Can I Give Up a Natural Birth?

Have you always imagined you’d give birth naturally, but are realizing now that, for whatever reason, natural birth just isn't in the cards this time? Maybe you have a medical condition that prevents you from having a natural birth – it could be placenta previa, or a breech baby, or maybe there’s concern over how well the baby could handle labor, to name a few common examples.

Is it ok to accept that a natural birth isn’t in your future?

Sure, you could stand on your head for hours a day, or do special moves in the swimming pool, or any of the other hundreds of suggestions for getting a breech baby to flip around – but what if none of them work for you? And what if you just don’t feel like trying yet another trick you heard worked for your coworker’s friend?

poolside lemonade

 

What if the thought of one more positive visualization imagining your placenta moving out of the way makes you want to throw things across the room? Is it ok to just stop?

Can you feel good about accepting this change in your plans?

Absolutely.

If natural birth has always been your goal, it can be a hard mental shift to accepting that your reality may involve more medical intervention than you want. But you can do it. In fact, it’s ok to make that shift. It's ok to embrace a new outlook, and look forward with anticipation instead of dread.

I'll repeat, because it's so important: it is absolutely, always, 100% ok for you to be at peace with your decisions.

Asking yourself the following questions can help you clarify your feelings. Part of our job at Doulas of Memphis is to help you work through the answers, and to support you every step of the way, so if you don't know us already, let's chat!

What is it about a medicalized birth that I’m hoping to avoid?

Is it a feeling of lack of control? Are you worried that you are somehow letting your baby or your partner down? Is it important to you that you still have a voice in your experience? Are you concerned that the medical aspect will overwhelm you with questions and details?

You might have a combination of answers to this question. Once you have explored all your answers, start to think about concrete things you can do to alleviate or even eliminate your concerns. Talk about your ideas with your doula and your doctor. We both want what is best for you, and can help you with your new plans.

What will it mean about me as a person or as a parent if I have a medicalized birth?

Worded slightly differently, you might come to an answer from a different angle: what will it mean about me as a person if I don't have a natural birth? Hopefully, you are able to see that you are a worthy and valuable person and parent, regardless of the circumstances of your baby's birth. You deserve to feel good about your choices and your experience.

Imagine yourself birthing your baby with confidence and clarity. What do you need this time to do that?

This is a great question to ask yourself regardless! Do you need education about your new options? Do you need additional support now and during the labor? Do you just need someone who "gets it" and won't judge as you work through your feelings and make new decisions; someone who will remind you that you are enough?

The insight gained from your answers can help you start setting the stage for a positive birth experience, even if it isn't the one you always thought you wanted. We would love to help you every step of the way.

Round ligament pain: Why is my belly so sore?!

Round ligament pain is a common complaint during pregnancy, and can be a bit alarming if you don't know what it is. You might be thinking, "OMG I'm barely into my second trimester, WHY is my belly so sore?!"

 

round ligament pain

If this isn't your first rodeo, chances are you experienced round ligament pain sooner this time. Yes, it's annoying, and totally unfair, even if it is a normal part of pregnancy.

What's a round ligament anyway?

During pregnancy, your uterus expands to accommodate your growing baby. Your round ligaments are what support your uterus inside of your abdomen, and when your uterus stretches, your round ligaments stretch and soften as well. Think of it like a very thick rubber band that's stretchy but has lots of resistance.

What does round ligament pain feel like? What causes it?

As your round ligaments are stretched and pulled by your growing uterus, they can pull on sensitive nerves and cause pain. Most women experience round ligament pain as a sharp, stabbing sensation on one side of their abdomen, sometimes both. For some, it almost feels like ovulation pain or an abdominal cramp. It can be caused by changing positions too quickly, sneezing, sleeping funny, exercise/overdoing it, or just plain old being pregnant. Whatever the cause, it's no fun! We've been there, done that, and gotten the uncomfortably stretchy t-shirt.

What can I do about round ligament pain?

As annoying as it is, there are things you can do to help relieve round ligament pain, like...

Rest: If you're experiencing pain in your abdomen from exercise or overdoing it, the best thing you can do is stop and rest. You may need to modify your routine to minimize pain and pressure.

Support: Particularly in the latter part of pregnancy, your round ligaments can feel sore from the weight of carrying your baby. A support band, girdle, or simply wrapping your belly with a ring sling or wrap you already have can help take the pressure off. Your doula may also have some additional suggestions for you.

Change positions slowly: Since round ligament pain can be caused by sharp movements, changing positions slowly can help you avoid that unpleasant cramping sensation.

Exercise/Stretching: If you have the okay from your provider, you can utilize some simple stretches to help with round ligament pain. One common stretch is a knee-chest position, where you place your knees and chest on the floor, legs apart, with your bottom in the air. It's not the most flattering, but many find that this stretch really helps.

