Quotes of the Soul

Quotes of the Soul

“If I don’t know my options, I don’t have any.”
~ Diana Korte

“Birth is powerful… Let it empower you.”
~ Unknown

“Just as a woman’s heart knows how and when to pump,
her lungs to inhale,
and her hand to pull back from the fire,
so she knows when and how to give birth.”
~Virginia Di Orio

“Only with trust, faith, and support can the woman allow the birth experience to enlighten and empower her.”
~ Claudia Lowe

“There is a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful.
It’s that women are strong.”
~ Laura Stavoe Harm

“You are constructing your own reality with the choices you make…or don’t make.
If you really want a healthy pregnancy and joyful birth, and you truly understand that you are the one in control,
then you must examine what you have or haven’t done so far to create the outcome you want.”
~ Kim Wildner

“The need to pursue healthy birth options and birth rights for women and babies doesn’t end with our own births;
for women will always birth after us.”
~ Desirre Andrews

“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.”
~ Mary Manin Morrissey

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
~ Marie Curie

“Those who fear birth, also fear those who don’t fear birth.”
~ Angela Woerner

“The best way to avoid a cesarean is to stay out of the hospital.”
~ Brooke Sanders Purves

“I am the hero of this story”
~ Regina Spektor

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do…
It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”
~ Rikki Rogers

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“There may never be a baby book that offers the conclusive answer to every question,
but it’s possible to extract some wisdom from the suffering of past generations of parents.
Does the book you’re reading contradict itself repeatedly,
require you to override all your parental instincts,
or send you into a panic over your own inadequacy?
If so, burn it.”
~ Libby Copeland

“Childbirth provided the drama I craved,
the thrill of peeking over the primal edge of creation,
the rush of the unexpected.”
~ Peggy Vincent

“Birth isn’t something we suffer,
but something that we actively do and exult in!”
~ Sheila Kitzinger

“For far too many women, pregnancy and birth is something that happens to them rather than
something they set out consciously to do themselves.”
~ Sheila Kitzinger

“The power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you,
because it is you.”
~ Unknown

‎”Rain, after all is only rain; it is not bad weather.
So also, pain is only pain; unless we resist it,
then it becomes torment.”
~ the I Ching

“The knowledge of how to give birth without outside interventions lies deep within each woman.
Successful childbirth depends on the acceptance of the process.”
~ Suzanne Arms

“Birth is not only about making babies. It’s about making mothers…
strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and believe in their inner strength”
~ Barbara Katz Rothman

“A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing.
She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination,
prepared to be herself and only herself.”
~ Maya Angelou

“The same movements that get the baby in, get the baby out.”
~ From Birthing From Within

“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear.”
~ Jane Weideman

“When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change.”
~ Marie Mongan

“A healthy woman who delivers spontaneously performs a job that cannot be improved upon.”
~ Aidan MacFarlane

“Life only demands from you the strength you possess.”
~ David Hammarskjold

“All natural birth has a purpose and a plan; who would think of tearing open the chrysalis as the butterfly is emerging?
Who would break the shell to pull the chick out?”
~ Marie Mongon, Hypnobirthing

“Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect.
For what has happened? A miracle.
You have exchanged nothing for the possibility of everything.”
~ William MacNeile Dixon

“It seems that many health professionals involved in antenatal care have not realized
that one of their roles should be to protect the emotional state of pregnant women.”
~ Dr. Michel Odent

“Call it “womb awe” or even “womb worship” but it’s not simple envy.
I don’t remember even wanting to be a woman.
But each of the three times I have been present at the birth of one of my children,
I have been overwhelmed by a sense of reverence…
It was quite suddenly, the first day of creation; the Goddess giving birth to a world…
Like men since the beginning of time I wondered:
What can I ever create that will equal the magnificence of this new life?”
~ Sam Keen

“The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source.
She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.”
~ Heather McCue

“Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one.”
~ Gloria Steinem

“The effort to separate the physical experience of childbirth from the mental,
emotional and spiritual aspects of this event has served to disempower and violate women.”
~ Mary Rucklos Hampton

“Deep within each woman, lies the Knowledge of how to give birth without outside interventions.”
~ Unknown

‎”The wisdom and compassion a woman can intuitively experience in childbirth
can make her a source of healing and understanding for other women.”
~ Stephen Gaskin

“The instant of birth is exquisite. Pain and joy are one at this moment.
Ever after, the dim recollection is so sweet that we speak to our children with a gratitude they never understand.”
~ Madline Tiger

“It is not only that we want to bring about an easy labor, without risking injury to the mother or the child; we must go further.
We must understand that childbirth is fundamentally a spiritual, as well as a physical, achievement.
The birth of a child is the ultimate perfection of human love.”
~ Dr. Grantly Dick-Read

“No other natural bodily function is painful and childbirth should not be an exception.”
~ Dr. Grantly Dick-Read

“Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a spiritual uplifting,
the power of which they have never previously been aware.
To such a woman, childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”
~  Dr.  Grantly Dick Read

“Fear can be overcome only by Faith.”
~ Dr. Grantly Dick-Read

“Mothers need to know that their care and their choices won’t be compromised by birth politics.”
~ Jennifer Rosenberg

If in doubt, breathe out.”
~ Cathy Doberska

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown,
FAITH is knowing one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”
~ Patrick Overton

“30,000 women will be giving birth with you today.
Relax and breathe and do nothing else.
Labor is hard work and you can do it.”
~ Unknown

“Focus on what you can do, then do it with all your heart.”
~ Lois Wilson

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
~ Winston Churchill

‎”No amount of prenatal blood sampling, uterine testing, ultrasounds, amniocentesis,
or other physical evaluations can substitute for good maternal nutrition.”
~ Dr. David Stewart

“It does a man good to see his lady being brave while she has their baby… it inspires him.”
~ Ina May Gaskin

“Life only demands from you the strength you possess.”
~ David Hammarskjold

“If I had my life to live over, instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy,
I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.”
~ Erma Bombeck

“Imagine what might happen if women emerged from their labor beds with a renewed sense of the strength and power of their bodies,
and of their capacity for ecstasy through giving birth”
~ Dr. Christiane Northrup

“Birth is an experience that demonstrates that life is not merely function and utility, but form and beauty.”
~ Christopher Largen

Affirmations of the Heart

Affirmations of the Heart

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a joy

I feel good and love being pregnant

My belly is full of light and love

I am a strong and capable woman

There is no need for us to hurry

My baby will be born at the perfect moment

I desire foods that nourish me and support my health

My baby is strong and perfectly healthy

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing
can be changed until it is faced

I acknowledge me fears whenever I feel them
and send them on their way

I let that fear … GO

Birth is a wonderful, safe experience

Birth is as safe as life gets

I believe in birth

I choose a gentle and natural birth

My body is nourishing my baby perfectly

My cervix is firm and strong to hold my baby safe

My baby is in the perfect position for birth
I trust my knowing of what is true for me

