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22 Questions to Ask Before You Give Birth

22 Questions to Ask Before You Give Birth

If you find yourself wondering, what should I ask at prenatal visits?

Don’t worry! We have compiled a list of great questions to help you! After all, pregnancy brain is alive and real, and giving birth is kind of a huge event in the life of a person! Here are 22 questions to ask before you give birth!

As with everything in parenting, feel free to pick what you want and leave the rest!

Keep in mind the more questions you ask the more information you can gather, but there are rabbit holes. If you like the list in its entirety I suggest asking a few questions at each visit. Reflecting on the answers and revisiting those of most importance to you. What’s important to each parent will vary!

22 Questions to Ask Before You Give Birth

  • Who can be with me in labor?

We are living through some crazy times right now. COVID has ensured stricter policies have been put into place. Many hospitals are only allowing one support person. Some are requiring your support person(s) to show proof that they’ve received their COVID vaccine.

  • At what point should I come to the hospital?

Most doctors follow a 4-1-1 or 5-1-1 rule meaning contractions coming every 4 or 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 full minute long, for the duration of at least a full hour before you come in. Everyone is unique and your labor may require you to come sooner while others may require them to come in a little later.

  • Do I need to bring anything special?

For the most part, you will have everything you need provided to you at the hospital, but it never hurts to ask what’s provided and what isn’t. That way if you want some of your favorite creature comforts you’ll be prepared. Likewise, you won’t have to bring things they’ll have there for you!

  • What can you do to help me avoid tearing/episiotomy?

Maybe you’re not fearful or at least a little nervous about tearing during birth, but if you are this question is even more important. There are a number of things that can be done to support your perineum during the second stage of labor. You’ll likely want to find out what your provider will do to help minimize tearing where he/she/they can.

In addition to those questions here are several others to consider:

  • What is your preferred method of induction?
  • What are some reasons you may want to induce?
  • What is your cesarean rate?
  • How many weeks are you comfortable waiting for me to go into labor on my own?
  • What steps would you take if I go past that number of weeks?
  • For what reasons might I need a cesarean?
  • Will I be able to move around in labor?
  • Can I labor in the shower?
  • If my labor is long can I eat?
  • How will the hospital help support me in my chosen method of feeding our baby?
  • How do you feel about circumcision?
  • Do you support our choice to leave our baby’s genitals intact?
  • What are some ways you would support us in making hard decisions?
  • What if I want to use another way to feed my baby in the hospital
  • Will the hospital send a lactation consultant to my room?
  • What situations might limit me from breastfeeding my baby?
  • What if our baby needs to go to the NICU?
  • Who will be there if you don’t make it in time?

Now, when should you ask these important questions you wonder.

Some questions will lead to more questions, others will lead to a satisfying smile and a nod. When you ask is up to you, but some questions may help you communicate with your provider your needs and help you understand if you and your doctor are on the same page!

The same page becomes pretty important as you move closer to your due date.

Bring it up whenever you feel comfortable, but I would certainly do so by the beginning of your second trimester. When The Jax Baby Company team was supporting parents through labor we would discuss many of these topics with parents a few times before they gave birth during our prenatal visits. In our Confident Birth & Baby Class we cover what is science and evidence-based, what’s not, and how to communicate with your providers no matter what you want or need. So, taking one of our classes before discussing it with your doctors can actually be super beneficial and may help you nail down what you would really like from your birth experience.

Often, parents are relieved to hear that many of their preferences like optimal umbilical cord clamping, skin to skin, and movement/position changes in labor- are almost all universal, standard practice now among hospitals and providers. It’s important to ask though! A great childbirth class doesn’t glorify a certain type of birth, it helps you get a clear idea about pain control, preferences, and communication. Did I mention how important communication is?

Every birth is unique and beautiful in its own right!

The Jax Baby Company wants you to have the experience that is right for YOU, in the moment, not someone else’s experience. I think we can almost all agree that none of us can control the process of birth, but we can all adjust to our expectations, even when we don’t want to. If there are specific things you are worried or anxious about, we can discuss them in our one-on-one class. We can talk about what would happen if they occur and it may ease worry to walk through the scenario together. That’s one of many benefits of taking a private class!

If you found “22 Questions to Ask Before You Give Birth” helpful, please share it with others and leave us a comment. We would love to hear your thoughts!

If you’re specifically looking for a midwife you can also check out this list.

Happy Birth and Parenting!

Elizabeth

Childbirth Education Classes – What I Wished I’d Known

childbirth education classes jax, fl | Best birth classes in Jax, FL | Jax, FL baby classes | give birth jax, fl

Childbirth Education Classes – What I Wished I’d Known

I absolutely love to learn, so when I was pregnant with my first, it was a no-brainer to sign up for childbirth education classes to help us prepare. The hospital where I planned to give birth offered multiple classes and our insurance even reimbursed us a small amount for taking a few. My husband and I signed up through the hospital for a few different classes including breastfeeding and a labor one.

