Tag Archives: pregnancy

Why use a Doula?

In honor of International Doula Month, I am including a guest post by Marianna Terhune CD, CMA, LS, CBE of DoulaMoon.net.  Marianna is a local DONA certified birth doula who has not only helped countless families as they welcome new life into their families, she is also a part of a group of doulas who help lead educational classes at My Baby News in Santa Rosa every month.  More information on how doulas can help make birth easier can be found in a previous article by clicking HERE.  And if you’re interested in attending the next free Speaker Series (topic: Baby Signing Class) at My Baby News on May 12th, information can be found by clicking HERE.

Why Use a Doula?
by Marianna Terhune CD, CMA, LS, CBE

Nicole Kidman did it, so did Kelly Ripa, Demi Moore, Cindy Crawford and Ricki Lake. Doulas are the latest Hollywood “pregnancy essential” and moms all over Sonoma County are following their lead, getting a head start on the stork without breaking the bank. Since May is “International Doula Month” and with Mother’s Day right around the corner, we thought this would be the perfect time to highlight this growing profession. Doulas aren’t just for the rich and famous, these days most women can get the support Kidman and Ripa receive without going into debt. DONA International is the oldest and largest organization of doulas in the world with more than 7,000 members in more than 20 countries. DONA doulas offer a variety of services that allow all women to receive the care they deserve from a doula at such a special time in their lives, if they wish to have it.

Birth doulas accompany women and their partners in labor, providing emotional support and physical comfort. They facilitate communication with caregivers to help clients feel fully informed, provide reassurance, perspective and help with relaxation, positioning and other labor support techniques.

Postpartum doulas help new mothers in the early weeks with their new baby. Parents find the additional help with breastfeeding, education on newborn care, errand running, nighttime support and assistance with anything else a new family needs invaluable. The word doula comes from the Greek word meaning *a woman who serves.* Studies have shown that a doula’s presence at births results in shorter labors with less complications, fewer requests for pain medications and/or epidurals and a reduction in labor-enhancing drugs (Pitocin), forceps, vacuum extraction and cesareans. Postpartum doulas reduce the stress involved in being a new mom. Doula care has also been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of postpartum depression. Doulas like to say that they “mother the mother.” I am available to discuss doulas and International Doula Month.

I and a local mom who has used a doula in Sonoma County can also talk about how doulas can give moms the “star treatment” and how they can be affordable to families during these difficult economic times. There is also a County Doula Program that provides Doulas for moms in need. Plus FREE Educational classes are done once an month at My Baby News in partnership with the local birth and postpartum Doulas to help educate expecting moms and their families about labor, birth, child care and all the options and choices that come with parenthood. Here are the last three months classes, Cloth Diapers, Infant Sleep Solutions and Baby Sign Language. We also do classes on car seats, Labor classes, infant care, breast feeding and much, much, more. Please contact me at the number or e-mail below to schedule an interview. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Marianna Terhune CD, CMA, LS, CBE

“Peace truly Begins at Birth”, because how we come into this world makes a difference!

8 ways to relieve stress

A study published last month in the American Journal of Epidemiology found children whose mothers experienced a stressful life event, such as the death of a loved one or divorce, while they were pregnant were 71 percent more likely to be hospitalized with a severe infectious disease than children of women who did not undergo prenatal stress. And even the children of women who experienced such an event 11 months before conception were 42 percent more likely to be hospitalized with severe infectious disease than the children of stress-free women.

However, don’t let these findings stress you out: The women in this study had suffered truly difficult, life-altering events. So if you’re going through the everyday stress that is called LIFE, your baby will likely be fine. Nevertheless, when we are pregnant our babies are affected by everything we eat, breathe, and even what we feel.  So it’s a pretty good idea to relieve as much stress as possible.

So it’s clear, ladies. Take it easy…..right?

Well, obviously it’s not that easy. But there are some things you should do to relieve some of your stress, whether you are pregnant, want to be pregnant, or have ankle biters already screaming that they’re hungry and want to be picked up. 

Here’s a few tips: 

1. Take daily walks. It’s proven that a little exercise induces happier feelings, thus chasing away those tendencies to feel stressed. When we’re happier, we’re more relaxed. And when we’re more relaxed, we have a better handle on our day. Hey, and you can even push a stroller while doing it!

2. Get help. Too much mess? Make a game with the kids to clean up. Share chores with the hubby. Or even work a system out with friends to help clean each other’s house. And if all else fails, get a giant box and put everything in it so you don’t have to look at it any longer and can go through it when you’re done. A cluttered room causes a cluttered mind. Get rid of the mess, and the stress will leave too.

