comfort measures

We Come to You! Private Prenatal Classes in Orange County

Now that the nausea and the newness of this pregnancy have subsided a bit, you're probably starting to think about what classes you want to take. There are so many options from childbirth preparation classes to breastfeeding classes to newborn care basics. The choices can be overwhelming an often times the dates or times offered don't fit into your busy schedule. 

Enter Doulas of Orange County and our private prenatal classes!

Picture this: You pre-select from a menu of topics to create a customized curriculum based on your needs and interests. You choose a time that works best with you and your husband's schedule. Prior to our visit, we send you a form to fill out that allows us to customize your private class to fit your learning style and your points of interest. We bring everything we need to guide you through an engaging, fun, and informative class in the comfort of your home.

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You sip a cup of hot tea as you settle into your comfortable couch while you learn all about birth, breastfeeding, and baby care. You and your partner explore various comfort measures like massage, breathing, and relaxation techniques. You try out some essential oils, some different positions for labor, and together we have honest conversations about fears, nerves, and anything else you want to chat about freely. When your private class comes to an end  finished, you feel calm and confident. You feel excited about your new knowledge and tools that will help you make informed decisions on this parenting journey. 

Informed, prepared and confident. Isn't that exactly how you want to feel as you welcome your baby into this world? We can help you get there. 

Do you have friends that are pregnant too? Wouldn't it be fun to put together a couples class in your home? Or maybe you want to invite your parents to your baby care class so they get a refresher on the basics! We can make it happen! Our customizable, professional, and private classes will meet you exactly where you're at. They are fun, practical, uncensored, and always judgment-free!

Here are just a glimpse at some of the most popular topics you can choose to include in your customized curriculums:

  • Birth 101: Local hospital options, recommended care providers, birth planning
  • Confident Birth: Stages of Labor, Hormones & Labor, Pain-Relief options (both natural and medicated), Comfort Measures, What to Expect, Interventions, Induction, and more!
  • Breastfeeding 101: Positions, What's Normal, Pumping, Overcoming Breastfeeding Hurdles
  • Baby Care Basics: Newborn Care, Swaddling, Soothing, Feeding, Bathing, Diapering
  • VBAC 101: Preparing With Confidence, Birth Options, Finding a Supportive Care Provider
  • Comfort Measures: Relaxation Techniques, Massage, Essential Oils, Rebozo
  • Grandparents Class: Refresher, Modern Parenting, How to Be the Greatest Grandparent!

    These classes are all about YOU and what you want to learn. Each class provides ample time for honest discussion and plenty of questions - remember there are no silly questions!

Ready to get started?! Visit our classes page to learn more about your options. For a full weekend with multiple classes or for group rates, please email us for a custom quote. 

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.

The Marathon of Birth: Part 2, Active Labor

Welcome back to the Marathon of Birth, an overview of the stages of labor plus tips & tricks from your favorite Birth Doulas! If you haven't already done so, review Part 1: Early Labor to get a good understanding of how to manage that phase of labor. 

Remember that birth has 3 distinct stages: Labor, Pushing, & Birth of the Placenta. The first stage of labor is broken down into 3 parts: Early, Active, and Transition... I know, it's kind of confusing. Today, we'll share all about the Active Phase of labor to better prepare you for your own birth marathon. If you're interested in delving further into the stages of labor, we recommend registering for our Confident Birth series or Weekend Intensive, offered in group & private settings. 

If you recall, we compared Early Labor to the first few miles of the marathon where you're finding your stride and own unique rhythm. When active labor hits, you'll begin to tap into your instincts and all the mental and physical training you've accomplished in pregnancy. 

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!

The Marathon of Birth: Part 1, Early Labor

The beginning of the labor process can bring a range of emotions. Relief, fear, anxiety, excitement, nervousness... all while wondering if you've done everything you can to prepare. Maybe you're the type of person to double check your hospital bag to make sure you have all you need. Or perhaps you get so overwhelmed with the excitement that you exhaust yourself and need a nap. Rest easy, knowing that all of these responses are normal and to be expected.