Several months later, I took said childbirth education classes and found them to be okay. Pretty standard.

You see, if you’ve never had a baby, you don’t really know what to expect or what info you need to know. Only after I had my first, my son, did I begin to realize just how unprepared I was. Every hospital is different, so my experience with hospital classes may be very different from yours. The hospital I gave birth at was very new and supposed to be state-of-the-art. However, the classes were too textbook and barely skimmed the surface. I’m not sure why this was the case, but, to my dismay, it was.

In hindsight, the hospital childbirth education classes did little to nothing to prepare me.

It’s both frustrating and disappointing. It also is concerning to me for other parents who seek out childbirth education classes like this in hopes of gaining needed knowledge on labor, delivery, and their lives after they bring their baby home from the hospital. To be honest, I was lost as a new mom. I mean LOST. There are so many things I wish I was taught that would have prepared me better. Here’s a few that initially come to mind:

  • Having a birth plan and being able to assert my desires.
  • The realities of hospital birth and what that entails.
  • Preparing for what happens when your birth plan is thrown out the window.
  • Your rights in the hospital.
  • Not just the physical toll, but the emotional and mental toll it takes on you during your hospital stay.
  • The realities of sleep deprivation and how to cope.
  • Breastfeeding-so many variables I never thought of or learned that I ended up experiencing.

In saying all of this, I strongly recommend you seek out in-home childbirth education classes.

It wasn’t until after I had both my children that I began to learn about the many options available. If I could go back in time, I would have hired help in the blink of an eye. One of the amazing things about hiring outside help is that most are knowledgable about the variations of birth, including cesareans, infant care, breast and bottle feeding, and the postpartum recovery process. Some even teach childbirth education classes in the comfort of your own home like The Jacksonville Baby Company. In my opinion, having a private educator prepare me would have been much more helpful than someone who is staffed by the hospital.

Here are a few reasons why in-home childbirth education classes will likely prepare you better:

  • An in-home CBE allows you to be in the comfort of your home where you feel more comfortable asking questions.
  • The CBE facilitator is not employed by a hospital and therefore can give you more honest feedback regarding what to expect at the different local birthing facilities.
  • The facilitator can personalize the information to what you are desiring through the delivery process (natural vs medicated birth, where and how you’ll labor, formula fed vs breastfed, etc).
  • The facilitator likely has a lot of very recent experience in regards to helping women through labor, delivery, and adjusting to their lives with the new baby. This recent experience means their information and advice is up-to-date to what’s going on currently in the world in which you ‘re living.
  • They will go into more depth and will include important information regarding the realities of having a newborn.

Preparing for childbirth is so important.

In this day and age, where there are so many options for every aspect of pregnancy, delivery, and parenting, it is overwhelming. It is crucial to choose childbirth education classes where you will learn more than hospital policy and skim the surface. It’s important to dig in deep. Find someone who is knowledgable and trustworthy to prepare you for every step and not just birth, but for after birth. Ask those you trust for recommendations and do your research based on what you are hoping for through your pregnancy and delivery and choose the person you feel is a good fit for you.

I encourage you to check out The Jax Baby Company and the services they offer. They are there throughout the pregnancy and provide excellent postpartum support as well.

Authored by: Maria Inoa

Maria Inoa is a licensed clinical social worker and the owner of Full Potential Counseling. With over 12 years of experience, she specializes in working with women on building healthier relationships with themselves and others. She strongly believes that women are warriors and that every woman has worth, significance, and purpose. Maria provides in-person sessions at her office in the Ortega area as well as online sessions for the busy woma

3 Things To Do Before Giving Birth

3 Things to Do Before Giving Birth

Of all the ways you can prepare for birth, there are 3 things to do before giving birth that we think take priority. At The Jax Baby Company, we’ve worked with hundreds of expectant parents and new families. As a professional who works day in and day out with new families, I want to share some insight with you!

3 Things to Do Before Giving Birth:

Take a Comprehensive Childbirth Class

More times than not when working with individuals who have previously given birth, they say that before birth they felt prepared. However, after birth, they say they wish they would’ve prepared in other ways. It’s a reoccurring theme. Parents tell us they took a childbirth class, BUT wish they knew to take a class that prepared them for the unexpected twists (that inevitably) birth threw their way. 

“In the hypno-class I took, they said I could dial down the intensity using hypnosis, but that method didn’t work for me and after that, I didn’t know what to do.”

“I gave them my detailed birth plan, but I didn’t really get anything I wanted.”

“We didn’t really understand the process of birth or what happens after birth. I knew less than I thought I did about dilation, contractions, and pushing, but the instructor didn’t want to “scare us”. She withheld valuable information.”

They didn’t know what they didn’t know to askAnd they took a childbirth class!

