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Water Birth

Water Birth
Water birth is an alternative to the traditional methods of childbirth. With a water birth, the mother is submerged into a tub or pool filled with warm water. The baby is delivered under the water and then brought to the surface where he or she is able to take their first breath. Babies who have been carried to the full term of nine months inside their mother in the safety of the amniotic sac are the most acceptable candidates for this birthing method.
When a new mother chooses to deliver baby through this method, an experienced health care provider, such a midwife, is present for the water birth. The mother is immersed in clean, warm water, where she moves her body and changes her position in order to ease discomfort and expedite the childbirth process.

The History of Water Birth
Back in the sixties, a Russian gentleman by the name of Igor Charkovsky make the water birth technique known in Moscow. A decade later, Michael Odent, M.D. brought the water birth method of childbirth to a hospital in France.
By the eighties, the water birth technique had spread to the United States as a result of the efforts of one Michael Rosenthal, M.D., who was responsible for establishing the first birth center in the country.

Less Stressful Labor
Water has a relaxing effect because it is warm and supporting, which is extremely beneficial for a woman who is in labor and preparing to give birth. In addition, when you are in a relaxed state, your breathing is calm, which will help to ease the pain of your contractions.
When your body becomes tense during labor, your contractions could lose rhythm, which means the labor could fail to progress as it should. Bathing in the water will help with contractions easing the stress that is felt by both you and your baby.
When you immerse yourself in the warm water, you can prepare for the birth of your child without disturbance. Dim lights and a quiet room will help you to feel more in control of your body so that you are better prepared for the process of giving birth.
The buoyancy of the water makes your body feel light and makes it easier for you to move around and get comfortable. A position that will help your baby move through the pelvis easily is best. A good rule of thumb is to ensure your knees are lower than your hips.
Just as a warm bath would relieve that pain of a tummy ache, menstrual cramps or a sore back, it will also help you cope with the pain of your contractions, as you are getting ready to bring your new baby into the world.
Once you have experience labor in a water birth pool, you will want to use the same method each time you give birth.

Giving Birth in Water
It is easier to move into an upright position that is comfortable when you are immersed in a water birth pool. Once you are upright, you have the advantage of using gravity to do the work for you. In fact, many mothers who have experienced childbirth through various methods claim that pushing a baby out in water is far easier than on land.
Supporters of the water birth method believe that transitioning to the world outside of the womb is less stressful on babies that are delivered in water. The warm waters of the water birth tub are similar to the waters the baby has gotten used to inside the uterus. Babies delivered using this method are generally calmer and cry less than babies that are born through other more traditional childbirth methods.

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Nutrition in Pregnancy

A balanced diet is important to support good health throughout your life. However, when you become pregnant, a healthy diet is even more crucial. The foods that you consume are your baby’s primary source for nutrients.
It may take a little bit of effort to eat healthy foods during your pregnancy, but the benefits to both you and your baby are well worth the trouble. If you are pregnant and you have not been maintaining a healthy diet, it is time to change your bad habits and do what is best for your new baby.
Before you ever become pregnant is the best time to start eating all the right foods. When you practice a healthy diet before your pregnancy, you are laying the proper foundation to ensure that you and your baby will both have all of the important nutrients that you need to stay healthy. If you have plans to become pregnant, you need to discuss nutrition with your health care provider.

Basic Nutrition
Even if you are not currently pregnant, your diet needs to include an adequate amount of carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins proteins and fat. When you become pregnant, the amount of these nutrients that you need will increase.
A few of the most important nutrients include:
• Calcium to help your baby build strong teeth and bones
• Iron to help red blood cells carry oxygen to your baby
• Vitamin A to help your baby form healthy eyesight and skin, in addition to aiding bone growth
• Vitamin C to ensure your baby’s teeth, gums and bones are healthy, as well as helping your body with the absorption of iron
• Vitamin D to help your baby build strong teeth and bones
• Vitamin B6 for the formation of red blood cells, which help the body use carbohydrates, fat and protein
• Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and helps maintain the nervous system
• Folate is important in the production of protein and blood, in addition to helping with some enzyme function
Try eating a variety of different foods in the recommended amounts from basic food groups. This is the best way to make sure that you and you baby are getting all of the important nutrients that you need in order to remain healthy.

