Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cookies and Breastfeeding

Yes, Cookies Can Help Breastfeeding

There are usually so many questions about breastfeeding and what can help build your milk supply. Well, ladies-- here is a very sweet enjoyable way to do that.
Promote your sweet tooth--


1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2 -4 tablespoons brewer's yeast

Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
Add eggs and mix well.
Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
Stir in oats and chips.
Scoop onto baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

44 Questions For Your Midwife

Written by Svea
Just last week I had the privilege of meeting with two fantastic midwives. Recommended by a friend, they are the women I hope will accompany me through my second pregnancy and delivery. They are kind, empathetic, knowledgeable, and funny. Exciting!
When I told my husband the news, he had a lot of questions. Most of them (“How much does it cost?” and “Do they know what they’re doing?”) I could answer. But some, I couldn’t. Hubby wanted to know exactly what they would do in an emergency – “Tell me about a time when things didn’t go well. What did you do?” and, “Have you ever lost a baby? Why?”
I got all defensive and said that well, I had asked the questions thought were important, and I’m pretty informed about birth and doesn’t he respect anything to do with intuition? Then I got mad and started defending the scientific realities of emotional support (emotionally supported births are not just happier, they’re healthier!) and he said something about how he’s always the one asking the hard questions and it turned into a whole late night conversation that, I guess, we’d been needing to have for a while.
But anyway, I thought I’d share some of the questions I asked in the interview. The query of what to ask a potential midwife used to come up a lot on the BWF support group (and probably does now on the BWF Fans group, but I’m left out because I’m not on Facebook, *sniff*); some of the items below are taken from those conversations. I personally think that ‘goodness of fit’ is the best thing to look for, but we all have to decide what that means for ourselves. The first few are the questions I asked (and the answers that made me so happy).
  1. I plan to refuse almost all vaginal checks. Like, maybe I’ll allow one. What do you think about this? (they don’t check unless the mama requests it! woot!) 
  2. Are you familiar with other ways of assessing dilation(yes, e.g. vocalization)
  3. Do you deliver breech? Do you deliver all kinds of breech? Do you have training and experience in this kind of delivery? If not, do you have a midwife you would refer me to if the baby had not turned? (No, but a neonatologist who trained under a midwife in Chile works at a hospital nearby and he does)
  4. Do you have experience with turning babies, not hospital version-style? (Yes – almost 100% success rate)
  5. At what point would I get ‘risked out’ of your practice, e.g. how many weeks ‘overdue’ could I go before you transferred my care to a doctor? (As long as baby’s healthy, as indicated by Non-Stress Tests, you can stay with us) 
  6. What do you do in the case of a nuchal cord?
  7. Speaking of cords, we intend to do delayed cord clamping. What do you think about this?
  8. How long have you been practicing midwifery?
  9. Why did you become a midwife?
  10. What is your training/education/certification?
  11. Will you deliver the baby, or will you assist me in birthing him/her/them?
  12. Do you have experience and recommendations for prenatal nutrition?
  13. Do you deliver twins?
  14. Are you connected to a natural birth/natural parenting community I could get to know?
  15. Do you do the Gestational Diabetes screening? Is there an extra cost associated with it? Do you ‘allow’ your clients to eat a specific meal before the test, or do you make them swallow a sickeningly sweet orange drink?
  16. Do you continue to see clients with Gestational Diabetes, or do you refer them to an obstetrics practice?
  17. How much do you charge, and by what date would the full amount be due?
  18. Do you accept payment plans? What is your refund policy if we decide to switch care providers?
  19. How often do your clients succeed in having their health insurance provider reimburse them?
  20. Do you work with doulas?
  21. Do you work with birth photographers?
  22. Who is your back-up pair of hands/midwifery assistant? When can I meet him/her?
  23. What is your hospital transfer rate?
  24. Do you do routine episiotomies? Do you do any episiotomies?
  25. What equipment do you bring with you to a birth? Are you legally allowed to carry Pitocin (for rare post-birth hemorrhaging)? Do you?
  26. Are you trained in neonatal resuscitation?
  27. How many births do  you take on per month/year?
  28. Are you planning any vacations, trips, major surgeries, or other events that would interfere with your attendance at the birth?
  29. I am an abuse survivor and this may affect my experience. Do you have training in counseling or other trauma-healing work?
  30. What kind of postpartum care do you offer?
  31. Do you do placenta encapsulation? Is there an extra charge?
  32. Do you facilitate water birth?
  33. What methods of pain management do you recommend?
  34. My partner has x, y, z fears about home birth. How have you dealt with this in the past?
  35. What is your preferred method of communication, prenatally (phone, email, text)?
  36. Midwifery is a challenging profession, and often a labour of love. What can I do to make this experience easiest for both of us?
  37. Have you had any loss (baby or mother)? Why and what happened?
Also, here are some questions I asked myself after the visit:
  1. Would you be friends with these people? Why/Why not? (Yes. I hope we become friends)
  2. Does either remind you of your mother? How do you feel about this? (Not much – and only in the best ways)
  3. Were you able to ask all the questions you wanted to? Why/Why not? (No – I didn’t ask about hospital transfer rate because I already felt that we’re on the same page)
  4. How did you feel about the birth when talking with them, compared to how you feel about it normally? More or less excited, more or less anxious? (More excited! Not anxious at all)
  5. Was the visit enjoyable? (I didn’t want it to end)
  6. If there were other family members present, what was their experience of the interaction? (My husband was at work but they were kind to my toddler and flexible with his needs)
  7. Did you sense that either was intimidated by your birth nerdiness and stance as an educated consumer? (Nah, we’re all passionate about birth, why would that be a problem?)
While it doesn’t make sense to ask a potential midwife all of these questions in an interview, this is also by no means an exhaustive list. You can pick and choose according to your own needs and wishes. And add your own – if you have a suggestion, please let us know in the comments and I will add it above.
*All photography in this post by NHance Photography
Posted by Birth Without Fear

