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Standing out in the Doula Profession

I am not afraid to be noticed while walking into the hospital.  View full article →
May 26, 2015

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Doula Bag Starter Pack

If you are a doula then you have probably had a conversation about 'what is in your doula bag?'  Our company was created around the idea of providing items to fill this bag, but the truth is that a doula doesn't need a doula bag to do great work.  I've often heard doulas say that all they need is their 'heart and hands' for their work. 

 Doula Bag Starter Pack

I would agree, however I also think that a few key items can make doula work easier and more fun too.  For this reason, we have put together a 'Starter Pack'.   This pack contains 9 items to get your doula bag and doula work off to a great start! 

 The pack is a mixture of tools for labor, snack for the laboring team, an item to show doula pride and tools for awesome client communication. 

Below is a video with more information about each of the Starter Pack items and how to use them. 

 

 

What are you favorite starter items for the doula bag?  Please let us know in the comments! 

Looking to Purchase a Starter Pack?

 

What is a Birth Doula? My Doula Elevator Speech

When I jump in an elevator wearing my doula tshirt and another passenger asks "What is a doula?", it is time to bring out the "Doula Elevator Speech"  

What is a doula? Doula Elevator SpeechBefore I perfected my 'doula elevator speech' this question often resulted in a very confusing jumble of descriptions that left the person who asked the question with a puzzled look on their face.  If I didn't start with an easy description that they could quickly understand I often lost them before I even got started.  They tuned me out and didn't get to hear about the most amazing profession that I am so passionate about!  I spent some time working on this speech and not have it down to a one-minute concise description highlighting what I feel is most important about my role as a birth doula.  

I took some time and worked on this speech and now have it down to a one-minute concise description highlighting what I feel is most important about my role as a birth doula.  I don't try to convince the listener to use a doula.  My goal is to clearly explain the role and my job to the listener in under one minute.

 

 What Is Included in My Doula Elevator Speech

I wanted the speech to start with a comparison to something that most people understand.  I think this is a great way to begin and a quick win for me!  The listener gets an immediate picture of what I do.

From there I expand with details about what a doula does and I give the details that I think are most important.  Doulas know that we do a lot, but I tried to use top level descriptions.  I then tried to cover the most common things that people ask.  This includes "Do you catch the baby?" and "Do you do medical procedures" and "Do you only work with moms that want to go natural?".  

What Is Not Included in My Doula Elevator Speech

I don't mention my training, experience or background in the speech.  While this information is important, I don't think it is needed to make my point.  This is the type of information that I would go over during an interview or when a am speaking to someone who is interested in my personal story.  I also don't mention anything about my personal opinions on tricky topics like birth choices, c-section, epidurals and circumcision. 

What does your elevator speech include?

I would love to hear about how you quickly describe your job as doula.  What do you include or omit?  Please share in the comments below. 

 

Visitors At Your Birth? Infographic

Deciding who will be at  your labor and birth can be a tricky decision.  As a doula, I have seen first hand how this decision can have a significant impact on labor and birth.  I have also seen many times how the lack of planning on this topic has created chaos, confusion and hurt feelings.  In 2013, I created the Labor/Birth Visitor test and have been using in with my own doula clients and childbirth education students.   Per the request of other birth professionals, I have created the 'Visitors At Your Birth? Infographic' seen below.


This infographic is designed to get mothers-to-be and their partners thinking about the important decision.  It promotes the idea of creating a plan for visitors and communicating this plan with their support team.  There is no right answer to the question of whether or not to have visitors at your birth. We are merely suggesting that the decision be carefully considered and that women know that they have the right to say no to any visitor for any reason.  

This infographic is available in a two page PDF file for anyone to purchase and download.  We encourage doulas and childbirth educators to purchase and print copies for their clients and students.  It is a great way to get this important conversation about visitors started.

