Displaying 1 - 10 of 11 entries.

11 Good Reasons the take an Independent Childbirth Education Class

  • Posted on April 23, 2015 at 3:42 pm

And now you can take on in Santa Ynez, CA!! I could not have said it better myself, so I am just reposting this blog. http://bizchicks.org/2012/06/11-reasons-to-take-an-independent-childbirth-preparation-class-part-1/  Please take a look.

What You Should Know About Common Birth Interventions

  • Posted on January 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

To birthing women in Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Lompoc & Santa Maria – We can never address the available medical interventions enough times to educate ourselves to their appropriate and healthy use. Lamaze’s blog called Birth with Confidence recently posted a very good article which I am re-posting here. I could not say it better myself. LynDee

 By Teri Shilling, MS, CD(DONA), IBCLC, LCCE, FACCE

You may be planning a natural birth, but there are times when your health-care provider must intervene for health and safety reasons. Or you may find that standard hospital practices often include medical interventions. In either situation, it’s important that you be involved in the decisions related to your care. You can do that by asking questions and openly communicating your desires to everyone in attendance. When a medical intervention is suggested or presented as routine procedure, ask about the benefits, risks, alternatives and whether you can do the procedure later – or not at all. Most important, trust your intuition. Everyone, including you, should stop and think before an intervention is suggested. Research shows that many times interventions are done more for convenience sake than for medical reasons. Being well-informed about the common interventions that might arise will enhance your ability to make crucial decisions. Educate yourself, communicate your preferences well in advance and stay involved in all decisions related to labor and birth. Your choices will be critical to the health and safety of you and your baby.

Read more about medical interventions:

22 Ways to make your Birth Easier

  • Posted on February 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm

22 Ways to make your Birth Easier? It is all in the birthing bag that every pregnant woman should assemble in her last trimester. This is the bag that goes with you for birth: different from the suitcase you pack for the hospital stay after the baby is born. Wherever you choose to birth, you and your labor support people can be well prepared for the potential use of many items to make labor easier. The image of a Mary Poppins bag comes to mind.  Items serve specific purposes, but  whenever utilized they may simply serve as a distraction or a much needed change to support relaxation, focus, confidence and resolve so as to move through intensifying uterine waves. Consider the following:

  1. Written Birth Plan/Preferences. It is helpful for all involved to have a reminder handy of what your preferences are.  A Mother-Led birth helps result in a satisfying birth.
  2. Clothing to maximize freedom of movement in labor in and out of a birthing room (light shift, sweater or robe and slippers or warm socks): anything to replace or cover a typical hospital gown.
  3. Focal Point: Many women practice relaxation using both internal and external focal points. Use one you can take with you.
  4. Favorite music or relaxation narrative on a portable device: Several compilations from smooth, relaxation, to motivating, movement music may be chosen during different times in labor for calmingly ‘Zoning out’ or rocking and dancing to encourage baby’s descent.
  5. Lollipop: Especially sour candy on a stick promotes salivation to keep mouth moist and deliver sugar for energy. The stick allows taking out to breathe.
  6. Breath spray or mouthwash: If support partners are breathing closely with birthing mom….
  7. Juice: as small can of sweet juice or energy drink to add to ice chips.
  8. Washcloth for cooling moisture. Colored so it can be distinguished from facility’s white ones.
  9. Lotion/oil for massage
  10. Lip balm
  11. Distractions: Cards, portable game for prolonged labor and distraction.
  12. Back massage devises: commercially designed rollers or just tennis balls in a can. (The balls alone are useful for easing back labor and the entire can rolled in a towel works well too.)
  13. Aromatherapy
  14. Mood lighting if birthing room has limited light control.
  15. Birth Ball  if not provided at facility.
  16. Hair accessories to pull hair from face.
  17. Labor log to record timing of uterine waves and other sign posts of labor (don’t forget a pencil/pen).
  18. Timing Device to track progress through and length of uterine waves- stop watch, watch with a second hand etc.  Reminding a laboring woman of her progress through each uterine wave builds confidence and resolve, one wave at a time.
  19. Labor positions on a list or a set of cards of each position to post around the labor room. It is essential that labor support partners promote movement and changes in positioning throughout labor.
  20. Support partners’ notes for reference.  Childbirth educators usually provide summaries of labor signs and suggested appropriate coping techniques. Written narratives for relaxation and mediation will ease labor. No one is expected to remember it all!
  21. Support partners’ snacks: a well-nourished, comfortable support partner will be your best advocate.
  22. Support partners’ trunks or bathing suit for joining you in the shower or tub.