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Treating Group B Strep During Pregnancy

Treating Group B Strep During Pregnancy

Let's begin with what is Group B Strep:

Group Beta-Streptococci is a bacteria found in up to 40% of women. It originates in the intestinal tract, but because of the close proximity between the rectum and the vagina, if a mother has intestinal/rectal colonization she will most likely have vaginal colonization. Genital colonization can cause symptoms, but rarely results in maternal illness. It can carry significant risks for the baby, however, if he or she becomes colonized and develops an infection from the bacteria. Overall neonatal infection rate is 1-4/1000.

Babies are not normally affected by the bacterium; but, approximately 50% of babies born to GBS colonized women acquire surface colonization at delivery. Although most babies do not develop problems, the incidence of invasive neonatal GBS infection is approximately 1‐3 cases per 1,000 live births. GBS can cause sepsis (blood infection), meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain) and pneumonia in the newborn and is characterized as either early‐onset (occurring in infants less than 7 days of age) or late-onset (occurring in infants greater than 7 days of age). The incidence of early‐onset disease is approximately 2 cases (range 1.3 to 3.7) per 1000 live births; the incidence of late‐onset disease is about 0.7 to 1.0 per 1000. Approximately 15% of early cases are fatal, whereas late‐onset disease is associated with about a 7% to 10% mortality.


Women identified as colonized with GBS are treated with prophylactic intravenous (IV) antibiotics during labor.

Now, if you are like me, and allergic to all the antibiotics they would use to treat GBS, or you would rather not subject yourself, and your baby to a heavy dose of antibiotics, then here are a few known ways to treat it naturally. First, here comes the legal stuff:

I, nor any of the members of The Doula House L.L.C., are medical providers. We are simply providing you with natural information. What you choose to do with that information is up to you. Feel free to talk to your care provider about the options suggested here.

The natural way to treat GBS is to start with increasing the good bacteria...give it a fighting chance to defeat the bad bacteria. The easiest way is to start with fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir. Now, if you are dairy sensitive you can choose to use sauerkraut, kombucha, or a great probiotic. Continue to take your fermented food, or probiotic supplement, every day. You can start this at the beginning of your pregnancy to help prevent GBS, or use it as part of your treatment plan.
Second thing you need to do is to kill of the bad bacteria in the vagina, and the rectum if your GBS is really bad. Now, I am about to give you a time tested remedy, and at first you might think I am crazy (about half the women who read this will, at first) You are going to take ½ C extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp (teaspoon) tea tree oil (melaleuca oil) and 1 ½ tsp garlic oil. Mix all three together, and then get a small tampon. You want to use a small tampon because it will swell up with the oils! Dip the tampon in your oil mixture until it is thoroughly soaked and insert it into the vagina for 2 hours up to two times a day. You won't want to be running around doing to much since it will feel funny, and it will smell like garlic. The garlic and the tea tree oil will kill the GBS, much faster than just doing the probiotics and kefir.
You will want to do this every day for two weeks and then ask to be retested. If your GBS test comes back negative, you will want to continue the protocol until baby is born, but using the tampon only once a day instead of twice. If your GBS test comes back positive, you can continue with the protocol and try again in another week. Talk with your care provider about your options.
For the record, with this protocol I have never had a mother have a GBS positive test after the two weeks.

