Tag Archives: birth

What Are Doulas, and Do I Need One?

While doulas are becoming a more common addition to an expectant families birth or postpartum plan, many still aren’t quite sure what a doula actually does. Below is a brief overview of the ways Birth and Postpartum Doulas help the families they work with.

Birth Doulas

We recommend families start interviewing Birth Doulas during the second trimester of pregnancy. It can take a few weeks to line up interviews to find the perfect doula fit. Once hired, your doula is available to you for any questions you may have over email, phone or text. You can also expect:

Pre-birth: during the third trimester, your doula will schedule prenatal meetings. These are valuable sessions to help plan for the day of birth. Your doula will review any childbirth education classes you may have taken and answer any questions you might have. She’ll also help you make a few logistical plans for the day of birth. We never know exactly how labor will unfold, however having a few different plans for how labor may start can be particularly helpful.

Your doula will also help you practice different comfort measures for labor. This may be a combination of movements, breathing techniques, guided imagery, hypnosis, massage techniques and more. She’ll help your partner be prepared for when labor starts, with some guidance on helping you during early labor when contractions are mild.

Day of: on the day of your birth your doula will be on call and ready to meet you when you need support. She can meet you either at your home or hospital, whichever works best depending on how your labor is progressing. Your doula is your guide – she’ll help you manage contractions by coaching you through breathing and comfort techniques. She’ll encourage you every step of the way. For your partner, she’ll help normalize the experience and be a reassuring presence.

At the hospital, your doula will help you settle in and be as comfortable as possible. She’ll help you dialog with medical staff and make sure you have all the information you need to make decisions should they arise. If an epidural is requested, doulas have lots of techniques to help clients rest in different positions to help facilitate the baby’s decent into the birth canal.

Every step of the way during your labor, your doula is there for you and your partner, whether it’s gathering supplies, getting you a drink of water, or offering a massage.  

Following the birth of your baby, your doula will help you with the first latch, get you settled in with a high protein snack, take some family photos if you’d like, and help you be as comfortable as possible for those early bonding hours.

Postpartum: after you’re settled in at home, your Birth Doula will return within the first one to two weeks after the birth to have a postpartum check in session. This is a wonderful time to recap the birth experience together. This is also a good time to trouble shoot any lactation, newborn care or postpartum healing questions that may have come up. Your doula will be able to direct you to community resources if they’re needed.

Postpartum Doulas

Preparing for the postpartum period, aka “the fourth trimester” is incredibly important for the whole family unit. You’ll never regret setting yourself up with help so you can rest and focus on feeding your baby during those early weeks and months.

Postpartum Doulas are available to assist families either during the day or overnight. Daytime doulas spend a lot of their time focusing on guidance and education for the new family. This might include assisting with breastfeeding and latching, teaching newborn care such as bathing, swaddling, and soothing techniques.  

In addition to baby care, the postpartum doula can also run errands, prepare meals, tidy up the home, and attend to things that help the day move forward for the household. Your postpartum doula is your guide- she’ll help you develop and strengthen your parenting confidence so that when she’s not there, you feel secure with your baby.

Overnight doulas are typically hired so new parents can get as much sleep as possible. For moms who are breastfeeding, the postpartum doula can provide support during nighttime feedings if needed. Although mom will need to wake to breastfeed, the doula handles all the diaper changes, swaddling and soothing so mom can get some much needed rest in between feeds. She can also make you a middle of the night snack, and have breakfast ready for you in the morning.

Postpartum doulas typically work with families anywhere from the first 2-3 weeks following the birth, all the way up to the first 5-6 months depending on the family’s needs. We recommend families interview postpartum doulas in the third trimester of pregnancy, though many clients hire postpartum help after the baby is born.

If you’d like to learn more about birth and postpartum doula services, or have questions about your particular situation, feel free to reach out to Baby Caravan: info@babycaravan.com or @babycaravan on Instagram.

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About Baby Caravan

Baby Caravan provides holistic support for families, from pregnancy through returning to work postpartum. Founded in 2014, Baby Caravan’s mission is to provide families in New York City with exceptional birth and postpartum knowledge, guidance and resources through our network of professional Birth & Postpartum Doulas. We connect families with vetted doulas, to best meet their needs during this special, yet challenging time. In addition to doula services, Baby Caravan coaches moms returning to work following maternity leave to help smooth the transition back to work. 

