Now I would love to say that there is one of those big red staples EASY buttons lying around somewhere that you could push and have an easy, short labor but unfortunately those do not exist. It is normal to have fears about the birthing process and wonder what can be done to make it easier and shorter. Here is a list of tips you can do to help have an easier and shorter labor. (And if you live in the Chicagoland area just scroll to the bottom of the page to check out what Rising Phoenix Birth Services can do for you)
1. Educate Yourself on What to Expect
There are all different kinds of classes from Hypnobirthing to Birthing From Within. You can choose from group classes or private classes. Some classes may include breastfeeding and even newborn care. The core of most classes stays consistent though, they will all teach you what to expect during labor, how to manage your physical sensations and address your feelings (fear, goals, ect). Find a class that fits you and your partners style and needs.
2. Face Your Fears
This may be easier said than done sometimes, though education about the process of childbirth may help more than you think. Studies show that there is a direct link to stress hormones and an increase in slow labors. It might be helpful to pin point what it is that makes you fearful (pain, not wanting your partner to see your lady bits, not wanting a c-section, etc) and trying to work out how you can address those fears (pain management, hiring a doula, making sure your partner stay above your waist). Being in a good frame of mind can make a huge difference.
3. Stay Fit During Pregnancy
It can be a difficult task to make sure to get your exercise in when you are pregnant but it is extremely important; especially if you aiming at an easier, shorter birth. Women who stay active during pregnancy tend to have shorter labor than those who do not. Most activities you did on a regular basis before pregnancy you will be able to continue during your pregnancy such as jogging or yoga. It is recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. Fitness improves endurance thus leading to being better able to tolerate labor. Great options are walking, swimming, and yoga.
4. Hire a Doula
As popular as these professionals are I still hear "What is a doula?" all the time. A doula is a professional that is trained in supporting women and their families during pregnancy, labor, and the early postpartum period. They are not a replacement for your partner but aid in enhancing the experience for both of you. Studies have shown that having a doula at your birth can shorten your labor time, decrease your chances of having a c-section, and increase your overall satisfaction with your birth. Click here to learn more about what a doula is and how they can benefit you. I have heard from so many women and dad too that say they wish they knew what a doula was before their birth because they would have hired one .
5. Get Baby in the Right Position
Baby has quiet the journey from womb to being on the outside. Having baby in the right position can aid in an easier and shorter labor. Babies who are aligned with the birth canal and are head down tend to go more smoothly than any other position. Sitting on a birthing ball instead of a chair and the exercise cat/cow are a few things that may put baby or keep baby in a good position. Here is a great site that has tips on getting baby into position. If you know you have a breach baby check out Spinning Babies.
6. Avoid Induction Unless Medically Necessary
Induction of labor may be need for a number of reasons medically but if there is no medical need than induction should be avoided. Artificial labor induction is linked to longer labors, higher use of pain medications, and an increase in interventions including c-section. Be sure that you are informed and educated about your options and risks. Have a system in place to help you handle those risks such as hiring a doula. If your care provider suggest an induction be sure to ask questions and know what risks are involved.
7. Stay at Home as Long as You Can
It is all too common for women to head straight into their place of delivery too soon. This often results in being confined to your place of delivery with care providers attempting to speed up your labor. These ‘speeding up techniques’ often time make labor harder and increase your risk of interventions. You will be more comfortable in your home. You will be in an environment for optimal hormone release. This kind of environment requires you to feel safe and relaxed. Sometimes the move from home to the place of delivery can disrupt these conditions and in turn disrupt the flow of hormones that cause contraction, ease discomfort, and aid in the progress of delivery. It is recommended to stay home until your contractions are about three to five minutes apart. Staying at home could be your key to having a shorter labor. (Plus your doula can come and be with you as soon as you need her while a care provider may only be with you a short time right when they baby is coming out)
8. Move and Change Positions
9. Don't Push Lying Down
It is not a coincidence that all the ancient literature depicts women in upright positions during childbirth. The typical lying down position tends to slow labor down as your baby tries to fight gravity and the limited pelvic space this position provides. Squatting, standing, use of a birth stool, hands and knees, and the semi-reclined position all allow gravity to aid in labor. Squatting and hand and knees also widen the pelvis giving baby more room. These positions can shorten labor by giving baby more room, allowing baby less distance to travel, and letting gravity help your baby out rather than making baby work against it.
10. Get in The Water
Water is known as nature’s epidural. Tense muscles can make it harder to cope with labor. Taking a shower can counteract this and act as a massaging tool. Submersion in water also gives relief and aids in relaxation. Depending on your delivery location you may be able to labor and birth in a birthing tub. I know that I will never another baby outside of a birthing tub if I can help it. I have had two non-medicate childbirths in birthing tubs and I couldn’t imagine ever having to give birth without one.
Hope our tips may be able to help you get a shorter easier labor. And again if you are local come check out what Rising Phoenix Birth Services can do for you and your birth.
For some of you, you clicked on this blog because you want to know more about a doula and how they can help you while others may not even know what a doula is. A doula is a labor support professional that assists women informationally, physically, and emotionally during pregnancy, birth, and the early postpartum. Support during the childbearing year is extremely important and can make a big difference on what kind of experience you have. This is true whether this is your first or fifth pregnancy, whether you are delivering at home or in a hospital, and whether you are hoping for a natural, unmedicated birth or have a planned c-section. Having a professional to help guide you through, answer your questions, and help you achieve the kind of birth you desire are what birth doulas are all about. While these are not every benefit a doula has to offer, these are our top ten reasons to hire a birth doula:
3. Doulas Decrease the Risk of Unwanted InterventionsWhether you are trying for a unmedicated birth or would just like to try avoid a c-section a doula can help. Studies have shown that having a doula present at your birth decreases the use of pain medications, risk of c-section, and use of assisted delivery (forceps, vacuum extractor).
