As someone who gave birth naturally, I whole-heartedly believe in our ability to have children without the use of medical intervention or assistance. (Medicine has it’s place – when necessary!) Natural birth is an incredible, confidence-building, sacred experience. I only wish more families had access to the evidence-based information that reveals why natural birth is so favorable both mentally and physically to mother and baby.
So I was more than excited to learn about Birth Boot Camp and it’s wide availability as a course offered both offline and online. When I was presented the opportunity to review this complete natural childbirth program on Bring Birth Home, I happily agreed.
Last week I spoke with Donna Ryan, President and founder of Birth Boot Camp. Listen to our recording below to learn about Donna’s births, how she got started as a natural childbirth educator and what makes Birth Boot Camp unlike any other program on the market for couples planning a natural childbirth. Also, hear Donna explain why her natural birth was so much more fulfilling than her medicated first birth, emotionally and physically, and why she recommends preparing for childbirth before each birth, even if it’s your 4th child!
This is the first post in a week long series dedicated to reviewing Birth Boot Camp.
Post two: Birth Boot Camp: The One & Only Complete Natural Childbirth Program Online
Post three: Become a Birth Boot Camp Instructor
Post four: Birth Boot Camp FAQ
Post five: Natural Childbirth Training
In June I wrote a post about reconnecting to past dreams and my slow release of birth advocacy to take up other passions. Many of you wrote me to wish me luck on new endeavors and thanked me for the work I’ve put in over the past two and a half years.
I got busy taking photos, started a personal blog and got off the computer during the day once and for all.
Then, something rather interesting happened.
Two emails came into my inbox that absolutely floored me. In an instant, I knew my time in birth work was far from over. I accepted the cosmic message with all my heart and started brainstorming fresh ideas about how I can make a difference during pregnancy, labor and birth for families worldwide, as well as on a local level.
One email was an invitation to be a panelist after an upcoming presentation of Freedom for Birth, The Mother’s Revolution by One World Birth. Me? With all the natural childbirth experts in my area to choose from? I was surprised and honored to be asked. It made me realize how I am seen in my community, and proud of the work I’ve done to get here.
Email number two was a great offer to partner with Donna Ryan and her incredible board of directors of Birth Boot Camp, Training Couples in Natural Childbirth.
I was granted back office access and an exclusive interview with Donna. Without giving anything away about the course, let me just saw this: I am “wow” impressed with Birth Boot Camp and may become more involved in the future. Stay tuned for a full week of information about Birth Boot Camp next week – August 27th through the 31st.
And there’s more. Steve from YourBabyBooty emailed me the other day. I’m currently working on answering a preliminary questions for my first ever Skype interview.
Receiving these emails has been a pleasant surprise…and it all really feels right. I clearly see opportunity to continue my advocacy work in a way that doesn’t require that I have another baby. I can be inspired to action through helping other families considering home birth through childbirth education, interviews, reviews, etc. (duh!) The moment when I slowed down, enlisted more contributors to Bring Birth Home and spent more time offline with my family, it all came together. Interesting.
Spending time and energy toward something so righteously important as birth has paid off in so many ways. I’m glad to be right here, right now, and looking forward to the future.
Have you ever moaned from a stomach ache? Think back to the noises you made and how they helped you to cope. More than likely, the moaning was a way for you to focus on something else other than the discomfort.
Vocalization is, for many women, one of the most instinctual ways to cope with the intensity of labor. It is a natural way to release the discomfort and energy of contractions through audible tones. I recommend that every woman keep vocalization and tones in her list of labor coping skills.
Vocalization simply means the use of any audible noises by the mother during labor. This can include singing, groaning, moaning, humming, and various tones.
Ina May Gaskin, famous midwife, is well-known for saying “Open Mouth, Open Bottom.” By this, she meant that the more relaxed your mouth and jaw during labor, the more relaxed and open your cervix will be.
Low-pitched vocalization and tones helps to relax your mouth and jaw, creating an “open mouth” and letting any stress and tension escape your facial muscles.
In addition to this relaxation of the mouth and jaw, vocalization offers these benefits:
I especially like the use of tones as a coping mechanism because it does not require the mother to think, and allows her to experiment with the positioning of her lips, as well as experiment with different notes and levels of volume during each contraction.
