Posts Tagged ‘ Doula ’

No Epidural for Mila Kunis! Her Birth Plan Revealed

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Mila Kunis is taking future mommyhood very seriously. Besides practicing prenatal yoga to make sure she and baby are as healthy as possible, the actress revealed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she plans on having a natural birth. “I did this to myself, I might as well do it right,” she said.

That is quite the controversial statement—one that could get many a mama and mama-to-be in an uproar. Obviously, there’s more than one way to give birth, and natural birth isn’t for everyone. But apparently daddy-to-be Ashton—who is learning Russian, Mila’s native language, so they can raise their child to be bilingual—is being super-supportive of the decision, even watching birthing documentaries with her. (Um, can you say best dad-to-be ever?!).

“We looked into the midwife aspect of [birth], spoke to my OB/GYN and realized the hospital I’m going to be laboring in does have a midwife, you know, doula type of thing,” she said. “So I’m gonna do it as all-natural as I possibly can unless there’s an emergency or something [goes] wrong.”

Good for her! But note to Mila: there actually is a difference between a midwife and a doula. Midwives (who can range in credentials from non-accredited to certified midwives and certified nurse-midwives) take the place of an ob-gyn, and they deliver the child.

Labor doulas are more like birth coaches. Unlike nurses or doctors, a doula is in the room at all times during the birth. Her job is to educate the mom about the birth process and help her relax during what can be a stressful time—through using nonmedical techniques to lessen labor pains, like massage, a birthing ball or getting into various positions rather than just being flat on your back. She is also an advocate for the parents when all of this new, crazy information about childbirth is swirling around them, explaining step-by-step what’s going on throughout the birthing process. The biggest difference, though, is that a midwife is there to focus on the baby, and a doula is there to focus on the mom.

Whatever Mila’s final birth plan entails, I hope her labor goes smoothly!  It’s a lot of work, but the end prize—a beautiful baby!—is well worth the effort.

TELL US: Are you planning on hiring a doula?

Image of Mila Kunis courtesy of Featureflash/Shutterstock. 

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Are Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Trying to Get Pregnant?

Monday, March 10th, 2014

That’s the question on everyone’s lips after Latham Thomas, who runs the pregnancy website Mama Glow, tweeted Thursday, “Highlight of my night – speaking about natural birth, home birth, & doulas with Justin Timberlake @jtimberlake & @jessicabiel.”

While Latham said Jessica is not pregnant—and she sure didn’t look like she had a bun in the oven at the Oscars in her form-fitting Chanel gown and her recent birthday was in a restaurant’s wine cellar in Miami—he said, “She’s a supporter of natural birth, doulas, and midwives. We talked about it for hours.”

I have to say, before my husband and I started talking about having a family, I would have been completely uninterested in all of the above. After deciding we were ready, on the other hand, I couldn’t read enough about my birth options. So there might be something to the rumor that JT and JB are ready to become parents since they are certainly doing their research if they’re talking to a birth expert for hours!

Though natural birth—without pain meds—sounds like a nightmare for a lot of women, those who get an epidural (as the majority giving birth vaginally in the U.S. do) actually have a greater incidence of needing birth interventions, such as vacuum extraction and delivery by forceps, or even a c-section, according to a recent study in National Vital Statistics Reports. An epidural can also mean short-lived but scary side effects for mom, including low blood pressure, headache, and fever. Women who skip the meds instinctively push, rather than exerting when they are told, which mean less pushing and less tearing too, and an overall shorter birth. So if you learn pain-reducing techniques and can handle the pain, in many ways you’re better off without an epidural.

If Jessica has a home birth using a midwife, she’ll certainly be on trend. Home births are at an all-time high. Home births jumped by 29 percent from 2004 to 2009, and now are thought to be at an all time high, though still only about 1 percent of women choose to give birth at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, home births are most common among women over the age of 35 who have already had at least one child. The biggest increase was in non-Hispanic white women. About 1 in 90 births in that segment of the population is now a home birth. But before deciding on a home birth, do your research. Recent data, also released by the CDC, found a growing number of infant deaths among babies who are birthed at home.

