Birth Trauma for Moms Part 1: What is it, Symptoms & Prevention

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Women are good at hiding their pain. And, when it comes to birth trauma, they hide not physical pain but the deep emotional pain of disempowerment, humiliation, disregard, disrespect, loss of control and of dignity.

Did you know that over one third of women characterize their birth experience as traumatic? Every year in the U.S. alone, nearly 4 million women give birth, so that is a lot of women. It seems to me like much more, as I help countless women to heal from it. 

Where is all of this birth trauma coming from?

What is Birth Trauma and How Common Is It?

A trauma response is a normal set of reactions someone has after experiencing a life threatening or dangerous, scary, intensely horrible or overwhelming situation - the injured mind/body making sense of a traumatic experience. It is not a sign of weakness or inability to cope; it is not depression or anxiety, but it can lead to those feelings.

While most acknowledge that trauma is an expected occurrence after something like a war, serious accident, sudden death or grave assault, a mother’s (or even a baby’s) trauma following a birth is not widely discussed. Regardless of cause, trauma is trauma, and may lead to post traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD -  which can cause real and long lasting symptoms of psychological distress. The reported prevalence of PTSD varies according to the study.... According to Women's Health Today "in at least one large study, the rates of full-criteria PTSD in the U.S. following childbirth are now higher than those following a major terrorist attack."

The high rate of birth trauma is not acceptable and we must do something about it, by raising awareness and empowering childbearing women and their families to make choices that would minimize the risk, and speak up to their own providers.  We can also get involved with organizations doing what they can to improve maternity and newborn care. In the US, there is the  Childbirth Connection, and there is the Coalition for Improving  Maternity Services (CIMS), who recommend more humane, evidence based care practices in the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative , as well as certify hospitals as mother baby friendly based on adherence to these recommendations. In 2016,  CIMS joined forces with BirthNetwork National, a grassroots chapter organization and ImprovingBirth, the nation's largest maternity care consumer advocacy organization. Fortunately more and more hospitals are beginning the process and a number already have the designation, but it is not happening fast enough or on the large scale that is needed.

In countries like Holland and Sweden, where childbirth is treated as normal, with minimal medical and surgical interventions, rates of birth trauma are significantly less - as are the rates of maternal and newborn morbidly and mortality. The United States is among the lowest ranking countries when it comes to preventing fatality and sickness during birth. Despite being one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, the USA loses more women and babies during childbirth than any other well-developed country. We’re also known for one of the countries that performs the most C-sections. The U.S. cesarean rate is about twice that of Europe - the majority are not medically justified according to maternal health experts - with significantly worse outcomes.

“For.....women, it is not always the sensational or dramatic events that trigger childbirth trauma but other factors such as loss of control, helplessness, loss of dignity, the hostile or difficult attitudes of the people around them, feelings of being invisible, not being heard or the absence of informed consent to medical procedures.” (BirthTraumaAssociation.org.uk) In a meta-analysis of multiple studies, women with PTSD from childbirth use words like inhumane, intrusive, horrific, and degrading to express how they were treated by health care professionals during the experience.

Characteristic symptoms of birth trauma can be mild to debilitating. They include persistent re-experiencing of the events with intrusive recurring memories or vivid flashbacks; nightmares; feeling triggered into extreme distress - pounding heart, faintness, nausea, shortness of breath, racing thoughts and other symptoms of anxiety or panic when exposed to reminders or triggers; avoidance of anything that brings back recollection of the events or the need to talk about it repeatedly; feeling emotionally numb; difficulty bonding with baby or connecting with others, isolation and loneliness; feeling hypersensitive and reactive, wound up, easily startled, hyper alert, vigilant and on guard, on the look out for signs of danger; trouble sleeping, concentrating or remembering usual things; irritability or anger outbursts; feeling depressed, sad and crying for no apparent reason; decreased motivation and interest in activities of daily life and absence of joy.  

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Sadly, the only goal of the medical world where birth is concerned is to have a breathing mother and baby with heart beats who appear physically healthy.

The psychological impact of giving birth is not really a concept a hospital or its staff can grasp on maternity wards. So, naturally, modern medicine does not necessarily take into account a woman’s fears, emotional pain or inner stress when managing their labor and birth, let alone the baby who is born fully conscious. In a culture that fails to recognize, understand or validate the significance of the psychology of childbirth for the mother or baby, care is given without that sensitivity, leaves a birthing woman and her newborn baby’s emotional wellness unchecked, can make labor, birth and postpartum all the more difficult, and increase the risk of her and her baby feeling traumatized.

With our quick and deep-rooted dependence on technology and modern medicine - the providers, institutions and products, women have let go of their power and the inner knowledge that their bodies already have for giving birth. Sadly, in giving up our power to them, we’ve also forfeited our voice and our choice. Now, it has become part of routine procedure to use machines, tools, and drugs to monitor, and “treat,” normal healthy birthing mothers when all is well; we are conditioned that they are actually needed and beneficial, despite mounting evidence of their harm. 

There are other causative factors - like the impersonal nature of busy, short staffed but costly hospitals care. Hospitals need large volume and use of their services and products to keep them in business. We live in a litigious society and health care providers and their institutions are under a great deal of pressure to do all that they can to prevent litigation that entails millions of dollars, risk of licensure penalties or loss, and long years of extreme duress for them; perfection is expected when it can never be guaranteed. 

Far too many women are experiencing some kind of trauma during or after their child’s birth, and many hospitals and their health care professionals are not paying attention. This type of care and trauma go hand-in-hand.

How Hospitals Typically View Birth

At the beginning of my career, I was a nurse working in a typical hospital. You’d think I’d have been prepared for the idea of labor and delivery when I found out that I was pregnant with my first child. In fact, working with mothers and their newborn babies as an OB nurse, is where I developed my strong fear of birth in the first place!

I wish I could say that my own birth trauma story is an exception but, unfortunately, it’s a common experience still today. I hear it from thousands of women. In most hospitals in the United States, labor is looked at as a very precarious and potentially problematic situation - a catastrophe or disaster could happen at any moment, resulting in a potential lawsuit. Labor, in the hospital in which I had worked, felt like an emergency or intensive care situation the majority of the time. I was actually in more operating rooms than delivery rooms, and I was assisting more cesarean births than I thought I would. I was then rescuing women and babies from complications caused by the routine medical interventions we claim are called “standard procedures.”

