Mary Gillett, CD(DONA)

Certified Birth Doula

Here is an ever growing collection of links and birth resources.  I hope you find it helpful!

Childbirth:

Excellent Books:

  • If you only read one book, choose one that will instill confidence and a sense of trust in your body.  Choose Giving Birth with Confidence from Lamaze International.
  • If your partner will read one more book, read The Birth Partner, by Penny Simpkin.

VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section)

Breastfeeding Resources:

Fetal Positioning:

Spinning Babies is an important site that emphasizes the role of fetal positioning and has some interesting insight into the role of mom's body positioning.  I have found this information to be extremely helpful for many clients.  Please consult your health care provider before trying any of these maneuvers.  I have simplified a few of the more important points in a handout you can down load here:

Chiropractic Care:

I strongly recommend chiropractic care in pregnancy, both for pain relief, but also for optimal health and fetal positioning.  It is more than just getting the "Webster Technique" to correct a breech presentation.  Care throughout the pregnancy can be helpful in many ways.  Find a provider who is qualified here:  http://icpa4kids.com/index.php

Yoga:

I highly recommend Family Yoga with Cheryl Andres, a qualified yoga instructor and labor and delivery nurse.  www.familyyoga.org.

Essential Oils:

Essential oils are enjoying a great surge of popularity right now, but this is more than a passing fad.  EO's are effective and also very powerful.  There are many companies that provide excellent quality oils.  After a great deal of reading and discussion, I have concluded that not all companies recommend safe usage and the use of essential oils requires specialized training which most "sales consultants" do not have.  Please remember that a great many oils are not safe in pregnancy, during breastfeeding, or around infants.  I encourage you to use essential oils, but research them very carefully.  I recommend that you only buy with the advice of a trained and qualified aromatherapist.  A great local provider in Greensboro is "Loving Scents".  Cynthia Loving offers special blend to assist in labor and can advise about administration and safety.  You can find the location, phone number and ordering information at http://www.lovingscents.com/

Late Cord Clamping:

This is an emerging topic that is quickly becoming the standard of care.  I recommend you research the topic and ask the advice of your medical care provider.  Here is an interesting article.

Eating Dates:

This dried fruit is showing interesting results in lower rates of early rupture of membranes, less bleeding and better stage-one labor.  In any case it is a "no harm" intervention unless you have gestational diabetes, in which case ask your medical provider.  Here is a good article.

Belly Binding:

This practice can be helpful in restoring the abdominal muscles. Contact Sarah Carter with naturalbabydoulas.com for more information and purchase of belly binds at a reasonable cost.

Placenta Encapsulation:

For those who choose to explore the option of having their placenta encapsulated, contact Sarah Carter at naturalbabydoulas.com.

Birth PlanAttached are some of my suggestions for writing a birth plan here.

Suggestions of items to pack in your bag:

  • Camera and/or video camera (and film, disks, memory cards, or tapes, and extra BATTERIES!)
  • Music playlist and speakers or docking station, and power cord.  Using Pandora or another application without a paid subscription leads to jarring commercials coming up at just the wrong time.
  • Lotions or massage oil, if there is a particular scent that is helpful to you (your doula will have some of these items, but may not have the scent you are craving).
  • Any aromatherapy you need, since this is now treated more like medication and your doula cannot administer it (but you can!)  Take care to get advice on oils that should NOT be used around newborns and new moms.
  • Toiletries for comfort such as toothbrush and your toothpaste, your own shampoo, soap, face soap, cream, or lotions.  The hospital may have some of these items, but you may prefer your own.
  • Tennis balls in a sock (really!  This is good for putting counter pressure on your back)
  • Lip balm
  • Suckers (better than hard candy or gum because you can remove them during a contraction)
  • Small mints or gum
  • Socks or slippers (again, you can get these in the hospital, but you may prefer your own).  Flip flops are best if you plan a water birth.
  • a lightweight robe
  • A dark t-shirt or sports bra for mom to wear in the shower or tub, if modesty is a concern
  • Some moms have preferred to labor in their own clothes.  One good suggestion is a tank top or sports bra, and a "birthing skirt." It can be purchased especially made, or it can be any soft stretchy skirt (washable).  Buy clothes at a thrift shop and throw them out afterward!  
  • Partner may want to bring a swim suit for the shower or tub 
  • Snacks for partner and mom (if medical provider allows) - concentrate on high energy foods in individual packages (suggestions below).  Remember that labor can be LONG and the cafeteria is never open when you want, or partner may not want to leave your side.  There is nothing heroic about passing out.  Partners need to eat even when mom cannot.
  • An extra pillow for partner to sleep or for mom to use (since good pillows are scarce in the hospital).  Use a recognizable pillowcase for your pillows so that they don't get lost.  Again, but linens from a thrift shop and throw them out afterward if you wish.
  • Cloth diapers if you prefer them

Food to keep on hand for the big day:

You should approach labor as you would an athletic event like a marathon.  Mothers who are well fed and well hydrated will have the strength they need for the work ahead.  In general, you should listen to your body and decide what kind of food you need.  Your caregiver may have specific instructions about eating in early labor, but aside from any contraindications, you should keep items that are quick and easy to digest stocked during those last few weeks of pregnancy.  Some items that may appeal to you are:

  • Granola or trail mix
  • Cereal bars or sports bars
  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh fruit, like bananas, grapes, kiwi, oranges, etc.
  • Small "lunch sized" containers of canned fruit or Jell-o
  • Yogurt (or "Gogurts" that can be easily packed for the hospital).  These can be frozen ahead of time and then packed in an insulated lunch box.
  • Crackers
  • Sports drink or juice boxes
  • Favorite herbal teas (there will be only coffee, soda, and hot water at the hospital)
  • A high protein snack for immediately after the birth, like nuts or a sports bar.

Preparations with caregivers:

Below is a growing list of questions you may want to cover with medical caregivers:

  • What do you consider a medically necessary reason for _______ (episiotomy, induction or augmentation with Pitocin, rupturing or stripping membranes, continuous monitoring, IV, ....)
  • What is the best way to be sure that my birth plan is honored, as much as possible, by everyone in the practice?
  • What if my water breaks before labor begins?  How long may I wait to go into labor on my own?
  • What latitude for movement can I have during labor?  How long may I be off the monitor to shower, walk, etc.
  • What positions will you accommodate for pushing and delivery?  Can I deliver in an upright position?
  • (If breastfeeding) How can I assure that my baby will not be given a routine bottle without informing me?
  • (Inquire in the hospital) I would like to have eye contact with my baby for the first hour without ointment in their eyes.  Please put the ointment aside so that the nurses do not administer it until after we have had time to bond.
  • I would like the baby placed on my stomach immediately after birth, with both of us covered, and allowed to nurse at will. 
  • In the event of a C-Section, or infant distress, what will happen to my baby?  May my partner accompany the baby?