3. Take a break. Swap kids with friends, let the hubby take over, give the grandparents their grandkid fix. Whatever you can do to get away for a few hours a week, DO IT. Taking breaks from mommyhood will actually help you appreciate your kids more, and make you a better mom. So when you have to drop off the kids, let them know you’re doing this FOR THEM. But it’s for you too, Mom.

4. Develop a hobby. Whether it’s painting gorgeous scenery in a field of poppies or coloring within the lines at your kitchen table, do something that allows you to escape the daily grind and feel young and carefree once again.

5. Laugh more. Play with the kids, watch a funny movie or comedy show, share stories with friends… Get those laughing endorphins moving and watch your stress melt away.

6. Get lucky. There, I said it. Sex can be a wonderful stress reliever. Of course, this is easiest done after the house is clean, the kids are gone, and you’ve spent the night hunched over in laughter. But not everything always works out that way. But regardless, it’s so important to make special time for you and your honey to be intimate with each other. So put the kids to bed early, pamper each other with a 5 minute shoulder squeeze, and then ravage each other as if it were just the two of you all over again.

7. Enjoy the silence. No, I’m not joking. Somehow, someway, find a short period of time when you can escape the kids, the Internet, your phone, everything that is a distraction, and be still and quiet. Even if it’s only 5 minutes, use that time to breathe in and out deeply and regroup. You can do it during your daughter’s nap, or while your son is playing in his playpen. Or when daddy enters the room, toss him the baby and run out before he knows what hits him.

8. Write it down.  Have something taking over your head?  Get it out of your head and on paper.  From the birth plan you’re creating to the meal you plan on making for dinner, jot it on a piece of paper so that you’re not mulling it over in your mind trying not to forget it.  Let the paper do the remembering for you.

What are some ways that you relieve stress?

Proposed budget wages War on Women

Just yesterday, I came across the article on the lawmaker who proposed that miscarriage be classified as “prenatal murder” if a woman cannot prove she wasn’t the cause of the pregnancy loss. Nevermind the fact that doctors don’t know what causes the majority of miscarriages.  Nevermind that a woman is already going through enough trauma when their body expels the baby they had every intention of carrying to term.  And God help the woman who lifts something too heavy, or is at fault in a car accident, or falls and hurts herself so badly that she loses her pregnancy.  Because if this law passed, she could be charged with a felony. 

I find this outrageous, and it pisses me off to no end.  But it’s not the only form of attack on women in this country. 

Obviously we are in some economically trying times in this county.  And legislature is coming up with a budget to compensate for money lost.  But, as an editorial piece in the NY Times proclaims, the budget being proposed by the Republican House of Representatives is staging “a war on women”. Because it’s long, I’ll give you the “cliff’s notes” version of the piece. But if you’re concerned about any of this, I urge you to read it for yourself by clicking HERE.

The proposed budget will strip Planned Parenthood of its funding, and eliminate Title X, “the federal family planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases.” Without this program, women will go untreated, possibly without even knowing, if they have cancer or an STD. That means they could die.  And the rate of abortions will go up if women don’t have access to birth control.

Speaking of abortions, if a group even talks about abortion at all they will lose federal funding. If a woman has an abortion during her childbearing years, she will be denied insurance coverage. Hospitals that receive federal funds are even allowed to refuse to terminate a pregnancy – even if it’s to save the mother’s life.

Also affected are the WIC program, which will be reduced by 10%, and a $50 million cut from programs that offer healthcare to 31 million low-income children and prenatal healthcare to 2.5 million low-income women a year.

As the editorial piece states, it’s doubtful that all of this will pass without some amendments. But some of this will.  And this attack on women’s reproductive rights and care is shocking, and infuriating.  Do any of these men have mothers, sisters, daughters, or wives?  Are we stepping back in time to 100 years ago, when women were considered mere property of their husbands without the right to any say at all? 

What the hell is going on?

Banning Epidurals

According to a Utah Lawmaker, relieving labor pain is a luxury the state can't afford.

If you are pregnant, or have ever been pregnant, chances are you are pretty familiar with what an epidural is. This is the drug that has frantic laboring women seeing God for the first time as the pain subsides to something more bearable. And it is the exact thing that Utah Senator Dan Liljenquist is proposing to be taken away from women on Medicaid to save the state some money. “Do we save some kid or make birth easier?” he asked.


Hold on, the Senator has an argument. According to him, thousands of college students are flocking to Utah to give birth, costing the state’s Medicaid thousands of dollars. Medicaid paid for 15,000 births this past year, a third of the state’s total. “These are 90 percent out-of-state students having babies on our dime,” Sen. Howard Stephenson added to the argument. College students qualify because they have no income. And yet, according to the Senator and “anecdotal evidence”, these students who are popping out kids right and left are driving fancy cars like Lexus and BMW and are set up on a trust fund.

