pregnancy

Preparing for Your Birth, Your Way

photo credit: Indy & Feather Photography

photo credit: Indy & Feather Photography

Uncertain, unpredictable, mysterious, terrifying, exhilarating, unknown, intimate, miraculous…There is such a mix of feelings you might have as your birth approaches. You know you can and WILL do this, but you don’t know when or how it will all unfold, and you want to feel prepared! 

Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools you can have at your fingertips as you get ready for the day of your birth, and we can help you gain the understanding of the processes of labour, and comfort measures and tools to feel confident and ready (as ready as you can!) to travel the path to meet your baby. 

Andrea Postal is In Bloom’s Certified Childbirth Educator, and offers both group and private prenatal classes. Private classes allow for a more intimate experience with just you and your partner, as you plan and prepare for your birth, your way. You have the option of making your own ‘group’ with other expectant families in your circle. There are 4 and 8 hour in-home, class options, or you can customize your own curriculum (2 hours or more), to cater to the things that matter to you most.  These classes cover topics including: 

  • Birth Partner Communication
  • Hopes and Wishes for Your Birth Plan
  • Common pregnancy complaints
  • Prenatal testing
  • The anatomy and physiology of the birthing woman 
  • The Labour process and stages of labour 
  • Cesarean birth, and Vaginal Birth after Cesarean
  • Medical and non-medical pain relief options
  • Positions for Labor and Birth and Comfort Measures
  • Common interventions 
  • The Welcoming hour: bonding and feeding 

Whichever option you choose, your childbirth education class is going to be a fun, interactive, hands-on experience that will equip you with the knowledge and resources that will help you have a better birth. Contact us for more information on class options and details. We look forward to working with you!

 

The Way of the Doula

Written by, Andrea Postal 

Written by, Andrea Postal 

Every birth has a somewhat mysterious but predictable cycle for a doula...There are pillars along the way, as we thoughtfully enter into a space, dance our way through the ebbs and flows and turns of labour, and make a quiet exit while a family bonds and beams over their hard work and precious reward.
In honour of doula week, I tried to put into words what this dance is like for us, and what an incredible honour and privilege it is to be a part of a family's sacred journey.

 

Arrive, attune, invited in, 
Bring rest and calm, relief
Speak words that lift, empower
‘You’re stronger than you think’ 

Guide, press, hold
Release the tension building
Affirm, entrust, appreciate
Each woman, unique, inspiring 

Admire strength possessed, 
Contained and then unleashed
The heartbeat in her hands, now
An immeasurable feat 

The sacred space is kept
Golden Hours pass, 
Step away, smile, hands together
They’ve become one more, at last

-Andrea 

Pain Relief in Labour: What Are My Options?

While you are thinking about and planning for your birth, options for pain management is a hot topic! While some women will plan for non-medical pain management in labour, whether you intend to use other methods of pain relief, it’s still important to know your options, weighing the benefits and risks of the decisions you might be faced with. 

Depending on your hospital or birth centre, the options for pain management will vary. At our local hospital, the options you’ll typically be offered are: Nitrous Oxide, Fentanyl, or an Epidural.

Each of these are very different, and all of them have their pros and cons. Each labouring person will react and respond differently to each of these methods of pain management, and it’s important to realize that what you might have hoped would work, may or may not work for you. 

 

Let’s take a closer look…

 

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is delivered as a blend of nitrous oxide and oxygen, through a mask that the labouring woman holds and self-administers through contractions. 

The Pros:

Nitrous Oxide is fast acting and wears off quickly. It can be used at any point in labor right up until the pushing phase, and doesn’t have an effect on the well being of baby. While you will still feel the pain, a lot of women find it helps them relax and reduce their perception of pain. 

The Cons:

Some women find that it makes them dizzy or nauseous. It doesn’t provide complete pain relief, and it isn’t always as effective as some hope for it to be. 

 

Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a narcotic medication that is administered through an IV and delivers pain relief that should be more effective than nitrous oxide. 

Pros: 

Fentanyl can be easily accessed in labor, and tends to be a stronger pain relief option. You are still able to be mobile and will hopefully find some rest and reliefduring and between contractions.

Cons: 

Narcotics dull the pain, but they don’t fully eliminate it. Fentanyl causes some women to be dizzy and nauseated. Narcotics also cross the placenta and can contribute to fetal distress or impact baby’s breathing after birth, especially if they are administered too close to delivery. 

 

Epidural

The epidural: administered by an anesthesiologist, who for many a labouring women, greatly resembles a knight in shining armour bringing sweet, sweet relief. An epidural is administered through a catheter placed in the epidural space in your lower bak, and can be delivered during the active labor and pushing phase. It is typically recommended to hold off on epidural use until you’ve reached 4cm dilation to ensure that labor is progressing well. 

The Pros: 

The epidural usually provides complete pain relief. This can be incredibly useful if the fear or struggle with the pain of contractions is causing tension or an inability to ‘let go’ in labor. If a labour is long and her body is growing tired, the epidural can allow for rest and prevent the need for a cesarean in some cases. 

The Cons: 

It isn’t always accessible. Depending on how busy the maternity floor is, or the availability of the anesthetist, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to access an epidural; be prepared to wait. 

Epidurals have a few unwanted, potential side effects, like a drop in blood pressure or the risk of developing an epidural fever. Epidurals can sometimes slow labor which can lead to the need for synthetic oxytocin (pitocin). Fetal distress due to the effects of the epidural are greater, and so is the incidence of vacuum delivery.

 

Curious to learn more information? Book a birth planning session with one of our doulas to discuss your options in more detail and feel prepared for your birth. We’d love to chat with you and help you understand your choices and make a plan that works for you!