Additional Nutrients
Once you become pregnant, it is important to increase the amount of folic acid and iron that you consume in your regular diet. In order to get the additional nutrient that you need during this crucial time, prenatal vitamins are recommended for most pregnant women.
Prenatal vitamins are supplements that contain the recommended daily amount of the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for a healthy pregnancy. This includes copper, zinc, minerals and folic acid, as well as vitamins A, C and D. Your health care provider should be able to provide you with information specific to your needs, as taking some minerals and vitamins in excess may be harmful during pregnancy.

Special Dietary Concerns
As you are working on eating right in order to keep you and your baby healthy, you must keep a number of things in mind when you are deciding what to eat. For example, you should be aware of the special concerns regarding caffeine while you are pregnant.
Although there is no research to proving a link between caffeine intake during pregnancy and miscarriage or low birth weight, you should limit the amount of caffeine you consume for a number of other reasons. Caffeine will not only stand in the way of adequate sleep, it can also increase the severity of morning sickness. In addition, caffeine can also increase the need to urinate, leading to dehydration.

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And These Are the Days of Our Midwife Lives

Beautiful Beginnings Birth and Women’s Center currently staffs one professional midwife and her three students. A question that often comes up is, “What is it like to be a midwife?” We are asked this by clients, their families, and some who are looking to decide if this career path would be right for them. We have decided to get real with you about what our lives truly look like. Our midwife path leads us out of the hospital, attending births in a birth center and in the homes of our clients. (There are two types of midwives: nurse-midwives who operate under the supervision of a physician, often in the hospital, and professional midwives, ones who do not have hospital privileges. We are the latter.) There are many reasons that one would choose to become a midwife, but a general theme seems to come up. Someone who becomes a midwife believes in birth, trusts birth, and wants to support her clients to experience birth. Most think that living as a midwife is a glamourous lifestyle, after all, we are always surrounded by cute babies and the miracle of life. While this is true, this life is not without its’ hardships. We live a life full of sacrifice and suffering, but also, satisfaction.

Sacrifice seems to be at the core of our very existence. Our clients’ needs often come before our own needs, our families, and our friends. Midwives choose to have open communication with clients, always accessible by phone and never using an answering service. This means that we may be in the middle of a shower, getting our hair done, or a relaxing massage when the phone rings, but no matter what we are doing, we stop to answer that call. That call could be something as innocent as an insurance question, or it could be a first-time mother whose baby is not waking to eat and is losing weight. Whatever we were in the process of doing, it all must stop as we counsel a client through her needs. Our husbands are accustomed to our leaving in the middle of the night for a client in labor and having no idea when we will return. We miss out on special times with them too. Imagine being in the middle of your anniversary dinner, stopping to answer a call, and having to run out the door because the client is sure they will deliver that instant. When you arrive at the clients’ home, you find that she is only having gas pains and not true contractions. You come home to find your husband asleep. You wouldn’t change it for the world though, because that mom that you went to attend can now relax knowing that she and her baby are safe and can rest through the night. All of the staff at Beautiful Beginnings have our own children and we are willing to miss our own child’s birthday to attend yours. Our friends are used to us accepting an invitation to an event with the caveat of “unless someone goes into labor.” Friends have learned to ask if we are “off-call” before they ask us to partake in a bottle of wine. We have to weigh purchasing tickets to the zoo or amusement park carefully, knowing that we may be there thirty minutes before we have to leave and attend to a client. We can never truly commit to anything in life, knowing that we must be ready to jump in the car and vanish from our own lives for an undetermined amount of time. We do not make promises to our friends and family, only to our clients, that we will be there to support them whenever they need us.

