Most of us guess at our due dates. It is based on last menstrual periods with the speculation that you will ovulate mid month. Unless you have perfect ovulation cycles and your baby gestates perfectly on schedule- or you have IUI or IVF , you really may not know exactly when you are due. The earliest ultrasound is usually the best one to determine the age of the baby based on developement. What is considered term pregnancy? ACOG defined this in 2013, http://www.acog.org/

Definition of Term Pregnancy

ABSTRACT: In the past, the period from 3 weeks before until 2 weeks after the estimated date of delivery was considered “term,” with the expectation that neonatal outcomes from deliveries in this interval were uniform and good. Increasingly, however, research has shown that neonatal outcomes, especially respiratory morbidity, vary depending on the timing of delivery within this 5-week gestational age range. To address this lack of uniformity, a work group was convened in late 2012, which recommended that the label “term” be replaced with the designations early term (37 0/7 weeks of gestation through 38 6/7 weeks of gestation), full term (39 0/7 weeks of gestation through 40 6/7 weeks of gestation)late term (41 0/7 weeks of gestation through 41 6/7 weeks of gestation), and postterm (42 0/7 weeks of gestation and beyond) to more accurately describe deliveries occurring at or beyond 37 0/7 weeks of gestation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine endorse and encourage the uniform use of the work group’s recommended new gestational age designations by all clinicians, researchers, and public health officials to facilitate data reporting, delivery of quality health care, and clinical research.

In fact, approximately 7% of babies are not delivered by 42 weeks, and when that happens, it is referred to as a “post-term pregnancy. ”

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ACOG even has a pamphlet with information titled  What to Expect After Your Due Date.

It is stated that  the risks of waiting to have your baby once you are postdates are:  dysmaturity syndrome- decreased alertness, low birth weight, and increased respiratory distress, the placenta gets older and may not work as well, the fluid gets less and can cause the umbilical cord to become pinched, the chance of the baby becoming too big is increased and the risk of meconium aspiration is increased. They say it may also lead to an increase of a cesarean birth.  They suggest checking on the baby’s well being by using two tests, a biophysical and a non stress test.

There is an excellent blog Birth Without Fear that addresses this as well- http://birthwithoutfearblog.com/2011/08/22/what-acog-has-to-say-about-due-dates/

The Cochran Database is considered a location of studies and summaries that are evidenced based. http://summaries.cochrane.org/

Induction of labour in women with normal pregnancies at or beyond term (more…)

Do you know the Choose Your Own Adventure books that are written? My son loved these as an adolescent. Well who does not like a good mystery? Well perhaps you are not a person who likes the mystery of life when you feel unsupported or out of control or feeling unsafe. Image your birth experience as a great mystery. But instead of it being scary and full of fearful unknowns, think about it a bit differently.

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We do sorta choose our own adventure by choosing how to prepare for the big day. What classes will you take? What books will you read? What provider will you choose? What location will you choose to birth? Who will be your support team? What preparation will you do to prepare your body? What preparation will you do to prepare your mind?

Recently I had a client go to get an ultrasound late in her pregnancy. The doctor gave her an estimated fetal weight of the mid 8 pounds. This in and of itself is not a huge weight- but she had been told by the midwife, who had palpated her uterus a little more than a week earlier, that the baby was mid 7 pounds. The idea that the baby had gained a full pound in just over a week scared her into thinking she wanted an induction. She was sent from the ultrasound over to her midwife visit. Upon sharing her desire for an induction since she was term, the midwife started to share ways she could be induced following the exam. The mom wanted to avoid pitocin so the midwife suggested ripening her very unripe cervix with the use of a foley catheter induction. This sounded like what the mom desired.  They scheduled it for two days later. (more…)

I posed this question on our facebook page to women and asked them what it was that their care provider did that made them love them. These are some of the answers I received:

I loved that the doctor for my second baby was humble and really took the time to listen to my questions, thoughts, and concerns. He made me feel like I was his only patient of the day and treated me and my husband with respect.

