Author: Mama

The Most Important Things To Know about VBAC

The following information was included on a handout I gave to attendees of a class on VBAC I taught a few years ago. These simple, yet important facts have been gleaned from a large number of VBAC resources, studies, books, and websites. Additional resources are listed at the bottom of this post. If you are planning a vaginal birth after cesarean, I strongly encourage you to learn about all your options for birth place and birth team, and foster your own inner resources for birth – learn how you can find the strength to stand up and give birth. No one else can do it for you, no matter how excellent your doctor, midwife, nurse, or doula!

The general consensus is that a planned cesarean is safer than an emergency or unexpected cesarean, but a VBAC is much safer than a planned cesarean.

You are a great candidate for a VBAC if:

  • You had a vaginal birth either before or after your cesarean
  • You have had no more than two cesareans, your cesarean was for non-recurring reasons like fetal distress or breech position
  • Your uterine incision is low-transverse or low vertical, and some would say, stitched with a double closure technique
  • Because most incisions are low-transverse, ACOG now says if you have no way of accessing your files it is still safe to do a VBAC with an unknown scar type
  • You are pregnant with one or two babies
  • If your baby is breech and you had a low transverse incision you are eligible for ECV after 37 weeks, although other methods of turning a baby are preferred
  • You are less than 42 weeks pregnant
  • Your baby is average sized or estimated to be larger than 8lbs 13oz.
  • Preferably, you have had at least two years between your cesarean pregnancy and your current pregnancy

Keep in mind that although women who have had a cesarean birth for “failure to progress” or “cephalopelvic disproportion” are less likely to have a VBAC, women who have had VBACs after being diagnosed with CPD often give birth vaginally to much larger babies without trouble. The key is to determine why labor stalled or the baby didn’t move down, and then take steps to prevent it from happening again.

Also keep in mind that if you don’t meet the criteria for a “good VBAC candidate”, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan one. Many women fall outside those guidelines and have wonderfully empowering births.

Before you plan to have a VBAC, you must first address your cesarean birth. Don’t repress your feelings, express them. Find support and resources and use them.

Understand that your fears are normal but they do not determine your future.

The overall risk for perinatal mortality and morbidity with a trial of labor following a cesarean is comparable to that of any first time mom.

During your pregnancy and labor focus on alignment – big babies are usually born easily if aligned well in the pelvis. Use upright positions, keep moving, and use specific positions to turn baby if not aligned well.

Don’t pay attention to the media’s representation of birth; understand that money and views determine how birth is shown on TV, in movies, and in magazines.

Spend your pregnancy loving your pregnancy, your belly, and your baby. Celebrate life, think positive energy, avoid criticism.

Unlike the top portion of the uterus, the bottom (where most cesarean incisions are made) is made of fibroelastic tissue which heals very well and becomes once again, flexible and elastic when stretched.

The risk of rupture during spontaneous labor is comparable to any woman’s risk of serious abruption, damaging fetal distress, and cord prolapse.

The good news: You can decrease your chance of having a uterine rupture by: avoiding prostaglandin cervical ripening, cytotec/misoprostol ripening, pitocin augmentation, induction of labor by any means, forceps, vacuum extraction, and epidurals.

Watch out for professionals who make claims about VBAC that are not backed up. This happens even in places you would least expect, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Hire a doula. Research shows they help women to reduce their chances of interventionist births, including cesareans, and to have more satisfying birth experiences.

Choose your environment and birth team with extreme caution – make sure they have a cesarean rate below 30%, a VBAC rate above 70%, and that they are positive and supportive. Do not be afraid to switch care providers, even late in pregnancy or in labor. Look for a care provider who offers what you want instead of trying to fit what you want into what they do.

Keep in mind that hospitals are not designed for VBAC success although it is possible to have one there. Consider home birth or a birth center.

When choosing an environment and care provider remember the sphincter law – the cervix is a sphincter; that just like the urethra and anus it will not open on command. Privacy, respect, and a state of safety and relaxation will encourage them to open. If you combine this with ideal fetal positioning you are unlikely to have any problems with your birth.

