Doulas Are For Scheduled Caesareans

She had waited until the last few weeks of her pregnancy to decide that she would hire a doula. She had scheduled a consultation with the perfect doulas. Then at her doctor’s appointment, she found out that her baby was still breech and she was trying to decide if she would prefer to schedule a caesarean. She and her doctor discussed the risks and benefits of trying for a vaginal birth versus a scheduled caesarean birth.

She went home that afternoon, her head swimming. She wasn't sure what she should decide. Her husband wasn't sure either; he wanted her to do what she felt was best. And what about the doulas? Should she just cancel her consultation?

The next morning she called the doula agency office. She explained her predicament and was surprised to learn that doulas support planned caesarean births. She kept her appointment, and when she hired the doulas she met with, they helped her go over the risks and benefits of her options. They talked about what her gut feeling was about her baby's birth, and she ultimately decided to have a scheduled caesarean delivery.

The night before her caesarean was scheduled, the doula on call phoned her, and they went over the items in her hospital bag. She talked about her fears and about how excited she was to meet her baby! The doula was able to go over what the process would look like from start to finish.

On the big day, her doula met her in the hospital parking lot. The doula helped her partner carry up the bags and kept the mood light and happy. The doula helped her get settled while she was being admitted. While they waited, the doula gave her the most amazing hand and foot massages ever! The three of them talked a lot about hopes and dreams for life as parents!

They had already been informed that it would not be possible for the doula to join them in the operating room so when it was time to go they hugged, and the doula wished them well. She promised to be waiting in the recovery room.

The nurses and doctor were excellent during the birth. The doctor explained what was happening every step of they way and soon a nurse was holding her beautiful baby boy close to her so she could see and kiss him.

In the recovery room, her doula was waiting. She couldn't help but grin with pride when her doula congratulated her. It was so reassuring to both her and her husband to see a familiar and comfortable face.

Together, she and her doula got her new baby latched, and he had a few good swallows. The doula helped them get back into their postpartum room. With help, she was able to get settled in for some rest while her husband enjoyed some baby snuggles. They said their goodbyes.

The doula visited the first day that they were home from the hospital and was so knowledgeable about how to care for the incision. She also knew lots of tricks for staying comfortable. They sipped tea and talked about the birth and what was to come.

It was an incredible roller coaster of an experience from the beginning! In the end, she felt empowered and supported. She knew she had made the right decision to trust her body and her baby. And while she could have done it without the doula, she couldn’t imagine her birth experience any other way!

How Do I Avoid Perineal Tearing?

 

The thought of a perineal or vaginal tear is, well, tearifying.

Your vagina is required to stretch significantly to accommodate your baby’s birth. And while your body is designed to stretch in this way, that doesn’t always mean you’ll escape the experience laceration-free.

So How Can I Prevent Tearing During Childbirth?

 

While nothing is foolproof, there are some strategies that have proven useful in reducing your risk, including:

·       Perineal massage. Some studies have shown that when giving birth vaginally for the first time, the risk of lacerations was reduced when perineal massage was used. Other studies have shown that perineal massage is not helpful, and may make tearing worse. Talk to your primary care provider about whether perineal massage is right for you, and how to do it safel. 

·       Different positions for pushing. You can try pushing on your side, on all fours, or squatting. Your doula or partner can help you get repositioned. Listen to your body and do what feels most comfortable for you. If something isn’t working, change it up.

·       Professional guidance during crowning. You may be asked by your primary care provider to pant or breathe deeply without pushing for a few moments, giving your perineum time to stretch more effectively. Follow these instructions to help ease your body through childbirth. One trick is to think about blowing like you are trying to keep a feather in the air; a sustained and upwards breath.

·       Warm compresses. Not only can warm compresses be very soothing, using them as the time to push gets closer will help relax your perineum.

 

Perineal tears happen as your baby’s head is being birthed. Most perineal trauma is considered superficial and either requires no treatment or minimal stitching. Should you require stitches the area will be numbed. If all is well with you and your baby, you’ll be busy snuggling your little one while your primary care provider repairs the area.

After birth your bottom will likely be sore, regardless of whether you have stitches or lacerations. You can ease your discomfort by using a perineal bottle (squirt bottles generally supplied by your hospital or midwife) to rinse your vulva while you pee. Rinse the area again after you’re done, and pat gently dry with tissue. You may find ice packs  comforting or, if it feels better, a warm compress.

There are several commercial products available to lessen discomfort as well.  They include numbing sprays, perineum healing sprays, or perineal spray of your choice) and herbal combinations for sitz baths. Talk to your primary care provider about what may work to speed up your own recovery.

If you’re feeling fearful about how perineal tearing may affect your postpartum recovery, talk to your doula or primary care provider. With a little planning for birth and post-birth care, you’ll feel more confident about the process.  Plus, being prepared will help get you back to feeling like yourself faster.  In this case, having more information is a win!