My baby is healthy and innately knows when to begin labor

My body knows how and when to birth my baby by Instinct

My baby is free to choose her own destiny in the world

I have patience

My baby will be born at the perfect moment

My body will give birth in its own time

I will meet my baby when my baby and my body are ready

I trust my body to know exactly what it needs to do

My mind is relaxed, my body is relaxed

I free my mind from negative thoughts

I am whole and at peace

I am aware of my balanced, calm center

I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby

I invite peace and serenity into my life

I choose to enjoy my birthing experience

I am focused on a smooth, easy birth

I see my baby coming smoothly from my womb

I welcome my coming labor as the perfect one for me and my baby

I welcome this opportunity to grow and change

I love and trust my body

I deserve and receive all the love and support I need

I deserve a gentle, natural birth

Only I can give birth to this baby and I accept
responsibility for that challenge

I claim my birthright for a wonderful birth

My mind has released all fears and trusts birth

The knowledge of how to birth lies deep within me

I am perfectly in sync with nature,
allowing the rhythm of life to flow through me

My body knows how and when to birth my baby,
I listen for my bodies messages

My baby know how and when to be born,
I listen for my baby’s guiding voice

I remember all of the women who have walked this path before me … I too can walk this path

I will draw strength and courage from the other 500,000 women who will birth alongside me the same day I birth

I insist on being treated with respect and dignity…
I am my strongest advocate and I speak up for myself

I will follow my body’s lead

Labor

Today my body will fulfill a purpose for which it has been divinely designed

Today I will show my strength, my courage, and my love for my baby

Today my body is opening and releasing my child into my waiting arms

My body has been preparing for this labor for nine months

I am strong and calm and beautiful

I am a link in the endless chain of birthing women

I fully relax and turn my birthing over to Nature

My body knows exactly what to do

My breath is easy, deep, and full

My body knew how to grow this baby and now my body knows how to birth this baby

I am relaxed and happy that my baby is finally coming to me

During each surge, I allow my body
to slip effortlessly into deep relaxation

Time does not matter… For I dwell within laborland

My baby feels my joy

I am giving my baby the best start I know how

I trust my labor

I trust my Baby

God designed my body to birth the baby He has knit into my womb

My body was intricately designed to do this

Birth is what I was made for

I am enjoying this process and growing through it all

I am doing this exactly right and exactly as nature intended

I trust my inner wisdom

I embrace the wisdom of my body

I am surrounded by loving, nurturing support

I am open to the energy of birth

My energy flows down and out,
just as my baby is moving down and out

My body is working efficiently, at a pace of my choosing

Together my baby and I dance our birth dance and sing our birth song

I accept each stage of labor as a wonderful new adventure

I fearlessly surrender to the power of my body

I turn my birthing over to my baby and my body

My body is wise and purposeful

My body knows how to birth my baby

Each surge of my body brings my baby closer to me
My body knows how to open my baby freely to the world

I welcoming my baby with love and encouragement

Birthing my baby is a situation that is
impossible for me to fail at

I am an active and powerful laboring woman

I cooperate with my body and my baby

I feel confident; I feel safe; I feel secure

My baby knows how to be born

I am birthing this baby

I will birth this baby

My body was built to do this

Birth is what I was made for

My body knows how to have this baby just as
my body knew how to grow this baby

I know my baby feels our calmness and confidence

I accept this labor as my labor and believe it is the
right one for me and for my baby

The power and intensity of my contractions cannot be
stronger than me, because it is me

I surrender completely to my labor… I trust my body to be in control of my birth

The strength of my contractions reflect the strength of myself

I allow my body’s natural anesthesia to flow through my body

I surrender to the contractions and relinquish control
of the forces within my body

I am surrounded by loving, nurturing support

It is safe for me to verbalize my feelings and desires

Inhale peace, exhale tension

The moment you think of giving up, think of why you held on so long

Nothing that is worthwhile is ever easy

This birth only demands from me the strength I already possess

Untapped sources of strength are available deep within me

Soon my baby will be here and this will be a memory

I breathe in confidence, I breathe out fear

My muscles work in complete harmony to make birthing easier

My body has a wide open space for my baby to descend

Each surge of my body brings my baby closer to me

My body knows how to open my baby freely to the world

I have an open heart, open mind and so my cervix will follow

My cervix opens outward and allows my baby to ease down

I am willing to release my baby into the world

I put all fear aside and welcome by baby with happiness and joy

My baby is born in pure pleasure

55+ Questions to Ask When Desiring a “Natural Childbirth,” In a Hospital Setting

“Natural Childbirth” … Well that can only happen in a birth center or at a home-birth… Right?

It is often easy to come up with an extensive list of questions when you are considering a home birth with a Midwife. We tend to think long and hard about the questions we want to ask to make sure we can trust her with our safety and the safety of our baby. During a standard home-birth Midwife appointment, you often get a minimum of an hour to sit and “interview” with a prospective Midwife. There is time enough to get a feeling for one another, a sense of whether she will provide the kind of one-on-one care you desire for your natural birth at home. Then you get an hour with them at almost every single prenatal visit, as well. This adds up to a lot of one-on-one time between you and your care provider to be on the same page, to know and understand one another.

For many families though, a home birth is simply not an option. Whether it is for financial / insurance reasons or for a health concern that puts them just outside the qualifying spectrum of the Midwifery Model of Care. Regardless of the personal circumstance, many women who either choose or need to birth in a hospital still desire to have a “natural childbirth.”

The kind of birth where there is no pressure to perform on a grid-line standard, and fit into a cookie-cutter diagram that has a one-size-fits-all approach. The kind of birth where they are free to listen to their bodies needs and respond to natural urges and do not need to feel stressed by the cascade of interventions which are routinely associated with a hospital birth.

Women do not often pause to consider what kinds of questions they would ask an OB or CNM, in the same way that they would ask a home birth Midwife. Women come up with a vast number of detailed and personal questions when “interviewing” for a Midwife, or even a Pediatrician for their baby, however, they do not usually do this when seeking care for themselves with an OBGYN. There is often this sense of, “this is what I am faced with, so I need to find a way to make the best of it.” Unlike Midwifery Care, you are not afforded an hour of time with an OBGYN, or hospital staffed CNM. Most visits are generally anywhere from 5-15 minutes, on a good day. There just seems to be this “rush” factor, which often times, flows over into the delivery room.

There are many factors involved in the lack of communication

between an OB and an expectant mother

Many women become intimidated and shut down by the sometimes rushed and rigid demeanor of an OB

There is a sense that they went to school for this,

they know what they are doing, “so who am I to question that…?”

An OB might have a response to a question which makes the woman feel inferior

or demeaned for even asking such a question. Just to name a few …

These situations often lead to a sense of not having ones own valuable input into the birth of their baby, whereby holding them back from really digging in and asking the probing questions necessary to build the kind of relationship where mutual respect is involved and a foundation of working together on common ground. Sometimes the connection between the two is so limited that neither even knows where to begin. It becomes a tedious process of coming in – doing checks – and going out – see you next time. Understand that an OB meets with countless women from day to day. Whereas a home birth Midwife, has a specific number of clients she will take on in a given month. An OB will often deliver multiple babies per day, and a Midwife, usually between 2-6 per month. The job of an OB can easily become a job that reflects the business of providing medical care, rather than a passion of providing health care. This is not their fault, it is simply the way that society has set it in motion.