Key phone numbers: birthing facility, doctor, support persons & family.

Last minute additions?  Wallet & insurance documents, Glasses and Contacts or cases for either, Camera & phone.

Labor Induction

  • Posted on October 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I was just reviewing my notes and resources to teach labor induction to my current Lamaze Clients here in Santa Ynez.  The following video: Induction Information: Should You Get Induced?  just came out and is a very well done, comprehensive lesson on what every pregnant woman/couple needs to know about inducing labor. It is only apprpriate to post the link to this video here for all to view.

What to Do When you are Overdue

  • Posted on August 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

What to Do When You’re Overdue

I am sharing this short and simple blog entry from Giving Birth with Confidence. I couldn’t say it better myself. BE PATIENT.
August 22, 2011 By Cara Terreri 1 Comment

40 weeks have come… and gone

As I write this, I am five days past my due date with my third baby. I’m no stranger to being “overdue.” With my last pregnancy, I gave birth five days after my estimated due date. I was lucky enough with my first to go into labor three days before being due. Despite the fact that a perfectly healthy pregnancy can last between 38 – 42 weeks,  we are so ingrained to hinge on the almighty 40 weeks “deadline.”

Here’s the reality: 40 weeks is an average time for pregnancy that is based on a date (last menstrual period or conception) that can be uncertain or inaccurate. The result is an estimate – not a deadline, expiration or delivery date. Your baby is not a FedEx package. And yet, women who go beyond the magical 40 weeks due date are made to feel like a pressure cooker. Well-meaning family and friends call, text and email to check in, asking questions like, “Are you still pregnant?!”; some care providers put women who are postdates on a time clock, often stripping membranes to jumpstart labor, performing a barrage of tests to check on baby and scheduling an induction date; and then there is the general discomfort and exhaustion that comes along with the end of a pregnancy that makes a woman feel like she is “so done” with pregnancy. With all of this pressure, even the most patient and informed woman becomes irritated, on edge and prone to doing whatever it takes to birth her baby.

Have you ever heard anyone say that children develop and hit milestones at different rates? The same is true for developing babies. Some may be ready for birth at 39 and-a-half weeks while others need an extra two weeks or more. Allowing baby to initiate birth helps ensure that he or she receives enough time to develop and mature. Contrary to what many believe, the last few weeks of pregnancy are not just for fattening baby up. Important organs, like the brain, lungs and liver, are still developing, as well as functions like sucking and swallowing. Interrupting these processes by scheduling an induction — unless there is true medical reason — can deprive baby of the time he or she needs to grow, and poses risks associated with induction.

So, what do you do when you’re overdue? Having been in this situation twice now, my best advice is to stop waiting around. Sitting around, jumping at every little twinge, ache or contraction, waiting for labor to begin will do nothing but drive you absolutely crazy! If you’re physically able, schedule something to do every day for three days straight. Make dinner plans, get a pedicure, see a movie, visit a friend, make freezer meals — you get the idea. If you come to the end of those three days and baby is still cooking, schedule the next three days. Having something to look forward to besides the birth of your baby will help pass the time and keep your mind occupied. And when you encounter the questions, comments and suggestions from others about your overdue-ness, smile and say something like, “Just like a cake, baking times may vary.”


  • Posted on July 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

WHAT IS FULL TERM FOR A BABY? It is an uncomfortable reality that most women are unaware of what is a health full term pregnancy.  When asked this question, many think 37 or 38 weeks is good. The BEST ANSWER IS WHEN THE BABY GIVE’S ITS HORMONAL SIGNALS TO THE MOTHER’S BODY TO BEGIN LABOR. Far too many babies are being born earlier than is healthy and precious mother-baby time is being interrupted with time spent in a NICU.

