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Articles by Mary Paliescheskey

Mothering the Mother Birth Services

numbers@rocketmail.com

Published in Expectations

Newsletter of the Valley/Foothill Doula Collective

THE NEWEST ADVANCEMENT IN CHILDBIRTH IS THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD

 The Need for Doulas

 To Become a Doula

 Birth Story

 Aromatherapy for Pregnancy

 May is National Doula Month

 Benefits of Breastfeeding

 Relaxation Techniques

 Bed Rest

 

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    Published in Mother's Support Network Newsletter

     Pregnancy, Labor Support, and Guidance

     


     

     

     

    The Need for Doulas

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    I found a national survey posted on the Internet. It showed a c-section rate of 23.5%, epidural rate of 46.6%, induction rate of 41.0%, and an episiotomy rate of 63.8% of all vaginal births. The rate of completely natural births was only 34.3%.

    This was a survey conducted on the Internet by www.parenthoodweb.com. The selection bias on this survey should push it toward non-intervention, but the rates are still high. Hopefully, we will be able to reach more of the birthing community and get the education out there to reduce the rates of medication and other interventions while keeping the balance of safe and healthy births.

    A professional labor coach attended only 2.1% of the births. We need to reach more moms. Itís sad to me that the rates of interventions are so high on a national level. The WHO states that the c-section rate should be around 15.0%. Dr. Klaus has shown that a doula reduces the rates of interventions and increases the chances of a natural birth.

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    To Become a Doula

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    There are really no prerequisite for becoming a doula- simply an interest in womenís health and a desire to serve at birth.

    There are a variety of training program: Birth and Bonding International, Doulas of North America, ASPO Lamaze, ALACE, and ICEA. More programs are being created all the time. Be sure that the program you select for yourself contains training in the areas that are important to you.

    Training consists of a minimum of a 16-hour training workshop and a reading list. Each organization has different requirement and different textbooks.

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    Birth Story

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    It was a long birth, 34 and a half hours. But I didnít even think about it. It just was. We walked for hours and went to the hospital early (4 cm.). We walked some more, ate, showered, and walked some more. During transition, I became very nauseous and afraid. I asked my dear husband three times to get the nurse and three times he asks me Ďare you okay?í with fear in his eyes. My response is I donít know get the nurse. Once we got out of that cycle and the nurse arrive, she told me that I was in transition and this was a good sign. I then stayed in the bed and labor stalled at 9 cm for three hours or more. I loose track of time. I ended up with pitocin augmented labor for four hours (6 AM to 10 AM). My first born then arrived, a happy healthy boy.

    I enjoyed my labor, but felt something was missing. It wasnít a lack from my husband. He was wonderful. It was the feeling that there should have been more. The nurses were great, but busy and it took time to get answers. We had done all the right things- the classes, brought our music, walked.

    Or so I thought. My other births were very different I had educated myself about what would be good for me. No I hadnít walked enough. I would do the things that made me comfortable. I cleaned house. I didnít go shopping at the mall. I stayed home until I felt ready to go. My older son attended the next birth with a family friend. He even got to cut the cord. The boys are very close. The birth was a family event.

    Now that Iím a birth guide/doula, I know what was missing. I have two more boys at home and those births were assisted by a doula. Sheís the woman who looked at me and said you know what you have to do and I said I know. My husband on the other side saying letís go. It was wonderfully supportive to have two people.

    It makes no difference that Iím a doula. A guide is still needed. It makes no difference that Iíve been through the doorway of birth before because every door is different. Every birth was different, but each showed me a different part of myself.

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    Aromatherapy for Pregnancy

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    Essential oils stimulate the senses. Fragrance is an important part of memory and can play a role in your comfort level in your environment. Incorporating essential oils into your daily routine can be a pleasant means of restoring your vitality and emotional balance. Self-care is very important at all times, but especially during pregnancy and the postpartum period. You can use the essential oils for massage, bath, in lotions, or diffuse into the air.

