Edenway Blog

The Difference Between a Doula and a Midwife; Your Guide to Birth Professionals

 | August 11, 2016 | Posted by:

The natural birth world can be a place of wonder and excitement. It can also be confusing if you aren’t familiar with the words that are thrown around.

Two popular terms are “doula” and “midwife”. It’s easy to be unsure of the role they each play in a natural birth, but you’ll hear them a lot in conversation.

Here are some basic descriptions of both roles and why they are important to your birth experience.

Doula

A doula literally means “female servant”. When it comes to birth, a doula is sometimes also called a labor assistant or a labor coach. Doula certifications and skills vary. Some doulas are certified through a professional doula organization while some simply have experience and enjoy serving mothers and their families.

Many women (and their partners!) hire a doula for support and help throughout the labor. A doula should be skilled in numerous comfort measures and techniques, and can lend a helping hand and some occasional rest for a tired dad.

Home birthing couples can benefit from the services offered by a doula because she often does some prenatal visits that can help educate mom, may arrive earlier at the birth than the midwife if summoned, and do one or two postpartum visits. All of these visits and the relationship that they encourage can help the new family adjust to life with a newborn.

While many couples plan on having the father or partner take a main role during the labor, a doula can help dad to help mom. Her greater experience with birth can help remind dad of things he may have forgotten. Her knowledge of what is common may help her realize when mom needs to call the midwife. And having an extra pair of hands is ALWAYS useful in labor.

In short, a doula provides emotional and physical support for labor but is not a medical professional. She can be a comforting pair of hands but will not offer medical advice or procedures.

If you are interested in hiring a doula, let us know and we can give you a list of some of our favorite local doulas.

Midwife 

A midwife, on the other hand, is a professional with skills for comforting and guiding your journey and also with medical skills that are occasionally needed at the time of birth. The term midwife just means, “with woman” and she will be with you during your pregnancy at prenatal appointments, during your birth, and at postpartum appointments after your baby is born.

 

While she can offer education, guidance, wisdom, comfort and a listening ear, your midwife is also trained in CPR, neonatal resuscitation, starting an IV, administering certain drugs, suturing, and the warning signs of things that can happen in labor. She is both a medical professional and a companion for your labor.

At Edenway Birth Center our midwives are Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) and Licensed Midwives (LM) through the state of Texas. They have extensive training and are continuously working on their skills.

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Many woman desire both a midwife and a doula and we happily encourage this. Pregnancy, labor, and birth are all sacred and sensitive times for a woman and her family. Choosing a strong support team will make it that much more special.

If you are interested in the midwifery model of care we encourage you to contact us at -817-552-2229. We are happy to meet with the whole family so that all involved can ask questions and feel more at ease.

 



Guest Post: Working & Breastfeeding – On the Go

 | May 4, 2016 | Posted by:
I’ve been the primary (and often sole) earner in my family for the last 5 years, so when I found out I was pregnant, I knew I would join the ranks of so many mothers who try to juggle breastfeeding while working outside the home. I was committed to breastfeeding my son exclusively for 6 months, and at least until he was 1 year old. One REALLY big challenge for me that most working mother’s don’t face – I work for a consulting company and frequent travel is customary.

 

I had hoped that my employer would find a Dallas based project for me when I returned to work full time, but unfortunately, that didn’t work out. About 7 months after my son was born, I was asked to support a client based out of Los Angeles. 1 week later, I started traveling 4 days a week, EVERY week.

 

While I was pregnant, I had purchased a Medela Pump in Style Advanced, before I knew that health insurance would cover a breastpump. I reached out to a few other mothers in my local office to see if anyone had any tips or tricks on how to travel and pump. Breastmilk was still the primary source of nutrition for my son, so I had to figure out quickly how I was going to make this work! Thankfully, some of my colleagues had traveled while breastfeeding and had many great suggestions. I talked to lactation consultants. I called friends. I read every website out there on exclusive pumping.

