Abby Block, CD(DONA), CBC

Doula & Breastfeeding Support ~ Serving Brooklyn & NYC

brooklyn pregnancy

World Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Abby BlockComment

It's world breastfeeding awareness month! In honor of this, my next several posts will be focusing on breastfeeding information, resources, research, best practices, stories, and photos. I of course understand and respect that not all families I work with are breastfeeding, whether by choice or not, and there is of course some that fall in between. As a birth doula, I am always happy to support my doula clients any way they choose, however I find that most often, my clients are worried about and are asking me about breastfeeding -- usually right after birth and the postpartum visit. I had the great pleasure this year of becoming a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor, and am loving that I am able to provide a greater depth of support to my clients around breastfeeding.

To kick off the week, I want to share an awesome blog post from Lamaze's Science and Sensibility blog, which has excellent resources for breastfeeding or soon-to-be breastfeeding families.

Read the blog post here.

Beautiful Birth Photos

Abby BlockComment

These photos are beautiful! Whether it's a home birth, hospital birth, natural birth, cesarean birth, midwife birth, water birth, OB birth, breastfeeding or formula feeding, or it's a first or second or third child... there's no one right way to do it. Take a look here.

Why delay cord clamping?

Abby BlockComment

Science and Sensibility, the research blog from Lamaze, has an excellently evidence based article on the practice of delayed cord clamping. The article is structured by listing objections, which is a great way to go about learning the benefits, as well as to be prepared to answer to someone's concerns about this practice. Delayed cord clamping is becoming so much better understood and common place. Many Ob and midwife practices in Brooklyn and NYC do this as a matter of protocol. 

Read the full article here

 

 

A cervix in labor

Abby BlockComment

What does it look like? Check out this handy guide to understanding how your cervix will change in the late third trimester and in labor. Maybe you followed your pregnancy by reading about your baby's size being compared to fruit... and now you get to read about your cervix in relation to fruit :)

Postpartum & Breastfeeding Nutrition For the New Mother

Abby BlockComment

Postpartum nutrition! Many women aren't aware that for breastfeeding a newborn (or older baby), that often women need to eat more than they did when when they were pregnant! Of course, quality is important as well, as it's not just about getting enough calories.  The amount a breastfeeding mother should eat also depends on level of exercise, overall caloric needs, and other variables, or course. The best rule of thumb is to eat to your hunger, being mindful of making healthy choices whenever possible. Through recent research, we know that a mother's varied diet will encourage her child to enjoy a wide palette of flavors - all the more encouraging to eat well while breastfeeding! Check out the links below for more info on postpartum eating and nourishing the new mother:

Recovery From Childbirth: Postpartum Foods

Do Breastfeeding Mothers Need Extra Food or Fluids?

Nourishing the New Mom

Maternal Nutrition During Breastfeeding

A secret to a quick and easy childbirth?

Abby BlockComment

There is certainly not one quick and easy solution that's going to work for everyone. I also don't even believe that this is THE way to go, but I have seen scenarios in which women do completely ignore the fact that hey are in labor, whether intentionally or not, and give birth quite smoothly and swiftly. But this is not to discount the women who need to focus and actively think in one way or another. There is no one right way to birth. But I think this article raises some interesting points worth thinking about.

Read the article here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3147111/The-secret-quick-painless-childbirth-Just-don-t-think-ban-partner-room-leading-doctor-claims.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3147111/The-secret-quick-painless-childbirth-Just-don-t-think-ban-partner-room-leading-doctor-claims.html

Tongue Tie and the Newborn Baby

Abby BlockComment

Since I have been training to become a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor, I've been thinking about and learning a great deal about breastfeeding - more than I had ever imagined. Something that comes up quire frequently with many new mothers is the challenge of breastfeeding. At a certain point, once you begin to hear of so many stories of difficulty breastfeeding, and depending on how much detail you hear in these stories - you may start to hear of tongue ties, lip ties, and the procedures done in attempt to remedy these situations. Why, if breastfeeding is supposed to be so natural and necessary for the survival of our species, are so many humans struggling with it? There are MANU reasons. One of the many possible reasons might be folic acid vs. folate. Read on in this article to learn more...

Tongue Tie and Breastfeeding, By Dr. Wilson

US C-Sections Rate: Too High

Abby BlockComment

If you've been or are pregnant in NYC,  probably one of the first things you did was to figure out who your doctor would be and where you would give birth. You may have spent hours googling something like "NYC OB low cesarean rate," or "NYC hospital low c-section rate." And you may or may not have found the answers you were looking for. Consumer Reports just released an article reviewing the current state of cesarean births and rates by hospitals around the country. Many of the hospitals in NYC that my clients have given birth in do not release their statistics. Considering that your biggest Cesarean risk might be the hospital that you give birth in, withholding c-section rates by hospital (and even by practice or doctor) just doesn't seem ethical.