Written by our guest blog partner Jennifer Mayer, Founder Baby Caravan

Meet Our Friends at Village Obstetrics™

We want to introduce you to our friends at Village Obstetrics™ and the wonderful support and care that they provide their patients. We partnered up with them for a Q&A to give our readers an opportunity to learn more about their impressive work.
Q: A big part of Village Obstetrics™ mission is to follow a minimally invasive approach. Why is practicing this important to your mission, and what have you seen as benefits for your patients with this approach? 
A: We see newly pregnant couples who are concerned about interventions meddling in the natural process of pregnancy and birth. And it’s true that the medical profession has become concerned about the high rate of unnecessary c-sections. So, our approach is one that respects the natural process but uses modern medicine and technology to check and see how the natural process is unfolding. If everything looks good, our job is to stay out of nature’s way, but if there’s a storm brewing our job is to figure out together with our mom what the best course of action is. Minimally invasive obstetrics is doing the least necessary to get the job done and it yields low rates of c-section with well-informed satisfied moms.
Q: What are the benefits of unmedicated v medicated birth or c-section? Is there a time in the birthing process where its too late to get an epidural?
A: Birth has lots of variables – the size of the baby, the individual pain tolerance, the length of the labor, the strength of the contraction, head position and on and on. So, it’s fair to say that keeping an open mind is especially important as you approach birth. In general, for first time labor we have seen great benefits from trying to get as deep into labor as possible before getting medications for pain relief. At that stage if you want an unmedicated birth we see how much further you have to go and if its not too far, you typically will make it without medication. Alternatively, if you are at the end of what you can manage and you still have a long way to go, or if you plan on an epidural, that’s a great time to go ahead and get relief.
After you’ve already had a vaginal birth and you are in labor with the next baby, then you need to decide sooner if you want an epidural or not. Probably when your pain is still manageable but now starting to get your attention (say a 6 out of 10 on the pain scale) then it’s time to either get the epidural or commit to finishing it as an unmedicated delivery. The last part of labor could be very fast with second or third babies and there might not be enough time to get an epidural if you wait until pain is an 8 or more out of 10. With the first vaginal birth however, its almost never too late to get an epidural because the progress of labor is much slower usually. Many of our moms now also consider using Nitrous Oxide which is available at our hospital as an alternative to epidural or to maintain control until getting the epidural later.
Q: New patients have lots of questions both pre- and post-birth. How do you help new moms and dads with the transition of becoming parents?
A: One great new addition to the information for new moms and dads is Dr. Worth’s new book, “The New Rules of Pregnancy: What to eat, do, think about, and let go of while your body is making a baby”. We are so proud of her! So many of the existing guide books are so packed full of information that they can be overwhelming and even scary. We needed an expert to sift through those big books and pull out the key information and present it in a format where you can take in a little information at a time while keeping it positive and with beautiful uplifting illustrations that provoke imagination and calm. Dr Worth made that happen and we hope you give it a read. Beyond that we intentionally structured our practice for only pregnancy and birth care. We unapologetically exclusively devote all our time and talents to this important field of obtetrics. Not doing gynecology and well woman care allows us the time to really get into questions and controversies in our office visits. We also hold our own free of charge birth class for our clients that we call our “Pregnancy Chit Chat” – it’s a group Q&A with their doctors. We also reply to our clients e-mails and we try and provide continuing community education speaking, blogging and posting whenever we are invited to by groups involved in pregnancy and birth care.
To learn more about Village Obstetrics,™ click here.
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Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media

Do You Have a Birth Plan?

As I get closer to delivery (only five more weeks), my husband and I were advised by my OB to review a series of questions and “what if” scenarios. I found a detailed check list on The Bump, which provided a great starter template. But you have to keep in mind; plans don’t always go the way you envision. So, play out a few different scenarios so you are not surprised, or caught off guard!
Here are some interesting things they brought up that I didn’t really think about:

  1. Do you want the lights bright or dimmed?
  2. Do you want interns present from the birth?
  3. How do you prefer to spend your first stage of labor (i.e., in a bath tub, walking around, with music or in silence)?
  4. During delivery, how do you want to be positioned (i.e., stand, squat, lie on side, lean on partner)?