You can also increase your Vitamin C and Zinc intake to boost your immune system. You should also consider decreasing or eliminating sugar, since sugar helps bacteria to grow.

Happy Birthing!
The Doula House L.L.C.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Putting a price on something that is priceless (for a birthing mom)

What should you pay your doula? (and if you are a doula, what should you be charging?!)

I love attending births. Aside from my family and running, it is one of my greatest pleasures to assist a mother to have her baby. I love helping families to born.
Salt Lake City, UT, is full of doulas, women helping women to have babies. Even though we have a great doula organization, there is some debate about how much a doula should be paid for her work.

Have you ever asked yourself, “why do doulas charge so much?” And honestly, I hope to show doulas why they are worth so much more then most of them charge.

Aside from the cost of education, books, workshops, continued education, and advertising (website, cards, brochures), we also take into consideration the time that it takes for all of these as well as out of pocket expenses.
Let’s just break down one of my packages in terms of time that I spend with my moms during the course of their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum:

Pregnancy and Labor Package

  • Initial consultation meeting – Approx. 2 hours
  • Two prenatal meetings Approx. 4 hours
  • ASAP telephone, text, and email support during contact hours (8am-8pm) Average 6 hours
  • 24/7 on call within 2 weeks of your estimated due date – I'll talk on call rate low down
  • Around the clock Labor and Birth support once labor has begun – 12 hours (average)
  • Immediate postpartum support of approximately 2-3 hours, or until the baby has nursed successfully and the family is settled – 2-3 hours
  • One postpartum visit to discuss your birth, share photos, dote over your new arrival, discuss options for additional support (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, etc.) – Approximately 2 hours
With these approximations, we’re looking at about 29 hours of support from your doula.

On Call
Now, there is a low hourly rate the professionals charge in addition to their hourly rate, which works about to range from $.15-$30 per hour. If we go with the conservative amount of $.15 an hour for 2 weeks, which is the average amount from 37-42 weeks gestation for a mom. This works out to be $51


The average trip I make to meet with clients is approximately 35 miles one way.
  • Trip time (based on 5 trips) – 10 hours
  • Gas costs (based on 35 miles one way – 5 trips) – $55

Childcare & Food Costs

  • Childcare – Approximately $150 per client including visits and birth
  • Food During Birth – Approximately $10 depending on the length of birth

Miscellaneous Costs

  • Materials for Clients – Approximately $20

Total Time and Out of Pocket Expenses

  • Time – 39 hours
  • Childcare – $150
  • Food – $10
  • Gas – $55
  • Misc – $20
  • On-Call - $51
$286 in total expenses

Let’s do the Math

Doula Fee – $300 – this is the low end in Utah.
Less Expenses - (-$286)
Remainder applied towards hours of work (39) - $14 (this is what the doula is getting paid)
Approximately $.36 per hour

Doula Fee – $500 – average in Utah
Less Expenses – (-$286)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (39) – $214 (this is what the doula is getting paid)
Approximately $5.49 per hour - this is not even minimum wage

Doula Fee – $700
Less Expenses -(-$286)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (39) - $414 (this is what the doula is getting paid)
Approximately $10.61 per hour

Doula Fee – $900
Less Expenses - (-$286)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (39) - $614
Approximately $15.74 per hour

Now according to Living Wage, the living wage for Salt Lake City, UT is $19.05.
“The living wage shown is the hourly rate that an individual must earn to support their family.” (according to

So, in order for me to get paid the minimum living wage for SLC:

Doula Fee – $1050
Less Expenses - (-$286)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (39) - $764
Approximately $19.58 per hour

Again, this is based on my time and expenses. Of course, over the duration of my time with a client, I can spend more or less one on one time. This is all approximations.
In the grand scheme of things, you’re paying for an invaluable service during your pregnancy, labor, and birth. The difference a doula can make during this time is often priceless. The least that can be done is pay her asking fee.

Do you think that an OB or midwife would lower his/her costs if a mom told him/her that the fees just are not in their family’s budget? 
Doulas are a valuable asset to a mom’s birth team. Our time is also valuable – just ask our kids (and the electric company who won’t waive our monthly bill because it doesn’t fit into our budgets!)!