If your hospital has a ban on VBAC, ideally you should look elsewhere for a care provider because even if you force your rights you will not get the support you need from a hospital that has a “ban” on VBAC. However, if you have no other choices, which in Maine is probably not the case, you can learn your legal rights to refuse a cesarean. No hospital can force you to have a cesarean, you must agree to it first.

Be flexible, but within reason. Take responsibility for what happens to you. Make your own decisions, do your own research, ask questions.

In case you find yourself needing another cesarean, consider what you would want to do the same or differently. It’s not planning on failure, it’s relieving your fears so you can plan on a good birth.

Only 5-10% of pregnancies fall in the category of needing an induction for an appropriate reason: gestation past 42 weeks, evidence of placental malfunction, a very small baby, preeclampsia, ruptured bag of waters beyond 2-4 days, and fetal hypoxia in labor.

It is also important to recognize what are valid and invalid reasons given for accepting a repeat cesarean. Every care giver has a different opinion about what is acceptable risk and what is not, so you must do your own research and ask lots of questions, especially during your prenatal care visits.

After accounting for situations when cesarean sections are life-saving, Dr. Marsden Wagner determined that cesareans are necessary to save moms and babies in about 5-10% of births. These situations include: bradycardia or tachycardia in the unborn baby, complete previa at term, placental abruption, prolapsed cord, tansverse lie at term, hyper stimulated uterus, uterine rupture, uncontrolled preeclampsia, active herpes lesion, and HIV.

Additional resources for planning a VBAC in Maine

Reading material and websites:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Creating Your Birth Plan by Marsden Wagner
The VBAC Companian by Diana Korte
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean by Helen Churchill and Wendy Savage
Birth After Cesarean: The Medical Facts by Bruce Flamm
Cesarean Recovery by Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy
Expectant Parent’s Guide to Preventing a Cesarean Section by Carl Jones
The Cesarean Myth by Rosen and Thomas
Birthing From Within by Pam England
Simply Give Birth by Heather Cushman-Dowdee
www.ICAN-online.org
www.birthcut.com
www.unnecesarean.com/blog

YouTube Videos:
How to Get Baby in the Best Position for Childbirth – No Back Labor!
Question CPD
My Journey to VBA2C (VBAC)! My Birth
My Twin Homebirth VBAC (HBAC)

(so many more excellent VBAC stories are available on YouTube!)

What to do if your hospital has a ban on VBAC:
http://www.ican-online.org/vbac/My-Hospital-Is-Currently-Not-Allowing-VBAC
http://www.ican-online.org/vbac/your-right-refuse-what-do-if-your-hospital-has-banned-vbac-q

Certified Professional Midwives offering home birth services for VBAC moms in Maine
Susi Delaney in New Gloucester
Heidi Filmore-Patrick in Bridgton
Ann Marie Rian Wanzech in Harrison
Robin Doolittle-Illian in Bridgton and Portland
Deirdre Sulka-Meister in Portland
Holly Arrends in Penobscot
Sarah Ackerly in Topsham
Josie in Topsham
Donna Broderick in Belfast
Linsday Bushnell in Hiram
Maureen Smith in Hiram
Breanda Surabian in Limington
Jill Breen-de Behune
Nancy Duncan in Old Town
Andrea Mietkiewicz in Old Town
Pam Dyer Stewart

Birth Centers in Maine
The Birth House in Bridgton
Clear Light Birth Suite in Old Town

Hospitals in Maine permitting VBACs, VBAC success rates listed may have changed

  • Mercy Hospital in Portland – Only OB’s have attending rights and there may not be any who would agree to VBAC right now. The RN I spoke to says their VBAC success rate is 70% because patients are “very carefully screened”.
  • Mount Desert Island in Bar Harbor – Both OB’s and CNM’s have attending rights. The medical assistant I spoke with did not know the VBAC success rate.
  • Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston – Only OB’s have attending rights. VBAC rate is 64%.
  • Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor – Only OB’s have attending rights. There are few OB’s who will agree and they have very strict guidelines (OB & anesthesiologist must be in-house, no VBAC for previous FTP, etc.)
  • Franklin Memorial in Farmington – OB’s and the one CNM have attending rights. Only allow VBAC if you’ve already had a VBAC. Very few women have had one here.
  • Maine Coast Memorial in Ellsworth – OB’s and CNM’s have attending rights. VBAC only allowed if you’ve had only 1 cesarean with a low-transverse incision. VBAC success rate is 80%.
  • Maine General in Waterville – OB’s have attending rights, CNM’s can only do prenatal care. VBAC success rate is said to be between 80-90%.
  • Maine Medical Center in Portland – OB’s, and possibly CNM’s are given given attending rights. I was told to ask the individual doctors about their VBAC success rate.

