Acupressure for Pregnancy and Postpartum woes

Last Friday I traveled to Norman, OK to take a workshop with Nick Olaw on Acupressure Comfort Measures.  I went for a number of reasons, but the biggest one was this: I remember being pregnant guys.  It wasn't always (or even usually) a picnic!  I felt hungover with nausea for the first four months, was plagued by migraines, and slept like garbage.  My back was sore, I was anxious, and the kicker- I was told by my midwives to only take tylenol- a drug that does zilch for pain for me. So any tools I could bring with me to show the pregnant mamas I work with everyday, I want them.  

The best part about being shown how to use some of these tools is that I can also show your partner another way to help.  So many partners and family members wish they could help but just don't know what to do.  I remember looking at my husband while I labored with my first son and he was heartbroken he couldn't DO anything for me.  So I am so excited to bring another trick to the table- acupressure comfort measures.  They are low risk, easy to teach, and feel like a comforting massage most of the time! What's not to love?  

So you need a plan to return to work?

Lots of people have mixed emotions about returning to work after becoming a parent. Some can't imagine leaving the house.  Others are excited to get back to work, but are worried about the logistics.  Luckily the smart folks over at the Giving Birth With Confidence blog have a few helpful tips to help you think through your reentry to the work force.  Check it out, and let us know if you have other helpful tips or strategies for making your new work-life balance work!







Move it, Mama!

I remember when I decided I was ready to get pregnant.  I wanted so badly to have a natural birth! I read books, watched documentaries, and researched midwives.  I remember joining a yoga studio by my house (whose regular members were way cooler than me and frequently showed off their advanced moves while I relented and went into child's pose to rest) to try to become more in tune with my body and get stronger.  I would do down dog and my shoulders would cramp up and I would think to myself, "if you can't do this, how can you handle a contraction?!" Luckily (or unluckily) for me the two were nothing alike, and (aside from the practice I got breathing through it) no matter how strong I was I still had no idea how to prepare my body to handle a contracting uterus.  You can't really practice before the big day.  

One book I read told me that while exercise during pregnancy was fine, it wasn't the time to embark on a new exercise regimen.  Today an article from NPR suggested that a recent study in the Journal for the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggested that for the vast majority of pregnant women, exercise is helpful during pregnancy- even if you weren't very athletic prior to.  Obviously moderation is key, as is communication with your health care provider, but movement during pregnancy can keep excessive weight gain at bay and lower the chances of certain illnesses.

Movement during pregnancy can take a lot of different forms, from swimming to yoga to walking among other activities.  The biggest key would be to find something that you enjoy doing, so that you keep at it.  Bartlesville offers a lot of great options too, with great pools, the amazing Pathfinder trail, and several fun class options like yoga, zumba, ballroom dance, spin, and weight training. I personally liked walks on pathfinder with friends and yoga (the mini nap at the end was the icing on the cake!). 

Lamaze... like the breathing?

There are a lot of choices when it comes to Childbirth Education methods.  Why choose the classes at Village Birth, over the hospital class or any of the many other options you might have heard of?  

Most people have heard of Lamaze classes- my exposure was that my mom took them when she was pregnant with me.  One of my coworkers likes to remind her clients to use patterned breathing and swears it helped her to have her babies naturally back in the 70's and 80's.  
"Just go 'Hee hee whoooooo...'- it worked like a charm for me!" But that is not why I became a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  Patterned breathing seemed a bit silly after my first labor, because that whole ordeal was HARD.  

I chose to get my training through Lamaze because once I started reading about each particular style of childbirth education, I realized that not every method worked for every woman.  And if you chose a method that turned out to not be your cup of tea- well, then there weren't many tricks left in that bag to lean on when labor got tough. I read voraciously and planned on a medication free childbirth with my first baby, but when a medical issue popped up in my third trimester that lead to a medically necessary induction, I was thankful for the informed decision making skills taught in my Lamaze childbirth classes when my birth plan had to be dramatically altered.

For my second child I looked into Bradley Childbirth classes, Hypnobirthing, and read anything Ina Mae Gaskin wrote.  Each book had something to offer, but after doing some digging around I would learn about pieces of each plan that didn't quite fit my needs.  Or the needs of many of the women I knew and worked with in breastfeeding.  Lamaze changed their focus from patterned breathing to evidence-based information, multiple coping strategies for women who wanted natural pain relief, information for women who chose to use medication for pain (or medical reasons) but wanted as few interventions as possible, and helpful information for women who might need a cesarean.  There was no judgement, or shaming.  Lamaze taught me how to give women the information they needed to make the most informed decisions for birth.  It will show you how to open the lines of communication with your birth team.  It helps you know your options, and feel empowered enough to be your own advocate. 

And, if you are stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital, I can show you some breathing patterns to get through those wicked car contractions! ;)

Pitocin linked to Postpartum Depression?

I stumbled across this article on Facebook the other day and found it so interesting!  While I knew that synthetic oxytocin did not lead to endorphin production like natural oxytocin does (leading to a pain relieving effect as labor progesses) but I had no idea it reduced oxytocin production after birth too!  Click through to read the article, which links up the study as well!

Is that an elbow or a foot?

I ran across this article today and it thrilled me- first, I remember trying to figure out if I was mashing on my own baby's tush or head, and had the same thoughts a couple of months ago when I had the privilege to be my friend's doula and we discovered her baby was breech.  Take a look at this blog post from and see if you can tell which end is up!


What to do when you can't feel your baby kick

I remember waiting for those first kicks from my babies.  It took longer to feel my first baby kick than it did my second, and I wasn't sure if it was a kick or gas!  But soon, it was a constant reminder that the baby growing inside was really there- thumping around inside me.  Many doctors advise you to start monitoring kicks around 28 weeks, and to look for at least 10 movements in a two hour period each day.  But what do you do if you suddenly stop feeling those kicks?  Lamaze president and nurse Maria J. Brooks has some great advice for you before you panic.  Take a look at this article for more information!