4. Doulas Give You One on One Continuous Support
No matter what time you go into labor your doula will be there. Many people believe that they will be able to get support from their care provider but most of the time your care provider will have other patients, will be in and out of your room, and will not be there in the early stages of labor but your doula will be there from the beginning and won’t leave till a few hours after the baby is born. Your doula is there just for you and your partner. They can come to your home in the early stages of labor and will know when it is time to leave if you are traveling to the hospital.
5. Doulas also Help your Partner
A doula is also a great support for your partner. While no one could ever replace your partner a doula can assist your partner in assisting you and assist your partner when they are in need. They can provide your partner with a break for a nap, snack, or run to the restroom while giving them the peace of mind that someone who has their best interests will be with mom during labor the entire time. Doulas help partners to provide different types of labor support to mom when she is in labor and can ease a partner’s anxiety by being able to answer questions, provide advice, and bring suggestions on what the partner can do to help their loved one in labor. If you are needing someone to give you counter support and help you focus on breathing your partner and doula can work as a team to provide you with both rather than having to sacrifice one for the other.
6. Doulas Advocate for You
Doulas do their best to advocate for you when you are in labor. They know the things you have said you want and you do not want in order to make your birth the way you want it. They want to keep you safe and make sure you are getting care that is evidence based.
7. Doulas are Professionals who are Trained in Birth
Why not have an expert on your side while your navigate through pregnancy and birth? Doulas have been trained in pregnancy, birth, and the early postpartum period. They have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips and they want to share it with you. They are there to help provide you with information that helps you decide what kind of birth is right for you. In the weeks and months prior to your birth a doula can provide knowledge of how you can prepare for your birth and information to help you through your pregnancy.
8. Doulas have Experience in Birth
This is not a doulas first rodeo so to speak. She has experience attending births. She knows how physically and emotional demanding birth can be and she is there to comfort and encourage you and your partner when you need it the most.
9. Doulas help with Postpartum and Breastfeeding
Most of the movies and show cuts it short after the baby comes but there is a lot more to do after the baby makes their appearance into the world. A doula does not leave right after the baby is born. They stay and offer assistance with breastfeeding if wanted or with postpartum care. Women who have a doula assist with breastfeeding have a higher success rate than those who do not.
10. Doulas have a Positive Impact on Your Birth Experience
Studies have shown that having a doula present at your birth contributes to the overall childbirth satisfaction rates of women. Having a doula gives women more confidence and helps them feel empowered by their birth.
For more information on what Doulas Do and what they do Not Do check click here.
And as an added bonus Doulas LOVE what they do :)
We just took our first family vacation. Our party included my husband, myself, my mother, a family friend, and our three daughters: age 7, 3, and 6 weeks. Six weeks??? Yes six weeks. I got plenty of interesting looks and comments when I said how old she was during our stay. We spent a week at Disney World and we were so sad to have to leave at the end of the week. This was our amazing experience.
I had never been to Disney World before though my husband had gone many times as a kid. I always thought it would be so cool to be at a Disney Park at Halloween. It also happen to be our anniversary, so spur of the moment a few months before Halloween we decided that we were going to go for our first family vacation together. Only hiccup was that I was pregnant and the newest member of our family would only be 4-8 weeks old at the time we were going to travel. We decided to go anyway and we do not regret it at all.
We live in Joliet Illinois. This is only an 18 hour drive from Orlando, so we decided to save some cash and drive instead of fly. This also gave us the convenience of having our own vehicle while we were there so we didn’t have to deal with shuttles or taxis. We made great time even with stopping every 2-4 hours so I could feed the baby. We didn’t leave much time in our schedule to lolly-gag on our drive. My husband is going to school at Northwestern and we were able to fit the trip in so he only missed one week of classes. We left Thursday morning and arrived on Friday in the late afternoon. We took the first night for ourselves.
We would have love to stay in the park but since our trip was kind of spur of the moment they did not have any availability in our vacation rentals. We found a place just outside the parks called the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas.
Since we went through our vacation rental we only paid $300 for the whole week but it is normally only around $500 a night for the two bedroom villa that we stayed in. A two bedroom suite equivalent to the place we stayed at the Grand Floridian is around $3000 a night. Ouch. This slept our four adults and three children comfortably and it also had a full kitchen so we could cook meals instead of eating out for a whole week. Plus the resort had seven swimming pools, a market, playground, recreation center, three restaurants, and 13 tennis courts. While we did not have a use for 13 tennis courts…….who needs 13 tennis courts?........ we did visit the pools quiet often. If you want more information on how you can get a two bedroom villa stay anywhere around the world for $300 ask me how.
We did Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party and it was so worth the extra ticket. There were so many special things going on that are not normally going on and they passed out mounds of candy to the kids. We are a military family so we get to enjoy the amazing ticket prices. A four day pass with water parks is only $237 plus tax. It saved us over $1000 on park tickets alone with all six tickets we needed. We hit every park at least once, Magic Kingdom twice and Typhoon Lagoon twice. The crowds are less in the early morning and late evening. I don’t ever suggest going in the summer. We thought it was going to be nice and it was a little too nice. It was the about 90 degrees the entire trip. Talk about yuck. It didn’t dampen of vacation though, so to speak. While you do not need a play by play of our whole vacation I will share some great things about our trip that helped us enjoy our vacation.