 

 

Getting Multiples on a Schedule



Two (or three, or more!) of everything- how exciting! Until, of course, you start to consider that there will always be multiple babies to feed, bums to change, naps to facilitate, and bedtimes to prepare for.

Almost every book and every expert on twins, triplets, and multiples suggests that having your babies on a schedule is key. Many parents get more rest and feel less overwhelmed by feeding, changing, and putting multiples to sleep on the same schedule. If this kind of routine-based parenting is for you, here are five tips for getting your babies on a schedule:

1.       Hospital to Home
If your babies had an extended hospital stay, you’ll get off to the best start by sticking to the schedule they were already on. You can ask the nurses for a written record of their current schedule for feeding, changing, and sleeping.

2.      Sleeping Together
Letting your brood sleep together will help them snooze more soundly, while also encouraging them to wake together. On a safe sleep surface (link: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/dca-dea/stages-etapes/childhood-enfance_0-2/sids/ssb_brochure-eng.php#safe-sleep), place your twins, triplets, or multiples side by side. This practice is appropriate until one or more of them have learned to roll over – once that happens, opt for separate sleeping solutions instead.

3.      Let Sleeping Babies Wake
Forget that saying about never waking a sleeping baby. If one of your babies is awake and needs to be fed, changed, or otherwise attended to, wake the other ones as well. This prevents you from going through the whole routine again an hour later, when the next one calls.

4.      Bedtime Routine
Have a bedtime routine that is calm and familiar each evening. For many families that routine involves bathing, feeding, and, finally, bed.

5.      Be Flexible
Take it as it comes - life happens! Your babies’ schedule is meant to make your life simpler, not deprive you of social interaction. It’s okay to deviate from the routine now and then. Also, if your babies have a different schedule in mind some days, just roll with it. Just try to give your babies the same things at the same times - so if one wakes up or feeds early, wake or feed the others, too.

 

 

Over time, your twins, triplets, or multiples will have different needs. Your schedule will need to evolve to meet these dynamic requirements. Always pay attention to their cues, even if they go off-schedule - feed babies that seem hungry, put sleepy babies to sleep, etc.

If you follow your intuition, trust yourself, and roll with the punches, you’ll soon find you have the tools to navigate through anything. A solid schedule will help you get there.

 

 

What You Need to Know About Your High-Risk Pregnancy

 

Having your pregnancy labelled as high risk can be very scary. You may have questions such as “Does being high risk mean I must give birth by c-section?” or “How will my experience as high risk be different than normal?”

What Is a High-Risk Pregnancy?

A pregnancy will be labelled high risk if the health of the mother and/or the baby is thought to have an increased chance of complications. While these two little words can induce some anxiety, “high risk” is just a way for a primary care provider to ensure their patient gets the special attention and care they need to have a safe pregnancy and birth experience.

Having your pregnancy labelled high risk does not always mean that you will have problems, only that you are at an increased risk of developing complications.

 

 

Why Would My Pregnancy Be Considered High Risk?

Your pregnancy may be considered high risk if you:

  • Have pre-existing or newly-diagnosed health problems, such as:Diabetes, Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Kidney Disease, Epilepsy, HIV, Hepatitis C, Rubella, Toxoplasmosis, Syphilis, etc.
  • Other health problems such as Heart Conditions, Asthma, Lupus, or Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Smoke, or use alcohol or drugs
  •  Are under the age of 18
  • Are over the age of 35
  • Are pregnant with twins, triplets, or high order multiples
  • Have a history of multiple miscarriages
  • Are carrying a baby who has a medical condition or syndrome
  • Experienced complications during a previous pregnancy, such as Preterm labour, Pre-eclampsia, Eclampsia
  • Birth of a previous baby with genetic problems
  • Are taking medications that may have adverse effects on you or your baby during gestation

 

Your doctor will use a formula to determine if your pregnancy should be considered high risk, using the information they have about your health and pregnancy.

How Will My Prenatal Care Be Different If My Pregnancy Is Considered High Risk?

 

If you have been seeing a family doctor or midwife, you may be transferred to an obstetrician to ensure you receive the specialized care you need. You may need extra ultrasounds and testing, and more frequent visits to your obstetrician. Additional genetic testing may also be offered. Depending on the reason your pregnancy has been labelled high risk, you may be asked to reduce your activity levels, change your diet, or make other adjustments to your lifestyle.

You may need to give birth in a specific hospital that offers the care you need. You should talk to your primary care provider about how your plans for birth may change.

What Can I Do to Have a Healthy High-Risk Pregnancy?

