Categories
Birth Doulas Business Events Postpartum Doulas Uncategorized

The 19th Annual UDA Spring Conference

One of the things I love so much about the Utah Doula Association is the annual conference that is put on every spring. The first time I attended was three years ago and as a brand spanking new doula I felt a little awkward and out of place being surrounded by so many experienced and seasoned doulas. Everyone knew each other and had been doula-ing a lot longer than me. But the information I received was and continues to be amazing!

The UDA recently had their conference on April 8, 2017. It was a rainy soggy day but upon entering the room you could feel the energy and excitement from everyone there; they weren’t going to let a little rain dampen their spirits.

After some mingling and a lovely catered breakfast from Blue Lemon, UDA founder Kristi Ridd-Young took the stage to welcome us all the 19th annual UDA Spring Conference. She started out with a well-known quote from Maya Angelou, my favorite part of it being:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I feel that is so applicable to doulas. What mother after 36 hours of labor will remember every loving and kind word their doula spoke to them? None. But what they will remember is their doula comforting them and making them feel safe and loved. The doulas in the UDA not only treat their clients this way, but each other as well. They doula each other through hard times in life, always reminding one another that they have a village, they have a family, they have help. Kristi made clear that this is a unique group of women in Utah with the UDA. Not every doula group has this kind of compassion and love for one another.

In other states where doula groups exist there is backbiting and competition. There is gossip and negative speech. There is not acceptance and love the way it is here in Utah. The mentorship that comes from the UDA to newer doulas is outstanding. It is recognized that doula work is hard; emotionally, mentally and physically, and in order for doulas to continue in this work they will need support and continuing education. The UDA vision statement addresses these needs and more:

“The Utah Doula Association provides continuing education, community support and marketing to doulas. We strive to elevate the role of a doula through professional relationships, community awareness, and provide volunteer opportunities to support at-risk, low-income, and underserved families in our community.”

The day was filled with wonderful presentations, ranging from Mindfulness and Meditation for the Perinatal Period to round-table discussions led by more experienced doulas on topics such as: How to get partners involved, how to build relationships with providers, and pre/postnatal nutrition. There was a lively and spirited presentation by Dr. Krisina Stitcher on, “The Effect of Stressors on the Newborn.” Dr. Stitcher is a wonderful chiropractor with Family First Chiropractic and Wellness where she specializes in prenatal chiropractic work as well as care for newborns and young children.

We learned from Terah Jones and her husband about how to support families who have unexpected outcomes with childbirth. This information was invaluable to learn as a doula and it’s something everyone, despite your profession, can benefit from. Saying things like, “Your baby is beautiful and perfect” can be far more helpful than saying “I’m sorry.” Planning ahead for unplanned outcomes can be uncomfortable but it can really make a difference.

Everyone was excited for Dr. Jed Vandenberghe and his presentation, “A Holistic Approach to Autism.” While he admitted there is still no direct known cause for autism he did emphasize pregnant women should remove soy from their diets and eat only organic/non-GMO corn, wheat and oats. He recommends children under 2 eat only organic/non-GMO corn, wheat, and oats as well. He also strongly suggested not using Roundup in your yard or garden. While correlation does not equal causation there is a strong correlation between the use of Roundup and increase in autism. Despite Tylenol being used regularly after vaccines Dr. Vandenberghe discourages this common practice. Maintain a healthy micro biome by avoiding antibiotics unless necessary and always follow with a good probiotic.

I know I am not alone when I say I am so grateful for all the hard work, time, and effort everyone put into the conference. The Utah Doula Association is dedicated to mentoring and educating its members all while creating a community of support and love. If you have been on the fence about joining the UDA I highly suggest you take the plunge and do it. The Spring Conference is just one of many opportunities provided to help navigate the birth profession. You won’t regret it!

 

Melissa Olson                                                                                                                                                                   Birth Doula                                                                                                                                                            Bundles of Joy Doula Services

Categories
Birth Doulas Diversity Parents

Attending the Birth of a Muslim Mother: A Birth Doula’s Experience

 

I have been called to attend two births of Muslim mothers in my time as a doula. I have found their culture to be very warm and welcoming, and I loved the experience I gained from attending Muslim families. This particular Muslim birth I attended was a very special experience.

