3 things April the Giraffe can teach us about birth plans.

april the giraffe baby

If you're even a little bit plugged into social media, you've almost definitely heard of April the giraffe by now. You might be anxiously watching "giraffe cam" for the first signs of labor (because really, what's cooler than watching a giraffe give birth and what's cuter than a lanky little baby giraffe?!) 

But, I mean... it's been a week, right? "WHEN IS SHE GOING TO HAVE THAT BABY?" is more or less what the internet is screaming in the form of exasperated posts and memes. If you're pregnant yourself, you're probably right there with her, waiting for your own little one's arrival at the same time.  

But while we wait (and keep the giraffe cam tab open in the background juuuuuust in case), we can discuss what we humans can take away from April for our own birth plans. 

 

1) There's no crystal ball for knowing when labor will begin. 

When the live feed of April's pen first went live, Animal Adventure Park simply stated that April was near the end of her pregnancy. Somehow, Buzzfeed and other media outlets turned that into "April is having this baby any minute now!". Yet... here we are... a week later. 

If you've ever had a baby, or are in the tail end of pregnancy now, you know that this isn't anything exclusive to zoo animals. As soon as you get anywhere near your estimated due date, people will start asking the infamous "have you had that baby yet?"

And it's not just other people! The third trimester is a tough spot where most people are over being pregnant and just ready to meet their baby. This results in looking for any sign at all that labor is coming soon. 

"How long after you lose your mucus plug do you go into labor?"

"I'm 3cm dialated. How soon will I go into labor?"

"How long after baby drops will I go into labor?"

"What are the signs that I'm about to go into labor?"

Take a look at any mom group and you'll see questions like these posted frequently. 

So what can we learn from April here? As frustrating as it is, there's no real way to know when labor will start until contractions start into a labor pattern. Some people may go into labor immediately after showing one of the common signs of labor starting, but someone people will have multiple signs and still not go into labor for days or weeks. 

 

2) A watched pot seemingly never boils

april the giraffe

A watched pot never boils. I'm sure you've heard the phrase before. But that's not keeping a bunch of us from staring at our computer screen, waiting to see little giraffe hooves appear, if any of the memes circulating facebook are something to go by. 

And once those first signs of labor do appear in our own pregnant selves, we still tend to focus completely on it, despite everything we know about pots and boiling water and all that. 

Timing every single contraction from the start and doing every single internet tip and trick to get labor started can be frustrating and worse yet, exhausting when you need to conserve your energy more than ever. 

As doulas, our best advice whenever a client thinks that they may be in labor is to "ignore it". Yep. Ignore the fact that you're in early labor. 

Well, not completely. Start getting plans that need more lead time into place (like dog or baby sitters, letting work know what's going on, etc). But for the most part, go about your day. 

If it’s the daytime, do your normal routine. If it’s night time, try to sleep. The best thing you can do is actually to see if you can get the contractions to stop or slow down. Change positions, drink water, take a bath, kick your feet up and distract yourself with a Netflix binge. Pre-labor contractions may stop and give you a break to rest. True labor contractions will keep getting longer, stronger, and closer together.

When contractions start getting too intense to ignore, then start timing them.

 

3) You might want to save Facebook posts and texts for after the baby has arrived. 

So to recap the prevailing theme, we're all quite frustrated that it's taking so. long. for April's baby to arrive. And I'm not judging (I legitimately have a tab of the giraffe feed open as I write this), but this is a giraffe baby on the internet that we have probably never met and probably never will meet. So if we're feeling impatient, imagine how impatient your family and friends will likely feel waiting for you to have a baby when they get the news that you're headed to the hospital. 

Imagine the intensity of labor and preparing to meet you new baby with a chorus of "is she/he here yet?!" on top of it. Or trying to focus on laboring and connecting with your support team, while also glancing at the clock and hoping the group of family in the waiting room aren't too tired and have gotten something to eat, etc etc.

We've been waiting for April to have her calf for a week now, but at least we're watching from behind a computer screen (and she's a giraffe and has little to no concept of privacy).

As my friend and colleague KayLee Proctor  (owner of Little Apple Doulas) put it on her facebook post on the subject: "And here, folks, you'll see Exhibit A of why I don't recommend announcing when you're in labor: the world has no chill when they know a baby's about to be born. Luckily, the giraffe has no clue we're all watching/commenting but if you're getting bombarded with texts and phone calls wondering where the baby is, it could have a negative impact on your labor pattern."

This last lesson that April can teach us when making out own birth plans is that we may want to think twice about everyone on facebook or our contact list know that we're headed to the hospital. Save yourself the inquiring questions and buzzing phone and just post baby's first photo when they've arrived. 

(Or live stream your birth if you want to. It's your birth and baby and we support you either way!)

 

 

TTC in 2017: Preparing Your Health for Pregnancy

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Preparing your health for pregnancy

If you haven't already, scheduling a preconception appointment with your health care provider is a good first step when you've decided to try for a baby.

This checkup will usually include a lot of the standard yearly procedure: an exam, a pap smear, potentially a pelvic exam. But for the most part, this is a chance for your practitioner to get a detailed history and counsel you on how that may effect conception or pregnancy. You will also probably be offered genetic carrier screening in addition to a urine test (to check for signs of diabetes) and a blood test. 

Scheduling your preconception appointment is also a good time to decide if the health care provider that you see for gynecological care is the same provider that you want to see during your pregnancy.

In some cases, your family doctor, nurse practitioner,  or gynecologist may not deliver babies. In other cases, you may love your doctor but you just not see eye to eye on some things that will cause tension during your pregnancy. Either way, there's no shame in using this time to find the best obstetrician or midwife for you

While you're at it, you may want to make an appointment with your dentist as well. Pregnancy can do a number on your dental health and untreated gum disease can put your at higher risk for preterm deliver, so it's better to take care of those toothaches and get a good cleaning now. 

it's never too early in the ttc process to find out more about how doula support can help you create the very best first memories with your new family. for more information about doulas in Louisville, contact us today. 

Read the whole series on preparing for pregnancy. 

New Year, Renewed Promises: Our Word of the Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HELLO 2017!

louisville doula

I think we can all agree that 2016 was rough on a lot of us. From pop culture tragedies, a tumultuous political season, and ups and downs in so many people's personal lives it's be quite a ride. But hey, we made it! And now that we're looking 2017 in the face and begging for it to be kinder to us all, I've noticed a really awesome trend: choosing a word of the year to focus on.

We all know what New Year's resolutions are. And let's not beat around the bush, we all know that New Year's resolutions rarely make it past the first quarter of the year (Or January... or the first week of the year... whatever). 

Speaking from my own personal experience, I think that resolutions tend to be too rigid in all the wrong ways, and too lax in the wrong ways, too. Maybe you commit to losing 20 pounds or watching less TV or reading more books. But you don't make a plan on how to workout or eat healthy, or what else to fill your time with, or exactly how you'll make time to read. And then by February you've already slacked off and meh, why bother continuing to try? 

The beauty of choosing a word for the year over a resolution is that it creates a focal point that can lead to completing a lot of goals that you have for yourself, while helping you come up with a plan to get there.

Instead of making a resolution to lose weight, you choose to focus on the word "strong", and use that as a jumping off point to be strong on Monday mornings and go to the gym, to stay strong when there's a plate of donuts in the office break room, and to focus on building your body's strength rather than focusing on the number on the scale.

To be honest, I LOVE this approach. I not only chose a word of the year for myself (Discipline, if you're curious), I've also chosen a word for Louisville Area Doulas as a whole to focus our energy on: 

"COMMUNITY"

We invite you to join us at Louisville Area Doulas in 2017 as we strive to cultivate community in everything that we do. As a company, we will focus on the community around us, and the families that choose us as their doulas in Louisville, Southern Indiana, and the rest of Kentuckiana.