It is important to recognize which care providers do and do not have the qualities you are looking for. There are OB’s out there who “trust birth” and have a great respect for the power within a woman’s body to birth her baby. They do exist and the numbers of them are growing as awareness and education grows, but also because women are finally being heard. Women are standing up and demanding better care, demanding that doctors recognize that they are capable beyond measure, and that birth is not an illness or problem which needs to be controlled, managed or fixed… and that a woman who is having a vaginal birth does not need to have her baby “delivered” from her body.

So how does one really know whether

they have the right OBGYN or CNM for them?

~ Or ~

Where do you begin in finding

the care provider that is right for you?

One of the first steps is recognizing that you are never “stuck” with a specific care provider. You have a wealth of options and choices available to you! We are blessed to have a society full of highly intelligent Doctors, Midwives and CNM’s, all of whom have individual qualities to meet the needs of each specific woman. You simply have to take the time to find what you are looking for.

Finding a Doula can be one of the best places to start! A Doula provides physical, emotional and informational support for women throughout their pregnancy, labor and birth, and into the postpartum, breastfeeding, and newborn care stage. A Doula also works with many different kinds of birth professionals, and in all different kinds of birth settings. It is one-on-one specialized care, at it’s finest!

When it comes to your care provider…

A Doula Can:

– Help provide you with guidance in making sure your care provider is the right one to meet your birthing needs.

You may have been referred to a friends OBGYN, because they had the perfect experience that they desired with that care provider. Every woman’s needs are different, and what is right for your friends, neighbors, church family, or sister, may not be the right fit for you.

Perhaps you have an amazing OBGYN for all of your gynecological needs, or maybe they even played a crucial role in helping you during the family planning stage. Some women find that while their care provider may be perfect for their gynecological needs, they are not necessarily the right care provider for their pregnancy and birthing needs.

– Help you in forming your desired birth plan, and giving you the words necessary to communicate effectively with your care provider about areas of your pregnancy and birth which are important to you.

Forming the right birth plan for you, means fully understanding all of the options which are available to you. A Doula has this knowledge base and they can be a wealth of knowledge about areas of birth that many have never even taken into consideration before. Some of them also teach their own childbirth education classes. If you have a Doula who teaches childbirth education classes, taking their class, rather than a hospital based class, can be helpful in many areas, including creating a closer bond prior to your birth.

Doula’s also understand the language that surrounds pregnancy and birth. They are good at reading between the lines, and recognizing “red flags” that might suggest your care provider and you are not on the same page in a particular area so that you know to address that with them ahead of time, rather than in the throes of labor.

– Give you recommendations of the best hospitals locally, with a known record for helping mother’s who want to have a natural childbirth.

They have watched and supported other women through their personal experiences with local hospitals and care providers. They can provide guidance in determining whether your wants and desires can be met in a specific location, or with a specific care provider.

It is also important to note, that our birth system is changing, slowly but surely, changing for the better. Many hospitals and OB’s who were not “natural childbirth” experienced 2- 5 years ago, are very experienced today. This is due in part to awareness being spread on natural childbirth, women speaking up for what they want, Midwife knowledge and recognition, the movement back to home-birth, and also because of the positive presence of “natural childbirth” workers, such as Doula’s, being present in the hospital birth place.

– Provide you with names of OBGYN’s or CNM’s whom they feel might meet your criteria in achieving the birth you want.

Again, they have watched and supported other women through their personal experiences with local hospitals and care providers. This gives you an idea of where to begin the “interview” process, as you search for the right OB or CNM, and the right birthing location for you and your personal desires.

– Give you resources to local natural childbirth / natural parenting groups within the community, where you can find support and build relationships with other women and families along the way.

Connecting with other “like-minded” women who have walked the path before you, or are currently going through their journey at the same time as you can be one of the most amazing blessings. Doula’s have many connections within the natural birthing community. Everything from breastfeeding support, essential oils education, alternative medicine, chiropractors, massage therapists, natural practitioners, cranial sacral therapists, and so much more!

Below is a list of accumulated questions which I have found to be very helpful for my Doula client’s to ask when “feeling out” a care provider, to see whether they can have their desired birth, while being under the care of that provider.

Already Have a Care Provider

You can take the questions which pertain to you from the list below, and Prioritize them according to which areas are of the greatest importance to you. Begin to ask a handful or two of those questions at each prenatal visit.

Do not shrug off responses which do not meet your qualifications. The list of available doctors is lengthy. Of course there is always going to be a give and take when choosing to birth in a hospital setting. So a certain amount of flexibility is often needed, but know going into the situation which items are your priority and are not subject to flexibility, and which ones you can take or leave.

Looking For a Care Provider

If you do not already have a care provider, or have made the decision to find a new one, you can request to do an initial interview with potential care providers. At this visit, go through your top questions first, and then have a second set should time allow.

In any circumstance, you should always listen to your care provider carefully. They will often tell you exactly how they expect your birth will be, even if it isn’t with their specific words. Always use your intuition. If it simply doesn’t feel right to you, then it mostly likely is not right for you.

Respectful & Attentive or “Red Flag”

Be aware of how the care provider responds to the question. Do they seem confident and knowledgeable? Is their response calm and collected? Is the tone warm and understanding? Did they not know how to respond? Did the care provide have no idea what you were talking about? Did the care provider seem agitated or respond defensively? Was your question put off… to be discussed at a later visit when you are “farther along?”

Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. This is your baby and your birth!

~ Important Questions To Consider ~

Professionally

  1. Why did you choose this profession and what makes it so important to you?
  2. How long have you been a practicing _______? (OB, CNM)
  3. What is your training / education / degrees / certifications, etc. ?
  4. How many babies have you /witnessed / helped bring into this world?
  5. What is your philosophy on birth?
  6. What does “natural childbirth” mean to you?
  7. Where do you personally stand between medically managed childbirth, and natural childbirth?
  8. Are you connected with a natural childbirth / natural parenting community?
  9. Do you provide individual care based on the needs of each patient, or is care carried out on a standard protocol regiment?
  10. Have you had experience with a Doula before?
  11. Which methods of pain management do you recommend?
  12. Will I be expected to progress through my labor according to a specific timeline?
  13. What is your induction rate?
  14. What is your cesarean rate?
  15. Have you ever performed a “Family Centered Cesarean?”
  16. Is laboring in a water pool or bath tub an option? Delivery?
  17. How many births do you typically attend to in a month? Year?
  18. Are you planning any vacations, trips or other events around the time of my estimated due date that would interfere with your presence at my birth?
  19. Who is your back-up? When would I meet them? Do you work off a rotation schedule with other care providers?
  20. What kind of follow-up visits will we have with you after the birth?
  21. Have you had any loss of a baby or mother? If so, why and what happened?