The whole family came and waited and prayed in the waiting area while the mom labored. Everyone was very happy and friendly, and at one point they started a roster with guesses of birth weight and time of birth that was almost two pages long! Most Muslim births are all-female with only the birthing woman’s mother, mother in law, sisters, and other female family members present.

While this sweet mother did not choose to have an all-female staff, most observing Muslim women prefer to only birth in a location where they can guarantee no men will be present with the exception of the father of the baby. This can also exclude male doctors and nurses, so the birthing location is methodically thought out prior to baby’s arrival. Many Muslim women also prefer to stay very modest and covered throughout the birth experience, using sheets to cover their legs while pushing and minimal exposure of their pregnant belly.

While speaking to this family before the birth, they told me that the level of dedication to their religion dictates how the mother chooses to dress during birth. This mother was planning on letting her instincts and body lead and guide her during her birth and she wasn’t going to worry about remaining any more modest than she felt would be comfortable for her.

During birth it is normal for prayers to be spoken aloud for the mother to listen to as she labors. The prayers are quiet and meditative, and although I couldn’t understand what was being said, it was so beautiful and calming to listen to. My client’s mother in law was the one praying during this birth and she was so sweet, hugging me in celebration of new life.

After this baby was born, she was brought up to her mother’s chest and my client’s mother-in-law began to ‘read on’ the baby. I felt honored to witness this private rite of passage; sometimes this can also be referred to as an Adhan. Prayers and verses from the Quran are whispered in to the baby’s right ear and then again into the baby’s left ear so that it is the first words she hears. Many of these versus are fundamental and serve as a pivot point around which the life of a Muslim rotates, so it is very symbolically significant to be done immediately after birth.

It is culturally and religiously important for Muslim women to breastfeed their babies. They believe that eating specific kinds of dates called ratb help to improve breastmilk quality. The Quran also makes many references to the benefit of breastfeeding their children for two years. After birth, the women are given Cinnamon Tea to help the uterus shrink back to size, ease cramping and discomfort, and warm the mother. It is often used during periods for similar reasons. Cinnamon Tea is made with cinnamon sticks boiled in water, and then walnuts, sugar, and butter are put in it before drinking. I was so excited when I was offered some during my postpartum visit with this mom and I still think about the amazing taste and heat of that tea. It really cleared my sinuses!

Each religion and culture has their own customs surrounding pregnancy and birth. It is not typical for Muslim women to have a baby shower, but women still can if they choose to, especially as Western culture finds its way into many aspects of day-to-day life. Often, after a Muslim child is born it is common for an aqiqah (pronounced ah-kee-kah) to be held a week or so after the baby is born to celebrate with close family and friends. Other than this celebration, the family stays in their home for up to 40 days while family and friends provide meals to them during that sacred postpartum time.

I still have so much to learn about this amazing culture and its people. Going into these births, I was very open about wanting to know how to best serve these families. I asked them to tell me as much as I needed to know so that I could support them with love and respect. I would advise anyone in a similar doula/client situation to do the same.

These families were so happy and willing to share their personal lives and culture with me, don’t be afraid to ask! If you have experience working with other cultures or specific religions, make sure that people know it! The second Muslim family contacted me for their birth because they heard that I had previously worked with other Muslims, and it was comforting to them. If you have specific experience, list that on your website so it’s welcoming for people of other cultures.

Many times, if you have multi-cultural experience it will lead to a more diverse clientele, not just more of the same culture you are advertising to. You are drawing in and welcoming all kinds of people by showing that you have a willing heart to serve those who have a different cultural background than you do.