If you have additional resources you would like to share, please comment below!

Birth a Miracle Services, with a new vision

Jada Kouba. Picture by her husband, Ben.

Rather than publish a Birth Blog Roundup for May, I decided to share with you some personal growth I have been going through for the past several months, and what this means for Birth a Miracle Services. Actually, it all started 14 years ago when I first began my journey toward home birth midwifery.

At that time, I became certified as a birth doula to help me gain experience and knowledge that would benefit my midwifery training. Using the role of birth doula as a stepping stone to midwifery is a fairly common choice, and while I envisioned myself being a Certified Professional Midwife, I realized that the quickest way to start serving childbearing families would be to offer birth doula care. Thus, in the fall of 2002, Birth a Miracle Services’ doula care was born.

Since that time my business has gone through some exciting and sad changes. I gained and lost a partner, began offering prenatal care as a student midwife, childbirth preparation classes, doula teas, and jumped whole heartedly into midwifery self-studies. As my own family grew to include four babies, I slowly narrowed down my focus to birth doula care, still with the intention of one day becoming a home birth midwife, and hopefully expanding my business to include other partners offering services to childbearing families.

However, during this time of personal growth (learning how to put my family first and still be the best doula I can be) I realized a crucial fact. I realized that by placing my hopes on one day becoming a midwife, I was devaluing the role I have now. I suddenly realized that the place I am right now is exactly where I need to be! I have had some really awesome couples as clients; couples who have needed the extra support a birth doula can provide, and I had the privilege of being that doula! I have witnessed the birth of new life, I have witnessed women and men become mothers and fathers, I have witnessed mothers become confident in themselves, and so many other little miracles amidst the big ones.

It was in this realization that I am happy, incredibly content right where I am, that it dawned on me that in an unconscious way I was depriving my clients of even better care by treating my business as a stepping stone to midwifery. They probably had no idea, and I know I didn’t fully understand what was going on in my heart, but when this thought occurred to me there was a sudden peace, a lifting of my heart, to finally understand where I belong.

Part of the reason why I believe this process took so long was because of the general lack of understanding about what the purpose of a doula is. I have spent so much time explaining to families how a doula can be beneficial, that a small part of me thought I would be of more help to parents as a home birth midwife. And now I know, not just in my mind, but in my heart, that this is not so.

As a doula, I can walk beside parents choosing to give birth in the hospital and help them to have a family-centered experience; one which empowers them as men, women, and parents. Not only do I give continuous, physical and emotional support that doctors, nurses, and even midwives cannot possibly give them, as well as all the benefits doulas have been shown to provide , I am also able to give parents the resources they need to make informed decisions about their care. One of the things I most commonly hear from clients after their births is how much more capable they feel of trusting their bodies, trusting their intuition, and trusting their decision-making regarding theirs and their children’s health. When I leave a couple after their birth experience, they are better prepared to start their journey as a family than they were before I met them. And while the work is theirs to do (I can’t make them prepared for birth or parenting), having a birth doula is undeniably beneficial to all parents.

I can choose to view birth doula care as a stepping stone for a future in midwifery, or I can embrace my purpose as a birth doula. And that is exactly what I have finally done. It only took me 12 years! Ha!

I am a birth doula. That is my profession. That is my passion. And I can’t imagine being anything else.

Homebirth 1

My personality dictates that I plan and work out how I can be the best I can be, both now and in the future. I am always jotting down notes for ideas of what I can include in my care, how to focus in on the essentials of good birth doula care, and how I can take my profession further.