 
And here are some really important questions to ask yourself and consider:

  1. Would you like labor augmentation? Do you even know what that is?
  2. What kind of pain relief do you want to use? There are a lot of options.
  3. What level of fetal monitoring do you want?
  4. After delivery, what do you want to do with the umbilical cord and placenta?
  5. What if you have to have a c-section. Read about options and recovery. You have decisions here too (i.e., want your partner there, want to see the baby come out via mirror)?
  6. Print out your plan and keep it in your hospital bag. It’ll be a nice source of comfort.

 
**Fun fact: Lindsay had her baby only one week after writing this post! Good thing she had her birth plan (and this blog) all set.
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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

Have a Birthing Experience Like an A-Lister

Giving birth to your newborn child is one of life’s most precious things to experience (or so I’ve heard). That doesn’t go without saying that there are some not so precious things that occur during labor. To spare everyone of all the glorious details, let’s instead talk about how giving birth can be one of the most luxurious experiences of your life!
You’ve heard it here first; labor can be an experience where you feel like a queen, and it may leave you never wanting to leave that hospital room again.
In an article published by parents.com, they introduce some of the most luxurious birthing suites in the US. That’s right ladies, think spa treatments, 24-hour concierge service, and a private chef! It’s time to leave the roommate life behind, and experience a birthing experience as Amal Clooney would.

  1. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
    Birthing suites are designed to look like the outdoors! Oh yeah, your food is delivered by a tuxedo-wearing “food ambassador.”
  2. Rose Medical Center in Denver
    Birthing rooms have private bathrooms with Jacuzzi bathtubs, rocking chairs, and flat-screen TVs. To be totally low key, VIPs can enter one of the luxury suites, and be offered the services of a private chef.
  3. Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles
    If a three-room suite isn’t enough, mom can treat herself to an in-suite manicure, pedicure, or haircut. Celebs like Kourtney Kardashian, Rachel Zoe, and Victoria Beckham have given birth here, so start planning your totally casual celeb run-in now.
  4. The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City
    Enjoy your luxury suite overlooking Central Park and have your newborn wrapped in muslin cotton swaddling blankets. And no mom leaves without a postpartum massage!
  5. The Women’s & Children’s Hospital at Centennial in Nashville
    How about a 24/7 concierge service to handle your requests? From making sure your car gets an oil change to delivering food from Nashville-area restaurants – can we say VIP?

 
We provided the top five luxurious birthing suites. For the remaining five you can read the full article, here.
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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

Village Maternity Making a Difference

There are a lot of options for an expecting mother on how she would like her pregnancy to go. A lot can go as planned, but of course some people have to roll with the punches and figure it out along the way.

Birth transforms your life and body completely. Whom you select as your pregnancy caregiver makes all the difference in determining the satisfaction and safety of your pregnancy journey and birth experience.

Village Maternity believes the best birth for mom and baby comes from blending the unique strengths of midwives and doctors with the safety of a wonderful hospital partner.

‎The Village Maternity team firmly believe that true collaboration of midwives and doctors provides you with the safest and most satisfying birth experience. They approach your pregnancy with energy and enthusiasm and strive to help make your care with Village Maternity an amazing journey.

Village Maternity proudly collaborates with Metropolitan Hospital – a hidden gem for NYC families. Among Manhattan birth sites, Metropolitan has a long history of true midwifery care, including support for unmedicated birth with one of the lowest epidural rates. Metropolitan has one of the lowest cesarean section rates and the least overcrowding.  Metropolitan physicians provide support for one of the highest rates of vaginal birth after cesarean section.

Village Maternity offers both Maternity Care (prenatal and postpartum) as well as Preconception Care. Not to mention 24/7 phone access. How reassuring to have your doctor a call away. They even have weekend and evening office hours. Village Maternity offices are conveniently based in midtown east.

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Note: Village Maternity did not pay for this post. I met the doctors at Village Maternity and truly believe in their mission. For more information please visit their website.

Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell