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Visits Prior to Birth

We will soon be meeting for the first time! We look forward to learning more about your family and your wishes for your upcoming birth! Here is an idea of what you might expect during our prenatal visits:

Prenatal visits are almost always done in your home. We prefer this simply because that is where you are likely to begin your birthing and we want you to be comfortable with us being in your space. Regardless of whether you live in a studio apartment or a house, we assure you that there will be adequate space for anything we might do during our visits and for your birthing to unfold comfortably.

Most initial visits are spent getting to know each other. We will ask some general questions about your birth wishes, how you are feeling about pregnancy and about birthing, and what ways we can best serve you. It is alright if you are unsure of what you want from us, as some families are still learning what we doulas truly do. Our discussions with you, will help us to decide what we feel will suit your family best. This first visit is also times when you can get all of your questions answered and "interview" us if you wish. We are open to whatever is on your mind. We generally do not spend much of our first visit educating you on birthing, but we will often provide a few suggestions to Moms that will help them to have an uncomplicated and comfortable birth.

We ask that partners attend prenatal visits and it is best if we all share uninterrupted time together, as we are there not only for my Moms, but also for the birthing partners. Partners play an integral role in birthing and we want them to feel completely engaged in the birth of their child. Our prenatal visits are, in some ways, about team-building, for we truly become a team in birthing. If you are not partnered and we are your only birth person, then we can meet alone or you might wish to invite friends and family. If you have other children of any age, they are welcome to be present, especially if they will be attending your birth. We enjoy getting to know your family as a whole, so that we can blend into your home well during our time with you.

Kelley using a rebozo during a prenatal visit.
We will have two or three prenatal visits and each will last 1.5 - 2 hours. During subsequent visits, we tend to spend less time talking with you about your birth wishes and more time talking about what to expect in birthing, from me, and from the rest of your birthing environment. We will talk about different things that we might do while you are birthing and we might spend some time doing something fun such as taking pictures, "centering" your uterus with a rebozo treatment, creating a cast of your belly, taking photos, watching a video, or talking about special ways to welcome your beautiful baby into the world, based on your preferences.

*Please note that some of our services are beyond the DONA birth doula scope of practice, therefore if you wish for us to also use a rebozo or hypnosis to help you turn a breech baby, or if you wish for us to perform more clinical care including vaginal exams (which are best kept to a minimum), you must hire us as a Montrice.

Birth unfolds in many different ways and so it is not important for us to know every detail of your wishes, but rather it helps us to better understand your personality and fears or anxieties that you might have surrounding birthing. Knowing this, we can help to alleviate those fears to prevent them from interfering with your birth. It is common to feel many emotions prior to birthing and we encourage you to be open and honest about them. Not everyone feels angelic when nearing birth and it is unreasonable for you to expect yourself to be completely free from anxieties over birth, parenting, relationships, and other pieces of your life. Discussing these thoughts will allow us to provide suggestions for resolving some of this emotion.

We frequently emphasize the power that your mind has in birthing and ways that you can work with your body and sometimes we will do a relaxation exercise (which you will know well if you've taken my birthing classes). Many parents do not realize that Moms mind and body are communicating many messages every moment of every day with her baby. A key to having a relaxing and gentle birth is to release fears and allow our minds to send positive messages to Baby, telling him or her that we feel confident about their arrival. Partners play an important role in sending this message also. To ensure that you have the right focus, we will assume it your responsibility to do your best to avoid negative influences prior to birthing. For example, pregnancy it not usually the best time to let all of your friends and family tell you about their own births, it also isn't a great time to watch Maternity Ward on TLC, nor is it the best time to read every single pregnancy book on all of the possible "complications" that can happen in birth (i.e. What to Expect When You're Expecting- if you've been reading this type of book, now is the time to put it down and begin preparing in a new way).

Even though we will meet only 2-3 times prior to your birth, you are welcome to contact us at any time with questions, concerns, thoughts, excitement, or anything at all. For non-critical calls, please call between 9am and 9pm. Urgent calls are encouraged 24 hours a day. E-mail is a great way to chat with us also. When you think that birthing may be beginning, call us at the first thought. It is common for relaxed Moms not to take note of birthing until the last hours, so We ask that you let us know even when your emotions change, you feel new aches, or other different feelings in your last few weeks of pregnancy.

It is important to know that there is no exact calendar for birth, so even though you have a "due date" the world must be patient and allow your body and your Baby to give birth on their own time (in the absence of any special medical circumstances, of course). We cannot predict a "magic day" when everything will spring into action. Everyone's internal birth calendar is unique and we really should talk in terms of an "estimated birth month", rather than a "due date". Your body is perfectly designed for this event and your baby knows exactly what to do to be born.

Lastly, we feel that it is important for my families to know that we are not typically focused on the vast medical components of birth. Doulas are highly familiar with all of the intricacies of the body and special circumstances that occur in very small percentages, but at Birthing Life, we are of the belief that if you were in tune with all of that, it would detract from the deep relaxation that is essential in easy birthing. We prepare you and answer all of your questions and concerns, but less is sometimes more. My approach may differ from that of your care provider (and even from most doulas), as they have often been trained to identify "complications" and "manage" birth and, therefore, some can at times lack objectivity. We strive to give you a balanced view and ensure that your birth unfolds in a way that leaves you feeling fulfilled and full of joy. So, if you are looking for a doula that is going to come into your home to explain every detail of "labor" and "delivery," We are probably not the match for you. If you have any question, please ask us for the names of some other doulas so that you can be sure to find a perfect match for your family!

See you soon!
Did You Know?
Home births have been shown to be safer than hospital birth for healthy moms???
Read more!

We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful... it's that women are strong.
- Laura Stavoe Harm

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or 508-668-4247