epidural

Doulas. Not just for "Natural" Births.

I remember telling my husband that I booked a client who was scheduling a c-section birth.

He looked at me with his brow raised and asked, "Why? What are you going to be able to do?"

Poor hubby... he certainly got a mouthful from me at that moment, because there is SO MUCH that a doula can do for a c-section mama, from helping her throughout pregnancy by providing information to helping her develop a birth plan that includes a gentle c-section to breastfeeding support postpartum.

The point is -- doulas are NOT just for moms who want a drug-free/intervention-free birth, although that's sometimes where we shine with our knowledge of pain management techniques and physiological birth experience, we are still awesome at supporting moms in all sorts of birth situations:

*Non-Medicated Births
*Epidurals
*C-Sections
*Inductions
*Home Births
*Hospital Births
*Birth Center Births
*Water Births
*First Time Moms
*Fourth Time Moms

Basically, doulas can help ANY mom navigate her pregnancy and labor/delivery, arming her with knowledge, empowerment, and helping her to find her voice to help her have the experience of a lifetime. 

I STRONGLY believe that EVERY. SINGLE. pregnant mama deserves a doula in her corner. No matter what her birth choices are. So, even if you don't choose me to be your doula... please, choose someone. You deserve a doula.

Labor On, Ladies!

Your East Tennessee Darling Doula,

Martha H.

Knoxville Doula, Chattanooga Doula, East Tennessee Doula, Birth Doula

Don't Just Lay There: 4 Ways to Keep Labor Going After An Epidural

Maybe you're planning on getting an epidural. You know the risks. You know about the cascade of interventions. But, you know you want one. But... did you know this? 

You can still be PROACTIVE in your labor after you get an epidural. Here are some strategies for continuing to work with your body and your baby after receiving an epidural:

 

1. Use a Peanut Ball (or pillows) to Open Your Pelvis.

Keeping your pelvis open will help in your baby's descent through the birth canal (ie. speeding up labor!). So, while laying on your back (hopefully somewhat elevated), you can spread your knees and place one of these peanut balls between you. Or want to rest on your side? You can use the peanut ball for that too! Not only will this help in a labor where everything is going beautifully, but also in one where there may be a malpositioned (posterior perhaps) baby.

 

          Peanut ball awesomeness!

          Peanut ball awesomeness!

As a doula, the peanut ball is always waiting in my car in case a need arises! Or, if you know for sure you're going to get an epidural, I'll go ahead and bring it in with me.

Don't have a peanut ball? Pillows can be used as a substitute.

2. Change Positions Often. 

Have your nurse, partner, or doula help you get into a different position every 30 minutes or so. Some suggestions are: semi-sitting (with frog legs); side-lying with pillows or peanut ball to keep knees open; (if your epidural allows for some use of your legs) kneeling on bed with chest resting on the birth ball/peanut ball or pillows; side-lying with pillows on the opposite side. These positions change gravity effects and cause changes with labor (keep baby descending, etc).

3. Feel The Love.

If you have your partner in the room with you, use this time to cuddle, kiss, chat, or ask for a massage. Enjoy these last intimate moments as a family of two (if this is your first baby) and make some memories. Your partner can even climb in bed with you! (Seriously!) Not only will these moments be a precious addition to your birth story, but they will also serve to relax you even further and release oxytocin (ie. aiding in progression of labor).

4. Relax and Reaffirm.

You should be able to have periods of restfulness -- go with it! After all, you are about to have the privilege of being the caregiver of a tiny, needy, wonderful baby. I encourage you to turn the lights down low. Request minimal interruptions. Maybe you sleep. Maybe not. Use this time to go over any affirmations that you may have used during pregnancy. These affirmations can include ones specific to your body laboring or maybe your upcoming task as a new mom. Take time to dream about your beautiful baby and let those feelings of love and anticipation wash over you. Believe it or not, this can aide in progression of your labor. Ride the feelings of love and longing that you have for your baby during this time of relaxation.

 

I hope those ideas help you! Remember, a doula will never judge you for your informed birth decisions. We are here to help you with whatever labor you desire!

-Martha H.

Knoxville Doula, Chattanooga Doula, East Tennessee Doula, Cleveland TN Doula, Sweetwater TN Doula