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The Benefits of A Winnipeg Midwife | Winnipeg Doula

By on November 18, 2017

While almost everyone has heard of a midwife, I find that few people truly understand what midwifery care includes- and why having a Winnipeg midwife is so awesome! Before going into the process of how to obtain a midwife in Winnipeg, I think it’s important to explain how their care differs and why you want one- even if you don’t know it yet!

A midwife in Winnipeg provides the same professional medical care during both the prenatal period and birth that you would receive if you were to choose an obstetrician or family doctor to attend your birth. As a client of midwifery you can receive all the same testing and access to resources that you would normally expect. Midwives are highly trained professionals with expertise in birth. Fortunately- with midwifery you get so much more than just a medical provider!

 

Informed consent.

One of the basic and yet most important tenets of midwifery care is informed consent. In my experience this has gone so far beyond a simple “This is happening, ok?” to a true desire to ensure that the family understands all options presented and makes the best decision for themselves. Appointments with midwives are filled with information and dialogue about the existing and newest research and evidence based practice- and how that may effect you and your pregnancy and birth.

Long Appointments.

During my second pregnancy, I LOVED having extra long appointments with my midwife. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the experience with my previous OB where a “long appointment” only referred to the amount of time I spent sitting in the waiting room. This extra time with my Winnipeg midwife meant that we had a chance to go over not just my weight and blood pressure (Actually, many midwives won’t even worry about your weight, focusing more on other markers, but that’s another blog), but could delve into how I was feeling emotionally, and to help me prepare for the upcoming birth and changes. I left each appointment feeling heard, and more confident, more supported.

Stronger Relationship With Those Likely to Attend Your Birth.

One of the wonderful pros of working with a Winnipeg midwife is that you have a far greater chance of actually having met the care provider who ends up being there at your birth. When you choose to work with a Winnipeg OB, your doctor typically works in a call group of 6-8 doctors, any of whom may be the one to actually attend your birth. It’s common to have all your appointments with one doctor throughout your entire pregnancy and then only have one or two five minute appointments with a second doctor from the practice at the very end. This means there’s still 4-6 or so doctors who have an equal chance of being there for your delivery whom you have never met before, or sometimes even heard their name.

I loved during my pregnancies to have a chance to meet and get to know each midwife on my team. I felt fully supported and comfortable with any of the midwives who might show up on my birthing day.

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Choice of Place of Birth

While many people under the care of midwives still prefer to give birth in the hospital, there are many who love being able to take advantage of two other options- a homebirth in Winnipeg, or a midwife attended birth at the Women’s Health Clinic Birth Centre. Both are a wonderful and safe option for low risk individuals who desire a more natural experience for their labor. Your midwife will go over all the safety measures in place for you (It can seem daunting until you realize how well trained and equipped they are!), and you are free to choose whichever place of birth appeals most to you (barring medical changes which would require you to change to a hospital birth). Since many studies now have shown that homebirth is just as safe as hospital birth, it is so great to be able to have the choice to birth where you prefer.

winnipeg doula winnipeg birth doula

Postpartum Care

It’s almost difficult to put this point into a brief paragraph. When I speak with women who are considering midwifery care, one of the things I always bring up is the level of postpartum care that you experience with a Winnipeg midwife. In Winnipeg, you remain under the care of your OB until 6 weeks postpartum, and your infant transfers to the care of your pediatrician or family doctor. Once you are discharged from the hospital, you typically won’t see your doctor again until your 6 week discharge visit. This visit is often fairly quick, focuses on your healing from vaginal or cesarean birth, and if no immediate concerns are raised, you are sent on your way until your next pregnancy or pap smear. While some awesome providers out there do inquire more into your healing process both physically and emotionally, it doesn’t seem to be standard practice.

In contrast, Winnipeg midwifery care follows both parts of the mother/baby dyad for a full six weeks. During these weeks you will receive several visits at home, and at the midwifes office. To me, this aftercare makes all the difference in recovery from birth, considering not just your physical recovery, but also the emotional adjustment to all the changes that have occured! My midwives were an amazing resource with breastfeeding, stress management, reassurance daily when needed about normal healing processes, and any other questions I could come up with regarding having a new baby at home. The switch to a level of care that covers both mother and baby is an important one– so much in these first weeks affects both parts of your little team!

