September 29, 2014


Pinterest for Birth Professionals

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! 


September 03, 2014


Induction with Cervidil: Tips from a doula and childbirth educator

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. 

Induction of Labor: A Doula makes sense of cervidil

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

  • Most care providers insert the cervidil at night so that mom can sleep for the 12 hours that it is in. It is important to eat a good dinner before you arrive at the hospital for the insertion.   
  • Sometimes cervidil causes regular labor contractions. (yahoo! This is the goal of an induction. If you have a doula, give her an update!)
  • Sometimes cervidil does nothing. This means the cervix is the same before and after the cervidil. (very annoying to most women)
  • Sometimes cervidil dilates the cervix a bit. (yahoo! This means mom is closer to the goal of 10cm)
  • Usually cervidil only softens the cervix. This means that a woman’s cervix is more effaced/thinned after cervidil. (in my experience this happens most of the time)
  • Occasionally cervidil causes extreme contractions (uterine hyperstimulation) that are right on top of each other. In this case you should alert your nurse and care provider. They usually can remove the cervidil if this happens.(this does happen! I've witnessed it)
  • Sometimes providers will do 2 does of cervidil if the first dose did not achieve the desired results.
  • While cervidil is inserted, sleep is the top priority. Sleeping in the hospital isn’t usually very comfortable or easy.  To help encourage sleep, setup the room in a way to promote sleep.  Bring pillows from home, turn out all of the lights, use white noise with headphones if that helps to cover the hospital sounds.  I even recommend putting a battery operated candle in the bathroom so you don't have to turn on that light at night. Sleep is so important!! Sleep, sleep, sleep!
  • When cervidil is removed women can request a shower and a good meal before the next step of the induction begins. THIS IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Labor is a strenuous physical activity.  Fuel your body before labor just as you would before a physical challenge.  
  • Questions about cervidil or your options for labor? Ask your care provider! It’s your birth, don’t hesitate to get the information you need to make the choices that are right for you.

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.

August 18, 2014


Why cover your birth ball? Tips for packing your hospital bag.

Is a cover for the birth ball really necessary?  Well maybe not, but in this short video you will see some of the reasons why I think it is not only a good idea, but a great tip for doula and mamas packing their hospital bags. 


 Do you use a ball cover?  Please share your experience below!

June 18, 2014


May 18, 2014


32 Options For Childbirth (epidural isn't the only option)

Did you catch all 32?  There are so many options for working through labor.  I am sure there are childbirth educators and doulas that can add ideas to this list.  

I would love to share this video with anyone preparing for childbirth.  Please help me spread the word.

If you don't know your options then you don't have any!


May 04, 2014


Have Ball, Will Travel - Doulas are ready!


Doulas have the skills and equipment necessary to support moms labor and are ready to do it anywhere.

In the photo above I am on the way to teach a private Lamaze childbirth education class to a couple who lives in my neighborhood.  I don't typically travel on my bike with my doula bag and birth ball, but if I needed to reach a client in labor via bicycle I would definitely make it work.  Doulas overcome all sorts of travel challenges and life obstacles in order to get to their clients in labor.  They live with the knowledge that at any moment they might have to interrupt their own lives and head off to a client in labor. Most of our lives are lived on call and we are ready to go at a moments notice.

One of the key skills doulas must posses is flexibility. No two clients are alike, no two births are alike.  Each labor is unique.  It is one of the things that makes the profession so exciting.   Doulas have the skills to support ALL types of moms in labor.  They support moms with various goals, hopes and dreams for birth.  They support moms of various cultures, educations and socioeconomic levels.  They support moms with various heath conditions, body types and ages.  They support moms with and without partners. 

I haven't met a doula that wasn't pushed out of her comfort zone while supporting a mom into labor.  The needs of the clients are top priority and meeting those needs might require more than we could ever imagine.  

Was there ever a time when you were pushed beyond your usual limits, sprung to action at a horribly inconvenient time or labored with a client in a unusual location. Please share! 

April 27, 2014


10 great things about birth conferences (not including the actual sessions!)


10. A weekend filled with birth stories

9. Being surrounded by people passionate about birth.

8. Regularly hearing words like placenta, vagina and cervix in the hotel lobby, restaurants and hallways.

7. Exhibitors displaying awesome birth products, art and educational items.

6. Learning about birth all over the world from birth workers who travelled to the conference.

5. Birth humor is appreciated and encouraged!

4. Access to birth celebrities! (Like Gail Tully, Debra Pascali Bonaro and Suzanne Arms)

3. Meeting other professionals who absolutely understand what you do. (No more "what's a doula?" Questions)

2. Birth tshirts, jewelry and pins are encouraged and admired.

1. Meeting the birth professionals you have gotten to know through social media in real life

April 04, 2014


YourDoulaBag On the Road In 2014

One of the most exciting aspects of owning a doula products and services company is being able to connect with doula around the world.  I connect with many doulas virtually through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but connecting in real life is the best.  I have been fortunate enough to travel to many doula conferences in the last 4 1/2 years and have many events setup for 2014. 

YourDoulaBag Events for 2014

 Date Event Location
April 24-27, 2014 Midwifery Today Conference Harrisburg, PA

July 2014 (exact date tbd)

YourDoulaBag Trunk Show and Networking Event Cincinnati, OH
July 2014 (exact date tbd) YourDoulaBag Trunk Show and Networking Event Detroit, MI
July 2014 (exact date tdb) YourDoulaBag Trunk Show and Networking Event Toronto, ON 

September 10-13, 2014

ICEA Conference Asheville, NC

September 18-21, 2014

Lamaze DONA Joint Conference Kansas City, MO
November 12-14, 2014 Maternal-Infant Safety 2014 Conference Atlanta, GA


Can I tempt you to attend one of these events?  I'll have great doula items up for sale and an abundance of great doula conversation! Let's meet! 

February 19, 2014


ACOG Finally Gets It!


I am beyond excited about the new statement released from ACOG.  It is absolutely incredible.  I CAN'T WAIT for this news to travel down to actual changes in care.  I want to print out this statement and carry it in my doula bag.  I want to give a copy to all of my childbirth education students.  I want to shout the information from the rooftops! 

There are so many great things to be happy about with this statement.  Lamaze's Science and Sensibility Blog does a nice job summarizing the information. Some of my favorites include:

1) Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula.

2) Active Labor is now 6cm

3) Induction of labor can increase the risk of cesarean.

Send me a photo of you jumping for joy and I'll add it to the page.  Let's show ACOG how happy we are!

Allison is jumping for joy in BC, Canada! (her bumper sticker says "if I'm speeding...she's 8cm")

Carrie is jumping for joy.


February 15, 2014


Doula Tip: Grab their attention with Logo Rice Socks

If you are ready to be remembered, give your contacts something more memorable than a business card.  How about a rice sock with your business logo on it?

5 steps to GRAB the attention of a potential client

1) Contact your referral partners and ask if they will give away rice socks to their pregnant clients.  Their clients get a free tool for labor and it is at no cost to your referral partner. 

2) Create logo rice socks 

3) Attach a business card to the rice socks with a rubber band. (this step is optional)  You can add a discount coupon to the card if you are running a promotion.

4) Deliver rice socks to referral partners

5) Wait for the referrals to come flooding in!

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