 

Bonnie Baker is a birth doula, Hypnobabies instructor, placenta encapsulation specialist, bengkung belly binder, and fertility educator. She serves Salt Lake County and Davis/Weber County. Learn more about Bonnie at www.BellisimoBirth.com 

 

Categories
Birth Doulas Diversity Outreach Committee Parents Postpartum Doulas

Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers, Book Review

 

Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers
by Jeanine Valrie Logan & Anayah Sangoele-Ayoka

As doulas, part of our role is to provide general information, tips, and help with getting our clients started breastfeeding. It is important for us to take into account the societal and cultural factors that could present possible hurdles for our clients who choose to breastfeed. That is why I was so excited to read Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers. The book (available on Kindle or paperback) is a collection of stories, essays, poems, and email conversations from a wide variety of black mothers. They all share their unique experiences and perspectives regarding their personal breastfeeding journeys, with all the ups, downs, joys and challenges that most women who breastfeed eventually feel. The book is broken up into six chapters covering topics such as the legacy of breastfeeding, myths and barriers, troubleshooting problems, stories of empowerment, and the eventual ending of the breastfeeding relationship. The book ends with a collection of useful terms and resources, as well as profiles for each of the contributors.

The authors compiled all of the stories into this book to “act as a starting point for discussions within our communities, a steadfast support in those difficult moments, and a self-empowering guide when discussing one’s breastfeeding goals with family, friends, partners, and health care providers…because breastfeeding IS the revolution.”

 

The Health Implications of Not Breastfeeding, and How Black Mothers are Disproportionally Affected

Statistically, African-American mothers are the least likely ethnic group to breastfeed, and if they do breastfeed it is often only for a short time. The authors point out that there is a shortage of breastfeeding support groups specifically targeted to black women, as well as a “lack of trained lactation consultants, specialists, educators and counselors in black communities.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that black women breastfeed at a rate of 54%, compared to white women at 74% (source). Black women under the age of 45 are also at a higher risk for developing breast cancer compared to white women, (source) and the authors point out “that breastfeeding not only reduces one’s risk for developing breast cancer, but risk is also exponentially reduced the longer one breastfeeds. This information is major for black women who die from breast cancer at a rate four times greater than white women.” (source)

Black Women and Breastfeeding: A Complicated History 

With the clear health benefit to breastfeeding, as well as the emotional benefits of bonding with one’s child through the breastfeeding relationship, one may wonder why more black women don’t breastfeed. There is a complex history surrounding black women and breastfeeding, and for some women this plays into their decision not to breastfeed.

A “Wet Nurse” is a woman who is hired to nurse and sometimes care for another woman’s child. Wet nurses have been used throughout history, but the author tells us that wet nurses “are very significant to Black American history. Black female slaves were readily used as wet nurses for their owners’ children, often at the sacrifice of their own children.” Because of this, some black women feel a complicated mix of feelings around breastfeeding. The author of the blog post Breastfeeding While Black: Let’s Normalize It also shares more reasons why black women may not breastfeed, including “lack of general knowledge, few hospital resources, limited peer support, lack of family/spousal support, and insufficient maternity leave.”

 

What Can We As Doulas Do?

As doulas, each of us has the power to help black women in our communities breastfeed if they choose to. We can reach out to offer support, education, resources and help clear up myths and misconceptions about breastfeeding. We can connect clients with resources specifically geared toward black mothers, starting with the resource list below. Also, please share this blog post on social media to help spread the word about the need for more breastfeeding education and support for black mothers.

 

Resources 

  1. Motherlove podcast: featuring the authors of the book
  2. Black Breastfeeding Week: Annual celebration of Black mothers who breastfeed
  3. Black Breastfeeding Week Facebook page 
  4. Black Women Do Breastfeed: Website featuring a blog, resources, and breastfeeding stories
  5. Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association: Providing resources and support to African-American breastfeeding families
  6. Mocha Manual: pregnancy and parenting lifestyle website and blog for African-Americans
  7. Black Breastfeeding 360: A comprehensive multi-media content library of resources, perspectives and voices of the Black breastfeeding experience
  8. African-American Breastfeeding Alliance: Empowering Black families to breastfeed their children
  9. Uzazi Village: Providing support groups for breastfeeding mothers
  10. R.O.S.E. (Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere): Programs that include breastfeeding clubs for moms
  11. Blacktating: Breastfeeding news and views from a mom of color
  12. Mocha Moms: a support group for stay at home mothers of color with information on childrearing and other family topics
  13. Black Women Breastfeeding: A Multi-Generational Story”, short YouTube video
  14. The African-American Breastfeeding Project”, YouTube mini-documentary
  15. Utah Breastfeeding Coalition: To collaboratively support, protect, promote, and celebrate breastfeeding in the State of Utah
  16. Utah Department of Health Breastfeeding Resources
  17. La Leche League of Utah

