Friday, November 13, 2009

H1N1 Policy change: Labour and Birth Visitor Protocol at Regina General Hospital


Visitors are restricted to those individuals necessary for patient well-being or care in order to protect pregnant women, new mothers and newborns from contact with H1N1.During your stay on our unit, your visitors are restricted to a maximum of two individuals:
- your partner
- your labour coach or support person

Grandparents of the baby are welcome to attend for a post-birth visit. After the birth of your baby, you may designate two individuals (over the age of 18), other than your partner, to receive “baby ID tags” and visit you and your baby on the Mother/ Baby unit.

Individuals sick with fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea MAY NOT VISIT.


Until further notice, visitors are restricted to those individuals necessary for patient well-being or care in order to protect pregnant women, new mothers, newborns and children from contact with pandemic H1N1.

Partner will receive a baby band (or a blue band if baby not delivered).

2 support people as identified by the mother: You will need to choose and give each a clear band with date.

“Visitors are restricted to those individuals necessary for patient well-being or care” which means Doulas and those providing breastfeeding support are also given a band -- they are not included in the two mom chooses. L&B have extra bands and have been instructed to give the Doula one and Mom two to give out.

No children under the age of 18 allowed, this includes siblings.

We understand this may be difficult but are concerned for the well being of all.

Any visitor without the wrist band will not be allowed entrance.

If you have questions or concerns please talk to the nurse in charge.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Good Patient" Syndrome

Do you suffer from "Good Patient Syndrome"?? Do you have a tendency to do what the doctor says, even when it goes against your instincts, even when you've promised yourself you'd be a stronger self-advocate?

I just ran across a wonderful article on the International Caesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)'s website, which discusses using Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to enable oneself to be more assertive when communicating with "authority figures", specifically medical staff during birth. While it is, of course, very important to maintain communication in as amicable a manner as possible, it doesn't mean that you need to allow your rights to be trampled on, especially during a rite of passage as important to both you and your baby as your baby's birth.

Here is the article

Read. Absorb. Allow yourself to become empowered . . . in the end, noone can really speak up for you but you. Good luck on your journey and peace in birth!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birth is . . .

Birth is ancient
Birth is powerful
Birth is spiritual
Birth is variable
Birth is at its best when unhindered
Birth is a natural, normal physiological event for a woman
Birth is a transformative event that allows a woman to open up completely to the power of the universe in body, mind and spirit / physically, intellectually, emotionally
Birth is a lesson in surrender
Birth is a lesson in being present in the moment
Birth is primal and instinctual, not intellectual

Birth teaches us how to be mothers. Birth requires presence, patience, space, at times determination, decisions (sometimes in opposition to societal conventions) and the strength to make those decisions. Sometimes birth requires us to make choices we didn’t expect to have to make - learning to adapt to ever changing and sometimes quickly changing circumstances is one of the great lessons of birth.

Birth is sacred and biological. It allows us the opportunity to realize what it’s like to live within our instincts, in our primal brain, rather than living within our intellect. It requires us, for its ease, to feel safe and secure and to seek those qualities out for our children. Birth allows us a chance to touch creation, to go deep within the Source of Universal power and come out wiser for it. Birth allows us to open our minds and spirits to the wisdom of the universe, beyond current rational human though patterns and gain perspectives we were previously unaware of.

Birth, no matter the means or the outcome, transforms us. Once a woman has birthed her baby, she will never look at the world in exactly the same way.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Hormones of Primal Birthing: Endorphins


What are endorphins?
Endorphins are hormones, the body's natural pain-killers, reported to be 10x stronger than morphine. They give an overall feeling of well-being and can make a person feel "high". Another way of looking at the altered state produced by endorphins is that they take a person into the "alpha-state", which is a dreamlike state between being awake and asleep.

What do endorphins do in childbirth?
Endorphins can be responsible for "painless" childbirth. If not painless, they can make pain an irrelevant factor or make it so that any pain that does occur doesn't equal suffering. The more endorphins produced, the better the mother will feel. She will find herself in a dreamlike, suggestible state, and easily able to surrender to everything that is happening within and outside of her. Endorphins also contribute to a euphoria felt in the mother after a natural/physiological birth.
Endorphins produced by the mother pass through to the baby, enabling a kind of "pain relief" and a sense of well being for the baby through labour. A high level of endorphins at birth will also ensure that the mother's breastmilk will contain higher levels of endorphins, resulting in a more dreamlike entrance into the world for baby, and generally a calmer demeanour.

How are endorphins produced?
Generally speaking, endorphins are said to be produced as a result of pain and stress. In childbirth, the stretching of the cervix triggers release of oxytocin, which in turn causes further contractions, which in turn causes more production of endorphins. If nothing interrupts this cycle, endorphin production can continue to increase throughout much of the labour.
The body can be trained to respond easily to endorphins. For this reason, engaging in practices during pregnancy that cause endorphins to flow can make those endorphins more effective during labour.