We will create relationships with other business in our community.

We promise to continue to represent professionalism in the doula community by treating our roles as doulas as a profession, rather than a hobby or philosophy.

We will grow the sense of community in our own little Louisville Area Doulas family by bonding as a team, as we truly believe that well supported doulas offer the best support to our amazing clients.

We will focus on continuing to provide safe places for nonjudgmental parenting support, because more than anything, that’s what we believe new parents are searching for to make their early parenting experience a beautiful memory rather than a war story.

The beauty of choosing a word for 2017 rather than a resolution is that these promises are just the beginning. As we take what the year hands to us and we grow and evolve, we can adjust what a focus on “community” looks like, always keeping in mind our core values of professionalism, teamwork, compassion, and completeness.

 

We’re dying to know: what’s your word of the year?

The Safe Sleep Conundrum.

NIGHT NANNY LOUISVILLE

SLEEP WHERE THE BABY SLEEPS

Earlier this week the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released their new guidelines for infant sleep. Most of the guidelines for creating a safe sleep environment haven't changed: 

  • Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface with a tight fitting crib
  • Avoid the use of soft bedding, crib bumpers, blankets, pillows, and soft toys
  • Avoid baby's exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs

The AAP recognizes what we all know: staying awake during night feedings is not easy. They recommend never feeding  baby in a sofa or an armchair, but instead  bringing the baby into your bed, away from any pillows, loose sheets, or blankets. If you do fall asleep while feeding the baby, they recommend putting the baby back in their crib or bassinet as soon as you wake up. 

But the most notable update is that the AAP now recommends that babies sleep in the same room, but not same bed as their parents for at least the first six months to decrease the risk of SIDS

where recommendations meet reality

So with those recommendations in mind, let's talk about the reality.

Don't get me wrong-- room sharing with baby can be the perfect set up for many families, and that is a valid and awesome choice for them. And yet there are very real reasons why some parents choose not to room share with their newborn. 

As his or her parents, you're innately attuned to your baby's needs. Which is perfect! No one knows and loves your baby the way that you do. What's not so perfect is that you're also attuned to all of the little sounds and squeaks and one time cries that your baby may make at night, making it very hard to sleep, even when the baby actually is sleeping. 

You or your partner may have to return to work before baby is sleeping through the night, and if there's one thing that makes Mondays harder, it's being up all night Sunday. For some couples, the solution is having one parent sleep in a room with the baby, and the other in another room so that they can sleep. While this is the perfect for solution for some, for others sleeping apart from their partner can feel isolating and like a loss of intimacy during a time that's already hard on a relationship.

Research shows the sleep deprivation can worsen postpartum depression. This is a very important factor to take into account for parents that have trouble sleeping with their newborn in the room with them. 

 Every parent wants their child to be safe. But does that safety have to come at the cost of their own rest? Is there a way to follow the AAP's new guidelines if sharing a room with your newborn just doesn't work for your family? 

support plus safety

When the AAP recommends that baby sleep in the same room as his or her parents for the first six months, they failed to mention another option: having another adult sleep in the baby's room

Having a professional care provider to room in with your baby at night has the same SIDS protective measures while allowing new parents much needed and uninterrupted sleep.

By hiring a postpartum doula to care for your family at night, you can rest peacefully knowing that your baby is safe and cared for.

With extensive training in parent support and newborn care, postpartum doulas offer a level of professionalism that is unmatched by uncredentialed night nannies and baby nurses. While you sleep, we keep a watchful eye over your baby, caring for them while setting up healthy sleep habits that will help you through the nights that you don't have help (the years to come!).

Night time diaper changes. Night bottle feedings. Bringing the baby to you to breastfeed then settling them back to sleep when they're done. Your postpartum doula handles all of these details and can room share with your baby so that you can get restful sleep, knowing that your baby is safe.  

LOUISVILLE AREA DOULAS IS THE PREMIER PROVIDER OF OVERNIGHT SUPPORT IN LOUISVILLE AND SOUTHERN INDIANA. OUR POSTPARTUM DOULAS AND NEWBORN CARE SPECIALISTS ARE COMPASSIONATE PROFESSIONALS IN BABY CARE AND PARENT SUPPORT. CONTACT US TODAY TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP YOUR WHOLE FAMILY SLEEP SAFE AND SOUND. 

We Love Louisville: Lisa's Favorite Things

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I moved to Louisville as a young college student with no intentions of staying here long term. This amazing city quickly won my heart and I am happy to call this place home. There are so many things I love about Louisville, but here are a few of my top choices!

Parks!

Louisville has such amazing park systems. I love the options that I have within a short distance of my house to visit so many different parks. Great trails, awesome play areas for the kids, beautiful trees, and well kept grounds make for an easy outing for the family.

Coffee, coffee, coffee!

My husband and I love the opportunity to hit up local coffee shops. There are so many choices, and I love that we can support local businesses. A Beekeeper from Vint is the perfect addition to a walk in the park on a nice fall day!

Restaurants galore!

I love trying new foods and we have ample opportunity to do just that in Louisville. The variety of restaurants really showcases the growing diversity of Louisville. Simply Thai and Queen of Sheba are a few of my favorites!

Family friendly activities!

I have young kids and getting out of the house makes our long days so much better! I love the options that we have to go to the zoo, science center, Library story time and so much more. Variety is always good! And we have so many places for my kids to explore and learn and run off some of that ever present energy!

15 minute rule!

When out-of-town family comes to visit we have a running joke that everything is 15 minutes away. We can get anywhere in a short drive and I love that about this city. We get the small town feel with the perks of a bigger city. I love that if I forget an ingredient for a recipe, I have 3 grocery stores right down the road to go grab what I need and be back before the oven is finished preheating!

So, what do you love about Louisville???

LEARN MORE ABOUT LISABOOK A CONSULT WITH HER TO BE YOUR DOULA, AND KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR MORE OF OUR DOULAS' FAVORITE THINGS!

 

We Love Louisville: Krystal's Favorite Things

doula in louisville

Thunder over Louisville

What better way to spend an evening under the stars along the waterfront than by watching the largest annual fireworks show in North America! This event happens every year in April and kicks off the Kentucky Derby Festival. Head over to the Chow Wagon for some incredible food!

of to the races: the kentucky derby

In the city of Louisville, May is considered the most exciting and fun-filled two weeks of the entire year! From parades to galas to marathon races, there is so much more than just horse racing to keep you busy until the main event. 

Location, Location, Location.

 When it comes to traveling, you’re in the perfect location! Anyone can easily visit Louisville then head to another hot spot. The following big cities are just a drive away: Cincinnati, Nashville, Indianapolis, St Louis, Nashville, Chicago, and Atlanta! 

Food Paradise

Although you may have trouble deciding where to venture out for dinner, you won’t be disappointed when it comes to the variety of places you’ll have to choose from! You name the type of food you want and I can guarantee there is some place in Louisville that will be perfect. Skip the chain restaurants and shoot for somewhere local! Some of my personal favorites are Hammerheads, Against the Grain, Mojitos, Doc Crows, Shack in the Back BBQ, and Hilltop Tavern!

Entertainment Scene

There is a vibrant arts and music scene here in Louisville! There is an abundance of opportunities to dive in to theater, concerts, art galleries, and museums! Forecastle and Louder than Life are just two of many popular music festivals that one can attend during the year. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be much downtime while here in Louisville!

LEARN MORE ABOUT KRYSTALBOOK A CONSULT WITH HER TO BE YOUR DOULA, AND KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR MORE OF OUR DOULAS' FAVORITE THINGS!