During the most intense contractions, especially during transition, vocalization can sometimes be used in a less than productive way. A mother may begin to heighten the pitch of her tones as she experiences more intensity. But, higher pitched noises are counterproductive.
The most productive vocalizations for use in labor are low-pitched noises and tones; guttural noises such as groans, moans, and animal-like noises. Singing in low-tones is also a popular choice.
Stay away from high-pitched tones, screaming, and tense noises; these signify resistance or panic and can prevent progress.
Making these noises all of a sudden during labor can feel strange for some women and make them feel self-conscious. The best way to be prepared to make tones during your labor is to practice them during your pregnancy in preparation for birth.
Start by saying a few sentences in your normal speaking voice. Then, move into making a tone (try “oooh” or “awww”) from a pitch within that range. Keep with that tone for a moment, noticing how it feels, whether it is relaxing or straining. Move from that tone into a more relaxing and natural tone for you.
Experiment with different tones and sounds. Notice how they make you feel and how your body reacts to each one. Which ones relax you? Which ones make you feel at ease? which ones make you feel awkward and tense?
If a mother seems panicked and is making high-pitched noises, try moving her to lower tones by making them yourself and asking her to mirror your tones.
Never make fun of a woman who is using tones and vocalization, no matter how funny it may sound to you. Snickering, etc, have no place during birth, unless the mother herself finds something amusing, then you can encourage her by letting her know that it may sound funny,but that it’s okay, and it’s helping her tremendously.
Vanessa Pruitt is a doula and the founding editor of Natural Family Today, where she writes about Natural Pregnancy and Birth.
Read more articles by Vanessa here.
It has been four years now since I began planning my first home birth.
And I can still clearly recall the first night when I learned giving birth at home was an option. A magical evening, and one that really changed my life.
Four years in – with the blog and Facebook page running for nearly three – I consider myself a part of the fabric of the natural birth movement, local community and overall presence online and off. Which is to say, it’s part of who I am. One large puzzle piece in my makeup.
I go to birth throughout the day, briefly letting stories consume me as I stare off across the lake, deep in thought. I’m thinking about a friend whose birth did not go as planned. Of the woman who is pregnant with her first, trying to be calm through the stress tests and ultrasounds.
Why does birth cross my mind like this? Why does it appear so often in my stream of consciousness?
Why, when I am no longer pregnant or planning to become in the future, am I still interested in birth? In answering emails, taking on writing assignments?
I keep coming back to the same answer:
Because birth matters.
Whether or not it pertains to me in the moment, millions of women are giving birth every minute of every day, day after day.
There are movements surrounding birth. How we give birth safely and where. The rights of families to make choices and the rights of midwives and doulas.
Birth is a big deal.
It is such a fragile, exalting thing, for a woman to give birth.
I know how much one transforms through the experience of giving birth to our children. It changes us, leaving an imprint so strong, we feel it with each heartbeat. It’s Life. That’s very powerful.
Sometimes this “cause” feels to heavy a weight to carry. I don’t feel strong enough to hear the stories of brokenhearted women, taken advantage of. Or I become to busy with housework and details of raising a family well.
So I have to set it down and step back for a while. Consider my options, the amount of time I can dedicate, and ultimately, figure out how I can make a difference while keeping in balance with the rest of all this life that doesn’t pause along with me.
Quiet mornings such as this, (a light breeze coming off the lake through the open dining room windows; sporadic distant chirping) remind me there is a place for everything; that everything belongs and I need not carry a thing but my babe.
To simply be here is enough. As a listener, a teacher, or liaison between parties. It is enough that birth moves me – I can be a part of this movement by caring enough to take action when I can. I’ve been consumed in the past. This site is my example. I spent many a late night on the computer after Ella went to sleep and continued through writing blog posts through the weeks of my pregnancy with Lucan.
To the others – the groups of people on Facebook, the bloggers and activists we see telling their stories on Facebook and Twitter – you are IT. We are the group of people of our time – the generation – making difference in birth today. We are part of this movement together. Although the problems we face aren’t small, I see the work you do to encourage other women and families through their work.
Thank you. I’m glad to be a part of this movement with you.