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Filtering by Tag: birth

What to do When Your Birth Doesn't Go as Planned.

Chelsea Gonzales

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Doing your research and knowing exactly how you would like your birth to go is always a good idea. In fact, I even recommend writing these thoughts down to create an easy-to-read and easy-to-share birth plan. This helps ensure that your desires are well known, and with the right birth team, many of those wishes will probably be met if at all possible.

That said, things don't always go according to plan. Problems crop up, little annoyances snowball into big emergencies, and some babies and bodies just have minds of their own. These things aren't necessarily common, but they do happen, and many times this means the initial birth plan must be modified to fit the situation.

While I don't recommend dwelling on the “what ifs”, I do think it's a good idea to consider what you will do should unplanned things happen during labor and delivery that steer your birth experience in another direction than originally planned. After all, there is no way for us to control everything, and being mentally prepared for unexpected issues can help ensure your experience is a positive one, even if it isn't exactly what you planned.

Wondering what you should do in case things do go awry? Consider these tips.

Before The Birth

Hire a Doula — A doula is an advocate for birthing women. For this reason, having a good doula is essential when issues arise. She can ensure that your birth plan stays as intact as possible while also providing you with reassurance.

Know Your Stuff — Soaking up as much information as possible about birth is also incredibly helpful. This will allow you to make informed decisions about your own body and health, as well as that of your baby.

Create a Backup Plan — Making a birth plan is great. Making a “Plan B” and even a “Plan C” is even better. Decide what you'd like to happen in case you decide you absolutely must have an epidural. What if a C-section is required? Having a plan for these things will still give you a bit of control even if your initial plan gets tossed to the side.

During the Birth

Keep Your Cool — If you do get news that your caretaker won't be able to sick to the original plan, take a deep breath and keep your cool. Remember that you are doing your very best, and your caretakers are there to keep you and your baby safe. Getting upset won't help anything, and may actually hurt baby by causing them distress.

Remind Caretakers of Your Plan — Reminding your birth team of your plan won't fix any problems that come up. However, that simple reminder might mean your team keeps your wishes in mind and sticks to the plan as much as possible.

Lean on Your Doula — Your doula is there to help you and advocate for you. Let her be the one to insist that measures be taken to mind your wishes whenever possible. Your doula will also be able to help you remain calm in stressful situations. Allow her to do her job.

After the Birth

Take Care of Yourself — Obviously, you'll be grateful about baby once they are born, and clearly you'll need to take care of and enjoy them. That said, it's also important to take care of yourself.

Remind yourself regularly of just how awesome you are and give yourself plenty of self-care time in order to reflect and heal mentally. Lastly, you'll want to watch out for signs of postpartum depression. A birth that doesn't go as planned can be a cause of depression, and PPD should be treated as soon as possible.

Are you looking for a doula to support you no matter how your birth goes? I'd love to chat! Please contact me today for a consultation. 

7 Amazing C-Section Recovery Tips

Chelsea Gonzales

Whether your cesarean was planned from the beginning or a complete surprise, the recovery is something you'll need to go through. Luckily, you'll have your new bundle of joy by your side, softening the pain and more difficult days a little. However, a C-section is still major surgery, and as with all major surgeries, recovery isn't exactly fun.

That said, there are ways to speed up the recovery process and make it go a lot more smoothly. By knowing the right steps to take, you can help ensure all goes well in the weeks postpartum.

Walk, then Rest

Surgery leaves even the best of us feeling groggy and in pain. For this reason, walking is likely the very last thing you want to do. Still, walking is one of the necessary steps you must take before leaving the hospital. It's also beneficial during recovery because it helps get blood moving, reducing the likelihood of clots. For this reason, you will want to do a bit of walking around the house each day.

With that said, I must point out that this walking should be kept to a minimum in the first few weeks. No strenuous exercise should occur until at east 6–8 weeks postpartum, and even then, a new mama should get permission from her doctor.