Pregnancy

  1. What role do you feel nutrition and exercise play on a healthy pregnancy and the effect on the labor and birth process?
  2. What are a few of the top nutritional recommendations you have for prenatal health?
  3. Is there a set of routine tests which must be done during pregnancy? Which? When?
  4. Will I be required to do the Gestational Diabetes screening? What if I do not have any symptoms of GD? How is this test carried out? Will I eat a specific meal prior to testing or will I be fasting and drinking a sweet orange substance?
  5. How many weeks of pregnancy do you feel are crucial to having a healthy baby?
  6. If baby and I are healthy, can we allow labor to begin on its own? Even 1 week past our estimated due date? 2 weeks past our estimated due date?
  7. Will you deliver a breech baby? Frank? Footling?
  8. If so, what kind of training and experience do you have in the delivery of a breech baby?
  9. If my baby were to be breech, what recommendations would you have for encouraging my baby to turn naturally?
  10. What medical options would be available to turn my baby?
  11. Do you deliver twins? Experience? Cesarean necessary within your care?
  12. What risk factors do you look for when determining if a cesarean section is needed, prior to labor beginning?
  13. What is your stance on VBAC births? Will you allow a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)? What kinds of procedures will I be subject to during my VBAC, that would not be standard had I not had a previous cesarean? Is a scheduled cesarean a requirement for you after a previous cesarean?

Labor and Birth

  1. What are your recommendations for a family who wants to labor at home for as long as possible before coming to the hospital?
  2. Do you require a heparin lock to be in place?
  3. Will IV fluids be necessary during my labor or may I be allowed to drink freely on my own?
  4. How often do you feel it is necessary to have a vaginal exam during labor? May I refuse these checks?
  5. Are you familiar with other ways of determining dilation, besides vaginal exams?
  6. What risk factors do you look for in determining whether a cesarean section is necessary while I am in labor?
  7. How often will my baby be required to be monitored through Electronic Fetal Monitoring?
  8. Will I able to labor in any position I feel comfortable? May I move around freely?
  9. May I eat while I am laboring?
  10. Can I push in any position I choose? May I deliver my baby in any position I choose?
  11. Is directed pushing typically done, or will I be encouraged to push with the urges of my body?
  12. Will you delivery my baby? Would you assist myself or my partner in delivering our baby?
  13. Do you provide perennial support while pushing to minimize the possibility of tearing?
  14. Do you perform routine episiotomies?
  15. Would you be accepting of allowing me to tear naturally, rather than have an episiotomy?
  16. How do you handle a nuchal cord?
  17. What is your position on delayed cord clamping?

Immediately Postpartum

  1. Will my baby be given directly to me for skin-to-skin contact immediately at birth?
  2. Can routine checks of baby be done while my baby is in mine or my partners arms?
  3. Which test and routine practices will be necessary in the first few hours of birth (for myself? for my baby?). Can these procedures be delayed until after we have had several hours of uninterrupted bonding time as a family?
  4. Which will be necessary in the first few days of birth? And the first few weeks of birth?
  5. Does your practice / hospital have any standard procedures for families who desire to take their placentas home with them?
  6. Will it be necessary for my placenta to be taken from my room for examination, or can the examination process be completed within my room?
  7. Can I refuse to have my placenta washed, chemically rinsed, or pumped full of a preservative such as formaldehyde?
  8. Is it possible to fill out the paperwork needed to accept or decline certain routine procedures for my baby, before being in labor and before baby is born? That way our time immediately after the birth can be focused on bonding and welcoming our new little one into the world.
  9. How long will we be expected to stay in the hospital before being released?
  10. Will my baby have to go to the nursery during our stay, or can my baby remain with me for the duration of our stay?
  11. How long will it be necessary for us to stay in the hospital after our birth, before we can be released to go home?

12 Ways to Naturally Ease Through Morning Sickness and Find Comfort and Health Through Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Morning Sickness ~ or ~ Hyperemesis Gravidarum

While all have a clear understanding that “morning sickness” is something that just comes with the territory that is “being with child,” many are not as familiar with the extreme, persistent and severe phenomenon known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It is estimated that 70-80% of women experience some form of “morning sickness” in the early stages of pregnancy. Loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting… You get the idea. The symptoms tend to ease up coming into the second trimester of pregnancy. Finally feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, women begin to love and enjoy being pregnant! For .2-3% of those women however, that moment of rejuvenating refreshment never comes.

Morning SicknessHyperemesis Gravidarum
Nausea sometimes accompanied by vomitingNausea accompanied by severe vomiting
Nausea that subsides by 12 weeks gestation, or soon afterNausea that does not subside
Vomiting can be between 2-3 times per day, usually in the mornings or when first waking for the dayVomiting can be between 8-9 times per day, anytime throughout the day or night
You lose little if any weight
(And continue to gain at a moderate rate)
You lose 5-20 pounds or more
(> 5% of pre-pregnancy weight)
Nausea and vomiting do not interfere with your ability to eat or drink enough each day and it does not cause severe dehydrationNausea causes you to eat very little throughout the day and the vomiting causes severe dehydration
Vomiting is infrequent and the nausea is episodic but not severeYou vomit often and may vomit bile or blood if not treated. Nausea is usually moderate to severe and constant
It may cause discomfort and a temporary feeling of misery which subsides rather quicklyIt can cause extreme discomfort and a severe and relentless feeling of misery that does not subside and can lead to depression
Dietary and/or lifestyle changes are enough to help you feel better most of the timeMore drastic dietary and/or lifestyle changes are required simply to bring a managed level of comfort
Essential Oils, Herbal Teas, and Homeopathy can make symptoms almost non-existentMedications such as phenothiazines, odansetron, metoclopramide, IV fluid, antihistamines, and antacids may all be necessary
Symptoms typically fade and begin to improve towards the end of the first trimester, but can be a little queasy at times during the remainder of your pregnancyYou usually feel somewhat better by mid-pregnancy, but you may continue to be nauseous and/or vomit until late pregnancy
You will be able to work most days and care for your family as normalYou will likely be unable to work for weeks or months, and may need help caring for yourself and other members of your family
Parentables

Image Sourced from Parentables

Signs, Symptoms & Side-Effects of Hyperemesis Gravidarum

  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Food aversions
  • Poor sense of taste
  • Weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight
  • Decrease in urination
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Fainting spells
  • Pallor (paleness)
  • Jaundice
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Pins & Needles feeling in hands and feet
  • Secondary anxiety/depression

Understanding “Morning Sickness”
and the Phenomenon that is Hyperemesis Gravidarum

To begin to fully understand why women experience “morning sickness” during pregnancy in the first place, and the phenomenon that is hyperemesis gravidarum, we should first look at the specifics that occur at the early part of pregnancy and conception. Once fertilized, the egg within the women’s body becomes viewed as a foreign object. A women’s body will then have a natural immune response to the fertilized egg, and make an attempt to expel the “foreign object” from the body. In an effort for the body to counter this natural reaction and protect the baby from this immune response, the corpus lutem (the source of the egg or ovum in the ovary) will secrete the hormone we commonly know as HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. The corpus luteum will continue to secrete the hormone HCG as a safety measure until the placenta has fully developed, at which time, the placenta will then take over protection of the baby.

