Birth Experience, Guest Writers

Just incase you missed the exciting news…

9 Comments 01 July 2011

(via Jessica at Birth Kalamazoo)

Beautiful Lucan Frederick tumbled into his daddy’s hands June 30th at 4:50 a.m. What a wonderful water birth at home, Kaitlin and Eric! Wow, I was filled with awe and love to watch you work together. Lucan’s arrival was every bit as amazing as his big sister Ella’s birth two and a half years ago. I was so blessed to be with you for a second time, what a very special family. Thank you! Enjoy your beautiful boy. -Much love, Jessica


Birth Experience

The Production of Oxytocin and Its Important Role During Labor, Childbirth & Bonding

6 Comments 05 March 2011

What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin, often referred to as the “Love Hormone,” is a hormone that is produced in the brain and release into the bloodstream during labor causing the uterus to contract.

In addition to the role it plays during contractions, oxytocin is also released during the physical stimulation of a woman’s nipples.

The release of oxytocin creates feelings of contentment, reduces anxiety and increases feelings of security and calm.

Naturally, due to these factors, there is much evidence that the Love Hormone is important to mother-baby bonding as it enables an increase trust and decrease in fear.

Synthetic Oxytocin

As you just learned, oxytocin is a hormone that your own body creates – a natural substance created and flowing within your own body.

There are also synthetic forms of oxytocin. They are Pitocin and Syntocinon.

Pitocin is used to induce (start contractions before labor begins naturally) or augment (strengthen weak contractions during labor) labor.

“Potential Adverse Reactions of Synthetic Oxytocin

Oxytocin is relatively safe when used at recommended doses, and side effects are uncommon. The following maternal events have been reported:

* Subarachnoid hemorrhage
* Increased heart rate
* Decreased blood pressure
* Cardiac arrhythmia and premature ventricular contraction
* Impaired uterine blood flow
* Pelvic hematoma
* Afibrinogenonemia, which can lead to hemorrhage and death
* Anaphylaxis
* Nausea and vomiting

Excessive dosage or long term administration (over a period of 24 hours or longer) have been known to result in tetanic uterine contractions, uterine rupture, postpartum hemorrhage, and water intoxication, sometimes fatal.

Increased uterine motility has led to the following complications in the fetus/neonate:

* Decreased heart rate or heart rate decelerations
* Cardiac arrhythmia
* Brain damage
* Seizures
* Death

In addition, use of pitocin in the mother has been associated with neonatal jaundice, retinal hemorrhage, and low five-minute Apgar score.”


Naturally Stimulate the Release of Oxytocin

One of the strongest ways to release oxytocin is through touch.

Other ways include laughter, exercise, feeling grateful and/or loving, rhythmic movements, speaking mantras, prayer, Acupuncture, meditation, massage, relaxation, positive environments, feeling full after a meal and dancing.

After reading this list, it’s easy to understand why there is a surge of oxytocin into the blood stream immediately after birth and during the let-down of breastmilk.

Attachment Parenting, Babywearing, BBH Dad, Birth Experience, Breastfeeding, Co-Sleeping/Bed-Sharing, Home Birth Advocacy, Home Birth Safety, Motherhood, Pregnancy

Navigating the Bring Birth Home Blog – A Road Map

2 Comments 26 October 2010

When you visit a blog, and you take a look around, one thing looks pretty familiar from site to site – the sidebar.

The sidebar was created to help us navigate a blog or website.

While the categories, popular posts, news feed subscriptions, and archives might do a good service, it can still be rather challenging to navigate the blog, especially if there have been a lot of posts.

I’ve recently noticed that there are some gems of articles hidden within the Bring Birth Home Blog.

I wonder if our readers are finding them…because sometimes they’re hiding behind the “Older Entries” button at the bottom of a section.

Let’s face it, who likes to click and click around a site, spending more time searching for a particular article than reading?

That is why I have created this post - to create a clear and easy to follow road map, (think of it as a list of the Chapters at the beginning of a book!) for you to navigate the Bring Birth Home Blog all the easier. Now you’ll know just what you’re getting under each category.

Bookmark this post to get back to!

Why Birth Experience Matters Series

Description: A ten part series that describe exactly why birth experience matters to both mom and baby. The first half of the series tackles Birth Management and Intervention. The second is all about Creating a Peaceful Birth Experience.

Part One

Part Two


The BBH Dad

Home Birth Safety

Home Birth Advocacy





BBH Video Blog

The Bring Birth Home Store

Have you purchased any BBH logo merchandise? Or maybe you need some supplies for birth or just after birth? We have partnered with Mama Goddess Birth Shop to bring you nursing supplies and home birth kits!

Good Reads & Movies

I will be adding to this post as more articles are added! (and as I organize some of the messiness within this blog!)