Eat Well, Drink Plenty

Nutrition is hugely important when your body is working hard to recover. Besides, if you're breastfeeding, you're providing your baby with all of his or her nutrients. Therefore, you simply must eat well after having a C-section.

Besides eating a well balanced diet that is full of fruits, veggies, and lean meats, you will also want to make sure that the foods you choose contain plenty of fiber. This will help prevent the post-cesarean gas and constipation that so often plagues new mamas.

Additionally, plenty of protein, iron, and vitamin C are all musts in an after-surgery diet. These nutrients help your body rebuild muscle, recover from blood loss, and fight off infection.

Finally, you will need to consume A LOT of water. In fact, I recommend drinking around a gallon a day. Your body needs water in order to function properly, and with a post-operative recovery on its plate—as well as the usual postpartum work—it's going to need as much water as it can get.

Add in Supplements

During the months postpartum, be sure to continue taking your prenatal vitamin. Not only will this help baby get plenty of nutrients through your breastmilk, it will also help your body recover more quickly. Other supplements you may consider should include 1) a quality probiotic in order to restore order in your gut, as well as 2) zinc and magnesium, also for gut health.

Baby Your Scar

One key part of recovery is making sure your scar heals correctly and without infection. The best way to do this is by babying the area.

Stick to showers in order to avoid submerging your scar, never scrub that area, and gently pat it dry after showering. Put aloe vera gel and vitamin E on the scar to reduce swelling and visibility, and keep it covered with a organic or free and clear maxi pad or some other sterile, soft covering for the first two weeks.

Banish Pain

Of course, you're going to feel some level of pain after a C-section. In order to reduce this pain, be sure to use the painkillers prescribed by the doctor. As you wean off the prescription drugs, slowly make the switch to over-the-counter options such as ibuprofen.

Other options that can be used along with these painkillers include essential oil aromatherapy, arnica gel, cinnamon supplements, garlic supplements, coconut water, omega-3 fatty acids, hawthorn berry tea, and hibiscus tea. Using a combination of a few of these should have you feeling a bit better.

Address Your Emotions

Not every mama is happy to have had a cesarean. If you are upset by the way your birth went, be sure to address this right away rather than allowing it to fester. Having your placenta encapsulated and adding the capsules to your daily regimen can help keep your emotions under control, but this shouldn't be your only course of action.

You will also want to find a way to express your disappointment, air your grievances, and allow yourself to wade through, make sense of, and understand the strong emotions you may be feeling. For many women, simply talking with their partner or a close family member or friend is enough. Others need a professional to help them sort through their emotions. Still others prefer to write, draw, or use some other form of creativity to express themselves and get through this difficult time.

Find what works for you and go with it.

Get Help

As you're recovering, you're going to need plenty of help. While your family is sure to help out as much as they can, it isn't always enough. For this reason, it's a great idea to hire a postpartum doula. Doulas are knowledgeable when it comes to postpartum recovery and newborn care, and are immensely helpful in nearly all aspects of life after birth.

Are you ready to hire a postpartum doula? I'd love to talk to you about your options. Please contact me today!

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?

 

Making Your Birth Beautiful

Chelsea Gonzales

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Many people think birth is merely a messy thing that should be gotten through. They consider the process only a means to an end, and consider a healthy mother and baby the only true goals of labor and delivery.

The thing is, birth is so much more than that.

Childbirth is an amazing and beautiful thing. Sure, it’s messy, but those messes are minuscule when compare to the other spectacular things that happen during the process. Every single birth is an incredible miracle, and labor and delivery are so amazing that simply “getting through” them seems ridiculous to me.

In fact, doing what you can to make your birth a positive experience—and focusing on making labor a relaxing and connected time—could have an impact on you as a mama as well as your new baby. Therefore, I highly recommend removing yourself from the typical mindset of “getting through” labor and embracing the process for the miracle that it is. Do what you can to make your labor and delivery the birthing experience you dream of.

