Good thing we are a team of experienced Doulas! We are used to practicing patience as we wait for babies. That being said, never in our wildest dreams did we imagine practicing our "pause" for COVID-19.
Since mid March our profession has been on quite a rollercoaster! Pre-COVID Birth Doulas were welcome in all area hospitals, with all the unknowns of the novel coronavirus we were out, and currently we are back in!
If you have been considering Birth Doula support but weren't sure of our status here's what you need to know about in hospital support.
Birth Doula Support
re: Maternal Anxiety as a Risk Factor for Preterm Birth
Did you know Pregnancy-specific anxiety (PSA) is a risk factor for preterm birth (PTB)? Mamas with anxiety during the prenatal period, specifically concerns such as fear regarding the pregnancy, delivery, and health of the child, have a higher risk of delivering their baby before 37 weeks gestational age.
Just like how births are all different, research studies also have their own differences. Different processes and different outcomes. The study my research team worked on was a Systematic Review and Meta Analysis on studies that looked at anxiety in the prenatal period and the outcome of preterm birth (PTB).
We took these studies and their results and not only compared them but also combined them to determine if the relationship between PSA and PTB remained statistically significant, and it did.
While working on this research project and during the process of writing the manuscript to be published in a scientific journal, I was not aware of the work of Doulas. My research does not look at Doulas and their work impacting PSA, however, with my knowledge and experience since that time I can see that Doulas really matter!
The prenatal visits, continuous support, the ability to provide information to the client, and suggestions for prenatal classes and a Birth Doulas knowledge of childbirth gives pregnant Mamas the confidence they require to care for themselves and their babies during the prenatal period.
There are many risk factors that can cause preterm birth (PTB), but in helping alleviate pregnancy-specific anxiety (PSA) we may have a hand in decreasing their risk for PTB, and in turn preventing health issues that plague babies born too early.
Gianella Pana is a Birth Doula serving Chestermere, Calgary and Airdrie families. To read her published research paper <<click here>>
Share Your Passion
Who knew? In fact, if someone would have told me this would be my life, I undoubtedly would've laughed out loud.
As a small child I was "sick" if I had to speak or perform in front of any one. In high school, I skipped every class that I needed to present something in. Just the very thought of standing at the front of a classroom made my knees weak, my palms sweat and my heart race. Frankly said, it was crippling!
Fast forward to today... NEVER, I repeat.. NEVER in a million years did I imagine I'd be the one educating parents-to-be in group childbirth education classes, training aspiring doulas as a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer or most recently, that I'd be called on by peers to apply for a Board of Directors position with DONA International the world's premier doula organization.
I know, I know! How did this happen? Honestly, my answer is straight forward. I am living my dream and sharing my passion. When we are called, we go! It's just that simple.
If you are interested in learning more about Erin Moyen <<click here>>
"Whenever and however you give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life" - Ina May Gaskin
If Ina May is right why aren't we more mindful of our words?
Countless times I have heard birth workers, healthcare professionals, friends and family refer to operative birth as a "section" or "c-section". What people don't often recognize is words hold power. This isn't just semantics!
There are no do-overs regarding the birth of a baby and we need to be considerate.
Words have the ability to encourage attachment or make people detach from their own story.
When referring to any birth, vaginal or cesarean, please be mindful. Operative birth is still birth and deserves the same respect!
Going forward please consider referring to a c-section as a cesarean birth.
With time information evolves. This happens with everything. It happens in all professions.
Working in maternal-infant health we are mandated to remain current and accept changes.
This is one of the only ways to care for clients/patients appropriately.
However this is not always the case. Archaic protocols often take precedence. In my experience the most inconsistent information and support protocols belong to:
Attending a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) is one of life's great privileges!
VBAC mothers are composed but fierce, courageous yet nervous, empowered though cautious and understand the following 3 things:
Our society has robbed us all! The saddest part, it's been replaced with fear.
Fear of pain in childbirth.
So how do we get our power, peace and confidence back?
Honestly, it's simple. Get educated!
The best place to begin is reading Healthy Birth Practice #2, walk, move around and change positions, from Lamaze.
An alternative is to watch this short video.
Here is an acronym to help put things into perspective.
P - purposeful (helps move baby down and out)
A - anticipated (contractions get longer, stronger and closer together as labour progresses)
I - intermittent (our body gives us a break, in healthy birth contractions are not continuous)
N - normal (nothing is wrong, discomfort can be a healthy response to labour and birth)
Healthy mothers-to-be need reassurance that their body is designed to give birth.
It's imperative to understand pain does not always mean suffering.
If you require additional information please do not hesitate to connect.
Are we really a generation full of broken women? With a cesarean birth rate of 1 in 3 (Alberta) one might think so!
As an educator and advocate of safe, natural, and healthy birth my simple answer is "NO".
The true challenge exists because birthing women, and their families, are often uneducated.
I've been in private practice supporting pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenthood since 2006. Although technology abounds women still rely heavily on the opinions and personal experience of others rather than evidence.
In the birth world deciphering between opinions, myths and facts is always easier said than done. I encourage you to do your own research and choose what YOUR best birth looks like.
To simplify things I have listed a few reputable sites for you to explore:
6 Healthy Birth Practices - Lamaze
Evidence Based Birth
Now that you've clicked on the links (or even if you haven't) you likely have new questions. My best advice to you - invest your time and money into independent childbirth education. Doing so will guarantee your questions are answered with evidence and all of your birth options presented in an unbiased manner,
Learn more about our classes here.
You and your baby are worth it!