These highly volatile crisis situations scared me not just as a mother but even as a nurse. And, this is where birth trauma begins: chronic fear and inner stress are the enemies of healthy living without dis-ease, and, of giving birth. If a birthing mother is feeling stressed and afraid, she will not labor well, especially if her feelings go unheard or are completely disregarded. She will need interventions, that lead to more problems and the cascade of more interventions.

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What Did my Labor Look Like?

When I was in labor with my first baby, the treatment I received from my own doctor was very detached and impersonal (despite this doctor being my colleague). Even though I often told my doctor that I felt worried and afraid, my feelings were dismissed and overlooked, making me feel as though they were unimportant and irrelevant. I started to think something was wrong with me. My stress only inclined from there.

One of the first things to happen to me when I arrived at the hospital was having to take off my own clothes and put on a hospital gown. It seemed innocuous then. I look back on that now and know that this begins the disempowerment and depersonalization. A hospital gown creates a sense of increased vulnerability, a feeling of being sick and dependent, and of being an assembly line patient.  It simply felt wrong: I wasn’t a patient - I was a birthing mother; I wasn’t sick - I was in labor. But I did not know any different and that there were options.

The second thing to happen was to be placed in a bed lying down, even though I wanted to stand; my body needed to move around which was discouraged, because the nurse and doctor would be unable to read the monitors placed on me. When a mother is in labor, her body assumes a natural upright position. And, when you think about this, it only makes sense - in the feat to get your baby to come down and out through your birth canal, gravity is your friend! The pelvic diameter is also smaller when lying flat on your back. The baby is pressing on the cervix to dilate it during labor, needs to navigate through the pelvis, and so your body will want to be up and move around, mimicking your baby’s moves in order to facilitate the baby’s travel.

I was also attached to an IV and told not to eat food and drink. As any athlete knows without question, if you were about to embark on a long and arduous physical event like running the 26 mile marathon, for example, you do not go without oral fuel and hydration.

My doctor didn’t talk to me much or explain things. He just kept giving me frequent internal exams without asking, then telling the results to the nurse outside my room “she’s still 4”, and finally I heard, ‘hang Pit.” As a nurse I knew what that was. I was familiar with the procedures, I knew they were going to give me medication that would intensify my labor, causing contractions to come more frequently and be much longer and harder than they naturally would. When I said no, I did not want Pit, my nurse’s well meaning response was 'honey, you don't want a cesarean do you?' It was either take the medication or be faced with the possibility of a C-section, to instill fear rather than knowledge (I now know that these weren’t my only two options and that my body was capable.) Of course I did not want a cesarean, major abdominal surgery, so I agreed. I was feared into it. Then my coping went out the window. I couldn't deal with the agony brought on by the medication. The doctor came in and walked out again and said “She’s still at a 4. Give her an epidural”. It seemed like forever, but then they were giving me an epidural anesthetic via a big needle in my back, into the area around my spinal cord. I was so young and afraid.

Related post: The Unnecesarean Birth Story: How It Might Have Been Prevented

All of the things that come naturally are discouraged by most hospitals still today. I was uncomfortable, and I did not feel safe or secure. Not only were my feelings, worries, wants and needs were completely unheard and ignored, but also I was also made to stay put when my body was screaming to do what comes naturally...until it was numb. Then I did not know what was going on in me.  I had no sense of control over my own body and my birth. I was in unnecessary pain and discomfort from the Pitocin, that made me need an epidural. 

The epidural caused a prolonged and severe drop in my baby’s heart rate, there was a frenzied panic around me. I was rushed to an operating room for an emergency cesarean - my biggest fear. As a nurse, I knew that if you don’t operate within minutes of this happening you could have a damaged or dead baby. I waited prepped and tied to the operating table in the OR for about an hour, watching the clock, waiting for the assistant surgeon who never came!

I was left completely alone all that time - my husband wasn’t even allowed in the room. I ended up calling out for help because the drugs took over my body and I needed to push. The doctor came running in yelling for supplies. I wound up being cut from the vagina and perineum  almost to the anus and my baby was then vacuumed out. She was pink and vigorous. I was afraid to look at her. They said she was fine. I was not fine. I was traumatized.

Postpartum, I had what I now know to be birth trauma. PTSD – a normal response to such an intense situation. I had the symptoms, I just did not know what was wrong at the time. I was getting frequent intrusive memories and flashbacks of the experience, anything that reminded me of the birth triggered horrible feelings in my body. I had a fight or flight response whenever I saw a pregnant woman or newborn baby, whenever anyone would ask me about my birth or talk about their birth – I could not discuss any of it without feeling horrible inside. I felt I could not talk about it or be asked about it at all. I felt wound up, hypervigilant, overprotective and worried something terrible would happen to her – like danger could happen any time. I couldn’t sleep. Even though I loved her completely and wholly, it was hard to look at her and not be reminded of my birth, and because often times I was, I would cry or feel triggered into a panic. I could not even imagine going back to work and facing the scene. When I had to start thinking about going back to work, I began having nightmares. My adrenaline would pump up, and I would feel sick. I’d be hyperalert and on-guard all of the time, as I was also afraid of the sensations in my body.

'You’ll get over it' genuinely caring people would say;  or they would ask 'what is the big deal, as you had a healthy baby?' That made me feel worse, like something was really wrong with me, so I felt more ashamed, guilty, alone and isolated. I stopped telling anyone what I was feeling. 

What to do?

Throughout history, births were considered a miraculous family celebration (as well, they should be) and babies were born at home. Once births were moved into hospitals in the 1900s in parts of the modern world, birth slowly started to be considered and treated like a medical event. By simply looking at my own story, it’s clear that we’ve created a very intrusive and almost violent way of bringing life into the world. It’s no wonder birth trauma is more prevalent than ever.

The grass roots organization Improving Birth coined the term ‘obstetric violence’ - which is playing out in labor and delivery units in certain parts of the world; the World Health Organization called for increased scrutiny of these disrespectful childbirth care practices, as women treated in this way, feel assaulted and violated, and must be taken as seriously as rape. Women in vulnerable situations of childbirth, are being stripped of their power, voice, and dignity, and are coerced or feared into unwanted invasive procedures; there is loss of control and privacy, and the interventions involve their most intimate selves. If the staff is cold, insensitive, unsupportive and uncaring, or downright condescending and hostile, it only enhances the traumatic emotional pain felt by the laboring mom.