There are what’s called Baby Care Centers in all of the Parks. These are air conditioned rooms that have a space to take a break, nurse the baby, have a snack, or use a private bathroom. Most bathrooms have a baby changing station but they are stainless steel or marble so it might be wise to pack a portable changing pad for baby’s comfort. While I only ended up using the room once while we were there it was great knowing it was there and if I was any kind of shy about nursing in public these would have been a lifesaver or tripsaver I should say.
Baby Care Centers can be found at:
• Magic Kingdom – next to Crystal Palace
• Epcot – Odyssey Center in Future World
• Disney’s Hollywood Studios – next to guest services building inside main entrance
• Animal Kingdom – Discovery Island, between Pizzafari & Africa
A few must haves while at the park include bottled water, snacks, a stroller, sunscreen, baby carrier and ample diaper supply. While all of these things are available at the park it will cost you a pretty penny. Water is $2.75 for a small bottle of Dasani. Food stops can get expensive as well so bring a collection of snacks so you don’t have to stop as frequent. Packing a lunch is also a great way to eat healthier and save on some money.
There are strollers to rent at the park but they are expensive and uncomfortable. We bought one at Walmart for $50 when we got there and it was one of the best items on the trip. I wish I would have known about Kingdom Strollers before I had gone. They rent strollers and drop them off at your hotel.
Be sure to mark your stroller with your name and know what your stroller looks like. It may be helpful to put something brightly colored over the top or get a balloon to put on it so you can easily find which one is yours. It is also a good idea to have some kind of rain protection for your stroller in case it rains. Also keep in mind you will need to fold up your stroller to get on certain things like the tram so make sure you can easily fold up your stroller without much hassle. You cannot take the stroller in line with you so you will have to park it at designated “stroller parking” next to the attraction. Cast members stand guard and frequently rearrange strollers as they come and go. Don’t freak out when you go to grab your stroller and it is not where you put it. It is still there. A baby carrier is a great option to have when standing in line.
Just remember to wear your properly in order to avoid hip injury from a “crotch dangler” carrier.I love my Ergo and my Moby wrap. I took my Ergo this trip and it made a huge difference.
One of the coolest things we took advantage of was something called a swap pass or baby switch pass. It lets an adult ride the ride while the other adult has the baby and then you switch places and the other adult gets to go on the ride without waiting in line again. Essentially it is like a fast pass and it is good for up to three people to get on a ride. So each of my girls got to ride the ride twice when we did a swap. Most of the time I sat out and nursed the baby and by the time everyone got off the ride I was done and I got to hand over the baby and hop on the ride. Another awesome bonus was the baby got to go on a ton of rides.
You heard me right. There are a lot of rides that you can take infants on. This is another reason I suggest a baby carrier. It gives you a bit more peace of mind than just holding on to your baby. Plus for rides that require interaction like Buzz lightyear and Toy Story Mania you will want to have your hands free.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure
Honey I Shrunk the Audience
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Living with the Land
Circle of Life
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Turtle Talk – With Crush!
All World Showcase attractions
Toy Story Midway Mania!
Great Movie Ride
Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!
Voyage of The Little Mermaid
The Magic of Disney Animation
Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream
Disney-MGM Studios Backlot Tour
Lights, Motors, Action!™ Extreme Stunt Show
Muppet Vision 3-D
Indiana Jones ™ Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Festival of the Lion King
Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Flights of Wonder
Finding Nemo – The Musical
Not to mention all the end of the evening shows at each park. Fantasmic, parades, fireworks, and more. Character meets sound nice in theory but the lines are always extremely long. I suggest skipping them all together unless there are some that are a must see on your list. I then suggest seeing where they are in the park, what time they will be there, and checking it off your list of to-dos early in the day.
I suggest downloading the new Disney Experience app. It is free and has a lot of helpful information. It gives fairly accurate wait times on all the rides, a spot on GPS map of each park, what events/shows are going on at each park, access to your photos from photo pass, as well as an easy way to make dinner reservations. If you plan on eating dinner at the parks, which is something you should splurge on at least once, you are going to need to make a dinner reservation in advance. Spots book up sometimes months in advance but there were plenty of options available for same day reservations just not last minute reservations.
If you can, I highly encourage hitting your hotel mid day for a short nap with the kids and hitting the park again. It helps stave off burnout. One last thing I suggest splurging on is the memories maker photo experience. It is $200 but it includes all of the photos taken at the park. That is every ride photo as well as any photos you have taken by the professionals around the park. They take great photos. If you only want one or two it costs anywhere from $15-$50 for one photo. This is something that we didn’t do and I wish that we had. We will be doing it next time. Just be sure that if you do make sure to stop at as many photo stops as you can.
It may take a little more planning and effort but it is very possible to survive Disney World with an newborn. So while I did not get to run amuck and pretend I was a little kid again at the park we had an amazing time. My youngest may not remember but we have plenty of pictures of her first trip to Disney World. She might even hold the record for youngest guest to ride on The Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Enjoy every moment because each one is so precious.
Tips for Dad’s To-Be on How to Care for Your Pregnant Wife
They say that a woman becomes a mother when she finds out that she is pregnant and that a man becomes a father when he sees his baby for the first time. That leaves a big gap in time where mom is busy growing a baby and dad is left to watch from the outside. While some men may feel like they have done their duty once they have made their biological contribution but it is important for them to understand that just because their wives are the ones built for growing babies doesn’t mean that don’t need help to get through it.
Pregnancy is no easy task for most. It is full of the unknown, loss of control, as well as being mentally and physically demanding. There are a lot of things that husbands can do to help ease the demand. Dad if you are reading this, kudos to you for wanting to do more to help out your wife. Mom if you are reading this for some insight on how to ask Dad for some help feel free to print this article out and post it on the fridge or send him the link so he can read it. Asking for help sometimes can be hard. Remember that it does not mean that you are not strong or that you are not capable, but that being pregnant is not easy and having a little help or a little more understanding can go a long way. Dads: your pregnant wife needs to feel loved, special and appreciated more than ever and deserves to be while she is working hard on growing your child inside her.
