Choices in Childbirth
Childbirth Educator, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Birth Activist
BIRTH DOULA CLIENT RESPONSIBILITIES
by Victoria Macioce-Stumpf
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF
Try to stay as well-rested as you possibly can. In the final month of pregnancy, it becomes difficult to sleep soundly through the night. Try to get a nap every day if possible for at least 1-2 hours. Being well-rested when you go into labor is one of the most important things you can do for yourself when it comes to coping with the physical demands of labor. Since you don't know when your labor will begin, staying well-rested in the final weeks is extremely important, as you may not be able to sleep much once your labor starts.
Continue to eat as nutritiously as possible. In the final weeks, eating plenty of whole-grains, pastas and other carbohydrates helps your body store glucose, which can give you more energy and stamina during labor.
Prepare your muscles for labor by stretching your body with squatting, tailor sitting (pictured below) and leg stretches on a daily basis. If you plan on utilizing a physical therapy ball during labor for potential back-pain relief, practice sitting on it and leaning over it throughout your pregnancy so that you are comfortable on it.
Prepare your perineum for birth by doing extended Kegel exercises at least ten times each day. A Kegel exercise is the smooth contraction and release of the pelvic floor muscles.
HOW TO DO IT: Contract the vaginal muscles just as you would to stop the flow of urine. Hold the contraction for a minimum of 60 seconds. As you feel the contraction beginning to slip, tighten up again until the 60 seconds has passed. It is the combination of the long and short flicks of strength that tone these muscles the quickest. Do this approximately ten times per day.
Help the baby position itself well by hands and knees Pelvic Rocking for approximately 10-15 minutes each day in the final weeks of pregnancy.
Read and utilize the principles of "Optimal Foetal Positioning" by Spinning Babies.
PLAN YOUR BABY’S BIRTH
Read about all of your options for childbirth.
Create a birth plan and return it to your doula. If you have any questions or concerns, talk them over with your midwife or doctor, as well as your doula.
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR DOULA ON A REGULAR BASIS
Final 4-6 weeks of pregnancy: Call your doula every week after your doctor or midwife appointment to update her as to how you are feeling, how your pregnancy is progressing, etc..
Final two weeks of pregnancy: If you experience pre-labor symptoms of any kind, call your doula to keep her updated. Pre-labor symptoms may include: backache, loose bowel movements, intermittent or continuous cramping, bouts of Braxton-Hicks contractions, and the loss of your mucous plug.
Call or email every few days or as often as you like to keep your doula informed. Keep your doula's phone numbers (home, cell or pager) both at your home, and in your purse so that you will have them handy when the big day arrives!
ONCE LABOR BEGINS...
Call your doula right away....even if you are not sure it is "true labor". This will give her a chance to ask you questions, offer you some labor comfort strategies, help you figure out what your next step might be and make herself available to you if you desire her assistance right away.
© Copyright, 2016, Victoria Macioce-Stumpf.
Permission granted to freely reproduce with attribution.