Houston Central Doulas provides birth doulas to families in Houston. This section of our blog has techniques, tricks, and how-tos for having the birth you desire.

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Meet Kelley Ellis

Doula Support - Houston Central Doulas

What services do you provide?

I am a birth doula, and I love my job.  No matter how you choose to have your baby, I care that you are supported, well informed, and empowered in your choices.

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Meet Moriah Burke

Houston Central Doulas

Meet Moriah Burke

What services do you provide? 

I’m a birth doula matchmaker. Before I launched and started managing Houston Central Doulas, I was the birth doula for all of the clients. Now I’m delighted to have a wonderful birth team and facilitate the overall client experience. I do most of our client inquiry and consult requests. After I learn more about the client, I help connect them to the member of our team that best matches. 

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ZZZzss – Sleeping In Labor

Sleep

Go to sleep in labor. Yes, to sleep. You heard me right.

Sleep is a powerful natural labor pain management technique. Why? When you are asleep, or even just consciously making the choice to rest, you let go. When we are awake, we are focused on all of our senses, and are more aware of sensations of pain and pressure in our bodies.

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Having An Authentic And Informed Birth

losing control

Yielding In Labor

The way a mother feels after giving birth is important. Does she feel that she was safe? Did she feel like she was losing control, or completely in control? Did everyone respect her, and her wishes? Was she informed of what was happening in her body, with her medical decisions, and with her baby? Did she feel like she was in control? Did she feel encouraged? In a room full of people, did she feel like she was alone, or like everyone was on her team?

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From Water Breaking To The First Postpartum Poop

labor and postpartum recovery

There Are Parts Of Labor And Postpartum Recovery That Aren’t Talked About Enough

We’re going to talk about some of the things that aren’t commonly talked about regarding labor and postpartum recovery. The truth is that labor is a marathon of physical, mental, and emotional endurance. Birth is also super messy.

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Heat As A Comfort Measure For Labor

Heat As A Comfort Measure For Labor

Using Warmth As A Comfort Measure For Labor

Warmth, or heat,  can be such a useful tool during labor, but is often a tool that must be packed or prepared ahead of time.

 

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Visualization In Birth

Visualization

Visualization As A Tool For Labor

Visualization is a useful tool that can be used during labor while you are working hard to meet your baby. The act of visualization means holding an image of something in your mind that is used to bring you feelings of peace and contentment.

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I Didn’t Plan A Labor Induction

Induction of Labor

Induction Wasn’t In The Birth Plan

You’re expecting your first baby. You took a birth class that prepared you for a routine labor where your body begins labor on its own. Your notes were meticulous on how to tell when you are in labor and when to head to the hospital or birth center. In your opinion,  labor and birth are a completely normal experience. You trust your body and you trust that labor happens a certain way. In your opinion, birth is not a medical event, but you feel safest having a baby in the hospital just in case.

And so you wait patiently for baby. By 39 weeks, you are so ready for baby to come. Because all you want to do is sleep on your stomach again. You’ve got a bit of pregnancy insomnia, so you stay up late. You are propped up against the headboard with an awesome birth book in your hands and a steaming cup of hot chocolate on the night stand. You’re so excited that baby can be here literally at any moment.

 

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TENs As A Natural And Drug-Free Alternative To Pain Medication During Labor

T is for TENs

What Is A TENs Unit?

A TENs (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) unit is a handheld device that can assist you with pain relief. Is is a battery powered device with wires that connect to electrodes. The electrodes are placed directly on your skin. Most  units have two electrical pulse modes and a series of options to increase or decrease the strength of the electrical pulse.

TENs units have been used in medical care since the 1960s. They  have been used during labor since the 1990s. It is not yet very common for women to use the unit in labor in the United States. Most of this is simply not knowing that it is an option. It is very common for women in European countries to have access to the units during labor.

What Does A TENs Unit Feel Like When It Is Turned On?

I know that a TENs unit can sound a little bit scary because electrical pulses don’t sound good. You have complete control over your device and the settings when used in labor, so any discomforts the TENs could cause are easily changed. When you first turn the TENs on, it feels like your skin is buzzing. It doesn’t hurt. As you increase the intensity, the experience feels more intense. You keep the intensity up until you feel any kind of pain or discomfort, and you stop at the level just beneath that.

How Does A TENs Work?

TENs units work because they utilize Gate Control Theory. Your brain is super smart. When you are having contractions, your brain is responding to pain receptors. While contractions start off mildly and get more intense as you get closer to welcoming your baby, their pattern is sometimes unpredictable. The TENs is predictable because you’re consciously controlling it. If you turn on the unit before you have a contraction, your brain is going to pick up on the sensation of the TENs before it picks up your contraction. That makes your contraction feel less intense. Additionally, the unit helps to create endorphins in your bloodstream. Endorphins help us naturally work through pain.

The Benefits Of Using A TENs Unit

  • The unit  gives you more control
  • Helps with pain relief
  • It is natural and drug free
  • Can be stopped or removed at any time
  • Creates endorphins
  • Adds comfort
  • Helps to lessen anxiety caused by fear/pain/discomfort
  • The  unit is distracting in a good way

Does It Always Help?

When we use the unit on our clients, they have ALWAYS loved it and thanked me afterward for providing them with use for labor. However, surveys show that 1 in 10 women say that they didn’t think it helped them very much. It is common for women to think the device  is not helping them, until the electrodes are removed. That’s amazing to me because I like labor tools that are out of the way, don’t cause additional pain or discomfort, and can help quietly in the background.

 

 

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Support Is Comforting

S is for Support.

Nothing Feels Better Than Support

One of the best things we can do for another person is to support them in their choices.

True support involves active listening, considering all of the options, remaining fair and impartial, and not trying to coax someone into making a choice because it is the choice that we would personally make.

You Are A Trusted Confidant

The thing that a family most wants when they are pregnant, in labor, or learning about their need baby is support. They want to hear your stories and experiences. Your friend trusts you to give them feedback and advice. They trust that you aren’t going to tell them terrifying stories. And they trust that you are going to make them feel better, alleviate their fears, and assure them that their experiences are normal and valid.

Different People Need Different Types of Support

Every single person on this planet is unique. Each person believes in a different way of doing things. Everyone gets to make a choice that is right for them in the moment.  Can you remember a time when someone was pressuring you to make a choice, but they weren’t actively listening to all of the elements of the decision because they were too hung up on their own experience or emotions? Being able to actively listen is a huge asset.

Honest Support Is Real. It Does Not Create Fear Or Unrealistic Expectations

When your best friend is expecting her first baby and is sitting with you at brunch and asking you questions, you are in a place of extreme honor. You are her confidant. You are the one who gets to hear about how she’s pretty sure she peed herself last night. If you are the friend that can assure your friend with both the beautiful and ugly side of pregnancy, birth, and parenting, you are one of the most beautiful people ever. If you can tell her how it felt to have your vag stitched back together but that it really was worth it to see your baby for the first time, you are a true friend.

Be A Cheerleader

New parents don’t need other people to question their choices. They don’t need to be overwhelmed with the “wrong” way to do literally everything. They need one (or more) people to be cheering encouragingly from the sidelines.  And sometimes that looks like this:

YOU ARE NORMAL.

PARENTHOOD LOOKS GOOD ON YOU.

I’M SO PROUD OF YOU.

YOU AREN’T GOING TO FAIL.

YOU’RE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT FOR YOUR FAMILY, AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS.

LET ME FEED YOU.

LET ME WASH YOUR DISHES.

I’LL SIT WITH YOUR BABY WHILE YOU SHOWER AND NAP.

YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID.

YOUR BABY, YOUR RULES.