Monday, November 18, 2013

The Criminal Prosecution of Midwives Does Not Help Mothers and Babies in NC
Are Doctors Charged With Murder When A Baby or Mother Dies ?

Today I want to link to a heartfelt post on the BIRTH TRUE blog which deals with murder charges brought against an NC midwife. 

Dr Stu and Brian are joined by Stephanie and Celeste to discuss some of the major problems with our legal system when it comes to birthing and midwives and the case of Rowan Bailey. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

BODY, VOICE and ACTION Are Needed to Be BOLD in Birth By Teresa Howard

BODY, VOICE and ACTION Are Needed to Be BOLD
By Teresa Howard

Sometimes, women know they have fears regarding childbirth, but they won’t let themselves truly come to terms with those fears. 

Sometimes, women allow others fears to permeate them and they take on additional fears. We have come to believe that if we speak them or acknowledge them, it gives the fear more power. Indeed, I do not think this is true. I think as long as we do not face the fear, it is more powerful and can ,in fact, grow larger and darker.

Sometimes, women want to dream about their perfect birth vision.  

Sometimes, we are afraid to write it down or even speak it as to jinx it from happening. 

Sometimes, when we do begin to speak about it, others quash it, immediately, by telling us it is unrealistic.

Sometimes, we are aware that others did not have the birth they desired and it intimidates us to speak of what we want, for fear that it may make them feel bad.

Sometimes, women have great births but are afraid to speak of how empowered they were, for fear of making others feel bad. 

Thus, many great birth stories are not being told.

I have been a childbirth educator and doula for two decades. I have attended over 570 births. 

What I know is, if you do not allow yourself to dream big, get your fears out, have tools to resolve the fears and full address them, you will not achieve the birth you desire and there is not much hope of you having that birth vision at all.

The method of childbirth I teach is the BOLD Method of Childbirth. It is based on the journey that Karen Brody has been on since first writing the play BIRTH.  

In BOLD classes, we sit with women, over a weekend,  and discuss the vision they have and help them formulate the vision that lives with them. We look at the underlying issues that may stand in their way of achieving that vision. Then, they come up with a strategy to move those obstacles out of their way and devise tactics to implement that strategy.

We move in our class. We dance, we learn some yoga and do some roll playing and embrace great ways to help our bodies have an easier birth. We sing in our class and begin to have a voice within us that has great guidance if we listen. We learn about the power that is within each of us. The women leave with a real sense of what kind of birth they desire and a plan to help them get that birth. Developing a mantra that will help them own their birth is also part of the class.

We incorporate BODY, VOICE and ACTION in the BOLD Method. We hope that women will take responsibility for their bodies and no longer let their voices be silenced, but will take back their births fully! We have been amazed at how empowered women feel when they leave our classes. We have been even more equally amazed at the births of our students. They are fully involved in their birth choices and have felt very prepared.

Teresa Howard, CLD, CLE (CAPPA), CHBE, DFB, BOLD

I am a birth guide- someone to help you along your mysterious journey- guiding you when you need it, helping you back on the path if you step off, watching in wonder when you don't, and always supporting you.
I am the owner and founder of Labor of Love Doula and Childbirth Services, Inc. I began assisting in births in 1992. I've worked with water births, natural births, multiples, high-risk births & VBACs. I have doulaed for both home and hospital births. I've enjoyed working with both single moms & couples ranging in age from 17 to 46. In early November 2011 I was delighted to have doulaed for my 500thbaby!. I serve women in the metro area of Atlanta and Athens. This is not only my profession, but my calling!

For more information on Teresa, her classes and doula services in the Atlanta metro area, please check out 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Doula Shoes

Oh, To Be With You Is My Fav'rite Thing, Uh Huh
And I Can't Wait Til, I hear that phone ring, Yeah, Yeah

I'm gonna  Put On My My My My My Doula Shoes
Just To doula for You, Yeah
I'm gonna Put On My My My My My Doula Shoes
Just To doula for You,Uh Huh

I Want To Do It 'til The Sun Comes Up Uh Huh,
I'll help you through it, it if your labor gets tough, Yeah, Yeah
I'm gonna Put On My My My My My Doula Shoes
Just To Doula for You, Yeah

I'm gonna put on On My My My My My
Doula Shoes Just To Doula for You
Uh Huh, Yeah Yeah

I'm gonna Put On My My My My My
Doula Shoes
Just To Doula, for You, Yeah
I'm gonna put on My My My My My
Doula Shoes Just To Doula for You, Yeah

Kathryn Lane Berkowitz, LCCE, CLC, CLA, CPD, CIR 
 Body and Sole MotherCare

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Janice Banther illustrates a clever way to teach about epidurals.