How can you create the beautiful birth you deserve? Try these simple yet effective methods.

Find Inspiration and Motivation

Great works of art are best created when a person is inspired, and athletes work best with motivation. Birthing is both an art and an athletic event. Therefore, you will want to have plenty of inspiration and motivation surrounding you during your pregnancy and labor.

Many women find it helpful to find affirmations that speak to them and create affirmation banners or flags to hang around their home and birthing space. Watching beautiful birth videos can also be inspiring during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Meanwhile, going into your birth both 1) informed of your options and 2) knowing what you want is certainly good motivation.

Create a Relaxing Space

Whether they’re delivering in a hospital or at home, creating a relaxing and comfortable space is very important for those mothers who wish to have beautiful birthing experiences.

Candles (real or battery operated) can provide the right kinds of lighting, and essential oils are a great way to fill the space with relaxing scents. As mentioned before, affirmation banners are always a good addition, and some favorite music can help make the space feel more welcoming.

Involve Your Partner

Nothing is more natural and calming than having your partner by your side during the delivery of your little one. Unfortunately, many partners feel uncomfortable and unsure of what to do during labor. For this reason, I highly recommend doing the last two things on this list as well.

Hire a Doula

Many people assume that hiring a doula means the partner of the birthing mama will be left out. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Doulas are actually great at ensuring both partners are involved in the process. They also work as advocates for the new mama and make sure she is comfortable throughout labor and delivery. Obviously, a doula is a must-have for those looking to experience a positive birth.

Learn Comfort Techniques

There are a number of wonderful ways to stay comfortable during labor, and most of them don’t require any drugs at all. From breathing techniques and new positions to water and imagery, learning plenty of different options can be immensely helpful.

Reading books and watching videos are two ways to learn these techniques. However, hands-on classes and workshops—such as this one I’ll be teaching soon—tend to be the best way to learn and get your partner involved. Not only will the class teach comfort measures, it’ll also cover communication during labor, making this an excellent way to help ensure you have a positive birthing experience.

Want to join my upcoming comfort measures class? Interested in hiring a doula? Either way, I’d love to hear from you and help you achieve the birth experience you want and deserve. Contact me today!

How Affirmations Help Laboring Women

Chelsea Gonzales

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In recent years, birth affirmations have become more and more popular. Many people wonder how on earth a woman could expect a simple phrase to help them through the enormously difficult task of giving birth. While this doubt is understandable, those who think this way fail to see just how powerful words can be.

You see, birth affirmations give a woman power. They do this by changing her mindset and giving her a new, positive outlook. With that positive outlook, she can do amazing things. This is because her new mindset allows her to do three things.

 #1: Find Confidence

All too often women are told that they cannot accomplish things on their own. This message is beaten into us again and again, sometimes leaving women feeling incapable of doing anything on their own.

This lack of confidence makes it difficult for a new mama to trust her body to do what it was built to do. Because of this, she will make decisions based on the idea that she can’t birth her baby on her own, and may even subconsciously prevent her body from laboring freely due to her lack of confidence that it will do what it is meant to do.

Birth affirmations that are read and internalized before and during labor help restore a woman’s confidence in her body and in herself. This makes it much easier for the mother to let go and allow her body to do the work it was made to do.

 #2: Push Negativity Aside

Those women who have made the decision to trust their bodies to birth their babies will often run into negativity from others. These people will say things to make the mama second guess her decision and will often associate negative feelings with birth.

Mothers must be prepared for these comments and able to push them aside knowing they are only a result of what society and negative experiences with the mainstream birthing experience have taught these individuals. A confident woman is usually able to do this without issue. However, positive affirmations that have been instilled in her throughout pregnancy will also help her keep her mind on positive thoughts and push the negativity away.

 #3: Gain Focus

Finally, positive affirmations can help a laboring mother gain focus during particularly difficult parts of her labor experience. If a mama finds that her mind is wandering or that negative thoughts are distracting her, she can use the affirmations that are deeply ingrained in her mind to gain focus once again.