Get My Own Copy For My Clients

   

Unboxing MamAmor's Birthing and Breastfeeding Doll

MamAmor is the company “with those awesome birthing and breastfeeding dolls.  Yes, you probably have heard of this company or seen the dolls.  I heard about MamAmor a few year ago and saw the dolls up close and personal at a DONA conference, but hadn’t made a purchase…until now!

I invested in a MamAmor birthing and breastfeeding classic doll! 

Birthing and Breastfeeding DollI finally decided to make my purchase decision when I was looking for a good teaching tool for older children expecting a sibling.  I have a fetus/placenta/uterus model, but those seem a little too abstract for children.  I can just hear the questions with that model. "Where does the baby come out?"

The MamAmor Birthing and Breastfeeding Doll is an excellent teaching tool for my collection and I would be remiss to not mention the beautiful quality!  Tulip (my doll's given name) is wearing a gorgeous hand knit cardigan sweater and matching shoes.  She has on a lovely sundress and is accessorized with a flower in her thick multicolored yarn hair.  Tulip's baby is outfitted in a soft flannel diaper and matching blanket (but is usually naked because of the importance of skin to skin).  

  

I decided to create an unboxing video to share my excitement and thrill for finally making this purchase!  I hope you enjoy the video and get to really see a detailed look at this one of a kind birthing and breastfeeding doll. 

 What can you demonstrate with a birthing a breastfeeding doll?

  • Fetal positions: breech, posterior, anterior
  • Delayed Cord Clamping
  • Delivery of the placenta
  • Breastfeeding positions
  • Skin to Skin

I can't wait to put this doll to good use.  In the meantime, my four kids are having fun with her.  The baby has been named Bartholomew and has been birthed countless times! The next purchase they would like me to make is a MamAmor Puppy! Yes, the puppy gives birth too. 

What are your favorite teaching tools?  Please share in the comment section!

Doula Business Chat #7 - Client Services

 

 

 

 

IDoula Bag Client Servicesn this seventh edition of the Doula Business Chat (#doulabizchat) we discuss client services.  Many doulas offer services that are complementary to their doula services.  We discuss the different services that doulas are currently being offered, brainstorm on other possible complementary services and discuss how and why we would want to add to our current practice. 

 

Advantages of adding additional services
  • Provide quality services to our clients
  • Increase the earning potential of each client interaction

Most Common Complementary Services Offered

  • Childbirth Education
  • Lactation Consulting
  • Placenta Encapsulation (this one is the most talked about right now!)

 

One of the doulas on video with me, Erin, brought up a great question. How does offering additional services have an impact on our Doula Code of Ethics? This is an excellent question!  Each of us must evaluate this process and make sure that we are working within our scope.  One thought that came from the chat box, was to create separate contracts for each of the services we offer.  I also think that we need to make sure that our clients are aware of our training and certifications for all services that we offer.

   Get Worksheet with 40 service ideas

Services Discussed on Video with links to training

What services do you offer?  Are there trainings that you recommend?  Please share in the comments! 

Doula Business Chat - Session #6 - Hot Topics

Doula Business Chat March 15th we hosted our 6th Doula Business Chat (#doulabizchat).  The Doula Business Chat is a discussion open to anyone who is interested in talking about doula work.  The discussion takes place as a Google Hangout on Air and is completely free to participants.   

The Our 6th Doula Business Chat (#doulabizchat) was a free form chat where we opened the discussion up to any hot topic that the participants wanted to talk about.  It turned out to be a lively discussion about everything from doula rates to how to be a doula when you have small children.  There were several doulas that joined on the video and loads that joined in the chat box. 

What hot topics did we miss?  Please enter your ideas for a Doula Business Chat Topic in the comments of this post.

Mark your calendar for the next Doula Book Club Chat featuring the book Natural Hospital Birth. The Chat will take place on May 14th at 9pm ET. 

 

 

 

 

 

What is bloody show and why doulas love it!

Bloody show is a term that makes most people cringe.  It isn’t something that is commonly discussed at a cocktail party.  However, these two words are music to our ears!