Using CDC data collected from 14 million infant births and deaths, the research team learned that the rate of newborn deaths was greater for home births delivered by midwives (12.6/10,000 births) compared to births delivered by midwives in a hospital (3.2/10,000 births). The death rates were even greater for first-time mothers having a midwife delivery at home (21.9/10,000 births). Births in a hospital–even if delivered by a midwife, were still safer than home deliveries.

In addition to having a midwife or OB, lots of women are now choosing to also include a doula. Doulas are professionally trained birth coaches, who offer prenatal education and emotional support to the mother, and serve as an advocate for her while in labor. My experience with a doula was amazing, she put me and my husband at ease before and during the birth, and was there to explain things in more detail since the OB and nurses were more often out of the room than in it.  (See which stars have used doulas here).

TELL US: Share your experiences with natural births, home births and doulas with us! If you haven’t had your baby yet, tell us what’s included in your birth plan.

Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital
Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital
Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital

Image of Jessica Biel courtesy of Joe Seer/Shutterstock.

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C-Section Boom: All About the $?

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Money the Motivating Factor in More Cesarean SectionsA scary new study suggests the high number of cesarean sections may have more to do with doctors’ greed than the patient’s need. According to a story by NPR, “about 1 in 3 babies born are now delivered via C-section, compared to 1 in 5 in 1996. During the same time period, the annual medical costs of childbirth in the U.S. have grown by $3 billion annually.” That’s worth repeating: an increase of $3 billion—that’s with a “B”!

In a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists found that in many cases, doctors are paid hundreds more for performing a C-section over a vaginal delivery, and hospitals can be paid up to thousands more.

Health care economists Erin Johnson and M. Marit Rehavi hypothesized that OBs might be less likely to perform C-sections for financial incentives if the patients had significant knowledge about childbirth and its risk factors. So they looked at how many doctors had C-sections while giving birth to their own kids as opposed to non-doctors—who would likely know much less about whether a C-section was the right birth method for them.

The findings were that in cases where financial incentives were involved, pregnant doctors are about 10 percent less likely to get C-sections than their non medically-trained counter parts, which points to the fact that when armed with knowledge about whether a cesarean section is really necessary, women are likely to push back if they think it is more of a doctor’s elective surgery.

In situations when vaginal delivery is first tried, and for whatever reason doesn’t go as planned, women without a medical degree are more likely to have cesareans—which makes sense because during that time all you hear is “there is a problem,” and the rest of your mind shuts down. You of course trust your doctor and presume he or she knows a hell of a lot more than you do in this situation, so in most cases you are going to do exactly what they say.

Interestingly, in instances where doctors were paid flat rates whether they did a vaginal birth or surgical birth (so there were no benefits to the doc for performing a c-section), pregnant physicians actually had more C-sections than non-doctors, which could mean that when there aren’t financial incentives doctors are less likely to give women c-sections (often a longer and more difficult procedure) even when they need them.

Neither the study nor I are saying that all doctors are evil or that they would all do an unnecessary surgery just for the extra bucks. But the reality is that it does happen, whether subconsciously or not. So the best thing you can do for your and your baby’s health is to read up as much as you possibly can about births and emergency procedures, or even hire an impartial doula or midwife if you can afford it (many insurance companies don’t pay for them), so if and when you are put in that situation you can make the most informed decision possible.

TELL US: Do you believe doctors would be more likely to perform a cesarean section because of the bigger paycheck? Do you suspect your doctor steered you into having one?

Image of doctor courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Kate Middleton’s In Labor With The Royal Baby!

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Kate Middleton is in labor in the Lindo WingThe Great Kate Wait is almost over! That’s right—Kate Middleton is in labor. After photographers and Royal Watchers have been on high alert since Kate Middleton’s rumored due date of July 13, and talk of needing to induce her started swirling, The Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to the private Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital around 6 am today in west London. Already in early labor, she and hubby Prince William were escorted through the back door to their exclusive room. Kate’s labor is said to be progressing normally (whatever that means since every pregnancy is so different!).

I’m sure no matter how many labor classes she and Will have taken, Kate is still nervous, anxious, exhausted, and completely excited. I know I was. My water broke at 4 am, and I arrived at the hospital around the same time as Kate. My doula told me not to rush to get to the hospital, but to take my time and take care of myself.