HCG is also responsible for the continued secretion of progesterone, which plays a vital role in the enrichment of the blood supply to the uterus, whereby creating the ideal atmosphere within the uterus for the embryo to grow. Progesterone is also involved in the preparation of the lining of the uterus for fertilization, so that the embryo can attach, rather than being discarded as an unfertilized egg during a normal menstruation cycle.

Morning Sickness
It is this battle of hormones within a women’s body which is the major contributing factor in the occurrence of “morning sickness.” This battle is between the body’s immune response and the maternal organs. The immune response to expel what it views as a “foreign object,” and the maternal organs guard to protect what it knows to be miraculous life.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum
“Morning sickness” becomes this severe state when the battle of the hormones continues even after the placenta has fully developed, and in an effort to control the battle and protect the baby, the maternal organs continue to secrete large amounts of HCG into the system. The level of HCG within the body then becomes more than the woman’s body is capable of coping with, whereby causing more than usual amounts of nausea and vomiting than is typically associated with pregnancy, leading to the distressing side-effects of hyperemesis gravidarum. All of this can and does have a negative effect on the growth of the developing baby and professional, medical advice and care should be sought out.

  • It has been found to be genetic. You can read the full article here.
  • It is more common in pregnancies where twins, triplets or more are involved.
  • It is also linked to state of the microbiome within the intestinal tract.

The Miracle of it
While in the throws of hugging / cursing the porcelain thrown, it is often all to easy to forget that what is happening within your body is a miraculous thing. Your maternal organs are fighting to protect your baby from it’s natural response to something the body doesn’t recognize as part of itself. Your body does not recognize it’s make-up as part of you, and that is because it isn’t you. It is part of you and part of your partner. Your baby is it’s own person, while from you, your baby is also a separate individual, with a unique make-up which contains the genetic bond between you and your partner.

Emotionally and spiritually it can be so helpful in your healing and coping process to remember that every time you are nauseous or you throw up, it is because your body is fighting hard to protect that little miraculous life growing within your womb. Looking at it in this manner, the attitude of misery and state of depression can be transformed into a positive and almost gratefulness for the wondrous power and strength that your body has to sustain this little life until mature enough to come earthside into your arms.

You want this battle! Every discomforting feeling can bring hope, as you are one step closer and your baby is being protected by the perfect and divine design of your maternal body.

* Please Note *
When choosing a brand of Essential Oil, Herb or Supplement,
it is vitally important to choose based on quality, not cost.
(Always research the company, the founder, philosophy, quality, sourcing location and method, etc.)

All Essential Oil Recommendations are Based on Medicinal Quality Essential Oils, ONLY.

Ginger2

Photo Sourced from Guide Global

1) Ginger


Ginger is a common and useful remedy in Chinese medicine. Ginger is very calming and eases nausea greatly. It is based on the system of yin and yang and other opposing factors, including heat and cold. Ginger is a hot (yang) remedy and can be a huge benefit to you during pregnancy if you are on the opposing cold (ying) end. If you often wrap yourself in blankets, layer your clothing or find the need to drink hot drinks for warmth, generally feel introspective and disinterested in your surroundings, then ginger is a perfectly suited internal balancer for you. If you find yourself on the hot (yang) end, then it is possible that it can make your body more off-balance, whereby making your symptoms and feelings of sickness worse.

Ginger Essential Oil
Essential oils are the most potent and effective means of encouraging healing within the body. When choosing an Essential Oil it is imperative to choose by Grade and not by cost. There is a huge difference between an aromatic grade essential oil, which should never be ingested or absorbed into the skin, and a certified pure therapeutic grade essential oil, which can be ingested / absorbed into the body.

  • Aromatically Diffused, delighting the senses
  • Applied topically to the skin, but should be diluted in a carrier oil for young or sensitive skin
  • Rubbed on the abdomen or bottoms of the feet to aid in nausea
  • Can be ingested internally by placing 1-2 drops into a capsule

Ginger Tincture
The general Ginger Tincture dose is 2-3 dropperfuls, or about 60 drops and can be taken 3-5 times per day.

Ginger Tea
Grate some fresh ginger root and add 2 teaspoons to a cup of boiling distilled water, let steep and strain the ginger gratings. While the response from using fresh ginger root is going to be the best, you can also purchase Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger Tea. Drink 2-3 cups a day.

Ginger Capsules
Nature’s Way makes an all natural organic capsule of powdered ginger. Start with a minimal dose and work your way up till you find the right amount (of internal balance) for you, as each individual is different. Be mindful that ingesting too much ginger can have a hallucinogenic response, if overdone. Listen intuitively to your body and find what is right for you. Be aware also that there is often a break down in the absorption of any herb when ingested via capsule. Capsules are not generally easily absorbed and sometimes the herbs are burnt in the powdering process. Again, brand specific is important when choosing an herb or powdered herb.

Ginger-Ale
Sipping some mild bubbly is often comforting to the stomach. Do keep in mind that many products on the market only contain a flavoring of ginger and do not actually contain ‘real’ ginger at all. It is important to purchase a good quality ginger-ale from your local health food / wholefoods store.

Dehydrated Ginger
YEP! Just slice up your ginger root and dehydrate it. Keep a few pieces by your bedside or in your pocket as you are out and about. As you begin to feel nauseous, or if a smell affects you, simply pull a piece out and chew on it!

Cooking and Meals
Try adding ginger to your diet and cooking with it by grating or grounding fresh ginger root into your foods.

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peppermint-plant

Photo Courtesy of
Marion Kay Spices

2) Peppermint

While Ginger is the hot (yang), Peppermint is the cold (yin). If you constantly feel hot and are needing or wanting to remove layers of clothing, desire cold cold drinks, feel hot and bothered and red in the face, are generally hot tempered and feeling irritable then Peppermint is the Herb for you! Peppermint also aids the ailments of irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems and spastic colon.

Be mindful that if you are using any type of homeopathy, mint of any kind is an anecdote, as the strong mint aroma will stop homeopathic remedies from being effective.

Peppermint Essential Oil
Again, when choosing an Essential Oil it is imperative to choose by Grade and not by cost. Essential oils are extremely potent. For example, 1 drop of dōTERRA Brand Peppermint Essential Oil is equivalent to drinking 30 cups of peppermint tea. You are not limited to this brand, this is only an example used on the potency of essential oils, versus dried herbs.

  • Aromatically Diffused, delighting the senses
  • Mix in hands with a carrier oil, hands cupped over nose and mouth, inhale deeply
  • Applied topically to the skin, but should be diluted in a carrier oil for young or sensitive skin
  • Rubbed on the abdomen or bottoms of the feet to aid in nausea
  • Can be ingested internally by placing 1-2 drops into a capsule

Peppermint Tea
Fill a glass pitcher with distilled water and ice, and then add in fresh peppermint leaves! Drink drink drink. It is refreshing, calming to the digestive system, reduces nausea and keeps you hydrated. Traditional Medicinals Peppermint Tea is also a lovely option. Drink 2-3 cups a day.

Peppermint Leaves and Candies
Having peppermint leaves or candies to chew or suck on can also be very helpful.

