Informed Consent and the Cascade Effect

Hey M+W babes!

Today we’re talking about the true foundation of everything that I do as a Doula through fertility, pregnancy, and parenting! Informed consent is what will guide you to step into your power. Knowing all of the information about a specific topic or intervention like pros, cons, and alternatives will allow you to say yes or no in full confidence knowing you are doing what’s best for you and your baby.

You may be thinking “okay that’s fine and dandy but how do I know what questions to ask or my rights as a birther?” that’s where your B.R.A.I.N and your Doula come in.

B.R.A.I.N is an acronym that is great for mapping out your thoughts when you’re trying to make an informed decision about your birth. By using this acronym I can teach you what questions that you should be asking your health care provider whenever they are suggesting medical intervention. By being prepared in the event that your birth plan doesn’t pan out exactly the way you envisioned, it removes the fear of the unknown and puts you in the driver seat.

Learning How-to Use Your B.R.A.I.N

B = benefits

R = risks

A = alternatives

I = intuition

N = nothing

B) The first thing you want to ask yourself and your health care provider is what the benefits of said intervention are. Do you feel like the pro’s outweigh the con’s in this senerio?

R) When it comes to life in general there are always risks associated with anything that you do. In birth you have to analyze the risks of said intervention, to determine if it is the right thing to do for you and your baby.

A) When you don’t know your options, you don’t have any. Make sure you know what the alternatives are/if any and if what your health care provider is suggesting is medically necessary at this time.

I) Trusting your intuition is key. Asking yourself “does this feel right for me and my baby?” and if it doesn’t following that inner voice.

N) What happens if we do nothing? How long do I have to make this decision? Ultimately you have to make a choice that you feel comfortable with the possible outcomes of the decision.


The problem with the routine care that we see in hospitals today is what is called the cascade effect. In basic terms it means Doctors are so set in their routines that they don’t stop to think about the individual and their unique situation/needs. They follow hospital protocol, which although in my opinion is outdated ultimately can be a good thing. However what this means is that they rarely base their practices on the most current evidence and research. What is best for one person isn’t always what is best for everyone.

In the end we want a healthy baby and Mum/birther yet a lot of Doctors use a scare tactic and minimize the birthers feelings by engraining that “a healthy baby is all that matters”. When really, the birther’s experience is at least as equally important because it’s something they will never forget, and sets the stage for bonding with their baby.

We call this the cascade effect because interventions cause interventions. Here’s an example to help you understand:

a labouring person arrives at the hospital too early, having the intensity of their contractions minimised by the hospital staff (“oh you’re only 2cm dilated”), and either being sent home if not in active labour (which is actually a blessing in disguise!) or labouring in the waiting room or tiny triage room until a labour and delivery room is free.

Individuals are told to stay put as the monitors pick up the baby’s heart rate best that way, not knowing that their babies (and labours!) will be healthier and happier if a labouring person is free to do what they find comfortable and relaxing. If labour isn’t progressing as quickly as the staff would like, a their water is broken and Pitocin (synthetic labour hormone) is started.

These two interventions are often done as protocol, not offered as a choice, leading to a much more intense labour and are very commonly followed by an epidural. This epidural leads to more pitocin and many babies do not react well to pitocin. As the baby’s heart rate acts up, the staff get nervous and want to speed things up even more by an assisted pushing phase (vacuum or forceps) if the baby is low enough, or a cesarean section depending on how much the baby’s heart rate is lowering and where in their labour the birther is.


You can prevent negative feelings and the cascade of interventions by learning how to make informed decision using the B.R.A.I.N acronym! I can teach you how to ask the right questions and break down these interventions so you understand what you’re saying yes or no to. Knowledge is power.

I hope you were able to take something valuable away from this post!

Remember that I offer FREE virtual Doula consultations! Book one here.

I love hearing from you– so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, feedback, or concerns you may be experiencing.

Stay well + stay smiling loves!

Inclusive Language in the Maternal World

Hey M+W babes!

Now more than ever are we living in a world where people aren’t scared of being who they are [mostly] and thankfully, society has started shifted to make space for these individuals who before didn’t fit into the “normal” standard. Although progress has been made, we still have a long way to go– especially when it comes to bodily anatomy and inclusive language.

