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Category Archives: Pregnancy

All the Pregnant Mamas

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I’m participating in an event designed just for you tomorrow.  Greenville’s first “Tea with the Doulas” is happening at Baby Impressions on Congaree Rd.  10:30am. 

Come learn all sorts of tricks doulas use to support women in their birthing times.  We’ll have door prizes, yummy food, and, of course, tea.  And it is free. 

This event is perfect for someone who is considering a doula or would like to learn more about doulas.

See you there!

The pregnant priestess

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“I can tell you’re pregnant because your face is filling out.”

“My cousin’s sister’s friend had a 12 lb baby and let me tell you what it did to her girl parts.”

“You need to get the epidural the minute you get to the hospital.”

“Are you sure you can handle natural birth, sweetheart?”  (actually said to me)

Have you had that baby yet?” 

And the not-so-subtle, “Whoa, you are HUGE!”

And don’t get me started on what care providers say to expectant women.

People really should be required to take a class before they interact with pregnant women.  Really.  Pregnant women are in an entirely unique hormonal state.  Even tiny comments can feel very personal and hurtful to an expectant mama.

Now, certainly I’ve messed up, too.  I’ve said really dumb things.  But I do take my dialogue with expectant women seriously.  I know that they will likely remember words spoken to them near term or during their birth.  I know, particularly, that they will remember how they are made to feel during their birth.  Ask a 90 yr old woman about her births and she will probably give you some very specific details about how she felt. 

I have a fantasy.  I imagine a world in which pregnant women walk about veiled like priestesses.  They are surrounded by vestal virgins who buffer them from harmful comments and TLC baby shows.  People stop and give a nod of honor when they pass.  Maybe throw flowers at their feet.  Or chocolate.   

Likewise, postpartum women are in a unique hormonal state.  I wish we still had “lying-ins” for new mothers.  They could spend 40 days being served nourishing foods and massaged daily.  Their only job–to nurture and discover this new soul given into their care.

Now nursing moms–well, in my fantasy for them, they are not veiled.

The Young Pregnant Couple–Part 4

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The countdown to baby continues for Noelle and Zach.  Since my last post, they have:

  • found out they are having a boy!
  • interviewed a natural birth-friendly doctor and interviewed a midwife
  • finalized which country they will raise this wee one in
  • decided on their birth location and care provider
  • signed up for a childbirth class

After much prayer, Noelle and Zach have chosen to birth at home with a midwife.  It would have been an easy choice if their insurance would cover any part of it.  It doesn’t.  But their insurance offers fantastic hospital coverage–they would have very little out-of-pocket expense.  For a young couple preparing to quit their jobs and trust entirely on financial support for their ministry, it was a big deal to choose a homebirth.

Let me interject here that the new healthcare plan–and, no, I will not offer an opinion!–will require insurance to cover certified professional midwives at birth centers.  This change is wonderful but it reveals a common misunderstanding about birth centers.  The birth center is not different in terms of equipment and training than a home.  The homebirth midwife brings the same supplies and equipment as she uses at a birth center.  For the plan to cover one and not the other simply because of the setting seems silly to me.   

And…the wee baby boy will grow up (drum roll) in Cambodia.  His parents have spent time there before and are excited to return.  Noelle will once again be working with children who are victims of sex trafficking.  Zach will be working with an unreached people group. 

Now here is a question for my readers.  If you lived in a country with only cold water for washing clothes, which cloth diapers would you choose and how would you wash them?  Would you use bleach to kill bacteria?  Something else?  And this is a place in which bacteria can be ugly.

Congratulations, You’re Pregnant and…

You have choices:

1)  You can choose the status quo:  do what your doctor says, show up at the hospital when your labor begins (or more likely your induction), vaccinate according to the CDC schedule, etc. 


2)  Scramble to become an astute researcher in a very short while:  learn to discern myth from reality, question the status quo, wonder where the boundaries of your new power as parent begin and end.

And that myth from reality part is tough even for doctors!  I was at a birth during which the mom opted for an epidural.  The anesthesiologist said, “There is no truth to the myth that epidurals slow down labor.”  No less than 10 minutes after he left the room, the OB came in and said, “Now, we know that epidurals often slow labor…” 

Frankly, choice 1 comes with less stress.  Choosing this path is not indicative of your parenting merit or your character.  It is a choice.  I’ve had clients who made this choice.  They hire a doula to guard their informed consent or provide need-to-know info on the spot. 