 

Beth Hardy, SCMT, MT-BC, PCD(DONA)
Music Therapist | Birth Doula | Postpartum Doula
www.HeartTonesDoula.com 

 

Categories
Birth Doulas Business Members Only

Postpartum Planning

Do I need a postpartum plan?

        Expectant couples can spend months researching their perfect birth. They need to decide the birth place, healthcare professional, doulas, and birth

photographers, etc. Often times a lot of time and money are allotted to creating a great birth plan. While all of those aspects are sincerely important

many expectant couples fail to consider the postpartum period. The postpartum period can take mothers and families by surprise. According to a recent

article, (Christiansen, 2014), Utah had the highest rate of mental illness in the nation. Many of us may not have expected the sleepless nights, endless

crying, sore body, sore breasts and completely dependent creature we were bringing home. Many of us may not have expected to experience a mood

disorder, postpartum depression or anxiety. While the new mom may also be healing from a vaginal birth or cesarean birth she and her family still need

to be cared for. Meals need to be made, the house cleaned, dishes and laundry done, naps taken, mom well rested, feed, supported and other children

care for (insert plug for postpartum doulas:). Because the postpartum period inhabits so much and lasts for months if not years it’s essential to plan

accordingly.

How can you make a postpartum plan?

Although a postpartum plan is similar to a birth plan, here are a few additional things to consider…

  • Who can offer assistance either by rallying family or friends or hiring a postpartum doula to support you.
  • How long your partner will be off work to bond with baby and help mom.
  • Who can help schedule the delivery of meals.
  • Who can transport older children to and from school?
  • Plan dates and travel arrangements for out of town family visits.
  • Decide who can come pick up toddlers and have playdates while you rest.
  • Can you pay for a housecleaning service?
  • How long will your maternity leave be?
  • Do you need to pump extra while on maternity leave to have a milk storage?
  • Do you need to start interviewing nanny’s or daycare providers?

 

  • Things to get done at home before baby arrives…
  • Prepare a bunch of freezer meals. Fill your freezer!
  • Buy a lot of healthy snacks to keep on hand when mom isn’t able to cook.
  • Wash and organize all the baby’s laundry.
  • Create a feeding area with a water bottle, snack supplies, books, phone charger, magazines, etc.
  • Talk to older siblings about you new addition. Enjoy the everyday moments!

Christiansen, B. (2014, March 09). Heraldextra.com. Utah has highest rate of mental illness in US | Local News | heraldextra.com. Retrieved January 09, 2017, from http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/utah-has-highest-rate-of-mental-illness-in-us/article_053ef820-584d-5930-953e-c75548be7c5c.html

Tobie Baxter-Spears
Certified Postpartum Doula

peacefuldoulaservices.net

Categories
Birth Doulas Exercise Nutrition Postpartum Doulas Pregnancy

Common Questions in Pregnancy

Photo by Julian Marks at Picture Your Birth

Pregnancy is full of so many new and beautiful things (and let’s be real here… a few not so beautiful things.) With those things come questions. Oh, so very many questions. As doulas, we hear a lot of these and we have some incredible members of the Utah Doula Association here to answer a few for you. 


But first: A disclaimer-  We are not medical providers. Please talk to your doctor or midwife about any questions/concerns you have. After all, that’s one of the reasons you’ve hired them… They want you and your baby to stay happy and healthy!


Now onto the questions! We chose the questions we see and hear most often from our clients and community and collected answers from some of our local doulas.

What foods should I avoid?