Most expectant parents have no idea how many medical interventions are involved in epidural anesthesia. In this video childbirth educator, Janice Banther, cleverly illustrates that reality !

How Slow Dancing Helps Women Cope With Labor and Birth

Doula and Childbirth Educator, Penny Simkin, describes how slow dancing is helpful in labor and birth.

Rhythm, Relaxation and Ritual helps women cope with childbirth

Penny Simkin discusses how to make the "3 Rs" work for you. Penny's contributions to the understanding of safe and healthy birth cannot be measured. She is a national treasure.

Baby Led Breastfeeding ~ Put the baby in the "Breastaurant" and baby will eat !

This is a fantastic video about baby led breastfeeding.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Connie Livingston's insight on hospital vs. out of hospital childbirth classes

Connie Livingston at Perinatal Education Associates, explains the cost of prepared childbirth classes, and compares and contrasts hospital vs. out of hospital classes in this insightful post.Click the link below the adorable photo.

 I am proud to be a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. I am passionate about helping families experience safe and healthy birth. It seems that some people today spend more time planning a wedding or party than they do planning their birth. As a result, some hospitals and birth facilities have cut corners when it comes to offering quality birth education. I believe parents should be encouraged by hospitals and birth centers to purposefully invest in preparation for the birth of their babies.

When an athlete trains for a marathon or big event that requires strength and skill, they study every physical and mental nuance and strategy for winning the game. This, to me, is what childbirth education is like. It should be focused on building skills and imprinting them on the brain, muscles and mind. 

Birth is instinctual, but many women today do not believe that they have everything they need to give birth. I liken it to what happens to wild animals when they are removed from their natural habitat. They forget how to survive in the wild. As such, modern maternity care takes women out of their natural birthing habitat and exposes them to unfamiliar surroundings, people, and things. This makes it very difficult for the hormonal cascade that facilitates normal birth to occur.

To have a safe and healthy birth, I believe that women should choose well trained midwives, who are guardians of normal birth, and quality childbirth education that integrates both the mind and body.

First time parents should receive at least 12 hours of education. 

Education Council: Standards of Practice for Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators and Lamaze Classes
Standards for Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators (LCCE educators)
The Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE educator) will:

  •  follow the Lamaze Code of Ethics for Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators,
  •  maintain certification through continuing education or re-examination as required by Lamaze International. Standards for Lamaze Childbirth Education Classes
    Lamaze International encourages Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators (LCCE educators) to offer childbirth education in a variety of formats throughout the childbearing year. This may include a series of classes with one group of students, several independent classes, or one-to-one teaching. Classes may be in-person or online. First time parents should receive a minimum of 12 hours of instruction.
    An educational offering may be identified as a “Lamaze” session, class, or class series if:
  •  it is presented by a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE),
  •  it is consistent with the mission, vision, and philosophy of Lamaze International,
  •  it promotes the Six Healthy Birth Practices identified by Lamaze International,
  •  it includes interaction between students and the educator,
  •  it promotes informed decision-making,
  •  it includes strategies to incorporate the cultural values and beliefs of the participants,
  •  the educator facilitates small groups of no more than 12 pregnant women and their support teams. Four to eight pregnant women with their support teams is considered an ideal class size.
    Approved by the Lamaze Education Council Governing Body/2010
    Source :
  • Monday, August 1, 2011


    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a drug safety communication on oral benzocaine products used in infants for teething. Benzocaine is the main ingredient in these gels and liquids which are applied to the gums or mouth to reduce pain.
    The FDA has received reports of a rare but potentially life threatening condition known as methemoglobinemia caused by use of these products. The condition results in a great reduction of the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream and, in most severe cases, can cause death. The FDA is recommending that benzocaine products should not be used on children less than two years of age, except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional. For more information, go to

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Innovative Preemie Breastfeeding Program Goes Online

    Innovative Preemie Breastfeeding Program Goes Online
    A UC San Diego Health System breastfeeding program supporting preemie babies is now online. The Supporting Premature Infant Nutrition (SPIN) program, developed by the UCSD Health System to help mothers produce sufficient breast milk for their premature infants, recently expanded its reach to anyone with Internet access. With a new website, the online SPIN program offers educational videos and resources such as pumping log sheets, lactation research and publications, and recipes. These online tools will allow mothers nationwide to learn about the program and follow the steps at their own convenience - while also serving as a teaching model for other health institutions. The overarching goal: Improving the manner in which NICUs across the nation support optimal nutrition and growth for preemies.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    “Your Guide to Breastfeeding”

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published, “Your Guide to Breastfeeding” and easy-to-read publication designed to provide women the information and support they need to breastfeed successfully.

