World Doula Week kicks off today and we've got a team full of amazing doulas that will be celebrating!
Each day this week we will be choosing a theme to focus on in order to provide more information and awareness as to what doula's do.
Todays theme is "What's In The Birth Bag?"
My birth bag lives in my car and I carry it with me to home births, hospital births and pretty much every where I go. You never know when it's contents might come in handy and be put to good use.
So let's get started with my favourite! If you're looking for non-medical pain relief, then you're in luck with our TENS machine. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. This little machine gives out warm, tingly pulses of electrical energy through four electrodes which are placed on your back. When the body receives pain signals and pleasure signals at the same time, it was always try to opt for pleasure. Although nothing is actually changing on a physiological level, it tricks the brain in to thinking that it is. The pulses also stimulate your body to release its own, natural, feel-good substances called endorphins. Works like a charm in early labour and our clients LOVE them!
Next we have homeophathics! These can be used throughout labour to treat a variety of issues that might arise including anxiety, restlessness, shock, fear, weakness, exhaustion, bruising, spasms, excessive bleeding and labour progression/irregular contractions. Homeopathy has an excellent safety record and its remedies are non-toxic and when correctly chosen, stimulate the body to heal its own health problems. We like to consult with your primary care provider first before using these remedies. They are safe for both mom and baby!
All of our birth doulas have training with the use of a Rebozo. A rebozo is a traditional Mexican shawl, which is long enough to wrap around a woman's body. It is used in labour as a comfort measure in reducing back pain, pelvic tension and it can aid in keeping labour moving along.
Essential oils play a large role in labour and childbirth. They can be used to calm a nervous mom or dad, to alleviate back pain, to soothe tired and ached muscles and to lift your spirits when you're feeling discouraged. Essential oils can be applied topically but can also be inhaled.
Massage is a key element to labour. Some moms crave touch while others would prefer to be left alone. A gentle touch using massage tools, my hands and my favourite arnica massage oil can soothe and relax a mother during intense contractions and while resting in between.
Meditation magnets are gentle reminders that can be held in your hand while facing one contraction at a time. I'll often slip one of these in to the palm of the labouring mom so she can read messages that include words like patience, love, trust, surrender and breathe.
Both home births and hospital births often require a debris net especially if you're birthing in a birth pool or tub. It's not easy to hold it all in when you're pushing out a baby so the least I can is keep the water clean so that mom can focus on the task at hand instead of worrying about the dirty bits.
Another wonderful addition to my birth bag is the Labour Link. The Labour Link is a rope device approximately three feet long with clear, vinyl handles. This handy piece of equipment has great potential for shortening second stage (the pushing phase) by helping mom focus her pushes and get the most out of each one.
So now you know it all....our tricks of the trade are out on the table! Now with all of those items listed, the truth is we often only use 1 or 2 of those at each birth. The real secret weapons that our doulas bring to birth is experience, knowledge, understanding, patience, empathy and compassion - and these simply can not fit in the birth bag.
Our role is to gently guide you through the process, cultivating calm and confidence in birth. That's what we do best!