By no means am I condemning hospitals and doctors. I work with wonderful ones and I support women birthing in all settings with all types of trained providers. I am also not condemning modern medicine. I am eternally grateful for it when it is necessary and life saving. While I am a holistic practitioner who helps women planning natural births, part of holistic care is embracing medical and surgical interventions when occasionally needed when there are serious complications or emergency situations, as often they can save the lives of both mother and baby. There can still be trauma when a planned natural birth ends up in the operating room or outcome is devastating. But with awareness and sensitivity we can validate, mitigate the traumatic impact, and more effectively heal. Related post: Birth Story - When Things Did Not Go as Planned

But, what about the vast majority of normal and healthy pregnancies? What about getting back in touch with the part of yourself that already knows how to do this?

Related post: Three Ways to Improve Your Chances of a Healthy Childbirth

In part two of this article on birth trauma, coming next month, I want to teach you how to do just that, how you can prevent birth trauma in the first place, and how to heal from it if you have it.

For now, there are things you can do!! Check out the various podcasts I have been interviewed on about the subject of birth trauma - including The Wellness Mama   and download my free Ebook  of my favorite resources for moms. It contains over 200 of the best books, movies and supplies I use personally and professionally with my clients, family & friends. Even diving into a fraction of this list will have you feeling empowered and prepared for conception, pregnancy, postpartum and parenting...It includes bonus resources on improving and even ensuring ensuring healthier pregnancy and birth outcomes than the status quo, and preventing and healing from birth trauma so prevalent in the modern world!   

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Was your birth upsetting or traumatic? Do you have more questions about processing your birth and need help healing? Arrange some time to chat with me. I’d love to answer your questions and help you heal and get yourself back - I have a program specifically got you, that can also include the a revolutionary and last natural healing modality called Clarity Breathwork.  Helping women heal from birth trauma is one of my passions and areas of expertise. I have officially published and prelaunched my first two books on Amazon on prevention and healing from trauma...and they both became #1 Bestsellers! They will be released in March, but feel free to check them out. 

Natural Birth Secrets: An Insiders Guide How To Give Birth Holistically, Healthfully and Safely, and Love the Experience! Kindle Edition
by Anne Margolis CNM, MSN, Yoga Teacher, Clarity Breathwork Practitioner (Author)

Trauma Release Formula: The Revolutionary Step by Step Program for Eliminating Effects of Childhood Abuse, Trauma, Emotional Pain and Crippling Inner Stress, to Living in Joy without Drugs or Therapy Kindle Edition
by Anne Margolis CNM, MSN, Yoga Teacher, Clarity Breathwork Practitioner (Author)

But if you really want to PREVENT birth trauma, take my online course.  Come join my FREE webinar, to learn all about Birth Trauma for moms and babies, so rampant in our country and parts of the modern world. Its called  "Secrets To Holistically Healthy Joyful Birth Without Birth Trauma" Discover 5 simple but crucial things you can do right now to drastically reduce your risk!  Sign up below:

Image by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Guide You To Create The Happiest Healthiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, planning a VBAC

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are intending to birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams, ROCK your birth.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are. And avoid the common complications - including birth trauma, prevalent in today's modern world from the cascade of routine interventions. You have a choice and you have a voice. 

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Two Books Pre-launched #1 Bestsellers

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I have some exciting news to share with you! I have officially published my first two books on Amazon today...and they both became #1 Bestsellers! The titles are below. For a limited time only, I’ve priced the books at only $3.99 for this - so if you're interested - it will take take you only 30 seconds to follow these two links, buy the books! My gift for you!!

I am officially holding myself accountable to finishing these in 85 days!!!! Yikes!!!!

I am forever grateful of your support and would love for you to share this with any of your friends or family that you think would enjoy this as well! 

 

 

Natural Birth Secrets: An Insiders Guide How To Give Birth Holistically, Healthfully and Safely, and Love the Experience! Kindle Edition
by Anne Margolis CNM, MSN, Yoga Teacher, Clarity Breathwork Practitioner (Author)

A Doctor and Midwife Recommended, Guide For Pregnancy To Postpartum Bliss Whether Birthing At Home, Hospital or Birth Center- even if this is not your first baby! 

This is a unique approach on how to have a deeply positive, empowered, and joyful journey through pregnancy, birth, and becoming a mom postpartum. Whether you have visions of a cozy home water birth, giving birth in a birth center free of pain meds and intervention, or a hospital birth with the latest technology and emergency care access just in case, this is the ultimate pregnancy to postpartum training so you can be prepared from an emotional, physical, and spiritual perspective to relax into birth and momma-hood with excitement and ease.

This comprehensive training will help you find your center and feel balanced, strong, relaxed, and calm within yourself during this special rite of passage into momma-hood- in the midst of all the chaos of life along the way. It will help you tune into your deepest desires and create joy and pleasure in your pregnancy, birth, an life as a mom - to take you and your family higher.

I’ve taken everything I’ve learned, trained and supported thousands of women, babies and their familes with for over twenty years in my private practice locally and around the world, to improve maternity and newborn care and experiences by empowering women and their families to speak up. These are my insiders secrets to increase your likelihood of avoiding high rates of risky medical and surgical interventions, serious complications including birth trauma for you and your baby, and having the birth of your dreams.

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From my book signing trip!

From my book signing trip!

 

AND

 

Trauma Release Formula: The Revolutionary Step by Step Program for Eliminating Effects of Childhood Abuse, Trauma, Emotional Pain and Crippling Inner Stress, to Living in Joy without Drugs or Therapy Kindle Edition
by Anne Margolis CNM, MSN, Yoga Teacher, Clarity Breathwork Practitioner (Author)

If you’ve experienced intense stress, emotional pain or any type of trauma, this program is a must - it represents true hope that saved my life and the lives of countless others. Once you know the key that unlocks the emotional pain, suffering, your ongoing personal life, work and relationship issues, and ongoing stress related physical symptoms and illness, and how to unlock it all, you experience such a powerful healing. 

For the last 22 years I have worked as a holistic nurse midwife, then with the added expertise as a yoga teacher, advanced grad and volunteer staff of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, and Clarity Breathwork practitioner. I have shared the most intimate experiences with women and their families as they move through young adulthood through and beyond menopause, and as they have their babies. I have held space for the huge powerful transformation of birth – that involves challenging situations of extreme intensity and vulnerability, pain of all degrees, facing enormous fears head on, surrendering to a process far greater than all of us…as well as great joy, love, and miracles. There is no pain – physical or emotional – that scares me – I am comfortable with it all; I have either felt it myself, heard about it, witnessed it, and helped others move through and heal from it. Over many years, the women in my practice, their partners, extended families and friends have shared with me and sought my guidance for their deepest darkest sufferings.