Since I made the decision to stop thinking about a midwifery track, but to devote myself to birth doula care, I began thinking in terms of how I can add quality to my business. I have attended multiple birth doula trainings, midwifery classes and meetings, and a breastfeeding class  in the past several years (not to mention the years of experience in birth, breastfeeding, and babies I have had with my own family and professionally), but I want to start thinking in terms of additional professional training that will benefit my current birth doula business.

Any training I pursue will have to be paid for with income from clients, so it will not be a fast track! My current client load ranges from 1-6 a year, with an average of 2-3. At some point, as my children grow older and become more independent I will be able to focus on growing my clientele. Until then I really appreciate being able to devote myself fully to a smaller number of women and keep my family priorities at the same time.

Trainings and certification I would like to pursue as time and money allow include:

  • HypnoBabies Hypno-Doula
  • Birthing From Within Mentor
  • Prenatal Nutrition Counselor
  • Prenatal and Birth Massage Therapist
  • Lactation Consultant
  • Midwives Assistant

Whether or not I aquire all of these certifications, it will be helpful for me to have this new focus, to make sure that whatever training I do pursue, it will enhance my first love – birth doula care. Thus, as a lactation consultant, I would not be concerned with advertising myself as such, but would be in a better position to help my clients overcome common nursing challenges after birth, building on the relationship we have already built, and the other certifications would play into my care in a similar way.

Also because of my refreshed vision, I have decided to start building my lending library again, with new and classic books and DVDs on pregnancy, birth, and postpartum subjects to support my clients in making informed decisions about their care. Past clients have been donating books to the cause, which is very exciting! Each couple who hires me receives full access to this lending library for the duration of their pregnancy and the first six weeks postpartum.

Here’s the other personal challenge I’ve had. When I began offering birth doula care I charged $50 a birth. I gave prenatal visits in the clients’ homes, visited them in the hospital after birth, and offered additional care, giving away my time because, 1) I had few expenses, being single and living in my parents home, and 2) I viewed my service as a learning experience for midwifery preparation.

Atlas Newborn-22.n++03282010.

As time went on, my experience grew, my family and expenses grew, and midwifery training was pushed further down the road. My fee for doula care increased to $350, which included my business expenses and childcare for my four children during births. For the average time spent at a birth, I have been making less than $10 per hour, before taxes and business expenses. Add that to being on call 24/7 for about a month per client, and it’s easy to see why, as part of this personal growth journey, I have also been realizing that I cannot maintain my current fee without risking burnout. I want to give my all to every one of my clients, but I can’t afford to give my time away.

Coinciding with my decision to focus on birth doula care as my profession, I decided to review my fee and adjust it as necessary. For the past couple of years, I have charged $350 which covered three prenatal visits, the birth, a postpartum visit, and unlimited phone and email contact until six weeks postpartum.

Beginning July 1st, I am now offering three options for birth doula care packages, to give every family in my area the opportunity to hire me based on their financial comfort level.

The Essentials Package

  • a free interview at my home prior to your decision to hire me
  • one prenatal visit at my home to discuss your wishes for birth and what you can expect from my care
  • continuous labor support for your birth until about two hours postpartum
  • one postpartum visit at my home
  • unlimited support via phone, email, and text
  • access to my lending library
  • a copy of Prepared Childbirth, the Family Way
  • a What to Bring to the Hospital idea sheet
  • a birth plan worksheet
  • a growing local resource list for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support

All this for $400.

The Empowerment Package

  • a free interview at my home prior to your decision to hire me
  • three prenatal visits at my home to discuss your wishes for birth and what you can expect from my care, as well as childbirth preparation and early parenting counseling and support
  • continuous labor support for your birth until about two hours postpartum
  • one postpartum visit at my home
  • unlimited support via phone, email, and text
  • access to my lending library
  • a copy of Prepared Childbirth, the Family Way
  • a What to Bring to the Hospital idea sheet
  • a birth plan worksheet
  • a growing local resource list for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support

All this for $450.

The Complete Package

  • a free interview at my home prior to your decision to hire me
  • three prenatal visits in the comfort of your own home to discuss your wishes for birth and what you can expect from my care, as well as childbirth preparation and early parenting counseling and support
  • continuous labor support for your birth until about two hours postpartum
  • two postpartum visits at your home
  • unlimited support via phone, email, and text
  • access to my lending library
  • a copy of Prepared Childbirth, the Family Way
  • a What to Bring to the Hospital idea sheet
  • a birth plan worksheet
  • a growing local resource list for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support

All this for $600.

