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Labor Tools

Call the South Bay Doula: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

… mostly, birth and joy! After a few years on sabbatical from doula-ing, I am proud to announce “I’M BACK!” I needed the time away as I reorganized and settled myself through a personal and painful transformation of my own. Believe me, it pained me each and every time I turned away a mama who asked me to join her and her hubby through their journey for labor and delivery.

Now, I am back and fully present and ready to Sherpa expecting couples through the birth process again. I think, like most Birth Workers, the images and memories of the births we attend are so clear and forever stamped in our minds and hearts. I can walk into my local café in Hermosa Beach and likely bump into one of my many Yoga Mamas and/or birth clients! The shriek of excitement never fails. Then the second burst of “Omigod!” when I see their babies now running in soccer jerseys and pony-tails. I say, “she’s in 3rd grade, already? Really?!” And I have no doubt their mamas remember me as much as I remember them.

Here are some of my vivid memories that still inspire me today and reignite my philosophy and passion to TRUST BIRTH:

The mama who said to me when she hired me, “Just so you know, I AM getting an epidural!” During her first birth, she spent most of the time dancing in labor! I was her doula again, as she birthed her second baby, also naturally.

Supporting a mama after nearly 3 days of prodromal labor followed by induction…then when she was finally 10 cm dilated and the urge to push temporarily absent, I encouraged her to just sing in between contractions. […]

By |June 30th, 2017|Birth Rights, Doulas, Homebirth/Midwives, Labor Tools, VBAC, Yoga|Comments Off on Call the South Bay Doula: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

New Book! – BUMPS IN MOTION: PREGNANCY YOGA SEQUENCES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

PRESS RELEASE
A unique and innovative step-by-step guide for pregnancy yoga sequences from leading Yoga Gurus from Around the World!
LOS ANGELES, Calif., May 10, 2017 –
Bumps in Motion offers a detailed, beautifully illustrated, precise instruction of numerous yoga poses to support you during pregnancy and labor. Accompanying sequences focus on a range of applications, from quick daily practices to poses for common pregnancy ailments. Woven throughout the book, you’ll find resources to help prepare you for an empowered birth. Filled with modifications, and tips, this is an indispensable text for both beginners and advanced practitioners alike.
Bumps in Motion is a unique collaboration from expert Yoga Instructors from across the Globe. This book is the perfect companion for the experienced yoga practitioner, ideal for Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training. This book is the yoga practitioner’s companion (manual/ handbook), offering practical advice, step-by-step asana sequences, pranayama practices, and meditation techniques, all of which are designed to help new mothers connect more deeply to their experience and prepare for their journey—physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Going beyond physical posture practice, Bumps in Motion also includes guidance on meditation, visualization, use of gemstones, devotional chanting, mantras, mudras, and other tools to inspire and nourish you and your baby. Offering pregnant women and yoga teachers with creative sequences available now on Amazon: Bumps-Motion-Pregnancy-Sequences-Around-ebook/dp/B06Y2DP5YP

This book includes:

Mini sequences for specific trimester challenges: morning sickness, fatigue, anxiety, low-back issues, etc.

Specialty Yoga Sequences using Birth Ball, Chair, Ballet Barre’, and Clubbell!

Modifications that accommodate a pregnant woman’s growing bump

A dedicated section on the pelvic floor

Special breathing techniques for labor that encourage natural childbirth

Suggested Music Playlists are included for each Sequence

With special contributions from:
Foreword by Dr. Elliot Berlin of Berlin Wellness Group (www.doctorberlin.com)
Tara Lee […]

By |May 2nd, 2017|General Topics, Labor Tools, Yoga|Comments Off on New Book! – BUMPS IN MOTION: PREGNANCY YOGA SEQUENCES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

A Yoga Mother’s Blessing Way!