Choice 2 requires quite a bit of work.  And if you’ve not been thinking much about birth or the politics/litigation/trends of the American birth scene, it can feel overwhelming to tackle such a monster during pregnancy. 

To me, choosing the second path has the benefit of springboarding you into parenting.  Most things in parenting are not cut and dry.  There are hard choices to make and for the first time, perhaps, you’re making big choices for another human being.  Pregnancy is a wonderful time to begin finding your mama or papa voice. 

Noelle and Zach are doing this.  And not just about their birth choices.  Before they became pregnant, they were already thinking through questions of vaccinations. 

Eek…the dreaded vaccination question.  CDC schedule, alternate schedule, no schedule?  Aluminum, mercury, pertussis, oh my!

Ha!  If there is one area I refuse to give advice, it is vaccinations.  There is risk on both sides.  And I believe only the parent has the right to decide which risk to take:  possible disease or possible side-effect. 

Ah but Noelle and Zach are in a unique position.  They not only get to decide about the usual shots (around 20 before the age of 6 months), they also get to decide about shots like japanese encephalitis and rabies.  See, these cats will be moving to a developing country when their wee one is around 5 or 6 months.  Shhh…don’t tell them I said this but I’m very glad I’m not in their shoes when it comes to making decisions about those vaccines!   

Pregnancy is a beautiful time to try out our courage,  our strength, and our intuition.  Pregnancy is a beautiful time to begin parenting.

Twin Day–2/2/10

Are you pregnant with twins?  Or do you know someone who is?

Acupuncture Center of Greenville will host a special Twin Day just for mamas expecting twins on 2/2 from 4pm-6pm.  The event is FREE and will include free acupuncture and henna art.  I’ll be there to talk about birth options and resources. 

Acupuncture is an excellent health choice for pregnant women.  Chinese medicine can help with specific pregnancy complaints but more than that, it can create an empowering and positive experience of holistic well-being..

Don’t miss out on a special day for these special women!

The Break Up

My sister broke up with her OB this week.  She still hasn’t decided where she will birth but she knows it won’t be at the giant, high c-section rate baby factory–the only place her OB delivers. 

Her regular doctor wasn’t in so she saw another woman in the practice.  The break up went something like this:

Noelle:  I don’t want to deliver at __________.

Doc:  Oh, well, um that’s where we deliver.  Where were you thinking of going?

Noelle:  I’m considering a homebirth.

Doc (with a look of pity):  I don’t think you’ll find any midwives around here.

Noelle:  I know several midwives around here.

Doc:  Not licensed ones.

Noelle:  Yes, licensed ones.

Doc:  Well.  I think you should talk with Dr. _____ [your regular OB].  I’m sure she would be willing to let you try for a natural birth.

Dear reader, please let that settle, won’t you?  I’m sure she would be willing to let you try for a natural birth. 


The Continuing Saga of a Young Pregnant Couple

I’m going to keep blogging about them until I’m told to stop!  Hee hee.

In the continuing saga of Noelle and Zach’s first pregnancy:

Noelle found out she is not eligible for FMLA.  Or rather, the small not-for-profit company for whom she works is not required to participate in FMLA.  So no maternity leave that way.

They are, like many couples, wading through their birth options.  The doctor she normally sees only delivers at the large public hospital with a fairly high c-section rate.  She assumed her insurance would cover a freestanding birth center but nope.  Not gonna happen.  A homebirth is a reasonably priced choice–and of course, comes with the added bonus of a low intervention rate–but will still cost considerably more than her out-of-pocket at a hospital.  Choices.  Choices. 

Stay tuned.

In happier news, Noelle and Zach did get to see their wee poppy seed via an 8 week ultrasound.  And got a DVD recording of it to forever keep.  Fancy schmancy!

Attention locals!

I’m enrolling for a 6-week comprehensive childbirth course to begin in mid-February.  I need students, please. 