We Love Louisville: Eliza's Favorite Things

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My name is Eliza Maynor. I am a mother of two and a resident native of Louisville. Louisville holds a special place in my heart because it has so much to offer.

ALL FOUR SEASONS.

One of the things I love most about Louisville is the experience we get of having four true seasons.

In the summer we have the opportunity of enjoying our many swimming holes and the Kentucky state fair which offers good times and awesome food.

In the fall you can go pumpkin picking at many of the local area farms, combined with the Halloween festivities in a Hillcrest adventure.

The winter season offers great sledding at Cherokee park and amazing neighborhood light extravaganzas.

The spring is great for visiting Churchill Downs, derby festivities, and basketball excitement.

NORTHERN CITY, SOUTHERN CHARM. 

Another reason for my affection for Louisville is the northern city with a southern feel. Everyone is friendly and helpful, even to strangers.

Most people have heard of 6 degrees of separation. In Louisville normally you can find how you are connected in 3 or less. When people ask what school you went to, they don’t mean Harvard or Yale. They mean which high school did you attend, and from there you can normally name the crowd they hung out with.

LIONS, TIGERS, AND BEARS!

The next thing that I love about Louisville is our awesome zoo. The Louisville zoo is a great place to learn about animals, cool off at the splash park, or go to the World’s Largest Halloween party.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS.

In Louisville we had an amazing Mayor for many years, Jerry Abramson. He worked very hard to create the awesome parks that the public gets to enjoy all over the Metro area. Many of the parks have walking trails, spray grounds, and great climbing areas.

L1C4.

Of course, one of the most fun things about living in Louisville is the intrastate school rivalries.  Basketball is not just a sport here; it is a way of life. In the fall my schedule revolves around U of L Basketball. It gives me a great excuse to cookout, play corn hole, and spend time with my friends and family.

There are many more things that are awesome about Louisville, but these are a few of my favorite things.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ELIZA, BOOK A CONSULT WITH HER TO BE YOUR DOULA, AND KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR MORE OF OUR DOULAS' FAVORITE THINGS!

We Love Louisville: September's Favorite Things

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Inspired by our friends at Kansas City Family Birth, we decided to help you get to know our team with a blog series about our favorite things in Louisville, starting with our owner September Phillips. Stay tuned and get to know our amazing team, and let us know in the comments what your favorite things about Louisville are.

That's September as in me, the owner of Louisville Area Doulas, not the month. (and yes, before you ask, I was born in September. The 23rd, to be exact!) Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

weird, independent, proud. 

The Highlands was the first place I ever saw in Louisville and I immediately fell in love. The "weird, independent, and proud" mindset centered around local businesses spoke to me from the get go, so it's no surprise that I've lived in Tyler Park since I moved here 2 years ago. 

From vintage stores and boutiques (like Hey Tiger and General Eccentric) to coffee shops (Safai and Highland Coffee), bars (Highland Taproom and Holy Grale), and parks (Cherokee park, of course), if you ask me the Highlands is the crown jewel of Louisville. 

the scenic route.

Just outside of the parks within city limits, there are even more beautiful sites to see in Kentuckiana. My favorite way to calm down after a rough day is a drive along River Rd with the top down, feeling the river breeze wash my cares away. Driving through the winding hills and horse country of Oldham county is a close second. While the city of Louisville is beautiful, I love that just outside of the urban jungle is pure natural beauty to enjoy. 

foodie heaven.

It goes without saying that Louisville is a foodie city, but let's say it anyway: God bless the amazing restaurants in this town. Louisville was name #1 on National Geographic's top 10 food cities in the world for good reason. 

There are too many good ones to name, and I'm still working my way down the list (and will continue ad infinitum with new options popping up every week), but some of my favorites include The Silver Dollar, El Camino, Feast BBQ, and Hammerheads

My favorite thing about the Louisville food scene is the modern twists on southern staples and the focus on fresh. local ingredients. Whether you're making your own dinner with ingredients straight from Douglass Loop Farmer's Market, or eating at one of the many farm-to-table restaurants like Harvest, you're sure to have a good meal when the ingredients are Kentucky Proud. 

the bourbon trail. 

If you've spent even a second in Louisville, or Kentucky at all, I'm sure you've heard that there are more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than there are people. In fact 95% of the world's bourbon comes from the Kentucky bourbon trail. With famous names like Jim Beam, Evan Williams, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Maker's Mark, and Buffalo Trace nearby, there's no shortage of opportunities to take a day trip to sip on Kentucky's finest beverages. 

ponies and pretty hats.  

No list of the awesome things about Louisville is complete without mentioning the Kentucky Derby. Before I moved to Louisville, it was just a quick two minutes on my television screen. Now, the Kentucky Derby festival is my favorite time of year (next to football season). From Thunder over Louisville, to the concert series and Fest-A-Ville on the Waterfront to the big race itself, Derby season is the highlight of the year in Louisville. 

lEARN MORE ABOUT SEPTEMBERBOOK A CONSULT WITH HER TO BE YOUR DOULA, AND KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR MORE OF OUR DOULAS' FAVORITE THINGS!

Dads and Doulas: The Birth Support Dream Team

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Dads: we haven't forgotten about you.

So often the focus is completely on the half of the couple doing the hard work of growing and birthing a baby (and, don't get me wrong, rightfully so), but you have some stuff going on, too, don't you?


You've watched your partner grow and change, physically and emotionally, in anticipation of the birth of your child. You've cared for her, worried about her, and been by her side. As the big day--your baby's first birthday--approaches, you might be feeling a lot of things: anxiety, excitement, nervousness, nausea (hopefully not too much of the last one!).


Your doulas are here to help.

Think of us as your teammate in all of this.


Throughout the pregnancy, we'll be available to help answer any questions you may have.

We'll help you and your partner figure out what role you want to take during labor: are you more of a coach, a teammate, or a spectator (hint: there is no wrong answer)? Are you excited to speak encouraging words into the ear of soon to be mother of your child through contractions? Or are you more of the strong silent type, providing physical support. 

Let's tap into your strengths and let you shine at the parts that you're looking forward to. Like any good teammate, we'll work complementary and fill in the gaps of the parts that just aren't your thing. 

Through our unique approach during our childbirth education and prenatal meetings, we will explore both of your communication styles and how you can best work together to bring your baby into the world. 

Do you need to process through talking the situation out in detail, but you know your partner needs the straight facts and bare necessities to stay sane? We can work with that.  


The biggest thing that doulas do for dads during labor isn't just providing an extra set of hands for physical support of the mother, but also giving you the space that you need to have your own experience.

When you aren't the only source of support for your partner, you have the opportunity to take a bathroom or meal break without leaving her alone.

You have the space to experience your own emotions and feelings, with the comfort of knowing that she and you both have the unbiased support of a professional.

On the day that you become parents, we'll support your whole family as you welcome your baby into the world.

 

AT LOUISVILLE AREA DOULAS TEAMWORK WITH ALL MEMBERS OF YOUR BIRTH TEAM IS ONE OF OUR CORE VALUES. to learn more about how teamwork can make the dream work, give us a call today. louisville area doulas would love to support your growing family. 

What postpartum doulas don't do.

postpartum doulas louisville

This blog post is part of the 2016 World Doula Week blog challenge, hosted right here by Louisville Area Doulas. Make sure you check out the other entertaining, eye opening, and informational blogs by doulas around the world here.

We talk about postpartum doulas a lot on this blog, and for good reason. Two in particular: 1) Not many people know what they are,  especially  in this area. Most people think of homebirth and hippies when they think of “doulas” There are very few practicing postpartum doulas in Louisville and Southern Indiana, which doesn't do much for word of mouth. Plus, 2) The work that postpartum doulas do is so important. We have a serious problem with supporting new parents in today's day and age,  and postpartum doulas help fill that void.