Recently, I had the honor and joy of attending my fellow Yoga Works Instructor and friend’s Baby Shower. I have known Aimée for many years now. We have taught yoga workshops together; shared tea as we talked about love, life, and, well,…MEN. So when Aimée stopped me after my prenatal yoga class last Friday and asked if I could lead an “impromptu” Mother’s Blessingway Ceremony at her baby shower, I didn’t hesitate to respond, “Of course!”

I firmly believe every pregnant mama and baby should be celebrated. In old Navajo tradition, several ceremonial practices are performed in which a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood is honored. A westernized version of this is called a ‘Mother’s Blessingway.’

A Mother Blessing is a beautiful and unique way to honor a mother-to-be. It helps a mama feel empowered emotionally, spiritually and mentally, for the all-important role of becoming a new mother. She feels ‘held’ and supported by those she loves and respects. Blessingways help instill confidence and strength as she awaits the impending birth of her baby. And there is nothing like a circle of loving women to get that delicious hormone, oxytocin, (the hormone of love and bonding) flowing!

Aimée’s shower was hosted by her very talented friend, Lisa Vitta, who by the way is a yogi and luxury interior designer. Omigod. Lisa’s house was a Pinterest Lalapalooza! Honestly, I am inspired to start a ‘Baby Shower Board’ just so I can pin the heck out of it with the photos from this party.

Decorations aside, we spent the first half of the shower oo’ing and aw’ing over Aimée’s glorious bump and gliding between conversations with each other. Lisa had a generous spread of delicious vegetarian food (also Pin-worthy) from egg […]

By |January 20th, 2016|blessingway, Doulas, Labor Tools, Yoga|Comments Off on A Yoga Mother’s Blessing Way!

Top 5 Questions to Ask when Choosing a Doctor to Deliver Your Baby

There are many questions to encourage dialogue between you and your doctor, especially when you are still interviewing a medical care provider. Here are my TOP 5 suggested questions that will give you a good idea as to the doctor’s philosophy about caring for you and supporting your Birth Preferences.  Ask these questions in a respectful and non-confrontational manner to illicit a healthy dialogue with the doctor. It is a good idea to interview at least 2 or 3 providers. Listen to your Intuition and watch the doctor’s body language. And if during the course of your pregnancy you are getting the feeling your doctor may not be on the same page as you regarding your Birth Preferences, it may not be too late to change providers. It may not be too late to ‘break up with your doctor!’ Please check with your insurance company regarding switching doctors because some insurance companies may have time-deadline restrictions.

 What are your protocols regarding my Due date and post-dates,  i.e. if baby and I are healthy, how long can I go past my due date? 40 weeks? 42 weeks?
If I were interested in having a natural, un-medicated birth, how would you support me? I would prefer freedom of movement and choice of birth position, i.e. push and give birth in side-lying, all fours or squatting positions?
What would you recommend I do if my water breaks before contractions have begun? Assuming I am GBS negative and not running a fever, how long after my water breaks would you recommend before induction/augmentation of labor if it doesn’t start on its own?
How do you feel about a labor support professional such as a doula or massage therapist joining my birth team.
Do […]

By |March 17th, 2015|Birth Rights, Doulas, Labor Tools|Comments Off on Top 5 Questions to Ask when Choosing a Doctor to Deliver Your Baby

6 Things to Do if You Have an Unplanned Home Birth

We’ve all heard stories about the baby born in the car, on the way to the hospital or born unassisted (unintentionally) at home.  We call it precipitous labor (a labor length of under three hours). While the intention of these couples  was to give birth in a hospital facility or planned home birth, the fact of the matter is that birth happens! I once heard Ina May Gaskin say at a birth conference, “Birth was made to work in case nobody is there.”