    The Guide explains why breastfeeding is best and how loved ones can support a mother’s decision to breastfeed.

    Illustrations and expert tips are designed to aid new mothers in learning how to breastfeed comfortably and personal stories provide reassurance and encouragement.  “Your Guide to Breastfeeding” is available in English, Spanish and Chinese and can be accessed online at

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    New Australian Research Uncovers Clues to SIDS

    Research Uncovers Clue to SIDS

    A new Australian study finds that babies who sleep on their stomachs have lower levels of oxygen in their brains than those who sleep on their backs, suggesting that a lack of oxygen could explain why babies in this position are at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome while sleeping.

    The research also backs current recommendations on the prevention of SIDS that suggest infants be put on their backs to sleep.

    From the 1960s to the 1980s, the number of SIDs cases rose because parents were encouraged to put their babies to sleep on their stomachs. Around the world, most babies sleep on their backs and are even kept there in devices such as cradle boards."

    In the new study, the Australian researchers sought to understand what happens when babies sleep on their stomachs and why they face a risk of not being able to rouse themselves when something goes wrong, such as when they stop breathing for a time.

    The researchers tested 17 babies at different times during the first six months of life when they slept either on their backs or their stomachs. For safety, the babies were studied in a hospital and were fully monitored throughout the study with heart rate, breathing and oxygen saturation recorded continuously.

    The researchers found that oxygen levels in the brain dipped when babies slept on their stomachs. Previous research has shown that these babies also have lower blood pressure, although specialists have differed about whether that's important.

    The findings appear online Feb. 28 in the journal Pediatrics.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Humble Birth

    Today, I reflect on the nativity, the humility of the Lord's birth, and the patience and faithfulness of Mary and Joseph. It must have been extremely trying for them both to abandon themselves to God's plan, to endure the shame of a pregnancy shrouded in such mystery only to have to have the event of the birth of the Savior occur in a barn after a long and exhausting trip to Bethlehem.

    What was it like giving birth under those conditions ? According to Jewish law, it was forbidden for Joseph to be present at the birth upon the appearance of blood. Immediately after birth, a woman is considered niddah and must remain physically separated from her husband for a period of seven days after the birth of a male child. Lev. 12:2. But some teachings make provisions for men to help their wives if no one else is around. This raises the question, did they have a midwife help them ?

    Perhaps Mary was attended by the angels, who then announced to the shepherds what they had witnessed. Truly, this was the most amazing pregnancy and the most important birth in history.

    I believe the humble estate of the birth of Yeshua should remind us all to trust the wisdom and mercy of God to carry us through birth and life, in whatever we do. Blessed Christmas to all !

    I hope you enjoy this video, which highlights the simplicity and peace of birth, not in a barn, but at home.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Study Shows Formula Feeding Does Not Improve Sleep For New Mothers

    A new study, published November 8th in the journal Pediatrics, looked at infant feeding methods and mothers' sleep and her ability to function after giving birth  during weeks 2 through 12.  The researchers looked at factors like total sleep time, sleep efficiency and fragmentation, reported numbers of nightly awakenings, total nightly wake time, sleep quality and sleepiness or fatigue.

    There was no difference between women who were exclusively breastfeeding, exclusively formula feeding or using a combination of the two methods.

    These findings suggest that efforts to encourage women to breastfeed should include information about sleep.  In particular, women should be told that formula feeding does not equal improved sleep.
     To review the study online, go to

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    For a Safe and Healthy Baby, Let labor Begin On It's Own

    In a finding with implications for elective cesarean delivery, a large study has found that babies born at term but before 39 weeks may suffer more complications than infants delivered later.

    Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that elective delivery not occur before 39 weeks, many infants are delivered earlier without clear indication.

    Researchers have presented studies looking at the outcomes of infants considered to be delivered at term, but still slightly early. Data indicate that the extra time can matter to a fetus, even if the difference is only days.