But what do postpartum doulas really do?  

For a peek inside the life of a postpartum  doula and what we do for the out clients,  take a peak at the hashtag #postpartumdoulasdothat on your favorite social networking site.  It was coined by Devon Clement,  aka baby whisperer extraordinaire and owner of Mama’s Best Friend. You’ll see Louisville Area Doula’s instagram pop up among the other doula accounts around the world, and you’ll get a good idea about what postpartum doulas really do on a day to day basis.

Now that we covered that, let’s talk about the opposite.

What don’t postpartum doulas do?

 

1. Postpartum doulas don’t tell you how to parent or judge you for your choices

How many times have you been told, in person or online, subtly or in big bold letters, that your parenting choices are “wrong”? Sometimes it’s a “that’s not how I did it” or “yeah, I said that when I was pregnant, too” (with the implication that you’ll change your mind, too). Sometimes it’s a disapproving look or a passive aggressive facebook post.

However it’s handed to you, judgement sucks. The good news is, you will never feel judged by your postpartum doula.

Postpartum doulas recognize that you are the authority on what’s best for your family and support you as you work toward your parenting goals, whatever those may be.

We care for your baby the way that you want your baby to be cared for with no convincing, questioning, or sideways glances.

Breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Attachment parenting or scheduled parenting. Cloth diapering or disposable diapers. Postpartum doulas support you and your choices, full stop.

 

2. Postpartum doulas provide evidence based advice--the right way

Speaking of judgement, there’s a very specific kind of judgment, often handed down by “experts”, whether rogue doulas or [insert cause here] activists. It comes under the guise of “evidence based information”.

Here’s the thing. Information is great. Scientific evidence supporting said information is great. What isn’t great is forcing unsolicited information on someone and expecting that they will make a specific choice based on this information.

To be frank, this comes up most frequently with divisive subjects such as breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccines, and sleep training/cry-it-out.

A well trained, professional doula is an expert on postpartum recovery and newborn care, but they will not offer you studies or information or advice that you don’t ask for. Their support isn’t defined by whether you have all the information that they think you need. While they’re available to share what they know, they will never shove information down your throat with an agenda mindset.

Make choices for your family your way, whether that’s reading every article and academic study, asking for advice from an expert, following family tradition, or listening to your gut. Your postpartum doula will support your family no matter what.

 

3. Postpartum doulas don’t have expectations for what you need

It’s not just how you’ll react to research that postpartum doulas don’t have expectations about.

Postpartum doulas don’t have expectations at all. They don’t come into your home, expecting to already know what you need. They take the time to get to know you, your family, you needs, and your parenting goals. Then, and only then, do they act.

A good postpartum doula also doesn’t have expectations for how long you’ll need support. There’s a prevalent idea that postpartum doulas should be trying to “work themselves out of the job”. While I get the intent behind it---that postpartum doulas should help you build your confidence instead of making you reliant on their support--- I think it disempowers the parents.

Only you know when you’re comfortable doing without your doula. Louisville Area Doulas supports families during the 4th trimester and beyond. We’ll be by your side until you decide otherwise.

 

4. Postpartum doulas don’t take the place of your loved ones

This is a common concern that people have when considering hiring a doula. When you have a loving spouse, family that’s coming to visit, and friends that promise to drop by, why would you even need a postpartum doula?

Postpartum doulas don’t just support mom and baby, but the whole family. We fill in the gaps of what you need to feel rested and relaxed, while allowing your loved ones the time and space to enjoy the experience with you.

When your mother-in-law is in town, your postpartum can take care of sterilizing the bottles and pump parts so that she can catch up and enjoy time with her new grandchild.

When your friend drops with a frozen meal, we can take care of making the dinner that she brought you so that she can hear your birth story.

When you’re mom wants to cook your favorite comfort food, we can take care of baby so that she can focus on cooking and you and your partner can relax while eating.

Postpartum doulas don’t take the place of your loved ones at all. We simply allow you all to enjoy the things that you want to do together, while taking care of the other necessities in the background.

 

Now that you know what postpartum doulas don’t do, check out the hashtag #postpartumdoulasdothat and head over to the World Doula Week blog challenge link up to see more examples of what postpartum doulas can and will do.

Louisville area doulas is proud to offer postpartum doula support in louisville, southern indiana, and the surrounding area provided by the best doulas you could ask for. to find out more or to schedule a postpartum planning session, contact us today.

 

Southern Hospitality: The Louisville Area Doulas Difference

doulas in louisville

This blog post is part of the 2016 World Doula Week blog challenge, hosted right here by Louisville Area Doulas. Make sure you check out the other entertaining, eye opening, and informational blogs by doulas around the world here.

 As someone that was born and raised in Ohio (decidedly Midwestern/Northern) by a family with its recent roots in Tennessee (decidedly Southern), I think one of the reasons why I fell in love with Louisville so instantly is because it's as much of a melting pot of the two cultures as I am.

I honestly think this is part of what makes Louisville such an amazing place: that in every ounce of this city's culture is an intermingling of North and South in the best ways possible.

There is one unequivocally Southern thing that I've encountered in Louisville: Southern Hospitality.

I grew up the granddaughter of a Southern gentleman that owned a soul food restaurant that was a cornerstone of it's community. I know Southern Hospitality when I see it, and I see it everywhere in Kentuckiana. From the smiles from strangers on the street, to the way the way that a new friend welcomes you into their home, their group, and their life without a second thought.

And I knew that this was something that I wanted Louisville Area Doulas to embody in everything that we do. 

WHAT IS SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY?

Southern Hospitality is something that is often referred to, but rarely defined. Good ole Wikipedia defines it as: "the stereotype of residents of the Southern United States as particularly warm, sweet, and welcoming to visitors to their homes, or to the South in general". But I'll take it a step further.

Southern Hospitality means making people feel at home, no matter who they are, where they are, and how long they've been there. It's going out of your way for the comfort of others. It's anticipating their needs and meeting them before they even realized it was a need. It's focusing on the details while nurturing another person, feeding their spirit just as much as you feed their belly. It's wrapping them a warm blanket of comfort, literally or figuratively.

So what do doulas have to do with Southern Hospitality?

what do doulas do?

There are a lot of dry, boring definitions of what a doula is. "A woman or man that provides physical, emotional, and educational support for blah blah blah...." You catch my drift. Have your eyes glazed over yet?

What doulas really do is make you feel at home in a new, exciting, scary, life changing situation. You're having a baby! Or you just had a baby! It's equal parts wonderful and terrifying.  

And that's where Lousiville Area Doula's focus on Southern Hospitality comes in.

PREGNANCY, BIRTH, AND BEYOND.

Imagine a restful Sunday morning. You wake up at your leisure. You feel the relaxation of knowing that there's nothing that you have to do today: everything is taken care of. You get to spend this beautiful day doing your favorite things with your favorite people without a care in the world.

This may not be the picture that immediately comes to mind when you're expecting a baby, but it's exactly how it can feel.

Your Louisville Area doulas will be there to help you feel comfortable, even when it seems like life is happening at the speed of light.

When you're lost and confused about your options, we'll be there. Our prenatal classes in Louisville and the surrounding area don't treat birth as a cookie cutter list of stages and options: we focus our attention on you, your partner, and the unique desires that make up your ideal birth experience. Whether you have an idea of what you want, or if you're starting from scratch, we meet you where you are (literally--we'll come to your home for a private or group class) and help you create a road map and give you the tools that you need to navigate your birth experience.