You can read the full article here: http://www.consumerreports.org/doctors-hospitals/your-biggest-c-section-risk-may-be-your-hospital/

Essential Oils in Pregnancy, Birth, and for Your Baby

Abby BlockComment

I recently attended a workshop on Essential Oils in Pregnancy and Birth. Big inhale, exhale... there are some great scents that can be used for a variety of ailments, concerns, and comforts. Some are quite powerful! So, what's the right way to use them? Read on for some more info.

https://www.youngliving.com/blog/pregnancy-and-essential-oils-a-guest-post-by-dr-lindsey-elmore/

 

http://doterrablog.com/ask-dr-hill-pregnancy-doses-and-zendocrine-supplements/

 

http://www.theessentialmidwife.com/

 

Partners & Doulas: What you need to know

Abby BlockComment

You've chosen your doctor or your midwife; you've decided on the hospital, the birthing center, or giving birth at home; you've decided on a natural birth or that you'll use pain medication or maybe something in between; you have a list of baby names; you have the baby gear list... so what's missing? Your doula, of course! For some couples, whether or not to hire a doula is not an easy choice. One of the main concerns I hear from couples - especially those who are planning to have a natural birth with full support of their partner - is that they wonder if a doula is really necessary. Completely valid question. Below is an article that gives you some perspective on the Doula and the Dad - although  prefer to use the term " birth partner" as there's not always a dad in every birthing couple!

Excerpt:

"But doulas aren't there only for moms-to-be. They also play a key role in helping their partners, offering them invaluable emotional and practical support during the overwhelming experience of childbirth. "I see myself as having many roles, fitting in where I am needed, lifting up and supporting the partner in order for them to support the laboring mom," says Zoe Etkin, a birth and postpartum doula and women's sexual health coach in Los Angeles. "Looking back on the birth, I hope they will both remember how connected they were, and I will just fade into the background. Although I believe my role is important, it's ultimately about the birthing couple."

Even so, it's common for dads-to-be to worry that having a doula during delivery might push them out of the main labor support role. Doulas insist that couldn't be further from the truth. "I'm there to accentuate their involvement, not to take their place," explains Gena Kirby, a doula of 10 years, childbirth educator, and host of Progressive Parenting radio. "Partners have taught me so much over the years about different ways to approach different personalities and births."

Full article here.

The Truth About Your Due Date

Abby BlockComment

Get some perspectives on your due date, or "EDD" (estimated due date), as well like to call it. Read what a midwife, a doula, an OB, a labor nurse, an acupuncturist, and a pediatrician have to say about. it And in case you didn't know already, only about 5% of women give birth on their due date. The rest of us tend to naturally go somewhere from week 37 (full term) to week 42. There are exceptions to this, of course - as always, with birth. My best advice on the "due date" situation is to consider it your due month, and when people ask you when you are due, you give them the month, not the date :)

Read the article on due dates from Well Rounded NY here.

The Forgotten Art of Untucking The Tail

Abby BlockComment

Very interesting as it relates to birthing a human...

“Modern birthing science has placed a large burden on secreted hormones (like relaxin) to prepare the body for needed mobility.” Katy Bowman says. Yes, hormonal relaxin is useful in letting the body open up for the birth, but it’s not enough, unless we have strong muscles that can fully contract, but also fully release. But then, strong isolated muscles are not enough either. In order to have smooth births we need to have a whole-body endurance. A great way to develop endurance is to walk as much as you can. “The woman who wants to go about a birthing process naturally can follow the lead other “natural” processes women have been doing for millennia — walking 5–6 total miles per day, and squatting to bathroom multiple times daily” — she adds.

Read the full article here.

 

Evidence Based Care for Pregnant Women

Abby BlockComment

Ever wonder what evidence-based care is? This great free video series by Rebecca Dekker, PhD of Evidence Based Birth does an excellent job of explaining what evidence-based care is and how to get it. A must watch video series for expecting parents - even if you are not pregnant yet! In fact, the sooner parents-to-be have access to this kind of information, the better. Whether you are interested in a natural birth, home birth, hospital birth, cesarean birth, birth with a doula, or birth without a doula, midwifery care or medical care model, this video series is for you! There's also a great video on the evidence for birth plans. Very enlightening. Enjoy!

Click here to watch the Evidence Based Birth video series: Do Birth Plans Really Work?

A Better Article for the Public About Doulas

Abby BlockComment

Recently, on my Facebook feed, there have been a bunch of articles circulating about doulas. Most of them accurately describe the general benefits and the research that proves we are a positive influence on a woman's birth experience and outcome. But then the articles often take funny twists and spiral down an odd road, describing the downsides of a doula, or scenarios which completely misrepresent the doula industry. (Most commonly the bring up doulas who don't support epidurals. I know a lot of doulas in NYC, and every single one of them, including me, supports a mother's choice to use an epidural in labor.) What if all articles about OGYNs or midwives or dentists, or geez, babysitters did the same thing and focused on a misperception that is uncommon in their industry? In any case, here's an article, for once, that doesn't seem to do that. Hurray!

Read the lovely article here: Doulas, What They Do and Don't Do, by Amelia Pang. Excerpt below.

"A doula is a non-medical professional who is certified to give physical comfort and emotional support to a woman before, during, and after delivery. Doulas can provide essential information about birth, and are on call 24-hours a day.

Although studies show doulas can greatly improve birth outcomes, not many women in the United States hire doulas.

According to the Second National U.S. Survey of Women’s Childbearing Experiences taken in 2006, only 3 percent of women said they used a doula during childbirth.

This is partly because there are some misconceptions about what doulas are and what kinds of services they provide."