I love that my provider encourages me to learn about my birth options and shares worthwhile resources (books, websites, birth groups, doula services, etc.) with me to become as educated and knowledgeable as possible.  I visited several practitioners and always asked the question, “What books do you recommend for me to read?” And when they struggled to come up with an answer or only suggested “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, I knew they were not the right fit for me.

A good provider doesn’t tell you what you have to do, they give you options & information and allow you to choose.

I love that my midwives spend time getting to know me, and allow me to labor and birth the way I want to.

Even on a busy day my doctor would stop what he was doing and look at me if I was talking. He cared what I thought and said.

Sat down with me to go over my typed page of questions each and every visit. I now know what a pain I must have been. But she started scheduling double Appts for me, and inviting her students in I answer some of my “excellent questions”. (I imagine to give them practice with difficult patients)

He treated me like a human being. Most doctors rush in, list symptoms they observe and walk away. My doctor actually showed that he cared and was compassionate.

Sits down to talk at every appointment vs chatting while typing up his note.

Makes me feel like the most important person he or she has….

Listens. Explains (in a non-condescending way). Cares!

Let me just add. We lost our baby at 40 weeks 2 days. Today we received a call from the doctor who took time out to call us and let us know what the results from the placenta/ cord testing were. So grateful for his kindness and time.

Do you see the resounding theme that seems to be in every one of these responses? It is respect.

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(more…)

Mindful Birthing for WomenMapping your ideal birth. – taught by Charlotte Scott, ncltmb, cld –  brings her experience from 2 decades of leading women’s circles, 7 years of teaching the BOLD Childbirth Empowerment Method to pregnant mamas. A longtime student of Gabrielle Roth and the 5Rhythms she combines a passion for movement with her training in Dancing for Birth™ and her years of mindfulness training to enhance her childbirth preparation for women.

From birth plans to pain coping and labor fears women have lots of thoughts about what they might need for a positive birth experience. The journey of motherhood begins as a desire, a dream or a realization. It might be the most exciting time or the scariest. This is a workshop to navigate these intense times.

Instead of a “birth plan” what about a Birth Map? What does your Map need to guide you through this amazing and intense time? Does it currently have roadblocks or obstacles to you having the birth you are dreaming of? Do you feel like you are unsure of your birth choices? Or perhaps you feel as if you have made all the “right” choices, but wonder what it takes to meet the challenge?

Cost $130

Mindful Birthing – Couples Workshop is 5 hrs of hands on childbirth preparation and partner preparation. Taught by Charlotte Scott, ltmb, cld. Charlotte is a labor doula, licensed body worker, massage therapist and childbirth educator.

This can be taken as a refresher for couples or as an opportunity to deepen partner preparation.

Massage stimulates your body to release endorphin, the natural pain killing, mood lifting chemicals in the body. It reduces stress and restores vitality. Hands on techniques are taught to help your partner relax and move through tension.

Mindfulness applies to every aspect of pregnancy, birth and parenting. Learn useful techniques and supportive measures that will give you and your partner a foundation to create the birth of your dreams and manage the waves of transition as you either begin or expand your family.

  • Navigate healthy birth choices.
  • Birth partner roles and building a birth team.
  • Partner labor massage and relaxation techniques.
  • Hands on support for pregnancy and all stages of labor.
  • Partner support for optimal fetal positioning.

Cost $130 /Couple

See the class schedule here: CALENDAR

Sign up online by submitting the CLASS AGREEMENT and PAYMENT

 

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Recently we posted some comments some of our students shared http://alaboroflove.org/2013/02/women-are-becoming-bold-about-their-births/ but today we got another great letter that we felt we had to share!

“Thank you so much for offering these trans-formative classes.  I truly believe the work you are doing is making a difference.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked in on the first day but I can tell you I got what I needed even though I had no idea I needed it!  It was the missing link to fully preparing my mind and body for birth.

