Why I Created Down the Canal – The Game of Birth
There are so many books to read and so many websites to visit; it can be overwhelming for expectant parents. How do they really know which sources are promoting the best available evidence? Down the Canal is a pregnancy game, created for easy access to the information, and to inspire further inquiry into the birth process.
The goal is for people to play the game and learn they have more questions. It challenges the player to explore their own beliefs about birth. It is an inquiry into the self, as much as it is an inquiry into birth.
Since 1991 I have been an advocate for physiologic birth; birth with little or no intervention when mother is healthy and has no underlying medical issues. The question that continually arises is “Why aren’t more women taking a stand for themselves in birth?” Discussions with colleagues have often led to “How can we educate women and families about all their birthing options before they choose their doctor or midwife?”
We have a maternity care crisis in the United States, which you can read more about in the article I wrote in the Journal of Mother Studies.
The choice of care provider is one of the first choices a woman will make, usually within the first three months of pregnancy. Many women choose this provider based on recommendations from well-meaning friends and family members, without asking questions about how they view and treat birth.
Can Stretch Marks Be Prevented?
There are many physical changes that occur with pregnancy. One very common occurrence is the appearance of stretch marks. Many women are proud of their stretch marks and consider them a badge of honor. There are other women who do not like the sight of them, who fall prey to all the lotions and creams that claim to erase these marks.
Studies have shown that there is a genetic and hormonal link to why some women get these marks and others don't.
These marks will fade as time goes on, and go from red to pink, then pale silver or white.
Let's look at some ways you can try to prevent stretch marks. First of all, anybody who rapidly gains weight can get stretch marks. This happened to me my freshman year in college. I gained twenty pounds, then went on some crazy diet and lost it in one month. Voila!! Stretch marks on my hips. Ironically, I didn't get any with either of my pregnancies.
In pregnancy, weight gain is a given. Yet, a sudden sharp increase is not a given. The best prevention is a slow and steady weight gain. Staying hydrated is key. About 50% of pregnant women will develop stretch marks. Some studies say that younger women are more prone, while others indicate that geography matters.
There is some promising research on using hyaluronic acid on the skin and daily massages to help prevent stretch marks.
You are pregnant. Congratulations!! Now what? You tell your family, your friends, and you begin googling everything you can about how to have a healthy baby. It is a miracle, and you are wanting the best information, and the best care provider.
Who will be with you when you give birth? Who will help you find your inner compass? Who will help you clarify the overwhelming amount of information you are discovering?
There are birth doulas and there are postpartum doulas. While there is some overlap in training, education, and support, the two kinds of doulas offer assistance at different times during the childbearing year. The birth doula typically meets with a woman and her husband or partner a few times before the birth. She may meet them more often. The birth doula is then with her client during labor and birth, and meets with them again at least one time after the birth.
We used to have the village. It doesn't exist in most places anymore. Families are far apart, or working and unavailable to assist new families.
The postpartum doula is a listening ear, a guiding voice, and an extra pair of hands after the birth. She is there to ease the chaos in an often stressful time, when parents are learning to be parents, and babies are adjusting to life outside the womb. This time is often referred to as the Fourth Trimester.
Here are my top five reasons for you to hire a postpartum doula:
Sharing my knowledge and wisdom about all things birth