VBAC specifically can be especially helpful.

Banish Fears

Another step toward confidence that every potential VBAC mother must take is banishing fears. Traumatizing birth experiences stick with us and tend to fester, growing into paralyzing fears. These fears are strong—so strong in fact that they can stall labor, something that can lead to interventions.

Fortunately, you have the power to banish these fears. Find a therapist to help you work through your unwanted thoughts, hire a doula to help in case these fears surface during labor, and repeat uplifting and inspirational mantras to yourself throughout your pregnancy and your labor.

Many women also find it helpful to hang posters or flags with inspirational messages throughout their home and birth space.

Expect a VBAC, Prepare for a Cesarean

In some cases, it just isn't possible for a mother to have a VBAC safely. Because of this, it is always best to go in expecting the best but prepared for the worst.

What does this mean for you? Here is what I suggest:

  •  Know where to go — If you're delivering at home or in a birth center, know in advance where you'll be transferred should the need arise.Prepare for postpartum — Obviously, you'll want meals planned and help in place no matter how your birth goes. However, having extra assistance lined up in case of a c-section is a smart move.
  • Speak with your care provider — Ask your doctor any questions you have about what will happen should you need a cesarean. Have a midwife? Find out what her typical procedure is in these cases.
  • Create a birth plan — You've probably already thought about your birth plan should you have a vaginal delivery, but have you considered what you'd like in the case of surgery? Think about it, write it down, and make sure your birth team knows your plan.

Following these tips is not a guarantee of anything. They will, however, help you achieve your dream. Why not get started today?

 

Recognizing Postpartum Depression

Chelsea Gonzales

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Postpartum depression is a serious issue for a surprisingly large number of women. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to catch the milder cases of PPD, and this—along with a few other factors—means a good many women aren’t given the help they deserve.

Why is postpartum depression so difficult to recognize? Well, this could be due to a couple of things.

First, a small amount of anxiety, stress, and even a short-lived, mild case of the baby blues can be normal. After all, your hormones are going through some pretty significant changes, and coupled with the enormous life changes being made, this can be overwhelming. Separating the usual overwhelmed feelings from true PPD can be difficult.

Another issue is that many new mothers will put on a happy face for family and friends. They may feel guilty or embarrassed about feeling down-in-the-dumps when they’ve just experienced the miracle of birth. Additionally, many mothers don’t want loved ones to worry about them.

Despite this, it’s important that we worry, and even more important that we learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. Nobody deserves to suffer through the postpartum months, and by taking steps to help the new mamas close to you (or yourself), you will help ensure the people in your life don’t either.

What to Look For

Wondering what you should be watching for? Keep an eye out for these signs and symptoms:

Persistent Negative Feelings

Be sure to talk regularly with those who have just given birth. Ask how they’re feeling and validate their feelings. Never brush off a new mama’s feelings of stress, anxiety, or sadness. If a woman in your life has just given birth and seems to have persistent feelings of sadness, panic, or hopelessness, she could be suffering from postpartum depression.

Lack of Desire to Care for Baby (or Herself)

Many depressed women have no desire to care for their newborns. Often, this will mean dad is left doing most of the work. Unfortunately, a mother who lacks the desire to care for her baby could be neglectful. Additionally, those with this problem often have no desire to care for themselves either, leading to a whole host of other problems.

Not Sleeping or Eating

An overly anxious or depressed mama may have trouble sleeping for any length of time, something that will quickly lead to more negative feelings. She may also have trouble eating anything at all. This is clearly an issue that must be addressed sooner rather than later, especially if the mother is nursing.

Constant Fatigue

On the other end of the spectrum, many women who suffer from PPD simply want to sleep all the time. This constant fatigue will be apparent if your new-mama loved one is falling asleep on the couch or spending a large amount of time in bed.

What to Do

Of course, simply recognizing postpartum depression isn’t enough. Here’s what you should do if you suspect a person you care for is suffering from PPD:

Tell a Healthcare Professional

First and foremost, you will want to let a healthcare professional know about the problem. If you’re in a position to tell your loved one’s doctor yourself, do so. Otherwise, encourage the new mother to let her doctor know so they can work out a treatment plan.

Encourage Positive Activities

Of course, what your friend does in her day-to-day life is also important. Let her know it’s okay to carve out time for herself and encourage her to use that time to engage in uplifting activities. This might include reading a book, hanging out with friends, or simply journaling her feelings over coffee. Making time to do what makes her happy should help your friend cope a bit better.

In addition to this “me time” to do what she loves, those suffering with PPD should also take extra care to make time to:

  • Be outside
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Bond with baby
  • Provide Support

No person should be expected to battle depression on their own. Being available to support your friend or family member is more important than you might realize. In fact, a constant stream of support could be the most valuable thing she receives during this tough time.

Obviously, you can’t be available all the time. However, by joining forces with other friends and family members, and hiring a well-qualified postpartum doula, you will easily be able to give your loved one the love and care she needs.

Are you looking for a quality postpartum doula in the Oklahoma City area? Please contact me today to learn more about my after-birth support services.