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Differences Between Doulas and Midwives

Posted by Live Love Mom on July 27, 2021 at 9:05 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree



 

Even in this day and age, people are still getting the two terms confused. Some people believe they are one and the same, and will hire a doula thinking she is a midwife, but at a lower price. This couldn't be further from the truth. Here is how to tell the difference between a doula and a midwife, their jobs, and more.



Midwife.


A midwife is a medical practitioner who has medical training on many things. She knows infant CPR, how to measure the uterus and determine baby's position, monitor the fetal heart rate, preform ultrasounds, and more. She can do cervical checks, prescribe medications and medical procedures, and adds this information into your medical records. She knows how to spot and prevent medical complications in both babies and mothers. She is recognized in the medical community and is just as informed as doctors. She can work in a birth center, a hospital, and even go to your home for you to give birth there. She takes your blood pressure, weighs you, administers urine and blood tests. They are experts in the care of low-risk and healthy pregnancies and mothers. They can also do health checks, such as if you got an episiotomy or c-section, they can tell if the scars are healing properly. They also offer newborn checks and visits up to 6 weeks postpartum. She can also refer you to a nutritionist or OB-GYN if you need it. 



Doula. 


A doula is a support person and is not a medical professional. They are trained for up to a year about pregnancy, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding. A doula will focus on the health of the mother, even after the baby is born. She will ask you questions about your mood and thoughts, and make sure you are healthy. She can inform you on everything you want to know about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. She will teach your partner how he can help you and teach pressure points he can use to help your pain during labor. She will encourage you and empower you as a person and as a mother. A doula will give you massage, acupressure, and physical support during labor. She can use many different methods to make you as comfortable as possible during labor. She can even use a TENS machine if you want, and she holds space for you. They don't judge and are your own personal cheerleader. After the birth, they can help you establish a routine as a family and check in with you to see how you are. She sticks around as long as you need her and can prepare meals and do some light housework to lighten your load. She can also watch your newborn so you can shower or get some sleep, or watch your older children so you can get some one-on-one time with your newborn. 



What they have in common.


They both get to know you, your family and your birth preferences. They also both offer prenatal courses and postpartum visits. They can both ask you questions and help you make your birth plan. They are both very well informed on birth, pregnancy, postpartum period and breastfeeding. They can both work in birth centers and have connections and resources in the community. 



Got more to add or any experiences with a midwife or a doula? Comment below!






Skin-To-Skin Benefits For Mothers And Babies

Posted by Live Love Mom on May 11, 2021 at 9:00 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




What is this skin-to-skin everyone is talking about? Skin-to-skin, also known as kangaroo care, is when a newborn baby gets placed (in this case) directly on the mother's bare skin. This can be her belly, her chest, or her breasts. Kangaroo care can also be performed by fathers and siblings and even grandparents, however in this case we will focus on mother-and-baby skin-to-skin contact. It's standard practice that newborn babies get put skin-to-skin against their mother immediately after birth. So, what are the benefits? Why are doctors and midwives doing this? 


Immediate skin to skin after birth:


  • Facilitates mother and baby bonding. The mother is able to connect with her baby right away and vice versa. They spend their first few minutes together and can get used to each other since they are seeing each other for the first time and will be in each other's lives forever.
  • Facilitates communication between mother and baby. Mothers and babies can lock eyes and talk to each other. Even the baby will be crying or cooing to communicate with it's mother.
  • Comforts and soothes the baby. The baby just recieved the shock of it's lifetime. After nine months of being suspended naked in fluid, she is born in a colder room, with voices she's never heard before and lights she's not used to. However, she knows her mother's scent, voice, and the sounds her body makes. Laying on her mom allowes her to hear her mother's bodily functions like she did in the womb, to be held and warm like she was moments ago, and to take in her mother's voice that she is so familiar with while engulfed in her scent.
  • Relieves pain. The mother is fully focused on her baby, so she is not paying attention to any pain she may have following the delivery. 
  • Transfers good bacteria to the baby. The mother's good bacteria will transfer onto the newborn baby's skin and instantly begin protecting her. This also boosts her immune system to help her fight off any bad bacteria that would touch her skin. 
  • Stablizes the baby's temperature. With the mother's temperature the same as the baby was used to, skin-to-skin warms the baby right back up. It keeps her skin warm, especially since babies don't have the ability to control their own temperatures.
  • Eases the baby's transition from the womb into the world. This is as close as she will get to being in the womb again; she is warm, held tight, can hear her mother's breathing and heartbeat, can smell and hear her mother. 
  • Encourages breastfeeding success. Kangaroo care gives the baby access to the breasts so she can begin her breast crawl when she's ready. The first hour should always be the parents and the baby alone for maximum breastfeeding success, interventions can wait.
  • Optimizes pulminary function. The baby uses her mother's breathing and immitates her, which regulates the baby's breathing. Providers are also able to listen to the baby's lungs to make sure the lungs are functioning properly and there's no fluid.
  • Optimizes cardiac function. Lungs and the heart always work together. With the baby copying the mother's breathing, this stablizes the heart as well.
  • Calms the mother. An anxious mother waiting to meet her baby for months and months, will finally get to greet her baby. If the was anxious during the labor, finally holding her little one will calm her right down.
  • Encourages milk production. Smelling your baby and having her on or near your breasts signals your brain that milk production can begin. When the placenta is expelled is when all of your hormones focus on making milk for your little one the most, but it begins with skin-to-skin. 
  • Lowers the mother's blood pressure. With the mother being relaxed and holding her baby for the first time, her blood pressure lowers, which causes her to bleed less after the birth.
  • Stablizes the mother's heart rate. The mother is relaxed and united with her baby, so her heart rate slows to a normal rate, which also minimizes blood loss.
  • Can decrease the chances of postpartum hemmhorage. Being away from her baby makes a mother anxious, which causes her heart to race and raises her blood pressure. Both of those things make blood loss more rapid, so it's important to have the baby and the mother have skin-to-skin immediately after the birth.