The ‘average’ human gestation period is about 40 weeks, but as we all know, we are all slightly different, so for every baby that is ready prior to that time, there is an equal number not ready until beyond the average. In an attempt to quantify pregnancy(which the medical community does far too much now-a-days), an estimate of 40 weeks from the date of conception is set as a predicted date. However, once that date is determined, it takes on a new life and too much emphasis is centered on it. There are many variables to consider, the first of which is “Do you really know exactly when your partner’s sperm united with your egg?” OK, in most cases that is an estimate too. Even if you know when you had sexual intercourse, the uniting can vary a couple of days. So why are we stuck on selecting an exact date and gearing baby’s growth and labor expectations so precisely around it? Every pregnant mother should convert any calculation into an expected date RANGE and change her story to “I am due mid-March,” rather than getting caught up in a one day deadline.

By selecting an exact date in our culture and medical community, we artificially sabotage a woman’s ability to celebrate the wonders of the late stages of pregnancy and obtain a birthing experience optimal for her and baby:

  • We cause worry when a pregnancy extends even moments beyond this date with threats of baby too big to birth vaginally, a placenta that cannot sustain a few more days and more. Women should be reassured that their baby will be the ‘right’ size and her body will be able to birth that baby with her active support. The must trust that their bodies can sustain that baby until it is ready. Women can be educated to monitor their baby’s activity level and continued health (even use a home Doppler) as her pregnancy extends beyond the predicted 40 or 41 weeks.
  • We feed into the medical community’s ability to initiate labor artificially which second guesses whether the baby is truly ready for birth. This initiates a cascade of interventions which often end with the baby admitted to a NICU as premature. We need to stop using science over nature.
  • We allow a buy-in by physicians and mothers that it is safe to ‘schedule’ a birth (either by induction or cesarean) because we have predicted the maturity of the baby. Often the planned cesarean is scheduled at a predicted 39 weeks as if the woman going into labor is somehow a great risk. I often wonder what the fear is of allowing this natural onset, then doing a cesarean. Women, especially first-time moms, have plenty of time to get to a hospital for a planned cesarean.  Let’s let these babies tell us when they are ready!!!
  • We allow fallible scientific measurements to trump nature and a woman’s intition in predicting gestational age.  Although ultrasound is continually used to predict baby’s age in late pregnancy, it has been well documented that only interpretations of ultrasounds early in pregnancy act as somewhat accurate predictors.
  • A planned induction second guesses the woman’s readiness for labor. If the Bishop score is used as a predictor, there is definitely room for subjective evaluation by caregivers. Unless a woman or baby’s health is in danger, artificially inducing also contributes to our high levels of failed labor progress resulting in cesareans.

Many women are unaware (and many physicians seem to discount) that critical fetal brain growth and development occurs during the last weeks of pregnancy. Evidence of late preterm brain immaturity is seen in problems with breathing, apnea, heart rate, sleeping and feeding. The fears of the medical community are causing avoidable medical issues in exchange for trying to prevent others.

I applaud the March of Dimes for managing a campaign to counter today’s medical practices that results in so many preterm babies. It is just sad that they must do so at all! Their resources could be spent on unavoidable infant issues. 

It is hard to plan for anything when it comes to children….Why do we allow women to think birthing their child is something controllable and schedulable? Patience, calm, confidence  in oneself, one’s body and coping abilities makes for better birthing and long term parenting. Let’s celebrate late pregnancy and let birth begin on its own!