How Dads Can Take Care of Their Pregnant Wife
Have Tact When You Find Out Your Wife is Expecting. This moment will be a moment your wife will remember for the rest of her life. This begins the time when your wife needs to feel supported and secure that her husband will stand by her side and be there for her for the next nine months. This is your first chance in this pregnancy to show her that you are going to be a good father and a good husband by making her feel confident in this life changing experience. Even if this is unexpected news do not respond in a way that shows you are not excited. Responses that would be consider lacking tact include: asking if she is sure it is yours, crying in despair, not saying anything and staring at her with your eyes wide, or making faces that convey anger, disbelieve or disgust.
Listen and Make it Known that Venting is Okay. There is no better time than when your wife is pregnant to remember that a woman needs a man that will listen to her. Being pregnant can be a scary time for a woman and she needs to know that she can count on you to hear her out when she needs it. She needs you to sympathize with her and tell her that everything will be okay. (It may be helpful for you to read a little bit about pregnancy so that last line will be an honest one because you know what you’re talking about.) Sometimes women don’t want you to do anything about the things they are taking about, they just want someone to share their thoughts with. Being able to have someone to vent to about things is important and helps show your support.
Take on Some Extra Work to Help Out. I don’t mean that you should go get an extra job. This is the time where your wife needs some extra help with everyday things even if she doesn’t ask. Being pregnant makes you tired and everyday things can become difficult like bending over, standing for long periods of time, and carrying things (like the laundry basket). This is a perfect time to do a load of laundry here and there, wash the dishes on occasion, make dinner a few times a month, or take a turn vacuuming. It may not be the most exciting thing but understand that it truly helps. Moms: When Dad does do this, make sure you let him know how much you appreciated it.
If She Has to Give it Up So Should You. This one may be difficult, but it is a great way to show your support to your wife. There are a lot of things a woman has to give up while she is pregnant. These include alcohol, caffeine, smoking, a variety of foods, not to mention her body, control of her emotions, and many activities that she may have enjoyed. While you still get to be in charge of your body and mind this is a great time to give up drinking or smoking (at least in front of her) to help ease the transition. Having good nutrition and exercise is important during pregnancy so this can also be a good time to start eating healthier and going to the gym with your wife to encourage her as well as you to have a healthy lifestyle.
Try to De-stress Your Wife. No one likes to be stressed out. Being stressed out during pregnancy can make things harder and have negative effects on baby as well. Take some extra effort to help your wife relax. Some simple things to do are draw her a bubble bath, give her a massage, let her come home to a clean house, or send her to get some pampering done (manicure, pedicure, hair done, something extra that will make her feel pampered).
Help Your Wife Get Enough Sleep. The further along in pregnancy the more difficult it becomes for your wife to sleep. It becomes hard to maneuver in bed while the stomach muscles begin to pull apart, frequent trips to the bathroom and it is difficult to sleep while someone is inside of you kicking and moving around. Some things that may help are a body pillow that allows for back support while supporting her belly, herbal tea before bed, cuddling (that does not lead to sex or you acting like you want sex), and go to bed when she goes to bed. Sex can also be a nice way to help your wife sleep but sex can also be something she is not interested in at all.
Tread Carefully and Respectfully on the Subject of Sex. This topic can be a hard one to breach during pregnancy and after. One good rule of thumb is to be open, honest, and understanding. Every woman is different and every pregnancy is different. There can be a lot of changes in your wife’s sexual activity during the span of her pregnancy. Being pregnant often times means being tired, uncomfortable, and insecure. These things do not correlate well with feeling in the mood or feeling sexy. The best thing you can do is to have open, honest two-way communication with your wife about sex and be patient with her. There are times during a pregnancy that a woman could not want sex and not even want to be touched but there are also times when she could be hornier than you have ever seen her. This is also a time when your wife may have extreme insecurities as her body changes. Feeling pressured for sex or feeling unwanted sexually can have serious and detrimental effects on a marriage. Sometimes a woman needs to feel good about herself before she is in the mood to have “feel good time.” This could be as simple as giving her a massage or going out of your way to make sure she knows how beautiful she is. On a side note, you are not going to hurt the baby unless you are doing something crazy so stop asking if the baby is okay during sex. It can be a big turn off. Sex can get uncomfortable during pregnancy so be attentive to your wife and try to change positions if she gets uncomfortable or if she is in pain. Sex should be mutually pleasing for both people involved. P.S. no matter what has been discussed about porn in your relationship it never will make a woman feel good that her man has to watch porn and “take care of himself” because his wife is unable to. This can also have serious and detrimental effects on a marriage.
Make an Effort to Keep the Romance in the Relationship. Even though you are married and have a baby on the way it is never time to give up romance in your relationship. Take your wife on a date. Make her feel special. Your wife needs to know that you love her and a lot of the time it is the little things that make the biggest difference. Write her a love note, bring her flowers, watch a sappy movie with her, or even just lay in bed with her at night and go over why you fell in love with her.
