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.
I recently presented a session at the Lamaze DONA joint conference in Kansas City about using Pinterest for birth professionals. It was a great experience and I so enjoyed presenting this great topic. Below you will find an infographic presenting most of the highlights of the presentation. Please post a comment with any of your questions about using Pinterest!
What is Cervidil:
Cervidil is a medication used in the induction of labor. In the most basic of descriptions it looks like a tampon with gel on the end of it. Its generic name is dinoprostone.
When is it used:
Care providers will often use Cervidil as the first step in an induction. If a woman’s cervix is not dilated or dilated only a little, cervidil can be used.
How does it work:
Cervidil is inserted vaginally. Some women report a discomfort with this process. It stays in and is usually removed 12 hours later or if regular labor contractions begin. Sometimes it will fall out. Usually moms stay in bed or in a chair during the 12 hours, but can get up and go to the bathroom. Most care providers monitor women while they have cervidil (this means contraction and fetal monitoring). In some areas of the world, providers have sent women home with cervidil inserted and have them return for removal (this doesn’t seem to be the norm).
Tips and other information
Have you experienced cervidil? Please comment below.
Are you a doula that has supported women who have had cervidil? Please comment below.
common sense disclaimer: I'm a doula and childbirth educator. The blog above contains information from my experiences and my research. I'm also a wife of an attorney who likes me to include this information.