For any women who are looking for a great way to prepare for their upcoming birth, the BOLD method as I experienced IS:

  • IT IS the exploration of your feelings, beliefs, and attitudes towards birth.
  • IT IS the release of any fears, worries and judgments that may hold you back in labor.
  • IT IS building a vision for your birth.
  • IT IS practical hands-on preparation including pain coping techniques, optimal labor positions and guidance for partners.
  • IT IS creative and fun while providing a deeper, connected understanding and confidence in your body.
  • IT IS about trusting your intuition, being your ultimate guide, and taking responsibility for your birth.
  • IT IS empowerment at its core.

Both Charlotte and Teresa are inspiring women to learn from.  They get down to the nitty gritty, are passionate about birth and give you a safe space to unleash, get clear, re-build and create the birth of your dreams.  My favorite analogy of the weekend was that labor is a lot like running a marathon.  If you don’t train for it how can you expect to be allowed to compete?  Marathons are not just physical training but mental as well.  Being a runner, I can relate to “Hitting the wall” when you physically can’t go on, it’s your mind that pushes you through.

 

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I feel prepared, confident and excited about my upcoming birth.  I am so grateful to you both for all that you have shared!

Thank you!”

Rebecca

 

I wanted to share the comments that we are getting from the women who attended our BOLD Women’s Weekend and Couples Series. I have been amazed at how so many women have been hungry for the wisdom that they had within them and never knew how to tap into before. Here are some of the comments we have heard so far:

Thank you Charlotte and Teresa for an amazing weekend. If you are a pregnant lady, regardless of your birth plan or whether or not you have one, you MUST take the Women’s Circle BOLD class. It was the most trans-formative and empowering weekend I’ve ever had. I came in with many fears about birth, and now I feel strong and confident that I can manage those fears and have the birth experience I want. THANK YOU!!!

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I feel so bold after being with you guys for those two weekends!! Thank you for giving so much energy to us to help us carve out our paths!

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This should be a REQUIRED class for anyone having a baby. This class is poetry! I thought that all I needed was facts to be prepared….Little did I realize that birth is so much more than just knowing how to pronounce Erythromycin! And just when you have faced your fears in weekend 1, Teresa and Charlotte bring in your partners for weekend 2 to explore your relationship, create intimacy and make sure the dads learn the basics and the facts right alongside the moms. Charlotte and Teresa are like bread and butter – the perfect combination of instructors who love what they do like no one I’ve ever seen. I’m so glad I found this class. I have no more fears…only anticipation for my big day!!
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A true delight for right-brainers, and an absolute necessity for left brains. I will admit that there was some mystery to exactly what would be covered when I signed up, but those of you brave enough to welcome a challenge will not regret it.

The woman’s weekend is a true bonding experience, with yourself and the fellow moms embarking on a similar journey. The classes will go beyond your comfort zone, into your true, raw self, but the reward is an awesome understanding! The couple’s class was a great way for me to connect with my husband on such a deep and intimate level that our relationship is likely changed permanently. Technique, positioning, and coping mechanisms are also taught, and much more thoroughly than you would find in a hospital class!

Both Teresa and Charlotte have such an obvious love for women, the birthing process, and the motherly spirits. They are like old friends I wish I had known a lot longer! The fluidity with which they teach is perfect, sometimes hilarious, and always informative. I felt prepared going in, but now I feel as if the perfect birth is truly awaiting me! Thank you both!! xoxo

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Thank you and Charlotte for an educational, emotional and empowering weekend! I got even more from the class than I was expecting and truly believe it will have a tremendously positive impact on our birth experience!

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I can’t wait to hear how their births unfold with BOLDness!

Feel Great and Prepare for Your Birth!

We feel very strongly that fitness in pregnancy and in the postpartum period is essential for an easier birth and recovery. We offer two different types of classes for fitness- one is more yoga and exercised based, and one includes exercises and yoga but incorporates dancing and can also be done wtih your baby in the postpartum period. Both classes include some mother lore and body work to help improve the position of the baby in utero. Consider joining Charlotte and Teresa in making your birth experience and the time after a birth a wonderfully healthy one!  We offer several ways to achieve that!

yogaAligned and Ready Workshop!

