Breastfeeding Support Group

I have started a breastfeeding support group for moms-to-be and nursing moms. Our first meeting is Jan 25th at 10am in Ephrata, PA. Please contact me for more information! This is a free group! Looking forward to seeing you there! Misty Schillaci 610-207-5359

Informed Decisions... They are yours to make!

As I sit here today working on my next childbirth education class, I keep thinking about how parents don't know that they have a choice about who their care provider is. That they don't know that they have a choice of where they have their baby. That they don't have a choice other than to follow the protocol of their care provider. They don't know that they have options. And to me.. that's sad! A lot of parents state that when they have attended childbirth education classes "I didn't learn anything." They say that it was a "waste of time." I, myself, attended classes with my first child, and I would have to agree. I didn't learn anything that was helpful and that is saying a lot considering the fact that I had no clue about labor and delivery back then. I think that it is wonderful that some insurance plans will cover a class if it is offered by a hospital or doctor's office but, are they really helpful? Do they really teach what is needed? Do they allow the parents to make an informed decision on how they want their birth to go? In my opinion, it is the goal of the educator to provide their clients with a full range of FACTS so that the parents can make a true informed decision. Parents need to be informed about hospital policies, midwife practices, and labor support that is offered to them. They need to have a list prepared to give to clients that has local support that is offered in their area. I also belive that OBG-YN offices should have a standard paper that they hand out to every parent about the pregnancy, labor & delivery options that are offered in their area, not just what is offered in their practice even if that means that they lose the client. How can we expect better labor and delivery outcomes if it is only 1 sided? When I am being interviewd by a client for the services that I provide, I make sure that I inform them that they have a choice of whom they choose as their Doula, their Childbirth Educator, etc. I feel that a client has the right to choose from a list of providers to see which one fits best for their family. I even provide the first interview free of charge just in case they want to choose another caregiver. There are many parents or soon to be parents that do not know they they have a choice. They feel that even if they don't like their provider that they have now, they are stuck with that provider. They often choose a provider who accepts their insurance and then never leave even if they have a bad "vibe" with the provider. I say, get a list of local providers that are approved by your insurance and interview each one of them. Find out their policies, find out where they have hospital privileges, find out if they allow the laboring mother to move around without restrictions (if there are no known health issues). Go into your appointments with a list of questions and interview the provider just like you would interview a person for a job. You wouldn't have someone work on your car if you felt they were not qualified or if you didn't trust them would you? Why should this be any different? This is one of the biggest milestones in your life... don't hire your provider because you feel obligated to them. You hire them because you like them! If you don't like them, find a new one! It's the same with a Doula, interview many different Doulas. Don't base your choice because of the fee's. The Doula with the lower fee's might not provide the same services that the Doula with the higher fee's would. Likewise, a Doula with the higher fee might be setting their fees too high and the Doula with the lower fee, might be setting their fee's too low. Ask for references, ask ahout their experience, ask where they were trained, ask about their policies. Again, you are hiring them... make sure you hire the one that fits you and your needs. Don't base your decision on worry that you'll hurt their feelings. Sometimes personalities just don't match and that's okay. I have always told my clients to interview as many Doulas as they want, then make an informed decision based upon how they feel about the Doula.

Educate yourself.. read about pregnancy, labor and delivery. Read books and articles with different opinoins or views and then base your opinion on how you feel about it. Learn the facts, don't just read one book or one article, read many. Ask questions! Be infomed! You have a choice! You are not just a number or another pregnant lady... You are a person... A person that has an opinion... A person that has the right to decide on what they feel is right for them.

What is labor support?

Labor support during delivery comes in many forms. It comes from the partner, a family member, a best friend, a midwife, and the hospital staff. Then theres talk going around about a "Doula" (pronounced doo-luh) and people say "a what... I"ve never heard of a Doula?" A Doula is a perfect addition to your labor and birth support and here's why... Reasearch shows that for every person present for your labor and delivery adds on an hour to your labor/delivery. So if you have your partner, your mom, your sister, your best friend, etc... you've now added at least 3 hours to your labor. This, in my opinion, is why you should limit the amount of people present for your birth. Extra "support" may add stress to not only the laboring mother but to their partner as well. They may argue that they know whats best for the mother or may disagree with the wishes of the mother so they then try to convince them to do it their way. All in all, it's YOUR birth and only YOU can decide what works best for YOU and your partner. Maybe you like as much support as possible... again, that decision is yours to make. Maybe you don't but don't know how to "break" it to your family members/best friends that you would prefer it to be just you and your partner... just tell them! Most likely they will understand and be supportive! So now I'm guessing you're saying.. "Well a Doula is one extra person, therefore adds another hour" Yes a Doula is an "extra person" but she can help reduce those hours and doesn't add on to it. A Doula is there to support not only you but your birth partner. For example: if you are stuggling with being able to breathe through your contractions and your partner doesn't know how to help you get back on track, then the Doula can step in and show your partner how to help you. A Doula can help your birth partner by showing them how to do the "hip squeeze" and most of the times it is best done by two people instead of one. A Doula can be there to take place of the birth partner if they need a break. A Doula can show you different positions to help relieve some of the pain and also ones that help the baby decend. She has studied the different postions for labor and the techniques needed to help "turn" the baby in a more optiominal position for delivery. * Just to be clear... she does not turn the baby if it is breech or use her hands to turn the baby... she just knows what positions that help encourage the baby to move into a more favorable position* A Doula does NOT do anything medical, she does not take your temperature, she does not check your cervical dilation, she does not check your baby's heart rate, etc. She only helps with comfort measures. A Doula also has a large array of knowledge about pregnancy, labor, and delivery facts. Her goal is to give you the information that you request so that you can make the most informed decisions regarding your pregnany, labor and delivery. She will not make decisions for you, she will not lead you to make decisions that she agrees with. She will give you information to support both sides and stand by the decisions that you choose. She will not speak for you with the nurses and doctors, but she can remind you that with most decisions that you have time to think about them. She can remind you of what your birth goals were and also look up information for you regarding the decision that you need to make. Again, the decision is yours to make, her goal is to make sure that you have the correct information to make an informed decision that is right for you, your partner, and your baby. As a Doula I have helped women labor at home longer than they did at a hospital. I've helped women go through thein entire labor and delivery in the comfort of their own home. I've helped women labor in birthing tubs, on toilets (which is actually very comfortable), on all fours, while drapped over birthing balls, while standing, on their backs, on thier sides. I've helped women in labor with massages and have taught their birth partner how to give a massage that the mother liked or needed. I've helped women sleep between contractions. I've helped laboring mothers clean their house, which not only helped them for when they returned home, but also helped distract their mind from contractions and moved them in different positions that helped facilitate their labor progress. Doulas study for countless hours on how they can best support their clients through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and even those precious times after birth. They have mentors, they have a large network of support from other doulas and labor and delivery caregivers (Midwives, Child Birth Educators, Lactation Counselors/Consultants, etc). They also have a large library of books that they rely on and some even lend out books to expectant parents. I say, find a group of Doulas in your area, set up interviews with a list of questions, and decide if a Doula "fits" into your idea of how you'd like your birth to be. I think that you'll be happy that you did!

Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there. Will Rodgers