Comprehensive research-based classes will teach you the process of birth, the variations of birth, assisted and unassisted tools for comfort, pharmacological options, and alternative options for pain reduction. A great class won’t focus on one way of birth being superior to another. For example “natural birth” outcomes over medicated birth outcomes.  A great class will teach you communication and decision-making skills specific to childbirth and parenting.

The Confident Birth and Parenting Class teaches all of that.

It also helps you discover what “satisfying” means to you, and that not all birth partners want to be a birth coach! We break down the science behind birth in a fun and informative way that will stick! We offer something unique for all birthing people and their partners if they have one! Anyone and everyone has the ability to come away feeling confident and empowered!

Line Up Help for After Birth

Preparing now to have help for a minimum of six to twelve weeks after your baby is born is equally, if not more important than preparing for the birth itself! While we recommend your birth plan (if you have one) be short and sweet we recommend the opposite for your postpartum plan.

To put it into perspective for you we recommend a birth “plan” be no longer than one front page. The emergency plan on the back no longer than 1/2 of a page. But each family we work with gets a 20-page outline to use to for their postpartum planning!

A detailed postpartum plan will cover all aspects of your postpartum period. From meals and chores to hands-on accurate assistance and much, much more. If there is ever a time in your life where you should be surrounded with all the support it’s now!

Employ help! Immediately following the birth of your baby and for two or three days after you have hands-on help from amazing maternity nurses.  Someone there to help you get around, initiate feedings, and change diapers. A black belt at swaddling who bringing you meals, checks on you to see how you feel, gives you your meds, and reminds you it’s been x number of hours since x, y, and z.

Imagine the peace if mind you’d feel bringing one of these angels home with you?!

THAT’S WHAT WE DO!

Our team here at The Jax Baby Co. also helps you feel human again by taking great care of your baby while you shower and get much-needed sleep. We assist with feedings, both breast, and bottle. In short, we’re like an expert parent guide or a wingman for the new parents. We offer practical help and guidance as you adjust to parenting and find what works for you!

Learn As Much As You Can About Carseat Safety & Follow the Guidelines

There are only a few things in life that are unforgiving. Car accidents often end tragically when children are involved. We love babies and families! We can’t not share on this topic! Every parent I’ve spoken with has appreciated my knowledge on this matter! While we truly believe there is no right or wrong way to birth or parent your children here at The Jacksonville Baby Company, the research shows there IS a right and wrong way to install and use carseats.

Some of the most common mistakes we see are incorrect harness position, straps too loose, chest clip incorrectly positioned, seat not installed into the car correctly, aftermarket products being used on/with the seat, and of course turning a child to forward-facing too soon. Many of these things seem harmless enough, but they can be fatal mistakes. The American Academy of Pediatrics just released a statement with new guidelines urging parents to keep their kids rear-facing for as long as possible. We want your babies to be as safe as possible whilst traveling so you can enjoy and love on them for all the days of your lives! Here is a great resource for all things car seat safety-related, including where you can find a car seat technician in your area!

May this list of 3 things to do before giving birth be as helpful to you as our classes are to expectant parents!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

From

Parenting is like a plate of spaghetti | 3 Things to Do Before Giving Birth | Jax, FL Birth

The Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success

 Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success | Jax natural birth

The Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success

Devastated, broken, shocked, and disappointed are not words that anyone wants to use to describe their birth experience, let alone feel those things deeply as their own truth. That, however, is the reality for many parents! First Coast Doulas offers the only birth class of its kind in Jax that sets parents up for success in all birthing situations.

With celebrities like Serena Williams, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel bravely sharing their stories, more people are realizing that their reality is unfortunately not all that uncommon.

Preparing for the gamut both during and after birth is actually very wise! Too many times birthing people fall into the “if the mind believes it the body will achieve it trap”, to later find themselves experiencing overwhelming sadness and guilt. That is no way to begin parenthood!

Classes like hypno-yada-yada, and several other method-based classes only teach about the way to have a “natural” or “vaginal” birth.

Therefore, those classes put emphasis on “natural” and “vaginal” being of superior importance over all else in birth. With one in three births ending in cesarean delivery in 2018 why on Earth are parents still being taught that there is only one way to feel good about their birth experience? Why are parents being set up for failure from the get-go?

I don’t care how science-minded you are or how hippy, crunchy, natural you are, this class IS for you! Birth can happen safely in homes, hospitals, and birth centers! This class prepares you for it all!

Since 2013 The Jax Baby Company has been at the forefront in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia as forward-thinking, wave-making, pioneers for birthing and postpartum families! We know that the power of a birth plan doesn’t lie in the execution of the plan, but rather the knowledge you gain and the communication your have in the process of creating it! We know how important and impactful birth is and we have been setting parents up for true success since day one.

The Jax Baby Company teaches the only birth class of its kind in Jax that sets parents up for success no matter how they give birth!