    One study involved 12,821 births, all of which were delivered by prelabor elective cesarean at 37 weeks or more. The women, who had an average maternal age of 30 years, were enrolled in 19 centers around the country between 1999 and 2002 as part of the Maternal Fetal Medicine Units registry, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Women in the study had all undergone at least 1 prior cesarean and carried singleton pregnancies without malformations. Women were excluded from the study if they had a documented indication for delivery before 39 weeks.

    Compared with infants born at 39 weeks, those born at 37 weeks had 2- to 4-fold risk for complications. Infants born at 38 weeks had 1.5 to 2 times the risk for complications. Outcome measures included a list of 7 parameters, including respiratory distress syndrome, neonatal intensive care unit admission, sepsis, or hospitalization for more than 5 days.

    Even infants born within 3 days of the 39-week threshold had higher morbidity.

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    Renewing Our Minds and Emotions for A Better Birth Experience

    One of the first things many people think about when the word birth is mentioned is the word pain
    Pain is a word that, for many people, is synonymous with the word suffering. I think we can all agree that suffering is to be avoided at all costs in birth. Suffering crosses the threshold of what is acceptable in childbirth. But pain does not have to equal suffering. In an earlier Birthwhisperer post, Penny Simkin does a beautiful job describing the differences. 

    But pain is a unique experience for each of us. Women in labor express pain in different ways and have unique needs. Some like to be touched and talked to, others close themselves down, going inward to cope in their own ways, and both are normal. 

    How we perceive pain depends largely upon out attitudes about it. Do we see the work that our bodies are doing as a normal physiological process or do we see it as something to be feared and numbed from? 
    Birth, and the laborious process that brings forth a baby is an opportunity to gain insight into our strengths, and our faith in God. I am a Christian and I believe that God's marvelous and miraculous design is designed for our good and not our ruin. 

    Ask almost any woman about her birth and you will find that it can be one of the most empowering, wonderful events of a woman's life or one of the most devastating and disappointing. But rarely is it just another day. 
    Education, support and preparation are keys to a positive experience. Trusting God's design for our bodies and instincts will start us on the path to healthy and safe birth. 

    Pain is magnified by fear. When we feel fear, our bodies produce chemicals and hormones that work against the processes that help us birth safely. It can cause our muscles to tense up and it can cause our labors to slow down or stop. This is a vicious cycle that occurs when women enter a birth environment that feels threatening or unfamiliar. Anything that causes the mother's stress level to rise should be avoided in order to reduce the amount of suffering she experiences in birth. It is very important for her to be able to feel uninhibited, relaxed and at peace with what is happening and also who is present. 

    Pain can be greatly lessened by psychologically and spiritually preparing for the birth. For the woman who doesn't realize her options and that she has the right to be informed and make her own choices, birth can be a horrific ordeal. On the other hand, by asking questions and discussing her options and concerns a woman will feel like she is in control. In one study, this was the most important thing that women said made their birth experience more satisfactory. Interestingly, this was more important to women than the amount of pain they experienced, which may illustrate that women who feel in control are also less focused on pain. 

    Childbirth classes with a Lamaze certified childbirth educator can also help women avoid suffering by showing them how to work with the sensations of labor by using comfort measures that facilitate the birth rather than work against it, as some medical interventions do. Learning how to move, breathe and help your baby descend and move through your her pelvis can be a way that women work with their bodies, not against them. Many times, in hospitals, women are asked to assume positions and restrict their movement so that labor can become very painful. For example, when a woman is hooked up to an electronic fetal monitor, especially if it is an internal one, she may not be able to sit upright or walk around because the monitor might become displaced. If she is having "back labor" this could hamper her ability to get relief by getting on her hands and knees and rocking her pelvis. 

    The way that birth has become so technologically and medically managed may be why so many American women view pregnancy as a nuisance and birth as a painfully frightening ordeal. In addition, our attitudes about birth may reflect our unspoken feelings about our bodies and our sexuality. Think about the negative messages American society sends women about our bodies, pregnancy and birth. 
    Think about the ways that pregnancy and birth are often portrayed in the media. 
    What values have been passed down from our mothers and grandmothers about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding? 

    Many of our mothers and grandmothers were victims of a terrifying ordeal in which they were not adequately prepared, were made to endure alone, were completely anesthetized, were without the loving support of husbands or doulas, and then were told that artificial baby milk was superior to their own. They were robbed, just like many women are today. 
    Think about the many lies that women have been, and are still being told. 
    "Once a cesarean, always a cesarean."
    "Your baby is too big for you to push it out."
    "You can't make enough milk."
    "You must not gain more than 20lbs."
    How can this legacy of fear and suffering be reversed?

