When To Work The Woo

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Pregnancy is often an eye-opening experience. So many new feelings and sensations make it an excellent time to try new comfort measures and coping methods that you may not have been interested in before now.

For instance, nausea may open your eyes to the possibility of acupuncture. Restless nights with new body discomfort may make the start of a simple yoga practice a welcome release.

As your doulas, we know your pregnancy experience is unique and special, and your birth unlike any to come before you. We also know that we carry on a tradition as wise women and respect all options for comfort through this time.

When looking in from the outside, doulas are often stereotyped as woo-woo hippy birth whisperers. While that is not a requirement of the profession, depending on your personal comfort and history with meditation and visualization, connectedness, and energy work, it may be the perfect description for us!

So today we're going to share some of the woo, and you are free to take what you need and leave the rest.



Meditation is defined as, "a written or spoken discourse expressing considered thoughts on a subject." Meaning it is an exploration. It can be silent, or it can be spoken aloud. It can be short or long.

Meditation is a practice of training your mind to focus and redirect thoughts and to bring awareness to our surroundings and ourselves. It has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.

When you are pregnant, you can be inundated with new worries, new sensations, and new responsibilities. Medication for even 10 minutes a day may be a simple way to explore the transition you are in and connect with the reality that you are enough, as you are, to care and nurture the human inside you.

There are recordings readily available online to begin a home meditation practice if this is appealing to you!


Close to meditation, mindfulness is a "woo" practice of being aware of your body, and how you are connected to the world around you.

Grounding is an exercise often used and is very simple to start. Let's try it:

Where you are now, as you read this, notice your shoulders and back, and take a deep breath into your lungs. Notice how you settle back into your seat and the feel of the chair under you. Place your hands with palms up and feel the small tingles of the blood flowing out and back to your heart, over and over. Follow your body down and focus on your feet. Place them square with your shoulders, and feel the connectedness they have with the floor beneath them. Feel how sturdy they are, and imagine your feet being rooted into the floor beneath you. Take a deep breath and imagine a stream of energy entering into the top of your head, and flowing through you all the way down to your toes. Visualize your body filtering the energy and see the connectedness you have with the space around you.

That is one example of grounding. You can also physically connect your self with the ground, and root your feet to the closest patch of earth. But because in this weather!

Grounding is a valuable tool as it can take place in any location, at any time, silently, or vocally. It can be as simple as a deep breath. Or as a systematic check in with each part of your body.


Yoga has become so popular and mainstream that you may not consider this "woo" at all! But just like mindfulness, yoga is the practice of connecting your mind to your body. It also has the added benefit of movement and breath focus.

Some benefits of yoga as shared by Mindbodygreen.com:

  • Develop body awareness

  • Learn how to use their bodies in a healthy way

  • Manage stress through breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement

  • Build concentration

  • Increase their confidence and positive self-image

  • Feel part of a healthy, non-competitive group

  • Have an alternative to tuning out through constant attachment to electronic devices

Yoga can happen as a planned class in a studio, or in your home on your bedroom floor or family room. It progresses with you as you need it to, and perfection is not required or even encouraged. The joy of yoga is the practice and the experiences from each breath and focused movement.


Without having tried acupuncture before pregnancy, many may be hesitant to start at this time. However, under the care of a trained professional, acupuncture may help during pregnancy with:

  • Morning sickness

  • High/low blood pressure

  • Anxiety

  • Tiredness

  • Constipation

  • Tender breasts

  • Migraine and other headaches

  • Backache

  • Pelvic pain (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction)

  • Varicose veins

Acupuncture, when a part of pregnancy care, may also help reduce swelling, and aid in aligning your baby for birth. Acupressure and acupuncture have also helped with inducing contractions or boosting a person's energy who is working through labor.

Acupuncture can happen where ever the practitioner is able to join you. Most have clinics or office hours. Some may have the ability to travel to you.


There are of course many other “woo” practices that can be discussed, but for today, we focus on the mind and body connection. Each of the items above can help one learn the landscape of a growing pregnant body. Birth, both vaginal birth and surgical, are moments that can bring you into unknown parts of yourself. Having started a practice of mental awareness can be extremely beneficial for immediate release, and as a mind strengthening tool - of which birth and parenting will continue to give you practice using.

We invite you to explore yourself and your inner thoughts, fears, and desires through your pregnancy.

What “woo woo” practice have you started to explore that was new upon becoming pregnant?

Birthing Together, Just The Two Of You

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Whether you choose to have a Labor Doula as a part of your birth team, or not, there is a chance that you and your partner will be birthing together, just the two of you, for at least some of your labor. 

