One of my all time favorite places for labor is the hospital bathroom. Say what?? Yes, it is the truth! With a little transforming the hospital bathroom can be an awesome laboring location.
How to transform a hospital bathroom starts with the lighting. The hospital lights are so harsh that I recommend never turning them on. NEVER EVER EVER turn those lights on! As a doula, one of the first things that I do is to grab some battery operated candles from my doula bag. I place three of these in the bathroom and they create enough ambient light for safety purposes and are so much better that the florescent overhead lights.
When mom is ready to spend more time laboring in the bathroom we can go ahead and add music. If she is enjoying music for labor it is a great addition to the cave. She might be listening to a playlist or just streaming some ambient spa-like music.
After the lighting and music are set the next super important step is to close (or crack open) the door. This is so important to actually get that cave-like feel. With the door closed or mostly closed she won't feel like she is being watched. It is a comforting feeling for most moms. Sometime moms even want to be left completely alone. In that case we need to make sure that mom knows that her partner and doula are right outside the door. If moms do want company in the cave we can pull in a stool for her partner/doula. Don't forget, Mom also needs a beverage, preferably a cup with a straw.
The bathroom is a great place to labor whether it be in the tub, shower or the toilet!
We all lead busy lives. Sometimes we are so caught up in the day to day grind that we don't have time to look forward to the next year. As doulas we are often scheduling clients many months out, but are we scheduling work towards or business goals?
It doesn't take an advanced degree to know that we need to take time to set goals for our business. Without goals our biggest dreams for our businesses and lives won't be realized...or not in a timely manner for sure. Taking time to set goals and follow-up on them is no easy task!
Back in 2013, I stumbled upon Leonie Dawson's business planning workbooks. They immediately appealed to my creative spirit and really spoke to me. I decided to give them a try! I made the purchase, downloaded the file and uploaded it to Fedex where I had the workbook printed and bound. I remember how excited I was when I picked it up. I couldn't wait to have a moment alone to read it and start filling out the pages. With four kids at home, a business to run and a million other things that were taking my attention this took awhile. When I finally had time to dive into this workbook I WAS HOOKED!
Leonie's workbook is female focused and designed for the entrepreneur that has a business with a clear purpose. The pages lead you through the planning process with questions that are necessary to answer in order to make progress in your business. Filling out the workbook takes time and energy. It took me several sessions or quiet time and many cups of coffee. It was SO worth it! In 2013, I was able to lead a more organized effort to grow my business and this workbook was key to this success.
Here we are at the cusp of 2015 and I just purchased the new version of the workbook! I was actually bubbling with excitement when I got an email alerting me that it was out! I purchased the ebook because I am trying to be more paperless, but I'm leaning to printing it out again. There is just a wonderful satisfaction to scribbling, doodling and crossing things off.
I believe that this workbook is ideal for women entrepreneurs. If you are looking for a planning resource I highly recommend that you take a look at this workbook. Leonie also has other cool programs related to goal setting, blogging and getting the most out of your life. In full disclosure, I am part of Leonie's referral network (meaning I make $ for all sales I refer). I love the product and wouldn't suggest it if I didn't use it myself and believe that it will be helpful to my customers and blog readers.
If you decide to plan your year using this workbook, please let me know! I am putting together a group so that we can all keep each other on track and make the most out of 2015!
Leave a comment below and let me know what tools you recommend for business planning or if you also use Leonie's workbook.
The setting for most of my private classes is in my clients home, usually in a family room. There is often a coffee table in the center of the room which is the perfect spot for a set of compact posters. This set along with my demonstration baby/uterus/placenta/cord and pelvis models are my primary visual aids.
What items are essentials in your private childbirth classes? Click on the comment link to the left of the post and let us know!
After doula training is done, the doula bag seems to be the next project to tackle. Your list of items will likely evolve as you get more experience. Many doulas start out carrying a lot of items and then end up with a lean bag. Sometime I even hear doulas say that they don't carry any tools in their bags but instead carry items just for themselves.
My bag has definitely changed through the years, but there are 5 items that I feel are my must haves.
What do you think are your doula bag must have items? I would love to find out! Please click on the 'comment' link on the side of the blog and share your knowledge.
Also, we are happy to send you our list if you would like. Click here!
The Peanut Ball is the hottest tool for labor. At the recent Lamaze DONA Conference I think I heard that phrase uttered thousands of times. At YourDoulaBag, we have been offering the ball for purchase for almost one full year and we were curious about how life with the peanut is going. We created a quick survey and have some interesting results to share.
Have you used your Peanut Ball yet?
It's pretty clear that survey respondents are actually using their peanut balls.
If you have used your peanut ball, how do you like it?
Results here are a little mixed, but the majority (63%) either love it or like it. Our comments on the question were interesting. Emily Nolan not only selected "I love it", but went on to comment that it is "A lifesaver for moms who have epidurals or who have otherwise limited mobility." Another respondent said "Even though the hospital had one too, neither the nurses or I knew how to use it properly. Harder than it looks!"
Are you pleased with the size of your Peanut Ball?
While the majority of respondents were pleased with the sized, we did have some conflicting comments. One respondent said "I feel like I might enjoy also a bigger one" and another respondent said "I had to deflate it a bit to get a better fit". I think the conclusion here is that moms aren't one size and the peanut ball (just like the birth ball) won't fit perfectly for all women.