And in all of these expenses, I did not list the advertizing time and money that a doula spends, I did not list the addition times I end up at a moms house helping with breastfeeding. All of these are extra costs that I have, that I did not factor in to all of this.
What I am hoping by posting this article is that those who are looking to hire a doula can understand why it is so important to be willing to understand why she has listed her prices where she has.
And secondly, I hope to help all those doulas out there who are unsure of what they should charge for their time and energy, that they are worth more than they think.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ten Ways To Make It All The Way To The End Of A Natural Hypnobabies Birth And Still Enjoy It

You know I am a doula and a Hypnobabies instructor..I love it. I do.....and over the years I have found a list of certain things that help moms have easier, comfortable births that they feel like they are in control of and not a victim to. Through experience and trial and error I  have also found that these techniques help most moms make it all the way through their Hypnobabies births right up to the end while still feeling like they are in control, strong, comfortable and that their Hypnobabies hypnosis is working.   Most of these births have the first ingredient in them to take Hypnobabies.. With most moms this is a must. Not that they can't give birth without it but with Hypnobabies moms can actually create births that they really. really enjoy and not something they have had to muscle their way Yes!!!!

Number one is Take Hypnobabies!!!!!!

Number 2---

Create a firm resolve about the kind of birth you want-You can do this. Try to work through any thoughts about the need to suffer. This particular thought is deeply embedded in our culture and if  you don't watch it you will find yourself walking down that path.. It is not necessary to bring a beautiful child into this world in pain, agony and with suffering. Seriously its not!!!

Number 3
KNOW you deserve it-
Do all your hypnosis practice with the intention of creating the birth that you KNOW you can have.
Work through every single fear you can find.Write them down. Go through all the stories that your mom or friends told you growing up and pick out those things that you are afraid of and work on them.

Number 4
Be stubborn about your choices before birth and during birth, like not getting induced ect. and not having your water broken when you are just two centimeters. Remember you have the right to refuse everything-- If YOU are ok and your BABY is ok-- think again!!!!!

Number 41/2
Ok, I forgot one of the most important things---- Sleep, Sleep, Sleep, in your early birth time and as much as possible later.. DO WHAT EVER IT TAKES to get back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night. Avoid the tendency to wake up and get all excited and wake everyone else up.. If your birth is really long you will want that sleep and your body will need it...understand?

Number 5
The minute you feel your waves getting stronger start using your hypnosis with a vengeance!! or I guess you could call it firm consistency doing at least two Hypnosis Scripts/cds every three hours. This is important to set a firm foundation for adding layers of anesthesia to help you through transformation. This is a must. This choice will help you be deep enough when you enter transformation and eliminate the fear that comes with dealing with intense transformational waves.

Number 5 1/2
Put in in your mind that birth can be easy and comfortable but that it can be quite intense at times. Knowing that the waves get stronger and stronger before birth can be empowering and help you accept the intense pressure that these waves bring... P. S. It is helpful to have someone around that can tell you when they are as intense as they will get before birth( A Doula?). That way you know that if you can handle those you can handle all of them!! ya bab! you can do it!!!!

Number 6

Stay home as long as possible and resist the temptation to go to the hospital to get your baby out.
It doesn't work like that but at some point during your birth your mind starts telling you it does..Going to the hospital sooner does not mean you will get your baby sooner. Instead just focus on going deeper into your hypnosis and that will do the trick.

Number 7
Hire a Hypno-doula( preferably an instructor of Hypnobabies or someone that has a lot of practice with Hypnobabies) and a fantastic caregiver that really believes in your goals and does not just give them lip service. If you have any reservations about your caregiver change immediately as soon as you can before birth. They will help you and dad navigate uncharted waters and support you in finding your own way to the birth you desire..

Number 8
Prepare your cervix before birth by taking things that soften your cervix and getting regular chiropractic adjustments to align your pelvis.There are many natural substances that you can use to help you have a shorter easier birth simply by preparing your cervix ahead of time for the process.
Consult with a doula that has this kind of knowledge or a natural minded caregiver. It is so worth your time and research.. it can take hours off a birth if used in a timely manner.

Number 9
Prepare ahead of time through visualization to navige the different stages of birth, like transitioning from early birth time to active birth time, the transition from dilating rapidly to dilating very slowly which can happen in birth from time to time and finally visualizing the transition from transitional waves and keeping very relaxed to the downward and intense pressure of pushing your baby out.  If you visualize yourself working through these transitions with grace and knowledge and a prepared plan of what you will do and how you will do it, you will find that not much will get you off balance and you will be able to use your hypnosis more effectively and continue with a peaceful outlook..