Language can connect and isolate people. It can calm them or it can be a point of contention and anxiety. It can allow people to be seen or people to feel erased or invisible. You may not know the sexuality, gender expression, or family make-up so always error on the side of caution and do not assume all the pregnant people are Mums and that there are Dads in the picture.

As a Doula I feel extremely privileged to have the platform to advocate for my clients [I hate saying clients because really they become family] and educate other health care workers about inclusive language. When you feel respected you feel safe, and during this life changing journey that’s part of our end goal– to make you feel prepared, safe, and respected.

Before I give you some great examples of how to switch up your language to be inclusive, I want to remind you that SEX and GENDER are NOT the same thing. This can be tricky when, like I said above, you’re dealing with bodily anatomy but if you’re ever in doubt just ask what language the individual wants you to use!

Potential Triggers/TopicsSay This Instead
ContractionSurges, waves, sensations
Fetal distressChanges in the baby’s heart rate pattern
The birthing persons’s bodyYour body knows what to do
Family make-up [mom, dad]Parents, birthing people, birth parents, those that are pregnant, partners if you have one
Rupture, BreakRelease of Membranes
Time [you have been at this for 8 hours now]Hiding the clock/ no reference to time
Addressing Clients – use their name, loop them into conversations, don’t talk about them like they are not in the room(Client’s name) is now 7 cm dilated

Some examples of inclusive phrases:

“For those of you choosing to breast/chest feed….”

“For those birthing people with partners….”

It’s important to allow space for correction and education when you’re dealing with different diversities. Sometimes you can mean well but you can’t control how it lands within the recipient, so make sure your communication is open and honest.

I hope you were able to take something valuable away from this post!

Remember that I offer FREE virtual Doula consultations! Book one here.

I love hearing from you– so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, feedback, or concerns you may be experiencing.

Stay well + stay smiling loves!

Why You Need a Doula in Your Life

Hey M+W babes!

I thought that today I would take the opportunity to explain why I feel so passionate about being your Doula and what exactly I can do to make your journey to parenthood as magical and smooth as possible.

The journey to parenthood is often thought to “come naturally” as if all the knowledge that you’re missing from a life experience you’ve yet to have will somehow find its way to you and you’ll just know. To me this is comparable to sending someone on a road trip in a foreign place with no map, no cell phone, and saying “don’t worry, it’ll come to you and you’ll find your way!”. Next to impossible if I say so myself.

The foundation of support I provide can be thought of as three pillars– emotional, informational, and physical. There’s specific and evidence based research that tells us why each of these pillars are absolutely essential in preparing you for what’s to come.

Emotional

– making you feel cared for, respected, and safe [this is important for birth]

– validating your feelings and listening to you, you are never alone

– completely unbiased support, I will never pass my judgements on to you because this isn’t about anyone except you

Informational

– information is power and therefore I want to make sure that you have zero unanswered question when it comes to the journey of birth and parenthood

– I am a resource, not a source. That means that I research and source evidence based studies and information to relay to you

– when you know your options, you can make informed decisions that allow you to stay within your power and advocate for the birth that you want

Physical

– physical support is supporting you face-to-face [or screen to face? this is a weird time we’re living in]

– I provide non-medical pain interventions, physical touch has crazy comforting powers!

– physical support can also look like help with your newborn; assisting with breastfeeding, bathing baby, easing your anxieties about worries you may have

The foundation of support is just where my expertise starts, from there it branches out much farther and my support can reach individuals in all stages of the maternal journey. From infertility, pregnancy + birth, postpartum, and loss– where you have a need I can fill the void.

In a normal circumstance [pre-covid] patients get such a limited amount of time with their care providers because let’s face it, they’re busy people. Think of me as the person that takes up that space between appointments that you can count on and turn to in times of unknown.

There are three areas that I find people are lacking the appropriate amount of support; pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Considering that this is such a spiritual, magical, and life changing experience we need to stop treating it as a medical emergency and remove the fear when it comes to pregnancy, delivery, and then bringing baby home! Here’s how I can help!