    Backing up a bit, an essential oil is a volatile material derived from a plant. Chemically, essential oil is a complex mixture usually consisting of over 100 compounds. Some oils on the market are extended with synthetic compounds or diluted in a base oil. It no longer contains the natural complexity and much of the natural properties are lost.

    For use during pregnancy, you should only use oils that are "safe" for infants and children. In addition, there are oils that should be avoided at all times by pregnant women because of the emmenagogic properties (ability to induce menstruation). Never use an essential without consulting a professional.

    Essential oil blends can be developed for a variety of the common symptom of pregnancy from nausea to exhaustion. The use of essential oil blends during labor can clear the hospital room and fill it with a fragrance that you find restful, calming, and energizing to you. During the postpartum period, maternal self-care should become a priority. Blends can be created to increase hormonal balance, promote joy and energy, or to create a peaceful environment.

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    May is National Doula Month

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    DO you know what a doula can do for you?

    Do you know what research has shown about doulas?

    43% increase Natural Vaginal Delivery

    (no medication or assistance)

    50% decrease in ceasarean rate

    60% decrease in epidural requests

    30% decrease in pain medication

    25% decrease in the duration of labor

    Unfortunately, birth in our culture has become a time that the family must accommodate many strangers. The doula meets with you during pregnancy and stays through your entire labor and delivery; a constant in a sea of change.

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    Benefits of Breastfeeding

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    Breast is best is the mantra of our times. The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous. There are benefits for both mother and infant.

    The benefits for baby include ideal nutrition, antibody protection, appropriate intestinal flora, increased jaw muscle development, and increased health and wellbeing.

    It is inexpensive to breastfeed. It saves you both time and money. There are no bottles to wash or formula to buy (check the prices). When baby is hungry, the food is ready and at the right temperature. Most breastfed babies are used to a variety of tastes (due to the changing composition of breastmilk). This may help with less fussy eating later in life and there's a lot to be said for ending problems before they start.

    In addition, there are benefits for mother as well: reduction in the rate of ovarian and breast cancers, increased weight loss, and delay the return of menses. Hormonal balance is maintained. Breastfeeding promotes the bonding of mother and infant. That doesn't mean a mother and infant who are not breastfed have problems bonding. It's just easier with hormonal assistance.

    Breastfeeding promotes maternal self-care. It is very hard to over-extend yourself if you need to sit several times a day (okay many times a day) and feed your baby. It's a beautiful time to spend with your child.

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    Relaxation Techniques

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    Relaxation is the key to handling the increasing intensity of labor. After a contraction has passed, it is very important to let the tension go. Holding tension or anticipating the arrival of the next contraction takes a lot of energy. It can make labor seem more intense and difficult.

    Practice relaxation techniques before labor. Deep slow breaths for as long as possible during labor will help keep you relaxed and focused.

    Several relaxation techniques are commonly used in labor: Deep Breathing, Visualization, Meditation, Music, Subdued Lighting, Shower or tub, and Massage. However, your choices are not limited to these. If something isn't working for you, then try something else. Other options could include aromatherapy, accupuncture, or anything else that provides you comfort and relaxes you.

    The most important element in relaxation is creating a safe and supportive environment for yourself. A sense of safety is very important in labor. If you feel insecure in your surroundings, your body will produce stress hormones that will inhibit the natural process of labor. Relaxation is secondary to a feeling of security and support.

    After you feel safe, you can then relax in your birth. Relaxation is the feeling of trust in the birth process. The tools that you use to reach that state are your choice.

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    Bed Rest

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    Periodically, concerns for the course of a pregnancy require a mother to rest for her health and the safety of her child. As the time in bed increases so does the frustration and this may result in 'bending the rules' or violating provider orders. While only you and your partner can decide what is ultimately best for you and your family, it is very important that you consider the consequences of your actions.

