Childbirth Classes and Sunroofs

private childbirth classes | Jax FL | Best Birth Classes in Jax., FL

Childbirth Classes and Sunroofs

Childbirth classes and sunroofs, what do they have in common? Are you pregnant and seeking childbirth classes that are right for you? How do you choose? Is a class really necessary? I’ve shared my story in the past, I’ve had moms tell me it was helpful to them during their search for childbirth classes. Those who had a prior birth end in a way they didn’t anticipate found my story especially helpful.

I’d waited nine long months pregnant with my first.

I lovingly caressed my belly and enjoyed being pregnant (mostly). I couldn’t wait to meet him, hold him, and call him by his name. After 18 hours of labor, when I finally got to hold him in my arms, I just felt… exhausted and empty. Being awake for almost two days mostly without food will do that to you. I was frustrated at the expectations I felt by everyone to see my baby before I was even cleaned up after birth.  My hip felt bruised where he had been bumping against it during our labor.  He wouldn’t latch onto my breast. Then he fell asleep while I wolfed down two hospital-made turkey sandwiches with mayo on top.  Tired was an understatement.

This is how I started parenthood.

Exhausted, but also feeling like I should feel more, because I’d had a “good birth”.

It was a vaginal birth like I had planned for. My care provider was wonderful and respectful. My partner was super supportive and loving, and I had a perfect, precious baby in my arms.  It was good, right?  Everyone else was calling it a “good birth” so it must have been good.

Even after a few hours, when I really did connect and bond with my baby I couldn’t stop staring at him. His little nose, toes and everything about him was perfect. When I was really and truly in love…

I wanted more.

I felt like the classes I had taken still didn’t teach me that birth isn’t only about the outcome. In fact, the childbirth classes I had taken (and that many parents take) focused on “a healthy baby”, as if that were the only thing that mattered.

Of course it matters.

No one honestly thinks to themselves, “I want to have an amazing birth experience at the expense of my baby’s health.” No! We want balance. A healthy mom and baby and a satisfying experience no matter how our babies are born; vaginal or cesarean.

As one mom put it, “Sliding right through my vagina would be great, but if she really needs to use the sunroof that’s cool too.”

Oh, oh, oh, childbirth classes and sunroofs do have something in common!

Our birth experiences are about the choices we have along the way. Even then, it really isn’t about which choices we make, but how we feel about making them. My first birth isn’t the reason I became a doula, but it did change the way I write and recommend childbirth classes.

In my professional experience and in my personal opinion birth classes that are worth it should:

  • Be comprehensive and diverse
  • Cover the anatomy and physiology of birth.
  • Teach strategies to help you work through all the decisions you may face.
  • Help you determine a set role for each person who will be with your during your labor and birth.
  • Cover “natural” and pharmaceutical pain relief options.
  • Help you focus on your goals, but also approach birth with realistic expectations.
  • Teach the importance of choosing a provider and a hospital deliberately and with intention, so that the care you receive will align with your philosophy on birth.

In our classes and in The Prepared Parent Childbirth Classes taught by First Coast Doulas we cover all of those important things. We also cover topics like the importance of a special environment for birth. An environment that leaves a birthing family feeling like they really are the center of the world. That’s another check mark for a great childbirth class!

We know that birth is unpredictable and very often strays, or at least wanders a little from the written plan or idea we try to concrete into our mind.

But birth can also be more, so much more!

It’s not simply about whether or not your baby slides through the birth canal or pops the hatch to be born through the sunroof! You can learn how to have a birth centered on YOU! You’ll truly be prepared for the EXPERIENCE of birth. Even if you don’t get most of what’s on your “birth plan” your birth can still be an experience that helps you position yourself for a rewarding start along your parenting journey.

So whether this is your first baby or your last, from one mom to another—find childbirth classes that TRULY help you plan for the experience of birth!