When you're exhausted, on bed rest, or insanely busy, our baby planning experts and antepartum doulas can help with everything from the day-to-day tasks like nourishing your self and your family and keeping your home tidy and comfortable, to the once in a life time events like celebrating your pregancy with the people you hold near and dear.

On your baby's birthday,  one member of your personal team of birth doulas that you've gotten to know and feel comfortable with will be right there beside you, providing you and your loved ones with all the support and advice that you need to feel safe, secure, excited and empowered as your welcome your baby to the world.

And when you bring your baby your baby home, your postpartum doulas will be there whenever you need them, for as long as you need them. We take care of you and your family with the compassion and professionalism that will make you feel right as home in this new chapter of your life. You focus on bonding with your family, resting, and falling in love with your new baby as we take care of everything else. 

THE LOUISVILLE AREA DOULAS DIFFERENCE.

Our focus is your comfort, and that's infused in everything we do. From the first time you call us all the way through your relationship with Louisville Area Doulas, we promise that you'll feel taken care of and at ease. We will be with you from pregnancy test on through your first weeks and months as a parent, supporting you with gentleness, attention to detail, and an unrivaled focus on your family's unique needs.

Because as the world changes, society progresses, and your family grows, one thing stays the same: everyone loves the warmth and comfort of sweet, classic Southern Hospitality.  And that's exactly what Louisville Area Doulas delivers.

 

our modern take on classic Southern hospitality means that everyone is welcome to the louisville area Doulas family.  GIVE US A CALL TO FIND OUT WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU.

 

 

Nitrous Oxide in Labor and Delivery in the Louisville area.

nitrous oxide clark memorial

Exciting news!

Yesterday, Woman Care Midwifery Services, based out of Southern Indiana, posted to their Facebook page that starting soon, their patients will be able to use Nitrous Oxide during labor!

This means that Clark Memorial will be joining Floyd Memorial as one of the few hospitals in the area offering this childbirth pain relief option to their laboring patients.

So if you've chosen or are considering choosing a midwife on "the sunny side of the river", what should you consider when determining if Nitrous Oxide should be part of your birth plan?

Let's start by talking about what it is.

WHAT IS NITROUS OXIDE?

Nitrous Oxide (sometimes just called "nitrous" or N2O) is the same as the laughing gas you may have received at the dentist before, but in lower concentrations and with patient controlled administration. In other words, you'll feel less loopy than you might at the dentist office. 

In high concentrations, it's a weak anesthetic. In the lower concentrations typically used during labor, it has anti-anxiety and pain relief qualities.

At one point, the use of nitrous oxide was fairly common in the United States, but it fell out of favor as epidurals became more popular. There's a recent resurgence in its use in this country, and now Kentuckiana is joining in!

In several other countries, including Canada and the UK, a mix of 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen is available for pain relief during labor. It's administered using a handheld mask so that the birthing mother can control when she wants to inhale, and can put it down when she doesn't. The mask only delivers the medication when pressed against the mother's mouth and nose to create a seal, another difference from its use in a dentist's office.

So should you use Nitrous Oxide during your labor? Let's use the BRAIN decision making model (click link for a free printable) to walk through the benefits, risks, alternatives, and other factors in determining if this is an option that you would like to utilize.

what are the benefits of using nitrous oxide during labor?

Nitrous has the same basic benefit that all pain relief medications have: lessening the feeling and/or perception of pain during childbirth and immediately after.

But Nitrous Oxide also has some unique benefits.

  • It has no effects on the normal physiological process of birth and labor, including pushing
  • There no evidence that it has an adverse effect on the mother, or the baby (before or after birth)
  • Since anxiety can cause labor to stall or slow down, the anxiety relieving properties can help the patient relax and allow labor to progress
  • It does not interfere with newborn alertness, making early bonding and breastfeeding easier
  • It is self administered, fast acting, and the effects are short lasting, giving the mother a lot of control over her perception of pain.
  • It can be easily discontinued if the mother decides to stop using it. The effects cease after 5 minutes.
  • With it being fast acting, it can be use immediately, where as other forms of medical pain relief usually require a wait (for the anesthesiologist to be available, for a bag of fluid to run, for an IV to be placed, etc)
  • Compared to other pain management option, many women feel more in control of their medication when using Nitrous.

what are the risks of using nitrous oxide during labor?

As with any medication, as safe as Nitrous Oxide is, it does have some risks. When given in correct concentrations, the risks include:

  • Sedation, dizziness, nausea and vomiting are all potential side effects
  • Women with vitamin B12 deficiencies and MTHFR gene mutations are at greater risk of developing certain acute conditions and neurotoxic symptoms related to using Nitrous Oxide.
  • N2O cause changes in pressure in the inner ear, so women who have had a recent ear surgery should not use it.

what are the alternatives to using nitrous oxide during labor?

There are many other alternatives to pain relief during labor and birth. Just a few include:

  • An epidural
  • Hydrotherapy in a tub or shower
  • IV narcotics such as stadol
  • Hypnotherapy techniques

Each of these options, and all of the others, have their own benefits and risks that should be considered.

wHAT ARE YOUR INSTINCTS AND INTUITION TELLING YOU?

Here's one thing this blog can't answer for you: how do you feel about using nitrous oxide? Maybe you have a friend that used it and had a great experience, so your gut feeling is that this is a great option. Maybe a friend has had a terrible experience, so despite the benefits, you're wary.

Maybe, since it's new to the area, you don't know anyone who has used this option and that makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you like the idea of having more control over your pain relief, so this seems like the best idea for you.

Some people place more emphasis on their gut than on the evidence based risks and benefits. If you're one of those people, that's perfectly okay. When it comes to your birth and baby, you should make the decisions that you are comfortable with.

what if you do nothing?

Doing nothing can mean two different things in this situation: choosing not to make a decision right now, or deciding not to use pain medication during labor at all.

Both of these options are perfectly reasonable. You can always make the decision to ask for or forgo Nitrous Oxide in the moment during labor, assuming you're delivering with a provider at Clark Memorial or Floyd Memorial that allows this option.

You can also decide to focus your birth plan on a completely natural birth. There are plenty of resources available to you, in the form of childbirth education classes, hiring a labor doula to provide support (who can also support you if you choose to use any kind of pain medication!) , and finding a provider and medical staff that is supportive of unmedicated birth.

As the midwives at Woman Care said in a comment on the announcement post "This is just another something in our toolbox if needed. We know our moms are strong and rock at natural birth!"

Making the right decision for you.

Ultimately, the decision is yours to make, as with any other choice surrounding your pregnancy, birth, and parenting journey. As always, consult with your medical care provider, as they know your medical history and condition whereas this blog post does not.

We're thrilled that Woman Care is joining the ranks of professionals offering Nitrous Oxide to laboring patients, and making this an option at one of the more popular hospitals to have a baby in Kentuckiana.

whether you're birthing at clark memorial, floyd memorial or one of the other excellent hospitals in louisville and southern indiana, we would love to help you write the best birth plan for you. contact us today to learn more about our childbirth education options, labor doula support, and birth plan consultations.

If only I had a doula when my new life was born.

louisville doula

As I watched the Columbus skyline disappeared in the rear view mirror of my boyfriend's Chevy Avalanche loaded down with all of my earthly possessions,  I had the strangest mix of emotions in the pit of my stomach.  Excitement. Fear. Sadness. Nausea.

For the first in my almost 21 years of life,  I would be calling somewhere else home. I wasn't sure how to feel about that. Even when I went to college,  I was still only 15 or 20 minutes from home. I still saw my parents every other week or so.  I lived with my best friends and saw them everyday. The only thing missing was that my boyfriend had graduated and moved 3 hours south to Louisville.