Lamaze Health Birth Practice #1: Let labor begin on its own

BREATHING: EXPLORE, TEACH, & PRACTICE, practice, practice, practice, practice

  • Posted on April 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Conscious breathing has always been the basis for dealing with labor pain. There are a number of different birthing strategies that are taught now, and they all base their techniques on breathing, whether it is for relaxation, concentration, distraction, meditation or hypnotic effect.  Holding one’s breath is a typical reaction to pain, anticipated pain and sometimes stress. Rhythmic breath promotes concentration, relaxation and promotes pain relief.  However, during the process of birth’s variations and challenges, these benefits of breathing are best utilized if the breathing is well understood and comes easily to you and your support people. Without the ability to just move into a practiced behavior, you can become confused, ineffective at pain relief and possibly more stressed.

Women who practice a variety of breathing techniques and patterns to a level of high comfort and conditioning will benefit best from any breathing. What breathing looks like and how many different types of breath are used is far less important than you having a repertoire of practiced, breath-related coping skills to draw upon during birth. The best Lamaze class includes the exposure and in-class practice of a number of different styles of breathing. These types of breathing should include deep, slow and shallow, fast styles. The uses and benefits should be explored and at-home trial and practice insisted upon. In order to utilize these technique under the stress of labor, you need to condition yourself through practice, so you can comfortably move from one to another if needed through the course of birth.

So many childbirth classes of today overshadow the calming skills, including breathing, with discussion of medical procedures and complications of birth. No time is left for the real teaching and practice of coping techniques. A quality Lamaze class will teach and support practice of progressive breathing styles  during a series of at least 5 sessions.  You and your support person will learn, try out at home and return to class to reinforce all styles so as to select those to continue to practice for your own labor. With this level of emphasis, hopefully you will commit to practice, knowing it will make a better birth outcome.

I have gained my own selection of breathing styles to teach, through the practice and study of many different disciplines. I utilize breath techniques from my training from Lamaze, hypnosis, yoga, meditation/relaxation and more . Breathing does not stand alone as a labor coping skill. It is, however, the basis of and promotes the benefits of all others.  If you have the opportunity to explore breathing for labor, you should adopt a variety and practice them until you can execute them comfortably without much concentration. They will serve you well in labor.


  • Posted on March 21, 2011 at 10:54 am

Since the continuous epidural and the continuous fetal monitor came on the scene 30 years ago, birthing in hospitals has changed at worst from women (nurses) supporting birthing women, at their side, using proven a miriad of comfort measures,  to staff  “monitoring” a birthing woman’s progress based on mechanical, electonic data….from another room yet. At best we are frightening generations of women into thinking they need to be numb and incapacitated in order to make their passage into motherhood.  So “Maybe” is a good way to go.  The epidural has been too universally accepted as OK for everyone, yet it doesn’t always work and opens the doors to more, often avoidable medical interventions. The terrific Blog called Birth with Confidence is running a series of entries on the goods and bads of epidurals by a very qualified medical professional: Dr. Michael Klein. Every woman should be fully aware of what she is accepting for herself and her baby, when accepting an epidural. With work and reframing your vision of birth in advance of birth this “Maybe” can turn into a “No” for you. Birthing women….you are just having a baby…..not embarking on a major medical procedure…unless that is what you want…. Read this first Blog entry: Epidurals: Food for Thought.  If you want more information go to Childbirth Connection and view their information on ‘Labor Pain’ . Then look at all of your alternatives for Empowering, Positive, Support for Birth.

Using Movement for Labor

  • Posted on March 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I love it when a woman utilizes so many simple, but essential, changes in movement for labor.  Movement in Labor is key to success and satisfaction in Labor. It is one of the Lamaze Health Birth Practices and written about in all normal birthing literature, yet free movement in labor is still not supported and encouraged nearly as much as it should in our hospitals. Most every picture or video or other example of birth in the media shows a woman in bed for birth.  Nearly everything done in the hospital leads to non movement. This is not good for so many reasons.  The following is a great description of one woman’s use of movement for her second, but VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) birth. She shares how she used different possitioning and supports each selection with its benefits. I could not have said it better myself.  Read about  How One Mom Moved and Grooved Through Labor.


  • Posted on March 3, 2011 at 11:07 am

Television Abomination Turns Me Radical-One Born Every Minute should be taken off the air.