I would say just about everyone has baggage, past trauma of some sort, emotional pain and inner stress that is part of being human. Or it comes out as physical problems. Even if there is no apparent history of physical, sexual or verbal abuse unfortunately occurring at staggering rates (beyond 1:3 what is reported), most -people tell me they are one or more of the following:

- stressed out, worried and anxious,

-overwhelmed, overworked and depleted, burned out, taking care of everyone but themselves

-filled with resentment, anger, rage

- irritable, cranky, and reactive

- unhappy, uninspired, unfulfilled, sad or downright depressed – do not feel joy

- addicted to harmful habits and do not do much to take care of themselves

- embarrassed or ashamed by some part of their body or not liking the way they look

- struggling with eating disorders,

- stuck and can’t make decisions

- disconnected from themselves and others

- shut down, powerless without a voice

-  longing for something more and better, but don’t even know what they want, or thinking something outside of them will rescue them and make them happy

- plagued with self loathing, self doubt, not feeling valued, worthy or good enough, like a failure

- filled with shame, blame or a sense of being wrong

-  lonely and isolated – without community, or even within their circle of friends and family

-  sensually and sexually shut down and turned off

- troubled by relationship issues (immediate, extended, friends and/or professional)

- battling  career and work problems

- suffering with ongoing physical symptoms or chronic health conditions from body aches and pains, to migraines, intestinal issues, acid reflux, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer …the list goes on. If you can relate or have some of these feelings or issues, you are in the right place.

*PAP DEC 2017 BESTSELLER KEYNOTE FINAL.008.jpeg
From my book signing trip!

From my book signing trip!

I want to thank my mentor Mike Koenigs for guiding me to prelaunch two books on my two passions for helping people!!! Both are available on Amazon already! Will be released paperback and kindle in March!! 

What is a Doula and How to Become One

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If you look up the Greek word Doula, it literally means “one who mothers the mother.”

Not too long ago, and still today in some parts of the world, it was commonplace for a pregnant woman to be surrounded by other women during childbearing, childbirth, and even through to many weeks after the birth of the child. Needless to say, a momma welcoming a newborn into her family had plenty of help.

She wouldn’t have to worry about cooking and cleaning, laundry, errands, or even taking care of any children she might already have. Her own mother, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends and other women from maybe the surrounding village would be there to give her time to rest, heal and breastfeed, as well as acclimate to the new life in the family.

To the modern North American woman, this sounds heavenly and, unfortunately, almost unheard of.

Our new mothers today are basically left to fend for themselves with partners usually not having as long a parental leave of absence as the baring mother.

It has also become a custom for families to live quite far away from each other. And, work obligations don’t exactly allow for extended time spent with family or close friends.

Can a doula really work to remedy this grave absence of family and community support? Well, believe it or not, she can do a great deal more!

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What Does a Doula Do?

Bearing in mind our modern North American society, having a doula as part of your natural birth (or, really any kind of birth!) becomes not only beneficial to your experience but also crucial to your success.

A doula is basically trained in mothering the mother, in being emotionally supportive as well as providing comfort techniques for a woman in labor. While this may seem like something your OB/GYN, nurse, or midwife can do, this cannot be their focus 100% of the time while you’re in labor. Their primary responsibilities are the health and well-being of mother and baby - the maternity and newborn care, making sure all is well, preventing problems and intervening as needed to ensure safety.

A doula, on the other hand, is completely and solely focused on you and your immediate and ever-changing needs while in labor and even after the baby is born.

Doulas can also bring a significant amount of calm to a natural birth. While many may doubt or worry, it’s a doula’s job to keep the mother focused on what her goals are. And, success rates are high!

She can do seemingly little but very important things like encourage you when you doubt yourself and remind you of your strength. She can massage your shoulders, provide helpful back or pelvic pressure, give you a warm or cool washcloth where you need it; she can remind you and your partner to eat, drink, rest, take a walk, get into the bath or shower, and also help you get into positions that can ease labor.  

An experienced doula will know what mothering and labor support to give you. Your doula can crack open a window for you when it gets too hot, hold your hand, breathe with you when you need to relax and ground yourself, as well as vocalize with you according to your natural sounds - this helps reinforce your own coping rituals.

Photo by @senhoritasfotografia.

Photo by @senhoritasfotografia.

A doula is a huge asset to you!

While a doula is not hired in order to replace a partner—not at all!—she is there to bring comfort to nerves, doubts, and fears. These feelings have no place in a delivery room and a doula can help keep everyone calm and provide a sense of normalcy, compassionate support and love to every intimidating step of the process.

A wonderful doula knows when to step in, and when to give you and your partner privacy and encourage slow dancing and love making.

A doula doesn’t make decisions for a mother and her partner. While she may suggest certain circumstances or ideas based off of what she knows of the parents and their goals, her only objective is to coach a mother through what the mother has already decided she wants for her childbirth.

A doula can, on the other hand, advocate for a mother, making sure that the new parents’ goals are respected and met even while the mom might be in labor and unable to advocate for herself. She can help a mom prenatally find resources to make informed decisions and formulate her birth preferences.

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A doula’s duties don’t stop after delivery! Postpartum doulas can help to manage house while the new mother gets some oh-so-sorely-needed rest.

A doula can run errands, keep the home tidy and neat, even look after any other young ones a momma might have. Also, most postpartum doulas are well trained in the care of newborn babies and can assist with breastfeeding and the like.

A doula is there to provide you with resources and recommendations, support and a voice, and, most essentially, the tender loving care  and nurturing that a new mom needs.

The Benefits of Having a Doula

It’s very easy for us to overlook and take for granted the extensive amount of benefits there are in receiving something as simple as help or support. While receiving that help and support merely sounds nice, there is actually an impressive amount of scientific research that supports the real and profound benefits of having a doula.

There’s a great amount of emotional and mental advantages to having a doula, namely a mother’s self-confidence and –esteem. Her ability to cope well with a natural birth as well as to maintain positive feelings surrounding the pregnancy is greatly increased.

There is also, however, significant benefits that have to do with the actual physical health of the mother and baby! It is, indeed, no surprise that emotional and mental health are directly tied to physical health.