And now that man that I was taking a leap of faith and moving in with was in the driver's seat next to me,  and everyone else that I knew and loved and every ounce of the life that I had lived was contained in that skyline that now was a speck  growing smaller and smaller.

If I had a doula in the back seat behind me, she would've put a hand on my shoulder and told me it was okay. It was okay to feel both ridiculously excited for this new adventure  with a guy that I was crazy about and excited to be on a new career path, while simultaneously being scared out of my ever loving mind.

But I didn't have a doula. And there wasn't room for her in the back seat with all of my hastily packed crap thrown back there anyway. So instead I plastered on a smile while being wracked with guilt for being anything less than thrilled.

When home doesn't feel like home

The following week,  I accepted my first full time job,  but my start date wasn't for another month. And that month felt darker than anything else I'd ever experienced at that point. I was in a new apartment that didn't feel like mine,  in a city that didn't feel like mine, and the only person I knew was at work 8+ hours a day. I remembered that feeling I had my first week of college: like this was summer camp and I would soon be going home. Except, this was decidedly less fun. And I felt very alone,  very vulnerable,  and very dependent on my partner. None of that was something I was used to.

That month of slowly slipping into depression  was punctuated by my best friend's wedding back in Columbus. Mixed with the absolute joy of being part of the best day of her life were feelings of "holy crap, this is actually happening, we're actually growing up" and "wow, Columbus doesn't feel like home anymore, either". My friend's lives were going  on without me. The city hadn't paused until I returned, and anyway every return from now on would be a temporary trip instead of "going home".

If I'd had a doula,  she would have told me that this was all normal. That I wasn't weak for missing home or being afraid. That everyone has those crippling moments of "Oh my gosh,  I'm actually a grown up. I have no idea what I'm doing". She would gently remind me to get out of the house,  because I always feel so much better outside and around people. She would stand with me at the "new2lou" meet-ups.

She would tell my boyfriend that my sadness wasn't his fault: that he hadn't taken me from my friends and family and the people that made me happy like a thief in the night. She would remind him that he makes me happy, and that's why I had decided to move in the first place.

Most of all,  just having her there as an impartial other would have helped me feel not so alone. I didn't feel like I could talk to my boyfriend without making him feel guilty. I didn't feel like I could talk to my friends back home because I didn't think they would get it. I didn't want my parents to know I was anything less than okay. My doula could've been my shoulder to lean on, if I had her.

Doulas: support through life's transitions

Things ended up being okay. Better than okay, even.

In the year and a half or so since I moved to Louisville, I started (and ended) a career in the nursing field. I’ve made great friends while keeping in close touch with the ones I left behind. Me and the guy that I was crazy enough about to leave everything behind for are doing better than ever. I have absolutely fallen in love with Louisville, from Cherokee Park to the lists and lists of delicious  local restaurants that I haven’t even made a dent in, to long drives along the river. This place certainly feels like home now, and I couldn’t be happier.

And maybe the best thing about the current state of my new life is that I have a career that I love as a labor and postpartum doula, a childbirth educator, a postpartum placenta specialist, and a doula agency owner.

I survived. I made it through without a doula, but it would have been so much easier had I had one.

When you’re going through a big transition, whether a move, a career change, a marriage, a death in the family, or the birth of a child, life gets flipped upside down. No matter if you’ve physically changed locations or not, life feels less like “home” than it once did.

That’s where doulas come in. With gentle understanding and judgment free comfort, we help make your new life feel like home again. When you’re expecting or taking care of a new baby, we stand beside you and help create an environment of order, celebration, organization, safety, and joy so that you feel as comfortable as possible right where you are.

Whatever transition you’re at, just know that you can make it through on your own. But with a doula, you don’t have to.

Louisville area doulas is proud to help make new and growing families feel more at home with their changing lives. Through prenatal education, doula support before, during, and after birth, and a variety of other services, we help families in louisville, southern indiana, and kentuckiana as a whole through this beautiful but crazy transition. If you're interested in learning more, contact us today.

Should I have my placenta encapsulated?

Should I have my placenta encapsulated?

placenta encapsulation in louisville ky

Why do people eat their placenta?

What is placenta encapsulation?

You've seen it in the news. Heard about the celebrities doing it. Seen it discussed in mom groups from babycenter.com forums to facebook groups. Maybe someone you know has even done it.

But some questions still linger: Why the heck would someone eat their placenta?! Is this something I should be considering?

The history of placenta consumption

Would you be surprised to know that humans are one of the few mammals that don't typically eat their placentas? At least not in modern day Western society. Studies have ruled out that these mammals consume their placenta simply to avoid predators or because they're hungry after the hard work of labor, indicating that there's something special about the placenta.

Even animals that are normally herbivorous and don't naturally consume meat (such as cows) will eat their afterbirth.  So there has be to be something to this, right?

Some cultures would agree. In the case of Traditional Chinese method, what modern placenta encapsulation has it's roots in, the placenta is considered a warming herb. It is thought to nourish energy, fight fatigue, and to "balance" the consumer, whether recently postpartum or not.

What are the benefits of placenta encapsulation?

The idea behind modern placenta encapsulation is generally the same: consuming the placenta is thought to restore balance to new moms by balancing her hormones. The potential benefits are numerous and include:

  • Increased energy
  • Decreased postpartum bleeding
  • Increase in milk supply
  • Faster physical recovery
  • Improved mood and fewer mood swings
  • Decreased incidence of postpartum mood disorders (postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, etc)

The net effect is that you feel better faster after the hard work of having a baby so that you can get back to the things you love: getting things done at work and around the house, enjoying the company of visiting family and friends, and bonding with your newly expanded family.

And in the form of placenta encapsulation, none of the ick factor or eating a raw organ remains. You can take your professionally prepared placenta capsule and pretend it's just any everyday vitamin or herbal supplement, but with the confidence that it was made just for you.

pLACENTA ENCAPSULATION: POSTPARTUM INSURANCE POLICY

So, who would eat their placenta? It's not justparticipating in the hot new trend.

Many women choose to encapsulate their placenta after a tough time with previous postpartum periods. They may have had excessive postpartum bleeding, struggled with the baby blues, postpartum depression, or low energy, or had issues with low milk supply if they tried to breastfeed.

Some first time moms are at higher risk for postpartum mood disorders because of previous trouble with or family history of anxiety, depression, or OCD and choose to have their placenta encapsulated to mitigate these risks.

But what about you? If none of these situations apply to you directly, there still may be a good reason for you to have your placenta encapsulated by a professional: a postpartum insurance policy.

Your placenta is one of those rare situations that is truly a "use it or lose it" scenario. If you don't choose to preserve it properly for later use, it will be discarded as medical waste and will be gone forever.

No one can predict the future. While we might always hope for the best and expect a smooth postpartum recovery, we can't guarantee it. Just as we purchase health insurance just in case we get unexpectedly sick and car insurance just in case we get in an unintentional accident,  or save an emergency fund for unforeseen expenses you might consider having your placenta encapsulated just in case there are bumps in the road after you have your baby.

You can take your placenta capsule just in case, and know that you've done something extra to help make your new life a little easier.

if you think placenta encapsulation in louisville or southern indiana is right for you, contact us today. if you still have lingering questions, don't hesitate to ask or join us for an informational session listed on our events page.

 

The perfect Amazon Dash Button for new parents.

amazon dash baby

Have you heard aboutAmazon's new dash buttons?

Essentially, these little buttons available exclusively to Amazon Prime members, are a physical way to keep your pantry and cabinets stocked. Low on trash bags? Just tap the button that you can have fixed onto the inside of the door to the cabinet where your hefty bags are held, and just like that a delivery of trash bags will be on its way to you.