Pregnancy

– always feeling heard and supported

– teaching you informed consent, your rights, and always advocating on your behalf

– removing the fear from birth and creating a dreamy + relaxing birth space

– providing education, information, and translating medical terminology so you feel prepared and in-the-know

– teaching and providing you comfort measures

Birth

– this usually looks like physical support during your birth for both yourself and your partner [if you have one]

– physical touch is so magical and is a great non-medical intervention, I can provide this comfort measure or I can teach your partner

– during your birth it’s my job to make sure that everyone who is in the birth space is respecting what you want

– I will keep you grounded and remind you of the things you requested previous to the birth [for example: not asking you if you need anything, you will tell me if you need anything]

Postpartum

– all hands on deck, this is support for when you bring baby home!

– not only will I be there with you physically [tidying, sibling care, help with baby] but I’ll also be your walking newborn encyclopaedic

– mental health is a huge priority when it comes to postpartum and making sure that you are being taken care of, you can’t pour from an empty cup

– the goal of postpartum support is to make you feel so sure and secure in yourself as a new parents that by the end of our time together you’ll feel like you don’t need me anymore!

I absolutely love working with people who are expecting and getting to see them come into their power and have the birth experience that they want to have. I know that a lot of people are skeptical, have heard rumours, or just don’t really know our role in the dynamic of a family situation– lets clear up some of these myths.


MYTH: a Doula will replace my significant other/partner and make them feel excluded from the experience
TRUTH: Doula’s work with your partners, not against them! Even though they aren’t the partner in your relationship that is carrying the baby, we want them to be just as involved and on the same page.

MYTH: a Doula will tell me how I should treat my pregnancy and how I should birth
TRUTH: Doula’s are always unbiased and never push their views or opinions onto you. Our job is to give you all the information and options so that you can make a decision that feels best for you and your baby.

MYTH: if I have a Doula I don’t have to see my healthcare provider as often or regularly
TRUTH: Doula’s do not replace your healthcare provider, we simply bridge the gap between you and your Doctor when it comes to unanswered questions, your rights, and generally being prepared for what’s to come.

MYTH: I’m past my first trimester so I missed the mark of working with a Doula
TRUTH: you’re never too late when it comes to working with a Doula! We can be brought onto your maternal team at any point during your pregnancy, for delivery, and any point through postpartum.


I hope this helped shed some light on the wonderful work I do as a Doula, and maybe even opened your mind to the idea of bringing a Doula into your parenting journey.

Remember that I offer FREE virtual Doula consultations! Book one here.

I love hearing from you– so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, feedback, or concerns you may be experiencing.

Stay well + stay smiling loves!

What to Expect From a Prenatal Appointment

Hey M+W babes!

You may have noticed the option for booking prenatal appointments on the website while you were browsing and you may be thinking; what is a prenatal doula appointment, what does it look like, and how can it benefit me? If these questions are ones that you’ve been pondering over you’ve come to the right place.

Prenatal appointments with a doula encompass many components and can be done in person or virtually [from home, at your leisure] it is totally flexible to whatever fits your lifestyle needs!

You are in the driver seat. Prior to your appointment you will be sent some intake forms that really narrow down the focus of your appointment, what you feel is the most imperative to topics that aren’t on your list or that you already know like the back of your hand. This doesn’t mean that you’re limited to certain topics, we can definitely cover everything, however just know that you can control the session to fit your needs.

So what’s included in a Prenatal Appointment?

These are the topics that I cover [in-depth] when we have a prenatal appointment together. Again, these topics are not limited and if you have a topic of concern that isn’t listed you can always inquire that it be included in the appointment!

Appointments can range from 1 to 3 hours depending on the topics that you wish to cover, again if you want to cover everything we are looking at the 3 hour mark.

All information that we cover in the appointment will be available to you in the form of handouts, PDF’s, PowerPoints, etc. I truly believe everyone has a different learning style so whether you need voice memos, videos, or alternative learning materials please don’t hesitate to let me know!

Core Topics

  • birth plan creation [including your back-up plan]
  • comfort measure during labour and delivery
  • stages and phases of labour [what to expect]
  • your rights and options as a birthing person
  • creating a safe birth space
  • protecting the birth space
  • packing for the hospital
  • optimal fetal positioning
  • newborn care
  • 6 weeks of healing postpartum [how to properly care for yourself]
  • mental postpartum wellness

All of these topics are extremely important on their own but together they can really cultivate the best birthing experience you can hope for.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s prepare you for labour and make your birth as magical as you’re envisioning it!

Stay well + stay smiling loves!