Having a doula has proven to promote shorter and easier labors, an easier time adapting to motherhood with enhanced skills as well as less postpartum depression which is huge!

The support of a doula can actually decrease the need for invasive interventions like cesarean, medications, or using forceps and the like for delivery. Babies are also reported to be in much healthier states, have increased breastfeeding success, with less rates of intensive care when the mother has had a doula.

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I, myself, always recommend moms have a doula or doula-like support person, and my rate of women needing to be transferred to a hospital is as little as 7%. And, unfortunately, these are usually first-time moms who decide to not have a doula.

Some of the most successful people and top athletes in the world have not just one but multiple coaches for every aspect of their lives. It only makes sense to have a personal coach— fully focused on you, your needs, your desires, your capabilities, your potential, and your goals—for such a truly significant event as birth.

Related article: It Takes a Village Birth Story - A Doula that Made a Difference

 

How Do You Become a Doula?

With providing profound experiences being in the very job description of a doula, becoming one is more of a calling than it is a “job.” And, more and more women are choosing to have a doula to help them through their perinatal period.

Pragmatically speaking, becoming a doula requires certification which is accomplished by completing a short training course, but ongoing continuing education is not only customary but encouraged. Many doulas take my Love Your Birth online course for their certification, as it helps them better help the women they serve.

There are many different programs and organizations to choose from actually.

A quick search can have you in touch with organizations in your local area but also around the world! If becoming a doula is your passion, here are some excellent training programs with different flavors - see what feels right for you.

CAPPA, for example, is known as “one of the first and most comprehensive perinatal organizations in the world.”

DONA International, on the other hand, has a training program “known as the world’s best.”

The Matrona  is a wonderful training program known for its holistic approach.

Prodoula  is a training program for the modern women interested in elevating the professionalism of the career.

What you may notice in many doula training programs, if not all, is the warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages you to learn and to train at your own pace.

Many programs allow you to get right into the thick of things, with having you attend multiple labors so that you can immediately decide for yourself whether this is truly the calling for you. Quite a number of programs also allow a type of self-study in which you can complete the full program at your own pace. Most doula training can be completed in a weekend.

Photo by Judith Halek

Photo by Judith Halek

Some doulas make a full-time career out of this passion of theirs while others can take it more slowly if they wish and work more part-time.

Related article: Why You (Yes, YOU) Should Become a Doula

Doulas can create the most harmonious and profound birthing experiences for a mother, especially for those births that are natural.

A doula can really keep you in touch with the powerful realization that you’re bringing life into the world. Some doulas lead deeply spiritual experiences like mother blessing ceremonies, and foster community by leading a variety of support groups.  Doulas tend to bring a variety of other modalities to you, depending on their additional training, from placenta encapsulation, to massage therapy, reiki, and essential oils. Some get certified in lactation counseling and support, childbirth education, teaching safe baby wearing, prenatal and postpartum yoga. Many bring labor support tools like the birth ball, a Rebozzo, and portable birth tub.

Physical and mental benefits aside,  a doula can create the kind of environment that shelters and protects a mother who is stronger and more capable than she realizes as well as sensitive and vulnerable during this special time, so that the mother can, in turn, concentrate on having one of the most empowering experiences ever.

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Taking an honest look at the possibility of a natural childbirth? Visit my Love Your Birth course webpage to take the self-assessment today. And, let me help you put all of the odds in your favor!

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Image by Megan Hancock Photography

Image by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Guide You To Create The Happiest Healthiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, planning a VBAC

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are intending to birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams, ROCK your birth.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are. And avoid the common complications - including birth trauma, prevalent in today's modern world from the cascade of routine interventions. You have a choice and you have a voice. 

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Birth Story: Beautiful Homebirth, Awesome Midwifery Care, Happy Mama...and the Little Doula in NZ

The birth of Alexander Eric 9th August 2017

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I am finally getting round to putting my birth story on paper, nearly ten weeks later! I have been meaning to of course since the first week that Alex was born, but you know how it is, too much effort and thought having to go into it! But I have thought enough is enough let’s get it done, as I’m looking through the labour and birth photos and think they are amazing and I am amazing that I finally got my home birth/water birth yay!

On Tuesday morning, the 8th August I woke up feeling rather sorry for myself after another sleepless night from pain in my pelvis, heart burn-you name it,  but also because I was feeling uncomfortable in my belly that was different from the tightenings that I had been having since the second trimester! We had planned to go out to Rangiora and visit my mum and hang with her as it was Tuesday café day but I said to my daughter Lily-Rose, who is seven and is homeschooled, that lets just stay in bed today and not go anywhere! But I thought if this was early labour starting then the last thing I wanted was to be at home waiting around for something to happen, much better to keep busy; so off we went and over the course of the day I complained to my mum that my tummy was starting to get a few niggles of something, and we had a laugh that I would probably go into labour that night because of all the washing I had drying inside due to the miserable Christchurch weather, and not having a dryer! Or a washing machine!! (as we were still waiting for some of our things to arrive from Australia after moving back home in June to be closer to family while we have this baby). Anyway, nothing much happened over the day but by the time we got home and having dinner I was starting to get irritated with my tightenings which were still spaced apart. I couldn’t even concentrate to watch Game of Thrones with the hubby that night because one- I had to reply to an important email about my exemption to homeschool and they wanted further information which if I didn’t do at that time then I may not ever get it done; and secondly because the tightenings were starting to get more uncomfortable, where I had to start focusing on my breath. I didn’t really say to the hubby and daughter that this was it because it was still early days; and also I knew that my daughter would want to stay up with me as we had been talking about labour and birth for what seemed like forever, watched all the water births on you tube, and had been preparing for the birth together by making the birth mat, and getting the pool ready that week (yes I took a while to get organized because I didn’t feel ready-I definitely wasn’t like with my first when I was ready emotionally long before then!!).

Eventually I went to bed as I was so tired, and I started to listen to my Hypnobirthing Australia affirmations and Surge of the Sea track with my ear phones, but lying down trying to sleep wasn’t going to happen so I went out to the lounge where time rushed by and things started to get more intense. I lay down on my side as much as I could and breathed through the tightenings, listening to the hypnobirthing tracks still. I ended up using the gym ball and hot water bottle to help get me through it, and eventually I felt like I wanted to get into the pool but I didn’t want to get in too early like I did with my first, as was thinking this labour may be long and drawn out like hers was! I texted my midwife sometime after 3am on the Wednesday morning asking her if I should hop into the pool as I was worried that I would get in too early. She then texted back asking me if I was in labour and how far apart the surges were- I replied that yes I am in labour and I hadn’t been keeping track of the tightenings but probably 3-4 in a ten minute period. She then replied that she was coming over.