This idea is obviously revolutionary to new parents that might be going through way more household items (like laundry detergent thanks to spit ups and blow outs) than usual, but have little time to go get them and a major case of baby brain keeping them from remembering these basics when they do finally make it to the store.

There's even a whole baby section of buttons, allowing you to restock your diapers , wipes, and formula with a push of a button.

But what about all of the intangible things that a new parent may need in an instant? That's where a postpartum doula comes in.

THE REAL LIFE DASH BUTTON

Of course, your postpartum doula can drop by the store for some of your necessities on the way over, help you keep track of your grocery list, and keep your essentials organized, but she can provide so much more than that.

Out of energy? Your postpartum doula will stay overnight to help you get the good night's sleep that you need. In the morning, you'll wake refreshed and ready to take on the day, with a delicious breakfast waiting for you.

Running low on patience? Your postpartum doula can take the baby and entertain the older kids so that you have a chance to regroup.

Need to restock your confidence? Your postpartum doula will be there to encourage you while she helps you gain confidence in your parenting abilities. We know that you can do it, and we'll help you be sure of it, too. 

Almost out of intimacy? By helping around the house and with the baby, your postpartum doula gives you the space, time, and energy to connect with your partner not just as a co-parent, but as the person you fell in love with.

With a postpartum doula helping your family, you'll know with 100% certainty that the one thing that you'll never run out of is unbiased, nonjudmental, compassionate support.

YOU DON'T NEED TO BE AN AMAZON PRIME MEMBER TO ENJOY THE REAL LIFE DASH BUTTON OF A POSTPARTUM DOULA. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT POSTPARTUM DOULAS IN LOUISVILLE, CONTACT US TODAY.

New Year's Resolutions: Our Postpartum Promise

Happy January, and hello 2016!

As we near the end of the first work week of the new year, I'm sure everyone's minds are on one thing: New Year's Resolutions.

postpartum doula louisville

From weight loss to career goals, with a fresh new year, most people are seeking a fresh start toward something that they want to achieve. Whether you're seeking to change your whole life or just your outlook, we want to help. During the month of January, stay tuned for blog posts with tips and tricks to help you achieve your resolutions this year.

But before we get started with that, I want to share with you something that's very close to my heart: Louisville Area Doulas' New Year's Resolution for 2016.

 

Louisville Area Doulas resolves to positively change the postpartum period for families in Louisville, Southern Indiana, and the surrounding area of Kentuckiana in 2016.

 

THE CURRENT STATE OF POSTPARTUM SUPPORT IN LOUISVILLE. 

As we've written about before, there is a a lot of progress that needs to be made in the realm of postpartum support in Louisville. But first, let's look at the current state.

The great thing about the Kentuckiana community is that there are many options for new mom groups for mothers to meet with others in the same place in life that they're in. Through in person groups and facebook groups, they can meet others to build their village and do life with one another.

The problem, though, is that they don't meet new mothers where they are. They have to be in a place where they can manage to get to the meetings or where they feel comfortable sharing candidly in a new space with new people. Some in person groups are focused on particular parenting choices or only available to mothers that don't work during the day.

On the facebook groups, there is often a lot of bias and judgment (though often unintentional) that a struggling new parent certainly doesn't need.

And more importantly, these groups don't address the biggest issues that new parents are facing: lack of sleep or regular routine. Needing help with managing the day to day tasks. The loneliness that happens when their partner returns to work but they aren't ready to venture out into the world again.

It's no wonder that so many new mothers are suffering in silence. After all, sleep deprivation, a lack of defined schedule, and solitary confinement are frequent used to literally torture people. And that's what we're expecting new parents to live through.

Meanwhile, they're hesitant to speak up about not feeling normal, because the assumption remains that one has to want to harm their baby to have postpartum depression. Anything else must just be par for the course, right?

Hiring a postpartum doula can help new families with so many of these issues, but there's still a problem.

First of all there are very, very few postpartum doulas in Louisville.

There are even fewer that are actively practicing or that can take on more than one client at any given time.

Many cannot provide overnight or live-in support.

So much emphasis is place on birth in general that even those that know what a labor/birth doula is are surprised to hear that a postpartum doula even exists.

Most birth doulas (of which there are far more than postpartum doulas) end their contract with a single postpartum visit and don't know that they can refer their clients to a postpartum doula, even if an obvious postpartum mood disorder isn't occurring.

Medical care providers and hospital staff don't know that this a suggestion that they can make.

There are many options for childbirth education in Louisville, but few (if any) classes are focused on educating new parents on their choices and experience during the postpartum period after they leave the hospital.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't think anyone is willfully ignoring the needs of postpartum parents. But it is being neglected and it's unacceptable. When you know better, you do better.

So let's start doing better.

 

OUR PROMISE.

Louisville Area Doulas promises to continuing leading the charge to change the postpartum experience of Louisville and Southern Indiana's parents with renewed focus and dedication this year.

There are some things that we already do that we promise to continue:

We promise to continue offering top of the line postpartum support that is free of bias and judgment. We will meet our clients where they are and help them meet their unique parenting goals with professionalism and compassion.

We promise to continue providing complete support to all of clients, not just those that hire us for postpartum services.

That means that all of our labor doula clients will continue to receive 4 hours of complimentary postpartum doula support, and our prenatal class students will have the option of enjoying 2 hours of postpartum support.

That means we will continue to treat placenta encapsulation as more than just providing capsules, but as the act of providing a fully supported postpartum experience by encapsulating in the client's home to make ourselves available to help however we are needed.

We promise continue offering complimentary consultations to those that are unsure of what to do next, and postpartum planning sessions to those that don't want or can't afford postpartum services but still want help.

But with this renewed dedication comes some new elements to our plans to change things:

We promise to make a concerted effort to reach those that cannot afford postpartum doula services. We will provide free community workshops and relevant and helpful blog content, as well as meet the diapering needs of struggling families through No Child Wet Behind.

We will be adding the Your Birth Experience postpartum and breastfeeding curriculum to our class offerings as soon as it becomes available.

We promise to raise awareness that postpartum doula support is an option by talking to everyone we meet about what it is that we do.

We will coordinate meetings with doctors, midwives, nursing staff, and community leaders to get the word out that new parents can have help. That with a postpartum doula on their support team, they can thrive instead of just surviving.

We will raise awareness about postpartum mood disorders in our community.

We will expand our team of postpartum professionals by bringing a ProDoula postpartum doula training in the area. In hiring more postpartum doulas to the Louisville Area Doulas team, we will not only provide jobs in Kentuckiana, but be able to expand the amount and breadth of support that we currently offer.

By increasing the awareness of the good that a postpartum doula can do and showing the birth community that being a postpartum doula can be both rewarding and sustainable, we hope to encourage others to do this work, whether they're part of the LAD team or not.

And so, so much more. Every opportunity that we have to make a change in a positive and sustainable way, we will take it.

In short, we promise to be the change that we want to see in our community. We promise that by January 2017, the postpartum landscape in Louisville and Southern Indiana won't look the same.

We hope you'll join us.

to learn more about how a postpartum doula can help supprort your family, how you can gift postpartum support to the new parents in your life, or more information on how to become a postpartum doula, contact us today.

 

 

 

 

Why Kim Kardashian ate her placenta.

placenta encapsulation louisville

So, if you've been around the blog for a bit, you might have noticed that we Keep up with the Kardashians and follow the lives of the Duggars, among other reality TV stars. 

And it's not just  because we're addicted to reality TV (I can stop anytime I want, honest!), but because these high profile women bring media attention to things that the average mother is doing every single day.

A recent example?

KIM KARDASHIAN WEST ATE HER PLACENTA.