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As explained above Essential Oils (EO) are organic substances which are derived from the volatile liquid within plants. EO are convenient, quick and easy to use and can enhance the bodies own natural ability to maintain a healthy state of vitality. They promote healing by supporting and encouraging the balance within the body without harmful side effects or chemically laced products.

~ Please note ~
When selecting Essential Oils it is important to make sure they are therapeutic, food grade oils, and not perfume grade

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optin-right3

doTERRA

3) Essential Oils

There are many different companies on the market today for essential oils, however, not all are created equal. They can be used topically, ingested and diffused.

Top Medicinal Brands

  1. Mountain Rose Herbs
  2. Plant Therapy
  3. doTERRA
  4. Rocky Mountain Herbs

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Boiron Homeopathy - www.bloomingwaterlilies.com

4) Homeopathy

You should ideally see a qualified Naturopathic Physician, Midwife, or Holistic Practitioner prior to taking homeopathic remedies when you are pregnant. For many, this is not an option when it comes to location or insurance. If you are going to undertake your own homeopathic care, always choose the 30c strength tablet and be mindful of the changes within your body from such remedy, and adjust accordingly to your bodies needs. Increase number of tablets until you find the specific amount for your individual body.

Homeopathic Phosphorus
Boiron Homeopathic Phosphorus 30c, often recommended by Midwives, is a natural supplement with a strong punch which for many women suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum, is considered a homeopathic gift from God. When taken as directed on the bottle, it can lessen the occurrences of nausea and vomiting from 8-9 times per day, down to 3-4 times, or even less, depending on the individual and the severity of the response to the battling hormones.

~ Please Note ~
Boiron Homeopathic Pellets have a sugar base which may interfere with the balance and treatment of gestational diabetes.

Mint is an anecdote to homeopathy and should also be avoided while under going any kind of homeopathic treatment.
DO NOT USE IN CONJUNCTION WITH PEPPERMINT

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Wishgarden Calm - a - Tum - www.bloomingwaterlilies.com

5) Herbal Tinctures

The liquid extract form of an herb is referred to as a tincture. A tincture is the next best way to intake an herb, as the liquid menstrum (generally alcohol) extracts even more chemicals than water which would be the method used in the extraction process of steeping tea. The alcohol also preserves the herbs so that they have a shelf life which lasts for many years. Tinctures mostly bypass digestion and are then easily and efficiently absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

In acute or severe related symptoms, liquid tinctures are preferred over dried encapsulated remedies. Tinctures are absorbed immediately the moment they enter the mouth, bringing an almost instant response. When battling morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum, the digestive system is not functioning optimally and this can diminish the benefits of an encapsulated herb whose capsule first needs to be disintegrated to release the herb and then digestion must occur over the next 45 minutes to ensure absorption into the bloodstream. When the digestive system is not assimilating well, there is a breakdown in this process, leaving much of the herb to be passed through the body, or vomited, in this case, as waste.

If you are sensitive to the overwhelming taste of the alcohol and bitterness of a tincture, it can be dissipated in a cup of hot distilled water, and allowed to rest for 20-30 minutes before consumption.

For those who feel the need to avoid alcohol altogether, it would be important to note that the amount of alcohol in any given dose of alcohol based herbal tincture, is the same as can be found in one ripe banana.

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Sea Bands in Pregnancy - www.bloomigwaterlilies.com

Photo Courtesy of In The Know Mom

6) Sea-Band is a knitted elasticated wrist band, which operates by applying pressure on the Nei Kuan acupressure point on each wrist by means of a plastic stud. Because the bands do not use drugs, they do not cause any of the side effects associated with anti-nausea drugs and can be worn on each wrist whenever you feel nauseous. They are suitable for adults and children. It doesn’t get much more natural than this.

~ Instructions given directly from the Sea-Bands website ~

Sea-Bands may be used to relieve motion sickness, morning sickness and vomiting, as well as nausea and vomiting associated with cancer. To ensure your Sea-Bands work properly, please follow the instructions below to position your wristbands correctly.

  • Place your middle three fingers on the inside of your wrist with the edge of the third finger on the wrist crease. The Nei-Kuan point is just under the edge of your index finger between the two central tendons.
  • Position the button facing downward over the Nei-Kuan point. Repeat the process for the other wrist.
  • One band must be worn on each wrist to be effective. Sea-Bands can be put onto your wrist before you start travelling, or after you have started your journey.
  • Sea-Band is suitable for adults and children.

Sea Band Visual - www.bloomingwaterlilies.com

Photo Courtesy of Wannabe Mom

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Pregnancy Heaven - BloomingWaterLilies.com

Photo Courtesy of Chiropractic Care

7) Chiropractic Care

I honestly believe that Chiropractic Care is the cure all for almost any ailment or sickness within the body. Many families are beginning to move away from modern “medical” care and seeing a Chiropractor on a regular basis, (every month or every few months) and schedule to see them at the first sign of an imbalance of any kind within the body. Regular Chiropractic Care is the best preventative measure towards maintaining optimal health.

The benefits of Chiropractic Care throughout the duration of pregnancy and into postpartum are immeasurable.

  • 24% Shorter Labors
  • Proper Pelvic Alignment
  • Removes any interference to the nervous system
  • 84% increase in back pain relief
  • Less likely to have back labor
  • Webster technique for encouraging breech babies to turn sunny side up!
  • Increased Breastmilk
  • The list goes on and on!!!

When it comes to morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum, some women are able to completely alleviate the nausea with chiropractic care. All pregnancies are different with their own set of hormone dynamics. Depending on the pregnancy this can be a very effective treatment for nausea and vomiting, overall wellness, and comfort. Not to mention that it has HUGE benefits for all areas of your pregnancy journey!

Take the time to find the right Chiropractor for you! Not all are equal, and not all Chiropractors specialize in Chiropractic Care specific to the pregnant woman. Find one who is trained, skilled and experienced in Prenatal Chiropractic Care.

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Preggiebellies.com

Photo Courtesy of Preggie Bellies

8) Proper Diet

While this is undoubtedly a no brainer, it can be extremely difficult to even consider what a proper diet entails when you are vomiting upwards of 8-9 times per day.

Eating a significant amount of protein right before going to bed at night can be immensely helpful for many woman in ensuring a smoother transition in the mornings. Midwife Stephanie Fritz recommends consuming as much as twenty to thirty grams of protein before bed to stay ahead of the impending sickness that many woman suffer as the sun rises.

Keeping a protein bar, saltine crackers, and some dehydrated ginger chips by the bedside, and taking small bites and nibbles during midnight bathroom trips, as well as before even sitting up first thing in the morning, can be very helpful. This prepares the stomach for gravity once you rise also.

Foods rich in thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin A, all help to replace what the body loses every time vomiting occurs.

  • Foods high in protein rather than high in fat
  • Moderate carbs
  • Nuts, especially almonds!
  • Cheese
  • Water biscuits
  • Full-cream milk / Coconut Milk / Coconut Water
  • Fresh fruit
  • Avocados
  • Coconut Oil
  • Homemade soups
  • Bone broth
  • Chicken
When the going gets really rough, then it’s time for the rough to get going! Often times, a meal replacement supplement can be exactly the energy booster that a women needs to get her through those really rough patches up onto higher ground.

