I'm on a mission to connect with everyone looking to replace anxiety and fear around birth with centering and joy. Education, resources, and preparation are the keys to success in every area of life; especially birth and parenting. For the last 20 years I have been educating, guiding, and supporting people through pregnancy and birth. Living near the beautiful Delaware beaches, I have had the privilege of working with expecting clients ages 14- 49.
Do you want to ask questions about labor and birth and get real answers? Are you exhausted from searching through tons of birth blogs forstraightforward tips? Ask me anything! No judgment, just the facts, practical advice, and a compassionate listener.
Have you read a ton of information online but are still unsure what it will mean for your specific labor and birth? With this one, two-hour intensive I will teach you and your support person practical ways to ease pain during labor. A recent study found first-time mothers who took childbirth classes that focused on complementary pain management were 65% less likely to use an epidural and had a 44% reduction in the need for cesareans.
I’m passionate about sharing evidence based information to expecting parents. Since the pandemic began in 2020 I have been increasingly concerned about the increase in chronic stress and rise in anxiety and depression. Pregnant and postpartum individuals are struggling to find social support, childcare, and mental health care providers. Let me help you create a plan for not just surviving but thriving postpartum.
CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION classes
Did you know that most medical insurance programs and Delaware Medicaid programs cover part, if not all, of the cost of your childbirth education classes? Did you know that childbirth education classes are eligible for 100% reimbursement through your FSA and HSA accounts?
After your virtual class, a certificate of completion and an itemized receipt are emailed within 24 hours. (To determine the exact dollar amount your plan covers, please get in touch with your insurance provider's customer service line directly.)
What makes Delaware Doula Childbirth Classes different from most online childbirth classes? It's ME! Live!
You get to have a real person working with you customizing and tailoring any class to your needs and unique circumstances. These are not canned, dull, one-size-fits-all pre-recorded video modules that make you fall asleep while watching. I'll be with you every step of the way providing evidence-based education mixed with open and honest dialogue. You will learn from an expert sharing real-life stories, up-to-date research, and current visual content in a judgment-free zone.
I understand the needs of modern parents-to-be and work with them to find classes that work with their schedule. I work with people all over the country via Zoom and can teach you one-on-one or with an additional partner, spouse, family member, or friend. (You and your person don't even have to be in the same state for us all to meet!)
If you're in Delaware and prefer hands-on education in the comfort of your own home, we can arrange that too! Book your first class directly through the Schedule Today link to the Square Appointment Scheduler. If you have trouble finding an open time slot that works for you, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll help you out!
These Lamaze certified classes cover the third trimester, signs and stages of labor, medical and natural pain management, labor bag perpetration, postpartum planning, breastfeeding basics,newborn care and so much more!
With this one, two-hour intensive I will teach you and your support person practical ways to ease pain during labor. A recent study found first-time mothers who took childbirth classes that focused on complementary pain management were 65% less likely to use an epidural and had a 44% reduction in the need for cesareans.
Whether you plan to birth in a hospital, at home, or at The Birth Center, a doula can add peace of mind and encouragement for all types of birth. Let's talk about how I can be trusted part of your birth team.
The placenta contains your own perfect blend of natural hormones and iron. Taking placenta capsules can ease your transition into motherhood by supporting balanced hormones, boosting mood, increasing iron and energy levels, enhancing milk production, lessening postpartum bleeding, and the reduction of night sweats.
8 Tips for Thriving During the Holidays with a New Baby
1) Prioritize your baby's health and your own.
New parents and babies are under a lot of stress, which can lower your immune system. We are seeing high Flu, Covid, and RSV numbers this year. Skip the large indoor events and parties this year. Get some takeout and watch a holiday movie at home instead.
2) Wear your baby.
People love to touch babies; they are so cute! Baby wearing is a great way to limit touch without hurting people's feelings. Each unwashed hand exposes your baby to unfamiliar germs and can be overstimulating to the baby.
3) Manage expectations.
Have conversations with extended family and friends early. Direct communication is best. Tell family and friends that you want to spend time with them but be honest about your needs and concerns.
*Protip- Difficult conversations are best-made face-to-face and with three or more people present. Have many siblings coming into town who want to meet the baby? Have a Zoom call in advance to discuss plans, the best times for you, and the importance of only visiting if everyone is healthy.
4) Do a little bit less.
It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Instead of exchanging gifts with all your siblings this year, try having only children exchange gifts. Instead of a big Christmas dinner, get together for dessert and coffee instead.
5) Talk about gifts for the baby.
Why is all of the baby stuff so cute? Family and friends love to shower new babies with tons of presents. Cute outfits and toys are lovely and well-intended but rarely what young babies need. Communicate with your family clearly about your wishes regarding gifts. A college fund, board books, or diapers might sound boring, but often the most appreciated.
6) Prioritize rest.
Being exhausted has become the US norm during the holiday season but being excessively tired increases anxiety, triggers people to increase caffeine, and leads to a generally bad mood. The holidays are supposed to be fun!
7) Seek solitude
Babies are curious by nature. A baby's first holiday can be so memorable but also over-stimulating. If you are visiting other people's homes, inquire ahead to ensure there's a quiet space where you can retreat to nurse, rest, or help the baby sleep and regroup. ( Protip: Consider bringing a baby monitor with you.)
8) Start new traditions that bring you joy.