Instructors: Teresa Howard and Charlotte Scott

The female body is designed for childbirth.

Today’s lifestyles often inhibit this perfect design.

By being active and aware of your body you align with your body’s innate wisdom.

What steps are you taking to take charge and prepare your body for birth?

This workshop is FULL OF TOOLS to aide you in having an easier time during your pregnancy and birth. Movement and Optimal Fetal Positioning are key factors. During these few hours we will explore how yoga directly improves pregnancy and labor, we will use a birth ball to stretch and practice labor support, we will explore the secrets taught in tribal dances that guided women throughout the ages to birth naturally. Many of the techniques and moves you will learn have been proven in studies to shorten labor. You will walk away with your personal plan for a healthier pregnancy and safer birth.
Healthier mamas and healthier babies are our goal!

 

 Dancing For Birth™   for prenatal and postpartum fitness

Instructors: Teresa Howard and Charlotte Scott

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Stephanie Larson came to Atlanta in August 2010 and we joined in her training to learn how to bring this technique to our area!

A moratorium has been declared on the back-lying, lithotomy position of birthing by Stephanie Larson, DFB, CD(DONA), CBE, BFA, Founder of Dancing For Birth TM, whose vision is for women world-wide to have the enjoyment of dancing their babies into the world.  Larson says women can learn how to harness gravity and move their bodies during labor for more satisfying births.

“Women’s bodies are not designed for birthing on our backs,  which prevents the pelvis from opening fully and gravity from helping the birth process” says Larson, who feels that the norms (such as back-lying) and routine interventions which characterize many hospital births are not evidence-based and are hindering instead of helping birthing women. “We are mammals after all.  Can you imagine trying to coax an elephant, horse or monkey to give birth on her back with her legs up in the air?  Our maternal instincts tell us to move during labor and plant our feet on the floor when it’s time to push. One way to improve women’s birth experiences is to shift the paradigm from horizontal to vertical birth positions” says Larson.  Clearly, change is needed, as reported in ‘Evidence-Based Maternity Care’ by Sakala and Corry (Milbank Memorial Fund, 2008) “… many other nations are doing a better job with measures such as perinatal, neonatal, and maternal mortality, low birth weight, and cesarean rates. Nonetheless, per capita health expenditures for the United States far exceed those of all other nations.”  The report includes the use of upright birthing positions as a proven, cost-effective, low intervention practice that is widely underused.

Dancing For Birth TM prenatal/postpartum dance classes teach a “language of movement” specially geared for pregnant women and postpartum women wearing their babies in soft slings or wraps. Though the movements are inspired by ancient dance forms like Belly dance (created by/for birthing women) and African dance, the 90-minute weekly classes, which combine dance and fitness with little-known childbirth preparation skills such as optimal fetal positioning, are the wave of the future of birth and resonate with women. “Modern day women want to celebrate birth and be transformed by it!” says Larson.  “They have innate wisdom of how to give birth with ease and lovingly mother their children, and Dancing For Birth TM classes help awaken their abilities.” Women often come to class simply for fun and fitness, and find that they gain more than they expected to.  “This class was fun and informative.  I love dancing and I was excited to learn a little bit of how to incorporate it into this whole [pregnancy and birth] experience.  I gained great moves to help me feel good, and birthing positions and knowledge of what I can do to help me through labor”, said Melanie Eng, who is expecting her first baby this year.

“The first step to a satisfying birth,” says Larson, “is to listen to your baby via your body—and move accordingly.  For many women this means laboring and birthing actively, in a forward-leaning vertical position, out of bed.” By moving instinctively, using gravity and positioning to their advantage, women can temporarily enlarge the dimensions of their pelvis for the baby’s passage, help their babies rotate and descend, avoid unnecessary interventions and enjoy natural pain relief.  “You can be sure that you will gain a lot from Dancing For Birth TM classes no matter what type of birth you are planning,” says Larson, “the benefits include improved grace, strength, agility, endurance, knowledge, empowerment, confidence, and a circle of great new friends for both you and your baby.” Stereotypes lead women to believe that they should take to the bed when they become pregnant, but according to ‘Exercising Through Your Pregnancy’ by J.F. Clapp III, for healthy women, exercising during pregnancy is safe and has many benefits for mom and baby too, “At five years old, the offspring of the women who exercised during pregnancy scored much higher on tests of general intelligence and oral language skills”.

