"If we are to heal the planet, we must begin by healing birthing." - Agnes Sallet Von Tannenberg
What is a doula? A Doula is a trained childbirth professional who provides resources to pregnant people and their partners, and provides one-on-one physical, and emotional support before, during, and after labor and birth. A Doula can attend any type of birth in any setting with any type of health-care provider (e.g. midwife, GP, obstetrician). The primary function of a Doula is to provide support and information needed so that parents can have the safest and most satisfying birth experiences possible, as defined by them. Doulas do not perform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams, or blood pressure tests.
Why hire a doula? Hiring a doula can have a significant impact on the quality of your birth experience. Having a healthy baby and being healthy yourself are, of course, everyone’s top priority. A doula can help you to find credible and current information that will help you to develop a birth plan that is based on solid evidence, meaning that you can make choices that will affect your body and your baby’s body prenatally, during labor and birth and in the postpartum. A doula will also help you to self-advocate before and during labor so that your choices are heard and respected by your health-care practitioners. Beyond the fundamental importance of a safe and healthy birth, are the vitally important psychological and emotional factors that come in to play when you have a baby. Every person deserves to have a birth experience that is free from trauma, humiliation and fear. Having continuous, one-on-one support from a knowledgeable, compassionate and experienced support person has been empirically shown to have significant impacts on how women feel about their births for decades after. Down-sides or negative side-effects have never been found to be associated with the presence of a doula.
In terms of decreasing rates of medical intervention, the presence of a Doula: Reduces need for Cesareans by 26% Reduces the need for forceps or vacuum extractor by 41% Reduces use of pain medication by 28% Reduces dissatisfaction with birth by 33% Reduces length of labor.
Six weeks after birth, birthing parents who had Doulas: Were less anxious and depressed. Had more confidence with their babies. Were more satisfied with their partners. Were more likely to be breast/chest feeding.
*These statistics appear in Hodnett E, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for parent during childbirth. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2003. Issue 3, Art. No. CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766. You can learn more about this research here.
No wonder Dr. J. Kennell said, “If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”
It's time to move past antiquated and heteronormative views of gender identity and sexuality in the birth world. This is why I use language like "birthing person" instead of "woman" or "mother" in my writing and speaking about birth and parenthood. And this language absolutely does not exclude women and femininity for those who identify with that... It simply includes everybody. Language is really just the first step, but it's ever important. It communicates that I am honoring all people, all paths to parenthood, and all families.
This article is a great place to start if you want to learn more. You can read it on Doula Training International's Blog. https://doulatrainingsinternational.com/working-with-lgbtq-clients/
A sound bath experience has many benefits. In our culture we are becoming more and more aware of holistic approaches for relaxation and healing, to combat the everyday stresses of modern life—a sound bath can offer the perfect solution. It gives you the opportunity to go inward on your own terms. This experience is helpful for anyone who wants to give themselves a moment of relaxation or gain the benefits from meditation, but has not yet learned how to access on their own.
For most beginners, meditation requires a verbally guided meditation, but with sound healing, you are your own guide in meditation. The sound bath experience is about letting go and letting the sounds and harmonies take you to a deeper place within yourself, making it easier to arrive in a relaxed meditative state of mind.
The sounds are created by a range of seven crystal singing bowls, each with different frequencies tuned to each of the seven main chakras. The experience often begins with a person lying down on a comfortable table or mat, often with cushioning and an eye mask. The purpose, and collective goal, is to induce a deep meditation, relaxation, and the ability to explore your inner most highest self.
~ A SOUND HEALING SESSION MAY BE FOR YOU IF... ~
~ You have little to no experience meditating, but feel called to begin a practice. ~ You wish to reach a deeper space within your meditation practice, and desire to foster a deeper connection within yourself. ~ You are seeking a way to bring a sense of calmness and relaxation to your life. ~ You live with depression and/or anxiety, and are interested in opening an internal pathway to learn techniques that reside within yourself to attain freedom from those aspects of your life. ~ You are wanting to be better able to manage the stresses of every day life, seasonal depression, anxiety, and the process of grief.
~ SOUND HEALING IS GREAT FOR... ~
~ Promoting deep relaxation, and help you to feel more grounded. ~ Alleviating anxiety, PTSD and pain. ~ Promoting restful nights of sleep. ~ Increasing vital energy flow, creativity, intuition, and motivation. ~ Helping your body to recover after illness, traumas, and invasive medical treatments, and also promoting self-regeneration. ~ Helping you to cope with life's challenges, and helps to promote positive changes to your whole being. ~ For more information, be sure to visit the FAQ page.
What is vocal toning? When you slowly exhale your breath while making a low vibrational sound, you are toning with your voice. The sounds that you make can be a specific sound that you decide on and practice beforehand. It could be an in-the-moment soul song, where you make up words and sounds as you go along, or it could even be you singing your babies name. The lower vibrational vocal tones helps to engage the lower half of your body during contractions. I have had clients that have sang their babies Earthside without even having to push.
What are the benefits of vocal toning & sound in Labor? Naturally manage pain - Toning can help to ease our fears, and the sensation of pain and discomfort during labor. By openly making low vibratory sounds during contractions, you are more able to release and let go of fear and pain. Fear and pain can cause anxiety and stress during labor, effecting our pelvic region and the dilation of the cervix, and can potentially slow down the progress of labor. Vocal toning during labor leaves no room for self doubt, anxiety or fear as you focus on the sounds, and move more deeply within yourself.
Mindful Breathing - Vocal toning helps to increase the length and depth of our breath, allowing an increase of oxygen to you and baby. When taking in a new breath, and slowly letting it go with a low vibratory tone, your body and your baby are more able to take in that oxygen allowing for better circulation. By aligning with this pattern of breath, it releases anxiety and creates a safe space for you and baby. While there is no right or wrong way to breathe during labor, it is important not to hold the breath as this creates more tension in the body and increases the sensation of pain.
Relaxation - Vocal toning releases sound vibrations throughout the body. Sound Therapy is commonly used as an alternative healing process which effects the body on a cellular level. It relaxes the muscles by releasing tension from the body, improving circulation and maximizing energy flow within the body. The relaxation that sound brings allows the cervix to open more freely and the baby to descend with ease.
This video is a beautiful example of a laboring woman vocal toning during birth, using each of the vowel sounds to help her stay calm, and relaxed through a contraction.