Some women even find it helpful to chant their affirmations in order to remain focused on positive thoughts as they bring their babies into the world.

Find Your Affirmations

If you are pregnant currently, I highly recommend you find a few positive affirmations that speak to you personally and begin incorporating them into your daily life.

Hang copies of your affirmations on the bathroom mirror, make a bookmark that displays a favorite affirmation, and/or say your affirmations to yourself each and every day. By finding the words that inspire and encourage you, you will be more likely to successfully reach your child birth goals.

Below are a few of my favorite affirmations:

 “I trust in my ability to birth my baby”

“I have complete confidence that my body is working perfectly.”

“I am relaxed and calm.”

“She believed she could, so she did.”

If you are looking for someone to help you have your ideal birth experience, I would love to chat with you. As a birth doula, giving new mamas a positive birth is what I do best, and I would be honored to help you bring your little one into this world.

Preparing for an Amazing Hospital Birth

Chelsea Gonzales

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Whether you’re hoping for a natural birth or simply want to have a positive experience during your labor and delivery, you deserve to have your wish become a reality. Many women believe the only way have these things is to give birth at home. Fortunately, that simply isn’t true. Plenty of incredible and beautiful births take place in the hospital each and every day.

Still, if you’re heading into the hospital environment to have your baby, you will want to be properly prepared in order to ensure you have the pleasant experience you’ve been dreaming of.

Wondering what kinds of preparations you should make? Take a look at the list below!

Choose Well

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure you choose the very best hospital and care provider for you. Make sure your doctor is enthusiastic about your birthing plans. Tour the hospital to make sure you feel comfortable there. Ask to meet the backup doctor.

If anything feels off about the hospital or provider you choose, trust your gut and keep looking.

Know What You Want (and What You Don’t)

When it comes to childbirth, nothing is more valuable than being informed. Doing your research beforehand and knowing exactly what you want and what you don’t want before going in is incredibly important. Many women find it helpful to create a printed birth plan to share with care providers. This ensures everyone is on the same page.

Be Familiar With Your Options

No matter how solid your birth plan may be, it’s likely to change. In the event something does need to stray from the plan, it’s incredibly useful to know your options. For this reason, reading, researching, and taking childbirth education classes are all immensely helpful.

Communicate Effectively

Sometimes, even passing out hard copies of your birth plan won’t be enough to communicate what you want. Things come up during the process that may not be included in your plan, and sometimes the plan isn’t read thoroughly. If this is the case, be sure to speak up and let your care provider(s) know your wishes. After all, nobody can help you get what you want if you don’t let them know.

Bring Backup

Many women don’t have the energy to communicate their wishes firmly and effectively during labor. For this reason, having a good doula by your side can be absolutely invaluable. A doula, in combination with a supportive partner, might be able to take all communication off your plate entirely, leaving you to focus on birthing your baby.

Make Yourself Comfortable

A sterile hospital room may feel like the best option for you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most comfortable. Make the space more comfortable for you by bringing battery-operated candles, some essential oils, pillows from home, and favorite music.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to know some comfort measures and other tips for staying relaxed during pregnancy. The best way to learn these is to attend a quality childbirth education class.

In just a few weeks I will be offering a fantastic class on preparing for an amazing hospital birth. This is a six-week session, and covers absolutely anything you might need to know when giving birth in a hospital. Attending this class is a wonderful way to ensure a positive birth experience.

If you’re interested in enrolling in my class or speaking with me about working as your doula, please contact me today. I’m always happy to help make birthing dreams come true.

8 Questions to Ask a Potential Doula

Chelsea Gonzales

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Interviewing potential doulas for an upcoming birth can be an overwhelming experience. There are likely dozens of candidates to choose from in your area, and narrowing them down until you find the perfect fit for your family can be quite challenging.

Many women head into doula interviews with no idea what to say or ask. After all, a good number of the mamas out there have never hired a doula before, and even those who have may have only done so once or twice.