It has been reported that after giving birth to her second child with husband Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West is planning on eating her placenta

EW may be your first reaction. And to be honest, I can't really blame you. I'm pretty sure it was my immediate reaction as well when I first learned of the practice of placenta encapsulation.

But hear me out. There's a reason why so many women, including Kim Kardashian West, January Jones (of Mad Men fame), and Kim Zolciak (Real Housewives of Atlanta) are turning to this modern approach to a traditional healing method. 

TAKING OUT THE ICK FACTOR. 

First of all, consuming your placenta doesn't have to look the way that you may think. The method rising in popularity among new mothers is placenta encapsulation based on the Traditional Method developed in Chinese medicine. 

In this method, the placenta is steamed, cut into thin strips, dehydrated, ground into a fine powder, and put into capsules. The result is a beautifully packaged bottle of pills that look no different than an herbal supplement. As Kim herself said:

"And when I say 'eat my placenta,' I mean that I'm having it freeze-dried and made into a pill form—not actually fry it like a steak and eat it (which some people do, BTW)."

Having your placenta encapsulated not only takes away the ick factor from consuming  a raw organ, but when done using the traditional method, steaming the placenta reduces bacteria and pathogens, making it safer. The placenta also keeps for longer, allowing the new mother to reap the benefits for longer. 

What are the benefits of having your placenta encapsulated?

Although the FDA has yet to evaluate the potential benefits of placenta consumption, anecdotal evidence across many cultures and reported by many women support the idea that the possible benefits include:

  • Increased energy
  • Decreased postpartum bleeding
  • Less mood swings and less incidence of postpartum mood disorders
  • Increased milk supply
  • Faster recovery from childbirth 

Kim stated that her specific reasons for encapsulating her placenta were to avoid the postpartum baby blues:

"I really didn't want the baby blues and thought I can't go wrong with taking a pill made of my own hormones—made by me, for me. I started researching and read about so many moms who felt this same way and said the overall healing process was so much easier."

"I heard so many stories when I was pregnant with North of moms who never ate their placenta with their first baby and then had postpartum depression... But then when they took the pills with their second baby, they did not suffer from depression! So I thought, why not try it? What do I have to lose?"

Many mothers, though skeptical, view having their placenta encapsulated as an insurance policy. They would rather the capsules and not need it, than to have their placenta discarded as medical waste and regret it later. 

 

THE NEW NORMAL

So there you have it. Kim Kardashian followed in big sister Kourtney's footsteps and had her placenta encapsulated for the second time, in hopes of avoiding the postpartum baby blues. Love her or hate her, we're loving that Kim is an open book when it comes to her pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience to help normalize some of the things that everyday moms are doing around the world. 

Placenta encapsulation can be a valuable part of a well rounded postpartum recovery experience, and not nearly as gross as you think it might be. 

LOUISVILLE AREA DOULAS IS PROUD TO OFFER PLACENTA ENCAPSULATION IN LOUISVILLE AND SOUTHERN INDIANA, AS WELL AS ADD-ON PRODUCTS SUCH AS PLACENTA TINCTURES AND PLACENTA SALVES. we believe that that it's important to provide new parents with more than just a carefully crafted product, but with a full experience of support. learn more about our placenta encapsulation services, and contact us today to schedule the creation of your postpartum happy pills. 

Pregnancy isn't all sunshine and rainbows.

pregnancy support Louisville

A guest post by Kristina Madden, best friend of Louisville Area Doulas owner September Phillips and mommy-to-be of Mr Tatum Keith, due in early March 2016. We're so excited for her and her husband, and honored to feature her experience on the blog.  

Pregnancy is not just cute bumps and "glowing".

It's almost a year of complete change, physically and emotionally (not even including postpartum).

Everyone posts the nice things of being pregnant, like the growing baby bumps that everyone obsesses over and feeling the baby kick. It's a lot more than that:

 It's mood swings and crying over the tiniest things that normally wouldn't phase you.

It's giving up your body to grow another life.

It's constantly being tired.

It's watching the numbers on the scale go up and not knowing how much of that is gained body fat.

It's having a closet of clothes that don't fit.

It's stretching and itchy skin.

It's having your personal space invaded by people wanting to feel your bump without asking.

It's backaches and not being able to get comfortable.

It's finding new ways to stretch or move because you can't do it the same as before.

It's ligament pain.

It's watching your friends go out and have fun doing things you can't participate in.

louisville pregnancy support

It's giving up things you would normally eat or drink.

It's frequent bathroom trips.

It's heartburn and acid reflux.

It's regular doctor visits.

It's worrying about every little thing that could be wrong with the baby, even when the doctors say everything looks good.

It's wondering whether you're going to be a good parent and thinking you're not ready to be responsible for another person's life.

It's being afraid of what your body will look like after birth.

It's being scared to death of what labor will be like.

The list goes on. It's hard and sometimes it sucks. I'm not complaining about this journey, but it's not all glamorous like people make it seem.

The bump and feeling kicks are what make it easier; seeing him grow and feeling him move make the crappy parts of being pregnant disappear.

pregnancy Louisville

I love that I'm the only one that feels a strong connection to my baby right now. I love when I have my hands on my belly and feel him kick my hands back. I love being able to actually see his movement now that he's bigger. & I love thinking about the fact that my body is growing and fully supporting another life.

So here's to week 28 & 84 days until my due date. There are days where I wish I didn't have to do this for 9-10 months, but then I remind myself that I'm blessed to be having an easy going pregnancy compared to what it could be and am having no complications with a healthy baby boy. I'm lucky and thankful to have the support system that I do and a husband who does everything he can for me/us.

Two trimesters down, one to go until we can meet little man. 

At louisville area doulas, we know that pregnancy, birth, and parenting aren't always as magical as people expect it to be. We get it. We support you through the tough stuff and celebrate the good stuff with you along the way. for more information on our childbirth education classes, labor doula support, and postpartum doula support in louisville and southern indiana, contact us today

When the Holidays aren't Happy.

holiday grief louisville

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!" 

Except...when it isn't. 

Sometimes, the holidays serve as a stark reminder of what's missing and, even worse, who is missing. 

When you're anticipating an empty seat around the family table this year, it's hard to get into a jolly spirit.

It's hard to care about decorations, festive movies, and parties.

It's hard to pretend that everything is okay when it really, really isn't. 

I struggle to write this blog, not only because my own loved ones are dealing with the first Christmas without a beloved son, brother, cousin, and friend, but because I don't like bringing up problems without having an answer.

I don't have an answer here.

I can't tell you that it'll be okay, because we both know that right now, it isn't.

I can't tell you that they're in a better place, because not only do I not know your beliefs, but I also know that selfishly or not, you want them here with you, and not anywhere else. 

What I can tell you is that you aren't alone

What I can tell you is that the way you're feeling is completely normal. You have the right to be sad when everyone around you is celebrating. You have the right to celebrate yourself, while still feeling grief. You have the right to go through the grieving process the way that works best for you. 

And while I can't give you an answer that fixes all of this pain, as much as I may want to, I can offer some advice: 

  • Let yourself feel the feelings, whatever they my be. Feel the grief, the sadness, the anger, the nostalgia, and yes, even the happiness. 
  • Don't be afraid to take care of yourself first.
  • Find the people that bring you comfort, whether by talking out your feelings, or just being there for you without a word. 
  • If you need to skip the festivities this year for your own peace of mind, it's okay. If you need to put your all into creating a holiday atmosphere, that's okay, too.

I can only hope that those words help as much as anything can at a time like this. And I can tell you that you'll be in my thoughts. And in quiet moments, I'll hope for comfort for you and your family and remember those that we have lost.  

In loving memory of Cary Michael Morgan, who is so loved and so missed.