”Eating well-balanced meals during pregnancy is very important for you and your developing baby. Most foods are safe; however, there are some foods that should be avoided. Here is a list of the top foods to avoid during pregnancy.

  • Raw or undercooked meats, seafood, and shellfish
  • Deli meats or refrigerated meat of any kind, unless heated until steaming (165° F)
  • Fish containing high levels of mercury including: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Canned, chunk light tuna usually contains less mercury than other tuna, but should be limited to less than 6 ounces per week.
  • Organ meat more than once per week
  • Raw eggs or any foods containing raw eggs
  • Unpasteurized milk, cheeses, or fruit juice
  • Salads from the deli containing eggs or meat
  • More than 200 mg of caffeine per day
  • Alcohol
  • Unwashed produce
  • Raw or undercooked sprouts
  • Junk foods

If you have questions about the safety of a certain food, be sure to speak with your care provider.”

– Karina Robinson, myutahdoulas.com

Can I still workout?

“I would say always check with a doctor before beginning a new exercise routine, if you have been
active before it is ok to continue being active, and be sure to talk to your instructors and ask them for modifications if you do any type of high impact workouts. Yoga, moderate cardio, and moderate weight training have shown to actually be beneficial in pregnancy.”

– Bonnie Baker, bellissimobirth.com

What should I put in my hospital bag?

“Of course some of the more obvious items come to mind: toothbrush, phone charger and hair brush. But maybe you have a comfort item such as a blanket or picture that relaxes you? Is your pillow amazing and you can’t sleep without it? Pajamas, slippers and a bathrobe can help you feel more comfortable in the sterile environment of a hospital. Bring whatever is that helps you feel like you. It could be mascara, lip gloss or a curling iron. Hospitals are dry so bring lotion and chapstick as well. And don’t forget the car seat!!”

– Melissa Olson, bundlesofjoy.biz

What is a birth plan and how do I write one?

“A birth plan is a tool for communicating your needs and desires for your birth experience to your doctor, nurses, midwife, and/or doula. When writing yours, consider how you want your birth to be. What would you like to have as part of it? What procedures would you like to avoid? If you aren’t sure, Google some examples of birth plans to see what’s included. A good rule of thumb is to keep it to one page with bulleted points. Clear and concise. Focus more on what you DO want than what you don’t. And make sure your doctor, spouse or partner, and anyone else supporting you reads it before you go into labor.”

– BreeAnn Moore, positivebodymindandbaby.com

How can I make sure I stay hydrated?

“Staying hydrated is so important for mother and baby. Get yourself a leak-proof water bottle that you LOVE (you’re more likely to use it if you love it!) Keep it with you at all times to sip throughout the day. Make a habit of taking a few swallows every time you use the bathroom, whenever you receive a text, when you feel your baby move, or whatever other small task will help you to remember. If plain water is hard to drink, consider adding a squeeze of lemon, a few muddled mint leaves, or a small handful of fresh or frozen berries. Try eating fruits and vegetables with a high water content too. Apples, oranges, melons, leafy greens, and celery are great options.”

– Melissa Nanes, honeybeebirth.com

What stretches can help relieve pregnancy aches and pains?

“Aches and pains are very common in pregnancy – specifically and especially in the low back. Before I get into some of the stretches that may help, I want to say that if you are having debilitating or persistent pain you should bring it up with your care provider who can work with you to set up an exercise plan specific to you and your needs. If you’re not worried about the pain and simply seeking some comfort, here are some ideas for you: pigeon pose, modified or not, is a great pose to both externally rotate the hip and get a nice stretch in the low back – two things that will help bring relief. Hamstring stretches, like a standing or seated forward fold, will also stretch the low back. Hugging the knees into the chest – as wide as you need your knees to accommodate your growing belly – or some gentle twists can also be helpful to the low back. Three great strengthening exercises for the low back are reverse plank or simple reverse table-top position, bridge pose, and staff pose – strengthening the area may be just what you need for some added support to hold up your growing uterus and the extra bit of weight that makes up your sweet baby – or babies!”

– Stephanie Baldi, bluelotusmama.com

How do I use a birthing ball/peanut ball?