Because I understand that starting your search for the perfect doula can be intimidating, I have created a list of questions to ask potential doulas. By asking these questions, you can get a feel for how each person works and whether or not they will be a good addition to your birth team.

#1: Why did you choose to become a doula?

This is perhaps, the most important question on this list. A good doula is passionate about what she does. She feels strongly about the power of birth and makes it her goal to empower each and every woman she works with. A flimsy answer to this question will tell you that your candidate is feeling uninspired or burned out.

#2: What kind of experience and training do you have?

While experience and training certainly aren’t everything, they also aren’t nothing. A doula who has received high-quality training—or a birth worker with tons of experience—is likely going to be better at what she does than a person with no training or experience on their hands.

That said, new doulas must gain experience somehow. Therefore, if you find an inexperienced individual you like, consider giving her the job but also hiring an experienced doula to work by her side.

#3: Do you have references?

Remember that a doula may see herself as one thing while others view her as another. Additionally, it is always a possibility that an individual may choose to lie outright. For this reason, it is always a good idea to gather references and check in with them before making any final decisions.

#4: How will you help me manage pain?

This question will help you get a feel for your doula candidate’s style. What kinds of pain management techniques does she tend to employ? Does she bring tools to help keep her clients comfortable? Is she an expert in any one birthing method? Knowing these things will help you decide if the potential doula is right for you.

#5: What else will you be doing during my labor? Will you be available for help during my pregnancy as well?

Knowing exactly what you’re getting when you hire a person is always important. This of course applies to doulas just as much as it would anyone else. Find out what your candidate does during typical pregnancy and birth. Does she provide resources and support during pregnancy? Is she willing to cook or fetch food when you’re hungry and in labor? Does she help clean up your home after a home birth?

The answers to these questions could be a game changer.

#6: Will you involve my loved ones in the birthing process?

Partners will want to feel involved in the birthing process. Likewise, any sisters, friends, or other family members you invite into the birthing room will also want to have a role. Unfortunately, it is far too easy for a doula to take over and make others feel left out. Knowing in advance how your doula plans to include your loved ones could help in the decision-making process.

#7: What if you are unavailable when I call?

It is crucial that you know when your doula is on call, whether she will be out of town or unavailable at any time during your pregnancy, and what happens if she can’t help when you go into labor. Additionally, you may want to find out how many clients your candidate takes on at a time, as too many clients per month could increase the chances of conflicting births.

If your doula has a backup doula for emergency situations, ask if you will be allowed to meet that doula before the birth.

#8: Where will you attend births?

Some doulas only attend hospital births, while others are strictly home birth doulas. Still others will attend both home and hospital births, but prefer not to work at certain institutions. Knowing these things is important because a doula who is not willing to attend a birth at your preferred birthing location is obviously not ideal for you.

By asking these eight questions and adding to the list as you see fit, you should be able to find your perfect doula in no time at all.

Preparing for the Athletic Event of Giving Birth

Chelsea Gonzales

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Giving birth is hard work. In fact, many people compare the task to taking part in a huge athletic event. Therefore, it only makes sense to prepare for giving birth in the same way you might prepare for a marathon or something equally physically challenging.

Unfortunately, many women fail to realize this fact and end up with a body that is ill prepared for this difficult task. Of course, they are generally able to power through, and these women truly aren’t doing anything wrong. After all, it isn’t their fault nobody communicated this fact to them.

However, when you know better you do better. I hope after reading this article you know better, and I hope you feel more knowledgeable about the best way to prepare your body for the hard work it is about to do.

Hydrate

All athletes make a conscious effort to stay hydrated both before and during events they choose to attend. It is one of the most important things a person can do when using large amounts of energy.

Considering the fact that birth requires enormous amounts of energy, you will want to be sure you stay well hydrated throughout your pregnancy and during labor. Dehydration is a serious threat during the birthing process, and one you definitely don't want to contend with. 

