Quite simply, the answer is NO! Although attending your actual birth is a HUGE part of our job, there is a lot of heart and soul that goes into our work before and after the big day. Every doula offers slightly different packages depending on their qualifications, size of the package and if they offer additional services. In my area a typical Birth Doula package tends to look like this:
Wow! Right? Once you have hired a Birth Doula you will have access to so much incredible information and support! Remember, when you are paying for a Certified Birth Doula you are not just paying for any joe blow to show up to your birth!
You are paying to have up-to-date, evidence based information at your fingertips throughout the duration of your contract so that you don’t have to go scouring the internet trying to figure out what is fact and what is fiction.
You are paying for someone to help you prepare for your birth. Sometimes this means prenatal education, it might mean preparing a birth plan together, it might be talking about your fears and how to move through them. For each family their prenatal needs are different and it is our job to help make sure you have all of your bases covered!
You are paying for 2-3 weeks of on-call support! This means your doula could literally have to leave at the drop of a hat, putting their own family life on hold to share in your special day. It also means no drinking, early nights, eating well and exercising so that your doula is in peak condition whenever that call comes in!
You are paying for someone to attend your labour & birth whether it is 2 hours or 40 hours in length! Check out this great image on what a doula does during labour & birth!
PHOTO: National Partnership for Women and Families
You are paying for support in the early postpartum period (which new families often feel are the most challenging). Your doula can help with breastfeeding, light housework, meal prep or offering reassurance when you feel like “She never sleeps!” or “He is feeding ALL of the time!”
Families often underestimate the importance of support in the postpartum period, when in fact, there is a completely separate type of doula that ONLY offers support after the baby is born. A Postpartum Doula realizes the significance of your transition into parenthood or your journey from a parent with one child to multiple children.
But I digress! Back to Labour & Birth Doulas, you can clearly see that while your birth is a large part of the job, there is also a relationship that is formed along the way between client & doula. This relationship is different from any other relationship in your birth team and most will agree, a Birth Doula is NOT an investment you will regret, and NO, it is not just about the birth!
But is it? I have been talking to moms in my community about what they did to care for their injured perineum after the birth of their child and received answers ranging from using a hairdryer to sitz baths. Each mother had found their own way to cope, but when a colleague introduced me to padsicles I knew they would take home the win! When talking to people who had used padsicles the only complaint was that they wished they had more!
So what is a padsicle? Quite simply, it is a pad that has been frozen like a popsicle (see what they did there ;) !). What people put on a padsicle varies greatly from water to complex mixtures. At Bellies Birth and Beyond we use a mixture of alcohol free witch hazel, aloe gel and essential oil (provided by Healing Earth Apothecary) which acts as a disinfectant, has healing properties, and when frozen offers pain relief. AMAZING RIGHT?!? Who wouldn’t want a padsicle?!?!
$10/bottle Padsicle Mix Available Locally Now!
So you take our pre made mixture (or make your own), spray it on a pad of your choice, wrap it up and freeze it for when your lady bits are in need of some extra TLC! Not only do you get all of the benefits to your sore perineum, but it also catches your flow acting as a two-in-one magic bundle of heaven!
If you would like more information on padsicles we would be happy to answer any questions you have at firstname.lastname@example.org!
First of all, NO, it's not just a bunch of pictures of your vagina!!
Birth photography is all about capturing the moments of your birth. Those intimate moments while you labour. Your partner's loving support, the rush of the contractions, the amazing strength your body has and the power that is you! It is about remembering the details of your birth room, the moment baby was first laid on your chest, the first latch, dad's first glimpse of that sweet bundle of joy, and the moment that you realize you have done it! You have made the most perfect human!!
Let a birth photographer capture those once in a lifetime moments of your baby's life! You would be amazed by how quickly your new baby will change in just a mere few hours. Your birth photographer will capture that beautiful coney head, the slightly squishy nose, that gorgeous cheesy vernix, and all those moments you only get for such a short period of time!
Doesn't that deserve the same attention as the other monumentous moments in your life?! Let a birth photographer take away the worry of missing a shot or the regret that you didn't capture that precious time together! Walk away with your birth captured in a collection of beautiful photos you can hold onto and treasure for the reast of your life! Photos that will tell the birth story of how you became a parent for the first, second or tenth time!
Giving birth is one of the most important journeys of your life, and to have your story captured from beginning to end is amazing! You may regret not hiring a birth photographer to capture the big day, but you will never regret actually hiring one...that's a promise!
First, let’s do a mental backflip! Many professionals in the birth world like to refer to it as a birth wishlist instead of a birth “plan”. Why? Because birth is unpredictable! A plan implies you have a level of control, when in truth, birth is all about letting go.
So if you have no control, why do you need a birth plan?
First, there are many scenarios that may present themselves during your labour and birth. By coming up with a “plan”, you are forcing yourself to sit down and review your options. You might be surprised by what you learn about birth and yourself in the process!
Second, there might be aspects of your birth experience that are very important to you. By bringing a printed copy of your birthing goals to your primary care provider you are opening the doors for communication. Most care providers have a way that they like to do things. Sometimes this is because of a policy or safety concern, and other times it is simply a habit. If you bring in a list of the things you desire most during your labour and birth this will give you an opportunity to discuss your options with your care provider and sometimes promote change!
Third, how can you expect anyone else to know what you want from your birth if you don’t know, or haven’t told anyone? How will your care provider know you would like a mirror to watch your baby being born if you never knew it was an option? How will your nurse know you really don’t want any narcotics offered if they have not been told? Creating a birth plan is about creating transparency.
So now that you know WHY you need one, WHAT should you include?
When deciding WHAT to include in your birth plan it is important to figure out what is most important to you. In order to this you will need to explore the many options that might be available to you! Here are just a few examples of things you might wish to include in your birth plan.
Now that you know WHAT to include, HOW do you make it?
Visuals, visuals, VISUALS! I personally prefer a visual birth plan because it allows your birth team to see your wishes at a glance! Once you know what you want your birth plan to say, you can write out your options or make a visual plan like the one below (the icons I have used were originally made by Seanna and can be found here http://imgur.com/a/PAFkn#0). As well as your eye catching visuals you should also include a little blurb about who you are and your general goals for your birth experience. This is also a great place for you to share your alternative wishes should things not go as hoped.
And there you have it! Your very own birth plan!! It doesn’t have to be beautiful (although that never hurts!) but it should be to the point, easy to read and cover everything that is important to you regarding your birth experience!
Doula, Childbirth Educator and lover of everything pregnancy, birth and babies!
Mom of 3, Birth Doula , CBE , Breastfeeding Educator, CIMI, and Photographer!