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perinatal doula mentoring esali birth

Private Perinatal Doula Mentoring is the Future of Birth Education

Is doula mentoring or taking a birth class series more beneficial for birth education?  Obtaining information about the birth industry, the physiology of birth, and your options for a happy healthy birth is a well known step during pregnancy.  But, are birth class series a thing of the past?  Lamaze was so popular it is a household name for birth classes and taught in numerous hospitals across the world.  Bradley Method came in strong for empowering families to make choices that supported the birth they want.  Now birth education and doula organizations are around every corner and parents are wondering if they should take a class or hire a doula.  What differences are really being made here when we're seeing decreases in perinatal health, rises in cesareans, and more moms experience breastfeeding and postpartum difficulties despite the increase in big organization one-size-fits all approaches, even to natural childbirth.  I want to present you with the new holistic approach to perinatal care.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring is a one-on-one approach to the modern family.  Researching the plethora of options available to you as an expecting mother, or father, can be overwhelming to say the least.  Fitting in a sit-down class of information being thrown at you after you've worked an 8+ hour day, went to the gym, spent time with your family, and tried to get an hour of down time can be exhausting.  You know there are professionals out there trying to blog all the must-knows, but you just don't have the time or energy to read through every little detail and double check the studies.  You want to make your time count and you want to find the person that specializes in having well-rounded information and resources.  Perinatal Doula Mentoring is right for you, and geared towards millennials, meme-driven social media fans, and your typical modern family.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring is Individualized

Well of course I would love for you to sit through 20+ hours of birth classes and learn everything there is to learn about the basics of birth and all the remedies to labor variations and every single thing the modern birth industry might throw at you.  The truth is, psychology makes your brain lose interest on just about anything pretty quickly.  Your brain gets hyperfocused, though, on a few certain things you're experiencing right now or have been planted in your head in the past.  Perinatal Doula Mentoring means finding answers and support for those very specific questions when you need it.  After a prenatal appointment.  In the evening when a thought comes to you.  Not an hour into a birth series with five (or more) other couples, but whenever you want to ask.  Get your questions answered for your specific birth with #MOVdoula of Esali Birth.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring is Modern

Many birth series don't update their material after their initial "method" is developed.  Moreso, most birth series are focused on a standard set of information over a standard number of days and because most classes are group classes, deviating from the standard is difficult.  Perinatal doula mentoring with Esali Birth allows your one on one time with your doula to maximize on all the questions you have, and still have access to all the perinatal education series stuff in a virtual format available 24/7 so you can research and learn to your hearts content whenever and wherever you want.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring is Full Service

Many birth professionals only focus on one area of the childbearing years.  Antenatal doulas, birth doulas, birth education, postpartum doulas, lactation.  While there is a time for specific focuses, the childbearing years throughout history have been best experienced with the wise people of the culture passing down knowledge from generation to generation.  With Esali Birth perinatal doula mentoring, you're taken care of from questions and emotional care from TTC and pregnancy through labor discomfort and informed decisions as well as the postpartum stages and breastfeeding.  You have someone that you create a relationship with through the childbearing years.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring Creates Happy Healthy Births

Full Service Perinatal Doula Mentoring builds trust.  Trust builds oxytocin.  Oxytocin creates comfortable progressing labor.  Oxytocin balances the risks during labor and postpartum and breastfeeding.  Oxytocin is the key to Happy Healthy Birth.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring Avoids Awkward Conversations with Strangers

Perinatal Doula Mentoring can feel more relaxed as you communicate with one person well versed in the industry that knows the ins and outs of the good bad and in between of the childbearing years through a non-judgemental approach.  While traditional group birth classes create the opportunity for you to meet other families experiencing the same event and you can learn from the questions they have, they're not the right fit for everyone.  Many communities, Mid-Ohio Valley included, have great regular meetups for pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding making an amazing opportunity to meet other people with questions just like you in the same stage of life (and beyond).

Perinatal Doula Mentoring is Flexible

Learn about birth and allay your fears on your own schedule with a perinatal doula mentor that is focused on meeting your personal needs.  Day jobs can be long stressful intense hours, shift work means one person isn't available at a regular time every week, and real modern life means a lot of activities on the schedule.  Perinatal Doula Mentoring with Esali Birth is flexible, meeting you when it fits in your schedule even virtually.  Topics can be completely customized to this pregnancy, this moment in time, and the questions you want answered at this stage.  Doula mentoring can happen in the morning, afternoon, evening, weekends, randomly, and spaced out through each trimester.  Mentoring can also happen routinely, even part of the time, and we can start with a set standard and veer off the path any time a thought pops in your head.  This emergent style approach is known to be more thorough and remembered because it follows your lead for the desires you have now, creates a lower stress environment because now the Perinatal Doula Mentor is meeting your needs instead of you trying to cram everything in to meet the needs of a standard birth class.  This is how we reach more families, make bigger impacts, and improve happy healthy birth for more modern parents.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring is #StackYourLife

This flexible, emergent-style, approach can be easily blended in a Walking Birth Class approach.  No more having to sit on the floor labor breathing (but we can do that if you'd like), we can meet at the park or at the mall, over dinner, or while putting together your nursery and postpartum care pack.  We can learn relaxation, positions, and comfort measures anywhere... your own special space or normal daily life, which is more the reality you'll find yourself in during labor anyway.  You don't have to fit this extra activity in,  because perinatal doula mentoring can happen anywhere it is convenient for you during any activity you already need to do.  Then you reduce your schedule, you get your movement in, you get your social time, and you learn about birth options - #stackyourlife.  An Esali Birth Perinatal Doula Mentor can help you finish up your nesting, make dinner for your family, go shopping, walk at the park, stretch and move, take care of your kids, and do all the things you have to do during normal life WHILE answering your questions and providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions for birth.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring is Affordable

With the traditional birth class approach, couples are spending money on a birth class, then they are spending money on a doula, then they are spending money on breastfeeding consultants, then they are spending money and time to get away from other must-do activities.  Having an Esali Birth Perinatal Doula Mentor provides you with birth education, emotional support, labor doula care, postpartum care, breastfeeding guidance and birth counseling all in one package.  You improve your opportunity for a happy healthy birth by creating more trust and a stronger relationship with your birth team, and you can invest in this holistic approach without needing to research and negotiate with multiple different professionals.  Many insurances, even some medicaid, and FSA/HSA and other health spending accounts cover doula care which, with a perinatal mentor, includes birth classes and breastfeeding counseling.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring Improves Birth Team Relationships

When you meet someone that can provide you with all the aspects of perinatal care including TTC counseling, birth classes, researching, emotional support, labor doula care, postpartum care, breastfeeding counseling, and birth counseling, the trust that is created is strong.  You're more likely to reach out to someone that knows your story.  You're more likely to reach out to a perinatal doula mentor that understands multiple aspects of the perinatal stages.  You're more likely to provide details that improve the way the doula can support you through labor and all the childbearing stages.  Trust increases oxytocin.  Oxytocin increases spontaneous labor and labor progression.  Oxytocin balances the risks during labor and postpartum and breastfeeding.  Oxytocin is the key to Happy Healthy Birth.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring is for Dads Too

While many dads are highly involved in the childbearing stages in our modern life, traditional birth classes don't always meet their individual needs.  Many dads are hesitant to open up in a traditional group birth class.  Many dads really need information that caters specifically to their emotional needs during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.  Perinatal Doula Mentoring guides dads to support mom through these stages with to the point information, but also provides them with guidance on the reality that this can be a difficult experience for dads as well and they can't just be told to be strong and suck it up for mom.  Esali Birth Perinatal Doula Mentoring helps them find resources, supports them through the labor with guidance of support techniques, shows them how to help mom, and teaches them to care for themselves as well and reach out to outside support instead of trying to manage everything.  Dad is often the main one that will be supporting in the postpartum stages, and they are susceptible to depression and PTSD as well.  In addition to this same individualized support for dads, a Perinatal Doula Mentor with Esali Birth provides Man 2 Man classes that are specific for, and only for, dads.  Whether that is one on one with a dad that has been there before, or over a beer at the bar with the guys, a Man 2 Man class gives dads the opportunity to talk about the real questions they want to ask without judgement.

Perinatal Doula Mentoring is More than Education

Moms need more than just information on the birth industry and knowledge of how to make informed decisions.  Perinatal Doula Mentoring can support you with the information you've been given at prenatal appointments, and through symptoms you may be experiencing.  An Esali Birth Perinatal Doula Mentor can help you with stretching, movements, and active techniques that prevent labor discomfort as well as remedy these individual circumstances.  More than a basic prenatal yoga class or a standard set of exercises, perinatal doula mentoring can help baby get into a good position through abdominal massage, belly mapping, Spinning Babies techniques, and knowledge gained through experience of many mothers that have come before you.

#MOVdoula Perinatal Doula Mentoring

While group birth classes in a traditional, yet more comprehensive than other birth classes, will always be an option, Perinatal Doula Mentoring is the way most birth education is happening now with Esali Birth.  (Although, this same exact approach can be used with group classes, too, especially when it is a group of people that already know each other and want to receive care together for even just a few sessions).  Moms don't have time, and are often overwhelmed, with mom group variety answers, their friends' and family's advice, and all the blog posts and books thrown at them every time they have a twinge or fear.  Let's move past all the overwhelm and meet you where you are now with all the information and resources when they are needed.  With 10 years of experience, let me answer your questions without telling you to do more work than you already are.  You know you need to research, that's why you're asking the questions.  With the knowledge of traditional birth classes vs. the real support I can provide through Perinatal Doula Mentoring, let me give you all the same information on a schedule and in a location that caters to you.  Think of it as pampering, or just a super educated best friend.  Let #MOVdoula do the work so you can just breathe and just enjoy your Happy Healthy Birth.