Number 10
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare for transition. Have a plan and put it to work the minute your waves start getting 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 90 seconds. Plan ahead of time that this is the time you will put everything you know into practice and that your focus will only be on taking one wave at at time and going deeper.If you have a particular visualization that takes you deeper, use it at this time.. It will help so much and keep you steady and focused during this time. Avoid the impulses to come out of hypnosis ect. and just stay steady in working with each wave and going deeper. Remember transformation is very close to getting your baby. That is so exciting and can be very rewarding if you stay in that mindset. You should have a very firm resolve at this time by not allowing your mind to wander from your focus of taking one wave at a time and focusing on your anesthesia...taking you deeper...Ignore everything that is not focused on your goal.. Just be patient you can do this.... you are very close.

*While I acknowledge that all births are different,using these ten techniques will really create a powerful, strong ,self-sustaining process for completing and enjoying a wonderful natural birth.. Through being a doula, I have seen this work first hand over and over.. So birthing Moms and Dads, it is possible and it can happen and it can happen to you! Believe it, know it.. it is possible and it has been done!!!!

p. s  Over and Over--

Marie Johnson
Doula and Hypnobabies Instructor


Monday, November 5, 2012

Why You Need A Hypno-Doula

I love teaching Hypnobabies, it is really one of the most rewarding things that I do. While our couples are going through the childbirth class, the topic of having a doula comes up many times.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a doula is, let me clarify.

Webster's Defines A Doula As:
"a woman experienced in childbirth who provides advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth"

 In everyday terms, this means having a trained professional with you and your partner from start to finish. A doula attends your birth to provide you with suggestions for physical comfort, emotional support, and understanding what the care providers are telling you. A doula often will suggest alternatives for typical medical procedures. Studies have shown that having a doula present at your birth can reduce the length of your birth 25%, reduce your chances of a cesarean birth by 50%, and reduces the request for epidural use by 60%. On top of all of that, women who have a doula present at their births often have a more positive view of how their birth went and have less postpartum depression. 

When I explain all these wonderful benefits to moms, I throw in a caveat, not all doulas are created equal. For starters, a doula who has been doualing for 10 years will have more experience and a better understanding of the flow of birth than a doula right out of training. Also, a doula who is trained in Hypnosis for Childbirth will have a better understanding of what to expect during a Hypnosis birth. (such as Hypnobabies or Hypnobirthing) 
At first this might seem like a minor thing, having a doula who is familiar with hypnosis for birth. But in practical application this makes a huge difference. If you imagine that having a doula at your birth is like having a tutor during a test. You want your tutor to not just be familiar with your subject, but to really understand the subject. To have studied this subject as intensely as you have. This will make your tutor of more use to you. The same is true for having a "hypno-doula." These doulas have a very specific set of skills, and they are invaluable during your birth. These doulas know your hypnotic deepening techniques and cues. They also know that a hypnosis birth many times look different from a regular birth. For example:
  1. A mom using Hypnobabies will probably remain calm and focused for most, if not all, of her birth. I have had many moms show up at the hospital at 8 or 9 cm and have the nursing staff believe that they were still in their early birthing time (around 3-4 cm) This is amazing!! And for the untrained eye, or a non hypno-doula, they may mistake a mother's calmness and focus just like the nurses do...thinking it is only early birth and no need to rush or head to the hospital. I had one mom accidentally have her baby at home because when she informed her doula that she felt it was time to head to the hospital, her doula told her she was no where near having a baby and to relax on her bed. 15 minutes later this mom had her baby in her hands. 
  2. Secondly, a doula unfamiliar with how powerful her words are, and the effect they have on a mom in hypnosis can say the wrong thing and cause some unintended consequences. I had another mom tell me that her doula kept telling her that "I know this is painful but you can do it" or "I know it hurts, and you can just embrace that pain and move forward." Well, throughout her entire Hypnobabies class she had retrained her subconscious mind to only expect discomfort, not pain. She told me that it was incredibly distracting, and the more the doula talked about pain,, the more she felt "pain." This mom eventually had to ask her doula to leave the room. 
Now, I am not saying that you can't have a fantastic doula who is not a hypno-doula, it just increases the odd that your doula will be exactly what you need if she has this extra skill. Another benefit to a hypno-doula, she understand hypnosis. So even if a couple is not using hypnosis for childbirth, the hypnotic techniques she uses will help any birthing mother become more calm, focused, and relaxed. Every mother, Hypnobabies or not, is in a state of hypnosis during birth. These mothers are open to all suggestions given to them; why not make those suggestions positive and empowering, instead of fear inducing.