Childbirth Classes in Jax FL | Night Nurse Jax FL

This blog was co-authored by Elizabeth Luke, owner of First Coast Doulas and Victoria McCollum, owner of The Virginia Baby Company.

childbirth classes jax fl | Jax FL Birthing Classes

Victoria McCollum is a doula extraordinaire, Supermom to three amazing boys, and a carbohydrate connoisseur who lives in Fredericksburg with her super handsome soldier.  You can connect with her on Facebook or on Instagram for birth and parenting tips, tricks and updates The Virginia Baby Company serves Northern and Central Virginia, from Arlington to Richmond to Charlottesville.

Your Baby is Your Team Mate

 Your Baby Jax FL Doulas Birth

Your Baby is Your Team Mate

If I told you that your baby is your team mate would you believe me? Raise your hand if you just know that labor starts when your water breaks? Or raise your hand if you believe contractions start with a vengeance with no break. Or maybe you think that labor is intensely painful throughout the whole ordeal. Many people think that’s exactly how and when labor starts and how labor will be. No thanks to movies and popular TV shows, by the way!

Nod if you believe that the birthing person’s body is solely responsible for birth.

Huh? Who else would be responsible in the process? One hint: the uterine occupant. Your baby bean. It’s not all about you! (well, it is, but it isn’t). Your baby is your team mate! Yep, your baby is a team player in their pursuit to be born! This perspective can be encouraging, empowering, and even used as an affirmation in labor!

The mother and the baby have to work together.

There are various mechanisms by which the birthing person and baby work together, whether we, as a society, know it or not.  It’s probably why labor is so incredibly difficult to describe to many people or even to understand ourselves, sometimes. How cool is that? Totally rad, right?

How does this happen though?

Surfactant Release

When the baby’s lungs are fully developed, anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks, their body will release a substance called surfactants into the parent’s body. Surfactants are necessary to keep the lungs inflated. Without them, we could not breathe. Premature babies often lack the necessary volume of surfactants. When the baby is ready though, their body will produce them and the molecules will disperse throughout the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby and the mother’s uterus.  The pregnant body will miraculously recognize this compound. Then, the uterus will become agitated and begin to contract. Sometimes, the contractions will be small, light, and irregular if the cervix isn’t quite “favorable” and other times, the contractions will be full-force with the “textbook” pattern. Thus, labor begins.

Main Squeeze

During labor, the uterus contracts, or squeezes. At the same time, the baby will actively move downward and/or move into a more conducive position (face down).  Babies usually attempt to be in a positon called occiput anterior so that way they can tuck their chin and leave the pelvis rather smoothly.  They feel the uterus pushing them downwards, further into the vaginal canal. Your baby responds by using the stepping reflex they’ll will be born with that allows them to do the breast crawl. Many women can actually feel their babies subtle and not so subtle movements in labor as the twist, squirm, and step into the right position for them! Your baby is your team mate and will move until they crown and then spin to face upwards upon birth.

Fetal Ejection

As baby moves further downward and puts more pressure on the cervix, the weight of their head and body, and the amniotic sac if it hasn’t ruptured, will influence you to dilate and efface further. When the baby is as low as he/she can be, right before crowning, the pressure will activate the nerves and muscles within the pelvic floor. As your baby crowns, you and he/she will work together to push-you might even feel experience the uncontrollable ejection of your baby! This is what’s called the fetal ejection reflex; a reflex that allows your baby to be born without any active pushing Don’t worry, whether you experience that overwhelming sensation or not is irrelavant because your baby will still be born!

Knowing your baby is your team mate, you can prepare yourself and your birth team with some affirmations to share with baby in the throes of labor. It also helps to know this too, because when things seem to be taking their time or are otherwise frustrating, it can be reassuring to think about the baby also being an active participant.

If you’re curious to learn more about the labor and birth process check out The Prepared Parent Childbirth Class.

Birth is definitely a team effort, and the most important duo is you and your baby! Go team!