Many couples who choose not to have a doula at their birth are met with the shocking realization that for the most part they will be birthing together, alone. See, real birth isn't like T.V. or movie birth, where there are tons of bodies in and out of the room through out the entire process. With the exception of routine nurse checkups, as you labor, you're mostly on your own. 

Bringing new life into the world is a magical moment and many expectant parents choose to welcome their bundle of joy with as much privacy as possible. We have put together this blog to give some guidance to those who are choosing to birth with their partner, alone.

First we suggest some preparation. Sitting down together and writing a birth plan will allow you and your partner to be on the same page prior to the birth. You can write what your 'idea' birth looks like, and what alternative routes you are willing to take if things don't go as planned. 

We also like to recommend couples who are looking to birth alone look into Maternity Concierge Options. 

We're here to help you prepare for laboring at home, and what it's like when you arrive at the hospital. We're here to discuss your goals for your cesarean birth, natural birth, birth with medication, or your wait-and-see birth. We'll come to the comfort of your home for an opportunity for relaxation and comprehensive discussion to cover all the topics that are on your mind and the ones that aren't. We help with "what you don't know you don't know".

For more information on Main Doulas Maternity Concierge Services, be sure to contact us today. 



Continuous Labor Support; Clinically Recommended

Labor support is more than hype, it's clinically recommended.

It's no mistake that cultures all over the world have childbirth traditions strongly rooted in supporting women physically and emotionally during labor.

A strong support system is fundamental in successful and comfortable birth experiences. 

Even though it seems common knowledge that when it comes to birth, the more support the better, medical foundations and organizations are now recommending support services to their patients. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends continuous labor support to decrease the number of cesarean interventions during labor. 

ACOG also concludes that continuous support during childbirth improves the quality of the birth experience, creating a safer and more nurturing atmosphere for the mother in labor and the newborn. Labor doulas are one of the leading providers of such supplemental support during childbirth, creating safer and more nurturing environments for birth. 

This birth support can be both physical and emotional. 

Your labor doula is actively engaged in your physical well being during labor, providing comfort measures and natural pain relieving techniques. Regular massage and stretches encourage the mother's body to assume the correct form and position for labor, typically making the experience more comfortable and shorter in duration.

Emotionally, a labor doula provides continuous support with affirmations for the mother through phases of contractions and pushing. Mothers who utilize doula services are empowered to take charge of their birth experiences and make changes to their birth plans as they see fit. Doulas provide an experienced and encouraging presence to calm parents throughout every phase of labor. 

The birth experience is changing for the better. 

The role of support systems like labor doulas is being elevated and becoming an industry standard to have additional support for women in labor. The environment of hospitals and birthing centers are becoming more nurturing spaces that are effectively balancing safety with comfort. Having labor doula support is not only empowering, but incredible peace of mind for new and veteran parents alike. 

We support you.

We encourage all of our expectant parents from the very beginning. From crafting a birth plan that suits your needs to continuous support throughout your child's delivery, we are creating more comfortable birth spaces. 

With our labor support, we can decrease risks for medical interventions and reduce the chances of unplanned cesarean surgeries. 


So You're Thinking About an Epidural

Let's face it, birth can be a pain.


Epidurals can get a bad wrap from naturalists, but Maine Doulas is here to empower moms who are choosing an epidural for their child's birth. Your birth means your rules, so it's your call when it comes to the comfort measures and pain management you receive during labor.

Once you know the basics, you'll be able to make an informed decision about epidural anesthesia and if it is the right choice for you and your family. 

What is an epidural anyway?

An epidural is a regional anesthetic that provides pain relief in a specific area of the body. In this case, that area is the lower back area and below. This shouldn't be confused with anesthesia relief that completely blocks feeling or sensation in an area. An analgesic blocks pain and minimizes sensation. Most people think you're thoroughly numb from the waist down, but that's not always how the medication works. 

The epidural is often used in conjunction with other pain medications and medicines that regulate discomfort and regulate blood pressure throughout the labor and delivery process.

It's not as scary as it sounds. 

Most women think that an epidural is just a huge needle of pain medicine going into your spine. It's definitely nothing like that. 

They clean off an area of your back, numb the area and the needle they use actually puts a tiny catheter in your back. This helps them access the area for any medications you need while it's sterile and securely fastened to your back with some first aid tape. You don't even feel the piece there, but it can offer some major pain relief after you're dilated 4-5 centimeters and in active labor. And you can actually receive multiple doses as you need them.

Benefits of Getting an Epidural

 According to the American Pregnancy Association, these are some of the notable benefits of getting an epidural for pain during labor. 

  • It allows you to rest if your labor is prolonged.
  • Epidurals help by reducing the discomfort of childbirth, some women have a more positive birth experience.
  • Normally, an epidural will allow you to stay alerted and remain an active participant in your birth.
  • In a c-section birth, an epidural anesthesia will allow you to stay awake and also provide effective pain relief during recovery.