Birth Experience

Emotional Healing After the Unexpected Childbirth

5 Comments 25 June 2010

It is so hard not to feel let down when situations occur that differ from our hopes and plans.

If complications, unwelcomed interventions or an emergency has taken place during your labor or childbirth, emotional healing after the unexpected childbirth must be integrated into the process of physical healing.

Perhaps you dreamed of a natural birth only to see the birth end in cesarean section, received pain medication when you hadn’t wanted it, or an act was done against your will. It was not the birth experience you wished for.

All of these things can lead to feelings of regret, anger, sadness and blame.

Sometimes this blame is cast out on someone else, and sometimes women blame themselves or their bodies for not doing more or for “failing” themselves.

You are not alone.

Up to 15-20% of women suffer from some kind of depression or anxiety in the weeks and months after baby is born.

In fact, while postpartum depression is the most commonly used term for these feelings, there are actually several other forms these feelings can take on.

See Postpartum Support International for more information.

The Nature of Living

“A full life includes both joy and sorrow; such is the nature of living!” – Janice March-Prelesnik, Midwife

There are no guarantees in life – not in birth or in every day living. We will always encounter risks, however seldom.

Learning how to live after loss is part of the emotional healing process and can be considered “creating a new normal,” as we adjust to the changes.

This can come in a multitude of forms, from adjusting to no longer being pregnant, to the change in independence, time management and intimate relationships with a new baby.

Everyone handles emotional healing differently.

Whether you keep a journal, talk to a good friend, speak to a professional or meditate, it’s always good to let yourself cry.

Some people find it hard to allow themselves to cry while others view it as a tremendous relief.

No matter how you release these emotions, try to release them. Here are a few ideas:

  • Be sure to keep a healthy diet, as sometimes providing comfort can come in the form of unhealthy foods.
  • Dancing, taking a long walk or exercising might give you more energy. It also releases endorphins that naturally dull pain and release “feel good” chemicals.
  • Listen to music, get creative and journal – let your thoughts flow out of you without restraint.

Sometimes sharing your story with others, and reading the personal stories of others can help you feel less alone which helps the healing process.

If you would like to share your feelings, know they and you are safe to do so here.

Birth Experience

Peaceful Birth – Home Birth

6 Comments 27 May 2010

Imagine giving birth in a relaxed environment, surrounded by familiar faces, in peace with no interruptions…

Candles. Music. Family. Laughter. Affirmations. Warm Compress. Love…

Giving birth at home is special. Those who have birthed at home are sold. They’ve been changed. It’s really something. A very different experience from giving birth in a hospital.

But it’s not just about birthing at home.

Although that is the main factor as to why women give birth at home, the other components that make up the birth experience nearly tie in importance: prenatal care and postpartum support.

A whole equals the sum of it’s parts. And it is the combination of all factors which make home birth so special.

A care provider who cares

Based on time allotment per prenatal care visit alone, home birth wins.

Then factor in individualized care, not to mention most home birth midwives come to your own home for each visit…that makes Home Birth 2, Hospital 0.

Personal experience:

My first prenatal care visit lasted about 15 minutes long. The midwife hardly spoke to me. She was not glad or excited for me (this was after all, my first pregnancy – does it say that on the chart?).

Fast forward four months to my first out-of-hospital prenatal care visit with the midwife my fiance and I had interviewed before hiring. After eating a fruit plate and drinking tea, (yeah…another perk) I eased myself down onto my couch to listen to our little girl’s heartbeat. I clearly remember that moment, thinking how neat it was to be in my own living room.

We became close with our midwife, and found ourselves talking about much more than just birthy stuff. When it came down to it, I was thrilled to have her in attendance during the most special moment of my life.

What it’s like to labor & give birth at home

It’s intimate to labor at home. The surroundings are so familiar and safe, it’s easy to relax and feel…at home!

Laboring in your own home, you can step away and be by yourself or alone with your partner if you’d like.

You can utilize different areas of your house that you feel a particular connection with, labor on your own bed, climb your own stairs and moan in your own tub.

Give birth where and how is most comfortable and effective for you. You can literally decide where you want to give birth just moments before hand. Birth is flexible and you’re in charge (other than when nature is in charge <wink>).

The place where you give birth to your baby will be physically be there to show them when they grow up, (if you own your home) which is really, really neat.


Stay in bed. Or get up. Whatever you want to do.

Let someone else worry about cleaning the sheets and making the food.

Baby is not going anywhere. Delayed cord clamping, no vitamin K, Hep B or eye ointment? No biggie. Just say the word and you’ll be heard.

Take a bath or a shower. Get re-dressed and eat a meal. Take pictures.

And then, when all the fuss is over, you can relax again. Go to sleep or just sit and gaze dreamily together.

Birth, it’s a beautiful thing…

I firmly believe you can have a beautiful birth at a hospital. If home birth doesn’t feel comfortable or safe, you shouldn’t give birth at home. I know many people who have had great hospital experiences. I was born naturally in a hospital!