The Confident Birth and Baby Class is woo-free, science and evidence-based classes that do not focus on one way being best or right, because that is just silly and complete and utter bullshit!

So, what does the only birth class of its kind in Jax that sets parents up for success teach you’re wondering!

We teach you the stages and phases of labor, how you can recognize those while at home, how to know when you’re in labor, and how you might feel and be comforted during each stage and phase. You can learn how to feel safer and fear less! You’ll be taught tools you can use anywhere; at home alone, at the store surrounded by people, in the hospital shower, heading into the OR (operating room), during your cesarean, while squatting, lying, or doing head-stands (we joke), with pharmacological pain meds, and without any at all.

We help you get to the heart of what satisfying means to you on a deeper, much more fulfilling level! Your birth partner can discover their own personal support style so that you feel comfortable with their support and they feel empowered in their role!

Not only do we teach on birth, but we also cover the first few weeks after birth. Ya know, the time you’ve really been waiting for! Birth is one day, maybe two, but baby snuggles, pictures, adorable outfits, and all the other things like night-feedings, newborn cues, healing after birth, emotional and physical warning signs and what you can do to not only survive but thrive after birth, those last much longer!

Yes, thirve baby!

These classes help set birthing people up for success by teaching them about both vaginal and cesarean birth because both can be equally satisfying and beautiful. Both can be empowering, both ways can be the “best”, and both can be considered “natural”. Remember torandos, water, and death are natural. Natural doesn’t always equal best!

“How,” you ask?

Take a class and find out! What are you waiting for? Taking this class is the single most important thing you can do to prepare for birth and the early weeks of parenting!  This is a small investment in the big scheme of things!

Don’t take our word for it, read our reviews; on Google, Facebook, and our website!

For the next 4 weeks ONLY The Jax Baby Company is offering an exclusive package for those who read our blog! Get the Hello Sunshine postpartum package and The Confident Birth and Baby Class, an $1,800 value, for $1699. That’s a savings of a whopping $101.

The Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success | Natural Birth Class Jax
The Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success | Natural Birth Class Jax

Mention this blog when you book and receive this exclusive offer! Get ready to feel more prepared, relaxed, and 100% supported as you transition into parenting!

The Jax Baby Company Childbirth Education is Success Kid Approved!

The Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success | Natural Birth Class Jax
“Success Kid” Photograph (c) Laney Griner / Used with Permission

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville, FL

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville

Exciting news for expectant parents in Jacksonville leaves more money in the budget for help when they bring their newborns home! In the Greater Jacksonville area we’re very fortunate to have so many choices for birth. Then parent’s come home and exhaustion and isolation set in. Shit gets real! Cue your Postpartum & Infant Doula!

Last night’s meeting at UF Health North was exciting! Jennifer Bettis, a registered nurse at UF Health North Hospital’s Labor & Delivery Department organized and hosted an amazing meet and greet.

First Coast Doulas met with the nurses, obstetricians, and midwives over at the labor and delivery unit located on Jacksonville’s Northside. We collaborated about care for families in our community and toured the facility.

I could write an entire blog series on the differences between hospitals, homebirths, and birth center births, but that is something we can cover in a private one on one birth consult!

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville, FL

Here’s the skinny on what we loved about last night’s meeting. And of course we’re working our way up to the most exciting news for expectant parents in Jacksonville!

For parents with a low risk healthy pregnancies UF Health North Hospital is definitely a place to schedule a tour! There are twelve spacious rooms all complete with large showers with removable showerheads and magical tubs. Music, flameless candles, essential oil diffusers, squat bars, birth balls, and peanut balls are also available. The birthing person and their baby aren’t separated unless medically necessary or by parent request.

Stay with us till the end because it just keeps getting better!

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville Florida | Birth Jax, FL

We were assured that patients are given the choice to move about freely and birth in any position they are comfortable in. In addition there’s no pressure for circumcision. But if your baby boy is having the procedure done it can be done onsite right in the labor and delivery unit. Wireless monitoring is available for many patients and options for pain relief include narcotics like Stadol, spinal block or epidural, and Nitrous OxideThey’re also supportive of those who meet certain criteria and want a trial of labor after a cesarean (TOLAC) and even some twin vaginal births. 

There is an operating room (OR) on site for necessary cesareans!

Clear drapes and gentle cesarean are an option when general anesthesia isn’t used. The birthing person is allowed a birth partner and even a photographer in the room when awake. Mom and baby stay together; baby even rides on mom’s chest to the postpartum recovery room!

Those are amazing things!!

Without further ado we’ve saved the best for last!

As more people are learning about the support of Birth Doulas and Postpartum & Infant Doulas  some decide they don’t want an addition person there for the birth. Others have to decide between spending money for the 8-24 hours that labor and birth can last, a great childbirth education class, or spend it on support when they come home!

Not anymore!