Have any more benefits you know of? Comment below!

 

Benefits Of Hiring A Postpartum Doula

Posted by Live Love Mom on February 11, 2021 at 8:45 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree





Emotional and physical support needs are at their peak. The mother just had a whole human being exit her body, she will be exhausted, and her body will already be in overdrive to heal her from the birth as well as make milk for the newborn. Dads may feel helpless and have no idea what they can do to help. A postpartum doula will help both of you fit into your new roles as parents and answer any questions or concerns you may have. They even know tricks on how to relieve postpartum pain.



Doulas have you reflect on your birth experience and never impost any judgement or any opinions on you. Whether you had a traumatic birth or the birth of your dreams, a postpartum doula helps you navigate the memories of the birth in a way that's healthy for you. Your doula will be a shoulder for you to cry on or an ear to talk into. She is your village, which is especially useful when you don't have one. Many mothers report having more positive birth outlooks with a postpartum doula.

 


Having a doula has proven health benefits. Did you know that hiring a postpartum doula actually lowers the chances of parents getting postpartum depression, anxiety and psychosis? Who would have thought! They take care of the whole family; mother, baby, and father too. Not only can doulas allow you to get some much-needed sleep while they care for your child, but they will also make sure that you take good care of yourself. She also knows what to look for in situations where you would need to see your doctor again, such as passing large clots, failure to bond with baby, or constant sadness.



Doulas are all about supporting your choices. All prenatal courses refuse to teach new parents how to bottle-feed their child, even if you have already chosen to do so or have a medical reason for doing so. A doula will have no problem in teaching you how to bottle-feed, which formula may best suit your baby, and how to follow the instructions on the packaging. Doulas are taught and trained using evidence-based research and scientific findings so you can always ask them to help you process decisions you'll have to make so you feel more secure once you make a decision.



Your doula can help you in many different ways, depending on your own personal needs and wants. She can offer you breastfeeding support and information, do some light housework, help you cook and meal-plan, and more. She can even be there during the night while you and your partner get some much-needed sleep. She can also take care of your older children to allow you to have some bonding time with your baby. She can also assist you with newborn care and show you how to bathe your baby and how to change their diapers. She can even do some menu planning, go with you to go grocery shopping, and run errands. She can also do referrals in the community if you want any other services. They are well worth it.



The statitstics prove that it's the way to go. If you have a doula for both the birthing and postpartum period, the benefits are even more numerous. Did you know that you will have a 12% increased chance of having a spontaneous vaginal birth? The breastfeeding success rate also increases, and your labor time gets decreased an average of 40 minutes. Your baby also has a 14% decreased chance of needing to go to the NICU. There are also 34% fewer negative birth experiences with a doula. Mothers will feel more positive about their births, labors, and their postpartum periods. It's easier for parents to bond with their babies and get into a routine.



Got any more benefits to add to this list? Comment below!



What Is A Doula?

Posted by Live Love Mom on December 18, 2020 at 8:30 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




What is a doula?


A doula is someone trained in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and breastfeeding who is there to provide support (informational, emotional and physical) to the mother throughout the birth process.

 

A doula is a woman who provides support to the mother and her partner or single mother that is unconditional. She will listen, and not judge, she is there to help empower you to make the right decisions that are best for you and your baby. A doula is a special part of your incredible journey of birth, doulas create a bond of trust, comfort, knowledge and positive encouragement. A doula is someone that is consistently with you throughout your entire labour, the relationship between you is a bond held together by sincere compassion and trust. A doula has experience recognizing cues, sounds, and facial expressions and is able to respond with the appropriate comfort encouragement.

 

Doulas generally hold consultations in your home or where you are most comfortable. She helps to remind your partner or support person the tools they learned in prenatal classes and doula consultations.

 

What does the word “doula” mean?


The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek meaning ‘woman caregiver or servant’. Throughout history women have supported other women in their community during the childbirth process, which typically took place at home. Today, professional birth doulas take on this role when mothers are looking for someone to provide the emotional and physical support they need during their birth experience.