    Your time in bed is very confining, frustrating, boring, etc. It is very important to have partner support in bed rest. Take turns being strong; keep each other focused on the goal.

    When you are tempted to 'cheat', I suggest a visit to a neonatal ICU. See what a 40%, 60%, 80% chance of living really means. If lucky, it means weeks, months of care. You start being a mother and father the day you decide on pregnancy. Sometimes it's hard to do what is best and bed rest is a real challenge.

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    Pregnancy, Labor Support, and Guidance

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    I first heard of doulas after the birth of my first son. I had enjoyed the birth, but had times where I needed a question answered, but no nurse was available. This lead to my becoming afraid and concerned about the course of the labor. Both my husband and I could have used that added reassurance that everything was normal. Then when I saw an advertisement for a training course offered by Birth and Bonding International, Albany, CA, I thought Ďyes that was what I am.í

    The word Ďdoulaí means a woman caregiver meant to anticipate the needs of the woman she serves. Historically, women have been assisted by doulas in the process of conception, pregnancy, labor and childbirth. Nowadays, the support system that has traditionally included a doula, has narrowed to the partner. With routine hospital births, the continuous emotional support of another woman was lost.

    I researched various training programs available and found there were several philosophies and no requirements for certification. Anyone can attend births. Considering the emotional openness of the birth time, I felt that a course that didn't include bonding and creation of family would be doing a great disservice to my future clients. Even though I have experience in energy work and readings, that work didn't involve the fragile time of birth. Most training programs failed to meet the requirements that I placed upon them. Most were only one weekend-slightly more than the time couples spend in childbirth education classes. People who had one additional class in doula work and the experience of 10 births were considered certified trainers by most programs. This was not acceptable to me.

    I kept coming back to Sharon at Birth and Bonding. The original advertisement I saw was truly the one that was best for me- a lesson in trust. She has trained over 300 women, has worked in the field for over 15 years, has a master's degree in perinatal psychology, is a lay counselor, and many other qualifications. In addition to the usual training in physiology, Birth and Bonding focuses on issues of bonding and serving without placing yourself in the picture. The program was 60 hours over six months. Plenty of time to process information and clear any issues or prejudices that you carry- so I chose to become a Birth Guide instead of a doula.

    A doulaís duties are varied and depend on the doula and the needs of the couple. They generally and usually include personalized childbirth education, addressing fears and concerns, and attendance for the birth process. A good doula will be sure that your needs are met. She will meet with you several times to clear any concerns that you might have about the birth process. Itís all about making you comfortable. She will attend you at your home in order to reduce the chance of unnecessary medical intervention and then go to your birth site: home, hospital, or birthing center. She will research and assist you in choosing your plans for birth what ever your interest. She should be able to point you to information for alternatives to western medicine. A birth guide also focuses on the spiritual and psychological aspect of birth and looks at the energy of the people planned to be present. She will talk to you about calmness and trust in your bodyís knowledge. She will talk about fear; it lengthens and can complicate the birth process. She suggests ritual and other welcoming techniques for the newborn. There is spirit and mind as well as body involved here.

    Intuition is an important part of birth guide work. Your approach to each couple is different. You must listen to what the spirit has to say and address that need.

    One client I intended to turn down because the energy present was draining to me and then I realized the mother wasnít the one hiring me-the child was. It was my most difficult birth, but the most rewarding because the childís need was met.

    The bond of the family is what is important and the birth guide teaches and supports in a way that the couple believes the thought was theirs in the first place. It is guiding so that when the support is gone the family can fly. Fly their life path as they see it - not the doula's thoughts or what she thinks is best for them, but what they feel is best and that should be supported.

    It is teaching to follow your heart, your intuition, and your soul. It is teaching through a life-changing event. Marriage is the combining of two adults to live a life in tandem. Pregnancy is a major rite of passage for women and men. It is learning, starting during pregnancy, to place the needs of one who cannot speak before your own needs: a lesson in openness and a work of the heart. May your journey to family be filled with joy.

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