Announcing…Childbirth Classes!

Exciting News! Brilliant Birth Doulas are now offering Childbirth Education and Breastfeeding/Newborn Care Classes.
Childbirth Education will be a six week series. Karla will cover topics such as Joyful Pregnancy, Anatomy, Natural/ Holistic Birthing, Local Birthing Options, Planning your Birth, and Comfort/Relaxation techniques.
There is also an optional Breastfeeding and Newborn Care Class that Lisa will be teaching.
Date/time: Feb 13th/ Thursday Nights from 6:30-8:30
Location: The Learning Cycle
1624 Woodruff Road, Greenville, South Carolina
Fees: $175 per couple
Feel free to contact us with any questions or for more information.

Birth Photography

Have you seen these two beautiful photos on our “About Us” page? They were captured by photographer Jen Conway. Jen is offering a special discount to Brilliant Birth clients so hop over to her website to see more great photos and contact her for details!

Birth Photography



Hypnobabies – I’m sold!

This week I went to my first Hypnobabies class.  Originally, I was going to audit the class as a doula but at the last minute there was an extra student spot and since I am pregnant and all, it made sense to jump in and fully participate.  I’ve heard a lot about Hypnobabies over the last couple years.  Mostly from Karla who raves about it to every pregnant woman we meet 😉  But I wasn’t convinced it was the right fit for me.  My last three births were Bradley births.  I love the Bradley method and my births have been great.  I wanted to stick with what I know.  I read Mongan’s Hypnobirthing book and I was willing to take my Bradley relaxation skills to the next level but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go all the way to Hypnobabies hypnosis.  Honestly, I thought the recorded scripts sounded a little hokey.  It reminded me of laying in my best friend’s room in junior high, listening to her dad’s stop-smoking-hypnosis tapes, trying to be serious but busting up laughing.  I can still remember that guy’s voice instructing us to take a deep breathe and “hode it, hode it, hode it.”  It was a running joke between the two of us for a long time.  So I wasn’t sure I could take Hypnobabies serious enough for it to work.  That and the fact that I don’t like being told what to do.  But, after just a few practice sessions, I’ve gotten used to the voice on the CD and I’m more willing follow directions and accept suggestions, knowing that I am still in control of this type of self-hypnosis. And it feels so good to relax completely at the beginning, middle, or end of a crazy day.  Now I’m excited, not just to help expectant moms have a great hypnobirth, but to experience a great Hypnobabies birth for myself.  With each of my four babies, the birth experience has gotten better and better and I’m confident that with Hypnobabies, this birth will be our best yet! 

In the midst of the first trimester…

It seems the best time to write about pregnancy would be while experiencing it. The only problem is, I’m way too tired to come up with something insightful. And I’m starting to feel a little nauseous, which means I absolutely must get up and go eat something before it gets worse. So I guess that is my great first trimester insight for the day: Do what you need to do. Eat when you need to eat. Even if you don’t want to eat. And if you did any laundry today, I’d love to give you a high five. If you actually mopped the kitchen floor or cleaned a bathroom, I will jump up and down and rejoice with you. The little things are huge. These are the days of keeping it simple.  And spending lots of time on the couch.

Preventing Mastitis and Dealing with Plugged Ducts – What Worked for Me

When my second child was an infant, I was convinced I that my milk ducts had a tendency to plug up.  And if not dealt with promptly, mastitis could develop.  The last thing a busy mama needs is to be down sick.  But in most cases, busy mama’s body is warning her she needs to slow down.  What worked for me when I felt that painful lump in my breast?  Cabbage leaves!  And a few other things.

1. Rest – Decrease activities to the bare minimum. Find a good book and spend a lot of time with it on the couch.

2. Nurse often – Pointing baby’s chin toward the plugged duct seemed to help.  I had to get creative with positioning.

3. Apply heat right before a feeding to get the milk flowing – warm washcloth, hot pack/rice sock

4. Apply cold after a feeding – to reduce inflammation and numb pain.  A cold pack or cold rice sock will work and a cold cabbage leaf inserted in the bra will work great!  You can leave it there until the next feeding.  There’s something about cabbage leaves that lowers your milk supply which is very helpful when your trying to clear out the affected breast but you’ll want to keep that in mind and only use when necessary.