Classes will meet once a week in the evening.  Students will receive a huge childbirth book, a tote-bag, 8 relaxation and hypnosis CDs, a birth partner booklet with “cheat sheets” and lots more.  This is a Hypnobabies class series which will teach you how to prepare for an easy, comfortable birthing.  Even if you’re not sure about the hypnosis part (which I was completely skeptical about at first, too), you’ll benefit so much from the nutrition, exercise, positioning, and consumer information.  I’m very proud to teach this fantastic series.    

I cannot say it enough:  Cedar’s birth was so incredibly relaxed (and short) thanks to these tools. 

Please email me at j_byers[at]bellsouth[dot]net to reserve your spot.  I can only take five couples!

Hypno-Tip: Turning a Breech Baby with Hypnosis

A breech presentation is a tricky situation.  Especially in upstate SC.  To my knowledge, the closest care provider willing to vaginally deliver a breech baby is in Asheville or Bamburg.  There may be a few “underground” midwives as well.  But should you choose to have a hospital birth, you won’t find local options other than cesarean.  It is a shame.  In Sweden, 52% of breech babies are delivered vaginally with no statistical difference in outcome. 

I’ve often wondered what I would do if I found myself with a breech presentation.  First line of defense:  do everything possible to get the baby to turn! 

Only about 5% of all babies are breech at term. There are many suggestions for turning a breech baby physically, such as swimming, using a slant board, massage, moxibustion, pelvic tilt, etc.  

Another excellent resource is the Spinning Babies website which has information on turning babies in several challenging positions.

In addition to these techniques, we have another amazing tool that helps breech babies turn to the head-down position – our own powerful minds! Since the baby in utero is part of the mother, it is registered as so by the subconscious mind, which can be directed to make changes in the mother’s body. Release of fears that can constrict muscles is also used in hypnosis sessions, to help the mother relax and allow her baby to turn. The body is controlled completely by the mind, which is how our Hypnobabies moms can use hypnosis to stop-preterm labor, eliminate nausea and insomnia and of course, create a much easier and more comfortable childbirth experience. Using hypnosis to turn breech babies has been more successful than using other techniques alone. In a study done at a prominent university, 81% of the babies turned to vertex position with the use of hypnosis.  See study abstract at the bottom of this post.

At Hypnobabies, we suggest all women consider how powerful their mind is and use it during pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum to enhance their comfort, health and safety, as well as that of their precious baby.  Your mind can direct your body in such a positive way–use it!  If your baby is breech, you can find a well-trained hypnotherapist in your area or visit Hypnobabies for information on our Turn Your Breech Baby CD and Mp3 tracks.

Turn, baby, turn!

Design:  Prospective case series compared with historical, matched comparison group.
Subjects: One hundred pregnant women whose fetuses were in breech position at 37 to 40 weeks’ gestation and a matched comparison group of women with similar obstetrical and sociodemographic parameters derived from databases for other studies from the same time period and geographical areas.
Intervention: The intervention group received hypnosis with suggestions for general relaxation with release of fear and anxiety. While in the hypnotic state women were asked for the reasons why their baby was in the breech presentation. As much hypnosis was provided as was convenient and possible for the women until they were delivered of the baby or the baby converted to the vertex position.
Main Outcome Variables: A successful conversion for the intervention group was scored when the baby spontaneously converted to the vertex position before delivery or successful cephalic version. The conversion rate of the intervention group was compared with the comparison group who received standard obstetrical care without the opportunity for hypnosis.
Results: Eighty-one percent of the fetuses in the intervention group converted to vertex presentation compared with 48% of those in the comparison group. This difference was statistically significant.
Conclusions: Motivated subjects can be influenced by a skilled Hypnotherapist in such a manner that their fetuses have a higher incidence of conversion from breech to vertex presentation. Psychophysiological factors may influence the breech presentation and may explain this increased frequency of conversion to vertex presentation.
From Archives of Family Medicine, Vol. 3, Oct. 1994 Hypnosis and Conversion of the Breech to the Vertex Presentation Lewis E. Mehl, MD, PhD Dept. of Psychiatry Univ. of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington

Maternity Pictures

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My snazzy friend, Abby, gifted me with a photo shoot with her snazzy friend, Erin O’Neil.  Erin is a talented photographer in Greenville.  It was fun, kinda awkward, and flattering all at once. 

Interested in more of Erin’s photography?  You can check her website for more info.