Although precipitous labors occur more frequently with subsequent births, the overall percentage of this happening to you is very LOW so no need to rush to the hospital at the sign of your first contraction.  Here are a few statistics I found from the CDC 2004 report. The overall percentage of labors, which were deemed Precipitous:

<3 hr: 2% overall

  .7% chance for first-time moms (primips)  to

  5% chance for 8th-time moms (multips)

In discussing this topic with my midwife friends, Ashley Guntkowsi, CNM and licensed midwife Amy Tinney here are the top six things to do in the rare case that a fast birth should happen to you.  I call it the 6 C’s:

1)  Calm yourself, breathe and stay put.  Don’t freak out, no need to ‘boil the water’.  Stay calm and take a few deep breaths.  Remind yourself your body was made to give birth.

2)  Call 9-1-1 for emergency paramedics or call your midwife if you had planned on a home birth. I personally do not recommend getting into the car to drive to the hospital under these circumstances.  It is wiser to stay put and let the professionals come to you rather than risk giving birth in transit.

3)  Catch the baby.  Lower […]

Top 10 Most Important Things to Pack in Your Labor Bag

If you are pregnant and wondering what to bring to the hospital or Birth Center for your upcoming labor & delivery, chances are you have already come across those long lists of what to pack. Sure, the essentials are obvious such as your toiletries, change of clothes, a coming home outfit for the baby…your husband and Birth Partner, duh of course! But, what about a SHORT list of the absolutely most essential things to bring with you that will make a big difference?  I give you a short list of the top 10 most important things to pack in your hospital bag but often get overlooked, so if you are within 4 weeks of your due start packing your bag now.

 Birth Preferences List (Birth Plan) – This is your communications tool about what you prefer for your birth.  Your Birth Plan should be no more than 2 pages long, easy to read, and also include your preferences for baby care (i.e. do you want certain injections, eye ointment?).  Bring three copies with you, which ideally have been signed and agreed by your doctor.  A sample Birth Plan is provided in Posh Push.
 Birth Ball (to aid with labor support) – These are very large rubber balls used for exercise and Pilates. Recommended size for labor is 65 cm.  You want your hips to be above the level of your knees when you sit on it.  You can find an exercise ball at any Sporting Goods store or shop like Target. Please don’t go in asking for a “birth ball” because they will look at you cross-eyed.  Bring this ball with you to the hospital already pumped up and ready to go.
Wear Your Own Labor Gown – […]

By |April 9th, 2013|Birth Rights, General Topics, Labor Tools|Comments Off on Top 10 Most Important Things to Pack in Your Labor Bag

Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth – Natural Pain Relief

Hoping for a more natural birth?  Here is How: A sneak peek into my doula-bag-o-tricks and you’ll find my stash of Aromatherapy.  Yes, not only does the flowery, fruity, and earthy smell mask the creepy smell of hospitals but pure essential oils (EOs) can actually affect a birthing mama mentally, physically, and emotionally without the use of pharmaceuticals.  Woot woot!
Aromatherapy is a method of treatment in which pleasant smells are inhaled thus stimulating the limbic area of the brain, releasing neurochemicals into the bloodstream and promoting relaxation in the body.  The right combination of smells can stimulate the body’s production of endorphins (the body’s own analgesic) and decrease the feeling of pain.

Essential oils are not synthetic but rather are derived from plants and flowers.  Essential oils can help you relax. Take a whiff of Lavender oil and notice how your facial muscles melt like wax and your breathing slows into a calm and rhythmic breathing pattern.

Although a variety of essence oils can be used for labor and birth, my personal doula favorite is Lavender essential oil. Lavender can be put directly onto your skin. It can be used alone (neat) or in combination with other oils. Spearmint or Mint EO scent is good if you are feeling nauseous however it cannot be placed neat on the skin without a carrier oil because it can cause irritation.

Essential oils can be mixed with carrier oil such as vegetable or nut oil (try extra virgin olive oil, jojoba, apricot kernel, wheat germ, sunflower, almond, or avocado) and placed in your bathwater or a diffuser to create a relaxing atmosphere. You can burn your favorite scents using a vaporizer to scent the air or put a few drops […]

By |February 26th, 2013|Doulas, General Topics, Labor Tools|Comments Off on Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth – Natural Pain Relief

Dance to Progress Labor! Posh Push Book on Amazon Kindle!