Families in the Mid-Ohio Valley supported over 200 competitors in Esali Birth's 10th annual Mother's Day 5k and many more in the River City Kids race that followed.

Proceeds from the 5k help to support Esali Birth's mission in the Mid-Ohio Valley through workshops and outreach.  The 2017 esali5k helped to fund the Esali Birth Pregnancy Bags for expecting mothers in the MOV.  We are looking forward to seeing where the 2018 race will allow us to help the most.

We are so thankful for the participants, volunteers, and sponsors that make this happen - we absolutely could not do this without the people behind the event!

It is always a joy to see so many families, babies in strollers and carriers, children running and walking alongside their families, and their support team cheering them on and helping raise awareness for Happy Healthy Birth and Breastfeeding throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley.

What do we know about Happy Healthy Birth in the MOV?

  • Until 2017, West Virginia had ZERO Baby-Friendly hospitals.  O'bleness is the closest Baby-Friendly hospital to the Mid-Ohio Valley.  The Baby-Friendly designation means a hospital has followed steps to support things like skin-to-skin care immediately after birth and other factors like qualified breastfeeding support to help with breastfeeding outcomes.  Did you know?  Parent companies of formula companies are the ones that make hospital machinery like X-Ray and MRI machines.  When hospitals give out free formula from those child companies, they will receive kickbacks for other areas of the hospital.  Some hospitals refuse to give up this part of the Baby-Friendly requirements to avoid losing those kick-backs.  The Mid-Ohio Valley doesn't have any Baby-Friendly Certified hospitals.
  • As of 2013, CCMH had a 40% cesarean rate. ALMOST HALF of women stepping into this hospital for childbirth are having surgical births; most, of which, could be prevented.  Half of these were primary cesareans and half were repeat cesareans.  In the past ten years, this rate has increased significantly.  Did you know the World Health Organization considers a cesarean rate between 10-15% ideal and states, "Two new HRP studies show that when caesarean section rates rise towards 10% across a population, the number of maternal and newborn deaths decreases. When the rate goes above 10%, there is no evidence that mortality rates improve."
  • Marietta Memorial Hospital has an official VBAC ban - Vaginal Birth After Cesarean is refused.  This not only means they will refuse to grant the request of a mother to labor without resistance if she has had a previous cesarean, but also that they will exhaust all means of a mother laboring that has never had a cesarean (but that may need a cesarean) to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a cesarean was the last resort to support their VBAC ban.  Sounds ideal at first, except when interventions and risks are unnecessarily increased in the process.
  • Some birth locations are changing their policies to support parent's wishes as well as improve skin-to-skin time after birth and connection during the first few days postpartum.  Some are not.  The most important thing to remember is that knowledge is power.  By learning about ALL your options and getting connected with your holistic resources throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley, you can make better informed decisions for a more well-rounded confident birth.
  • Home birth (including VBAC (or HBAC), twin birth, and breech birth) is a well supported option in and surrounding the Mid-Ohio Valley.  You can find some providers that offer these services by checking out the MOV Birth Workers page.
  • The MOV Breastfeeding, Birth, and Parenting Social is similar to La Leche League - though in addition to breastfeeding education and support for moms and their support system, we also enjoy birth and early parenting education and support.  Come say hello from pregnancy through early parenting on the 4th Saturday of every month (except December).
  • Doula care prenatally, during labor, and postpartum is known world-wide to support mother's experiences including supporting spontaneous labor, biological breastfeeding, and postpartum healing, but also providing families with the confidence and knowledge to make informed decisions no matter where they birth or what decisions need to be made through the perinatal period.  The Mid-Ohio Valley is now thriving with doulas and perinatal mentors.  All a family has to do is a simple internet search and holistic care is at your fingertips, including through #MOVdoula right here on Esali Birth.  Learn more about what a doula does from pregnancy (or pre-conception) through postpartum including supporting unassisted births, supported at home births, birth centers, hospitals, medicated births, 42+ week births, home birth transfers, preterm births, breech birth, twin birth, cesarean birth, assisted birth, birth plans, no birth plans, change your birth plans, and #ALLthebirths in between.  A doula supports YOU.

Want to know more of the ins and outs of Happy Healthy Birth in the Mid-Ohio Valley?  Schedule some mentoring, take a birth class, find a doula, and let's chat about all the holistic support options you have available to you right here in the MOV.

Read the Parkersburg News and Sentinnel write-up.