Your Birth Plan Just Got Better

 Your Birth Plan | Childbirth Classes Jax, FL

Your Birth Plan Just Got Better

Your birth plan just got better after a new statement was just released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. They are now recommending limiting interventions in labor for women who meet certain criteria. They are also recommending one-on-one support more and nonpharmacologic pain management measures.

What does this statement mean for parents welcoming a baby into their lives?

Well, for starters it means that ACOG is recommending a more individualized approach to labor management. For many, this may also mean more research to back up your ideas and wishes for your birth plan. That is always a great feeling! Does it mean you will see your providers recommending any or all of these things in labor? You just may! We have worked alongside some very supportive, forward-thinking providers! At minimum it’s a great resource to have available when you have a conversation with your providers about what their philosophy is on birth.

ACOG is encouraging the following:

  • Delaying admission to L&D when mom and baby are doing well!
  • Frequent contact from someone supportive.
  • Education, fluids by mouth for hydration, positions of comfort, and nonpharmacologic pain management techniques such as massage or access to water immersion.
  • Continuous one-to-one emotional support because it’s associated with improved outcomes for women in labor.
  • Obstetricians to facilitate intermittent fetal monitoring via a Doppler device for low-risk women who want that option in labor. Adopting protocols and training all staff and providers on how to use a Doppler.
  • Tailor interventions to best meet the needs of each woman.
  • Movement during labor for comfort and to promote optimal fetal positioning as long as to not compromise appropriate monitoring and medical treatments or obstetric complications.
  • Breathing and pushing in a way that is most effective and desired by the woman giving birth.
  • Unless an immediate delivery is necessary, women, especially those who never given birth before who also have an epidural, can be offered a period of rest of 1-2 hours at the onset of the second stage of labor (pushing stage), unless the women have urges to bear down sooner.
  • Leaving the membranes intact for those with a “normal” progressing labor and when the baby is tolerating labor well. In other words no routine use of amniotomies (intentional breaking of the baby of waters). AROM (artificial rupture of membranes)

Couples who are welcoming babies in 2017 are asking lots of questions and expecting more from their birth and postpartum experiences.

Limiting interventions in labor is what many families are planning for and requesting. ACOG’s most recent statement is another supportive step towards honoring your birth plan in the best way they can.

First Coast Doulas helps couples be realistic in their expectations while reaching for their dreams! To learn more about the multitude of ways we provide support contact us today!

ACOG’s full statement can be read here!

Cesarean Birth Prep Sessions

cesarean birth jax, fl | birth classes in jax, fl

Finally, a class for parents having a cesarean birth!

Will you be welcoming a wee one or ones by way of cesarean birth? Are you supporting someone before, during, and after a cesarean birth? Feeling anxious, nervous, or out of touch with what to expect on the big day and weeks following the birth? First Coast Doulas understands the diverse needs of families. Our Cesarean Birth Prep Session is a unique resource for parents in the Jacksonville, Florida area.

Find out what couples are saying about the Cesarean Birth Prep Session!

Our Family 1st Birthing Classes are comprehensive and encompass the wide variations of birth choices and options including non-medicated and medicated vaginal birth, home and hospital birth, and of course cesarean birth. This break-out session, focuses entirely on the process and beauty of birthing your baby via cesarean without all the other song and dance!

Do you want to learn more about the process?

Are you aware of what comfort techniques are available?

Are you clear on what options you have?

Have you considered your partner’s role?

In the Cesarean Birth Prep Session you will discover all of those things as well as things no books tell you about!

Offered in the privacy, comfort, and convenience of your own home! We come to you, no travel or traffic required. Not only do we answer all your questions and more, but we also discuss the first hours after birth, the fourth trimester body, breastfeeding, and post-birth healing and recovery.

First Coast Doulas is dedicated to providing families with truly non-judgmental support, education, and options. We’re here to help you transition more smoothly, confidently, and in the way that is best for you and your family. Whether you are selecting the Family 1st Birthing Class or the Cesarean Birth Prep Session you will get all of your questions answered and have it all laid out for you in a professional, friendly, and reassuring way.