Be Patient and Understanding. There are a lot of things about being pregnant that you will not understand and may be inconvenient for dads to-be. The best thing that you can do is to be patient with her and understanding. Things that may not seem like a big deal in your mind are huge in her eyes. Your wife will be hungry. When she says she is hungry out loud it means I started getting hungry a while ago and now I need to eat ASAP. Unhelpful things to say include: “Your hungry again?” and “Are you eating all of that?” She will have to pee a lot. As in as frequent as every 30 minutes sometimes. This may be an inconvenience to you but imagine how uncomfortable and inconvenient it is for her. Eye rolling and huffing about having to stop the car again is not going to help. Your wife is no longer in control of her emotions. The roller coaster of hormone levels that surge through her body on a daily basis is enough to make your head spin. She is bound to get emotional about certain things. This could be anything from crying at the fabric softener commercial to yelling at you for not closing up the bread tight. Be prepared and remember that while it is not fun for you to experience these things it is equally not fun for her to experience these things and not be in control. If she needs to cry, let her cry. Hold her and tell her everything will be okay. Inappropriate responses include: “Stop being so dramatic”, “You need to calm down”, “Are you crying again?”, and “Are you always going to be this irritable?”. It is important to be understanding if there is a decline in intimacy (this includes sex, kissing, snuggling, ect). Remember that it is not you or a lack of desire for you. There is a huge list of things that cause pregnant women to have a decline in intimacy that include but are not limited to: nausea, heartburn, aching muscles, being overly tired, not feeling sexy, being uncomfortable, hot flashes, hormonal imbalance, hemorrhoids, constipation, (yes you didn’t want to hear those last two but they are very common in pregnancy), and heightened senses (heightened sense of smell, heightened sensitivity, heightened gag reflex, essentially heightened everything (Yes its like she has gained super powers) but unfortunately having heightened senses can be overwhelming and unpleasant at times. So don’t be offended it is honestly not you. On the opposing side your wife may want things that are new and may want sex in a moment’s notice. Seize the moment and the experience because things might take a 180 just as quickly as it came on.
Help Make her Feel Secure About Herself. Your wife’s body and thoughts will be changing a lot during pregnancy. While it would be great if every woman woke up every day feeling 100% confident about everything about themselves, unfortunately this is rarely the case and even less likely during pregnancy. Tell her that she is beautiful and you love her every single day. It is one of those things that no matter how many times you say it, it will never get old and it will never lose its power. Touch her belly. Make sure she has some nice maternity clothes. It takes a big blow to a woman’s self-confidence when her clothes don’t fit her anymore. Go with her and reassure her that she is beautiful. This can be an important time when she learns to embrace her transforming body. Being pregnant is a sign of being fertile and healthy. Women like to feel sexy. Pregnancy and feeling sexy can work against each other. Help her feel sexy. Do not make comments on her weight. While a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is 25-35 lbs it is very common for women to gain upward of 70lbs. It is a sensitive subject and the best way to help out if it is a concern for you is to start from the beginning with encouraging good eating habits and exercise throughout pregnancy. Feeling like your husband does not find you attractive can be very damaging during pregnancy not only for self-confidence but also for feeling in the mood for intimate time.
Be Involved and Excited. Go the extra mile to be involved with the pregnancy. Go to her doctor appointment with her. Not only does it help you prepare for what is to come it helps reassure her that you are there for her. Do some reading and research on pregnancy and birth related topics. It helps to be informed and educated so you can help your wife make informed decisions on what to do in pregnancy and birth. There will be a time that you will need to be her advocate while she is in labor where she will be depending on you to be her voice for the kind of birth she wants. Be excited about things that she is excited about, whether it is the color of the nursery or the childbirth education classes. Even if you need to “fake it till you make it,” a lack of excitement from dad is often construed as a lack of excitement of having a baby.
Overall remember that she didn’t put that baby in their all by herself so she shouldn’t be expected to do everything by herself even though she is the one carrying the baby. Let your wife know that you are in this together and you will get through things together. This is a time that you both will never forget and it is also a hard time for both of you. Making it a happy one is beneficial for everyone involved Mom, Dad, and Baby. Embrace the beauty and miracle of life happening right next to you. And above all else do your best to make your wife feel beautiful and loved while pregnant (well always would be good but even more so while pregnant) she is working hard to provide the best start for your baby.
So since we are hosting annual Mommy and Baby Fairs I thought I would chime in with some tips on putting on a good event.
Sign up early
If you can sign up for events early. Some events offer a price discount for those who sign up and pay early. You are more likely to get priority for special requests such as lighting or electricity, if you are signed up for the event early. If you have the choice of where you booth will be located being an early sign up for the event gives you a better choice of where you get to set up camp. Try picking a location with high traffic such as next to concessions or main isles.
Gather Supplies Early and Be Extra Prepared
It can be rather frustration to get to an event and realize there was something that you needed and now you don’t have it. Make sure to prepare and gather supplies for the event early. It may also help to set up a mock display prior to arriving at the event to make sure things look like you want them to. Think about what products you want to feature, what activities you may want to have and always have proper displays/signs. Here is a list of helpful items to remember to have other than those strictly related to your business:
Have eye catching media
You have to think about what is going to make people come your way. Make sure your displays and signs are clear and simple. Having at least one large banner is a good rule of thumb. It should clearly state your business name and what you are promoting. Be sure to keep the words to a minimum. People will not be inclined to do a lot of reading at these kinds of events. Some tips to consider are having your sign above the crowd height or having big photos of good looking people. These kinds of things catch peoples eye and they stop to look at the photos.
It is also important to have eye catching business cards. It says a lot about you and can be a vital part of your business to have interesting business cards that peak people’s attention.
Keep Track of Your Costs
This may sound simple but sometimes it can be easy to forget all the costs involved in participating in an event. It is something you will want to keep track of so you can compare it with your turn out and apply it for future events. Time is sometimes a hard one to factor into an event. Your time is precious and should be compensated properly.