I have 12 years experience working with 30 families, some giving birth at home and others giving birth at one of 5 different hospitals. I have a good reputation among the care providers I have worked with, as well as the families themselves. This transition, of dedicating Birth a Miracle Services to the calling of birth doula care is an important step in my professional growth, and I am so excited to be pursuing additional training that will further enhance the holistic care I already offer.

SONY DSC

Birth is such an important event in a family’s life. It is more than just about a “healthy mom and healthy baby”, it is the birth of a family; the beginning of a lifetime together. To help promote a peaceful, joyful, normal transition to family life, consider hiring a birth doula to support you along the way!

If you live in Central Maine, contact me for your free interview to learn more about birth doula care.

~ Naomi Kilbreth, CD ~ Birth a Miracle Services ~ Hebron, Maine ~

~ kilbrethfamily@yahoo.com ~ 207.754.8875 ~

April Birth Blog Roundup

April is Cesarean Awareness Month. The good news is that the U.S. cesarean section rate seems to have leveled off in the past couple of years, after skyrocketing well past the safe zone. We’re currently sitting at about 31%. The bad news is that the number is still too high and isn’t on it’s way down. With increased awareness of the safety of VBAC, newly revised OB protocols on attending first births, and the many resources available to help parents navigate the world of cesareans, vaginal births, and VBACs, I hope that the leveling off of cesareans is an indicator that the number of women having them will soon begin to decline. It is proven to be more dangerous in most cases, even for twins and possibly for breech babies, and most women do value the self-autonomy that a vaginal birth experience provides.

If you are planning a VBAC, I would love to chat with you more about preparing for your birth. Feel free to email me for preparation ideas and resources, kilbrethfamily@yahoo.com.

SONY DSC

 

normal pregnancy ~ a handful of ideas for quick and easy, super healthy snacks for pregnancy

birth stories ~ A while back I had the pleasure of attending a birth in which the mother laughed her baby out. Read this neat perspective shared by a nurse who witnessed a similar experience.

birth environment and caregivers ~ One study based on a survey for doctors shows that the docs with the least anxiety perform the fewest cesareans, and those with the most anxiety perform the most cesareans. Check it out here.

variations of normal birth ~  My post on giving birth vaginally with a j-pouch has been fairly popular. Now you can read the true story of a mom who gave birth at home with one, and she says that instead of birth injuring her j-pouch, it’s working better than ever.

complications and interventions ~ Similar to Kangaroo Care, having a volunteer “cuddler” to fill in for parents when they can’t be with their NICU babies can make all the difference to their health.

after the birth ~ 5 unusual sounds that may help sooth a fussy baby. I would add the sound of a washing machine or dryer – I’ve seen those work!

March Birth Blog Round Up

Happy Spring everyone! At least, it’s almost here anyway :::smile:::

My youngest nephew was born a month ago already. I had the honor of attending his birth, which means I have now attended the birth of three of four of my niece and nephews! His birth was a very special one for me though, as the highs and lows of his challenging birth taught me a valuable lesson in not taking the preciousness of birth for granted.

As a doula, I am most helpful to my clients when I can think objectively instead of emotionally, but being reminded about the raw emotion that can be a beneficial experience when attending births is essential to providing truly empathetic and supportive care. My nephew and his parents gave me a gift by inviting me to support them through their birthing, for which I am very thankful.