“Birthing and peanut balls are amazing tools to use both during pregnancy and labor. Sitting on a birth ball can help you maintain good posture and keep your pelvis open so baby can more easily get into an optimal position for delivery. Many women find that during the early stages of labor they can help trigger contractions by bouncing on a birthing ball or doing hip circles while sitting on one. Peanut and birthing balls are also fabulous ways to be in a more resting position during labor, while also helping with maintaining good posture, positioning, and opening of the pelvis. Some great restful positions include: lying on your side with a peanut ball between your legs, sitting on a birth ball while lying/leaning over a bed or couch arm, and sitting in a reclined position with a peanut ball under one knee.”

– Charity Wheeler, purelovedoula.com

How do I write a postpartum plan?

“Expectant couples can spend months researching their perfect birth, but many  fail to consider the postpartum period and it can take mothers by surprise. Because the postpartum period inhabits so much and lasts for months, if not years, it’s essential to plan accordingly. A postpartum plan is similar to your birth plan. Here are a few things to consider…

  • Who can offer assistance by rallying family and friends or choosing a postpartum doula to support you?
  • How long will your partner be off work to bond with baby and help mom?
  • Who can help schedule the delivery of meals?
  • Who can transport older children to and from school?
  • Plan ahead for dates and travel arrangements for out of town family visits.
  • Who can come pick up toddlers and have playdates while you rest?
  • Can you pay for a housecleaning service?
  • How long will your maternity leave be?
  • Do you need to pump extra while on maternity leave to have a milk storage?
  • Do you need to start interviewing nannies or daycare providers?

Things to be done at home before your baby is here…

  • Prepare a bunch of freezer meals. Fill your freezer!
  • Buy a lot of healthy snacks to keep on hand when mom isn’t able to cook.
  • Wash and organize all baby’s laundry.
  • Create a feeding area with a water bottle, snacks, magazines, etc.
  • Talk to older siblings about your new addition.
  • Enjoy the everyday moments!”

– Tobie Spears, peacefuldoulaservices.net

What if I am not sure about the care provider that I have chosen… especially late in my pregnancy?

“Trust your gut feeling. If you are questioning things about your care provider, look into other options. It’s not too late, even near the end of pregnancy, to change your mind. You might find that it’s the best decision that you’ve ever made. It certainly does not hurt to look into your options. There are usually red flags during the pregnancy if your care provider is not supportive of your birthing choices. Don’t ignore those. It is one of the most important choices that you can make in your whole birthing experience. Even if you are in labor at a hospital and you don’t like your nurse don’t feel bad about asking for a new one.”

– Joleen Cullens, thehealingtreemassage.com

When will I go into labor and what happens if I go over my due date?

“These may feel like the most pertinent questions as you near your birthing time. We are so used to planning and knowing what happens next and when. Being used to scheduling everything can make the unknown of the birthing time seem elusive and perhaps always on the horizon.  You may not find it comforting to be told things like, ‘Baby will come when they are ready.’  Or even, ‘It will happen when it happens.’ It won’t take away the guesswork of the unknown, but it may help you breath easier knowing that the time frame during which baby can arrive really is not easily written down to a certain day.  

So what do you do if you go over your due date?  This is a perfect question to ask your care provider.  His/her answer will give you a good idea about their policies regarding ‘over term’ births and if their policies match how you would handle the situation.  Some providers may begin suggesting induction as early as 39 weeks.  Others will follow your lead to wait for baby to come on their own as long as everyone is looking healthy and strong.  When making a decision between induction and waiting for labor to occur spontaneously, it is important that you gather all the information necessary to make a decision for you and your baby.  ACOG’s (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) current recommendation is that induction based on due dates is not recommended before 39 weeks, nor 39-41 weeks unless the cervix is deemed favorable.  Ultimately, choosing to wait for baby to come on their own is the safest option for both mother and baby, as it lowers the chance of birthing by cesarean section, and shows improved outcomes for both mother and baby.  Since there is no magical number for knowing when your baby is fully developed and ready to be born, leaving it up to him or her to choose their birthing time, when possible, is ideal.”  