It is okay to start something new or stop doing holiday traditions that leave you feeling overwhelmed rather than joyful. Having a baby is a great time to evaluate how you want to enjoy the holidays.
Oh Baby! 2023
I am a planner. Every year around August 1st I start to think about the upcoming school year, the fall and winter holidays, and all the adventures I want to go on. Anyone who is currently pregnant will give birth in 2023. Oh baby, here come the 2023 babies!
Expectant parents are faced with a lot of major life decisions: Will they continue working at their current jobs? If they do stay at their current jobs; what will they do for childcare and how much what will it cost? Are they financially prepared for all the costs involved with having a child? Do they need to move either for more space or to be closer to family?
It’s interesting to me that the root of the word expecting is expect.While pregnant it is not uncommon to feel that there are a lot of expectations placed on you. For the rest of the year, I'll be focused on the babies of 2023. I’ll be helping parents find resources and solutions to the challenges of birth and parenthood.
To make it as easy as possible for expecting parents I work with them when it’s convenient for their schedule. I provide a space where they can ask a question without judgment and give them answers that are based on current evidence and research. I love being a trusted resource and reaching people who live in places where they have limited access to childbirth educators. My goal is to reach as many people as I can and support as many families as I can.
The last few years have been daunting for pregnant people and new parents. I remember how much stress and burden I felt while simultaneously experiencing the joy of my young children. I am creating a place where people can not only feel heard and express their concerns but a place where they can find solutions. I believe in love, life, birth, laughter, and joy. I believe we can navigate these challenging uncharted waters of modern living while still experiencing the joy of having a baby. Congratulations to everyone expecting a baby in 2023. Oh baby, it's gonna be a wild ride; but I got you.
Having a Doula
Does it make a difference?
Yes, it does. When you’re a professional doula, it’s good to have a graceful and polished answer to the question, “What is a doula?”The standard response is “A doula provides physical, informational and emotional support for the laboring person and their partner, family or friend.” The problem is that it’s impossible to visualize what that actually means.
My favorite analogy is that a doula is like a sherpa; if you want to hike the Himalayas you have to do the walking, but you take an experienced professional guide with you -- someone who has already been to the mountaintop. You want a guide who is a local, who can speak the language, and who knows where you want to go. You want your guide to encourage you to push on to achieve your goals but also know when it’s time to stop and rest.
There have been 26 randomized trials that tested the effects of continuous labor support on more than 15,000 people giving birth. According to Evidence-Based Birth "people who received continuous labor support are more likely to have a normal vaginal birth, and less likely to have pain medication, negative feelings about childbirth, and Cesareans." In addition, their labors are shorter, and their babies are less likely to have complications at birth or be admitted to the NICU. In these studies, the best results occurred when the continuous support was provided by a trained doula- someone who was not a staff member at the hospital and not part of the birthing person's social network. You can try and go it alone but having a doula by your side absolutely helps.
When everyone is telling you to relax but you just can't.
"You’re only human. You don’t have to have it together
every minute of every day."
- Anne Hathaway
So many of us feel pressured to have the "right" kind of birth and shockingly find ourselves feeling judged no matter what type of birth that is. Expecting parents can quickly feel overwhelmed at all the conflicting advice they receive from their care providers, family, friends, and all the resources about pregnancy and birth. This unsolicited advice can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety.
It's important to learn two or three stress-relieving techniques that work for you to use while pregnant. I like to think of this as your stress toolbox. Now is the perfect time to fill that toolbox with tools! Start by choosing one tool that is already your go-to stress reliever; taking a walk, talking to a friend, or watching a funny movie, and then work on learning two new stress relieving skills. Three of my favorite stress relieving techniques to teach are roving relaxation, triangle breathing, and acupressure.
After you have found a few new stress relievers that you enjoy; it's a great idea to start practicing. Try using one technique every night before bed. If you have a partner ask them to join you in your practice. The more often you practice the stronger your body's muscle memory will become. After a few nights, the muscles of your body and your breathing will start to relax as soon as you begin to use your new relaxation tool. Once you feel more confident in the technique try using it when you experience stress in your daily life; you might be shocked at how quickly you can now connect to calm.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Disorders
What you need to know.
I love the quote by Louise Howard, “There is no health without maternal mental health.” PMADs stand for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Many people are familiar with the term postpartum depression; but less well known is that people can develop postpartum anxiety or that experiences in labor can trigger PTSD or suppressed trauma. Although commonly associated with the postpartum period, signs of depression or anxiety can start to emerge during pregnancy. These PMADs are often triggered by changing hormones or a lack of restful sleep that happens during pregnancy.
Research has shown that postpartum depression affects 1 in 7 new parents although most studies suggest the number is likely much higher. There are risk factors associated with an increased chance of developing pregnancy-related mood disorders. Some risk factors for PAMDS include a family history of postpartum depression, a history of panic attacks, anxiety, or depression, a bipolar diagnosis, thyroid or autoimmune disorder, preeclampsia, or Hyperemesis Gravidarum during pregnancy.
In my virtual consultations and childbirth classes, I emphasize planning for the postpartum period. It is helpful to know the difference between postpartum depression and baby blues, possible warning signs of PAMDs, and to make a list of care providers available while you are still pregnant. When you are in the middle of a crisis it is difficult to try and plan or research where to seek support. Planning can help alleviate stress and concern for the entire family.