SONY DSC

As I have gotten behind with my monthly birth blog roundups, the resources I have collected for you are quite varied. Here’s what I have for you today ~

normal pregnancy ~

  • Planning a home birth? Check out this article by Birth Without Fear which shares the ultimate supply list for a birth at home.
  • An interesting book review by Giving Birth With Confidence for The Attachment Pregnancy
  • If you enjoy coloring you will love this really neat pregnancy coloring journal through A Birth Story Blog.
  • An exercise by Spinning Babies to encourage your baby to choose a good position.

birth stories ~

birth environment and caregivers ~ 

  • “The percentage of U.S. babies born outside of hospitals has reached its highest level in nearly 40 years, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” An announcement by Yahoo News.

variations of normal birth ~

complications and interventions ~ 

December Birth Blog Roundup

In remembrance of the birth of Jesus, this month’s birth blog roundup is all about stories. Birth stories to be exact. Stories can be very powerful – messages of hope or of fear, joy or sadness. If you are expecting a baby, one of the most empowering things you can do to prepare for birth is hear the stories of women who have faced birth, even difficult births, and found joy.

Each of these stories, everything from an unassisted birth to a unplanned cesarean, shares wonder and joy, strength and beauty. Through their births, these moms became warriors, and share some powerful lessons about what helped them, and what can help you, to have a safe and empowered birth.

One happy mommy: Donita and baby bonding after birth

A sensual, home water birth @ ABirthStoryBlog.com

Miracle baby, a hospital water birth @ MamaBirth.blogspot.com

An unassisted Christmas birth @ MamaBirth.blogspot.com

“We did it baby! It was hard, but we did it!” (A Natural Birth Center Birth) @ BirthWithoutFearBlog.com

A beautiful family-centered cesarean birth @ ImprovingBirth.org

Merry Christmas everyone!

May you have a peaceful Christmas with your family.

November Birth Blog Roundup

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month, as promoted by the March of Dimes and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blogs and news sources are using this month as an opportunity to reflect on the seriousness of preterm birth and provide resources for parents, to prevent prematurity and cope with it if it happens.

I’ve sifted through some of these resources, and found some that I think would be helpful, including a beautiful story via video of one baby boy who was born very early and survived despite the challenges he faced.

If you have any questions about premature birth or premature babies, please comment. If I don’t know the answer I’ll point you in the direction of one who can!

100_3121(a BAMS client’s premature baby at 35 weeks)

normal pregnancy ~ how to prevent or stop preterm labor, an article I wrote few years ago about common drugs used to prolong pregnancy

birth stories ~ Ward Miles’ first year. Born 3 1/2 months early, this little boy’s story is an incredible story, and his dad’s short film is a wonderful celebration of his life.

birth environment and caregivers ~ what to know about premature birth, an article by GivingBirthWithConfidence.org

variations of normal birth ~ “Mothers carrying babies skin-to-skin could significantly cut global death and disability rates from premature birth, a leading expert has said.” Kangaroo Care is key for premature babies, article by WomanTribe.com

complications and interventions ~ Risk of preterm birth has been found 2 to 5 times higher among women with elevated levels of the chemical phthalates, found in personal products and processed foods, says new study in JAMA Pediatrics.

after the birth ~ If you know someone with a premature baby in the NICU, here are five things you can do to support the family, an article by PreemieBabies101.com

October Birth Blog Roundup

When you learn you are pregnant, you quickly realize how this changes your relationship with others – beginning with the sudden flood of opinions and advice from well-meaning loved ones, as well as strangers.

Who can you trust? What can you believe? And what if you have different ideas about caring for yourself and your unborn baby?

This list of articles will provide you with a few trusted resources – information that is backed up by research and many years of personal experience of mothers.

I especially enjoyed the military base homebirth story. Sometimes we hear mixed things about alternative birth, especially in unusual locations. This couple chose to hire a midwife and give birth at home, and their story is a beautiful one.

Enjoy! And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

SONY DSC

normal pregnancy ~ Expecting Better, a book by Emily Oster about the scientific evidence of how to have a healthy pregnancy

birth stories ~ Military Base Homebirth @ BirthWithoutFearBlog.com

birth environment and caregivers ~ Preliminary birth statistics are available from the CDC for 2012

variations of normal birth ~ How to Use a Yoga Ball During Labor @ GivingBirthWithConfidence.org

complications and interventions ~ Childbirth Connections survey shows many mothers are pressured to accept medical interventions during birth

after the birth ~ Why Don’t You Write Your Birth Story? @ BirthWithoutFearBlog.com

birth blog roundup

Fall has officially arrived, and the new routine of school, work, and for many, finishing up their garden, are well under way. I have been very busy with my family this summer, working on our small off-grid homestead, making preparations for building our new house. Progress feels slow right now, but we now have our foundation dug out, building plans and a permit, a new storage shed, and more home canned quarts of produce than we have ever had before. We’ve also begun our home schooling again. Our kids are now ages 6 (seven next month), 5, 3, and 1, all very busy and imaginative, and we’re proud of them all.