With my first 3 babies it seemed my problems with plugged ducts were only getting worse and worse.  Then with baby #4, I hit on the best preventative measure: proper positioning during nursing.  When moms first start breastfeeding, we often play close attention to positioning.  Then as we get more comfortable and baby gets bigger, the baby starts sliding down down down into our laps.  My littlest guy is 18 months old and I still nurse him like a newborn.  I keep his body straight and snug against mine; his bottom is not in my lap, it’s supported by my hand and his feet are out to the side where he can kick the husband sitting next to me.  Kinda like this picture.  With his head a little lower, of course 😉DSC_0687

(This is not intended to be professional advice for any medical condition.  It is simply the shared experience of one mother to another.)

Hand to Breast

A very informative article concerning the use of the infant’s hands while nursing.           

Full Term?

I recently overheard a conversation in which one mother was encouraging another mother to induce at 38 weeks. She stated that 38 was full term and no one should have to go longer. I realize that this woman was just relaying what she had been told, and even I considered self-induction at week 38 :), but it is time that we learn to leave our bodies and babies be. In cases of pre-eclampsia and such, induction is sometimes needed…but for normal, healthy pregnancies to end with early induction can do harm.  Here is a  great blog on the subject:

“The brain grows rapidly between 38 and 41 weeks gestation: gray matter increases nearly 50%,  and myelinated white matter triples as the brain increases in complexity. It’s not surprising that being born even two or three weeks early might negatively impact some babies.”

Your Uterus, Ovaries, Cervix and Vagina, and Breasts- A Liability?

“The part of the Comstock Law that Margaret Sanger focused her energy on was the illegality of contraception use.  Imagine if she had taken that energy and put it towards advocating the legality of sharing information about female fertility – using natural means to achieve or avoid pregnancy, which is second only to hysterectomy or vasectomy in effectiveness, by the way.  It is a very valid method of child spacing and avoiding pregnancy and one that is free, simple, physically beneficial for the whole family, and, what Sanger’s ultimate goal REALLY was…… it is liberating.  Yes, this information has been around for thousands of years and it’s not brain surgery.  Even my 12 year old understands what’s going on with her body.  It may take a learning curve and some discipline, but so do external and hormonal methods of birth control.  You get all of the benefits (and then some) with none of the risks of man made birth control.”

Read more of this article  here: Birthologie

A New Medication

If I told you today about a new medication that would reduce fetal asphyxia by 2/3, cut labor length by 1/2 and enhance mother-infant interaction after delivery, I expect there would be a stampede to obtain this medication, no matter what the cost. Just because the supportive companion (Doula) makes common sense does not decrease its importance.

— John Kennel, author of Birth, Interaction and Attachment

Unwritten Rule # 287 and the T-shirt

The  pregnant belly has a strange effect on society. The average passer-by sees it as a personal blog  or social network of some sort. It has become some kind of  unwritten rule in our culture.

Unwritten rule #287

If one sees a pregnant woman in a social setting of any kind, one must approach sed woman and proceed to do the following:

1. Pretend she knows who you are and cares what you think.

2. Preface all comments with, “This probably won’t happen to you, but…” or “Don’t try to be Superwoman…” or “Make sure you get that epidural right away…” If you live in the South you could also use, “Bless your big, fat, pregnant heart…”

3. Vent all pinned up anger, regret, and disappointment concerning your own birth(s) onto sed woman in 60 sec or less.

4. After doing so, walk away and murmur something like, “That woman is one egg shy of a dozen.”

This unwritten rule is why the majority of my work is prior to the birthing day.  My clients face this kind of kamikaze commenting where ever they go and many times it is in the OB’s office.

This unwritten rule is partly why so many women fear birth. All mothers know that if you teach your little boy that he can’t climb trees because it is too hard, too dangerous, and possibly life threatening…he will never climb a tree and after a few generations, the fear of climbing trees will be hard-wired and there will be no tree climbing boys.  A little dramatic I know! And that’s what we have here…a generational, hard-wired fear of birth.

I am considering printing up maternity T-shirts that say:

“Fear not, it will come out.”

“I will survive.”

What would you put on your T-shirt?

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