If you are experiencing extremely sharp pain, particularly pain that extends into the groin area, let your provider know. That could be another type of pregnancy-related pain called symphysis pubis dysfunction, or SPD. 

With SPD, the ligaments that keep your pelvis aligned stretch and relax too soon before birth. This can cause intense pain and pressure in the groin area, and should be dealt with under the care of a physician and likely a pelvic floor physiotherapist. SPD is different from round ligament pain and affects a different area of your body.

Your doulas will never minimize your complaints, no matter how small, and will always provide a listening and understanding ear. If you don't have a doula yet but want one, let us know and we'll get you taken care of!

 

 

 

Private childbirth classes to the rescue for busy Memphis families!

So you're getting a ways into your pregnancy and your to-do list is growing! You've gotten your ultrasound, registered for baby showers, and maybe even gotten a few baby items. You know you should probably take a childbirth class, but you can't find one that fits your schedule and you don't want to take up a whole Saturday at the hospital. Can't we just do this at home? Are private childbirth classes a thing? private childbirth classes

Good news: private childbirth classes are totally a thing!

Even better news: you can take a private childbirth class that fits your schedule and covers what you want to know and pass over the things you don't.

What's wrong with the one at the hospital?

Well, nothing's "wrong" with the one at the hospital. Hospital childbirth classes tend to stick to the basics and focus on what it's like to give birth at that specific location. You'll come out with more knowledge than when you came in for sure, but there may not be time to answer your specific questions in the detail that you'd like. You can't skip what you already know, you have to take it on their schedule, and you don't get to choose who is there with you. It's better than nothing, but it's not for everyone.

If you and your partner have busy schedules that don't always line up, a private childbirth class is perfect for you.

Time is precious these days, and the last thing you or your partner want to do after a long day is schlep it out to ANOTHER thing. You want to come home, eat, put your feet up, and stay there. We come to you on your time, in the comfort of your home. We're also super not judging if you're eating pizza in your bunny slippers when we get there.

If you and your partner are more private and the thought of a group class makes you uncomfortable, a private childbirth class is perfect for you.

Group childbirth classes can be a time to make new friends, but for some, that's not the place they envision building lasting relationships. You might be uncomfortable talking about an intimate subject like birth around other people. You want to be able to speak freely and ask questions without getting the side-eye. Or maybe your history is complex with a history of infertility, loss, or a medically complicated pregnancy. You're doing pregnancy your own way, but you don't want to feel pressured to put on a happy face or share your story with people you don't know well. A private class in your own home can ensure you get the information you want in an environment that's sensitive to your needs and your story.

If you want to be able to stop and start and fast-forward through information at your pace based on your interests, a private childbirth class is perfect for you.

Our classes are in person and while it's not quite like watching something on DVR, a private class gives you a lot more control over what you're learning and the pace at which you learn it. Every family goes into birth with different priorities, and we want to make sure you learn what's most important to you. . If you already know about the birth process but want hands-on tools and ways to connect with your partner, we have a class for that. If you ONLY want hands-on comfort techniques, we've got you covered. If you want a full series, we have a 3-week option that goes in-depth on #allthethings so you can feel prepared for anything that comes your way.

I have a couple of friends who are pregnant, too. Can we do a class together?

Absolutely! To get a group rate, get at least 6 of you together and it's a party! Enjoy a smaller, more intimate setting with people you already know, love, and trust. It's a happy medium between a private class and a larger setting with people you may not know.

Excited to learn more? Head on over to our childbirth classes page or give us a shout on our contact page. We're pretty fast and will get in touch with you ASAP!

 

 

 

Holidays and inducing labor

If you're due around the holidays, you may have heard quips like, "Thanksgiving is not a medical indication for induction of labor!" The implication is that induction of labor rises around holidays and that physician convenience is to blame. We feel this language is damaging and a more nuanced approach is in order.

Having an estimated due date that falls close to a major holiday can come with its own set of challenges. When it comes to holidays and inducing labor, there are many factors at play, and physician convenience is usually at the bottom.

While many wouldn't dream of inducing labor because of a holiday, there are others who see it as the best, most logical choice for their family.

So, why would someone induce labor around a major holiday?

holidays and inducing labor

Some women choose an induction before a holiday to ensure their primary physician will be there.

You researched your physician carefully and chose them because you felt like they were the best doctor for you. You trust them and have spent your entire pregnancy building a relationship with them and discussing your preferences. You feel you'll get the best care from them. They know you and understand you, and it's important to you that they are there to deliver your baby, but you know they won't be in town for Thanksgiving (or another holiday). Elective inductions without a medical reason are discouraged before 39 weeks gestation, but if you're on the cusp of your due date and have the okay from your physician to induce labor, then it's a perfectly valid choice and one that we won't judge you for.