Is there any way to increase endorphin production in labour?
Many of the most "successful" labouring techniques serve to increase endorphin production, for example:
- vocalization/chanting
- rhythmic movement
- hydrotherapy
- hypnosis/self-hypnosis/guided meditation (eg. HypnoBirthing)
- other forms of meditation, such as candle gazing
- music
- acupressure
- various breathing patterns (done carefully so as not to cause hyperventilation)

What interferes with endorphin production in labour?
Anything that causes the mother to use her rational mind rather than her primal mind can remove the mother from her altered state, such as looking at a clock, routine exams, etc. If this occurs, it’s nice to have a quick “trigger” to put mom back into that state again.

Adrenalin, the fight or flight hormone, can interfere with endorphin production. Adrenalin production is heightened if mom feels she has to fight during labour, or if she is not comfortable in her surroundings. For this reason, it is a good idea to make sure that you have a care provider who you are on the same page as, and to do what you need to in order to feel comfortable in your surroundings (ie. hospital tour prior to the birth so the surroundings are familiar or home birth if that option feels safe and is available). Fear of the process of birth can also cause surges of adrenalin, as can tensing up to fight against the pain.

Pitocin (artificial oxytocin) used to induce/augment labour does not stimulate the pituitary to release endorphins because it doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier.
Epidurals also inhibit endorphin flow.

Further reading:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Now Looking for Doula Clients!!

Hello beautiful mamas!

I want to let you all know that I'm "officially" starting to assist women and their families through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum periods!

I am currently charging $250 for labour doula services. My initial in-person interview lasts about an hour and is no charge. Please note that I can take only a limited number of births, so if I am already booked for your due date I will be unable to take you on as a client. I will, however, be sure that you are aware of where to find another doula!

If you choose to hire me, my services to you will include:
- 2 prenatal visits of approximately 2 hours each, which will include helping you develop and/or go over a birth plan, helping you develop and/or go over a postpartum plan, as well as discussing any fears, questions and concerns you have about your upcoming birth and early postpartum period, including but not limited to couple communication after the baby comes, minimizing the likelihood of tearing, nutrition in pregnancy and postpartum. You can decide which topics are most important to you to discuss.
- Unlimited phone and email consultations during your pregnancy and for a period of 6 weeks postpartum.
- Attendance at your birth, whatever time of day or night, for as long as it takes. I will come to your house to labour with you at home until you desire to go to the hospital or I can meet you at the hospital if you prefer. I will stay with you and your partner and assist you in various ways throughout your labour and birth: on-the-spot information, physical assistance, suggestions for various techniques and positions to help ease and speed (or slow) the progress of your labour, helping your partner by suggesting support positions and getting him coffee and/or food. Research has shown that a doula’s presence at a birth can actually take enough pressure off of the partner that he feels less of a need for breaks than he would otherwise feel. I will stay after the birth for as long as you desire, assisting you with breastfeeding your baby for the first time as well as answering any questions you may have.
- 1 postpartum visit in your home. I will help you process the birth experience and write out a birth story with you, and answer any lingering questions you may have about baby care or incorporating a new baby into your family.
- Access to my extensive lending library for the duration of your pregnancy.

I will also be offering postpartum doula care and private prenatal lessons, but have yet to decide on all of the details. If you decide that you would like to hire me as both a labour doula and postpartum doula, or as a labour doula and childbirth educator, or all three, we can work out the details on a case by case basis for now.

My Qualifications:
My training in biology has instilled in me a deep curiosity about natural, physiological processes. As such, I began extensive research into pregnancy, childbirth and early life as soon as it became personally relevant for me, when I became pregnant with my oldest child.
I have been studying to be a labour doula and childbirth educator for the past 6 years, and have recently begun formal training:
In March 2009 I began pursuing Childbirth Educator certification with Birth Arts International (BAI), and in June 2009, I decided to pursue a second Childbirth Educator certification with ALACE/IBWP. The programs are highly complementary, with ALACE/IBWP providing a good outline and Birth Arts International filling in with other methods of labour support, herbal use and a lot of inner work.
In August of 2009, I took a Labour Doula training workshop with CAPPA here in Regina and have decided to pursue certification as both a Labour Doula and Postpartum Doula with BAI.
I have personally given birth to 3 children and have experience with breastfeeding all of them.

Please contact me by phone or email:
Mandy Herle

Monday, September 21, 2009

Do You Doula?

This video was made for a challenge called "Birth Matters" in Virginia. It's a great summary of why a doula matters to women during their birth.