 

Are doulas accepted in hospitals?

 

Doulas have been working in hospitals for many years and doulas have been cultivating positive relationships with staff at the hospital. Hospitals recognize us as health practitioners. Nurses are often very happy to see a doula since this can mean the client is well educated on birth matters and she has extra support in the delivery and postpartum room.

 

Do I need a doula if I have a midwife or I am having a home birth?

 

A midwife has a very different role then a doula. A midwife is your primary care provider she will take care of all your medical needs and has huge responsibilities just as an Obstetrcian does. Her time is spent monitoring the baby, and charting your labour, she is responsible for the health and well being of you and your baby.

 

Doulas will be there for you often sooner then your midwife to help you through your labour providing labour tools such as massage, breathing techniques, acupressure, doulas will never leave your side unless for a washroom break. A doula is consistent in her care for you and your partner.

 

If I have a doula, will my husband/partner still be able to participate in the birth?

 

Absolutely! The doula provides support to both the mother and her partner. She ensures the partner plays a key role in the process, to the extent he/she is comfortable.

 

What happens if I end up having a cesarean section?

 

Advocacy is extremely important whether it’s a c-section or vaginal delivery. Doulas sometimes are allowed in the operating room for support. When things are moving quickly we can help you to gain perspective of the situation and help to slow things down and take the “emergency” out of a non-emergency situation. Doulas are there to help remind the partners, doctors and nurses of your birth wishes and help to keep the mother calm and relaxed.

 

Doulas help to facilitate skin to skin after a c-section. This is very important for breastfeeding, bonding, temperature and blood sugar balancing for the baby.

 

Does a doula replace my nurse? doctor? midwife?

 

No. Doulas do not replace any medical personnel. Doulas do not perform any medical tests or procedures such as taking blood pressure, temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, etc. Their role is to provide comfort and support and to make sure the requests of the mother are being met. She can also help with communication between the family and the medical staff. A doula does not make decisions for you, but can assist with making your needs clear to the medical staff.

 

What are the benefits of a birth doula?


Research has shown that when a birth doula is present, labour tends to be shorter and with fewer complications. Women who use doulas report having more positive feelings about their childbirth experience. Doula assisted births have a reduced need for pitocin to induce labour or any other delivery assistance, such as forceps or vacuum. There is also a reduction in the request for pain medications, epidurals and cesareans when a birth doula is used.

 

Are doulas licensed?


Most doulas are trained and certified by recognized organizations and attend a program. Be sure you are hiring a certified birth doula by asking for their certification. Some organizations that provide certification in Canada are: CAPPA, CBI, DONA, ICEA, and Birth Arts International.

 

How do I find a doula?

 

Any of the above organizations have a search page to locate a doula in your area. When you find some prospects (they are available around your due date), you should meet with each of them and bring along a list of questions. It is important to meet a prospective birth doula in person to make sure you are compatible. Here are some sample questions which should assist you in making your final decision.



What To Put In Your Hospital Bag

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 14, 2020 at 7:35 AM Comments comments ()

by: Stephanie McEndree



As a mother of two, I know a thing or two about packing a hospital bag, or even a bag for a birth center. It's good to have everything on hand when you're leaving your home to give birth. Pack the comforts of your own home. You can pack up to three days worth of items for a vaginal birth, and about five to seven days worth for a c-section. Here are the essential items I brought with me.

  1. Diapers
  2. Bottles and formula if formula feeding
  3. Nursing bra if breastfeeding
  4. Nipple cream if breastfeeding
  5. Breast pump if breastfeeding
  6. Breast pads if breastfeeding
  7. At least 3 baby outfits per day you'll be away from home; 2 day outfits and pyjamas
  8. 6 Recieving blankets, or 2 per day
  9. 3 Warm blankets, or 1 per day
  10. 3 pairs of socks, or 1 per day
  11. 3 pairs of mittens, or 1 per day
  12. Car seat
  13. 3 Hats or 1 per day
  14. 3 Changes of clothes for mom or 1 per day
  15. Chap stick for mom
  16. Granola bars or other snacking items
  17. Juice bottles or water bottles to stay hydrated
  18. Warm socks for mom
  19. Snacks for dad 
  20. Changes of clothes for dad, 1 per day
  21. Reading materials for dad
  22. Toothbrush & toothpaste for each parent
  23. Camera
  24. Mobile phones
  25. Phone chargers
  26. Camera chargers
  27. Hair brush
  28. Deoderant
  29. Travel-sized shampoo, body wash and conditioner bottles
  30. Winter coats if it's winter
  31. Burp cloths
  32. Old underwear
  33. Adult diapers or maxi overnight postpartum pads
  34. Q-tips
  35. Nail file
  36. iPod for music
  37. Mints for a sugar boost and to freshen breath
  38. Tennis ball for massaging the mom's back
  39. Pyjamas for the parents
  40. Slippers for the parents
  41. Birth plan
  42. Makeup to make you feel better

Can you think of anything else you brought along that helped you? Comment below!