You will make the perfect milk for your baby! A firm decision to breastfeed your baby should be made in pregnancy. To establish breastfeeding with your baby you will want to follow these simple steps...
Guest Blog written by Shari Franks from Earthside Journeys
May 7-13th, 2017 is Infertility Awareness Week in Canada. It is an opportunity to bring to light the epidemic that exists for the many men, women and couples who are faced with the struggle of creating a family.
This is the time to talk about the medical diagnosis that is often misunderstood. I share my story to bring this issue to the forefront so that those who walk this path know that they do not walk alone.
Is it safe?
We all know that exercise improves muscle tone, strength and endurance, but is it safe during pregnancy?
Both the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend that pregnant women include exercise in their healthy lifestyle, as long as they have no medical or obstetrical complications. ACOG suggests a total of 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise every day, or on most days, throughout pregnancy.
Exercise in pregnancy can ease or eliminate aches and pains, leg cramps and circulatory challenges; strengthen pelvic floor muscles; and aid in the prevention of insomnia and pregnancy blues. In addition, exercise provides us with a better self-image, prepares our bodies for the physical journey of labour and birth, helps us retain our pre-pregnancy fitness levels and makes returning to our pre-pregnancy shape achievable.
Although many sources compare natural childbirth (involving no pain medications or interventions) to running a marathon, I don’t suggest you start there. Choose your activity by taking into account your fitness level, as well as common sense safety precautions. Brisk walks, stair climbing, swimming and downloadable prenatal workouts are fantastic low-impact and low- or no-cost options. If you can afford to invest a little and you feel social, a group class like water aerobics, prenatal yoga or prenatal dance might be the perfect fit. Classes also allow you to meet other moms-to-be.
Now that you’re excited to get moving, don’t forget to prepare yourself well. Avoid overheating by wearing breathable, layered clothing; drink generous amounts of water before, during and after exercise to stay hydrated; wear comfortable running shoes with proper support for your ligaments and tendons; and, most importantly, know your limits but have fun!
Editor's Note: This piece was originally written for Guided Synergy Magazine in 2014.
Defining the professions
It’s safe to say that Alberta is booming, as many couples start or expand their families! However, not all women know how midwives and birth doulas can care for and support them in their birthing experience. As a birth doula, I have realized that the roles of these professionals need defining.
Both the midwifery and the doula models of care trust in and promote birth as normal. Registered midwives and birth doulas are experienced, trained professionals. However, the specific roles they play differ.
Midwives, considered experts in normal pregnancy and birth, provide care to mothers and babies during the prenatal, birth and postpartum periods. Midwifery care has been fully funded by Alberta Health Services since 2009. In addition to delivering babies, midwives can perform other clinical tasks, including screening their patients’ physical and emotional health, ordering tests and making referrals to specialists when needed. Their care is based on evidence and is woman centred. Midwives collaborate with each other, often working in teams, and with other health professionals.
In contrast, birth doulas do not undertake medical tasks or deliver babies. As part of a woman’s birthing team, which may include a midwife, doctor and nurses, birth doulas offer continuity of care to the mother and her partner by providing information and emotional and physical support before, during and just after the birth. The unbiased information they give enables women to make informed choices about their care.
A birth doula stays with the mother throughout her labour, providing nonmedical physical and emotional comfort, and, if needed, facilitates communication with her other care providers. The fact that the doula focuses on the needs of the mother can be especially helpful in a busy hospital environment. The doula can also encourage the woman’s partner to be as involved in the birth experience as desired. Some partners report enjoying the birth experience more because they don’t feel solely responsible for coaching and supporting the mother.
Studies have shown that having a professional birth doula present during labour and birth provides the following benefits:
• 50% reduction in the cesarean rate
• 25% shorter labour times
• 60% reduction in epidural requests
• 40% reduction in Pitocin use
• 30% reduction in pain medication use
• 40% reduction in forceps deliveries
In addition, research has shown that parents who receive care from a doula can have fewer negative feelings about their birth experience; feel more cared for, secure and self-confident; experience greater success in adapting after the birth and in breastfeeding; and have lower incidences of postpartum depression and abuse. Their babies tend to require shorter hospital stays.
As support professionals, doulas recognize that birth is a transformative experience for women, as well as for their families. They aim to provide compassion, support and informed guidance to help their clients through this transformation. Because each situation is different, they tailor their care to the unique needs of each woman and her family.
As a professional birth doula and prenatal childbirth educator, I strive to promote and preserve maternal and infant safety during childbirth. I recognize that in areas without a practicing registered midwife, the safest option is hospital birth. I am hopeful that the Alberta Association of Midwives will grow and that an increase in registered midwives, in both urban and rural settings, will offer families safe alternatives for prenatal care and birth.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally written for Guided Synergy Magazine in 2014
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:
Shari Franks from Earthside Journeys sheds light on the other side of support in this post. She shares snippets from her personal travels through infertility and provides helpful tips on how to support families undergoing fertility treatments and yearning to be parents.
Guest Blog by Shari Franks
Support from friends and family while maneuvering through the journey of infertility and fertility treatments is essential in order to help smooth the path of uncertainty and fear. It helps keep the hope alive when faced with the various obstacles and struggles individuals and couples encounter throughout every test, medication and procedure. Unfortunately, the kind of support needed is often not what is given.
For the most part, my husband and I had amazing loving support throughout our 4 year journey of fertility treatments but we were taken aback when the lack of support was present from various people we assumed would be the light in our darkness.
Being vulnerable is never easy yet every work day I see women, and families, in their primal and often raw state. Labour and birthing, in the newness of early parenthood or while supporting their breastfeeding journey. I see it and I am forever thankful for the privilege!
Knowing this, I thought it was high time I shared a snippet in return so last week I posted 10 Random Facts About Me.
It was only in the midst of making my list that I realized how I've become professionally shaped (not defined!) by my personal experience. Intrigued? Allow me to explain 3 of these ways.
#1 I have a passion for supporting single moms! Whether they're solo by choice or by chance I have a heart for them. Why? It's simple really. By chance, in 2003, I found myself alone with a not-quite-2 year old daughter and 5 month old son.
#2 Now that I have experienced pregnancy loss myself I am better able to understand and serve clients who have/will walk the same road. Every story is unique but regardless of details, I get it. I know loss is real. It is ugly. It changes families forever.
#3 From my experience birthing abroad, I recognize how valuable postpartum support from an experienced professional truly is. It is for this reason I became a certified postpartum doula and breastfeeding support professional. Let's face it, so much happens in the early days and months yet our society offers very little support! Families are recovering from childbirth, getting to know their new baby and trying to function on little sleep. All this takes time and the journey should be simplified, honoured and supported for optimal family transitioning.
If you, or someone you know, could benefit from support in any of the capacities mentioned please feel free to have them connect with me. I am here for you!
#1. I'm a West Coast girl!