 

Have I convinced you yet? Stay tuned for a blog about how to get a Winnipeg midwife. I want to take a second as well to acknowledge that Winnipeg is also home to some -amazing- family doctors who attend births, (I’m looking at your Dr Reynolds and Dr Schneider!) and Obstetricians. There are absolutely some gems out there! If you find your experience a little lacking though, don’t forget about the amazing complement of having a doula at your birth as well! Doulas work wonderfully alongside midwives and other care providers to tend to your positive experience. Visit my services page for more information about what I offer as a doula.

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But what does a doula even do? | Winnipeg Doula

By on September 12, 2017

"Oh you're a doula? That's like a midwife, right?"

While birth doula care is increasing in popularity, it's still a mystery to many people. After we've established that as a doula I am actually not just like a midwife, (Wichita Doula covers that distinction fantastically here) the next question is usually "Well, so what do you do then?"

That answer... isn't an easy one. You see, a doula's duties are as varied as the families that choose to hire us. The great thing about doula services is that they are completely tailored to your unique experience. What works for one person may make another turn up their nose- and that's ok. Here's just a small sampling of what your doula may do for you during your pregnancy and birth.

Answer your questions and share in your joys (and fears).  One of the benefits of hiring your doula early in pregnancy is that she's there along with you for the entire ride. Your doula can act as a first point of contact for those "I'm not sure if this is normal" questions or the "I'm so over these stranger belly rubs" moments. Consider me your personal sounding board.

Help you decide if this time it's really labor. Your doula can assist you in recognizing the signs of labor, and knowing when to ignore and keep 'doing life' and when to start making forward progress to your chosen place of birth and settling in.

Help you get settled. Whether your place of birth is home, birth centre or one of our hospitals (Women's Hospital at Health Sciences Centre and St Boniface Hospital are both great choices)- a doula is a great resource to put those finishing touches together- whether that means inflating and filling a birth pool, setting up your favorite music or walking you through the strange hospital hallways and settling in to your new home away from home. Feeling comfortable and secure in your birth space makes such a difference in your ability to confidently handle the sensations of labor- and your doula makes sure the job gets done.

 

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Provide support while you move. Movement during birth is linked with shorter, less complicated labors. As a doula I will suggest different ways to use movement and position changes to help you cope with each contraction. It may mean we go for a walk around the halls or the neighborhood, stopping to lean on me during contractions, or it could mean providing a firm foundation while you handle contractions on the birthing ball. If you've chosen an epidural, a doula can help you change positions in the bed for greater comfort and to encourage baby to move down easier.

Remind you that this is normal, this is good, and you are doing just fine. While birth is inherently normal-- it can also be intimidating and scary! Your doula is there at each turn to explain the unexpected and reassure you when you're feeling worried. Having a doula who is experienced in pregnancy and birth and can soothe your fears is priceless. Sometimes all you need when you're struggling during labor is someone who can whisper in your ear that you are rocking those contractions.

Soothe aching muscles and release tension. Touch relaxation and counterpressure are truly truly wonderful tools. During labor a doula may use massage techniques or touch relaxation to pinpoint areas that you are feeling tension and help you release. The looser and more relaxed your body, the less pain you will experience. Another one of my favorite doula moves is providing counterpressure or a double hip squeeze. Many birthing people feel their contractions primarily in their backs- providing steady counterpressure during contractions can greatly reduce the sensation and allow you to focus on releasing and breathing through contractions.

Help your partner find their feet. I have been blessed to witness many amazing partners offering support to their significant other during birth. And they almost unanimously have told me before labor they were nervous. That they wouldn't be enough, they wouldn't know what to do, that they didn't know enough to be a good support. The labor room can be an overwhelming space, and partners thrive knowing that all the pressure isn't on them. With a doula present, your partner is able to watch, learn, and step in as much (or as little) as they are comfortable. Having a doula present also allows them to take food or bathroom breaks without worrying that you'll feel abandoned.

Give Postpartum Support. A doula provides nonjudgmental support during your postpartum period as well, whether you have questions about feeding, sleep (or lack thereof!), babywearing, diapering or more. Having a doula means that there's always someone just a text or call away, ready to encourage or answer questions.

 

If you're already convinced that a doula is right for you, head on over to our Contact page to set up a time for us to chat and get to know each other better. If you're still needing a bit more information, stop on over at the Services tab for a list of what is included with your birth doula care. And as always, don't be shy to ask more questions if you need. I love to talk about my work!