– Raquel Alfaro, starlightdoulaservices.com

How can I prepare for my VBAC?

“Read pregnancy and vaginal birth after cesarean books. I think some really good ones are The VBAC Companion by Diana Korte, Open Season by Nancy Wainer Cohen, Birthing From Within by Pam England, and Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth. Consider registering for VBAC specific courses in an independent prenatal program. These can be refresher courses if you have taken courses before. I’d also recommend participating in ICAN.  It is a support group for women that have had a previous cesarean. They are amazing, and a wonderful free resource!

Enlist the encouragement of a supportive care provider. Find a caregiver/hospital who already provides the options you want, and doesn’t need to be convinced.   Find someone who believes in you and your body’s capability to birth your baby, in VBACs, has a VBAC success rate over 75%, and a cesarean rate that is lower than the community average. If possible, consider having a midwife as your primary caregiver. Midwives have a very low rate of cesarean birth. If you are unsure about anything, get a second opinion. Trust your inner strength and knowledge.

Hire a doula/labor assistant/support person. It is worth every penny to be reassured during labor by someone who believes birth is a natural function. This person will have supportive non-medical skills to help you through labor for the birth you want. This person will assist you from the day you hire her right through postpartum, and provide in person support from the onset of labor until you have settled in to cuddle with your baby.

Throughout pregnancy, practice relaxation.  Your body has muscle memory and the more you practice releasing the muscles in your pelvic floor, legs, and buttocks the less you will have to ‘convince’ your body to do while in labor.  Use affirmations such as ‘each contraction strengthens my baby and me.’ Or ‘I will birth my baby vaginally, naturally, and joyfully.’ Discuss everything that is important to you with your care provider, putting it all into your birth plan. Make extra copies to be put in your chart. Know your hospital’s VBAC policies and negotiate well before the birth for anything different. Your doula will happily discuss with you what to put in the plan if you have any trouble at all writing it.  Research your options.  Talk with your birth partner.

You can do this!”

– Rachel Winsley, mindfulbirthllc.com

We hope some of your questions have been answered here and that the UDA will continue to be a useful reference and resource to you. Stay tuned for future posts!


 

Categories
Birth Doulas Business Events Outreach Committee UDA Membership

February Mentor Meeting Highlights

Last night was our very first mentor meeting of 2017 and boy was it good! The topic was “Social Media and Your Doula Business,” something I’m sure we all can appreciate. It is basically impossible to have a successful business these days without a strong online presence, and this can no longer be accomplished with just a website. Social media has given marketing and advertising a whole new face and it’s imperative to understand at least the basics.

I, for one, am grateful that the Utah Doula Association shows how much it values its members by having monthly mentor meetings. The UDA wants to support you as you build and grow your doula business. These meetings are a fabulous opportunity to learn from the more seasoned doulas and – in this month’s case – learn  from Social Marketing pro April de Haan.

With her adorable Australian accent April explained how she actually knew very little about what a doula is and what we do. But you would never know that with how beautifully she presented information to us on branding, best times to post, how many characters are recommended and even how many hashtags are appropriate. Who knew it was such a science? After studying and working in social marketing for 12 years, April certainly knows the ins and outs of social media.

She made us great little pamphlets to take home. The first few pages went through Instagram and Twitter. (Did you know retweeting too often can be a bad thing? Yea, neither did I.) Image sizes are crucial to your posts as well, which was well covered in the Best Practice table. This table featured Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Image size, text length, frequency of posts, links/hashtags and videos were all covered in one convenient little page to reference.

Clearly, in order to post anything you must have content: something to talk about and engage your followers. It’s not always easy to be creative, but taking time each week to brainstorm is so important to always have new data. Your followers and potential clients want to see that you are active. They want to see you posting, informing, creating dialogue and engaging.