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville, FL

Now expectant parents can plan for a supported birth AND enjoy all the things when they come home too! More sleep, hands on help, accurate breast and bottle feeding advice, yummy snacks, meal prep, emotional support, and companionship! Did I mention more sleep?!

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville, FL

Every person who oversees your care at UF Health North Hospital has taken a Birth Doula training. This means parents birthing at UF North Hospital get great medical care and built in birth doula support comes standard. This is exciting news for expectant parents in Jacksonville! It’s especially exciting for those who want to be prepared for what life will be like after they give birth and bring their babies home!

Not sure what a Postpartum & Infant Doula does? There’s noone better to explain this to you than Jacksonville’s only Postpartum & Infant Doula agency; First Coast Doulas! Get in touch and we’ll schedule up a time to speak with you and your partner by phone!

Happy birth and parenting!

 

Hospital Birth Bag Basics

Packing for a Hospital Birth Jax, FL | Hospital Birth Bag Basics Jax, FL

Hospital Birth Bag Basics

As your due date gets closer you’re probably wondering, “What are the hospital birth bag basics?” It’s one of the questions that inevitably comes up any time we get to talking about birth. You’ll likely get some ideas from your mom friends and your sister, but here’s a peek at the list we put together just for you. Having a birth professional who is also a mom share her point of view is kind of a perk!

I’m including a breakdown of why each of these items made the list! Bonus items added near the end! Don’t forget to grab your free printable!

Hospital Birth Bag Must Haves

Chapstick!

Laboring is hard work. Expect your mouth and lips to get dry.

Fluids and Snacks!

It’s so easy to get caught up in the here and now of labor. This goes double for the birth partner. Back by The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it’s important to stay hydrated and provide your body with nourishment to endure the marathon. Not to mention if the kitchen is closed you won’t have to wait forever for food after you give birth. If you’ve never been hangry before, you’ll likely feel that way after birth!

1-2 Bendy Straws

There’s nothing like wanting that sip of water or juice and having to change positions just to get it. No way, toss some bendy straws in your hospital birth bag!

Mints or Hard Candy

No one likes stinky breath, especially someone in labor! It could be their own breath or the breath of someone around her, having mints on hand is a quick way to freshen up. Bonus: when/if you feel nauseous, mint can help settle the stomach.

1-2 Hair Ties

Those lovely locks are amazing, but not hanging down in your face as you’re trying to focus inward and relax. It’s distracting, to say the least. It also helps to get the hair up off of her neck when labor reaches the second stage (pushing or breathing baby down). Tie the hair up off of the neck and apply a cool, damp cloth and you’re golden!

Hairbrush

Matted hair is a new mama’s nightmare, but having to use a hospital comb is just basic torture. Having your own brush with you will be a creature comfort that is small and easy to carry along.

Swimsuit

For the birth partner! I bet when you started thinking about your hospital birth bag basics, you weren’t considering a swimsuit! The water is a great tool for comfort and relaxation in labor. Getting into the water together and dimming the lights help to create an oxytocin (the love hormone)-filled birth ambiance. There’s nothing wrong with both of you being naked. Wearing undies will work in a pinch!

Phone and Charger

You probably won’t forget your phone, for most people, it’s like their third arm. The charger is an entirely different story! Pack one now! Invest in an extra just for your bag, eventually you’ll need it anyway.

Camera

Your phone doubles as a camera! I know, some of you are thinking, nope, no pictures. That’s understandable, but insider info here: more times than not parents who said no pics, but took pics said they were so thankful to have them. They just deleted what they didn’t want and have the others to cherish forever.

Rain Sounds or Relaxing Melody App

By now your hospital birth bag basics might feel like they are toeing the line on “essential”. Apps on your phone are a glorious thing! Go ahead and add the Contraction Timer App to you your phone while you’re at it!

The sounds of a hospital are less than relaxing. It’s not home. The beeps, the door, and strange voices can break your concentration and focus.  Getting into a good rhythm and groove only to be disturbed is a bad place to be. Prepare ahead by using your app to bring you to a state of relaxation at the end of pregnancy! When you practice you’ll be better able to tune into your relaxed state in childbirth.

Do Not Disturb Sign

You may want to make and take a sign for your door letting those who enter your room know before they enter that you are doing the damn thing and need some P-R-I-V-A-C-Y, sung to the tune of Aretha Franklin’s hit song, Respect! Get creative here, no right or wrong way!

Every Minute of Every Hour Baby Update

And, while you’re at it, for all those well-meaning friends and family members who are definitely more ready for you to have your baby that you are [insert eye roll here] when you get those texts just have them go here: Automatic Baby Update

Going Home Outfit

All the fun doesn’t have to be centered around just baby!  After all you grew your little bean, therefore you should come home comfortable and as stylish as you wanna be! Maybe toss in your favorite lip color too!

Ice Bag

Lower back pain is no joke! Heat and ice are tools in your comfort bag.  These work great to fill with hot water from the sink or ice from the freezer!