Are you pleased with the Quality of your Peanut Ball?
As the retailer, we are so pleased with the answer to this question. As a result we will continue to offer the Gymnic Brand balls.
Do you use a cover on your Peanut Ball?
Covers on the Peanut seem to be popular and desired. One respondent said "LOVE the cover" and Lou Ann Damsma answered "I use the cover to carry the ball and then sheets or hospital gowns to cover it in labor." Our ball covers will fit the 65cm round balls and the 40cm peanut balls that we sell.
Why do you like having a Peanut Ball?
We received lots of answers to this question and have chosen a few to share.
1) Sarah Wingrove said "Keeps moms' pelvises open when lying in bed with an epidural"
2) Daine Zacharin said "More options to offer"
3) Janis Spinak said "Allow ladies to use during class with position changes to see how pelvis opens"
4) Emily Nolan said "Additionally, as a doula, there's often a feeling of frustration when an epidural is placed- in that it becomes much more difficult to help labor progress when mom is confined to the bed. I don't feel so helpless when I have the peanut ball, because I've seen it work its magic in aiding labor progress in more than a few women whose care providers suspected 'failure to progress'"
Our goal is to provide the best tools that will make a difference in the lives of our customers. It seems like our customers in the whole are pleased with their purchase of the peanut ball and are actually getting some good use out of it. We have put together a blog with references to more information about the peanut, but the next step for us is to put together even more resources so that our customers will get the most out of this product.
Here is where we would like to hear from you! Please comment below with any questions that you have about the peanut ball. We want to know what you are still wondering about this product.
The muscle at the center of labor is the uterus and the cervix is the passageway between the uterus and the vagina. I like to think of the cervix like doors that have to open up before the baby can exit. The role of each contraction is to gently open the cervix or open up the doors.
The cervix should open more effectively when the laboring woman is limp and loose. This isn't easy! During contractions it is common to want to brace against the sensation. Women are often seen squeezing their partner's hand, grabbing onto bed rails, clenching their bum and even closing their eyes with a good deal of force.
8 Tips on staying Limp and Loose for Labor:
1. Open mouth and let lower jaw hang.
2. Shake out arms and hands.
3. Blow horse lips
4. Rest hands with palms facing upward
5. Move shoulders up and down noticing
6. Have support people use phrases like "limp and loose", "rag doll", and "go boneless"
7. Check in with your bum. No bum clenching!
8. Wiggle it! If any areas seem tight try to give them a wiggle to release the muscles.
Not only should staying limp and loose help contractions be more effective, but reducing tension also helps lower pain!
I had found relief through using heat packs for my own aches and pains from time to time and was pleased to incorporate them into my doula practice. The rice socks from Your Doula Bag are fantastic and I give them to all of my clients at our last visit before their birth. I must say this gift might be a bit selfish because, almost always, my very excited client calls me between 10pm and 3am, saying that she has started having contractions. After talking for a few minutes and evaluating her state, I usually I remind her and her partner that the best thing to do right now is sleep. I ask her partner to heat up the rice sock, to both climb in bed and for her partner to press the sock against her low back while they rest together as much as possible. It usually buys me a couple hours of shut eye, myself. Well worth the cost of a rice sock!
Additionally, I have had the fortunate problem lately where I've had too many of my yoga students wanting to enlist my service as their doula. My solution was to create a workshop where I can bolster the confidence of my students' partners by giving away many of my secrets and allowing them to leave with a literal "bag of tricks." Of course, this bag always includes a rice sock, among other things.
My clients are always so grateful for the comfort this little sock provides and they often tell me that they have continued to use them long after their baby's birth. And then two years later when she's pregnant again and her pregnancy brain says, "What was the name of our doula's company again? ...Right, Zen Mommas." And there's your return client.
Aimee lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband 2 year old son. She has been working with pregnant families as a prenatal yoga teacher and doula for the past 6 years. She feels so grateful for the opportunity to support women and their families during this precious time. www.zenmommas.com
We've seen them in the gym and called them exercise balls for years. We have even considered switching out our desk chairs for one. Once you become pregnant they are suddenly BIRTH BALLS! These large round items are awesome before, during and after labor. Check out our user guide below for details! We think they are a must for birthing mamas, doulas and childbirth educators. Pack your hospital bag or doula bag and grab one of these and you'll be ready.
The Lamaze DONA Conference in Kansas city was amazing. The speakers and sessions were fabulous. The exhibitors were excellent. Best of all, the time between the sessions were filled with wonderful networking with birth professionals. I have put together a video with my highlights from this awesome event below.
Take a peek at our video and find out more about my experience as a speaker, meeting my customers in real life and what it is like to bump into birth celebrites like Penny Simkin, Debra Pascali-Bonaro and Gail Tully.
More pics for you include:
Alice with 3 of the doulas from the Doula Collective of Tulsa.
Doula Sarah Goebel honored us by wearing the tshirt she purchased from us. LOVE THAT!
Don't forget to check out my Pinterest presentation blog and infographic.
Hold on to your seats! This isn't my only blog about the conference. Stay tuned for more to come including highlights from the speakers and sessions.