Get People into Your Booth
There are those who tend to take a step back approach while at events and I do not recommend this. While you may not want to look like “that pushy sales person” you also want to engage with your audience. They are far more likely to step into your booth and check out what you have to offer if you get them to come into your booth rather than just letting them browse your items on their own. Some people may suggest that you take something with you to do while at an event. This is not something that I suggest to do either. From my experience working at a booth is like working at a job. You wouldn’t bring a crossword to do while at work and expect the job to get done on its own. I take the same stand point when working a booth. The products/services/information is not going to get to the audience properly on its own. It needs you to be the facilitator and get people engaged. Here are a few tips on how you can do this:
Make eye contact, be professional, smile, and be friendly. Engage in small inviting speech by asking one of the following simple things:
If someone says “no, thank you,” say something like:
*Talking Points brought to you via Calacanis
Good marketing techniques dive deep into the psychological aspects of the human mind and can then be used as persuasive techniques. Giving something away to someone (raffle/candy) uses the reciprocity theory of psychology, where if you do something for someone they feel the need to return the favor. Give them some candy or a chance to win something and they will listen to your product presentation or drop their information in for your raffle. Another big theory is that of scarcity. People tend to be more interested in things that they won’t have the chance to get again. Using terms like “limited time” or “limited quantity” peaks people interest.
Make sure you have a Demo of Your Product/Service
Be sure to have a quick simple presentation on what your company is and what they have to offer. Keep it short and simple. Try something like:
The correspondence should be engaging and interactive. You are talking with them not at them and still getting to the value of what you want them to know about your business or products. The key goal is to not only tell them about your product but to get them to try your product as well.
Have a raffle
People like FREE stuff. Have a simple prize for people to win. Have them fill out a small form with name, number, email or let them drop in a business card. Your raffle prize also does not have to be one of your products. If you choose something that is hot in the market today like an iPhone than you may have a line for your booth just to put in for your raffle.
Be sure to follow up with those who put in for your raffle even if they didn’t win. Email them with a thank you for participating your raffle. Be courteous when letting them know they did not win but then offer them something else (invitation to a presentation, an opportunity to save % on an order, a consolation prize like a download or bumper sticker). It shouldn’t include “hard sales tactics” but something of value that the customers will care about.
Dress for Success
It is something that we have all heard of but seldom think about on a day to day basis. A sad fact of life is that humans are judgmental. When selecting what you will be wearing for the day you should have two things in mind; professional and comfort. Sometimes it is hard to put these two together but they are equally important when you are going to be standing at a booth all day. You will want to take the weather into account and keep in mind that indoor shows tend to get quiet hot. Be prepared to shed some layers if needed. You may also want to wear a name tag. A professional one looks better than one of those Hello My Name Is, but any name tag is better than none. Shoes is also something that you may want to pay close attention to. While those heels or dress shoes may look good, will you be able to stand in them comfortably for 4,6, or 8 hours?
Keep your Booth Neat and Clean
It is human nature to be attracted to things of beauty and symmetry. When hosting a booth make sure that it is pleasing to the eye. Try to have a multi-level table rather than having everything laid flat. Make sure items that are not part of the booth (your jacket, storage boxes, extra products, ect) stay well hidden. During the event make sure to pick up any garbage that may be left around. After the event, always make sure that you have cleaned up after yourself and left the space just the way you received it.
Over all have FUN!! Make it something memorable.
With the movement of birth from in the home to in the hospital women lost a lot more than they expected. Women lost their safety, their belief in themselves, and the normal support system that surrounded them while they birthed and the in early post-partum period. While hospitals of today are a lot better at safety and cleanliness they still lack a few key aspects in the birthing process. Hospitals do not do justice to empowering women to birth their babies or to give women faith in themselves or their ability to give birth. Most hospitals also lack the support system for a laboring and postpartum mother that were once a normal aspect of birth. They say it takes a village to raise a baby, but the village has been dismantled and forgotten. We need to work on finding our village again and bringing faith, encouragement, and support back to the birthing mothers of the U.S. There are some amazing groups out there supporting women in their births, bodies, and believes. I just had the pleasure of attending one such event called The Birth Without Fear Conference.
I have to admit that I have wanted to go to one of these conferences, but being in Alaska I never had the opportunity. (Hint Hint: There is a huge group of mommas that would love a Birth Without Fear Conference in Alaska). When we moved back to Illinois I found out that the Birth Without Fear Conference was coming to Milwaukie, which is around a two hour drive from where we were staying. I knew that I had to go, especially since this Doula drank the water again and has a new bundle of joy coming into the world early September.
The conference was held at a freaking amazing birth center called Authentic Birth and Wellness Collective. It was so gorgeous. That is the kind of center we are planning to open here in Joliet. From the moment you walk through the door you find comfort and warmth emanating from the walls of this place. Check out some of the rooms in this place on their website.
When I walked in to the conference I found a village; a village of mothers who all had the same notion of believing in birth, believing in their bodies, and wanting more from the world of maternity care in the U.S. Every city needs a village of these women who come together to support each other before birth, during birth, and after. Every story has a connection and so many stories have similar aspects. “I wish I had known this before”, “I wish that someone would have told me this was normal”, “I wish I would have had this kind of support the first time around”. The messages seems so clear to me. Every women could benefit from this kind of village.The entire experience was uplifting.
First up Ashlee and Laura talked about the 4th Trimester Bodies Project and the beauty of a woman’s body. I have had previous posts about body image and how it seems to almost be worse in the pregnancy community. The ideals of what a women should look like while pregnant and how she should look after having a baby are ridiculous. This project is a perfect example of the truth. Every women is different, every body is different, and each body is still beautiful just the way it is. Check out their project in the video below.
As I sat on the floor keeping an eye on my children whom I did not expect to have to take with me to this event I was sitting next to a women and her little boy. Little did I know that I was sitting and talking to the Badass Breastfeeder. Wow I need to get over this whole pregnancy brain. I am the one with the Batmobile being driven on my head by my little.