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We offer these classes- beginning with a free trial class offered quarterly and a four week series that allows for drop ins as well. Teresa and Charlotte teach together in Lawrenceville and in Atlanta. Grab your hip scarfs and come join our classes, whether pregnant or with a baby in tow!

 

Teresa Howard and Charlotte Scott teach a comprehensive series that includes a Women’s Weekend and a Couples’ Weekend.

Although we recommend taking the complete series, each Wisdom Birth Circle can be taken independently as an adjunct to another childbirth preparation class.

The Wisdom for Birth Circle +  The Wisdom for Birth Couples’ Workshop

bold method certifiedCharlotte and Teresa

We offer what you need to learn to prepare to birth and become new parents

  • You learn how your experiences prior to birth can affect your experience which includes what you believe to be true, what you have heard that you wonder is true.
  • What you need to know to ask questions to get your full range of options for your birth. If you do not ask you can not receive- but if you do not know what to ask for you will not know what is possible.
  • We go through several scenarios to help you determine what would be the choices you would make in those situations.
  • We discuss positioning and movement for helping your pregnancy, labor and birth be easier- and we practice those positions.
  • We help you engage your intuitive thinking so that in labor, you can listen to your body and understand how to do that in labor and even in parenting.
  • We help you find your heartfelt desires for your birth and then give you practical ways to help your vision become reality.
  • You leave pain coping skills as well as home exercises to prepare you emotionally and physically for your labor.
  • By the end of the weekend you will leave understanding how your body and mind together affect your labor and birth.
  • You will have tools to take home as well as a daily routine to use for more practice in releasing your fears and finding your power.
  • As couples you learn how to work together to make a cohesive team.
  • We limit the size of the class to offer intimacy & time for sharing.

If you are thinking this is going to be too touchy feely for you, think again. Did you know most childbirth authorities agree that a huge part of the birth process is in your head?  If you try to stay in the intellectual & analytical side of birth, you most likely will get stuck. It is about getting in touch with your mind & body that helps the most! What is standing in the way of you achieving the birth you desire? Do you want to know how to find the key? This class could be the very thing that you need to find that key. We explore the voice, body & action to help you create the vision for your birth & make a plan to achieve it!  Do you want to turn your fears into freedom? Do you believe YOUR BODY ROCKS?! Let us know if you are ready to learn to ROCK YOUR BIRTH with us!

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We hope the women’s weekend will be taken as early as possible- although it is helpful in any time of pregnancy- & the couple’s workshop will follow later in the pregnancy if you choose. 

We try to offer each of these types of classes every other month. Please check our calendar for the upcoming classes and don’t hesitate to register early as these classes fill quickly. Teresa will send you a class agreement via email for you to see costs of the classes and register. We also offer private classes and a more traditional type couple class offering for those who are need of this

Facebook.com/birthwisdom

Today I was called by a writer, Jennifer, who was writing an article for DONA.  The article is on how to build a business without burning out. I enjoyed our half an hour or more conversation! And in the end I shared with her how trans-formative having cancer had been to me. How I enjoy life more now having more appreciation for it! I shared how I zip line and white water raft and lay in the bed with my husband on his mornings off having breakfast together… how those times are wonderful. And I shared with her that after having taught a particular method of childbirth for more than a decade, how I was searching for something more to light my fire for helping women become transformed as well. And then I stumbled upon a new approach to childbirth education and joined the inaugural training with Karen Brody.

I laughed and told Jennifer I felt that the BOLD Method of Empowering Childbirth had transformed me so much over the year I have been teaching the classes. I chuckled and told her I was always reinventing myself to keep things new and alive! And then I said something that I had never said before… I told her I felt every time I taught the class I was further transformed and I had no idea after teaching for one year how much I had changed! I told her I had no idea how much I would change in my second year! That I felt more powerful each time I taught it.