2018 MD5k Results

Overall

Place Bib Name Time M/F Age Group Run/Walk
1 187 Harrison Potter  0:18'50.33 Male 30-34 Run
2 214 Nathan Cunningham  0:19'10.49 Male 25-29 Run
3 161 Joe Wiltsey  0:20'32.02 Male 45-49 Run
4 119 Robert Boston  0:21'12.52 Male 50-54 Run
5 193 Johnathan Haddox  0:21'24.49 Male 20-24 Run
6 159 Teddy Menisher  0:21'50.11 Male 45-49 Run
7 190 Yvonne Gilders  0:21'55.55 Female 35-39 Run
8 212 Steve Osborne  0:22'23.70 Male 40-44 Run
9 120 Andrew Essig  0:22'39.74 Male 20-24 Run
10 200 Quentin Corbitt  0:23'22.83 Male 20-24 Run
11 211 Steve Beck  0:23'29.33 Male 30-34 Run
12 178 Kaylor Offenberger  0:23'30.45 Female 13-19 Run
13 138 Nathan Jones  0:23'58.05 Male 30-34 Run
14 219 Nathan Plotner  0:23'59.24 Male 12 & Under Run
15 109 Dominick Walleshauser  0:24'15.55 Male 13-19 Run
16 218 Ashley Becker  0:24'16.36 Female 30-34 Run
17 162 Patrick Cathey  0:24'20.02 Male 65-69 Run
18 155 Johm Toomey  0:24'47.58 Male 30-34 Run
19 168 Erin Stanley  0:24'53.27 Female 35-39 Run
20 202 Ryan Martin  0:25'25.39 Male 12 & Under Run
21 207 Chris Hackney  0:25'36.08 Male 35-39 Run
22 147 Brian Seeley  0:25'45.92 Male 50-54 Run
23 112 Anna Vanderlaan  0:25'56.49 Female 50-54 Run
24 180 Taylor Bowers  0:25'58.24 Male 13-19 Run
25 149 Lindsay Hill  0:26'00.17 Female 25-29 Run
26 191 Katie Vickers  0:26'08.30 Female 30-34 Run
27 173 Desirae Caplinger  0:26'10.30 Female 12 & Under Run
28 217 Candy Bailey  0:26'34.92 Female 40-44 Run
29 182 Kenneth Angle  0:26'53.86 Male 50-54 Run
30 194 Virginia Haddox  0:27'03.74 Female 12 & Under Run
31 123 Sullivan Wilson  0:27'21.64 Male 13-19 Run
32 183 Kayla Suoler  0:27'41.36 Female 20-24 Run
33 192 Robert Sheridan  0:28'25.61 Male 55-59 Run
34 157 Jaime Ford  0:28'36.92 Female 40-44 Run
35 156 Aaron Ford  0:28'37.33 Male 40-44 Run
36 134 Joe Mills  0:28'39.27 Male 40-44 Run
37 206 Gatlin McLain  0:28'42.61 Male 12 & Under Run
38 204 Drew McLain  0:28'42.83 Male 35-39 Run
39 201 Mike Brown  0:28'46.77 Male 45-49 Run
40 139 Haley Church  0:28'56.30 Female 13-19 Run
41 189 Josh Windland  0:29'38.92 Male 20-24 Run
42 143 Donald Lane  0:30'52.95 Male 60-64 Run
43 125 Stacy Wilson  0:31'21.58 Female 35-39 Run
44 114 Rod Cummings  0:31'29.80 Male 45-49 Run
45 148 Amanda Richards  0:31'30.14 Female 25-29 Run
46 169 Emma Stanley  0:32'05.49 Female 12 & Under Run
47 170 Becky Poling  0:32'13.52 Female 50-54 Run
48 151 Ethan Lamb  0:32'17.77 Male 25-29 Run
49 127 Rob Law  0:32'31.58 Male 40-44 Run
50 380 Jason Mader  0:32'35.17 Male 45-49 Walk
51 146 Savannah Jarvis  0:33'00.14 Female 13-19 Run
52 133 Johathan McCarthy  0:33'05.02 Male 25-29 Run
53 165 Kevin Allen  0:33'10.55 Male 45-49 Run
54 144 Diana Cline  0:33'23.70 Female 55-59 Run
55 228 Erica Ash  0:33'34.05 Female 30-34 Run
56 312 Sharon Marks  0:33'48.99 Female 60-64 Walk
57 223 Joshua Eddy  0:33'50.11 Male 12 & Under Run
58 221 Jillian Eddy  0:33'50.83 Female 35-39 Run
59 210 Jackson Fallon  0:34'02.70 Male 12 & Under Run
60 209 Seth Fallon  0:34'03.14 Male 30-34 Run
61 140 Ivy Linger  0:34'45.61 Female 13-19 Run
62 181 Mindy Bowers  0:35'07.05 Female 30-34 Run
63 105 Erick Braniff  0:35'11.89 Male 30-34 Run
64 142 Pamela Addis  0:35'19.05 Female 55-59 Run
65 129 Megan Law  0:35'32.49 Female 20-24 Run
66 117 Bernard Bookman  0:35'39.39 Male 50-54 Run
67 128 Linda Law  0:35'45.77 Female 40-44 Run
68 196 Waylen Jarvis  0:35'55.95 Male 12 & Under Run
69 227 Kim Williams  0:35'59.70 Female 35-39 Run
70 126 Wendy Mick  0:36'00.52 Male 30-34 Run
71 226 Braden Williams  0:36'06.92 Male 12 & Under Run
72 195 Shawnna Jarvis  0:36'08.99 Female 35-39 Run
73 308 Brenis Phillips  0:36'35.30 Male 60-64 Walk
74 371 Ray Poling  0:36'36.36 Male 60-64 Walk
75 171 Christian Clatterbuck  0:36'54.99 Male 13-19 Run
76 160 Charlie Pickens  0:37'04.74 Male 70 & Over Run
77 152 Jackson Carroll  0:37'10.89 Male 12 & Under Run
78 172 Elsie Horton  0:37'14.02 Female 40-44 Run
79 374 Karen Meeks  0:37'17.67 Female 60-64 Walk
80 135 Summer Mills  0:37'19.45 Female 40-44 Run
81 222 Jalyn Eddy  0:37'36.80 Female 12 & Under Run
82 145 Lynn Stroble  0:37'38.74 Female 40-44 Run
83 185 Michelle Gibson  0:37'45.70 Female 25-29 Run
84 158 Megan Mahoney  0:37'50.30 Female 30-34 Run
85 188 Jennifer Lackey  0:37'54.45 Female 30-34 Run
86 213 Jack Lane  0:38'00.42 Male 65-69 Run
87 354 Vicki Williams  0:38'13.52 Female 50-54 Walk
88 208 Mary Beth Bauman  0:38'32.08 Female 55-59 Run
89 370 William Cunningham  0:38'34.42 Male 70 & Over Walk
90 113 Lyra Su  0:38'51.11 Female 25-29 Run
91 376 George Welch  0:38'57.36 Male 60-64 Walk
92 381 Linda Arnold  0:39'04.55 Female 60-64 Walk
93 378 Kim Windland  0:39'12.21 Female 55-59 Walk
94 167 Tabitha Tanner  0:39'30.11 Female 30-34 Run
95 224 Misty Sims  0:39'32.39 Female 40-44 Run
96 361 Barbara Jahn  0:40'03.52 Female 70 & Over Walk
97 110 Peggy Grimm  0:40'10.05 Female 70 & Over Run
98 320 Michelle Buckner  0:40'16.08 Female 40-44 Walk
99 186 Larry Atkinson  0:40'33.89 Male 55-59 Run
100 150 Melanie Lamb  0:40'34.08 Female 25-29 Run
101 301 Bob Heddleston  0:40'56.92 Male 55-59 Walk
102 225 April Terrell  0:41'07.08 Female 40-44 Run
103 303 Joan Smith  0:41'13.17 Female 65-69 Walk
104 315 Nancy Goff  0:41'16.77 Female 40-44 Walk
105 362 Martha Marks  0:41'23.80 Female 65-69 Walk
106 372 Erica Baker  0:41'29.02 Female 45-49 Walk
107 353 Joseph Morris  0:41'58.02 Male 35-39 Walk
108 230 Kris Casto  0:42'30.55 Female 50-54 Run
109 137 Lane Wasson  0:43'00.49 Male 12 & Under Run
110 136 Denise Wasson  0:43'00.83 Female 40-44 Run
111 199 Ty Starkey  0:43'21.58 Female 30-34 Run
112 383 Ernie Doll  0:43'25.70 Male 70 & Over Walk
113 111 Brianna Cross  0:44'06.67 Female 35-39 Run
114 363 Cherrie Cowan  0:44'34.92 Female 60-64 Run
115 313 Deb Patrick  0:44'45.89 Female 60-64 Walk
116 153 Vanessa McCrady  0:44'49.08 Female 30-34 Run
117 342 Kim Holdren  0:44'56.99 Female 60-64 Walk
118 229 Jace Riffle  0:45'00.83 Male 12 & Under Run
119 216 Jessica Riffle  0:45'01.17 Female 30-34 Run
120 215 Becky Offenberger  0:45'02.11 Female 55-59 Run
121 220 Pat Letson  0:45'36.58 Male 50-54 Run
122 205 Courtney McLain  0:45'38.80 Female 35-39 Run
123 339 Kathleen Ervine  0:45'44.36 Female 60-64 Walk
124 384 Tonya Venham  0:45'45.89 Female 40-44 Walk
125 203 Slaten McLain  0:45'46.39 Male 12 & Under Run
126 154 Bill Toomey  0:46'08.21 Male 65-69 Run
127 141 Jeanette Linger  0:46'13.64 Female 45-49 Run
128 375 Tiffany Jones  0:46'33.36 Female 35-39 Walk
129 382 Jim Arnold  0:46'35.45 Male 60-64 Walk
130 330 Megan Proctor  0:46'42.58 Female 20-24 Walk
131 329 Jennifer Yerex  0:46'43.33 Female 50-54 Walk
132 328 Renee Ellenwood  0:46'47.05 Female 55-59 Walk
133 340 Renae Duncan  0:46'55.61 Female 40-44 Walk
134 341 Shelby Enoch  0:46'55.86 Female 25-29 Walk
135 175 Angie Board  0:46'58.83 Female 45-49 Run
136 233 Harley Woodward  0:47'26.27 Male 12 & Under Run
137 302 Kim Bradley  0:47'29.55 Female 55-59 Walk
138 314 Misty Mason  0:47'30.21 Female 30-34 Walk
139 346 Mike Chevalier  0:47'30.83 Male 55-59 Walk
140 116 Gabriel Bookman  0:47'32.21 Male 13-19 Run
141 107 Daniel Braniff  0:47'32.77 Male 12 & Under Run
142 176 Chase Board  0:47'33.11 Male 12 & Under Run
143 106 Carmen Ezell  0:47'33.64 Female 12 & Under Run
144 104 Eva Braniff  0:47'34.02 Female 30-34 Run
145 311 Brian DeLong  0:48'38.83 Male 35-39 Walk
146 338 Lisa Null  0:48'57.67 Female 50-54 Walk
147 337 Maggie Starkey  0:48'58.86 Female 25-29 Walk
148 377 Scott Simonton  0:49'12.24 Male 50-54 Walk
149 322 Mandy Amos  0:49'20.11 Female 35-39 Walk
150 327 Tammy Theobald  0:49'21.08 Female 55-59 Walk
151 385 Angela Plotner  0:49'40.92 Female 40-44 Walk
152 319 Connie Porter  0:49'43.70 Female 70 & Over Walk
153 386 Todd Plotner  0:49'52.45 Male 45-49 Walk
154 359 Kari Brown  0:50'31.11 Female 30-34 Walk
155 177 Tommy Nichols  0:50'45.30 Male 70 & Over Run
156 321 Joyce Cunningham  0:51'13.67 Female 60-64 Walk
157 166 Nancy Carpenter  0:51'24.92 Female 55-59 Run
158 118 Connie Bookman  0:51'35.36 Female 50-54 Run
159 174 Karen A. Caplinger  0:51'43.08 Female 45-49 Run
160 184 Shyanne Fury  0:51'43.67 Female 13-19 Run
161 325 Sandy Colvin  0:52'02.64 Female 60-64 Walk
162 326 Patty Metz  0:52'03.05 Female 50-54 Walk
163 163 Cindy Daniel  0:52'56.39 Female 55-59 Run
164 101 Nicole Gaines  0:52'58.74 Female 30-34 Run
165 323 Daryl Jones  0:53'16.70 Male 30-34 Walk
166 324 Elisabeth Jones  0:53'17.49 Female 30-34 Walk
167 355 Angela Johnson  0:54'17.05 Female 30-34 Walk
168 197 Caleb Sutt  0:54'37.11 Male 13-19 Run
169 179 Baili Matheny  0:54'37.36 Male 13-19 Run
170 198 Kadon Messanger  0:54'37.61 Male 13-19 Run
171 309 Candy Jones  0:54'47.67 Female 60-64 Walk
172 108 Peggy Murphy  0:55'01.86 Female 40-44 Run
173 388 Crystal Woodward  0:55'06.30 Female 13-19 Walk
174 365 Kahle Mahoney  0:55'11.83 Male 30-34 Walk
175 231 Zoey Morris  0:55'56.92 Female 12 & Under Run
176 232 Leah McFann  0:55'57.77 Female 12 & Under Run
177 373 Lisa Hinsly  0:56'02.80 Female 35-39 Walk
178 103 Kaitlyn Thom  0:56'21.61 Female 25-29 Run
179 318 Adryanne Garrett  0:56'26.49 Female 30-34 Walk
180 379 Emily Teuanger  0:56'28.24 Female 25-29 Walk
181 316 Melissa Barth  0:57'36.70 Female 45-49 Walk
182 317 Kelie Barth  0:57'37.02 Female 20-24 Walk
183 306 Tonya Newell  0:57'41.33 Female 40-44 Walk
184 307 Tina Brucker  0:57'41.80 Female 45-49 Walk
185 358 Kathleen Lanham  0:57'52.80 Female 55-59 Walk
186 387 Zach Lanham  0:57'53.17 Male 25-29 Walk
187 115 Owen Bookman  0:58'07.24 Male 12 & Under Run
188 350 Brianne Moore  0:58'12.05 Female 35-39 Walk
189 335 Brooke Wasson  0:58'39.61 Female 12 & Under Walk
190 336 Sandy McCroskey  0:58'40.74 Female 70 & Over Walk
191 334 Jeff Wasson  0:58'41.92 Male 50-54 Walk
192 344 Penny Morris  0:58'43.27 Female 60-64 Walk
193 345 Milt Morris  0:58'44.36 Male 65-69 Walk
194 368 Johni Wigal  0:59'04.67 Female 55-59 Walk
195 367 Leah LaPrade  0:59'05.11 Female 25-29 Walk
196 348 Alexis Gilbert  0:59'07.77 Female 20-24 Walk
197 349 Nicole Venuso  0:59'08.99 Female 20-24 Walk
198 347 Angela Fluharty  0:59'09.89 Female 45-49 Walk
199 305 Laura Wolfe  1:02'45.92 Female 30-34 Walk
200 304 Jeffrey Wolfe  1:02'51.99 Male 35-39 Walk
201 364 Rina Goins  1:03'38.89 Female 50-54 Walk
202 360 Sue Mahoney  1:05'24.83 Female 50-54 Walk
203 366 Scott Mahoney  1:05'29.70 Male 55-59 Walk