Not sure which class to take? No problem, contact us and we will work with you one on one to help you decide!

Delayed Cord Clamping Benefits; ACOG Recommendations

birth plan Jax FL | Placenta Jax FL |
www.doulasnorthwest.com

Delayed Cord Clamping Benefits; ACOG Recommendations

Whether you want to use a birth plan or not you’ll want to know about these options. Most care providers aren’t going over these in prenatal visits routinely. It’s important to have an open discussion about your options. The benefits can last a minimum of six weeks for you and up to a year for you and for your baby.

That’s HUGE!

We rarely display photos of umbilical cords for the simple fact that not everyone wants to see them, we respect that! However, this blog warrants a visual that’s as amazing as the benefits this blog is about! A huge thank you to Kristyn Blocher of Doulas Northwest for granting us permission to use her original photo in our blog.

First thing to consider when preparing for birth is delayed cord clamping.

In this photo the umbilical cord on top is a great depiction of what a cord that is clamped immediately following the birth of the baby looks like. The cord is still full of nutrient-filled blood that carries oxygen from your placenta to your baby. Iron-rich blood.

The bottom cord in the photo depicts what a well-drained cord looks like. When delayed cord clamping is performed the latest ACOG results showed better establishment of red blood cell volume and less need for blood transfusions. It helps reduce the chances of brain hemorrhage. Delayed cord clamping also showed increased hemoglobin levels and it’s shown to improve iron stores for several months. It can help prevent iron deficiency during the first year of your baby’s life! It also showed some pretty cool benefits for the woman giving birth.

The second thing to consider when preparing for birth is your well-being, your healing and post-birth recovery.

After you birth you’ll be responsible for caring for your baby and you’ll want to feel the best you can. Focusing on your recovery is important, I can’t stress that enough. You can’t serve from an empty cup. Hopefully you’ll have the support of family, friends, and a doula. There really can never be too much of the right kind of support post-birth! There is something more, something wildly obvious that may help you along in those first few months post-birth.

Your placenta! Please, hear me out!

It is full of nutrients rich blood. It sustains life while your baby grows and plays a role in your hormones during pregnancy. After birth your placenta is either discarded as medical waste or you can opt to have your placenta made into a dried, powder supplement to help nourish you after birth. A simple capsule that may help boost your energy levels, replenish lost nutrients and hormones, boost your milk supply, and possibly help to ward off or decrease the incident of postpartum depression.

At minimum when handled safely it can’t hurt you, only help you! You can extend the possibilities of those benefits for up to about a year post-birth, just ask me how!

Possible benefits are only possible though when your health, the health of your family, and the health of every client your postpartum placenta specialist (PPS) works with is kept in the highest regards. First Coast Doulas never cuts corners with your safety!

When considering placenta encapsulation as an option here are the best ways to stay safe.

  1. Always select a PPS who is running a legal business (If you’re in NEFL or SEGA you can check First Coast Doulas and others here), it’s a sign that this is her career, not just a hobby service she is providing.
  2. Your PPS should be comfortable explaining their practices with you.
  3. Select a PPS who has trained, certified and who holds a current certificationfor placenta encapsulation, ask to see it!
  4. Price shouldn’t dictate every decision you make in your life it’s true, but placenta encapsulation is really not something to be looking for on the cheap.
  5. Lastly and as equally important as the others, make sure your PPS isn’t picking up and transporting your placenta. Yes, this means the PPS will come to you.

A “birth plan” isn’t for everyone, FC Doulas understands and respects that! We go over these options and many others in our Family 1st Birthing classes. The option is open for you to make a “birth plan” or just discover the options and move on.

cord clamping | Jax Placenta | Childbirth Classes

I like to look at a birth plan as being more about the journey rather than the destination.

It’s a learning opportunity for couples to discover new and exciting things together and a chance to work as a team. This will be the first of many opportunities for Team Parent!

Happy birth and parenting from First Coast Doulas!

Authored by~ Elizabeth Luke

Get answers to your most asked questions here!