I didn’t want her coming all this way and be in early labour so I said to check me when she got here and if not far along then to go home again. Not that I was being unwelcoming, only that I didn’t want everyone here if it was going to be long and drawn out (thinking it would be like Lily-Rose’s birth). Molly my midwife arrived at 4am, and noted that I was in labour and that I didn’t need to be examined as I was going to have this baby at some stage, and encouraged hubby Clay to fill the pool up. I still insisted on an internal and I was 9cm!!!!! I caught on to her feelings of panic? Maybe it was fluster? Anyway it was then that I thought holy moley I really am having a baby, and texted my mum, student midwife Catherine and birth photographer Sharon that it was time to come over. Molly had already rang her back up midwife, and Sharon by the time I came back out to the lounge where the pool was filling thanks to hubby.

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I decided to stay out in lounge but I only had my affirmations on in one ear, once back up midwife Tamara arrived at nearly half four I was starting to feel like I was getting out of my “zone”. I hopped into the pool but was unable to really hear my birth tracks via the laptop, as I didn’t want my phone to accidentally fall into the pool! By the time 5am arrived, everyone was here that needed to be here. Baby’s heart rate increased to 170 while I was in the pool because it was super hot and I was super hot so it was time to hop out for a bit, I stayed in the lounge and we rang my sister via messenger video and she supported me this way for a bit but I felt like everything had stalled even though I was still getting regular and intense tightenings, there was so much pressure and I begged Molly to break my waters, (as a midwife myself I would recommend avoiding interventions but I was desperate and knew that if this happened then I might have a baby sooner!!!). She declined to do this! I hid out in my room for a bit and it was then that I should have started getting in my zone again listening to my affirmations but for some reason I thought that would be anti-social (note to self-don’t worry about pleasing anyone when your in labour!!) so I didn’t end up really listening to them again, which was silly as it was that which helped me get to 9cm in the first place! I requested Molly to do another internal at about 6am because come on yes I was getting impatient, it had been two hours since I was 9cm and where was this baby?! I still had a bit of cervix in the way and that it would go, Molly reassured me that all was ok and to carry on! Carry on! By this stage I said to my mum, I am going to hospital if something doesn’t happen soon! I guess you could say I had had enough!! By 7am I had convinced Molly to break my waters, which she did thank goodness as I was ready for that epidural! She pushed the bit of cervix out of the way with the next contraction and I felt baby move down which is when I started to feel like I was losing control, and started freaking out! And making a lot of noise, which worried my daughter! Molly convinced me to hop back into the pool but I was feeling like I didn’t want to move really at all! But thankfully she convinced me and it was amazing enveloped by such warmth, but pity I was having shooting sciatica-type pains down my thighs each tightening which was not ideal! I was on my knees using the side of the pool and hubby’s hand to get me through each tightening. My sister Agatha in Australia was called again at this time and the phone set up next to the pool, her voice helped ground me and she talked me through it as I started to bear baby down (she’s done this eight times so I knew she completely understood the feelings of panic that I was having!). With my first I didn’t get to experience what pushing a baby out felt like due to a spinal and an assisted birth, so what a shock it was when I felt baby’s head moving down, I was trying to breathe through and be nice and quiet but I didn’t care anymore and why was this baby taking so long to come out!!! Once I focused on moving baby down with my breath and bearing down (as taught in the Hypnobubs online Hypnobirthing Australia course), then it wasn’t long until crowning and oh my goodness now I know what that feels like I will never forget it!!! Once baby’s head had been out for a few minutes Molly said it was time to push the body out but I couldn’t and I told her it was stuck! Once she got right inside and unhooked his shoulder from under my pubic bone, I had a surge of adrenaline shoot through me as I realized that this was shoulder dystocia and was potentially life threatening situation for my baby. My calm and experienced midwife got baby out and I rolled over to sit in the water and there I saw my baby, mum had voiced out that it was a boy! A boy! But at that point I was super relieved that he was out, that he was crying and it was all over!!! Born at 8.03 am, four hours after being 9cm!!!

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Molly knew about my previous postpartum hemorrhage so I didn’t stay in the pool for too long, and I was helped out, pushed the placenta out but with lots of clots and walked over to the couch (the joys of being at home!), where my bleeding was monitored, but ended up agreeing that I needed to have oxytocin needle into my thigh to control my moderate bleeding. Cord was cut by his daddy, and me and my baby boy Alexander (named after my dad) had skin to skin, then the first breastfeed where he latched like a gem 30 minutes after birth. I ended up having a 2nd degree tear that Molly sutured, yes I didn’t have to go anywhere but just stay in my lounge! Had a cup of my Artemis Pregnancy tea which is good for postnatal as well, and munched on an apple, I was happy it was all over and that I got to stay in my house with everyone around me. Thankful for my mum and sister that were there, my hubby of course, my wonderful birth photographer Sharon from Bloom Photography NZ, my midwife Molly for being so chilled, and Tamara and Catherine. And especially to my darling daughter who kept me hydrated with water, and who said to anyone and everyone afterwards about how much noise I made and that I owed her $2.50 for the swearing I used (20cents per swear word apparently!).

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I am so grateful that I got the home birth I wanted, it’s only now that I look back and realize how amazing I am and how the whole experience was amazing, even though immediately after I wished I’d had the nice quiet quick serene birth that I was anticipating! I felt as though I had failed somewhat, but I didn’t and I have these amazing photos (recommend to have a birth photographer, especially one as amazing and caring as Sharon!) that I just look at and think wow, this was the most challenging and intense thing I have ever done in my life but I did it! When I look back and wonder why labour stalled for so long I believe it was because I allowed myself to get out of my zone and I freaked out, and if I would change anything it would be to keep my ear phones on, stay calm and grounded, and continue my hypnobirthing affirmations. Looking at the past 9 weeks it’s what comes after the birth that’s just as challenging, but that is another story in itself! I am coming out the other end now of newborn life and I am just in love with my boy, and my daughter and I often stare at him and ask ourselves how did I manage to push this beautiful baby out, and now that’s she has recovered from it all is asking me if we will have another so she can properly watch the birth this time as she knows what to expect! x

With thanks,

Melanie S. @melanie_rose_sutton  

 

ALL Photos by

Bloom Photography NZ

https://www.facebook.com/bloomphotographyNZ/posts/1475498022496781

@bloomphotographynz

 

Copy of Copy of Love Your Birth.png

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

It’s wonderful alone, a great refresher or adjunct to any other course!

“Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing.
Yours in the truth

— Kelly Brogan, MD

How to Plan, Have, and Rock Your VBAC

Photo by @senhoritasfotografia

Photo by @senhoritasfotografia

How to Plan, Have, and Rock Your VBAC

Didn’t think you could have a successful VBAC or vaginal birth after Cesarean? Keep reading to discover what’s possible for you.

If you’re a momma who has previously undergone a C-section birth, I want you to know that having a vaginal birth in the future is totally possible.

VBACs are more attainable and beneficial than you might think. While C-sections are absolutely appropriate in life-threatening situations, they do not (and, should not) have to become a routine.

There are some practical steps you can take to not only determine if VBAC is right for you, but also prepare for having a deeply positive vaginal birth experience that will have you feeling empowered in your own capabilities.

Hopefully, these practical tips give you the confidence to know that you too can have a wonderful VBAC.

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How to Research When Planning a Successful VBAC

Why do You Want Your VBAC?

The first step, in any major decision, really, is to know and believe that you have a voice.

Take full responsibility for your pregnancy, and do not surrender it to others, especially to your health care provider and the hospital.

Don’t simply assume that a doctor or midwife knows what’s best for you. Only you can truly understand what you’re feeling and experiencing physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Don’t skip this first step or even take it lightly. It’s the most important step and sets up the foundation for the rest of your VBAC journey.

So, how do you get started with your foundation? Ask yourself this simple (albeit, difficult) question, “What do I want, and why?”

This is your opportunity to educate and empower yourself.

The more you know, the more likely you are to make better decisions. The more you know about yourself, the more likely you are to make more harmonious decisions that coincide with who you are.

This is feeding your soul, your deepest truth!

Know the Real Pros and Cons of Both a VBAC and a Cesarean Section

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The next step includes understanding the nature of both VBACs and C-section birth. Then, you should probably tackle their pros and cons.

A Cesarean section (or C-section) is a major abdominal operation in which the baby is delivered through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus while under anesthesia.

This is usually an epidural or spinal anesthesia, inserted via a needle and catheter into the space around your spinal cord, which attempts to numb you from the waist down. General anesthesia is medication given so you are completely out. Depending on the situation, you may be given such a high dose, you will need a tube inserted into your airway so that a machine can breath for you. It is is more often the method of choice in severe emergencies where time is of the essence.

While being a life-saving surgery, C-sections are meant to only be performed in cases of serious complications and emergency in which the mother and/or baby are in real danger.

Another advantage of repeat cesarean is that, if planned, it can take less of an emotional toll for some moms. A mom, for example, who’s very anxious about a past emergency or planned vaginal birth that did not work out, is extremely afraid of vaginal birth, or has a history of unresolved sexual abuse trauma can feel reassured by her perceived sense of predictability and controlled surgical procedure in having a C-section.

The trouble with C-sections is that they are, nowadays, becoming more and more commonplace, putting moms and babies at a significantly increased risk of poor physical and psychological health.

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In fact, the USA is ranked among the highest in the world for cesarean sections at 30% and counting. In my area, some hospitals have a 40-50% C-section rate.

This is a lot considering the fact that C-sections are supposed to be rare! It is unacceptable, malpractice, and explains our country’s horrid outcome stats. We rank near the bottom as compared to other developed countries in terms of mothers and babies becoming seriously ill or dying during or soon after childbirth.

We have soaring rates of birth trauma for both mother and baby, which significantly impacts their lives in the short and long term. My cesarean section rate is 5% which is comparable to most homebirth midwives, within the ideal range of percentage rates of performed Cesareans.

Here’s the scary long list of risks that come with having a cesarean section: injuries to other organs during surgery, bowel obstruction, infection, hemorrhaging, having an emergency hysterectomy, blood clots, stroke, and maternal death.

You also run the risk of having pain if the anesthetic doesn’t work completely.

There’s prolonged, more intense pain postpartum, a longer hospital stay, readmission to the hospital, an upsetting or emotionally traumatic birth experience, less early contact and connection with the baby, depression and mental health problems, low self-esteem, relationship issues, difficulty functioning and doing usual daily activities postpartum, chronic pelvic pain from scar tissue, problems with and discontinuing breastfeeding - along with the associated risks to mom and baby of not breastfeeding.

There can be accidental cuts to the baby during the surgery,  lung and breathing problems, including asthma for the baby. There could be future reproductive health problems like reduced fertility, infertility, negative feelings about childbirth and having another baby, higher risk for life-threatening complications in future pregnancies, including placenta previa, accreta or abruption, ectopic pregnancy, mild separation to frank rupture of previous uterine scar, fetal malformation or central nervous system injury, stillbirth and newborn death. The baby could also be born prematurely or with a low birth weight.

(Whoo!)

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VBAC, or vaginal birth after Cesarean, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like. Having had a C-section in the past doesn’t mean that you’re required to have C-sections for every subsequent birth.

In fact, when all is well and healthy, the benefits of having a VBAC are quite numerous and significant. The risks of repeat cesarean birth far outweigh the risks of VBAC.

First of all, avoiding major surgery is a crucial health benefit in and of itself - it avoids all of the above-mentioned risks of cesarean. Almost all other surgeries that were once major are now done laparoscopically with much smaller incisions to minimize risk.

Also, you significantly increase the chances of having a more positive birth and postpartum experience. Healing and recovery are much easier, and there are fewer chances of enduring postpartum depression and emotional birth trauma. There are shorter hospital stays, fewer readmissions, and the increased opportunity for earlier and more prolonged contact and bonding with your baby. There’s more likely to be success with breastfeeding, especially after a natural birth.

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But, as with everything, there are risks with a VBAC. The main risk of concern is the partial or complete separation of your previous surgery’s scar that may or may not have any impact on you or your baby. The numbers are about 2 in every 1,000 VBACs, but this risk doesn’t have any effect on the health of the mother or baby, as it refers to partial or slight disruption of the prior incision without clinical significance.

A significant uterine rupture which would, in this case, be a life-threatening risk is actually even less likely to happen. These numbers are less than 1%.

