birth doula

Join Our Team!

Have you heard?! Doulas of Orange County is growing and we are looking for some incredible Doulas to join our team!

DOC is a full service Doula Agency,  providing prenatal,  birth and newborn parenting support to families in Orange County, California. We have a wonderful team of dedicated Birth and Postpartum Doulas, Newborn Care Specialists, Sleep Coaches, and Parent Educators who provide compassionate care through every step of our client's journey. 

Our Doula Agency is currently look for experienced, passionate and dedicated Postpartum Doulas, Birth Doulas and Childbirth Educators to join our team.

Bonding with Your Baby

In a world that is constantly on the go, bonding with other humans is often the last thing our minds.  True, intimate connections have been replaced by social media and surface level relationships  It somehow seems easier and safer that way. 

But, is safe and easy best?  Should we avoid connection and bonding because it's inconvenient?  Not at all.  Humanity needs true connection now more than ever. Adults and children alike are designed to need healthy attachment - it's a part of our DNA. It begins with pregnancy and continues to birth, childhood, marriage and beyond. Simply put, bonding is essential for our survival.

5 Things You Might Not Have Packed In Your Hospital Bag

You've taken your childbirth and parenting classes, prepped your nursery and been showered with gifts from loved ones. One of the last things on your to-do list before baby arrives is to pack that hospital bag! There are lots of great packing lists on Pinterest but I have a few additions that in my experience as a doula are crucial to a more peaceful and enjoyable labor and birth.

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

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Is it totally cliche to say that we can't believe the holidays are over and the New Year has begun?! Well, it's the truth! This year has flown by and we are so grateful for all that has transpired. 

We'd like to take a moment to give thanks for the path which has led us here. To all the wonderful, memorable, and challenging moments in 2017 which have pushed us to expand beyond our comfort zone. We survived and so did you!

It has been a year of big change for Doulas of Orange County. Earlier this year we said goodbye to one of the founding partners of OC Doula Collective, Jessica Bougie, and welcomed new Co-Owner, Lauren Jacobs. Shortly after, owners Chelsea & Lauren embarked on a branding overhaul and revealed the newly designed and freshly named Doulas of Orange County to our clients, friends, and colleagues. 

This summer we said a fond farewell to our original office in Costa Mesa and moved into our new and improved digs in Irvine! What a ride it has been. Our event calendar grew adding more classes, gatherings, & support groups for Orange County families. We added additional professionals to our team: birth doulas, postpartum doulas, educators, & lactation professionals; all who have been eager and committed to serve our growing clientele. 

The end of this year brought the launch of our sister agency Doulas of Long Beach and we are proud to provide the same professional and compassionate care to families north of Orange County. 

In 2017 we served over 200 families offering Birth & Postpartum Doula support, Childbirth & Parenting Education, and Placenta Encapsulation. It has been an incredible honor to walk beside so many new and growing families during these special moments. We adore each and every one of our clients and are eternally grateful for your patronage and support. This work is a true delight for our entire team. 

Doulas of Orange County has some exciting plans for 2018, starting with our Open House on January 20th. We welcome you to join us in celebration of our new offices & education center. We're collaborating with some incredible national & local businesses to make this event truly amazing. RSVP today!

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We wish you and yours a very happy new year and hope that the joy and prosperity of 2017 continue in abundance well into 2018!

Surviving Prodromal Labor

Start. Stop. Start. Stop.

Contractions come consistently for 4 hours. Then nothing. You fall into a sleepy abyss of nothingness for a few hours before the contractions start up again. And again, they stop.

The next morning you have random and mild contractions. There's no pattern, no consistency, just annoying pain that lasts all day long. Sometime in the mid afternoon you nap and they go away.

Night time falls, the moon rises... they're back. Coming every 3 minutes. Your back and hips ache beyond belief. You're convinced this is it.

You call your doula. She comes to your home to support you but hours later, the contractions slow and eventually stop.

This is prodromal labor. And it is, (pardon my French), a total mind fuck. 

Some people call prodromal "false labor" but the reality is, there's nothing false about it. The contractions are real. What you're feeling is real. The mind games are real. Calling it false labor discounts what the laboring woman is feeling and can make her feel as if her body is broken or unable to dilate. This is simply not the case. 

The biggest challenge with prodromal labor is that while the contractions are real, they typically aren't strong enough or consistent enough to dilate your cervix, thus prolonging your labor and wearing you out in the process... physically, mentally and emotionally.

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So how do you avoid wearing yourself out?

Surviving prodromal labor requires a lot of support, so before you reach the end of your pregnancy, I recommend having a system in place in the event this is a part of your birth journey. 

Call Your Doula

This is why you hired her. She will provide emotional support to help you stay present and encouraged. Her expertise will help you determine if this is prodromal or early labor. She'll be able to give you tips on various positions or comfort measures that can help you stay relaxed. Don't be afraid to call her or ask for help. She is always there for you.

Re-Program Your Brain

So much of the labor game is mental. As you can imagine, days or weeks of start and stop contractions would discourage anyone. Build yourself up and get your mind right with affirmations. Print some out and put them all over your house, in every room. Repeat them out loud to reinforce their meaning and strength. 

Further, reframe your thoughts around prodromal labor by looking at it as a warm up or a rehearsal for the big day. Use this time to practice your breathing, relaxation and comfort measure techniques that you learned in childbirth class. Get your partner involved with some hands-on support to provide physical relief. 

Rest When You Can

Don't hate me. I know rest is what you crave and I know it can be hard to come by with prodromal labor. Find respite in the breaks and sleep when your body allows you to. If you can't sleep, keep the nighttime restful with gentle yoga, warm baths, meditation or something equally relaxing. Can't find a comfortable position? Check out Spinning Babies for supportive positions that encourage relaxation and more optimal positioning of your baby. 

Another option for rest is called "therapeutic rest." If your prodromal labor has prevented you from getting quality sleep for days or weeks, talk to your care provider about this option. Therapeutic rest involves medication such as Ambien or Nubain to relax your body and mind to get you to sleep. Often times therapeutic rest is the catalyst for kick starting your labor. 

Nourish Yourself

It's easy to be distracted by this annoying labor pattern, not to mention the discomfort or exhaustion may limit your appetite. But nutrition is just as important now as it is in active labor. Eat smaller, high protein meals to keep you fuller longer or try hydrating soups that will nourish your tired soul as well as your hard-working body. Stay hydrated with coconut water, fresh juice, electrolyte drinks or tea. 

Dig deeper into self-care and go get a relaxing massage or a pedicure. Not only do these promote relaxation, but certain acupressure points might move labor along. 

Be Gentle With Yourself

Ignore your contractions for a long as you can. Alternate rest and activity. Do normal things for as long as you feel comfortable and when your energy is tapped out, give yourself space to rest. Remember, your body is warming up and working hard, so give yourself grace and compassion. Know that you will not be pregnant forever and that in time this prodromal labor pattern will shift and your baby will come. 

Prodromal labor can be incredibly challenging and disheartening. But with the right frame of mind and the right support, you will get through it. Did you experience prodromal labor? Share about your experience below and tips on what worked!