Awards

Male Overall Runner
Place Bib Name Time
1 187 Harrison Potter  0:18'50.33
2 214 Nathan Cunningham  0:19'10.49
3 161 Joe Wiltsey  0:20'32.02
Female Overall Runner
Place Bib Name
7 190 Yvonne Gilders  0:21'55.55
12 178 Kaylor Offenberger  0:23'30.45
16 218 Ashley Becker  0:24'16.36
Male Overall Walker
Place Bib Name Time
50 380 Jason Mader  0:32'35.17
73 308 Brenis Phillips  0:36'35.30
74 371 Ray Poling  0:36'36.36
Female Overall Walker
Place Bib Name Time
56 312 Sharon Marks  0:33'48.99
79 374 Karen Meeks  0:37'17.67
87 354 Vicki Williams  0:38'13.52
Male 12 & Under Runner
Place Bib Name Time
14 219 Nathan Plotner  0:23'59.24
20 202 Ryan Martin  0:25'25.39
37 206 Gatlin McLain  0:28'42.61
Female 12 & Under Runner
Place Bib Name Time
27 173 Desirae Caplinger  0:26'10.30
30 194 Virginia Haddox  0:27'03.74
46 169 Emma Stanley  0:32'05.49
Female 12 & Under Walker
Place Bib Name Time
189 335 Brooke Wasson  0:58'39.61
Male 13-19 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
15 109 Dominick Walleshauser  0:24'15.55
24 180 Taylor Bowers  0:25'58.24
31 123 Sullivan Wilson  0:27'21.64
Female 13-19 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
40 139 Haley Church  0:28'56.30
51 146 Savannah Jarvis  0:33'00.14
61 140 Ivy Linger  0:34'45.61
Female 13-19 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
173 388 Crystal Woodward  0:55'06.30
Male 20-24 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
5 193 Johnathan Haddox  0:21'24.49
9 120 Andrew Essig  0:22'39.74
10 200 Quentin Corbitt  0:23'22.83
Female 20-24 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
32 183 Kayla Suoler  0:27'41.36
65 129 Megan Law  0:35'32.49
Female 20-24 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
130 330 Megan Proctor  0:46'42.58
182 317 Kelie Barth  0:57'37.02
196 348 Alexis Gilbert  0:59'07.77
Male 25-29 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
48 151 Ethan Lamb  0:32'17.77
52 133 Johathan McCarthy  0:33'05.02
Female 25-29 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
25 149 Lindsay Hill  0:26'00.17
45 148 Amanda Richards  0:31'30.14
83 185 Michelle Gibson  0:37'45.70
Male 25-29 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
186 387 Zach Lanham  0:57'53.17
Female 25-29 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
134 341 Shelby Enoch  0:46'55.86
147 337 Maggie Starkey  0:48'58.86
180 379 Emily Teuanger  0:56'28.24
Male 30-34 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
11 211 Steve Beck  0:23'29.33
13 138 Nathan Jones  0:23'58.05
18 155 Johm Toomey  0:24'47.58
Female 30-34 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
26 191 Katie Vickers  0:26'08.30
55 228 Erica Ash  0:33'34.05
26 191 Katie Vickers  0:26'08.30
Male 30-34 Walk
Place Bib Name Time
165 323 Daryl Jones  0:53'16.70
174 365 Kahle Mahoney  0:55'11.83
Female 30-34 Walk
Place Bib Name Time
138 314 Misty Mason  0:47'30.21
154 359 Kari Brown  0:50'31.11
166 324 Elisabeth Jones  0:53'17.49
Male 35-39 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
21 207 Chris Hackney  0:25'36.08
38 204 Drew McLain  0:28'42.83
Female 35-39 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
19 168 Erin Stanley  0:24'53.27
43 125 Stacy Wilson  0:31'21.58
58 221 Jillian Eddy  0:33'50.83
Male 35-39 Walk
Place Bib Name Time
107 353 Joseph Morris  0:41'58.02
145 311 Brian DeLong  0:48'38.83
200 304 Jeffrey Wolfe  1:02'51.99
Female 35-39 Walk
Place Bib Name Time
128 375 Tiffany Jones  0:46'33.36
149 322 Mandy Amos  0:49'20.11
177 373 Lisa Hinsly  0:56'02.80
Male 40-44 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
8 212 Steve Osborne  0:22'23.70
35 156 Aaron Ford  0:28'37.33
36 134 Joe Mills  0:28'39.27
Female 40-44 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
28 217 Candy Bailey  0:26'34.92
34 157 Jaime Ford  0:28'36.92
67 128 Linda Law  0:35'45.77
Female 40-44 Walk
Place Bib Name Time
98 320 Michelle Buckner  0:40'16.08
104 315 Nancy Goff  0:41'16.77
124 384 Tonya Venham  0:45'45.89
Male 45-49 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
6 159 Teddy Menisher  0:21'50.11
39 201 Mike Brown  0:28'46.77
44 114 Rod Cummings  0:31'29.80
Female 45-49 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
127 141 Jeanette Linger  0:46'13.64
135 175 Angie Board  0:46'58.83
159 174 Karen A. Caplinger  0:51'43.08
Male 45-49 Walk
Place Bib Name Time
153 386 Todd Plotner  0:49'52.45
Female 45-49 Walk
Place Bib Name Time
106 372 Erica Baker  0:41'29.02
181 316 Melissa Barth  0:57'36.70
184 307 Tina Brucker  0:57'41.80
Male 50-54 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
4 119 Robert Boston  0:21'12.52
22 147 Brian Seeley  0:25'45.92
29 182 Kenneth Angle  0:26'53.86
Female 50-54 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
23 112 Anna Vanderlaan  0:25'56.49
47 170 Becky Poling  0:32'13.52
108 230 Kris Casto  0:42'30.55
Male 50-54 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
148 377 Scott Simonton  0:49'12.24
191 334 Jeff Wasson  0:58'41.92
Female 50-54 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
131 329 Jennifer Yerex  0:46'43.33
146 338 Lisa Null  0:48'57.67
162 326 Patty Metz  0:52'03.05
Male 55-59 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
33 192 Robert Sheridan  0:28'25.61
99 186 Larry Atkinson  0:40'33.89
Female 55-59 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
54 144 Diana Cline  0:33'23.70
64 142 Pamela Addis  0:35'19.05
88 208 Mary Beth Bauman  0:38'32.08
Male 55-59 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
101 301 Bob Heddleston  0:40'56.92
139 346 Mike Chevalier  0:47'30.83
203 366 Scott Mahoney  1:05'29.70
Female 55-59 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
93 378 Kim Windland  0:39'12.21
132 328 Renee Ellenwood  0:46'47.05
137 302 Kim Bradley  0:47'29.55
Male 60-64 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
42 143 Donald Lane  0:30'52.95
Female 60-64 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
114 363 Cherrie Cowan  0:44'34.92
Male 60-64 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
91 376 George Welch  0:38'57.36
129 382 Jim Arnold  0:46'35.45
Female 60-64 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
92 381 Linda Arnold  0:39'04.55
115 313 Deb Patrick  0:44'45.89
117 342 Kim Holdren  0:44'56.99
Male 65-69 Runner
Place Bib Name Time
17 162 Patrick Cathey  0:24'20.02
86 213 Jack Lane  0:38'00.42
126 154 Bill Toomey  0:46'08.21
Male 65-69 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
193 345 Milt Morris  0:58'44.36
Female 65-69 Walker
Place Bib Name Time
103 303 Joan Smith  0:41'13.17
105 362 Martha Marks  0:41'23.80
Male 70 & Over Runner
Place Bib Name Time
76 160 Charlie Pickens  0:37'04.74
155 177 Tommy Nichols  0:50'45.30
Female 70 & Over Runner
Place Bib Name Time
97 110 Peggy Grimm  0:40'10.05
Male 70 & Over Walker # in Group
Place Bib Name Time
89 370 William Cunningham  0:38'34.42
112 383 Ernie Doll  0:43'25.70
Female 70 & Over Walker
Place Bib Name Time
96 361 Barbara Jahn  0:40'03.52
152 319 Connie Porter  0:49'43.70
190 336 Sandy McCroskey  0:58'40.74

A doula perinatal mentor is like your best friend.  Remember that love you had growing up with a friend that would listen to all your stories, ideas, and imaginary worlds you snail-mailed to each other?  Remember when you were sad, and she gave you a hug?  Remember when you had a question, and she'd help you find the answer?  A doula is your best friend through the childbearing years with an inside scoop about the modern birth industry and your amazing body.  Not every doula practices the same way, but an Esali Birth Perinatal Mentor strives to encompass all of the needs of the childbearing years through knowledge, skill, and networking.

What does a doula do?  What DOESN'T a doula do?