She got up and talked to everyone about breastfeeding. There are still so many misconceptions and bias on breastfeeding today. I think that was something else that we lost when birth moved into the hospital. Our breasts are designed to feed our babies so why is there so much stigma about women who do just that? I understand that for some it is a lot more complex and there are a variety of reasons that women choose not to breastfeed. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that at all. Yet breastfeeding is still such a huge debate. Why is it wrong that I don’t want to sit in a dirty bathroom to feed my baby? Why do people’s eyes get wide and disgust rolls across their faces when I breastfeed my three year old? When did America become too good to breastfeed? Abby AKA the Badass Breastfeeder has a great blog and following that helps give support to women about breastfeeding.
A Birth Without Fear Conference would not be complete without the girl who started Birth Without Fear, January Harshe. She is the mother of six and having different births with each child she wanted to share with women her journey. Her story is a lot like so many others in the sense that her experience with birth and the maternity care system left her knowing that there was something missing from maternity and wanted other women to know about their choices when it comes to birth. She started a blog that has now exploded into a beautiful movement of letting women know that you can birth without fear. It is a place where women get healing from past traumatic birth experiences, inspiration for their birth to come, and education on what birth can be like.
There were a lot of fun goodies that were given away at the event as well. There was a ticket purchase option that came with an Ergo baby carrier. The ticket itself was just about the same price as the Ergo so it was like getting an Ergo for free. They had drawings for awesome mom and baby related products and the amazing Earth Mamma Angel Baby had goodie bags full of their products to hand out to each and every momma in the conference. If you have not checked out this company before you should. Go find their products here. Earth Mamma Angel Baby are also going to be featured in our swag bags at the 2nd Annual Illinois Mommy and Baby Fair coming up in August. And of course some of the best Vegan cupcakes I have ever tasted in my life.
It was during the giveaways that I had a moment that let me know that this is where I was supposed to be and this is what I was supposed to be doing. I sat and listened as names were being called for the giveaways. Mammas were excited to win awesome prizes. I was thinking about each item as they were showing it off and how I might use it if by some miracle my name was called (As I am sure most others were.) Then they brought out two Birth Without Fear necklaces. My heart sunk a bit. I have wanted one of those necklaces for some time but couldn’t bring myself to get one. I am not a big jewelry person and spending money on nice jewelry is not something I have ever convinced myself was a good way to spend money. It was just a lovely idea in my mind that one day I would get one as a gift from my husband, friend, or client. The first necklace went and then they second. Though when the second woman stood up to claim her win she held the necklace she had on and told them that she already had her own Birth Without Fear necklace. They offered her the prize to give to someone she knew but she gave up the necklace for someone else at the conference to win. The entire room awed at the same time at her generosity. By fate the next name out of the bag was somehow mine. It may sound silly but I wanted to cry. Me? It is for ME? While it is only a necklace it is what the necklace symbolizes for me. I am about to birth baby number three (hopefully at home) and this necklace is a symbol for how I want to bring my baby into the world; with support, with inspiration, and without fear. I took it as a sign. Having my child this way is what I am meant to do and the path that I am on with doing the work that I do in the birth field.
The entire day was about supporting each other and giving each other validation, encouragement, and love. If you ever have the opportunity I highly suggest attending a Birth Without Fear Conference. For myself it was an amazing experience that makes me want to push harder in my own efforts to help support, educate, and inspire women about birth. Now more than ever I am determined to get our own birth center up and running so women of my area can have a place to find their village, their support, and their voice in how they want their birth. If you want to learn more about our efforts in opening a new free standing birth center in Illinois please feel free to check us out here. Support of all kinds is always appreciated.
Maybe with a little bit of elbow grease we can make it on the list for a Birth Without Fear Conference at Nova Birth and Family Wellness in 2017. Thank you to everyone who made the Birth Without Fear Conference 2015 Milwaukie possible. I walked away with a whole lot more than a just a smile and goodies. (The free goodies were super awesome though)
Advertising in the media is huge. It is scary huge. It is nearly impossible to go a day without seeing or hearing an advertisement. People are bombarded daily with advertisements from every direction and often time’s people don’t even realize it. Women tend to be the buying power in most households and we all know that pregnant women have a whole list of things that we “need” for baby and ourselves. Advertisers capitalize on these facts and target pregnant women in ads all the time.
Advertisements are the foundations of a lot of businesses: newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and online content like social media sites. These mass media outlets would not be what they are and would not be as profitable as they are without advertising. Some companies pay billions of dollars in advertising every year. Take the company Johnson and Johnson for example, they spend $2.4 billion a year on advertising for their company. They of course do not advertise things like their No Tears Shampoo has formaldehyde in it. What woman wants to willingly put what they put on dead bodies on their babies? The answer is they don’t.
The president of Proctor and Gamble, who spends $5.2 billion a year on advertising, said, “Advertising I the most effective and efficient way to sell to the consumer. If we should ever find a better methods of selling our type of products to the consumer, we’ll leave advertising and turn to those methods.” I think that this has already come and most companies have yet to capitalize on it.
A new wave of advertising is all about try it before you buy it. Some big companies like Warbey Parker, Modere, and Bluer Denim. These companies sell prescription glasses, every day essential products, and jeans. These are the kind of things that are in most households if not every household. There needs to be more products like this for pregnant women. Why are there not more companies that are this confident in their product that you can see if you like it before you buy it? Most of these companies are not ones you are going to see ads for in traditional mass media channels like T.V., magazines, and radio. These companies have taken advantage of the internet and social media trends that have swept the nation.
