In the weeks leading up to the birth, your doula will assist you in developing a birth plan and connecting you with evidence based resources to help make informed decisions. Your Doula will serve as a bridge of communication between you and your provider and will educate and empower you to advocate for the very best care.
During your birth, your doula will offer position ideas to optimize labor productivity and provide hands-on comfort measures like massage, counter pressure, breathing techniques and tens unit instruction. A doula’s skilled hands can often help a malpositioned baby find its way through the pelvis and into the birthing parent’s arms.
Doulas help the entire family ease into the emotional experience of birth and help create a space where the hormones of labor can work most efficiently. Your birth doula will set the mood with flameless candles, twinkle lights, aromatherapy, and any other special touches that you would like to incorporate into your birth space. Whether you’re at home, a birth center, or in a hospital, every birthing person and their family can benefit from the nurturing and connection that a doula helps provide.
Postpartum doulas are trained to understand what new babies – and new parents – truly need. The doula helps teach soothing techniques, offers lactation and bottle feeding support, and explains normal newborn behavior. Your doula will provide knowledge and help to recognize anything that may be of concern regarding your infant. Your doula will also provide resources for other local professionals that can help with any of these concerns. Your doula is also trained to recognize signs of postpartum mood disorders and can refer you to providers specializing in this area.
During a day shift, your doula can help with baby’s laundry, perform light housekeeping tasks, and prepare healthy meals and snacks. Day shifts are best for educational support regarding newborn care. Your daytime doula can show you how to give your baby a bath or clip their nails. During overnight shifts, your doula will feed, soothe, and diaper your baby so that you may sleep, thereby optimizing your immediate postpartum recovery. If you’re exclusively bodyfeeding, they can bring baby to you when it is time to nurse and scoop them up once done so that you go straight back to sleep. Your doula will also offer suggestions regarding healthy sleep routines and tips to soothe your baby during the night. All of our postpartum doulas take extensive notes regarding everything from the number of ounces fed to how long hiccups lasted.
Your prenatal care provider will instruct you on when to call the office if you think that you are in labor. Most providers will suggest that you contact the office if you have been having contractions every five minutes for one hour, have broken your bag of water (this may be a huge gush or a constant trickle), or if you have heavy bleeding similar to that of a period. Please call your prenatal care provider if you have any questions regarding the safety of you or your baby.
If you are beyond 37 weeks of pregnancy, the following are signs of true labor:
If you are beyond 37 weeks of pregnancy, the following are signs of false labor:
If you are at home, it is recommended that you eat light and keep yourself well hydrated. You may want to avoid acidic and dairy beverages such as some juices and milk as you may find that these products upset your stomach in labor. In the hospital, your care providers will encourage clear liquids including Popsicles, Jell-O, bouillon, ginger ale, juice, and water. Most hospitals will not allow you to eat or drink anything but broth or jello and clear liquids if they are inducing labor.
Put on a clean maxi pad and lie down for 30 minutes. When you stand up you should notice a small puddle on the maxi pad if you have ruptured your membranes because the water will collect in the vagina and leak out when you stand. If you have broken your water, you should note the time, amount, color, and odor and call your physician or midwife.
Fetal monitoring is defined as watching the baby’s heart rate for indicators of well-being during labor and birth or in some instances during antenatal testing such as a Non-Stress Test (NST ). There are different ways to monitor your baby including the us of an electronic fetal monitoring, telemetry, or a doptone (used during your prenatal visit to asses the fetal heart rate). Telemetry monitoring is like Electronic Fetal Monitoring, except one can maintain mobility including ambulation outside of your room.
While the decision lies with each individual care provider, most will recommend waiting to get an epidural until you are between three and five centimeters dilated. Hospitals typically require you to have started a bag of IV fluids before an epidural is given and require you to sit very still while it is administered. It takes a few minutes to get the epidural placed and another few minutes for you to feel relief. Complete pain relief may take 10 to 20 minutes or more.
Absolutely! Your birth plan is important and is used as a guide for those caring for you and it can always be changed. Flexibility is the key to a successful birth plan both for the laboring person, their partner, and for the caregivers.
There is no rule that says how many people can be with you. You should call your hospital or birthing center beforehand to find out how many visitors they allow and what Covid 19 protocols are in place. Please discuss your plans for labor support (partner, family, friends) with your provider and make this part of your birth plan. As you decide who will be with you remember that there is limited space in the birthing rooms. Finally, as your labor progresses you may find that your needs change and you may want to be alone with your partner. Also, medical needs may change in which a quiet, relaxed environment becomes necessary.