What a Doula Does

  1. Tells you her personal abilities to support YOU through whatever stage of birth you're experiencing
  2. Doesn't pretend to be superwoman, but offers you love and guidance through your personal birth experience
  3. Massages your feet, hands, face, and whatever will make you feel better
  4. Walks with you prenatally providing informational and emotional guidance
  5. Provides education and support that encourages you to make informed decisions
  6. Seeks to build your confidence so you can become aware of your personal power, knowledge of yourself, and capabilities as a mother or father
  7. Understands the birth industry and hurdles you may have to cross, and helps you navigate these paths
  8. Offers physical guidance to improve your overall health for a happy healthy birth
  9. Offers nutritional guidance to improve your overall health for a happy healthy birth
  10. Helps you find area professionals that can support you through happy healthy birth
  11. Helps you find area professionals that can support you through postpartum and parenting
  12. On call 24/7 (not just after 37 weeks and not just for active labor)
  13. Helps you find answers to questions and may perform many hours of research for clients
  14. Looks over your food journal to help see where you could improve from timing of eating to what you're ingesting
  15. Finds time for you and your family's needs
  16. Goes with you to the grocery store to help select healthy balanced food items
  17. Help you prep for postpartum by blending herbal baths, stocking your pantry, and packing your labor bag
  18. Reviews your birth guide (birth plan) for language, efficiency, and necessities to help you communicate with your birth team
  19. Networks with area professionals to help maintain a positive image in the community that will reflect on your birth experience
  20. Leads birth comprehensive birth classes that help you become aware of ALL your options for ALL births
  21. Leads perinatal comprehensive classes that help you become aware of ALL your options from pre-conception through postpartum and early parenting
  22. Can drive with you to long distance prenatal appointments to chat about what you want to talk about, and help you reflect on your prenatal appointment after it has occurred
  23. Provides consistent support prenatally, even when you are choosing to birth without a doula or with another doula
  24. Provides consistent support prenatally for mothers includes those experiencing PTSD from Previous Sexual Trauma while working with your therapist to ensure you have the best support team available no matter when you have your baby
  25. Supports #ALLthebirths because a doula is supporting YOU
  26. Supports the birth team's interaction with the laboring mother to improve her experience and memory of the birth
  27. Guides you and your birth partner on positive communication skills to improve your labor experience
  28. Provides physical support during labor for comfort
  29. Provides physical guidance during labor to help a baby move into a more comfortable position
  30. Provides emotional support during labor for comfort and birth progression
  31. Communicates with the staff about your needs for quiet and privacy during labor
  32. Doesn't flinch when your water breaks all over their shoes and the doula is in the middle of counter pressure for your comfort
  33. Helps you roll from side to side during a medicated birth and you have little feeling from an epidural
  34. Holds your baby on your breast during the first hours after a cesarean when you're a little in and out from the medication
  35. Cares for older siblings whether at a home birth, during the hospital, or when you need childcare during a scheduled cesarean
  36. Meets you at your home, in the woods for a walk, and at your labor facility to support you whenever you need support
  37. Watch your labor signs to help provide information that helps you decide when to transfer to your birth facility
  38. Encourages you to listen to your amazing body and all the signals it is providing you to move, breathe, and dance with your baby
  39. Helps comfort you through transferring to a birth facility
  40. Can drive you to your birth facility while your birth partner supports you during transfer to a birth facility
  41. Help setup a birthing tub for hydrotherapy
  42. Help tear down and cleanup a birthing tub after a water birth
  43. Get in the birthing tub with you to provide back pressure and position support
  44. Is comfortable with birth fluids near and on them
  45. Helps you find the labor noises that opens your cervix and brings baby down
  46. Reassures your birth partner that all these noises are expected and opening the cervix, bringing the baby down
  47. Help cleanup the house after a home birth
  48. Rotates and wiggles your hips to help baby move through the pelvis
  49. Dances with you during birth for emotional and physical support
  50. Offers birth ball use guidance
  51. Offers peanut ball use guidance
  52. Tells you how amazing you are to build your confidence, and oxytocin, in pregnancy and birth
  53. Tells your birth partner how amazing they are to build their confidence, and oxytocin, in supporting you through birth
  54. Takes the lead on supporting you as you desire
  55. Guides the direction of your birth partner so they can support you in a leading role
  56. Works alongside your birth partner
  57. Holds your hair back and a bag for vomit
  58. Provides support even when there are shift changes at your birth facility
  59. Turns down the lights to help oxytocin build to its fullest potential
  60. Encourages privacy to build oxytocin for labor progression and an enjoyable birth
  61. Encourages intimacy to build oxytocin for labor progression and an enjoyable birth
  62. Reminds you to listen to your body for positions and movement
  63. Reminds you to listen to your body for needs of rest and relaxation
  64. Reminds you to listen to your body for pushing birthing
  65. Reminds the facility of your birth guide
  66. Reminds you to speak up for your desires
  67. Reminds you of your human rights during labor and birth
  68. Reminds you that you CAN birth vaginally when others are telling you that you don't have a choice
  69. Reminds you that you CAN choose a cesarean when others are telling you that you don't have a choice
  70. Fills up your water bottle, adds a little cucumber and fruit for electrolyte balance
  71. Reminds you to take sips of water for hydration
  72. Reminds you to eat light balanced foods, broths, and fruit as desired during labor
  73. Reminds you to communicate with your provider and staff for your wishes
  74. Reminds you that, "No Thank You" and "Not Right Now" are powerful words in the labor space
  75. Gets cooling wash cloths for your face and neck
  76. Gets warm towels for perineal support
  77. Provide hip squeezes to allow comfort and room for the baby
  78. Uses a rebozo for comfort and encouraging baby to rotate through the pelvis
  79. Works with the rest of the birth team and the staff to ensure you have all the perspectives when needed
  80. Answers the phone at 3 am to help you find calm in the early hours of labor, and breastfeeding
  81. Shares area contacts for perinatal services such as breastfeeding or osteopathic therapy
  82. Makes you a cup of tea and a sandwich while you're nursing your baby
  83. Brings your family dinner so you all can rest during postpartum
  84. Listens to your birth story and encourages you to feel all the feels
  85. Helps you wrap your baby for a more hands-free and connected postpartum
  86. Guides you on breastfeeding latch and positions for more comfort
  87. Guides you on when to seek more support for any issues that may arise during postpartum or parenting
  88. Go-to for perinatal-related information and support
  89. Connects the dots between birth choices and birth experience to help you process and understand your birth experience
  90. Checks in on you in the days after birth to ensure you are holistically supported
  91. Offers LOVE - hugs, tears, laughter and love

I can't say that a doula is right for everyone.  I can say that when you have a relationship built with your doula, the ability for better support during labor grows.  A doula is that best friend willing to be by your side through every experience, day or night, weekday or weekend, holidays and spur of the moment.  If you're looking for labor options, a doula perinatal mentor can be a beacon of light through the childbearing years.

Let's chat about how you can be supported through pregnancy, labor, and postpartum.

Choosing the best care provider for your birth is an individual choice.  Having a friend or family member that liked a care provider won't tell you what that care provider can do for you.  The best way to choose the best care provider for your birth is to interview at least one home birth provider and one facility provider.  If you can get to know multiple providers to really understand the way they practice, this is your ideal.  Trusting your provider for their skills and experience and feeling comfortable communicating with them as you would a friend will enable the highest levels of oxytocin flowing in your birth space, rather than nervous adrenaline suppressing your labor progression.

Why are You Hiring a Care Provider?

If your answer to this is, "Because I'm pregnant," or, "Because I need myself and my baby checked regularly to make sure nothing is wrong," then there is a chance you haven't dug deep into the understanding of birth physiology nor sought a provider that works for YOU.  These two types of answers illustrate a belief that birth is risky and that any provider with a midwifery or obstetric related title provides quality care for YOU and for support of biological birth.  Not all providers practice the same.  They shouldn't, either.  We're not looking for cookie cutter providers any more than we're looking for cookie cutter births.  But we are at a time in history where we have access to a LOT of traditional and modern knowledge that can be (and IS being) blended to provide families with holistic support of the entire perinatal period.

Use the table below as a guide to help you find the best care provider, doula, birth team, birth location and birth environment for your #happyhealthybirth.

Thoughts and questions to ask yourself and to research about your chosen birth environment Biological Birth Supportive May want to seek other support
I am excited to see my provider at my prenatals YES NO
My provider listens to my questions and thoughts and engages in respectful conversation with me and is willing to provide me with the birth I desire, or kindly recommend I seek the care of someone else should our views not align YES NO
My provider encourages me to research recommendations and make informed decisions about my pregnancy, birth, and postpartum and does not push any recommendations as required YES NO
Many mothers birth in upright, forward leaning, all fours, or squatting positions with this provider YES NO
My provider knows how to use physical and emotional support including quiet, calm, and dark environments, water therapy, a peanut and birth ball and this is a standard part of their birth support YES NO
My provider doesn't use induction or cesarean as a treatment for "big babies" YES NO
Many baby's have their cord clamped and cut after the placenta birth with this provider YES NO
My baby will be skin to skin with me as a standard practice through postpartum YES NO
My provider takes all the time I need to answer all the questions I have, or schedules time for this specific purpose, and suggest holistic therapies to remedy any fears YES NO
My provider works with fetal positioning guidance during pregnancy to reduce labor and birth complications YES NO
My provider encourages balanced meals and provides information on eating balanced rather than prescribing a standard Rx prenatal to cover nutrition.  If prenatal vitamins are recommended, they are whole foods (with folate, not folic acid) and test to determine specific areas of deficiency are encouraged to know what supplements would be beneficial for you. YES NO
My provider believes the body is capable of laboring, birthing, and healing during postpartum and doesn't use medical technology as a standard means of practice for normal pregnancy and birth during any part of the perinatal stages YES NO
My provider actively refers to other providers and specialists for areas they feel would benefit from another perspective or for care they are unable to provide YES NO
My provider does not get aggressive or sarcastic at the mention of home birth YES NO
My provider understands the influence of birth practices on breastfeeding YES NO
My provider uses emotional and physical guidance during labor to increase oxytocin, decrease fear, and naturally support the physical movement of the baby through the pelvis during labor YES NO
My provider ensures I am provided with (and know resources for) breastfeeding support immediately after birth and the first days and weeks after birth YES NO
My provider doesn't use "at least you have a healthy baby" as a justification for birth experiences YES NO
My provider checks on me, or has someone on their team that checks on me, multiple times throughout the first six weeks postpartum YES NO
My provider's backup, and any staff working with or for my provider, practices in the same way as my provider YES NO

Of course, the ideal is a YES to all of these, right?  At least much more than the majority. Are these the only priorities?  No, of course not... and there are many other factors that will play into the quality and care of a provider.  These may not even be a priority to YOU for THIS birth.  However, this is a general overview of how to get to the deep down of how a provider practices.