Tennis Ball

You don’t have to be Serena Williams to get in on this game! A tennis ball is a great massage tool. It can be used to apply direct pressure to areas of the lower back and butt. This tool can be used unassisted against a wall or behind your back on a bed or with a birth partner.

Unscented Lotion

Lotion can make massages more enjoyable, but UNscented is important! Your favorite scents could quickly become the most wretched smell you have ever experienced.

Birth/Yoga Ball

The ball is a phenomenal way to keep you in motion, don’t lose your rhythm! Get the correct size for your height and inflate it correctly! You’ll want a good slow release or anti-burst ball to be safe. The great news is that you can use it throughout pregnancy, labor, and even postpartum as you bouncer or sway with your baby.

Positive Birth Affirmations

The body is more apt to achieve what the mind believes so practice the affirmations that resonate with you and toss them in your bag for positive reinforcement through labor!

Placenta Transport Kit

If you are doing placenta encapsulation your Postpartum Placenta Specialist makes this process easy peasy! Remind your nurses and provider at the time you give birth that you are keeping your placenta to be made into capsules.

Here are a few extras to consider when going over your hospital birth bag basics:

  • Grab that baby book or keepsake for feet prints
  • A comfy gown for your post-pregnancy body.
  • Slippers keep your tootsies comfy and clean.
  • A nursing bra if you’re planning to breastfeed and maybe a few pads if you are already leaking colostrum.

For all of you who came here wondering, “What are the hospital birth bag basics,” We’ve included a FREE printable just for YOU! Don’t forget to click, print, use it, and of course, sharing is caring! We are all about making life as easy for new parents as possible!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

Elizabeth Luke

Childbirth Classes and Sunroofs

private childbirth classes | Jax FL | Best Birth Classes in Jax., FL

Childbirth Classes and Sunroofs

Childbirth classes and sunroofs, what do they have in common? Are you pregnant and seeking childbirth classes that are right for you? How do you choose? Is a class really necessary? I’ve shared my story in the past, I’ve had moms tell me it was helpful to them during their search for childbirth classes. Those who had a prior birth end in a way they didn’t anticipate found my story especially helpful.

I’d waited nine long months pregnant with my first.

I lovingly caressed my belly and enjoyed being pregnant (mostly). I couldn’t wait to meet him, hold him, and call him by his name. After 18 hours of labor, when I finally got to hold him in my arms, I just felt… exhausted and empty. Being awake for almost two days mostly without food will do that to you. I was frustrated at the expectations I felt by everyone to see my baby before I was even cleaned up after birth.  My hip felt bruised where he had been bumping against it during our labor.  He wouldn’t latch onto my breast. Then he fell asleep while I wolfed down two hospital-made turkey sandwiches with mayo on top.  Tired was an understatement.

This is how I started parenthood.

Exhausted, but also feeling like I should feel more, because I’d had a “good birth”.

It was a vaginal birth like I had planned for. My care provider was wonderful and respectful. My partner was super supportive and loving, and I had a perfect, precious baby in my arms.  It was good, right?  Everyone else was calling it a “good birth” so it must have been good.

Even after a few hours, when I really did connect and bond with my baby I couldn’t stop staring at him. His little nose, toes and everything about him was perfect. When I was really and truly in love…

I wanted more.

I felt like the classes I had taken still didn’t teach me that birth isn’t only about the outcome. In fact, the childbirth classes I had taken (and that many parents take) focused on “a healthy baby”, as if that were the only thing that mattered.

Of course it matters.

No one honestly thinks to themselves, “I want to have an amazing birth experience at the expense of my baby’s health.” No! We want balance. A healthy mom and baby and a satisfying experience no matter how our babies are born; vaginal or cesarean.

As one mom put it, “Sliding right through my vagina would be great, but if she really needs to use the sunroof that’s cool too.”

Oh, oh, oh, childbirth classes and sunroofs do have something in common!

Our birth experiences are about the choices we have along the way. Even then, it really isn’t about which choices we make, but how we feel about making them. My first birth isn’t the reason I became a doula, but it did change the way I write and recommend childbirth classes.

In my professional experience and in my personal opinion birth classes that are worth it should:

  • Be comprehensive and diverse
  • Cover the anatomy and physiology of birth.
  • Teach strategies to help you work through all the decisions you may face.
  • Help you determine a set role for each person who will be with your during your labor and birth.
  • Cover “natural” and pharmaceutical pain relief options.
  • Help you focus on your goals, but also approach birth with realistic expectations.
  • Teach the importance of choosing a provider and a hospital deliberately and with intention, so that the care you receive will align with your philosophy on birth.

In our classes and in The Prepared Parent Childbirth Classes taught by First Coast Doulas we cover all of those important things. We also cover topics like the importance of a special environment for birth. An environment that leaves a birthing family feeling like they really are the center of the world. That’s another check mark for a great childbirth class!