One way you can contribute to a healthy pregnancy is by improving the health of you and your baby.  This may be achieved by:

·       Attending the recommended appointments and tests

·       Eating a healthy diet

·       Taking all medication and supplements your doctor recommends

·       Following your doctor’s suggestions for activity and/or bedrest

·       Avoiding both first and second-hand cigarette smoke

·       Abstaining from alcohol and illegal drugs

A high-risk pregnancy doesn’t have to be scary. Always ask your questions as they arise. Get clarification from your primary care provider on anything you do not understand. Sometimes, the difference between feeling fearful and feeling safe is having more information.

Hiring a doula from Family Doulas of Ottawa is also great way to ensure you have someone to call with your questions and concerns throughout your high-risk pregnancy. Doulas provide that extra layer of support and guidance, including being in attendance during labour and birth, so that you never have to feel alone.  With the right network behind you, you can go through your high-risk pregnancy feeling informed and empowered.

 

Do We Need a Night Nanny or a Baby Nurse?

night nanny

 

 

There are many reasons Ottawa families hire professional postpartum care when they have a new baby. Be it a desire to have an expert to look to, a lack of supportive family and friends nearby, or your independent nature, choosing to hire professional postpartum care can significantly improve your experience. 

 

If your birth was traumatic or you are struggling with postpartum depression you many have heard a Baby Nurse will aid in your recovery.

 

For families with multiples, an extra set of hands is always useful, especially if that extra set of hands is attached to someone experienced in infant care!

 

A Baby Nurse or a Night Nanny can be a helpful option. People who work under these titles specialize in infant care only. You can expect to have your baby whisked away and looked after. The Night Nanny or Baby Nurse manages newborn related tasks while you get much-needed rest or attend to your other responsibilities. If your goal is to have someone else care for your baby, a Baby Nurse or Night Nanny might be right for you.

 

But what if you want more? Or something different?

 

Similar to a Night Nanny or a Baby Nurse, a Postpartum Doula can spend her days and nights in the nursery with your baby if you’d like. She could also bring the baby to you for feeds if that is your preference, providing breastfeeding support and managing tasks while you’re feeding.

 

Unlike a Baby Nurse, your Postpartum Doula’s focus is on the recovery of your entire family. Her goal is to assist you in finding a new normal and smooth the transition taking place as you integrate your newest family member. She isn't solely focused on the baby unless that's what you need. She may assist with household chores, run errands, engage your older children, make meals, provide information for your physical and emotional recovery or even just be the unbiased listening ear who brings you a hot cup of tea.

 

For families that would prefer to care for their baby most of the time but would like additional support, a Postpartum Doula is an ideal option. A Postpartum Doula's broad scope of practice creates flexibility for your family.

 

 

With compassion, knowledge, and expertise on all things birth, postpartum and newborn care related, a Postpartum Doula will meet your needs day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Doulas DO Epidurals?

Epidurals are the most effective way to relieve the discomforts of childbirth.

After numbing the area with local anesthetic, an anesthesiologist inserts a needle into your spinal cord in the mid to lower back. A small tube is then threaded through the needle and into what is called the epidural space. Once the epidural is in place, medication is given through the tube to relieve pain.

There’s this myth floating around that you won't need a doula if you're planning to have an epidural, but that just isn't true. There are so many tasks a doula can attend to, regardless of the pain relief options you desire. 

How can a doula support me if I am planning to have an epidural?

 

A doula is a perfect person to delegate tasks to!

 

epidural

For people that are worried about how they might react to labour, a doula is an experienced assistant. Throughout labour, you can count on your doula to help you stay in control. As your non-judgemental support person, utilize your doula to manage tasks, as needed.

A doula will ensure you are never alone (unless you want to be).

 

Labour can feel lonely. Once you have your epidural, you may feel refreshed and chatty. Having your doula in the room means there is always someone knowledgeable to ask your questions or talk things through with. How about a foot massage while we discuss what a fabulous mother you are going to be?

 

A doula creates security for your partner and encourages a closer connection between you.

 

Partners experience birth, too. When you are comfortable, your partner may be ready for a break. With doula support, they can grab a meal, check in with family, or get a little self-care time without leaving you on your own. Hiring a doula provides security and flexibility for both of you.

Sometimes partners find the process of birth troubling or concerning. It can be distressing to watch someone you love in such an intense state. A doula will be there every step of the way with reassurance and guidance. We love teaching partners how they can better help the birthing person to relax and remain focused.

 

A doula has the answers or knows where to find them.

 

For couples that wish they could just bring their Childbirth Educator into the delivery room, a doula is the answer! You'll get continuous informational support based on reliable studies and credible sources. Your doula can paint a picture of the process in advance, and as your labour progresses. An expert on pregnancy and childbirth, a doula knows exactly where to find the facts you need.

 

Are you planning to utilize epidural pain relief for your baby’s birth? There are so many ways a doula can help you have a more positive birth experience, regardless of your preferences for pain relief. Contact Ottawa Family Doula today to learn more!