Some women choose induction because they want/don't want to have their baby on a specific holiday.

For some, the decision about holidays and inducing labor comes from a desire to have their baby on a specific holiday. The idea of a Thanksgiving or Christmas baby is special to them. For others, it's the exact opposite, and they don't want their child to feel overshadowed on their birthday because of the holiday. If you've got a New Year's baby on the way, taxes can be a huge issue for families as well. All of these are valid choices when they are made with your physician.

Some women choose to induce before a holiday so they can spend that holiday at home.

The desire not to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other major holiday in the hospital is certainly understandable. You might choose to induce before a holiday to ensure that you can be home with your family, propped up on the couch with your newborn with a plate of your favorite comfort food in your hands.

Some women induce around a holiday because they know they will have lots of family support.

Not everyone has family locally, and a woman may choose to induce around a holiday so that her out-of-town family can meet the baby and that there will be plenty of help to go around. Once your family heads back home, our postpartum doulas make the perfect holiday gift and can always pick up where your family left off.

Even if you aren't concerned about holidays and inducing labor, know that the doctors and hospital staff are there to support you every day of the year, even on holidays.

Your doctors and nurses have dedicated years of their lives to learning how to care for you during your pregnancy and birth. Whether they work in a group or solo practice, they all understand that holiday births are part of the job. Many physicians work in group practices and know ahead of time when their call schedule falls on a major holiday, and they are ready to come to you in the same way your birth doula is ready to come to you, day or night.

At Doulas of Memphis, we support your decisions for your birth and respect the relationships and choices you make with your trusted physicians. Our opinion on holidays and inducing labor? We don't have one outside of the choice that you feel is best for you.

 

Planning for baby? | Mom Self Care Free Printable

When you're planning for baby, the vast majority of pregnancy and birth checklists out there all about what you need to do for your baby. But what about you? Giving birth is a feat no matter how you do it, and in the flurry and excitement of packing, it's easy to forget about the things you'll need after baby is here!

planning for baby

Planning for baby means planning for you, too. We asked some veteran moms about their must-have items for the hospital and back home. Here's what they said:

Of course you're going to pack toiletries and clothes for you and baby. Here's what to pack in your hospital bag for you:

Pillows from home: Because we know hospital pillows aren't known for their extra-fluffiness. Extra-long charging cable: Keep in touch when you want, from anywhere in your room. Oh, and Netflix. Chapstick: Trust us, it's a must-have. Mints: Freshen up until you can brush your teeth again. Comfy leggings or pajama pants: There's nothing quite like slipping on a pair of cozy pants after a nice shower. Soft, light robe: Be visitor-ready in no time! Fuzzy blanket from home: Hospital blankets are thin, and who doesn't love a fuzzy throw? Your favorite instant coffee (ex. Starbucks Via): Coffee emergencies are a thing. Water bottle: Skip the styrofoam and stay hydrated in style! Snacks for after birth: Your favorite takeout menus and a Designated Bringer of Food wouldn't hurt, either. Post-birth beverage: Finally, you can have that drink you've been craving your whole pregnancy! Nursing pillow: Save your neck and arms by bringing baby up closer to you. Nursing tanks/clothes to labor in: Nursing tanks are great for skin-to-skin after birth. Pair with a knee-length maxi skirt for an alternative to that hospital gown. Button-down or pull-down shirts: for easy nursing access.

You're back home with all of your stuff, and a new baby. Here's what to keep around for those days after birth:

Depends (No really, trust us!): Because it's no fun when your pad moves around. Tucks Pads: A common hemorrhoid relief, but they're oh-so-nice for a sore perineum too! Peri Bottle: A lifesaver when wiping is the last thing you want to do. Constipation relief: No shame in that stool softener game! Water bottle: Between taking care of a newborn, nursing, and recovering from birth, hydration in reach is essential! Late-night snack basket: When nighttime hunger strikes, you'll be prepared. Dim night light: So you can see to change that diaper and then get everyone back to dreamland Freezer meals: Consider hosting a freezer meal shower to stock up before baby comes. One-handed snacks: Feed baby and yourself at the same time! Fresh, cut-up fruits and veggies: Because you can only eat so much lasagna. Baby carrier: For hands-free snuggling and walking around. Lanolin/nipple butter: Relief for nipples that are adjusting to a newborn feeding schedule. Journal: A place for your thoughts and feelings. Extra phone chargers: It's no fun when you phone dies and you're stuck under a baby.  Postpartum doula: A postpartum doula is a valuable member of your village! We're there to make sure you have all of the help, rest, and support you need after baby comes home.

Love our list? What would you add?

Click here to download our Mom Self Care Free Printable!

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