We know that birth is unpredictable and very often strays, or at least wanders a little from the written plan or idea we try to concrete into our mind.

But birth can also be more, so much more!

It’s not simply about whether or not your baby slides through the birth canal or pops the hatch to be born through the sunroof! You can learn how to have a birth centered on YOU! You’ll truly be prepared for the EXPERIENCE of birth. Even if you don’t get most of what’s on your “birth plan” your birth can still be an experience that helps you position yourself for a rewarding start along your parenting journey.

So whether this is your first baby or your last, from one mom to another—find childbirth classes that TRULY help you plan for the experience of birth!

Childbirth Classes in Jax FL | Night Nurse Jax FL

This blog was co-authored by Elizabeth Luke, owner of First Coast Doulas and Victoria McCollum, owner of The Virginia Baby Company.

childbirth classes jax fl | Jax FL Birthing Classes

Victoria McCollum is a doula extraordinaire, Supermom to three amazing boys, and a carbohydrate connoisseur who lives in Fredericksburg with her super handsome soldier.  You can connect with her on Facebook or on Instagram for birth and parenting tips, tricks and updates The Virginia Baby Company serves Northern and Central Virginia, from Arlington to Richmond to Charlottesville.

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Cesarean Birth

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Cesarean Birth | Jax FL Birth

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Cesarean Birth

There are 5 things everyone should know about cesarean birth! Cesarean birth just doesn’t get discussed as much as “natural birth” or vaginal birth. If it does, it is often in passing or in such a way as to incite fear! As your friendly, neighborhood doulas, we wanted to take a minute and talk about some aspects of Cesarean birth so that whether you are planning a C-section or not, you at least have a little more information on them, because let’s face it, birth is rarely black and white!

  1. Cesarean birth is birth, but it’s also major abdominal surgery

First and foremost, Cesarean birth is unequivocally birth. There is no “right” way to birth. That said, it is also major abdominal surgery. As such, the recovery can be fairly difficult for the majority of the population.  The body needs more time and more gentleness as it recovers from surgical birth (ß—see, surgery and birth!). Just think: the doctor has to cut through multiple layers to get to the prize! That is no easy feat and your body knows it. So, please be gentle with yourself for at least six weeks following B-day!

  1. It could take all day

If you are looking forward to cesarean birth because you are happy to schedule your baby’s birthday and you are arranging it to coincide with visits from the grandparents, this may be a little disappointing.  Yep, that 9:00 AM appointment could actually turn into a 9:00 PM birth. C-sections don’t guarantee that you’ll get to adhere to the itinerary! Emergencies happen all the time which means that your non-emergent birth time could get repeatedly pushed back depending on the hospital’s load and facilities. It isn’t likely, but it does happen often enough that it’s worth being aware.

  1. It can be just as scary

This doesn’t apply to everyone (I mean, really, when do birth scenarios ever apply across the board?), but Cesareans can induce fear and panic even in the coolest cucumber. So while you may enjoy the feeling of control that C-sections provide, you may also notice yourself shaking and trembling when the doctors explain the procedure or when you enter the stark room. This is normal. See point #1!

  1. You will feel

Yep. Even with the anesthesia, you actually will still feel! Before you panic, read on.  As weird as it is, most people report that they were not completely numb; however, the sensations were not painful. You will most likely feel the pressure and the pulling as the surgeon works, but it doesn’t hurt, even if it is unsettling.   This could partly be due to the fact that we can see what it is going on (partially) and therefore our brain expects something, so we perceive the sensations and partly because the epidural and spinal do not always completely block proprioception.

  1. You still need support

A good portion of people think that a C-section is the “easy way out”. Not only is this patently false, it is dismissive to those people who know that it’s false!  We often hear from people who’ve had Cesareans that they were so surprised that it wasn’t easy at all and they didn’t count on needing validation, emotional support, and practical help from outside their close family and friends. As a matter of fact, they felt relieved when they found out that C-sections are just as deserving and demanding of birth and postpartum help as vaginal births are. So, ensure you line up the perfect support team so that you feel at ease during and after the birth. See points #1, #2, #3, and #4

As usual, if you have further questions or would like to add a point to this list, leave it in the comments! The Jacksonville Baby Company and its team members support all parenting styles, choices, and needs! If you are planning for a cesarean birth our Cesarean Birth Prep Class is just for you! If you’re hoping for a vaginal birth and to avoid a cesarean birth, but want to be prepared for either, The Confident Birth & Baby Class is just for you! We hope you found these 5 things everyone should know about cesarean birth helpful!

Birth Methods Suck

 birth methods suck | childbirth classes jax fl

Birth Methods Suck

I’m gonna come out and say it. Personally and professionally I feel that birth methods and childbirth education that focuses on a single “method” rather than the individuals needs/desires suck.  Their inflexibility notwithstanding, they generally come with top-secret, super miraculous teachings that all but guarantee you’ll have the best birth. Not only is this misleading, I believe it creates more problems than it seeks to solve, even if unintentionally.