  • Provides the nutrition of a well-balanced healthy meal
  • Naturally filling, satisfing hunger and providing energy
  • Provides live probiotics and enzymes for healthy digestion

Garden of Life

Image sourced from iherb

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9) Small – Frequent Meals

Eating smaller than usual meals helps the digestive system process on a smaller more manageable level. Just as a breastfeeding baby needs to eat every 2 hours, so should the woman during pregnancy. Smaller meals, more frequently will aid in the digestive process without overwhelming it, and provide the body and baby with a more constant and consistent flow of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and a healthy calorie intake. This is especially important if vomiting occurs regularly throughout the day.

Eating smaller meals also aids the organs as they make-way and move to make room for the growing baby within the uterus.

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10) Short – Regular Walks

Taking a short walk after each meal can help tremendously in aiding the digestive system in processing the small meal you have just eaten.

This not only allows for gravity to work after eating a meal, but the movement also aids in the clearing of the stomach and the bowel.

It is important, even in the last few weeks of pregnancy, to consciously walk with upright posture, giving gravity the best advantage, but also ensuring that the spine and the pelvis remain in proper alignment in preparation for birth.

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11) The Perfect Prenatal

Constant vomiting quickly depletes the body of thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin A. When food intake is minimal, at best, it is vital that these nutrients are replaced from a quality source. Finding a prenatal multi-vitamin that has all the perfect perks, required nutrients, and is cost effective is not an easy challenge. Then when you think you just might have gotten it right you find out the hard way that it also contains ingredients derived from sources that your very sensitive tummy is not looking for… You want whole food based, ideally.

Top Brands

  1. Mega Foods Baby and Me
  2. Garden of Life
  3. New Chapter
  4. Seeking Health

New Chapter - Perfect Prenatal - www.bloomingwaterlilies.com

Photo Courtesy of New Chapter

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CCH-PomRas-Pouch

Image Sourced From Whole Foods Market

12) HydrationNeeding to drink an abundance of water is common knowledge. However, when you are vomiting it can be difficult to drink water, knowing that it is just going to come back up.When suffering the symptoms of hyerpemesis gravidarum, the excess of vomiting not only leads to severe dehydration but also an severe lose of electrolytes. Drinking water would be swell and all, but if you are in a way where even your own saliva makes you gag, water is probably just not going to cut it alone.

Most commonly known for electrolyte replacement are many popular sports drinks. For women and families who take great care in what they are consuming, the bulk of the ingredients found in the average store bought sports drink can be kind of scary. Especially after there business practices are researched and an understanding is gained about the manner in which the electrolytes are sourced. Most people are not aware that most electrolyte replacement products on the market today source their electrolytes from aborted fetal cells. See related articles and documentation. Then do your own research. Knowledge, not ignorance!

Coconut Water is one of the best electrolyte replacement sources.

Coco Hydro

  • A high performance electrolyte drink mix made from certified organic coconut water powder.
  • Mineral rich Bali sea salt and ionic trace minerals added to the formula to aid in extreme workouts. (Growing a baby is a pretty extreme workout now!)
  • Fortified with Ionic Trace Minerals from the Great Salt Lake
  • Made from certified organic coconut water
  • Coconuts sourced directly from over 6,000 farmers
  • Available in Lemon-lime, Original, Pomegranate-Raspberry & Pineapple

If you are able to manage with water alone, I would encourage you to invest in a good quality water filter which filters out chlorine and fluoride, if applicable to the water supply where you live. Fluoride is actually a poison. Steam distilled water is the best method but it can be costly upfront, yet saving hundreds in the long run, while saving your kidneys and other organs in the process. Bottled water is never a positive source. Again I encourage you to do your own research, Youtube even has full length documentaries on bottle water companies such as Nestle Pure Life.


The information contained in this Article has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or otherwise. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician, Midwife, or other health care professional, but rather as a platform for further education and research on your part. It is always advised to discuss your health care decisions with your Care Provider, personally.

Reference Resources and additional Readers

Heart and Hands: A Midwifes Guide to Pregnancy and Birth
Modern Essentials a Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils
Everything Essential
Wishgarden Herbal Remedies
Sea-Bands
BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board
Redeeming Childbirth: Experiencing His Presence in Pregnancy, Labor, Childbirth, and Beyond
Hyperemesis Gravidarum In Pregnancy – Symptoms And Treatments
American Pregnancy Association – Promoting Pregnancy Wellness
New Chapter – Prefect Prenatal
doTERRA
Watch, Learn, Grow – Angie Tolpin
Big Tree Farms – Coco Hydro
Benefits of Essential Oils Throughout Pregnancy, Labor and into Postpartum

A Breakdown of a Doula’s Fees – Why Doulas Charge What they Do

Attending births and providing support to expectant Momma’s is one of the greatest passions in my life. Being in a position that positively encourages a Women’s desire to have the birth she wants while supporting her journey is one of the most humbling honors… educating, enlightening and empowering…

There are some AMAZING Doula’s from San Antonio to Austin. From the ones just starting out to the ones who have led the way for people like me, and even those who have taken the next step and passed over into Midwifery. It is such a blessing to be in the company of such incredible Women.

One of the biggest and most pressing questions potential clients want to know from the start is how much I charge for my services. There is always this lingering sense to me that Doula Services are just lined along the driveway of a garage sale and the one with the cutest look, lots of miles and cheapest price is the one that people are looking for. Lets examine that for just a moment.

Cutest Look

  • Okay, let’s be honest here. Everyone judges a book by it’s cover whether meant to or not. The look is the first impression. But what does the look really say about the care and dedication that will be provided when it really matters? No Doula is going to show up to a birth looking the way she did in the initial meeting anymore than she is going to expect her client to look the way she did after 10+ hours of intense labor. There is work to be done. Take the time to really search out the heart of the Doula, interview several, even the one you might consider to be the least compatible at first glance, and find the one that is right for you on every level, not just one or two. Also consider who their back-up Doula is, or their partner Doula, and make sure that falls in line with what you are seeking as your support system as well.

Lots of Miles

  • The Experienced Doula – I am not in any way knocking experience here! Not for a moment. I personally have 15+ years of experience working with expectant Mother’s. I am comfortable charging for my services and knowing that the care I provide is well worth above and beyond what I charge. I also want my services to be affordable to families. Every family deserves support and care, regardless of circumstance. The Doula with a great deal of experience is often scrutinized for what appears to be such a high fee range without really taking into consideration her training, experience, or how the individual services might add up.
  • The New Doula – When you move or take a break from Doula-ing to have more children and then begin to offer care service again, you often end up back at square one on the “New Doula Block.” It takes a lot of time and investment to get the wheels rolling. For the New-new Doula’s, It does sometimes hurt my heart a bit when I see new Doula’s cast aside for lack of experience. There is something to be said for the spirit of the new Doula, the tenacity, the excitement, the eagerness to learn. This should be bottled and used for every ounce it is worth! This eagerness is often taken advantage of by her feeling obligated to offer services for FREE, or at extremely reduced rates, regardless of training or her expenses to provide care services from pregnancy, through labor & birth and into postpartum. While I understand the viewpoint on this, (She can do the birth for free and gain experience), I also understand the cost of volunteering to be ones Doula. The time and the financial investment of that new Doula. In all honesty, the Doula’s with more experience and a greater client base are the ones who have much more wiggle room to volunteer services on occasion, often without such a pinch to themselves financially. Be understanding that while a new Doula is willing to trade the service for free to gain the experience, what she is really doing is paying to learn from that experience and then also providing you with a valuable service that she is also paying for. Yes, this means that the Doula is paying to be your Doula. New Doula’s who set a minimal fee are often just asking to break even and not really profiting at all.