 

I won’t lie, the first few weeks were REALLY difficult. Since my son was so young, and my flight was over 3 hours, plus the commute time to the airport from my house and from the airport to my client site, I often had to pump in the airport and on the plane while in the air. Pumping on the plane was miserable. I generally just pumped about 10 minutes on each side to keep my milk production up. I pumped in my seat because I decided that was less gross than pumping in the airplane bathroom. I was lucky that I’d built up a bit of a freezer stash anticipating my eventual return to work, but I still wanted to keep every ounce of that liquid gold!

 

It was REALLY frustrating to me that neither DFW nor LAX airports had mothers rooms for pumping. DFW has since opened ONE mother’s room in the A terminal, and California passed a law requiring nursing rooms in all airport terminals before January 2016. Worse than the lack of pumping space in the airport was the inconsistent way TSA dealt with me and my breastmilk. Each week would be a different agent with a different idea of what the appropriate screening protocols would be. LAX was the worst. The very first week, I had over 120oz of breastmilk (packaged in 2-3oz bags) and they pulled every single one out of my cooler bag to inspect it. It took FOREVER and it was so awkward.

 

The first 2 months I pumped every 2-3 hours religiously, even waking up in the middle of the night to pump. I pumped in cars in parking lots, while stuck in traffic on LA freeways, in corners of the airport, in empty offices, in empty conference rooms. I was lucky that my client in Los Angeles, and my subsequent client here in Seattle both were companies that supported breastfeeding mothers. Both client sites had relatively comfortable mother’s rooms with fridges, etc. The only challenge was sometimes there was a line to pump LOL.

 

Thankfully, after 9 weeks I was transferred to another client in Seattle and the airport there has a lovely nursing room and TSA was a lot less of a challenge. This reduced my stress quite a bit. By then, my son was 9 months old and eating a lot more solids. I was able to scale back a bit on how often I needed to pump.

 

There were many weeks I was so frustrated with the added stress of worrying about keeping my milk supply up, healing raw nipples, keeping the milk cold, getting through airport security, leaving the office early to pump, etc that I would want to throw in the towel. I am so grateful that my husband supported me wholeheartedly through this process. He would take the bag of breastmilk when I walked in the door, and pack it in containers to put in the freezer. He would put the baby in our bed for me to nurse or bring him out into the living room if he knew my breasts were full, so I wouldn’t have to pump one more time that week. He washed and sanitized my breastpump parts.

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It seemed like every week I would tell myself that this was the last week. It was too much. My husband told me that if I wanted to stop, he fully supported that decision. He listened while I cried on the phone. And then each Monday I would pack my breastpump tote bag with all my supplies and talk myself into pumping for “just one more week”.

 

Finally, when my son was 2 weeks shy of 1 year old, we ran out of breastmilk before I got home. I freaked out and hopped on the first flight home. In the meantime… my husband calmly went to the grocery store and bought a gallon of whole milk… and my kid drank it without complaint. After that, I decided that I wouldn’t kill myself pumping. I also started trying to think about pumping sessions as being “breaks” from work. I wouldn’t try to multitask any more – I started catching up on TV shows on Hulu or Netflix on my phone! That helped me relax a lot which of course, helps the milk flow. (One time, I laughed out loud watching Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt and there were 2 other moms pumping in the room. They probably thought I was crazy).

 

My son finished weaning about 2 weeks ago at 19 months. So I pumped exclusively 4 days a week while living out of a suitcase 1600 miles from home and hauled that breastmilk back to TX for a YEAR! That was a MAJOR accomplishment!

 

Of course, just 2 weeks after I stopped pumping, my company rolled out some new benefits for breastfeeding moms – they now offer hospital grade rental pumps and will ship your breastmilk for you when you are required to travel. HA.

 

In all honesty, there is no way I would have succeeded at my breastfeeding goals without having an amazing support network of other moms, lactation consultants, my spouse, and an employer that supported working moms.

