June 18, 2014

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May 18, 2014

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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

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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

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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 10, 2014

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A Peanut in your hospital bag?

 

It's the latest tool making a buzz in the childbirth world, but is the peanut ball really something that you need for your hospital bag?  

I say, YES!

Below you will find my favorite articles and videos on the subject of peanut balls.

Research on the Peanut Ball

Decrease the Length of Labor with the Use of a Labor Ball with Patients That Receive An Epidural

Great Articles on the Peanut Ball

Peanut Balls for Labor - A Valuable Tool for Promoting Progress

Peanut Balls Reducing C-section rate

Videos of the Peanut Ball in Action

McKee Medical Center in Loveland Colorado released this how-to

Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa released this how-to

 

My thoughts...

I bring my peanut ball to every birth.  Usually if my client is planning a low intervention birth and desiring to be active I leave the peanut ball in my car. It the client decides to get an epidural or spend time laboring in the bed then I run out to the car and retrieve the ball.   If my client is planning on an epidural I go ahead bring the peanut ball with me.  I definitely turn a few heads walking into the hospital with my doula bag, birth ball in a cover over one shoulder and peanut ball in a cover over the other shoulder.

Since adding a peanut ball to my doula tools, I have used it every time I have a client with an epidural.  My clients find it fairly comfortable and it is so much easier than trying to prop mom's leg up with pillows, stirrups or even the bedside table.  I think as I try more positions with the peanut ball, it will become a key item in my doula work. 

As a childbirth educator, I have just started to introduce the peanut ball in class.  As I see the success of the ball in my doula practice I feel more confident teaching about this option to my childbirth students.  Birth balls have become more available in laboring rooms, but peanut balls are only available in a few hospitals.  Until they are readily available, I recommend these for both doulas and moms packing their hospital bags.  

April 04, 2014

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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

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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

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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!

February 02, 2014

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Why birth is better than the Super Bowl

Most of America will be gathered around the TV watching the big game today, but I would much rather be working.  Being a doula is way more exciting than the Super Bowl.  
There are several similarities between the Super Bowl and birth.
1) Both are displays of great physical exertion
2) Both events are anticipated
3) Both end with a prize 
But...can the effort put forth by a birthing mother really be compared to that of a pro football player?  I think the birthing mother is on top here.  Laboring and giving birth can last for hours and sometimes days.  A football game is 1 hour of play and most players do not play the entire game.  In a birth there are really only two key players, mom and baby.  They aren't allowed a time out, commercial break or a half time show with Bruno Mars or the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  While the events are anticipated, the Super Bowl schedule has been set for months but the birth of a child is (usually) completely unpredictable.  Birth has the element of surprise, how exciting is that!  And while the Vince Lombardi Trophy is certainly something to be proud of, it just doesn't compare to a new life.  
January 31, 2014

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Doula Business Goals - Keeping In Touch With Past Clients

 

In the first few weeks of the year my top priority is to set the goals for my doula business for the upcoming year.  I used to scribble this down on paper, then started keeping the list electronically.  For 2013, I made the leap to a more professional and FUN method of tracking goals called "Create Your Amazing Year".  This women-centric workbook just begs to be completed with its fun artwork and great fill in the blank style.  One of the goals that I have written down for the year is to keep in touch with past clients.

Why I keep in touch with past clients

1) It makes me feel good.

I get so much pleasure out of seeing recent photos, hearing stories and just connecting with people that I have worked with in the past.  Doing things that make you happy can't be bad, right?

2) I love referrals

I love getting a referral from a past client.  If you clients will send their friends your way then you know that they were please with your work. Booking up with referral makes you job of marketing much easier.  You won't have to spend time looking for clients if they come looking for you. 

3) I love repeat clients (even more that referrals)

How fun is it to work with a couple again?  I love it!  Once you have established that working relationship it makes number 2 or 3 or 4 much easier and so fun too.  Keeping in touch will help your client remember to make you one of the first people to tell about their pregnancy. 

How I keep in touch

My favorite way to keep in touch with my clients is by remembering their child's birthday.  I'll admit that some months go by without me remembering to do this (and that is why I have made it a goal!).  If you are a YourDoulaBiz user then this process is very easy.  At the end of every month, YourDoulaBiz users receive a Birthday Reminder Report for the following month.  This report contains a list of all clients who gave birth in the upcoming month and all of the important information (name, gender, birthdate, email, address).  Once I get this report, I will either send a birthday card or an email with my birthday wishes.  If I have a new childbirth class or service offering I might include a little note about what I'm up to and how I so appreciate their referrals.  

 

Keeping in touch with past clients is a big goal for me this year. Will you add it to your list?

 

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