Eat Well

You’ve probably heard plenty of people claim that pregnant women can eat whatever they like due to their pregnancy. “They’re eating for two” is a common excuse, and cravings frequently take the blame. While it is okay to treat yourself sometimes, the truth of the matter is that eating right during pregnancy is far more important than curbing cravings.

Keep in mind that your body is growing another human. Not only that, but it is going to give birth in a few short months. Therefore, it is crucial that you give your body the right kind of fuel in order to ensure it is in top-notch condition for the task. A marathon runner wouldn’t have ice cream for dinner, and neither should you.

Stretch

Every big athletic event begins with stretching. Stretching helps improve your range of motion and avoid injury. It is a wonderful way to wake your body up before the big event and make sure you are as flexible as necessary for the impending task.

Just as the athlete makes a point of stretching regularly, so should you. Attending a pregnancy yoga class is a great way to go about this, but stretching at home can be just as effective. Just be sure you know what’s safe and what’s not when it comes to the various stretches out there.

Exercise

We all know that a professional tennis player doesn’t head to a big match without first practicing for countless hours. They prepare for months beforehand by practicing their game and using various cross-training methods.

This is a great example of what a pregnant woman should be doing in the months leading up to her baby’s arrival. Of course, her exercise and training can’t and won’t be as intense as that of a professional tennis player, but she should definitely be focused on getting in plenty of exercise through walking, swimming, or anything else her care provider approves. Additionally, exercises such a kegels should be practiced regularly in preparation for the event.

Rest

Last, but certainly not least, is rest. In order for a person’s body to perform well, it has to be given plenty of rest. In fact, a number of professional athletes claim that their 8–10 hours of sleep each night contribute greatly to their successes.

Why should the body of a pregnant woman require any less sleep? Be sure you get plenty of rest during your pregnancy in order to allow your body a good amount of energy during the birthing process.

By paying attention to diet, exercise, and the amount of rest you are getting, you can ensure your body is in tip-top shape for the upcoming athletic event it is about to experience. This will help ensure you have the experience you desire and make the whole process a bit easier on your entire body.

5 Reasons to Hire a Birth Photographer

Chelsea Gonzales

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Every new mama wants to have a wonderful birth experience. For this reason, many modern women put a lot of work into preparing for what they picture to be an ideal birth: They type up birth plans, carefully select a primary caregiver, and even hire doulas.

That said, photography is one aspect of birth preparation overlooked by many women. This is unfortunate because the birth of a new baby is such a special time, and certainly deserves to be captured in photographs.

Still, an enormous number of mothers neglect to hire a professional photographer to be present during labor and delivery. For some women this is because they simply don’t think of taking pictures, and for others it’s because they believe the photographer will make them feel uncomfortable or because they plan to have their partner take some pictures. Either way, these women are missing out on something incredibly special.

Here are my the top five reasons I believe all mothers should hire a birth photographer.

#1: Capture Memories

Many memorable things will likely happen during your labor and delivery. From peals of laughter and tears of pain during your labor to the first seconds after your child’s birth, there are bound to be magical things to look back on. However, thanks to hormones and just plain sleepiness, many of these happenings will be barely remembered or even forgotten when all is said and done.

Therefore, it is important to have a photographer standing by to capture those memories on film—and/or in digital form—and ensure they will not be lost to time.

#2: See a Different Point of View

Nobody can be everywhere. This means that everyone will have a slightly different way of remembering your child’s birth. By having a professional photograph the event, you will have the rare opportunity to see this amazing experience from a variety of viewpoints, giving you a peek at what was going on in the minds of your birth team and loved ones as you brought your precious little one into the world.

#3: Free Up the Family

Many women skip the photographer because they believe they can simply hand a camera to a nearby family member and ask them to snap some photos. However, this really isn’t fair to the family member in question, who would likely prefer watching the event happen rather than worry about fumbling with a camera. Additionally, a bystander is likely to become wrapped up in the events of the day and forget to photograph altogether, leaving you with an empty photo album after baby comes home. 