Posh Push book is available now on Amazon e-Kindle! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009LQS32G

Enjoy this inspiring video of a mama featured in the book Posh Push dancing in labor! I love how the nurse at UCLA hospital was totally calm and allowed Liz to do her thing!

By |October 10th, 2012|Labor Tools, Yoga|Comments Off on Dance to Progress Labor! Posh Push Book on Amazon Kindle!

Posh Push: Modern Girls Reveal Secrets for a More Natural Birth

NEW BOOK – POSH PUSH: MODERN GIRLS REVEAL SECRETS
FOR A MORE NATURAL BIRTH – NOW AVAILABLE
Must-read Guide That Reveals How Labor Can Be Faster, Easier and Even Luxurious
LOS ANGELES, Calif., October 05, 2012 – Women everywhere have questions about childbirth.  “Am I prepared to have an enjoyable, comfortable childbirth?   Could I have a natural birth experience without drugs?” Now these women can find all the answers, secrets and more in the new book, Posh Push: Modern Women Reveal Secrets for a More Natural Birth, now available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009LQS32G.

This fabulous new book offers support and helps build confidence in modern women who strive to have a more natural childbirth. The book is packed full of insider tips, gems of wisdom, and stories from modern mothers and birth experts to help women achieve a more natural labor, with ease and comfort.  Posh Push celebrates a more natural childbirth as beautiful, attainable and for every woman that wants it.  This essential guide will prepare women in mind and body to optimize their pregnancy and birth environment.

Natural childbirth is an increasingly popular trend.  We see many celebrities choosing to have natural childbirths and sharing their stories in the media.  Now, chic, modern moms everywhere like Alison, Johanna and Tiffany, featured in Posh Push, are sharing their revealing birth stories in rich detail and answering “Why would anyone want a natural childbirth?”

Written in a fun, informative format, the authors ask, “Where are all the worldly stiletto wearing women who want to birth their babies naturally?” Co-authors, Patricia Grube and Sara Smildzins found them and the stories these women share exclusively in Posh Push will have pregnant women everywhere saying, “I want that too!”  For women that are […]

By |October 7th, 2012|Birth Rights, Doulas, General Topics, Homebirth/Midwives, Labor Tools, Yoga|Comments Off on Posh Push: Modern Girls Reveal Secrets for a More Natural Birth

Aromatherapy for Labor – Lavender Essential Oil

Aromatherapy is a method of treatment in which pleasant smells are inhaled thus stimulating the limbic area of the brain, releasing neurochemicals into the bloodstream and promoting relaxation in the body.

Enthusiasts cite that such pleasant smells in the right combination can stimulate the body’s production of endorphins (the body’s own analgesic) and decrease the feeling of pain. It is no wonder why essential oils are often packed in the labor bag. I personally swear by them. I received training in the safe use of aromatherapy when I used to co-own a business of handmade soap and body products called Body Gourmet.  I also used to live in England where aromatherapy and homeopathy are readily used in many situations.

Essential oils are natural and derived from plants. They can help you relax. Notice how your facial muscles soften and your breathing slows when you inhale the scents. Instead of jerky breaths, you will become calm and with slow rhythmic breathing.  There is no doubt that certain combinations of smells can cover up the odors found in the hospital environment and make it more pleasant for you and those in the room with you.  I know that when we have just subtle scent of essential oils in the delivery room, the nurses often comment on how ‘peaceful and calming’ the environment smells…if aromatherapy also helps relax the nursing staff then even more of a reason to not labor without it.

Although a variety of essence oils can be used, the most safe and effective oil to use is LAVENDER essential oil (EO). It is my personal favorite. Lavender can be put directly onto your skin. It can be used alone or in combination with other oils. However, I’m […]

By |September 15th, 2012|General Topics, Labor Tools|Comments Off on Aromatherapy for Labor – Lavender Essential Oil