Not only do we invite our clients into our free time, but we also carry them in our minds and hearts at all times. Your worries become our worries and we truly think of you all the time. When we have a client suffering, we are suffering with her. It is always our desire to provide a client with the birth that she desires, a birth surrounded by those that love her and care for her, peacefully and quietly, as she births her baby into loving hands. However, reality tells us that not all births go as planned. Some days we have to transfer a client to the hospital for her and her baby’s safety. As we dial the phone to complete the transfer, our hearts are breaking for her disappointment in her birth. Yes, it is needed. Yes, it is often life-saving. But we do share in the suffering. Even a birth that seems to be progressing smoothly does not ever let us rest easy. In the seconds between the birth of your baby and your baby’s first breath, you will find that your midwife is also holding her breath, willing the baby to initiate that first cry and fill their precious body with sweet oxygen. It is gut-wrenching when we must make the call to provide assistance to a baby who is a little delayed in that transition. We are trained and skilled, but that does not mean that we are not human and that we are not feeling every second of that clock just like you are. We calmly go through the motions, we restore peace, calm, and life to the room, and then, later, in our private time, we have a little cry over the tenseness of the moment. And not often, but occasionally, we suffer alongside the strongest of women as they process the fact that the life that are carrying no longer has a beating heart and we cry with them. The most we can do is love them and offer our strength through this time. It is said that a midwife must have the hands of a lady, the eyes of a hawk, and the heart of a lion. These traits are tested and refined at every birth.

So far, you must be thinking, ‘Why would anyone ever do this?’ This leads us to the satisfaction that comes when everything goes as planned, the births that end in a new mother glowing with pride over her baby, but also over what she has endured and overcome. We have seen a first-time mother who labored over a period of days lose faith in herself, but her partner had the will and the strength to hold her hand and get her through. That day we didn’t just attend the birth of a baby, but also the birth of a strongly bonded family. We have been able to witness the birth of a rainbow baby, a baby conceived after miscarriage, a baby that has been desperately hoped for. The love that fills the room when a mother delivers her second child and the older sibling gets to hold their sibling for the first time. The fire in the eyes of a VBAC mother after her first vaginal birth as she triumphantly exclaims, “My body really could do it!” The mother who comes into our care very late, after being told by a physician that her baby will be too big to deliver vaginally, and yet, here she is, cradling her child in her own bed, none the worse for wear. The foreign woman who travels across continents to have the birth that she desires, and no matter the fact that verbal communication is next to impossible, the international language of love and care transcends all. These are the moments that we live for, the moments that we thrive, the moments that make all the sacrifice and suffering worth it in the end. These are the women that we serve, women just like you, looking for a different experience, a birth the way it was intended to be.

The life of a midwife is not without struggles, but it is our life, and we couldn’t imagine it any other way. We want to thank each and every one of our clients who have trusted us and honored us by allowing us into their birthing space.

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Doulas Rock!

I hired a midwife, do I really need a doula too?
Yes! Yes! Yes! Midwives and doulas play two different roles during birth. Having both makes for a well rounded birth team.
Here’s the thing, midwives are there to ensure you and baby are safe. Absolutely, they’ll hold your hand and say words of encouragement, but at the end of the day (or birth) their biggest priority is making sure baby and mom are healthy.
A doula, on the other hand is there for you. She’s trained in comfort measures. She knows all the things to do to make a mom feel comfortable and relaxed. She knows positions and “tricks” to help with pain management. She may use essential oils, massage, take a few photos, grab you food and water, engage dad in the birth….she may even fix your hair (if, like me, you have wild birth curls). Her only job is to be there for you. She’ll be like having your best friend, sister, or mother there. But, unlike most well meaning relatives, she’s extremely knowledgeable about birth.
Here’s another difference. In most cases your midwife will want to head to your house or have you come in to the birth center when you’re well in to active labor. And that’s when you’ll really want her there; when the action is happening! Problem is, many moms have long early labors. Early labors that feel a whole lot like active labor and you need more support. (I’m one of those moms!) That is when having a doula is so wonderful. She will bring a calming presence and “bag of tricks” that can actually help you get that sleep your midwife keeps telling you you need, but you can’t seem to get…. And, you do need that sleep. I promise. 🙂
As a doula, I’ve been asked, “if I have a doula does that mean my hubby won’t be involved?” The answer is no. Unless he wants to take a back seat and you and he have planned for that. A doula will either encourage and guide hubby in helping his wife through child birth or she will fill in for him, if wanted.
We’re blessed in DFW to not only have so many talented midwives, but to also have so many amazing doulas. You pair the two and you’ll have an awesome birth experience!!
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