Gifts for Doulas Esali Birth

Gifts for doulas and midwives aren't just for the holidays but a lovely gesture to say, "Thank You" for their support.  Doulas and midwives love hearing from the families they have supported and seeing where their new journey is taking them.  Here are 10 extra thoughtful gifts for doulas and midwives that really show insight into the role a birthkeeper has.

Hand Written Card

You can't go wrong with a card.  Whether it's an e-card or purchased one, the words you add on the inside mean the most.  Tell your doula how much she meant to you and talk about how you and your family are doing.  Add in a family photo or photo from your birth and give permission (from you and the photographer) to use the photo in an album shared with future clients.

Plants, with Roots

Flowers are lovely, but flowers and plants with roots are lasting and make great gifts for doulas and midwives.  Whether it's a cutting flower, window herbs, potted plant for the clinic, grape vines, cherry tomatoes or a bag of heirloom seeds - plants make any space charming and some can live on for years.  My great grandmother had plants that were gifted to her and they always told a story.  What story will your plant tell?

Box of Honey Sticks or Healthy Snacks

Think birth bag.  Honey sticks and [healthy] snacks are compact items to carry to any birth.  If your doula or midwife used this in your birth, you know how helpful they can be.  Healthy no sugar no soy low processed snacks, like the Go Raw line of products, can be really pricey (but so worth it) and as a gift they can really help a doula that is logging a lot of hours and needing energy along the way.  Great addition to a hand written card!

Herbal Blends

Think adrenal and stress support.  Maybe the right gift is the doula's favorite roasted coffee from the quaint shop down the road, but let's go less caffeine here and support the adrenals.  Doulas and midwives work a lot of long high-energy-need hours and often at night.  The stress that comes along with birth work is real.  Don't get me wrong, it's a good kind of stress - but it is taxing on the adrenal and nervous system nonetheless.  Include a glass-lined tea and fruit infusion cup to go with it for easy on the go infusions.  Whether you blend your own herbs, check out the adrenal support blends and infusion glasses from the Esali Shop, or visit your local herbalist - teas, bath blends, and tinctures make a very useful option for gifts for doulas and midwives.

Audible Gift Card

Doulas and midwives log a lot of miles traveling to and from prenatal appointments, births, and postpartum appointments but don't always have time to cosy up with a good book.  Audio books make great gifts for doulas and midwives for the car rides for both entertainment and self improvement.  Another great compliment to a hand written card.

Music Gift Card

Doulas and midwives love music just as much as you and I, and also love to have playlists ready to go for birth.  iTunes or Amazon Music gift cards can make a simple gift for personal and professional use for doulas and midwives.  Another great compliment to a hand written card.

House Cleaning Gift Certificate

Doulas and midwives are sometimes away from home for days at a time.  While their families must be supportive of this lifestyle, and many have routines to fall into to make this kind of thing work, there are a lot of prenatal and postpartum visits between the birth that fill up even more time away from taking care of the basic tasks of running a house.  Having a gift certificate to cover cleaning the main areas of the house can make those days of resting, and time spent with their family, so much easier to attain.

Handmade & Homemade

Do you have a special skill?  Share it!  Handmade (or gathered from your farm) items make very thoughtful gifts for doulas and midwives.  Everyone loves knitted scarves or lathe-turned bowls.  Maybe you gather grapevines in your woods and weave them into table centerpieces.  A painting or even a pot of soup once you're into a groove with your new family and you know your doula is resting up from attending another birth.

Charm to Remember Your Birth

You've probably seen the cute stamped pendants that say, "Got Midwife" or have a pair of baby feet chiseled beautifully into a silver circle.  But let's get a little more personal with these options for gifts for doulas and midwives.  Think of the grandmother birth stone rings that were once ever so popular, and jazz it up a bit.  Get a pandora charm, bangle dangle, or gem stone that has your baby's name or birthdate or gemstone on it for your birth team's memory.  Maybe your doula doesn't have a charm holder - start one special just for her client memories!  Floating charm lockets make great birth bag flare or beautiful keychains.

Testimonials and Reviews

Word of mouth will go further than any sales tool for bringing in new clients.  There is still no better platform for business growth beyond a positive review from happy clients.  Providing permission to share your thoughts or taking a few moments to add a review to Facebook or Google can be a tremendous help to the doula or midwife, as well as providing insight for future clients as they choose the birth team that is right for their family.  Providing thoughtful words and insight into the skills of your doula or midwife is one of the best gifts for doulas and midwives.  It is encouraging to their heart and useful in so many ways.  Providing them with these thoughts helps them in ways tangible gifts can't compare.

Social Media Tags

Similar to a testimonial and review, social media tags are wonderful ways of sharing the love and attesting to the skill and wisdom the doula or midwife provided you.  If you're sharing a birth story, photos, or videos be sure to tag your doula or midwife (remember their business page and commonly used hashtags) so others can link back to those services and let the wisdom sharing continue.  If you received a lot of support through education, mentoring, guidance, and love - tag that person when sharing those thoughts with friends, family and social media followers.  If you have a photo of the doula or midwife you're sharing, be sure to tag the image with their business or personal profile.

Photo (or video) of the Doula or Midwife Providing Support

One of the best gifts for doulas or midwives is a digital copy (with usage rights from you and the photographer/videographer) to photos and videos of your birth - especially when they contain the doula or midwife within them.  A visual image of the doula at work can be used for marketing material, website imagery, social media sharing, and providing potential clients with an insight into how that person practices.  These imagines are personal providing tools that are more impactful than stock images that anyone can purchase and use.

 

If you're a doula or midwife, what were some of your most memorable gifts received?

Audible Books for Doulas Esali Birth

Audible books for doulas are a great way to add depth to professional doula training, continuing education, and pleasure reading for birth pros including midwives and birth educators.  I'm a fan of Kindle books, digital books, and other ebook options and we use our local digital library regularly for homeschooling and general reading.  However, it isn't often I want a digital reference book for herbalism, midwifery, or birth wisdom where I can't hold it in my hand, easily share, and have when the batteries run out.  I have on many occassion chosen to have both digital and physical copies for a sort of the best of both worlds for bookmarking content or sharing with clients, but Audible books for doulas and birth professionals brings a whole new level to these busy callings.

One amazing thing Audible books for doulas can do is free up our time and get us moving.  Having a job where you do a lot of bending over and sometimes driving can be taxing on the alignment of the body.  Driving many miles and hours to reach clients for prenatals, postpartum appointments, and start and stop births can give you a lot of listening time for not only educational literature, but motivational and entertainment reading as well that you may otherwise not make the time for during your down days.

Here are Audible books for doulas you can start listening to on the way to your next birth.

Audible Books for Doulas, Midwives, Childbirth Educators and Birth Pros

Call the Midwife Trilogy

If you've enjoyed watching the highly popular BBC series, Call the Midwife, you'll really love listening to the memoir trilogy as it was originally written (plus an additional fourth book not yet available on Audible as Jennifer Worth recounts her post-midwifery days, doulaing those at the end of their earthly life as many birthworkers go on to hold space full circle and other paperback gems).

Book 1 - Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

Book 2 - Shadows of the Workhouse

Book 3 - Farewell to the East End

Book 4 - In the Midst of Life (paperback)

Correspondance Letters to the Midwife (paperback)

The Midwife's Sister (paperback) - by Christine Lee, Jennifer Worth's sister

The Midwife of Hope River

Patricia Harman, West Virginia author and former midwife, takes you on a relatable journey as you travel to your birth clients with real life inspired stories and a series of books enjoyable by all birth professionals.

Other Audible Books by Patricia Harman:

The Midwife of Hope River: A Novel of an American Midwife

The Reluctant Midwife: A Hope River Novel

The Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife's Memoir

Beautiful Birth Meditation Guide

This one is for the audio device during a prenatal or birth.  When you or the rest of the birth team need a little break, or mom is simply relaxed in the birth tub - play this softly in the background if it feels desireable to her.  This is also a good guide to listen to on the way to a birth to remind you of the meditative guidance you can use for your clients.

Supernatural Childbirth

Author Jackie Mize writes to inspire families to trust God in their body's design for pregnancy and birth.  This positively motivational and scripture-supported audible book is a great option for doulas and parents to inspire and encouraging for the perinatal stages.

If you're traveling near and far you may be running low on time spent cozying up by the fire for your next down-time-book.  Audible books for doulas are great when you don't have extra time, but drive a lot or as movement motivators to anticipate your daily walking habits, or while you're prepping snack bags for the littles when you're on call.  So, whether you're taking your doula agency to the next workshop or soaking up the personal time on your way to a birth, you'll love these audible books for doulas.

Looking for other book shelf items?  Take a look at this book list for your birth book shelf.

What books have you enjoyed listening to as a birth mentor?