 

If you need someone to cheer you through breastfeeding and working outside the home, I’d be honored to be that person for you. It can’t get much harder than what I went through! Feel free to email me. We belong to each other, mamas!

Guest Post by Nichole Heilbron

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Allergy Prevention Starts Early: Breastfeeding

Although there are many benefits to breastfeeding, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the breastfeeding’s role in allergy prevention.

At birth, the cells lining the newborn’s small intestines are porous.  This is often referred to as “leaky gut”.  This does not usually pose a problem in the breast feeding infant, however; in infants receiving cow’s milk – based formulas, this can often lead to the development of food allergies. Because the lining of the small intestine is porous, undigested food particles and proteins (which are larger) may pass through this lining into the blood stream.

Photo credit: OhKyleL via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: OhKyleL via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Because of their size, these proteins are easily seen and targeted by the body’s immune system as foreign invaders. A “war” breaks out and antibodies are produced against the food protein to destroy it.  Inflammation results from this confrontation, which can further damage healthy tissue.  Each time the cow’s milk based formula is introduced, the milk proteins have an opportunity to slip through the porous lining and initiate an immune response producing more antibodies and inflammation.  According to La Leche League, there are more than 20 substances in cow’s milk that have been shown to be human allergens. They also state that the following symptoms can alert parents that their baby may be suffering from  milk –based allergies …spitting up, diarrhea, cramping, constipation, gas,  colitis and respiratory problems.. Mom may eventually say, “I think my baby is allergic to this formula”.

Breastmilk has the advantage of containing components that help prevent an allergic response from occurring.  Human milk contains Epidermal Growth Factor which strengthens, protects, and repairs the mucosal lining of the small intestine. There is a lack of EGF in cow’s milk based infant formula.  Human milk also contains secretory IgA.  This is an antibody that “paints” the lining of the porous gastro-intestional tract and prevents proteins (either food based or microbial) from entering the blood stream and stimulating an allergic response from the immune system.  According to Jan Riordan, EdD, RN, IBCLC, FAAN, colostrum, the first milk, is especially rich in antibodies, including sigA. She states, “Because the infants own IgA is deficient and slowly increases during the first several months, sigA in human milk provides important protection to the entire digestive tract of the newborn. Mature milk continues to provide this protection, from the inside, to help the baby remain healthy and allergy –free.”

Babies may exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, and according to Jan Riordan, EdD, RN, IBCLC, FAAN, after 6 months, babies can eat whatever they like and in any order they want.

Rosemarie Anthony RN, IBCLC is passionate about assisting mothers in attaining their goal to breastfeed and empowering families to adopt healthier lifestyle choices that can promote healthy living and aid in the prevention of disease.


Guest Post: A change of plans – our breastfeeding journey

 | April 12, 2016 | Posted by:

I had it all planned out. Natural, slow, beautiful Birth Center birth. God had other plans. Around 27 weeks gestation, I found out I had preeclampsia and it progressed into HELLP (H-hemolysis, EL-elevated liver enzymes, LP-low platelet count) Syndrome. We were sent to Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth for an emergency C-section to meet my 1 pound 5.9 ounce baby girl.
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Thankfully, they have a phenomenal NICU unit and are strong advocates of breastfeeding/breastmilk. They made sure I started pumping very early. My husband loves to tell about the first time I pumped. Due to being “put under” for the C-section, I was not even conscious. My husband walked in my recovery room after surgery and he saw a nurse holding the flanges on my breasts while it was pumping.

After that, every two/three hours a nurse would come to help or remind me to pump. My girl was getting my breast milk that I pumped through an NG tube in tiny amounts (like 10 mls) every 3 hours. I remember getting up at night, and sometimes falling asleep while pumping! A lactation specialist came by to teach me about pumping, hand expressing, and how important it is to keep a schedule of pumping for my supply. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to breastfeed my child and this was the way I could do that until she was big enough to try breastfeeding.

