Recently a local childbirth educator made a comment that students in her classes had the average cesarean rate of consistently 10-12%. I thought wow that is great- I have never kept statistics on my students. I have kept statistics on my doula clients- over the last year my primary cesarean rate has been 8% and all of the cesareans- not including planned ones for things like placenta previa- but including women who had previous cesareans had only been 12%. But it made me think of all of the pieces of that go into the puzzle that makes for a “good” outcome. I realize “good” is a subjective word- so for the sake of this blog article, I will classify “good” as non interventive or at least having only the interventions you as a consumer choose.

Often times a couple who chooses our classes- certainly different than the “normal” hospital “how to be a good patient” classes. So they are usually looking for a different approach- perhaps in an attempt to have “their” birth experience- not the hospitals or their care providers. They are usually open to hearing new ideas that will help expand the ideas they are already developing on their own.

Often times a couple who chooses our classes are not choosing the “normal” birth experience and therefore has either chosen a care provider who is open to stepping outside of the “norm” or soon figure out from the class and their own exploration that the provider they have chosen will need to either get on board or they will need to find a new one. (more…)

Lamaze has done a great job with this …

Common sense tells us and research confirms that the Six Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices featured in these video clips and print materials are tried-and-true ways to make birth as safe and healthy as possible.

Check out this page for some great video clips and even some printable material!

This is definitely worth your time to check this out!

This is a collaborative effort on our group’s part regarding what we felt were the most important secrets to a gentle birth.

Courage- Amy
Trust – Kim
Confidence- Teresa
Surrender – Pam
Vulnerability – Alicia
Relaxation- Jennifer
Love – Renee
Laughter – Persis
Movement- Guina
Focus – Tracey
Preparation – Melanie
Comfort- Patti


When I think of comfort, images of warm socks, gentle embraces, soft lights, and relaxing music come to mind. We all desire comfort – it’s a basic need. (more…)

Today I reflect on two recent births… one is my daughter’s third baby- her second daughter. I viewed the slideshow that Tracey produced for us from the beautiful images she photographed at the birth, only 13 days ago. The laughter- the intensity- the beauty made me cry once more as I remembered having her little head emerge into my hands. It was such a gentle birth. (you can read about this birth and see some photos at my personal blog

And I reflect on one of the few cesarean births that I was a part of yesterday. A healthy mom who did everything right- she eats great- is in good shape, had the mind body connection- no fears going in- so in touch with her spiritual connection not only to her God but also this baby girl who grew within her. And somehow after more than 37 hours of labor did not bring forth her daughter the way she planned. (more…)

When making a decision, we need to ask the right questions so that we can see our options clearly. This is a little acronym to remind you to use your brain when making decisions. It is useful in labor, but can be used for making all kinds of decisions along life’s journey!
Benefits– what are the benefits of doing this?
Risks– what are the risks involved in doing this?
Alternatives– what are the alternatives to doing this? Are there other options?
Instinct or intuition– what is my intuition telling me to do?
Now what will happen?– what will change if I do this?

Using your brain will help you to gather the information needed to make good decisions!

A doula is a professional birth guide. Her role is one of non-intervention and non-clinical in nature. She gently guides through her words, suggestions, and knowledge of birth to assist a couple in having a birth that is in line with their birth desires. Many doulas will come to your home in labor to assist before you leave to go to the hospital, for hospital-planned births. The question that arises in labor is when should I have my doula come.
The idea of coaching the woman in labor is one I am uncomfortable with. The birth guide and partner should be there to support the woman but not direct her. If a woman is walking the path of her labor and doing well, I do not think someone should tell her how to do things differently. If she begins to fall off the path and needs assistance- encouragements, affirmations, suggestions, that is when the birth guide should offer to gently guide her back onto the path. Listening to her body and what it tells her to do is paramount. (more…)

Do you need a birth plan? I think it is important to think about and discuss with those who plan to support you in birth, about your birth ideals. But, I think it is not only misleading but unreasonable to even begin to think that a woman can really plan her birth. I believe that we need to think in terms of planning our births in a different way.

Take the online birth plans that are out there on the internet today… considering the ideas that they make will help you to begin to consider your options. How should you consider their usage? The ideas suggested are great if you use it for facilitating communication between you and your birth team prior to labor beginning. But expecting the nursing staff to read a three or four page document prior to supporting you in labor is not something that I believe is reasonable. The ideas you may have for your birth should have been discussed a long time prior to you arriving at the location for your birth. Your doctor or midwife can write orders for you based on your ideals after this conversation occurs. Their written orders have much more clout than a document you bring to the hospital.

Since so many practices have multiple doctors or midwives within the practice, having a birth plan that is approved by one provider does not insure that the next provider will agree. Many women think that if their primary provider signs the document it insures them of their wishes being taken seriously. I hate to say, this does not. (more…)