preparing for labor

Introducing ... Exclusive Doula Client Resource Pages!

This has been on my "to-do" list for awhile, but that list grows and grows with every new client that I walk along side (which is a GOOD thing). But, I finally did it! I now have all of my resource packet ONLINE for my doula clients!

The resource area (found in the upper tabs of the website) is now one of my perks for clients --- it's not available to the general public -- it's a result of many hours culling through the best evidence based research, recommendations for Chattanooga & Knoxville complementary care providers, and more. 

This "client resource" section is password protected (I email you the password when you become my client).

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you'll find this useful during your preparation for your birth and postpartum period, and I'm so excited it's now at your digital fingertips. 

Do you have suggestions for things I can add? Just let me know! I <3 My East Tennessee Doula clients, so I'll pretty much do anything you ask! (Within reason, lol!)

<3 Your East Tennessee Doula,
Martha

One of My Favorite Doula Moments

As a doula, I get to experience all sorts of milestones alongside a woman, a child, and a family. So, with that I acquire quite a few "favorite doula moments" for each client I support.

However, I think one of my favorite moments of the past month has been with a mom who has learned to ask questions.

Question-asking really is a skill. And it takes confidence and courage. But, it's a huge step in becoming an active participant in your own pregnancy and birth experience.

So, who should you question? Everyone! What questions should you ask? All questions! 

Okay, that seems a little open-ended. But, I'm serious. If someone -- anyone (birth related or not!) presents something as fact, there is no shame in asking for evidence to support it. There is no shame in presenting your own evidence to counter other evidence. There is no shame in being a question-asker. In fact, quite the opposite.

There is power in being a question asker.

So, kudos to the question-asking mom! 

<3 Your East Tennessee Doula,
Martha

How to Stay Sane When You're Over 40 Weeks.

stressed out knoxville chattanooga pregnant

I've noticed a trend amongst my doula clients... when they reach that magical 40 Week Due Date on their calendars, they feel dissappointed or stressed that their baby hasn't made it earthside yet.  

(I'm not going to go into the reasons for why it's okay to go past 40 weeks or how to talk to your provider about that... I'm saving that for another post).

But, to stay sane after you hit that 40 week mark, there are many things I recommend my pregnant clients do:

1. Don't go overboard trying to "naturally" induce (unless you have a provider who has given you a strict deadline and you feel the need to do so to avoid a Pitocin Induction, if you are hope to avoid such). I know so many of you are tempted to walk up the tallest hill in town. Or have sex 100 times a day. Or drink 20 gallons of red raspberry leaf tea. Or do a million squats. Sure, all of these things will help prime your body. But, LISTEN TO ME: Your body will not go into labor until it's ready. And that's OKAY! (In fact it's a GOOD thing for baby!). 

Plus, stressing and focusing on all of those induction techniques may physically and emotionally wear you out so much so that when labor does actually begin, you may be super exhausted.

2. Focus on enjoying your family at the size it is right now. If this is your first baby, you'll never again be a family of just you and your partner. Soak that in. Enjoy it. Do special projects together. Take special pictures. Go on lots of dates. If this is your 2nd+ baby, have precious alone time with your other child/children. Buy some non-toxic super safe watercolor paints and have them paint on your belly. Or go for a walk. Just breathe it in.

3. Keep busy if that helps you; relax if that helps you. Some moms (like me) need to stay busy to be calm. Some moms need to stay not-busy to help them be calm. Find that place and do it. If doing 100 freezer meals helps, do it. BUT DO NOT OVERWORK YOURSELF. You will need energy for labor. Please remember this!

4. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Did I mention that you'll need energy for labor? I think so! It is so important that you are sleeping and resting a ton, not only to store up energy for the labor but also for after baby is born. 

5. Go on a Social Media Hiatus. Don't log onto Facebook or check Twitter or Instagram until after your baby is born, because people will hound you will messages and comments like, "Have you had that baby yet?" or "How long are they going to 'let you' go before inducing you" or "Aren't you worried your baby will be too big". You don't need the added stress! Just don't even go there.

I hope those tips help!

If you need a Knoxville Doula or a Chattanooga Doula (or any area in between) fill out the form below and I'll get back with you ASAP with more info! 

knoxville chattanooga doula martha

<3 Your Doula,

Martha H.

Your Doula's Thoughts on Birth Affirmations

Do Affirmations WORK?
Your Doula Shares Her Thoughts!

The body and the mind... the are crazily interconnected. I can't stress it enough. It may sound super lame and cliche, but if you believe you will - you will, if you believe you won't - you won't. 

So, this doula believes that it is of UTMOST importance to wash yourself in positive thinking during your pregnancy and during the labor birthing process to prime your mind, body, and soul for a beautiful birth experience.

doula birth affirmations

If you don't believe that your mind and body are connected, just try doing something intimate (like using the bathroom) in situation that makes you nervous or anxious (maybe out in the open in front of 10 people?). How easily do you think your body would perform? See... I told you... Your body and mind ARE connected!

Some of my doula clients choose to write their own affirmations, while some ask for suggestions from me. You're just a Pinterest search away from finding affirmations that appeal to you. 

Here are some examples of birth affirmations that I use with my clients:


You are enough.
Your body was made to do this.
You are strong.
You are doing this.
Your baby is working with your body.
You are calm, peaceful, and strong.
Slow Down. Calm Down. Don't Worry. Don't Hurry. Trust the Process.
You can and You WILL.

To get the most "benefit" from birth affirmations, I highly recommend that you repeat these DAILY during your pregnancy. 

  • Set a reminder on your phone that pops up with an affirmation at a certain time each day.
  • Post them on your bathroom mirror.
  • Make a recording of you saying them and listen to them in the car or while you're drifting off to sleep.
  • Share them with your partner and have him repeat them to you.
  • Tell your doula which affirmations resonate the most with you and have her remind you of them during your labor.
  • Focus on saying them during contractions.

All of the ways you utilize your birth affirmations will ultimately create a mindset that will strengthen and encourage you in order to make your birth experience the best experience possible.

What affirmations did you use? Did your doula suggest any? Share below!

<3 Your Knoxville Doula & Chattanooga Doula,
Martha Howell

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