Just what is bloody show anyway?

Just inside the cervix lies a mass of mucous.  The role of the mucous is to keep bacteria out of the uterus thereby keeping the fetus safe from infection.  The mucous stays inside the body as long as the cervix stays closed and hard.  As the cervix begins to thin and open the mucus can start to come out.  If the mucus comes out in a mass it is called the mucus plug.  If capillaries located around the cervix brake during this process the mucous can be tinged with blood.  Blood tinged mucus is called BLOODY SHOW.   Bloody show can vary from brown tinged (blood that is a bit older) to quite red. 

Bloody show

When it comes out and what it means

As the cervix opens and thins bloody show often appears and will also increase in quantity.  If the cervix opens quickly we can also see an increase in bloody show.  For these reasons, doulas love to hear their client’s report that they have bloody show.   Doulas don’t check cervical dilation, but if we hear that our client has had bloody show we have a good idea that the cervix is making some change.

Why I love bloody show

From my experience, when there is a significant amount of bloody show that usually means good cervical dilation is happening.  The opposite can also be true, if a woman has no show then her cervix might be slower to dilate.  Each woman is unique in the amount of bloody show that appears in labor.  I'll go ahead and admit to often asking my clients as they leave the restroom "any bloody show?" or "how'd it go in there, anything interesting?"  

{All women should contact their healthcare providers with any questions or concerns about bloody show or any other bleeding or discharge.}

What's your experience with bloody show?

Did you have bloody show in labor?  Are you a doula that loves bloody show just like me?  Please leave a comment and share your experiences!

 

If you liked this blog, please check out our top downloaded handout on being "Limp and Loose for Labor"

 

Doula Book Club - Mindful Birthing

Doula Book Club

In our first doula book club we featured Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond.  Published in 2012 and written by Nancy Bardacke, CNM this book focuses on using mindful techniques for working through labor, birth and early parenting. 

I chose this book after hearing about it from a few of my doula clients.  I have had a little practice in mindfulness and thought that using this technique for childbirth could be such a useful technique. 

On February 24th I hosted a book club to discuss this book.  Below is the recording from that discussion.

 

  

The author, Nancy Bardacke, CNM is the founding director of the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) program and leads a MBCP class.  In the book, she gives a lot of real quotes from her students about using the practice for childbirth. 

Here are a few pieces of the book that I really enjoyed:

Chapter 1 - Nancy describes the conversation that she has with all of her students before the class starts.  She makes sure they are aware of the concept and style of class.  This is an excellent idea.  We all want to fill our classes, but isn't it more important that our students get to the class that is right for them.

p 24.  The way in which Nancy describes labor is really unique and thought prvoking.

p 69.  Horticultural Time vs. Industrial time is an excellent concept!

p 130-131 Nancy describes how NOT to stimulate the thinking mind of a woman in labor and why that is important.  This section is a must read for all birth partners and doulas.

I really enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to parents interested in mindfulness and looking for more techniques to manage the challenges of pregnancy, labor, birth and parenting.  I think couples that practice mindful birthing techniques will have a powerful set of tools for labor, especially those interested in natural childbirth or avoid intervention. 

Thank you Nancy for putting a great resource out in the world.

 

 

Epidural? 6 Ways a Doula Can Support

There is a myth out there that doulas only support unmedicated birth.  Doulas support all types of birth and moms planning to use an epidural for pain management absolutely can benefit from the services of a doula.  I have put together 6 ways that doulas can provide support to moms using an epidural. 

Epidural? 6 ways that a doula can support.

These are just 6 of the ways that doulas can support with an epidural, but there are so many more!  A doula supports her clients even before labor begins with birth planning.  She often meets a client at home in early labor and helps her decide when to leave for the hospital.  There are so many ways in which a doula can support a mom planning an epidural.  I hope the myth about doula and unmedicated births can finally be disproven!

 

Get Your Own PDF Download

 

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