Now, if a hypno-doula is your tutor, let me add one other option. Imagine now that you are taking that same test, but instead of having a tutor, you actually get to have the teacher help you take the test. She is there to give you the answers and suggestions to help you have the best test you can have. 
This teacher, during your birth, would be your Hypnobabies Instructor. She knows the subject better than anyone, and she also knows exactly how to respond to the situation and help you have the best birth possible. Many of the Hypnobabies instructors are also doulas for their students. This is one of the best things you can do, in addition to taking Hypnobabies, to have a great birth. And, if your instructor is not a doula, I know she can refer you to one who is. 

With my second birth, I had 2 doulas. A hypno-doula and my Hypnobabies instructor. (and yes, my husband had plenty to do and never felt like his role was taken over) It was so empowering to know that when I, or my husband, needed the extra hypno-support it was there. My birth was so empowering, not just for me but for my husband as well. He told me afterwards that it was so nice to have another set of hands and eyes to assist him during the birth. 

So, if you are considering having a doula present at your birth, Hypnobabies or not, look into the option of having a hypno-doula present. 

For more information on Hypnobabies classes in Utah, please click here
For more information on Hypnobabies everywhere, or to find an instructor close to you, click here

Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Ways to Get Through a Long Labor By Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE, Guide

While the average length of a first labor is typically 12-18 hours, not including inductions, there are labors that last longer. Some labors last longer because of physical issues, the baby moving into a better position, mom’s body opening. Other labors are longer because of emotional issues like fear of your surroundings or of becoming a parent, or that your husband won’t make it on time. These can be very real things. For the women who have to deal with lengthy labors, it sounds like it’s a lot of pain. Though having had six labors of my own, I’ve had a wide variety of times: (in order) 36 hours, 45 hours, 8 hours, 11 hours, 4 hours, 2-3 hours, and 45 hours. The easiest labor was actually my 45 hour labor. The reason? Because I managed my labor well. And I’ve also seen it happen many other times in my time as a doula. So here are tips on making the most of a longer labor.
  • Don’t focus on the clock.
    It’s so tempting when you’re in labor to look at the clock. How long have I been doing this? How much longer will I be doing this? When will I get to hold my baby? These are all valid questions, but questions that ultimately keep you from focusing on the work of labor which is what gets you to the end. If you can remove the clocks near you, have them turned around or cover them.
  • Stay home as long as possible.
    In your own home, you are most comfortable. You can move freely around, watch television, play on your computer and sit in your baby’s room. These are all the comforts of home. You also have your own bathroom and tub or shower, you can eat and drink to comfort. It is much easier to pass the time in your own surroundings and it can help prevent your labor from stalling by going to the hospital too early. An early labor plan can also be beneficial here.
  • Go with the flow.
    As crazy as it may sound – follow your labor’s lead. In longer labors, there tend to be parts that are slower and more calm. This is the opportunity to rest and even nap. Most women don’t think about this and often view this slow down as a bad thing, when what it usually is is the ability of your body to sense that you need a small break before continuing. Take advantage of these breaks whenever possible.
  • Use comfort measures early and often.
    By the time I was having baby number three and I was anticipating a very long labor, I really wanted everyone to rest up to support me “when I really needed it.” After an hour or two of trying to go it alone, I was agitated and in pain. I finally let people help me relax and rub my back and help me out. Oh, labor was so much easier. A few hours later when I figured out it wasn’t going to be three more days of labor, it finally all made sense. Staying calm all the way through took less energy and made me more relaxation, helping labor progress. Also don’t forget to move around often, this can many times be what you need when labor is taking awhile. It helps protect your joints and skin from being in one position too long.
  • Start labor off right.
    When you first realize you’re in labor, the best advice is to ignore it. Remind yourself of why you can’t be in labor yet. You know the list I’m talking about: I can’t be in labor because I haven’t washed all of the baby’s clothes. I can’t be in labor yet it’s not the date I picked. I can’t be in labor yet my favorite gown is not packed. But remember to take your time. For most women there is no need to rush. Just casually go about getting ready and enjoying these last few hours of pregnancy.
So the next time you’re having a baby and baby seems to be taking his or her time, remember, there is a reason and it’s up to you to handle the labor in a constructive manner that benefits you and your baby.