There are also risks of some vaginal pain or tearing that takes a few weeks or few months to fully heal (a much shorter time than it takes for for the cesarean wound to heal), a slight increase in urinary and rarely anal incontinence, and birth injury to baby from the uncommon complication of shoulder dystocia.

As a midwife, I fully support a momma’s choice to have a VBAC. But, there are many important reasons why you could find yourself in a condition to have either a scheduled or an unplanned repeat C-section birth.

For example, your baby may be in a transverse position (lying in the uterus across your abdomen), or you may be nearing your term and have placenta previa - especially if the placenta is completely or partially covering your cervix. Read up on these situations to further understand what truly are indications for undergoing a C-section.

Once you’ve learned and weighed the pros and cons of both a VBAC and a C-section, complement your research with the knowledge and experience of your trusted doctor and/or midwife.

Find the Right Health Provider for You

After you’ve gathered your information and have made a few decisions as to what you’d like to do, it’s time to find the provider that will work with you toward your vision of a successful vaginal birth.

Ask various providers their VBAC rates as compared to their repeat Cesarean rates. This is important—look for, of course, the providers with whom their VBAC rates are higher than the repeat C-sections. They should not have a VBAC rate lower than 70-80%, if you want to maximize your chances of vaginal birth.

If you’re planning on having the birth of your baby in a hospital, then you can equally research your local hospitals and get their VBAC rates as well, gauging in the same way.

It is worth mentioning that a natural birth gives you your highest chances of having a successful vaginal birth after Cesarean. Just know that while many wonderful obstetricians have high rates of VBAC, they are highly skilled surgeons who specialize in higher risk complications.

They can look for them, diagnose and treat them medically and/or surgically. Going to a surgeon and having a natural vaginal birth may be extremely challenging in many cases.

Most midwives whether they practice in or outside of hospitals have some of the best VBAC to repeat C-section ratios. You might have to dig a little deeper in your research, however, to find midwives who practice in-hospital. Sometimes, their hands are tied by limiting obstetrical or hospital policies and malpractice insurance companies. But they still tend to have higher VBAC rates than most OB/GYNs.

Related article: Can All Women Have a Homebirth?

Prepare to Rock Your VBAC

Photo by midwife @lindseymeehleis after her VBAC

Photo by midwife @lindseymeehleis after her VBAC

How to Deal with Emotional Trauma From Previous Cesarean

Now, that you’ve done your research and you’ve decided that you’re going to have a VBAC, it’s time to prepare yourself, mind, body, and spirit.

This is particularly important if you’ve previously had a traumatic experience with a C-section birth.

There are actually therapists whose specialty is to help women overcome the trauma of the last upsetting unplanned cesarean birth.

That is what I do for the women in my local practice and online via Skype or Zoom for the global community. I work with you not only to heal, but also help you to approach your next childbirth experience with positivity, confidence and joy. Also, that is a main focus of my comprehensive online course, Love Your Birth, in addition to helping you achieve optimal health of the mind, the heart, the body, and spirit along the entire journey from pregnancy to birth and mamahood.

I have personally found the most effective form of trauma healing to be: Clarity Breathwork - it is so much more powerful than most any other modality, including medication and talk therapy alone. I tried just about anything, and nothing worked. I had such profound healing using Clarity Breathwork, I became a practitioner who provides private and group Clarity Breathwork sessions and assists at larger workshops, to help others experience the huge healing and transformation I did and witnessed in so many others. Additional incredibly effective methods of trauma healing include Somatic Experience and Organic Intelligence.

My goal is to create for you the springboard you need to heal fully, then create for yourself the deeply connected, positive, and empowering experience that childbirth truly can be.

Your VBAC Community

Another very important component to preparing for your VBAC is to gather around you a community of women who are on the same wavelength as you in terms of mindset and experience.

It is actually easier than you think to find women who’ve gone through what you’re going through, given the high rates of cesarean birth in our country.

Do a bit of research on ICAN, a nonprofit organization whose goal it is to educate and support women through their Cesarean recovery. They also seek to support families in their communities advocating for vaginal births after Cesareans.

This is a time to work closely with your midwife or obstetrician on bringing to life the successful birth you’ve envisioned for yourself.

Make your needs and goals very clear (your midwife or I can even help you to hone in on what those needs and goals might be), so that all you have to focus on is delivering your baby when the time comes.

Surround Yourself with Positivity and Joy

Lastly, be on the lookout for positive VBAC stories of healing, beauty, and empowerment to encourage you. We always seem to envision these horrific and traumatic scenes when it comes to birth.

Fill your mind with positive birth stories, and what’s possible for you instead of what you fear might happen.

I have collected my favorite resources for mamas in a free Ebook. It contains 154 of the best supplies, books and movies I use personally and professionally with my clients, family, and friends. Even diving into a fraction of this list will have you feeling empowered and prepared for conception, pregnancy, postpartum and parenting!

Draw, journal, meditate, visualize, play sensual music and let yourself freestyle dance to it—these things help you to heighten and easily tap into the intuitive, feminine self. This is your heart and gut, your truth, your wisdom, the part of you that knows what you most deeply desire and the part of you that knows exactly how to give birth.

With easier access to this huge part of your being, you will more easily determine what it is that you want and need. This creates more confidence and assuredness in the decisions that you make, no matter what the rest of the world might be telling you.

Now that you know where to begin, take responsibility for your pregnancy and childbirth. This is the most empowering thing you can do for you and your baby. It is also the healthiest, and will bring you a deep sense of inner peace and joy.

You’ll find that there are actually many resources and communities that can help you to have the kind of birth that you envision for yourself.

Know what you want and why you want it. Find healthcare providers as well as other women who support you in your decisions and who can help you on your journey. Hire a doula and learn why this is so important especially if you are planning a VBAC and you do not have that kind of calm mothering support for the big day.

A woman’s childbirth is her own and she should have the freedom to experience the full power of what she is capable of.

A glowing vaginal birth after Cesarean is possible for every momma.

 

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Photo by Megan Hancock Photography Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life... Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, planning a VBAC Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas.. Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class… You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams. And have a blissful birth wherever you are. More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration! Let me show you how to… Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process! To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course! It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy.  It’s wonderful alone, a great refresher or adjunct to any other course! “Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing. Yours in the truth — Kelly Brogan, MD

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, planning a VBAC

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor

Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby

Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy

Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly

Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum

Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

It’s wonderful alone, a great refresher or adjunct to any other course!

“Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing.
Yours in the truth

— Kelly Brogan, MD