At Esali Birth, we go far beyond "what to expect" in birth.  While "birth class" is often what people call it - that's simply because it is a term that has been around for so long.  Additionally, people think of the word "doula" as someone that only supports moms during labor - and that is not completely accurate, either.  Ideally, your care provider is the one that not only educates you and supports you and provides breastfeeding guideance, but reality these days doesn't really offer the opportunity for providers to have the time to do so.  This is where a birth educator comes in and then often a separate doula after that and then a separate lactation counselor after that.  However, reducing the amount of people not only in the birth itself, but overall during the perinatal journey has many values.  No matter what you want to call it - someone that provides a continuum of education and support from pregnancy through labor and into postpartum not only has the value of trust, but the value of knowing your personal journey.  Even more than a standard series, I LOVE focusing on individualized education - because just like your care provider for birth, the information you receive prenatally is specific to your needs.  Working with couples in private mentoring sessions allows me to focus on not only your questions, but techniques that are specific to your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

What might a prenatal mentoring session look like?  That really depends on your goals, and where you are in your childbearing journey.  We may:

  • Talk about birth history and the birth industry and how that will influence your health and happiness - do you know how the business of birth changes your options and safety?  We'll talk about the safety of birth in the US, too.
  • Process a previous birth (or even a birth story you've heard) to reduce fear and move on to enjoying your perinatal experience - Do you know how this can affect the comfort and health of your birth?  We'll talk about that, too.
  • Work on body techniques to eliminate pregnancy discomfort and help position baby for the best birth possible - Do you know techniques you can do at home to reduce these discomforts and why misalignment changes even things like vaginal birth and VBAC?  We'll talk about that, too.
  • Discover nutrition that will increase your health, your baby's health, and reduce chances of things like rupture of the membranes before labor due to nutrition - Do you know about whole foods and herbal therapies?  We'll talk about that, too.
  • Find a birth team to best support your needs - Do you know what is available to you from home to hospital?  We'll explore your options.
  • Develop a relationship that carries into trust in birth so I am not only your "labor doula" - but a connected part of your team that knows more about your history, who you are, and what you desire - Do you know what a doula can do for you AND Dad?  Let's discuss that, too.
  • Build confidence in you AND dad so you can work together through the perinatal stages and become empowered parents - because confidence is key and I want you to walk away from a mentoring session with a smile and an energy excited for birth.

Wow, and that's just the tip of the iceberg!  Overall, we're not only working towards your goals in birth - but in creating the happiest birth possible because a happy birth is a healthy birth.  One on one sessions - virtually or locally - help you have that special time to focus on you and a guide along the way to provide you with information and resources that support you holistically without having to spend hours and hours in parenting groups and blogs trying to filter through the information.

Interested in a session or series?  Get in touch!

WOW - what a weekend.  Fresh from a Spinning Babies workshop and I have to get these thoughts out of my head.  I wanted to attend the workshop to put all the pieces together from their intense website.  I wanted to see how much were we already using, maybe simply not calling it the same thing, how much we needed refined, and how much was new.  It was a great workshop.  It was fun and educational.  Much of it was techniques that have been around for ages simply pulled together.  But, overall it was creating a larger network of people we can ask questions to and discuss.  It was intriguing in ways I didn't expect because I found the networking more valuable than anything else.  However, mostly it empowered my perspective of birth that there is still soooooo much of a medical mindset in even the birth advocacy world that needs to melt away.  We have to support our women now in their situations now, absolutely, but we have to continue striving to bring birth back to the basics whenever possible - especially in the way we share knowledge.

Releasing Tight Ligaments to Bring Baby Earth Side

Releasing tight ligaments to bring baby earth side. Prevent this tension in pregnancy, remedy this situation during the birthing phases.

If the information isn't there to support your idea of birth, the techniques won't make a difference.  A doula can't save a birth choice that doesn't support biology.  A birth class can give you the information, but unless you make the choices that support your body, the information isn't going to help you.  We can physically support your baby and body, but without the understanding of a quiet, calm, and dark birth space AND the choice to allow you to birth in a space like that - your body may have a hard time moving from physically laboring to emotionally birthing.  We need to reduce that fear and reduce too much in the birth space.  ALL of these techniques need to work together.  ALL of these ideas need to be pieced logically into place for YOU and YOUR BIRTH.

Release the tension, Move the Baby

Tight muscles, tight ligaments, and misaligned body make baby misaligned. We know this. Now, let's get baby moving.

For too long, women have been hiring support for labor - separating that roll of educational support and labor support and expecting the hard work to be done during the birth.  While taking it easy during pregnancy and enjoying this beautiful emotional time is a goal we need to work towards - ideally we want all this education and physical work to be done prior to the oxytocin-heightening time of labor.

This focus of what a doula is and does needs to change. They are so much more than "labor support."

Want a smoother birth?  Do the work NOW.  Whatever now looks like to you - whether you're 16, just married, TTC, early pregnancy, or 37 weeks - NOW is the time to start reducing the amount of work your body needs to do when baby is ready and your mind is ready to bring baby earth side.

What does this work look like?  Well, it is different for everyone.  It is a lot of birth industry navigating.  It is independent perinatal education - not just a "what to expect in birth" or "what to expect in the hospital" sort of crash course.  It is a lot of wellness counseling, birth trauma processing, relationship building, and likely optimal fetal positioning.  It is navigating the birth industry.  It is discovering what YOU want and what YOU expect from your birth team and birth location.  When you discover your options, you learn how to make choices that support those options.

Mid Pelvis Release

Where's the Baby? A provider that palpates can help a mom a lot during pregnancy to prevent issues arising in birth. When was the last time your provider palpated? When was the last time your provider touched you other than for a vaginal exam which is typically unnecessary at best. Providers that are only watching monitors won't know. Providers only getting feedback from a middle-person over the phone, won't know. Providers only focused on numbers, won't know. Providers never seeing a mom move during her labor won't know.

Want to know more?  Schedule a session with me and let's get started with mentoring sessions that go far beyond "labor and delivery."  Let's get to the root of your previous birth experience.  Let's get to the root of your fear or misunderstanding of your biology and how a previous birth doesn't have to be this birth - even if you "did it all right."  Let's figure out how your baby is working with YOUR body.  Let's talk about your health and your relationship.  Let's talk about your birth location and your care provider and how that is playing into something like muscle tension, birth pain, and a smooth birth.  Let's talk about how all of this influences breastfeeding, PPH, and depression.

Let's talk about how amazing this time can be!  Get in touch!   You're never too far away!

Well, hello there!  While we've seen a lot from each other through "Esali Birth," I wanted to take a moment to say a personal hello from me, Danielle from the Mid-Ohio Valley, and share a basic service and price list for all of you looking for perinatal support through the childbearing years in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

If you're new to Esali Birth you may not know my story which I love sharing throughout the many times we may meet on your journey.  Mostly, I am a modern gal living in rural WV that loves to intertwine instinctual, historical, knowledge with only the most beneficial parts of our modern world.  I wear many hats in my family and life and love the diversified options I have in this beautiful world.  I also love supporting families during the childbearing years from the most basic loving hug to the scientific ins and outs of childbirth.  Whatever you need in this moment is what I strive to provide.  Sometimes that is advice, sometimes it is research, sometimes it is nutritional guidance, and it is always understanding of your personal journey which is ever changing.

My services range from pre-conception counseling to childbirth education and doula support.  I have a variety of herbal blends available and custom blends that can be created for your specific needs from soothing foot soaks and beverage tea blends to body balancing while transitioning from medicinal birth control and perinatal support.  See my service menu below for a basic list of options in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

While I do require services be paid in full, I provide my NPI number and guidance for my clients to submit claims to their insurance to help cover doula education and support fees upon request.

Want to learn more?  See me chat with Marilee Marrow on Moms Everyday and visit my Support Page.  Find me on Skype @esalibirth for my online [free] "Office Hours."

Have questions?  Get in touch!

Stripping the Membranes

Sweeping the Membranes

Stretch and Sweep

Most of us have heard the terms at one point or another because many moms are induced and this procedure often precedes an induction.  It is designed to stimulate prostaglandins prior to an induction and hopefuly start the dilation process to avoid pitocin or at least make a mom more "ripe" for induction success the following day.  A provider inserts their digits for a vaginal exam and separates the membranes/bag of waters/amniotic sac from the lower portion of the uterus which is known to stimulate prostaglandins.  During a vaginal exam you say?  Yes, they can do this without your consent - without you knowing.  In fact, I know moms that have been told "Oh, by the way, you might experience some bleeding tonight because I stripped your membranes."  Legal?  No...  but who's stopping them?

Prostaglandins, with high levels naturally in semen (in fact, some cervical ripening medications have been derived from the high levels in pig semen), make the cervix more pliable which aids during the dilation process. Moms body will typically make all that is needed - provided she lives a healthy and well balanced lifestyle that allows proper hormone production and body function.  Time, however, is needed during the gestational period as most first time moms birth closer to 42 weeks and most multips also birth after 40 weeks - with wide fluctuations on either side of these numbers.  It is indicated that a longer menstrual cycle is more indicative of a longer gestational length than conception date.

So, is stripping the membranes really necessary?

When moms are recommended for induction, they are often given what is called a Bishop score which looks at various factors such as gestational age, cervical dilation and effacement, number of vaginal births...etc.  A higher Bishop score is connected with higher success for induction... and it is also connected with spontaneous labor happening sooner anyway.  Makes sense, right?  A mom with signs of progression is likely closer to spontaneous birth.  Let's keep in mind a question as well... if mom is in *need* of an induction, is scheduling it for next week the best way to go?  Is the induction actually needed?  Do we know that in many cases the risks of induction are the same as the risks for the situation warranting the induction?  Weigh the pros and cons of waiting vs. the risks of all induction methods (herbal, "natural"...  are any inductions actually natural?, sweeping the membranes, oral/vaginal prostaglandins, breaking the water...etc.).