As the Jacksonville community and as previous First Coast Doulas clients know, we believe there is no one right or wrong way to birth or parent. Why would we believe there is one “right” way to approach childbirth education and coping with birth or parenthood?

We only argue that pineapple does go on pizza!

One of the biggest problems with specific childbirth education or birth methods I see is in their lack of flexibility and how that translates into real-world application.

If you have a stringent process or step-by-step “how-to”  for learning something that is completely unique and dependent on the person, their circumstances, etc.  how do you accommodate for individual and large-scale changes? While the information regarding the biology of pregnancy and childbirth are fact-based, and thus, simple enough to teach, the information dealing with helping people wade through those facts, their options, and their effects is entirely based on the individual family’s needs, goals, and values.

These birth methods employ a precise way to learn and apply that learning in handling pregnancy and birth with no room for deviation by the student or by updated hospital or care provider policy. Meaning, a method easily becomes too dogmatic and not realistic for our humanity of shifting expectations and requirements.

So what happens when a person learns a birth method in the hopes and anticipations that it will totally, or at the least, mostly work and then it doesn’t?

Well, unfortunately, they’re left with no Plan B and only a few ways in which they can deal. This is especially true the more obscure and branded the method is since oftentimes, the education component is lacking and the method built up hopes and dreams by the very nature of its superiority and its uniqueness.

While the birthing person may logically know what a contraction is, they may not know why and how it happens nor do they know all the various ways in which to alleviate the pain associated with them. They were counting on that one thing that no longer serves them.  Which leads to my last point…

Disappointment and guilt.

Parents become wrecked with guilt when their birth experience ends up disappointing, or worse, became traumatic. Parents feel guilty that they failed at the method; the one tried-and-true answer that has worked for everyone else, everywhere (or at least, that is what it feels like). They feel guilty that they invested time, money, and confidence. They feel guilty that they didn’t do it “the right way”.

This is even more pronounced when the birth plan is drastically changed from a stringent list, and it’s not fair.

It’s not fair because this guilt is unwarranted and can be prevented with comprehensive education that inspires expectant parents to fully understand the birth process, to learn multiple ways to deal, to explore all their options, and to make a Plan A and Plan B, and even maybe a Plan C.  Will it prevent feeling disappointment? No, nothing can ever be 100% and that is the point here. But, when you give yourself flexibility and adaptable ways to approach something as unpredictable as birth, you are increasing your chances of feeling successful, and thus, less guilty.

The solution is to put your family’s individual needs first and be a prepared parent!

Learn a bit of biology and birth physiology. Learn about effective communication and relationship building with your providers and birth team. Learn about the multitude of ways to deal with anxiety, fear, and pain. Learn about ways to research options and about differing techniques used in decision-making.

Skip the birth methods and focus on putting together all the pieces in a way that works for you! Remember there really is no right or wrong way, only different ways!

 

Cesarean Birth Prep Classes

cesarean birth jax, fl | birth classes in jax, fl

Finally, a class for parents having a cesarean birth!

Will you be welcoming a sweet baby or babies by way of cesarean birth? Are you supporting someone before, during, and after a cesarean birth? Feeling anxious, nervous, or out of touch with what to expect on the big day and weeks following the birth? The Jacksonville Baby Company understands the diverse needs of families. Our Cesarean Birth Prep Class is the only one of its kind for parents and support persons in the Jacksonville, Florida area.

Find out what couples are saying about the Cesarean Birth Prep Class!

Our Confident Birth and Baby Class is comprehensive and encompass the wide variations of birth choices and options including non-medicated and medicated vaginal birth, cesarean birth, and newborn and 4th trimester care. This Cesarean Birth Prep Class is a break-out class that focuses entirely on the process and beauty of birthing your baby via cesarean without all the other song and dance! 

Whether this is your first or 3rd cesarean birth we have expert tips and information to help you make this experience of a lifetime that much more wonderful!

Do you want to learn more about the process? Are you aware there are comfort techniques that are available to you? Are you clear on what options you have? Have you considered your partner’s role?

In the Cesarean Birth Prep Class you’ll discover all of those things as well as the things no books tell you! We’ll discuss the first hours after birth your fourth trimester body, infant feeding, and healing and recovery. This class is a one of a kind class offered exclusively by The Jax Baby Company.

The Jax Baby Company is dedicated to providing families with support, science & evidence-based information and education, and options for the childbearing years.

We’re here to help you transition more smoothly, confidently, and in the way that is best for you and your family! Whether you’re selecting the Confident Birth & Baby Class, the Birth Partner Prep Class, or the Cesarean Birth Prep Class you’ll feel prepared, encouraged, and reassured!

Not sure which class to take? No problem, contact us and we’ll work together one on one to help you make the decision that is right for you!