    Expectant mothers can take the time to explore their values and ask themselves "What do I need to happen in order to feel safe and cared for?" "How do I best deal with stress and how will I cope when things become challenging?" 

    The truth is that every birth, whether at home or in the hospital poses it's own set of risks. A woman should weight them all carefully and decide which environment is best suited to meet her unique needs. Many complications f pregnancy and birth can be prevented by good nutrition and a model of care that focuses on the woman's physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Midwives are the gold standard for this type of care. 

    Gen 49:25
    Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee…..blessing of the breasts and of the womb.

    Duet. 7:13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb…

    Psalms 22:9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mothers breasts.

    Psalms 22:10 I was cast upon thee form the womb: thou art my God from my mothers belly.

    Psalms 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thin heart: wait I say, on the LORD

    Psalms 40:17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

    Psalms 55:16 As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.
    55:22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

    Psalms 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

    Psalms 27:3 Lo children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

    Psalms 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mothers womb.

    Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

    Isaiah 44:2 Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee;…

    Isaiah 66:9 Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

    Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee,

    Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according the power that worketh in us,

    Isa 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

    Psa 22:19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

    Psa 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

    Psa 29:11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

    Psa 118:14 The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

    Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.

    Romans 12 :2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Thank You For Inviting Me To Your Birth !

    Welcome to my world. A world of wonder and inspiration. A world that has forever stamped upon my heart the virtues of tenderness, compassion, courage and patience, like sealing wax. I cannot adequately express my gratitude for the many experiences I have had. To be invited into the sacred space of birth by a woman is a very special thing. And every woman with whom I have allowed to be "with woman" has taught me something of immense value about the power of maternal love.

    I just wanted to say "Thank-You" to all of you who have invited me to support you in birth or postpartum. What a gift you have given me !

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Birth Shack BABY !

    In honor of my dear friend Jane who gave birth to her beautiful breech baby boy at the Farm "birth shack" pictured above.  I was her doula, Ina May was her midwife. And it was magical !

    If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says
    15 miles to the... Birth Shack! Birth Shack yeah
    I'm headin' down the Tennesse highway,
    lookin' for the birth getaway
    Heading for the birth getaway, birth getaway,
    I got me a bump, it's as big as a whale
    and we're headin' on down
    To the Birth Shack
    I got me a 'Burban, it seats about 20
    So hurry up and bring your midwife money

    The Birth Shack is a little old place
    where we can go to labor
    Birth Shack baby, Birth Shack bay-bee.
    Birth baby, that's where it's at,
    Ooo birth baby, that's where it's at

    Sign says.. Woo... stay away fools,
    'cause birth rules at the Birth Shack!
    Well it's set way back in the middle of a field,
    Just a funky old shack and I gotta get back

    Glitter on the mattress
    Glitter on the highway
    Glitter on the front porch
    Glitter on the hallway

    The Birth Shack is a little old place
    where we can go to labor
    Birth Shack bay-bee! Birth Shack baby!
    Birth Shack, that's where it's at!
    Huggin' and a kissin', dancin' and a lovin',
    wearin' next to nothing
    Cause it's hot as an oven
    The whole shack shimmies!
    The whole shack shimmies when everybody's
    Movin' around and around and around and around!
    Everybody's movin', everybody's groovin' baby!
    Baby linin' up inside just to get down
    Everybody's movin', everybody's groovin' baby
    Funky little shack! Funk-y little shack!

    Hop in my 'Burban,
    it's as big as a whale
    and it's about to set sail!
    I got me a car, it seats about twenty
    So c'mon and bring your midwife money.

    The Birth Shack is a little old place
    where we can get together
    Birth Shack baby! Birth Shack bay-bee!
    (Birth Shack...Birth Shack...)
    Birth Shack, that's where it's at!

    Bang bang bang on the door baby!
    Knock a little louder baby!
    Bang bang bang on the door baby!
    I can't hear you
    Bang bang on the door baby
    Bang bang on the door
    Bang bang on the door baby
    Bang bang
    You're what?... Ten C's ready !

    Birth Shack, baby Birth Shack!
    Birth Shack, baby birth Shack!
    Love baby, that's where it's at
    Birth Shack, baby birth Shack!
    Love baby, that's where it's at
    Huggin' and a kissin',
    dancin' and a lovin' at the birth shack