As crazy as it sounds, I freshened up and got dressed as my husband made us eggs and bacon for breakfast. How I could eat when I was so freaked out, I’ll never know! But my doula advised that labor could take many, many hours and once admitted to the hospital they don’t let you eat anything but white liquids. So I hope Kate had a full English Breakfast. Otherwise, she’s probably starving right about now!

Delivery rooms are so sterile, so I also hope that the royal team has made it comfy for Kate, packing her favorite pillow, like I did. It made a world of difference for me. According to E!, Kate is said to have planned a labor soundtrack of Bruno Mars, Calvin Harris and Of Monsters and Men tunes. I highly recommend letting your hubby play iPod DJ, ladies. It gives them something to do to make them feel useful, and the music really took my mind off of the pain. My soundtrack included Kanye West’s “Stonger” and Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get It Started”. I wanted music that would pump me up (Think: energizing gym mix). But some women prefer a relaxed soundtrack to keep them calm. My husband prepared both just in case, but the party mix won out.

While I probably would have crumbled under such public scrutiny of my pregnancy, Kate has gone through her entire pregnancy with such grace. She made it look so easy! The good news for Kate is that the hard part (all that pushing!) is almost over for her, and she’ll soon be introduced to her precious baby, then the fun really begins. Congrats Kate and Will—you are going to love parenthood!

While you wait for the royal baby to arrive, take a look back at Kate’s pregnancy!

TELL US: Are you as excited about Kate’s birth as you are your own?

Image of the Lindo Wing, where Kate Middleton is in Labor, courtesy of BasPhoto /

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Want a Midwife? Kate Middleton’s Got One Automatically–Her Mom!

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Pregnant Duchess of Cambridge and mom midwifeNo wonder Kate Middleton plans to have her mom in the delivery room with her and Prince William—not only will Carole Middleton be a great support system, but she’s also a trained midwife! Kate won’t be following the royal tradition of having a baby nurse, either. Instead, the Duchess of Cambridge plans to stay in Berkshire, England, with her parents for at least six weeks after her birth, where she’ll have her mom teach her the feeding, bathing, and diaper-changing ropes.

While midwives are routinely used in the UK (and can account for up to 80 percent of the births in most parts of Europe), in the United States obstetricians are still the go-to for delivering babies. But midwives are on the rise in the US, reaching an all-time high, now delivering 12.1 percent of all vaginal births (doctors are always called in to do Cesarean sections). New Mexico has the highest rate in the US with midwives delivering 24 percent of women’s births in the state.

So what is a midwife, anyway? Someone who approaches birth more from a woman’s perspective than most physicians do, giving both emotional and physical support. Starting in the prenatal stages, they often take more of a holistic approach and put an emphasis on diet and exercise to prepare your body for having a baby.

During labor, they tend to spend more time in the delivery room than most OBs (who are usually nowhere to be found till you’re ready to push), and encourage women to try to give birth naturally, using alternative methods of dealing with the pain, including having women walk around, using an exercise ball as a birthing ball, trying different pushing positions to see what’s most comfortable, and applying warm compresses to the vaginal area to naturally stretch the skin to help prevent tears.

Where I live in New York City, I feel midwives are really making a comeback. I’ve known women who have opted to have a midwife for home and hospital births (I always thought you had to have a home birth with midwives—I was wrong!). I took the middle ground and had my OB deliver my baby, but had a doula present for the emotional support. After learning more about midwives, I’m not sure why more women don’t use them. Studies show that moms who use midwives have increased access to prenatal care, lower rates of cesarean births and obstetric interventions (like inducing labor), and babies with higher birth weights.

A word of warning, though: Midwives should really only be used in low-risk pregnancies with no complications, and midwives can have varying credentials from Certified Nurse-Midwives all the way down to the lay midwife who has no license to practice, with lots of other levels of licenses in between. So make sure to do your homework before hiring one so you know exactly what skill level and training your midwife has received.

TELL US: Have you or would you use a midwife? Why or why not?

Image of Carole Middleton and Kate Middleton courtesy of Shutterstock.

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