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yourdoulabag — Childbirth Activist


My Doula Dream - Inspiration in the Labor Room 2

Doula Decor - You Are Strong Enough

I have a doula dream.

It's a small dream that I believe could achieve a huge result.

I want to remove all of the pain scale posters that plague the laboring rooms of hospitals around the world and replace them with inspirational messages and images.  Wouldn't it be inspiring in labor to look up and see a sign like this one?   Would anyone really miss the sign with the smiley face that eventually turns into a frowning and crying face?

Let's inspire women during labor.

Let's boost their confidence and be their cheerleader.

I'm going to start with one of my local hospitals.  I can't be sure that I'll make any headway, but I know that it won't happen if I don't try.

Care to join me in this effort?

The Power in Birth 0


[caption id="attachment_1158" align="aligncenter" width="575"]Joule Birth founder, Tammy Ryan in action Joule Birth founder, Tammy Ryan in action[/caption]

Joule Birth, Inc., a nonprofit organization, exists to increase life expectancy in low resource countries for MotherBaby through alternative energies, childbirth education, and by providing necessary materials. We provide evidence based prenatal education, labor support and postpartum management in areas with limited access to healthcare. We provide assessments of current power sources and repurpose existing material to implement stable power. We help to reduce barriers so MotherBaby will have access to skilled emergency care and we partner with other globally minded organizations to fulfill needed supplies to improve the safety of childbirth. To date, Joule birth has worked in Burundi, Rwanda, DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and South Korea. Currently, we have been asked to work with the university in Ethiopia teaching skills to their students such as rescue breathing, childbirth education and positioning during labor. In a country with over 80 million people there are only 1000 midwives. In Ethiopia 95% of the population gives birth without a skilled attendant present. We are working with them on getting solar equipment into the hands of rural midwives to help make childbirth safer. By educating and empowering women during the childbirth years we can help them make a positive impact in their community. For more information on the work being do go to or you can email us at

Tammy Ryan, CD(DONA) 

Tammy Ryan is a doula, birth doula trainer and is the Midwestern US Director for DONA International. She lives in Iowa and has been married for 28 years to a very supportive husband. They have 3 grown sons. Joule Birth is a non profit created by Tammy and her husband to serve low resource countries through education and technology.

Improve Birth 0

While I am not participating in an Improving Birth Rally today, my thoughts go out to everyone involved.  Birth needs improvement. Actually it needs to be left alone and trusted.  We need the medical establishment to keep birth safe, but we do not need interference when it isn't necessary.

To all who participated today, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

Hospital Policies - I just don't get it 5


Some hospital policies make sense and others just blow my mind.  A local hospital restricts moms to ice chips in labor when being induced, but mom can get IV narcotics whenever she wants.  She can even get IV narcotics when she is pushing because they "have something for the baby" if baby is born quickly and has respiratory issues.

Does this make sense?  Is the risk of drinking water in labor really greater than IV narcotics?  What is going on here?  I find these kind of policies really hard to wrap my brain around.  IV Narcotics are often presented to moms as "something to take the edge off".  How about a sip of water?  That might take the edge off as well.  Or a shower?  I was practically begging a nurse to let my client into a shower in labor recently with no luck.  This same nurse was quick to offer Fentanyl.  How is Fentanyl safer than a shower?

Doulas, don't these types of policies confuse you?  I know I'm not the only one to feel this way.


My Doula Dreams are Coming True! 0


I've pinched myself a few times over the past 24 hours and I can verify that this isn't a dream.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have recently released a statement titled "Choosing Wisely: Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question" where inductions were mentioned in 2 of the 5 items!

From the statement:

1. Don’t schedule elective, non-medically indicated inductions of labor or Cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks 0 days gestational age.

2. Don’t schedule elective, non-medically indicated inductions of labor between 39 weeks 0 days and 41 weeks 0 days unless the cervix is deemed favorable.

Number 1 isn't too shocking.  The March of Dimes and their awesome campaign has really seemed to limit scheduled inductions and Csections prior to 39 weeks.  Its number 2 that is the one to really pay attention to.  ACOG is saying that inductions shouldn't be done if the cervix isn't favorable!  YAHOO!!  They even go on to say "Ideally, labor should start on its own initiative whenever possible."  Can you see me dancing?  ACOG is finally making a statement saying that it isn't just waiting until after 39 weeks, but that it should be done if mom's body isn't ready.  Of course I would really be dancing if it would have said something like "let labor begin on its own whenever possible", but I'll take "unless the cervix is deemed favorable".

Could this mean that we see a decline in inductions for convenience?  Could this mean that I won't have another client being sent for an induction when her cervix isn't favorable? 

I am so hopeful that this statement will make some changes to induction policy and maybe we can eventually see the csection rate decrease.     

What will you do with this information?  I encourage you to get the word, tweet and do a Facebook post about it.  Tell your clients and students about it.  It's big news.  Let's make the most of it.

A National Healthcare Crisis - Our Current CSection Rate 0


When will our csection rate be too high?  Most doulas and childbirth educators already think it is too high, but when will everyone agree that it's too high?  Could it reach 50%, 60%...what about 100%?  I think it's already a national health crisis.  What do you think?