Also, take a look at Primal Health Research and the studies that indicate because of the risks immediately and long term from pitocin induced births, cesarean often carriers less risk for breastfeeding, bonding, depression, fetal/maternal distress...etc.

In addition to sweeping the membranes, moms are often given some sort of cervical ripening agent either orally or vaginally... or both.  In many cases, this is Cytotec - an ulcer medication which has off-label use for induction... it can also cause uterine rupture and death of the mom and/or baby.  Pitocin also carries these risks in similar rates - but pitocin can be turned down for strength if the uterus seems to be hyper-stimulating (which isn't always measured accurately).  Once Cytotec has been taken orally or given vaginally, that's it - there's no going back - and without proper studies of the medication for this use, we get a wide range of dosages and a wide range of efficacy and experience.  Cytotec is approved for post-birth hemorrhage, however.

While also sweeping the membranes, moms may experience AROM or PROM - Artificial/Premature Rupture of the Membranes.  While ROM may happen spontaneously at home in a low percentage of moms giving them time to monitor their health while waiting - when you're in the hospital and with most medical care providers, that's it - your labor clock has started.  There's no going home now or waiting things out.  You often receive an IV and antibiotics because of the now increased risks for infection.  And while home birthing women have experienced their water breaking and then sealing, this doesn't happen in a hospital birth.  You're either waiting a few hours for labor to begin on its own, or provided with augmentation to get labor contractions started.

Some moms say, "I don't have another option."

There are ALWAYS options.  Not feeling comfortable with one of your options is a different story altogether.  Explore that.  Why are you afraid of the alternative?  What can you do (especially if you're TTC or early in pregnancy) to prevent those fears from limiting the choices you're comfortable with?  What is available to provide you with the knowledge and skill needed to overcome those fears?

Some moms say, "My provider is forcing me."  In some shape or form, they're being coerced and often in a negative/controlling/fear-tactic sort of way.

Woah!  This is a CLEAR indication that your provider doesn't understand birth at all.  We'll get to this more in a minute... but how on earth can you TRUST a provider that has to use fear tactics to make you submit to their will?  If the provider is recommending the best for you and wants you to have the best experience, why are they incapable of providing the evidence and the love that makes you comfortable with their choice?

One thing to remember is that you have rights and can refuse any recommendation. In most cases (not saying it hasn't happened before) - they're not going to hold your arm down, stick an IV in it, and give her pit without her consent... whether forced or coerced - she still gives consent.  Why, yes, they can strip your membranes without your knowledge - if you're not accepting vaginal exams, this is not possible. This leads us to another question.  Are vaginal exams necessary?  Well, for thousands of years babies came without vaginal exams.  Babies, with some providers, are still coming out without vaginal exams.  Ask "why do you need to do that?"  Ask "what information might you learn that would change how we approach labor and birth?"

If you're not comfortable with your alternatives for care and location, you could take a lawyer to an appointment with you and a copy of A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth (not saying that's 100% accurate as studies have flaws... but you can at least look up the studies that your provider is *supposed* to be following as you're in your appointment). Unfortunately the fear that surrounds women is often the "I can't switch" reason vs. the actual inability to switch providers. They fear home birth more than they fear pitocin. They fear unassisted birth more than they fear the years of unknown ahead from what an induced birth can cause. They are not educated on unassisted birth from their provider or birth class, so they're still assuming the worst and thinking their situation - regardless of induction method - is still the saf"ER" route.

Let's look at this for just a moment.

Home Birth

Stripping the Membranes

Natural level of prostaglandins

Little to no vaginal exams

Bacterial presence from the home

ROM typically occurs during birthing stage or shortly after

Patience

Higher - in comparison to hospital birth - level of spontaneous and non-augmented birth

Higher - in comparison to hospital birth - level of vaginal birth

Increased Prostaglandins

Increased Vaginal Exams

Increased risk for infection (albeit, studies show negligible)

Increased risk for Premature Rupture of the Membranes (now studies show the risk of infection is no longer negligible)

Decreased "labor clock"

Increased risk for Pitocin & decreased level of spontaneous birth

Increased risk for cesarean

Now, let's think about home birth vs. induction.  Induction doubles the risks of cesarean, increases pain significantly, increases epidurals (and those risks), increases uterine rupture and mother/baby death, increases PPH.... and home birth increases spontaneous vaginal birth, breastfeeding rates, decreases postpartum mood disorders, and reduces all interventions.  This doesn't even cover the comparison to unassisted birth.

There are a variety of risks with stripping and all that goes with it (like moms getting cytotec slipped in without consent - not to mention the risks of infection... which I would think a provider would be more cautious about if a mom were GBS+... but that's another reason antibiotics are given to all GBS+ moms because they can practice invasive without a second thought... or so they think and now new generations believe).

So what is a mother to do?  What about those moms that really have been encouraged so much by our culture to believe intervention is safer than the alternatives?

I focus on WHY moms might not be moving into spontaneous labor ON TOP OF the fact that most 1st time moms birth closer to 42 weeks. Additionally, moms with longer menstrual cycles tend to gestate longer as well.  These are averages that we know IN ADDITION TO every mom and baby needing different things... like time...

What I also remind moms is they need to get their head out of the game.  Relax, de-stress, unwind, and stop thinking about a birth date.  Stop thinking about what someone is going to recommend to you.  Stop thinking about the birth.  Stop thinking about work.  Stop thinking about that misinformed person that keeps asking you "if they're going to let you go past ____ weeks."  Stop thinking and just ENJOY.

Stripping the membranes might increase prostaglandins and a Bishop score, but this is letting the tail wag the dog!  Dilation... rather, labor progression is much more about an efficient uterus than it is about a ripe cervix - and we all know what causes an efficient uterus, don't we?

OYTOCIN

Let's think about how to increase oxytocin.  Let's think about how to create uterine efficiency.  You have all the makings, you just need to put it together.

"Oops, I'm so sorry, I can't make it to my appointment today - I'm out of town. I need to reschedule." (Yes, even when you're 41+ weeks).  Call after hours when you can leave a message even, then turn off your phone.  I am not encouraging a relationship with your provider that doesn't involve complete trust, but I do want you to think about what your body actually needs and how you can be a decision making factor in this process.  Then, book a cabin in the woods (semi close to the birth place so driving doesn't hinder you should labor begin) and stay there until your oxytocin levels are now able to rise because adrenaline decreased. Take all the spa treatments, bubble baths, walks on the trails with a camera....etc.  Can't get away?  No problem - do it at home in your back yard, in the park... anywhere that feels relaxing to you.  All these things increase oxytocin and decrease adrenaline. 

While adrenaline is a handy dandy survival hormone that tells us "Nope, not safe to have a baby here/now" - it does so because it is also antagonistic to oxytocin.  So, if you want labor to increase, you need to think happy thoughts and fly away to labor labor land.  Need a little pixie dust to give you a boost during pregnancy/labor?  Ask the oxytocin fairy (i.e. doula).  All these factors work just the same in labor as they do prior to labor.. as the last weeks of pregnancy are really a continuum and not a separation of here is pregnancy, and here is labor.  It's a circle that completes with breastfeeding and starts the process over again.

 

Additionally, work with posture, stretching (the hamstrings and abdomen especially), and abdominal tone all throughout pregnancy.  It is never too late to start.  Tight hamstrings cause a tight back which causes discomfort (decreased oxytocin) and also less ability for the pelvis to flex and allow room for baby. Yoga, Pilates, walking, hiking, swimming, pelvic rocks, tailor sitting, stand up desks, birth balls... all these things that strengthen the body, especially the muscles that support the uterus and pelvis, and support baby's position.  A baby in a funky position with a poorly supported uterus might need some hands on techniques - like spinning babies - to get them into a position where labor will progress further.  Stress and position are a key factor in prodromal labor.  These are all techniques that support the body's natural ability - not "what can I do to self-induce."  Belly dancing is AMAZING for pregnancy/birth. It gets baby into position, it stretches the ligaments, and it just feels amazing. This is what belly dancing's original purpose was - and now there are even birth classes surrounding the idea... but really just some big swirls of the hips and figure 8s with the pelvis are great.

Last, but not least, are you receiving proper nourishment?  Are you getting all your B vitamins, all your minerals like calcium and magnesium, enough sunlight (i.e. natural Vitamin D) for dopamine production which supports oxytocin?  If you're not sleeping well, I'd say you might need to get up and exercise a bit in the sunshine.  All of the necessary nutrients for proper body function can be found in a healthy balanced diet of colorful vegetables (lightly steamed, of course), and healthy food choices.  Dark greens are often a big factor for the modern to THRIVE and work at its optimal level.  A glass of equal parts nettles and Red Raspberry Leaf (a few pinches of each steeped for 3-5 minutes) is a great daily tonic tea that provides nourishment throughout the body.  It is great warm, it is great iced, it is great unsweetened.  If you want it sweetened, though, add a *pinch* of whole leaf stevia - or at most use a smidge of honey.  This is not an encouragement for using these as induction agents!  This isn't even a medicinal dose anyway, just a regular tonic (toning, nourishing) dose in addition to all your tonic foods.  This is encouraging you to make sure you and your baby are receiving adequate nourishment for proper body function.

Your body is amazing.  It was MADE to birth.  When interventions are recommend, only you can decide if this is something you want for your baby and yourself.  Looking at it from a logical perspective, however, often helps us to move the fear tactics aside and get down to the root and not put the cart before the horse.

Blessings on your journey!

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