What to do when you are overdue?

I will never forget how long the last few weeks of pregnancy felt for my last baby.  My mother-in-law had come to help me because I was just SO DONE.  My due date was November 9, but I had checked out before Halloween.  October 31st I out trick-or-treated the whole family.  "Just one more block" I said hopefully, in case it was the magical number of steps to get me to go into labor.  The next day we walked half a mile to the Bartlesville library for books.  I climbed stairs and bounced on exercise balls, made meals and took long baths.  I watched youtube videos on acupressure points and pleaded with my belly to please get this show on the road.  

None of this mattered until my baby was ready.  I just got swollen ankles and felt tired.  In hindsight I wish I had read this article from Lamaze for Parents!  I would have loved to have had some grab and go meals ready, a few more days to realize I didn't have as many diapers as I thought, and maybe a fresh pedicure since the next few weeks were pretty busy focusing on the new person in my life.  Maybe you are like a friend of mine who feels very strongly about having everything in her pantry labeled.  Maybe you want to wash and organize the baby's closet.  Maybe you want to go out with a good friend and do something fun together! Planning a few days of activities to fill your days might be just the distraction you need, or the last minute checklist that will help you feel more prepared!


How can you ensure that you have a Happy Labor Day?

A recent article found that parents-to-be who sought out childbirth education classes and complementary therapies such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture often had better birth outcomes.  In our Lamaze classes we discuss the pain-tension-fear cycle and how using relaxation techniques to interrupt the cycle can allow laboring women to better cope with the birth process.

Since it is Labor Day, why not take some time to find out what resources Bartlesville and the Tulsa area offer to help you prepare for yours? Take some time today to see if a local childbirth or breastfeeding class (we offer both!), a gentle yoga class, or using guided meditation might be right for you.

Steps for a more successful start with breastfeeding

Lamaze International put out this helpful infographic about keeping mother and baby together in order to transition smoothly into breastfeeding and life outside!  See which items you can incorporate into your birth, whether you welcome your baby in Bartlesville, Tulsa, or at home!  While many hospitals are already making some of these things common practice, you might have to voice your preferences.  Talking with your birth provider will let you know how open they are to the birth that you desire, or let you know alternatives that might be options for you!

Nervous about how to speak to your healthcare provider about your birth preferences?  Take a lamaze class at Village Birth to know what questions to ask and how to discuss these preferences with your birth team!  Not sure if breastfeeding will be right for you?  We have a class for that too!  

August is National Breastfeeding Month!


I ran across an article the other day that caught my interest- Petra Colindres, a family dietitian and lactation consultant, tackled the difficult subject of nutrition while breastfeeding over at  Breastfeeding can cause mothers to have a voracious appetite, which can make it difficult to make healthy choices.  But isn't a calorie a calorie?  Apparently not! 

She says it much better than I could- check it out at,-take-two-eating-optimally-for-breastfeeding.


We are excited to be back in Green Country!

I am excited to say that we are now offering birth and motherhood preparation classes in Bartlesville!  Now women and families in Osage and Washington county can access Lamaze Birth Education without braving the drive to Tulsa.  While many associate Lamaze with breathing techniques, it also allows women to decide the birth experience that is right for them and teaches them how to make informed decisions about their care.  I believe all women have the right to a happy and satisfying birth experience, and understand that birth will look different for different families.  Our classes empower women to ask questions, voice preferences, and make choices that are right for them and their families.  


Now offering Classes!

I am so excited to be able to offer our childbirth and breastfeeding classes to the women in Lake Jackson, Angleton, Clute, and beyond!  I attended a Lamaze class (my mother was a fan when I was born) before the birth of my first baby.  I remember researching the different classes offered in my area, and trying to figure out the difference between all the methods available in our city.  In the end, it came down to finding a class that would both accommodate our busy schedule and offer me choices.  I knew unmedicated births were supposed to be best, but as a first time mom, I didn't know what my body was capable of!  

The Lamaze class we attended (the weekend before our son was born- we have GREAT timing) was nothing like my mom described.  No women rhythmically panting, no awkwardness, and no horrifying videos (my partner may have a different perspective).  It was especially helpful because we were able to note the benefits and drawbacks of each choice in our healthcare, make a birth plan that didn't send the nurses running from us, and helped us to understand that while we may have birth preferences, we should be flexible if things didn't go like we planned.

This happened to be just the case, and while our birth was absolutely amazing, we had to adjust our plans quite a bit.  We needed a medical induction just before 37 weeks, I ended up with an epidural, and I pushed for 2 hours since my generous anesthesiologist left me completely numb below the belly button.  Since we were concerned about my baby's health, his cord was cut by the midwife and instead of being placed skin-to-skin he was whisked away to be examined for what felt like years (it was probably 3-5 minutes in reality). For my next birth, I watched my health carefully and chose to use a different setting for our birth.  I ended up changing my provider at 35 weeks.  I hired a doula that could work better with my personality (I personally need someone to get in my face and help me focus- maybe you need a sweet motherly type, or your best friend, or your partner).

That birth was also amazing.  I gave birth to my son on my due date (a rare treat) in a gorgeous birthing center with no medication. Knowing yourself in birth and knowing how to make the decisions that will help you have the birth you desire is so important.  

My goal in these classes is to help you have the tools necessary to make those important decisions.  Do you want an unmedicated birth?  Do you want the epidural?  Do you not know yet?  Do you need a cesarean?  Our classes are designed to be helpful for any of these scenarios.  The day you meet your baby is life-changing.  Being an active part of the decision making process will help you feel empowered and ready to take on motherhood.