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Powerful Teresa is a woman who has connected with her tribe, made some hard choices,  found her internal wisdom by listening to her intuitive voice, following her heart, speaking loudly with her voice, opening up her mind to new ideas and being guided by the Spirit. I have been transformed over the last five years after having won the fight with cancer and the subsequent surgeries that were difficult but in a lot of ways healing. I have been transformed over the last year teaching BOLD Wisdom for Birth classes with my friend Charlotte Scott. I love the way it has changed me and my outlook not only about birth and the possibilities that are there- but to life!

Want to be transformed in your journey to becoming a mom? Take our BOLD Wisdom for Birth classes. I can’t promise it will change you the way it has changed me- but if you are open to being transformed, it will make a huge difference, I promise! Imagine what it would be like if you found all the power within you – imagine how that can change the way you live!

I was sitting with a mom doing a private childbirth class this past week. I have some phrases we go through and discuss what it means. Like… “Control is merely an illusion.” And one of the ones we discussed was , “Doing the next best thing.” It is something I taught for a lot of years- decades. It was taught to me by an educator and author who teaches it as part of her method of being flexible in labors and births. She also had an unexpected cesarean with her first child. I think  her ideas could have stemmed from that experience although I am unsure. I used to tell folks to write their birth plans in pencil so as to be able to erase some things as the journey takes an unexpected turn. I held that ideology close to my heart for a lot of years. But, I  feel differently about this now.

There are so many areas of our lives where we plan, hope, dream and expect things to be as we desire in our deepest recesses of our hearts. Like, the person you marry- for most of us we do not marry someone thinking it is a temporary event nor do we settle for the next best groom… but one we feel is the best and one we plan to endure the test of time with. When we do things like plan big events like our wedding, we may have a strong opinion of things like the flowers we desire for our bouquet.  My daughter wanted sterling roses for her wedding- she hates “torn” petal flowers like carnations. If the florist had made her bouquet with carnations she would have been disappointed for sure.

So how does this relate to birth? Well when I asked the mom what “doing the next best thing” meant, she said it means you did not get what you most desired. I took a deep breath and thought, yes she is right,  it does.  Do I mean then that a woman does not need to be flexible? Well sorta. I think a woman needs to be really determined. I think she needs to dream vivid and clear dreams for her birth. I think she needs to do all she can do to make it happen- choosing the care provider carefully- the location for her birth- her team of support, etc. And with the knowledge of her options, she will be able to make wise, informed decisions as her labor unfolds. She can change her mind or even detour from her plans- but when we begin the journey with the expectation that it is not a real plan- that it is written in pencil- that we need to have an alternative plan… then it undermines her dream and vision for her birth. It makes the ideals for her birth not as strong or determined from the beginning.

Women are afraid to dream big dreams for fear of being disappointed. This fear of disappointment undermines their ability to full dream it and hold onto it. Folks around them discourage them and they do not want to set themselves up to loose. But what they are doing is setting themselves up to loose from the beginning. If they do achieve their birth dreams, they are surprised rather than encouraged that they did it!

If she makes a different decision based on how her labor unfolds- that is not doing the next best thing- it is doing the best thing for her at that moment. I want women to dream in full technicolor… I want them to grasp what is possible and hold it in their hearts. I want that to be their goal 100%- fully committed to it! That is probably the biggest thing about the BOLD Method for Childbirth that resonates the most for me!

DREAM BIG, Have VIVID VISIONS, engage your FULL body and mind and put those thoughts and dreams into ACTION.  You just may get exactly what you dream and prepare for! And if you don’t- you will be making great decisions that are right for you along the way- doing the BEST thing. Do not enter your labor expecting to have to compromise or change your mind- instead be prepared for your birth to unfold just as you dream it!

If you dream it, you can achieve it! Want an ecstatic and empowering birth? Go for it!