Cheapest Price – The cheapest price really does not mean the best value with this kind of service. We are talking about birth here and the person you are entrusting to provide support and guidance through that journey, not the greatest bargain on the dollar shelf. It really comes down to understanding the in’s and out’s of the cost of Doula Care for the Client and for the Doula.

“Why do Doula’s charge so much?”

I think that when people often look into Doula Care, and are shocked by the cost, they are only considering the reflection of that cost as it pertains to the Doula’s presence at their birth ONLY. Not realizing the other services which are included in that cost. Let’s break it down.

Aside from the cost of education, books, workshops, continued education, and advertising (website, cards, brochures), we also take into consideration the time that it takes for all of these, as well as out of pocket expenses.

Let’s just break down one of my packages in terms of time that I spend with my clients during the course of their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum:

Pregnancy, Labor & Birth Package §

  • Initial consultation meeting – Approximately 2 hours (plus gas and drive time)
  • Two prenatal meetings (One can be at a prenatal appointment to meet your caregiver.) Approximately 4 hours (Plus gas and drive time)
  • Birth Plan Assistance – Average, off and on, 1-2 hours
  • ASAP telephone, text, and email support during contact hours (8am-8pm) Average 4 hours
  • 24/7 On-Call period 2 weeks before/after your estimated due date – Typically 38-42 weeks gestation

This can be a 4 – 5 week On-Call 24/7

Can you really put a time on that?

Would you really want a Doula to put a price on that?

  • Around the clock Labor and Birth support once labor has begun – 10+ hours 

This is a VERY low estimate. The duration of labor can vary drastically. While a comfortable average can be estimated at about 10 hours, there is no extra charge for labors which are 36+ hours, just as there is no less charge for a -2 hour labor.

  • Immediate postpartum support of approximately 2-3 hours, or until the baby has nursed successfully and the family is settled – 2-3 hours
  • Two postpartum visit to discuss your birth, share photos, dote over your new arrival, discuss options for additional support (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, etc.) – Approximately 4 hours (Plus gas and drive time)

With these approximations, we’re looking at about 25-30 hours, in the least, just for interaction with my clients, If you add in another estimated 3 hours for research, paperwork, etc., that goes into setting up each client, we’re well over 28-32 hours.

Travel

The average trip I make to meet with clients is approximately 30-40 miles one way.  These estimates are based on this Miles Per Dollar Calculator and my vehicle.

  • Trip time (based on 5 trips) – 7.5 hours
  • Gas costs (based on 35 miles one way – 5 trips) – $94.34

Childcare & Food Costs

  • Childcare – Approximately $100 per client including visits and birth
  • Food During Birth – Approximately $10 depending on the length of birth

Miscellaneous Costs

  • Hospital Parking and tolls – Approximately $10
  • Materials for Clients – Approximately $5
  • Credit Card or Paypal Fees –Approximately 2%-3%

Total Time and Out of Pocket Expenses

  • Time – 38 hours
  • Childcare – $100
  • Food – $10
  • Gas – $94
  • Misc – $15

Total Out of Pocket Expenses – $219

Let’s do the Math

Remember the Taxes
Don’t forget that you’re looking at state or federal tax (depending on where you live and what bracket you fall into) and you also have the 13.3% Self Employment Tax (that’s the state of Texas – 10.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare).This is figured for the State of Texas and DOES NOT include Income Tax because that would depend on your tax bracket.

Doula Fee –  $400

Less Expenses – (-$219)

Remainder applied toward hours of work (38) – $181

Approximately $4.76 per hour (not even minimum wage) – $53.20 Self Employment Tax

Doula Fee –  $500

Less Expenses – (-$219)

Remainder applied toward hours of work (38) – $281

Approximately $7.39 per hour – $66.50 Self Employment Tax

Doula Fee –  $600

Less Expenses – (-$219)

Remainder applied toward hours of work (38) – $381

Approximately $10.03 per hour – $79.80 Self Employment Tax

Doula Fee –  $700

Less Expenses – (-$219)

Remainder applied toward hours of work (38) – $481

Approximately $12.66 per hour – $93.10 Self Employment Tax

Doula Fee –  $800

Less Expenses – (-$219)

Remainder applied toward hours of work (38) – $581

Approximately $15.29 per hour – $106.40 Self Employment Tax

Doula Fee –  $900

Less Expenses – (-$219)

Remainder applied toward hours of work (38) – $681

Approximately $17.92 per hour – $119.70 Self Employment Tax

Doula Fee –  $1,000

Less Expenses – (-$219)

Remainder applied toward hours of work (38) – $781

Approximately $20.55 per hour – $133.00 Self Employment Tax

Again, this is based on my personal time and expenses. Of course, over the duration of my time with a client, I can spend more or less one on one time.  This is all approximations.

In the grand scheme of things, you’re paying for an invaluable service during your pregnancy, labor, and birth. The difference a Doula can make during this time is often priceless. The least that can be done is to pay her asking fee.

Do you think that an OB or Midwife would lower his/her costs if a mom told him/her that the fees just are not in their family’s budget? This does happen on occasion with Midwives who are blessed with the ability or position to be a bit flexible, but you would never see this with an OB. Doula’s are a valuable asset to a mom’s birth team. A Doula stays at your side from beginning to end, while your OB watches from afar and only comes in right before baby is preparing to make their grand appearance. We Doula’s have bills to pay and responsibilities just as every other family. The electric company is not going to waive or reduce our monthly bill because it doesn’t fit into our budgets! Our time is valuable and we selflessly give of it to our client’s – just ask our Husband’s and children whom we have missed Holiday’s, birthday’s, and even High School Graduations to be with our client’s, selflessly. Mother’s labor in love for their babies and Doula’s labor in love for their client’s.

A Special Thank You

I want to take a moment and thank the very brilliant Doula, Lisa Johnston of “In The Beginning Doula Services,” for the time and effort that she put into putting this statistical information together for Doula’s to use as a resource for themselves and their clients. It has reminded me that I should not undercharge myself for all of the work which goes into what I do to provide the best of care to my clients and I hope that it will open the eyes of expectant families, to see clearly how and why Doula’s set their rates the way that they do, and the value of the care provided to them, even though a time clock is not punched.

This information was changed and altered to accurately reflect my personal time of investment and expenditures, as well as my own personal viewpoints.

 

Reference Resource

In The Beginning Doula Services

Recommended Additional Reading

What Makes Up a Doula’s Fees?