Downsides of the Epidural Process

There's always downsides and side effects to be cautious of during any medical procedure or pain medication. The American Pregnancy Association has some great resources for parents looking to investigate the pros and cons of the epidural process.

  • Epidurals may cause your blood pressure to suddenly drop. For this reason, your blood pressure will be routinely checked to help ensure an adequate blood flow to your baby.
  • After your epidural is placed, you will need to alternate sides while lying in bed and have continuous monitoring for changes in fetal heart rate. Lying in one position can sometimes cause labor to slow down or stop.
  • You might experience the following side effects: shivering, a ringing of the ears, backache, soreness where the needle is inserted, nausea, or difficulty urinating.

Your birth is your choice.

If an epidural sounds right for you, don't feel guilty for making that informed choice. Pain management doesn't suggest that a woman is less capable than another who chose a non-medicated birth. As doulas, we support all birth choices and feel passionately about women feeling empowered to choose their own birth preferences. 

Every situation is unique and we are setting out to change the stigma of medicated birth and epidurals. 

Medicated or not. 

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean 101

One of the most beautiful things about childbirth is no two experiences are the same. 

With that also comes it's fair share of challenges and uncertainties to navigate while you anxiously await the arrival of your second baby. 

If your first birth was a cesarean, or even the first two, a little additional planning and preparation can put you at ease if you're planning for a vaginal birth this time around. 


Preparing for any birth can be intimidating and putting yourself at ease is a great first step. Gather together a good support system and birth team will keep you feeling confident about the process ahead and informed as you move forward. 

Your labor doula can help you with the resources and education you need to prepare and craft your birth plan. Pursuing a vaginal birth after one or a series of cesarean deliveries can be a really emotional decision. Your labor doula will be there every step of the way offering you and your partner both physical and emotional support.  

During labor you should plan comfort strategies with your doula to help you stay as comfortable as possible. Writing your birth plan will be an important part of the process and your team can help you identify what steps will work best for you if you are avoiding medical intervention or cesarean for your next child's birth.

Choosing a Care Provider

As with any birth experience, choosing the right care provider and birth location is important. If you've taken the time to familiarize with your birth center's staff and your team, you'll feel a lot more comfortable. Communication is key and discussing your birth plan with your midwife or physician ahead of time gets everyone on the same page with your expectations and what medical interventions, pain management and delivery strategies you have in mind. From here, your birth team can give you more details about potential tests to avoid or other labor styles that could complicate your vaginal delivery or increase risks. 

Some hospitals don't support VBAC and others have a strict candidacy process to identify whether or not your body can safely deliver your baby vaginally. Choosing the right provider will mean some conversations about your birth goals, your last birth and your current state of health. Safety should be your common ground and different elements on your plan will fall into place. 

The Time Line

How long should you really wait between your cesarean birth, getting pregnant and choosing a vaginal birth (VBAC)? 

Your postpartum doula can help you establish a recovery routine after your cesarean birth and give you some insight about what to expect postpartum. Most care providers would recommend waiting six months to a year of recovery. Remember that a cesarean is a surgical procedure with incisions and muscle trauma that takes some time to completely heal. The more time you allow your body to heal, the stronger you'll be for your next birth. While recovering, pelvic floor strengthening exercises can help your next vaginal birth be more comfortable and even shorter in duration.

With a little preparation and a great support system, your vaginal birth after cesarean can be a successful experience. 


Newborn Instincts

Your newborn is amazing.

And for more reasons than you might think.

Aside from being exceptionally cute, they have incredible instincts that are broken down to 9 specific stages in their first few hours postpartum.

When you meet your new baby you might be wondering how they know to start feeding, how they can hold onto you and have all these instincts that help them transition to their first day in the great big world. 

The Birth Cry

This is music to every new mother's ears. That initial cry indicates a healthy gasp of air for the first time, as the lungs expand. This is the first peep you'll hear out of your new baby and it's incredible to hear. There's nothing to be concerned about, all babies need to let out a gasp and a cry to get the fluid out of their lungs and start breathing air outside the womb.


Birth is exhausting! Once they've cried a healthy supply of oxygen into their new lungs, it's time to take a load off. During this stage, the body relaxes and the baby gets bundled into a warm towel, blanket or gets warm skin to skin contact with mom. They're usually not "awake or alert" during this stage and just relaxing from the stress of birth.


Good morning sunshine! After getting some time to relax, a newborn wakes up. A little under five minutes into the world, a baby wakes up and starts moving around. After all there's plenty to see in this new space and tons of room to start wiggling around. During the awakening stage, a newborn will start opening their eyes, moving hands, arms shoulders and feet while opening their mouth. Sometimes babies will even crack a smile.