#4: Sit Back and Relax

Laboring women have enough on their minds without adding any worries about who is taking pictures and what they are taking pictures of. Because a professional birth photographer is so skilled at what they do, you can relax knowing they have it all taken care of. This frees up your mind to focus on what you should be thinking about: giving birth.

#5: Enjoy Amazing Quality

Let’s face it, the quality offered by a smartphone camera pales in comparison to the quality a professional camera will give you. Additionally, a professionally shot photo is almost always superior to a picture that was framed and shot by an amateur. By hiring a professional photographer, you can count on well-framed, well-shot photos that were made using the best equipment. This results in high-quality images that you will treasure for years to come.

Considering these five benefits of hiring a photographer to be at your birth, I’d say it’s pretty clear that a birth photographer is an excellent addition to any birth team. Along with your primary care provider, your doula, and your closest family and friends, your photographer can help ensure you have a wonderful birth experience you will remember forever.

4 Reasons Your Significant Other Might Want a Doula

Chelsea Gonzales

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There are plenty of articles out there that list reasons for birthing mothers to hire a doula. However, very few of these articles take much time considering the reasons a birthing woman’s spouse or partner may like to have a birth doula around.

This is unfortunate, because while the birthing experience is a deeply personal one, it is also something that your partner likely wants to be a part of. Therefore, it is important to take their feelings into consideration while making preparations for the birth. This does not mean you should allow your partner to pressure you into a negative birthing experience, but it does mean you should listen to what they have to say and consider what your decisions may mean for them.

In this post we are going to examine a few of the reasons your partner may appreciate having a doula during labor and delivery.

#1: Help Getting Involved

Most people don’t know all the ins and outs of the birthing process. Additionally, most significant others will not have experienced birth themselves. This leaves the birthing partner pretty clueless when it comes to helping their laboring loved one.

While birthing classes and plenty of pre-baby reading can help with this problem, they don’t generally include solutions for all scenarios. This is where a doula comes in. Doulas have an enormous amount of childbirth information and experience that can help the birth partner become involved in the process by giving suggestions and explaining various happenings throughout the labor and delivery of their little one.

#2: Assistance When Needed

Even for those partners who are fairly confident in their abilities to support a birthing mama, assistance is always appreciated. Doulas are on standby throughout the birthing process, and they are always happy to help in any way they can.

Therefore, when the supportive partner needs a wet washcloth, or the laboring mama would like something to eat but doesn’t want to be left alone, the doula can offer a helping hand.

#3: Ability to Take a Break

Giving birth is incredibly hard work. However, supporting a laboring woman is also taxing, and while it may not be quite as difficult as actually giving birth, supportive partners definitely deserve some credit. Not only that, but these helpful individuals deserve to have a bit of a break if they feel they need it.

  • Unfortunately, when a loved one is in labor, it can feel insensitive to leave her alone to go find a cup of coffee, use the restroom, or just take a quick breather. This means the partner is often unable to take care of his or her own needs.

That said, this issue can be easily avoided by hiring a doula. Because a birth doula is with the birthing mother throughout her labor, she is able to take over for a tired significant other and give them a short break from time to time.

#4: Peace of Mind

Seeing someone you love go through the labor and delivery process can be stressful. There are many things that could happen during labor to cause worry. However, with the help of a doula, supportive partners can have some peace of mind.

This is because a doula is able to let the couple know when to relax about certain situations that may otherwise seem worrisome. She is also able to offer bits of hard-earned advice no matter what situation may arise. Finally, the partner can rest easy knowing that doulas decrease a woman's chances of having a less-than-satisfactory birth experience by 34%.

These are the top four reasons your partner may appreciate a birth doula. You may use this article to better understand your partner’s point of view, or you may use it to help sway your significant other’s opinions on the matter. Either way, I hope it helps you on your journey to a beautiful birth.