With this in mind, April outlined the content pyramid for us. The base of your pyramid is information. You want to be posting in this category about 3 times/week. Next is conversation; aim to start discussions 2 times/week. The third tier is entertainment, which should be done weekly. Funny videos or memes are perfectly acceptable and encouraged! The fourth tier is sales. Limit this to 1 or 2 times a month. Let potential clients know about any specials you’re offering, but don’t bog them down. And finally, at the top of the pyramid is teaching. Are you in a position to teach a monthly class? Can you give a presentation at an expo or Positive Birth meetup? These are great ways to let people know you are active and passionate in your field.

All of the social media channels offer insights into your page. How many views are you getting? Who is the majority of your audience? How many clicks to your website? Learning how to use these tools can be invaluable when it comes to attracting the right clients for you.

Ask any of the doulas who attended this meeting and I am sure they will all tell you how excited they were to go home and work on some of the things we learned. Be sure to join us at our next mentor meeting on Saturday, March 4 where we will have an experienced doula panel to answer all your questions about doula work! Learn more here. 

If you are interested in getting in touch with April de Haan:

(435) 640-5030                                                                                                                         dehaan.april@gmail.com                                                                                                                                   Twitter: @apesicles                                                                                                                                          LinkedIn: au.linkedin.com/in/aprildehaan

Melissa Olson-                                                                                                                               Birth Doula                                                                                                                                Bundles of Joy                                                                                                                              Doula Services

 

 

 

Categories
Birth Doulas Diversity Events Outreach Committee

How the New UDA Outreach Committee Will Rock 2017

Melissa Olson – Birth Doula Bundles of Joy Doula Services 

The Utah Doula Association is starting 2017 strong with over 130 members. These amazing doulas are as diverse as the women and families they serve. Utah’s birth community has grown and developed in such a way that it prompted a change within the UDA.  Utah families need a safe place to come to know doulas, their philosophies, talents, backgrounds, passions, skills, and compassion. The Utah Doula Association is excited to meet this need in 2017 with the new Outreach Committee.

“The Outreach Committee is my lovechild.  I dreamt it up in my brain, honed its image through conversation and commiseration, and mapped out its framework under the glow of my laptop computer in the wee hours of the morning.  The women who have stepped up to the plate in its first year are true leaders and imaginaries.” –Rachel Winsley, 2017 president elect

The goal of the Outreach Committee is not only to present resources and services to marginalized and under-served families but also to highlight the amazing group of doulas we have at the UDA and what doulas of the UDA can do for you.

Our goal and plan are to publish weekly blog posts that are designed to help Utah families get to know doulas with active memberships in the Utah Doula Association. The Outreach Committee will showcase the benefits of hiring a doula that is affiliated with our organization, offer helpful tips and information with regard to pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. We will strive to provide well-rounded information to readers of all backgrounds and identities and share uplifting stories for all.

The first week of the month we will recap local events organized by the Utah Doula Association. Every month there is an opportunity to develop professionally and personally at an event sponsored, organized and facilitated by the UDA. These events include mentor meetings, the UDA New Year’s Dinner in January, the UDA Spring Conference in April, a summer potluck in July and the UDA Fall Retreat in November. Find a calendar of our events here and be sure to follow our Facebook page here for more details.

The second week of the month will be a blogpost especially for expectant mothers. The skills and knowledge of UDA doulas will be highlighted as doulas within our organization guest blog on various topics ranging from commonly asked questions about pregnancy, birth stories, personal experiences with infertility, recipes, video testimonials, etc.

The third week of the month will focus on the postpartum period. The postpartum period presents a special challenge for mothers. Will they breastfeed? Are they going to work outside of the home? What is on the other side of postpartum depression? What do I eat when I don’t have time for anything?  These are issues that will be discussed with care and compassion by birth workers who are enthusiastic about supporting parents during the fourth trimester and beyond.

The fourth topic of the month will be that of diversity. Issues facing minorities and marginalized families will be our focus. We live in such a diverse world and it is our goal to better understand birthing couples in Utah and how we can connect with and support one another.

The Outreach Committee of the Utah Doula Association is committed to providing a balanced approach and safe place to come for information. We are excited to have formed this new committee within the Utah Doula Association Board and look forward to publishing informative material that will benefit families in the mountain west.