I cannot believe this television show is being allowed on the air by physicians, nurses, birthing moms, etc. And shame on Jamie Lee Curtis for being involved as the narrator. It takes a lot to get me riled up, but after the first birth, I was sad. After the second I was mad. After the rest (that I could bear to watch), I am extremely fired up, irritated, disappointed and just plain mad. IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, DON’T WATCH IT. Watch positive films such as Organic Birth, Born in the USA or Natural Born Babies. Or meditate on a calm birth and attend real birthing classes designed to give you tools and train your support peope.

The only women who would watch this horrible show repeatedly are pregnant women or those looking to get pregnant, and THESE ARE EXACTLY THE WOMEN WHO SHOULD NOT WATCH. These are sensationalized, poorly explained, poorly and highly medically managed births. THIS IS THE WORST DISSERVICE we can do to the young women birthing today. BIRTH IS NOT/SHOULD NOT BE TELEVISION DRAMA.  There is no representation of the many peaceful hours of most labors, only the last 5-10 minutes of drama and medical interventions.  Women who make loud sounds and scrunch up their faces in the last stage of labor are usually reacting to the profound urges of their bodies. THESE REACTIONS  ARE OFTEN SOUNDS OF POWER, ENERGY AND RELIEF and are not necessarily exhibitng pain, as the viewer interprets and the narrator fails to correct. This kind of drama should be driving women to home birth every minute of the day. It sure would me!


The first thing that could make the births I was able to get through is to STOP PUTTING WOMEN TO BED, in labor. This may be easier to film, but is not where women should be laboring 90 percent of the time. If women are encouraged to be up and about during labor, they will need less, if any medication, less labor augmentation, less vacuum extraction and shorter labors.  This would also be the result if the NURSES SPENT TIME IN THE BIRTHING ROOM , ENCOURAGING, SUPPORTING AND OBSERVING birthing women instead of sitting, chatting at the nursing station and relying on the often misleading monitors to tell them of a woman’s labor progress and condition.  If women are encouraged to BIRTH IN UPRIGHT, HANDS AND KNEES OR SIDELYING POSITIONS, they can avoid the vacuum delivery so often shown on this show and Cesarean Surgery that is presented as some kind of ultimate relief to the mom and baby.  NORMAL BIRTH HAS ITS OWN NATURAL RELIEF.


It is sad that this is what young women see as birth. We have unnecessarily frightened an entire generation of women into thinking that birth is painful, scarry, traumatic and something horrible to have to endure. Women approach birth now with fear, more than ever before. They do so to the extent that they are willing to take medication they think will numb them from the entire experience.   BIRTH IS NORMAL AND NATURALLY MANAGEABLE AND IF WOMEN ARE CONDITIONED TO UNDERSTAND THIS AND HOW BIRTH CAN BE POWERFUL AND WONDERFUL, they will approach the experience with calm and confidence. Women are failing to receive quality education and failing to get quality support in labor. They are clearly not being given THE REALITY OF BIRTH AND HOW THEY CAN CONFIDENTLY AND POSITIVELY PARTICIPATE.  Those around them who are supposedly there for support are not being given the tools and assertiveness training to handle birth themselves, rather than acquesing to every medical intervention available. MANY INTERVENTIONS SIMPLY LEAD TO A CASCADE OF ADDITIONAL INTERVENTIONS, resulting in complications and trauma to mom and baby: hence the “drama” for the films. 


I could go on, but I question the hospitals reasoning for allowing this program to use their facility and their patients. It reeks of just another revenue center, just as births with multiple medical interventions have become. MAKING MONEY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE BIRTHING FAMILY is unconscionable, but becoming an accepted practice. 

BIRTHING WOMEN; Don’t  get caught up in the negative mental and emotional cycle being promoted by shows like this. AVOID THEM!! EDUCATE YOURSELVES ABOUT NORMAL BIRTH. NORMAL BIRTH IS GOOD. NORMAL BIRTH IS EMPOWERING. Sure normal birth is hard work, but NORMAL BIRTH IS NOT TO BE FEARED.