Obviously the answer is to take away elective epidurals from everyone who is on Medicaid.

Oh, I think that the Senator might just be on to something. But first, I think he needs to do a little experiment. You know, just to see what the outcome will be like. I’m thinking that he should develop a Kidney Stone, something small like the size of a peach. And then he should pass it through the only place a Kidney Stone would pass through. No pain medication. No surgery. Just grin and bear it in the name of saving the state money. As soon as he does that, I think I might listen a little more closely to his argument.

Actually, no. I wouldn’t. But I still think he should try the peach thing.

"ANYONE" can lose the baby weight

According to Gwyneth Paltrow, ANYONE can lose weight after having a baby. Of course, Gwyneth works out 2 hours a day with a personal trainer. And making millions each year, it is pretty much guaranteed that she has a nanny, a housekeeper, and a chef. But still, she claims that even those women without buko bucks and all the perks that come with it can fit into their pre-pregnancy jeans shortly after pregnancy.

“Every woman can make time – every woman – and you can do it with your baby in the room,” she said. “There have been countless times where I’ve worked out with my kids crawling around all over the place. You just make it work, and if it’s important to you, it’ll be important to them.”

Yes, she said EVERY woman. So that means you, mommy who is recovering from a c-section. And yes, that means you, mommy who gained more than the recommended 30 pounds (who of us hasn’t?). And it even means those of you who carried twins, triplets, or octuplets. And you should be working on this even while your children are clamoring for your attention and getting into things while you’re not giving it to them. Even if you can’t find time to take a daily shower, you should be making it your priority to get your pre-baby body back.

So obviously if Gwyneth can do it, we should too. Right?

Belly Art on Display

Walk into Pine Cone Café any time this month and prepare to be mesmerized, or in my kids’ case, a little giggly. Personally, I was in awe of the beauty. In honor of mothers, local artist Francine Krause has adorned the walls with her art. If you are not familiar with Francine, you should be – especially if you are currently pregnant or thinking of becoming full with child. Francine founded BellyMask.com in 1991, a company that offers kits for mothers-to-be to create a mold of their pregnant belly to be used for art long after the baby has grown. These plaster molds are beautiful plain, or decorated with paint and fabric. Does it sound strange? Sure. Even I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect as I made my way down N. Main St. in Sebastopol to a tiny café hidden at the end of the shops lining the street. But once inside, I understood.

Here’s a taste of what I saw…


Pregnancy is one of those experiences that only lasts a short amount of time compared to the rest of our lives.IMGP1220 But it is the time that is remembered most in a mother’s life. It is when big is suddenly beautiful, and a protruding belly represents the life within. It is truly one of the most miraculous events of life, to actually have this little being growing and moving inside of us before finally greeting the world. It is in this time that we are a temple, treated with care by our partner as we house the connection we have created together.

For all of this month, Francine Krause’s exhibit, “In Honor of Pregnant Women” will be on display over at the Pine Cone Café on N. Main St. I wholeheartedly recommend that everyone make it a point to be in the neighborhood and check out this amazing art display.

You may want to leave your giggly children and/or husband at home, however.

Live birth via the internet

Lynsee at MomsLikeMe will be broadcasting her birth this month, live via the internet.  Read the article here…..  A teacher from Minnesota, Lynsee has been blogging her pregnancy to the tiniest detail.  “We wanted to share this experience,” Lynsee said about the decision she made with her husband Anders.  “If I were in a classroom, I’d be teaching about development. It was a way for me to teach… A way for me to use myself as a textbook.”

And sure, this is a great chance for teaching about childbirth.  But wow!  I’m not so sure that I’d want something so personal broadcast to the world!  Yeah, I know.  The act of birth is miraculous, and definitely a joyous occasion.  And to the parents to be (once you get past the woman threatening her husband’s life for even touching her), it’s amazingly beautiful.  But beautiful to the rest of the world?  Hardly.  I think that the world will be more grossed out than amazed getting up close and personal with Lynsee while the miracle of life emerges.  It sounds like the cameramen are instructed to be discrete in how much they show, thank goodness!  But still, a personal experience like that shared with the world? 

The mom-to-be will also be available for live chat while she is in labor at the hospital.  This must be her first birth.  Can you imagine holding a computerized conversation while feeling like the thing inside of you is trying to rip itself out of you?  If the father of my children had even attempted to hold a computer near me to tell everyone what I was going through, I would shove that think up his….. Well, you get the point.

What do you think about this?


Be sure to join in on the conversation happening over at SantaRosaMom.com!