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A Peaceful Winnipeg Homebirth- Happy Birthday G! | Winnipeg Doula

By on July 16, 2017
Winnipeg doula

I had the opportunity last year to hold space at an absolutely beautiful and peaceful Winnipeg homebirth attended by two incredible Manitoba midwives and one rockstar mama, and on that little lady’s first birthday today I wanted to share some of that with all of you!

T hired me in the winter and right away I felt such a kinship with her- she has that same thirst for knowledge and belief in her body that I hold, and I knew she was going to rock her birth. We spent some prenatal visits curled up on her couch just chatting, getting to know each other and exploring her thoughts about birth. It was like visiting with a friend, which is the best feeling!

Early morning on July 16th, 2016 I got a call from T. She was having some contractions- it was go time! We talked for a bit and I started preparing to go meet her. As the sun rose, we decided I should make my way over, and we would assess things. She knew it was still early on, but some comfort would be welcomed in these exciting moments.

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

We spent the first couple hours of labor just busying ourselves. It was a wonderful time to gain more comfort with each other and the birth process, as contractions slowly increased in intensity. I always recommend to parents that they ‘do life’ until they can no longer avoid it. Focusing on things other than the contractions helps labor not seem so long, and much more manageable. With this in mind, T and I ran some close errands, did laundry, and she completed a few more baby related tasks around her home. It was lovely to see her draw strength and calmly deal with each rush as it came over her- little pauses and then she was on her way again. We also started to inflate and fill the pool- which always seems like such a milestone- birth is really happening!

A little before lunch, T’s good friend joined us, and was a wonderful support to have. While we waited for contractions to pick up some more, we watched tv to keep ourselves busy. Who doesn’t find comfort and distraction in a little Sarah Jessica Parker? Eventually the rushes needed more attention, the tv was abandoned, and we spent some time moving around a bit, trying different positions and focusing. We were no longer ‘doing life’, it was time to do labor! T worked beautifully through the new level of contractions, as she talked to baby, handling each pain as a true pro. I watched her gain comfort from the people and things around her. She took time to speak quietly on the phone with her partner, to get some fresh air on the balcony overlooking Winnipeg, and turned on some beautiful music that spoke to her. Each stage of labor she welcomed with grace and acceptance, relaxing into the new feelings and forging forward.

 

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

As the midwife arrived and set up, T was able to climb into the pool for some added pain relief. She was so strong, and we began to see that little G was on her way soon! Sometimes the transition from ‘labor’ to pushing is a big event, filled with rushing and stress and a switch to a very medical feeling in the room. In this beautiful homebirth it was a gentle flow through naturally from one stage to the next.  T worked wonderfully in the pool with her body, adding just enough pressure to gently welcome baby G into this world. And before we knew it, there she was!

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

There is such a sweet relief and astonishment each time your brand new baby is placed on your chest, and I feel honored to have been there to see the first moments of mama and baby on this day. The connection between these two beautiful ladies was so heartwarming. Such hard work, but what a payoff! They bonded in the pool for a bit before cutting the cord and then moving over to the bed for snuggles, first latch and a newborn exam. More family had arrived by the time, and there was so much love in the room.

I have been so blessed to watch these two both bloom over the past year- Grace into a precious little being, so happy with life, and T into an amazing, grounded, loving mother and woman. Thank you for letting me into your lives girls <3

 

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

 

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

 

They placed you in my arms tonight;
I can hardly believe that you are mine.
Tiny fingers, tiny toes,
a tiny life that’s gonna grow,
I’ve waited so many years for this day
–I want to make it stay.

I want to remember this, I want to remember this,
every smile,
every kiss,
every moment’s like a promise,
and I want to remember this.

We brought our bundle home tonight,
half scared to death but on cloud nine.
And as I rocked you in the dark I could feel your tiny heart;
I said a prayer as I kissed your sweet face, “Lord, keep him safe.”
Every season, every age will be beautiful in its own way,
from preschool through to prom,
even your wedding day.
And we’ll celebrate and walk with you,
each step that your life brings,
but there’s something that’s so sweet about beginnings…

Visit Beth Champion Mason for a listen to this amazing song.

Ready to find out more?

If you’re considering a Winnipeg doula or are interested in birth photography for your hospital, birth centre or Winnipeg homebirth, contact me today! I am honored to support families like T and G’s and I’d love to support yours. Visit the “Meet your Doula” and “Services” page to learn more about Embrace Birth Services, and then book your Winnipeg doula today!

 

Yours,

Jenine


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