At first, the tiny amount of Colostrum that I would get after pumping seemed insignificant and discouraging. I would hand it to the nurse at the NICU and she would praise me on how good I did and how every little bit counts. Receiving encouragement from the nurses and my husband and seeing the other NICU moms going into pumping rooms was reassuring. Eventually, my milk came in and I was seeing results from the hard work that I had put in pumping. I had a very large supply. I had built up enough milk stored that NICU asked me to start taking the milk home. This was such a wonderful feeling! I can actually do this! I had enough to feed my child. Extra even! It was then that I started to share my large supply with other moms in the area that needed breastmilk donations.

This was about the time that I started back to work. I would work part time/half days then head to the hospital. I am truly blessed to have the job I do. I work with all men. They are very supportive. They understand, gave me time and never missed a beat when I was away from my desk and pumping every three hours. I did make every effort schedule my pump times directly before and after work and at lunch so that I only had to miss a minimal amount of work time. Most importantly, they didn’t mention the breastmilk I kept in the fridge until the end of the day. And let me tell you, it was embarrassing the first couple of times coming out of the room with a bag that held milk storage bags to be put in the fridge. They didn’t say a word; some even smiled.  Being supported at work made it easy to continue pumping. My bag that I carry the breast pump, supplies and other things I need to pump have become part of me! I can’t go anywhere without it!

When my girl was around two months old/32 weeks gestation we tried non-nutritive breast feeding. While she was getting fed through the NG tube, I would hold her up to my recently pumped breast that had a drop of milk on it. She slowly began to get curious and nose around. This associates being fed with my breast. Next was nutritive breastfeeding! I was so excited and nervous. She was still so tiny. Again, the encouragement from the staff and husband got me through the nerves. Since we could only try to breastfeed once a day, it was a rollercoaster of some days latching and sucking well while other days she wouldn’t. I felt on top of the world when she would latch and so discouraged on the days she wouldn’t. We were able to get her to latch consistency with a nipple shield that an LC suggested. While I worked the nurses introduced my baby girl to bottles with my breastmilk in it; she had to be able to prove she could eat all her food without the NG tube before she could be released from the hospital.

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Dealing with severe reflux and being put on thickened formula for a short time were the more difficult things to deal with. I knew the formula was helping her reflux but I was still disappointed that she wasn’t receiving my breastmilk. We just kept doing what we had been, kept pumping and breastfeeding the allowed twice a day and praying. Thankfully after 85 days in the NICU, she was released to go home still breastfeeding twice and bottle feedings of formula the rest of the time.

We have an amazing pediatrician who is also pro-breastfeeding. After a month of us being home and having small and infrequent spit ups, he told us we could transition to all breast milk. This was a light at the end of a tunnel. Prayer works!

Taking one day at a time, staying positive, surrounding ourselves with encouraging people and prayer helped us. My girl is a healthy 6 month old with a great latch (without a nipple shield, YEY!), both breastfeeds and takes breast milk in a bottle. She sleeps through the night. I have now stopped pumping in the middle of the night so I get a full night’s and I am still pumping at work! Many times I have thought about quitting, but I know this is what I want for my child. We have come this far and plan to continue for as long as we can!

-Guest post by Charli Vance


Why choose natural birth?

 | February 16, 2016 | Posted by:

Natural_birth_dfw_midwives

Few topics are as emotionally charged as the subject of “natural birth.” Inevitably when a woman announces that she is planning on “going natural” when almost everybody else gets an epidural, a few eyebrows are raised. Then of course, somebody asks the question, “WHY?!”

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7 “Superfoods” to Boost Your Fertility Naturally & Support a Healthy Pregnancy

 | January 21, 2016 | Posted by:

Guest post by Halley Holloway, MAS, RDN, LD, CLT

Many women, whether they are pregnant or trying to conceive, instinctively feel that they should be eating certain foods during gestation. This instinct serves us well, as we want to be aware of what foods we are eating to nourish our growing baby. In our modern culture, many people from grandmothers to health professionals will give you an abundance of nutrition advice for what to eat during pregnancy.

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