Around ten minutes after birth, a newborn is awake and starting their rooting reflexes. You'll see more mouth movements and they'll start rooting around for their first meal. They've been through quite the journey and it's just about dinner time. 


At any point in the first hour or so postpartum, a new baby might take the opportunity to rest. New babies have quite a bit of developing to do and require a ton of rest. Through the first hour or so after birth, your baby will periodically rest or doze off in between activity. 


While they can't crawl across the floor, your baby can actually do a fair amount of crawling. It's incredible how they can move so much of their body weight so soon after birth and within the first half hour, they're crawling toward a mother's breast to start feeding. Crawling isn't exactly what you'd think and it's more like reaching and searching for food. 


Everything is so new and where's a baby to find some directions? During familiarization, a newborn is acquainting themselves with the mother's skin, breast and nipple. This will help them feed better and be the first bonding experience the mother and baby will share. This is an opportunity for skin to skin contact, keeping the baby warm and familiarizing with the scent, feel and sound of their mother outside the womb. 


Time for dinner. During the 8th phase, the newborn begins suckling and feeding. The newborn gets itself to this point when they're ready and it usually takes between 40 minutes to an hour to get them to latch for the first time. They won't consume too much volume, but don't worry there will be plenty of time to fill their bellies later on. Your labor doula can help you facilitate this process and find a position that's comfortable for you and your new baby. 


What a day! After they've suckled, the newborn (and the mother) usually falls asleep. They've been through a lot and it's left them exhausted. A new baby typically sleeps 1 to 2 hours after birth and will snooze on and off all day and night throughout the first few weeks. 

What a process!

It's incredible how many instincts help a new baby transition into the world in their first hour after birth. Knowing these stages help parents prepare and relax as they watch their new baby take their first breaths, learn to eat and how to snooze. 


Nitrous Oxide for Labor Pain

When it comes to pain and discomfort during labor, each woman manages pain differently with a wide range of comfort measures and treatments.

One such treatment is the use of Nitrous Oxide to alleviate discomfort during labor. 

Nitrous Oxide use has gathered controversy as more women advocate for drug-free alternatives for comforting labor pains. 

As your due date approaches, our team encourages you and your partner to research different pain management techniques to find what is a right fit for you. 

Like any medical intervention for pain management, Nitrous Oxide has it's share of pros and cons. Nitrous is considered overall a safe way for mothers in labor to manage their discomfort. In high doses, Nitrous Oxide is a fairly weak anesthetic and it is more effective when administered in minimal amounts to the patient. 

Nitrous Oxide is a unique helping hand in the delivery room, offering both an analgesic (pain reliever) and an anxiolytic (anxiety relief). 

Benefits of Nitrous Oxide During Labor

Nitrous Oxide use does not physically injure the mother, fetus or neonate and does not pose harmful health hazards for care givers. This inhaled treatment does not affect the progression of labor and is safe and painless to administer.

Nitrous doesn't affect the levels of oxytocin, therefore does not affect infant alertness, mother and baby bonding or successful breastfeeding. This pain relief does not completely remove the mother from the awareness of labor pain and discomfort, however many women report an easier labor transition and managing their own discomfort. 

Nitrous Oxide is self administered, putting a mother in control of her pain management. It takes between five and ten minutes for the effects of the Nitrous Oxide to minimize, giving mom the opportunity to switch to a different pain relief if necessary.

Risks of Nitrous Oxide During Labor

While safety standards are in place to monitor the levels of Nitrous Oxide, excessive doses may cause symptoms like dizziness, vomiting, and nausea. Health care personnel working with Nitrous Oxide on a regular basis without proper handling procedures in place could begin to notice disruptions in their reproductive health. 

These risks however are in majority associated with recreational Nitrous users that abuse the substance. The percentage of Nitrous Oxide available as a labor pain treatment has too low of a percentage to notice any adverse effects, making this option safe and recommended by birth professionals. 

When it comes to pain management during labor, a mother should feel confident they are receiving the pain relief that they feel completely comfortable using. 

During your pregnancy, visit your hospital or birthing center and ask questions about your options for pain relief and educate yourself on side effects, benefits and risks associated with each. Making an educated decision for your birth will empower you to proceed to your due date confidently. 

Many hospitals in Maine, New Hampshire and MA are utilizing Nitrous Oxide including Maine General, Midcoast, Wentworth Douglas, York and now Maine Medical Center.

Your labor doula is there to ensure your birth plan is carried out according to your family's individual wishes and she is there to answer any questions you have along the way. 

Your birth. Your pain management. Unbiased support.