My work as a doula has been a little slower than usual this year. Most of my clients come in waves through referrals, and this year happens to be a quiet one for births. My next birth will likely be in January, and it already looks like there will be more in 2014. Between births and working at home, being a doula looks like educational support and counseling for expecting mamas online and in person. It is such a pleasure to encourage families and help them to find the resources they need.

SONY DSC

Speaking of encouragement and resources, it has been my desire to continue posting here about pregnancy, birth, and early parenting, but because of other responsibilities, it just hasn’t been happening. Then I realized, how silly it was to worry about writing when there are so many excellent birth bloggers active online right now. Perhaps the best thing I can do, besides personally support each woman who contacts me, is to point you in the direction of some useful and inspiring posts and articles I have found.

Will this become a regular this? I hope so, but no promises. I will do my best to update you at least every couple of weeks with new resources that I believe you will enjoy. If you have any questions about my doula care or how I can support you personally, don’t hesitate to email me at kilbrethfamily@yahoo.com.

This week, under categories I normally write about, here are the posts I recommend you visit ~

normal pregnancy ~ Better Pregnancy Outcomes with Midwives @ EverythingBirthBlog.com

birth stories ~ The birth of Eleanor @ LovelyFamily.wordpress.com

birth environment and caregivers ~ How to Communicate Your Birth Preferences at the Hospital @ GivingBirthWithConfidence.org

variations of normal birth ~ Why I Love Transition Labor (and you might too) @ MamaBirth.blogspot.com

complications and interventions ~ Family Centered Cesarean Birth video @ enjoybirth.com

after the birth ~ Circumcision and STIs / HIV @ EverythingBirthBlog.com

featuring The Maternity Gallery

Hello all you beautiful mamas!

Jenn, owner of The Maternity Gallery invited me to share my personal belly photos from my four pregnancies, and I am very happy to share them with you on my new profile at her website here.

The Maternity Gallery has been around for almost ten years, and has been host to about one million visitors, curious about what it looks like to be pregnant. Jenn should be commended for her work. I agree with her that pregnancy is a vulnerable time for many women, wondering how they will look and feel as their bellies grow larger before birth.

37wks_1st_boy_naomi  39wks_2nd_girl_naomi 36wks_3rd_boy_naomi 38wks_4th_girl_naomi

(the last photos taken of me during each of my four pregnancies, all featured on Maternity Gallery)

To help women feel more comfortable with their changing bodies, she has invited women to share photos of their pregnant selves with others through her website. She now has 35 contributors, including photos from all stages of pregnancy, carrying anywhere from one to three babies. She also features painted bellies, professional photography, and more interesting perspectives.

So check it out!

Inspired Birth now available on Kindle!

Two years ago I published Inspired Birth: A Fresh Perspective on Childbirth for Christian Maternity Care Providers on paperback, but now, it is available for just $6.95 on Kindle! If you have a Kindle reader and prefer developing your career as a maternity care provider through digital means, I can help you. The resources, information, encouragement, and challenge presented in my book are just as applicable as they were the day Inspired Birth was first published, and I am confident you will inspired and challenged when you read your Kindle copy.

Here are two reviews about Inspired Birth:

“Naomi Kilbreth provides a fresh look at birth practices while addressing the spiritual foundation for healthy birthing and maternity care practices.” –Susi Delaney, CPM, founder of Red Tent Midwifery

“Mrs. Kilbreth has admirably and eloquently taken on the task of teaching the teachers. She has filled a void in the market by presenting a truly inspired look at maternity care through a biblical lense.” –Marlene Waechter, CPM

So please, if you are a Christian and you are a nurse, doctor, midwife, doula, or a student of maternity care, please purchase your copy of Inspired Birth on paperback or Kindle today, and see how you can make a positive difference in maternity care.