However, I would like to say, and I don’t say this often enough, women have a better chance birthing vaginally and without complication at home than in a hospital today.

Planned home birth with an experienced professional is as safe, (if not safer considering the overuse of medical interventions in hospitals today) as hospital birth for comparable risk women.

The cesarean section rate has skyrocketed. I surely would have given birth via unnecessary c-section had I been giving birth at my local hospital. I’m positive I would have. Thinking about it makes me feel incredibly grateful and sad.

Sad for the women who have not yet discovered what a joy and immensely rewarding challenge natural childbirth can be. Sad for the women who have had that chance taken away. Sadder still for the women who are emotionally and/or physically abused in hospitals. Sad turns to mad, which fuels things like this series. I’m trying to help.

If you’ve ever wondered what birth can look like and feel like when we allow our body’s primal instinct to take over, ask a woman who has birthed at home. I’ll never know another time in my life that I’ll feel so powerful and incredibly fragile all at one. Maybe if I climbed Mt. Everest.

With a healthy body, faith and trust between her heart and mind, a woman during childbirth is a goddess. Home provides a wonderful platform for the experience.

Birth Experience

Peaceful Birth – Natural Birth Relaxation Techniques

27 Comments 13 March 2010

Giving birth naturally requires stamina, determination and mastering the skill of relaxation.

Although it may seem relaxing is not a skill, it very much is. Between each contraction, you must fully relax – let go – and retain the energy needed to endure the marathon that natural labor and birth can be.

Pam England, author of Birthing From Within, challenges women to the “ice cube test,” asking that you hold an ice cube at the moment you feel most relaxed. Can you maintain that relaxation?

The physical act of birthing a baby is the process of your body opening to let your baby through. Your muscles must be relaxed, not tense. A tense muscle will work against the process of your baby descending.

Visualize the process of birth.

Each time you have a contraction, visualize something in relation to what your body is doing, whether that be your uterus itself, or another type of scenario.

For instance, when I thought of my daughter’s birth, (I even created birth art around this daydream) my mind envisioned a seal swimming up through a hole in the ice. I’m not sure why I thought of this, but it was such a calm and serene thing to imagine.

I also thought of the process in a very objective way – that my uterus was a big, great and well working muscle that with each contraction was tightening around my baby and inching her downward.

These two thoughts created a very constructive foundation of relaxation and acceptance surrounding each contraction.

Music can calm your nerves.

Do you ever play music to relax when you’re feeling uptight?

What CD do you pick out to listen to when you feel like relaxing? Think about this and set aside a variety of music that calms you down to listen to during labor.

I listened to the same CD over and over again until I didn’t care about music playing anymore (when I was deep in the throws of labor, nothing mattered other than focusing on labor).

Hydrotherapy – Calming Waters

Using water as pain control during labor has been used for centuries. Immersing one’s laboring body into water is amazingly effective in reducing pain.

Warm water raises the body temperature causing blood cells to dilate, thus increasing circulation. This lowers a woman’s blood pressure and eases inflammation.

There are three unique benefits to laboring in water, specifically in a whirlpool tub – heat, buoyancy and massage.

Laboring in my claw-foot tub was the one place I could completely relax. I would lean my head back and close my eyes – the pain relief was evident immediately. I got in and out of the tub 5-6 times during the duration of my labor.

Labor does not have to be painful.

Hypnobirthing is a relaxation technique used to create a calm and relaxed presence and attitude within the birthing mother.

Hypnobirthing is a technique as much as it is a philosophy that teaches complete relaxation through awareness, trust and acceptance of your body’s natural ability to birth.

Educators of hypnobirthing teach women and their companions (birth team) to release all fear binding thoughts. A woman’s body will naturally release endorphines that help reduce pain – our bodies have been created with such awesome design!

Labor Massage

It is absolutely natural for your muscles to tense up during labor. Your body is working very hard – muscles and bones are shifting, stretching and straining.

Massage during labor is a wonderful tool to ease tension in your muscles and applying counter-pressure to areas that need it provides tremendous relief.

I recommend hiring someone who knows how to perform labor massage such as a doula or massage therapist who specializes in prenatal or labor massage.

My doula was literally my saving grace during some rather intense back labor. She knew just where to apply pressure on my lower back.

Own your natural labor and birth.

The positive aspects of natural childbirth include being present for each moment while recognizing some discomfort may be involved. Natural childbirth demands your interaction, accountability and attention.

Women who choose (it is a choice) natural birth are aware and involved in the process of birth, as their bodies our naturally intended.

Move around and choose positions as you deem necessary. Tap into your internal resources and don’t forget to use your breath.

I’d love to hear from you! What relaxation techniques did you use during your natural labor and childbirth?


Post Archives