Guest post by: Renee of Pregnancy Pillows

Uncategorized Jan 23, 2018

Top Tips for Sleeping During Pregnancy

You probably expect to lose lots of sleep once your baby is born. But what about during your pregnancy? As a woman's body readies itself for childbirth and nurtures a growing fetus, it undergoes a lot of changes that make it hard to sleep. Since sleep is very important for both your health and the health of your baby, it's important to stay ahead of these changes and try to get as much rest as you can.

Changing Challenges

Each trimester presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to your sleep schedule. While there are a few catch-all solutions that will improve your sleep during every trimester (like using a pregnancy pillow), many other tricks will only help during a single trimester. Keeping track of where you are during your pregnancy is especially important when it comes to understanding the changes your body is going through and what you can do to get a good night's sleep.

First Trimester: Fatigue and Tenderness

During the first...

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Whitney's Testimony

Uncategorized Jan 09, 2018

As first time parents, we of course had no idea what to expect about labor, and we were each a little anxious about being able to provide one another with the best support possible. Some of my friends suggested that I consider hiring a doula, but we were unsure if it was worth it, since I was already 35 weeks pregnant. In addition, we had also heard some stories of doulas completely dominating the birth room and thus excluding and offending hospital personnel.

Still, we decided to explore this option and asked a friend for some contact information for area doulas. Shalene was recommended by the doula with whom she was studying. When I contacted her, she was very thorough in the information she provided and was very willing to come to use for an in-person consultation to help us decide whether her services would be a good fit for us.

From the beginning of our relationship, Shalene was warm, patient and determined to help us feel both comfortable with her support and also empowered to...

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The Simplicity of Birth in the Bush of South Sudan

Uncategorized Jan 09, 2018

The picture I held, living in South Sudan, as I approached the “delivery room” of a simple Sudanese bush woman, a warrior, a friend; imagine a young, simple woman . . . no modern medicine, equipment, or fancy birthing rooms.   In the stillness and simplicity of the moonlit night was a woman participating in the dance her body was created to do, give birth.  There she was perched against her outdoor bamboo kitchen with her body held strong and dignified, squatting on a cement block as she prepared to give birth in the sand.  A few sisters gathered around and simplicity was our companion and the grace and mercy of God at our right hand.

The day of her delivery, the mother had been to our home (tent).  I had taken her back to her home with a huge load of fire wood.  She left the vehicle at her path and hoisted the heavy load onto her head. Little did she or I know she would deliver that night.  Women in South Sudan have no way of knowing...

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Choosing Your Care Provider and Doula Support

Uncategorized Jul 27, 2017


Watch the video below to learn the importance of carefully choosing your care provider, birth support, and Doula.

Your birth is sacred.

You need to feel safe and secure with the people you choose to enter into that space. 

You need to feel supported and encouraged.

You need to feel that you can completely let go during your birth.

You need to feel supported with your birth preferences.

You need to feel you can trust their guidance and suggestions as labor unfolds.

It is important to ask for recommendations from trusted friends and interview several providers. 

Put the above statements into a question to ask yourself.  

Do you feel . . . when you are with the provider? 

Post in the comments below your experience choosing your provider and birth support team. 

Ask questions about preparing for your birth!

Learn how you can prepare for your birth and cope with pain, however you plan to birth, HERE. 

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Self-Care During Pregnancy and Postpartum in Honor of Mother's Day

Uncategorized May 11, 2017

Image by: Laura Swift Photography 

Cultivating self-care during pregnancy and the postpartum days is vital to thrive as a new mother. Your motherhood journey begins, emotionally, when you find out there is a baby growing inside you.

Your life shifts and is changed. 

It's challenging and beautiful! 

The most important way to cultivate self-care is to fill your cup!  

A few ways to do this is:

  • Getting good rest.  Now, I know you may be thinking it is impossible to get sleep being uncomfortable during pregnancy or with a newborn. It is important to be committed to finding ways and time to sleep.  Pregnancy hormones make you SLEEPY!  Don't feel guilty about letting everything go and taking a nap.  If you have already had your baby, find someone to come help for a few hours for you to get a solid nap. 
  • Getting nutritious foods. Plan ahead to have fresh or frozen meals brought to you.  Have ingredients ready and planned to begin your day...
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Preparing Prenatally for Postpartum

Postpartum or postnatal is generally defined as the first 6 weeks following the birth of your baby. That period is referring, mainly, to the physical recovering and the transition of your body and baby through beginning breastfeeding. 

However, most care providers won’t tell you the mental and emotional journey can last up to 3 years.  Many new mothers experience some form of anxiety or depression during the postpartum period, and find it hard to immediately bond and connect with their newborn.

You may be focused on your pregnancy and preparing for birth, and not thinking much about preparing for postpartum.

Most couples share how overwhelmed they felt and unexpectedly hard it was caring for a baby.  It is so important to start planning now to have support systems and a plan in place to set yourself and your family up to experience peace and joy in those early days.

It became my mission to prepare parents to minimize the risk of postpartum depression and...

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Pain vs. Suffering in Labor

When I meet with women during their pregnancy, the biggest concern on their mind about labor is being afraid of the pain. It is the fear that motivates many women to plan interventions hoping to minimize or take away the pain. This is a very valid concern. 

 Most people don’t want to experience pain.  It is very normal and our mind’s job to desire to take away pain, avoid it, or be rescued from it.  The process of labor and birth is much more affected by your mental state and ability to cope with intensity in your mind than the physical sensations happening in your body.   The mental process affects the physical process of labor.

 In Birthing From Within Classes®, I teach Pain Coping Practices.  These are called “practices” because they take practice to retrain your mind and deepen your determination to cope with intensity, physically and mentally.

 There is a difference between pain and suffering.  In...

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10 Things I Have Learned from Supporting 100 Births!

This picture is of my 100th birth with Crystal and Brian Hazzard. The images are by: Laura Swift Photography

I have been honored to have supported over 100 parents during their birth! It is a special milestone for me as a Doula. As I reflect on the years I have been a Doula and the births I have attended, I will share 10 things I have learned. 

 1) When someone asks me about my services, I can't give them a bullet point answer. Much of what I do is intuitive. My intuition in the birth room has been greatly strengthened with each birth. As I get the call to come to a birth, I say a prayer for strength and guidance for myself and the laboring woman and her partner. There is a mystery and beauty in the birth room. Many women have a birth plan, and I encourage them to hold it loosely as labor has a way of making twists and turns like the labyrinth process I teach in my childbirth classes. As I watch closely in quiet observance, I am thankful when I have a deep knowing, in...

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