Social media is another place we are insanely bombarded with advertisements. I am not sure if I like it or I am afraid that my advertisements in my social media feeds are about products I have actually looked at and sometimes have products that are personalized with my name or relating to my profession.
So I guess my whole point it that I want more companies to make products that they are so confident in that they are willing to give it to people to try before they make financial commitments to. I also want companies to stop showing deceiving advertisements like J&J baby shampoo that is supposed to be safe and gentle yet contains harmful chemicals. Give me products that are safe and natural that I want to use while I am pregnant or on my baby. Let us demand these products. The more we demand the more companies are willing to supply these things to us.
The Internet has revolutionized the way people in the United States and around the world live their lives. We live in an ear called the Digital Lifestyle where the Internet has infiltrated almost every part of our daily lives from how we cook to how we purchase things. Since the Internet went public in the 90’s it has grown exponentially. I’m sure the Military did not have pregnant women in mind when they came up with the idea for the Internet but it has had a big impact on how women go about finding information in regard to their pregnancies.
There is an endless list of things that women use the Internet for before, during, and after pregnancy. A woman can look up care providers, research birthing methods, find ways to ease pregnancy discomfort and so much more. While this is a tremendously useful tool it can also be riddled with misinformation, wrong information, and outdated information if someone does not know where to look.
The shift from location based retail shopping to online shopping has made is convenient for pregnant women to shop for all of their pregnancy needs online and get them shipped right to their door stop. Otherwise women have to find specialty stores or go to a number of different stores to acquire the things they need for momma and baby. The Internet gives them endless choices of products and services to choose from.
One company that is taking advantage of this shift in online retailing is a company called Modere. They have a category-leading portfolio of lifestyle essentials—personal care, health & wellness, and household products that are equal parts safe, high performing, and beautifully designed. These are perfect for pregnant or postpartum women, well any woman for that matter. Yet without the Internet this company would never exist.
Want an entire Box of Natural, Safe Products Sent Straight to You Door Risk-Free? Check Out Modere by Clicking on the Picture Above.
So get out there.Explore. Look up something new. Learn. Grow. The whole world is at your finger tips.
For those who have not experienced labor before we might think that labor begins with a huge explosion as our water breaks all over the floor and we begin screaming at the tops of our lungs in the hospital with our legs up in the air. That is at least how most Hollywood movies depict labor as going. This has not always been the case.
People have been fascinated with the movies since its first appearance in the 1800’s. Since then movies have changed and molded to what we now refer to as Hollywood. Today’s Hollywood are dominated by a few major movie companies. Though I cannot find the first film to feature a birth scene I assume that pregnancy and labor were no big feature till sometime after the 1950’s. This is when the scandalous I Love Lucy episodes that featured Lucille Ball’s real life pregnancy into the plot of the show. Even then I think that birth scenes did not start being a common movie feature till the 90’s.
I found these rather hilarious video clips showing a compilation of a few Hollywood birth scenes. (WARNING: Contains some Adult language).
Birth and who is involved in birth has changed over the centuries. In the 1600’s at Palace of Versailles in France the birth room was for public display. It was here that 19 children were born and only the top of the top got rights to come watch. Now it is routinely mom, dad, maybe another family member, and the care providers. The place has changed dramatically as well. Most births took place at home until the 1920’s.
Birth on the big screen tends to be painted in one of a few ways extremely painful and medicalized, comical, or a combination of both. I have not found a movie that does a good job in showing childbirth without either a comical theme or an overly medicalized theme. Where are all the movies with depiction of nice natural peaceful births at? I secretly think that it is a ploy to keep women going to hospitals and getting drugs to have their babies. After the debut of Ricki Lakes documentaries The Business of Being Born and More Business of Being Born there was a noticeable drop in births in hospitals and an increase in home birth and birth center births. Goes to show you that if women are shown what their bodies are capable of and that they do not have to fear birth they can accomplish great things. Hollywood movies are defiantly not the source if you are looking for some empowerment.
While it is not a movie one of the most beautiful birth clips I have seen is this one. There is an interesting method of detaching the cord by candle flame but still incredibly beautiful.
A famous quote from Henry Wadsworth says, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” While some have debated this notation there is no denying that music is known around the world and it has been found to have many health benefits. This is true in pregnancy and birth as well.
Today there are so many ways to access and listen to music and the genres of music seem to expand all the time. There are four big global recording companies: Universal Music, EMI, Warner Music, and Sony Music (BMG). These four companies hold 84 percent of the recording industry in the US and 75 percent on a global scale. The recording industry is far different than it was pre Napster but it still makes huge profits totaling almost 12 billion dollars a year in revenue between those four big companies.
At one point in time sex and pregnancy was something fairly scandalous to sing about today it is a common occurrence for singers to make songs about all things birth and pregnancy related. Some big stars even choose their music as a way to announce their pregnancy as Beyoncé did at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
Studies have shown that music can decrease stress, improve relaxation and have an overall positive effect on a person’s health. We have most likely heard about women playing classical music to their children in the womb to make their babies smarter but have you heard about music being used to relax mother and baby for labor? There are CD’s, playlists, Internet radio sites, and YouTube videos all have music that is supposed to help relax women in pregnancy and labor. These days I find it really common for women to bring their iPods and phones with music playlists ready to help them in labor. My playlist of course was not full of spa music but songs that made me happy and made me want to dance. Which included some crazy songs like “Im Sexy and I Know it” by LMAFO and “Gangnam Style” by Psy. A close friend of mine had a live drum circle for her homebirth. Music can be a wonderful and rewarding tool for positive health benefits during pregnancy and labor.
The world of birth is such an amazing one. I just want to share my passion and give empowerment to those about to begin their journey of birth.