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Blog

Filtering by Tag: birth plan

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!

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.

10 questions you should ask when writing your birth plan.

Megan Jennings

 

Your birth plan is a great way to communicate your wishes to your birth team, but it can be hard to decide what your wishes are. Here’s a check list of a few questions you need to ask yourself while making your birth plan and a few sources for finding answers

___ Will you have a labor coach? Will your main support be your husband? Will you have a doula?

___ Who do you want or don't you want in the delivery room? 

___ Will you have a birth photographer? Does the hospital allow you to take photos?

___ Do you want anything special in the room, like a labor playlist on your iPod, oil diffuser, led candles, your own pillow and blanket?

___ Would you like to get out of bed during labor?

___ Do you want a drug-free birth? Why? Make sure you and your care provider are on the same page.

___ At what point or under what circumstances would your Doctor perform a C-section? Are you at a higher risk of needing a C-section, and is there anything you can do to avoid having one?

___ How often and in what situations does your Doctor do episiotomies? If you feel strongly about avoiding one, ask how you can prevent tearing when pushing.

___ Do you want Dad to cut the umbilical cord? Will you bank the cord blood or allow the cord to finish pulsing before cutting it? Would you prefer a cord burning ceremony if you’re birthing at home?

___ If it's a boy, will you have him circumcised? Why?

Here is a couple of great sources to help you find answers to these questions and more: 

Evidence Based Birth, their mission is in their name. They want you to have research you can rely on to make important decisions regarding your birth and child.

American Pregnancy Association has a great article on epidurals and the pros and cons of getting one, along with a plethora of other topics.

Sometimes this process can be a bit overwhelming and you may feel like you need a bit of guidance. This is why I offer prenatal birth plan consulting. For more information click here

5 Reasons why you need to write a birth plan!

Megan Jennings

A birth plan is a good way to find out what your wishes are for your birth. The most important thing about making a list of your preferences is it forces you to do some research about what you might want and possible outcomes based on those choices. When you base your preferences on solid evidence, your preferences will be more likely to be respected by your care provider. Here’s 5 reasons why a birth plan is a good idea.

1. It is a clear and concise way to communicate your wishes to your birth staff. Your nurse will appreciate a easy to read one page document listing out what you expect.

2. Making a birth plan requires self education and research. Knowledge is power. You have a lot of decisions to make as a parent starting as soon as you find out you're pregnant, it’s important to make those decisions based on evidence based information, when its available.

3. While researching for your birth plan, you can get a good idea of what to expect in labor.

4. Your birthing staff will know what you want in the event that things don’t go according to plan. If you end up with an unplanned c-section, what does that look like for you? Would you like skin to skin in the OR? If you are under general anesthesia who do you want to care for your baby until you wake up? 

5. Writing your birth plan is a good way to get your partner involved and open communication between you to make joint decisions about your birth. This is your parters birth too and he needs to feel safe and heard and a lot of times dads don't know what to expect or how many decisions need to be made. It’s also important for you to show him why something may be so important to you so he can fully support you when the time comes. Writing your birth plan together is a great way to get the conversation started.

 

Having a birth plan doesn't guarantee that you will have “the perfect birth”, but having a birth plan can help you when you need to make important decisions. You have already done some self education about possible outcomes, opened communication between you and your partner and your care providers.