Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Heartland Prenatal yoga: April 24 -

Prenatal classes for Expectant Mothers

6 week course: Saturdays, April 24 - May 29 from 11:30-12:45pm

This course is based on Kundalini yoga, and designed to safely stretch and relax the mom-to-be in each trimester. No yoga experience is necessary. This is a great opportunity to do something for yourself and to meet other moms-to-be. Taught by Jennifer Harman Deslippe.

To register, click here, download the form, and send to us at 221 E College St, Suite 213, Iowa City, IA 52240. Or, you may email us at or call us at 319-354-4062.

Bamboo Birth Services
Certified Birth Doula
"experience an empowering no-to-low intervention hospital birth"

Mindful Birthing: Summer class

Mindful Birthing: An 8 week course for expectant mothers & couples.

The next course begins Saturday, June 5 through July 31 from 11-2pm. Cost is $250 and registration is required.

Mindful Birthing is designed to help mothers and their partners communicate their desires about labor and birth, learn to trust their instinctive voice, and allow their fears to be resolved prior to birthing. This class is not specific to one way of birthing or method of childbirth as we believe births unfold in organic and unique ways. There are as many ways to give birth as there are mothers and babies. Instead of learning one method, many practices that have proven beneficial in having an ideal birthing experience will be presented.

Tools that will be taught include prenatal yoga, mindfulness meditation, hypnosis for pain and anxiety management for childbirth, active birth postures, and supportive ways to think about your labor and birth without fear and one that empowers you.

This course is appropriate for all stages or pregnancy, especially your third trimester. No previous yoga experience is necessary. Mothers may attend class alone or with birthing partners.

Class teachers are Janelle Railey, MA, Betsy Rippentrop, PhD, and Monica Brasille.

To register, please download form, and send with check to Heartland Yoga, 221 E College St, Suite 213, Iowa City, IA, 52240. Kindly refer questions to, or call us at 319-354-4062.

Bamboo Birth Services
Certified Birth Doula
"emperience an empoweringno-to-low intervention hospital birth"

Bradley Method® Classes

Bradley Method® Classes
Written by Kara Seaton

Our Bradley Method® classes focus on educating the expectant mom and her partner on the natural process of birth and training the partner/coach how to support mom during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum

Bradley Method Childbirth Class Schedule
Each series contains 12 classes held on a weekly basis. Each class lasts approximately 2 hours.

Next series:

•Tuesday evenings beginning Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 7:00pm. This series is appropriate for due dates starting in late July.
Future series:

•Tuesday evenings beginning Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 7:00pm. This series is appropriate for due dates starting in late November.

•Tuesday evenings beginning Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 7:00pm. This series is appropriate for due dates starting in late March 2011.

Class dates and times may be subject to change
Also available
•Private classes for couples unable to attend a scheduled series

•Refresher courses (for couples who have previously taken a Bradley® series only)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Do you know the benefits of doula support?

Bradley instructor Sonya Eckel shares the benefits of doula support for couples planning on experiencing a natural childbirth. I love the concept of a doula respecting the mother-partner diad. Not interfering with their work, yet enhancing their experience and providing support in a way that allows them to maintin their intimate bond through the birth experience.

Do you know the benefits of doula support?

By Sonya Eckel
April 6th, 2010 Doulas- Finding your Match

What a wonderful addition to your natural birth!

As a Bradley Method® Childbirth Educator, I’d like to briefly cover why doulas can be such an excellent adjunct to Bradley Method® classes when you are wanting to birth your baby naturally. I’ve had several couples in my classes who choose to work with a doula. They have been very grateful for the extra pair of hands, encouragement and expertise! Here’s what Elisa, mother of Isla, has shared about their birth experience with the combination of Bradley® classes and an excellent doula:

“They say that the only things we fear are the things we don’t understand and nothing proved that more to me than labor. One of the most asked questions to pregnant woman (behind “When are you due?” and “What are you having?” of course) is “Are you nervous?”. I never was. People thought that was funny, but it was true. I was never nervous or fearful of what was about to happen. The Bradley classes had prepared me so well on what would happen during labor, I only felt excitement. I understood the process of labor, therefore I wasn’t afraid of it.

If the Bradley classes were our best investment in preparing for childbirth, our doula, Jun-Nicole Matsushita was our second best! Having Jun-Nicole freed my husband to concentrate on coaching me and using what we learned during Bradley classes, not worrying about things that needed to be done. When I look back, I am amazed how Jun-Nicole was steps ahead of us during labor-getting what we needed next all ready. When I wanted to be in the tub, it was filled. When I thought I should eat something, there was food. All of this happened without us knowing and allowed Micah to never leave my side. Neither one of us worried about anything during labor, it was all taken care of before we realized it needed to be done.”

One very important thing when choosing a doula is to interview several to see who is the best fit. Just like hiring your caregiver (doctor/ midwife), you want to be sure that this is someone who you are excited to have as part of your birthing team! Another good idea is to ask each doula if you can call some of her past clients as a reference. It’s also very powerful to talk with other new parents who have experienced a birth much like what you are hoping for- here is where you will get some of your best referrals and recommendations!

In the majority of “Bradley Method births”, the father plays the key “coach” role. And in other Bradley births, another person close to the mother takes the “coach” role. Many couples seek a doula who does not interrupt this important “mom-coach” relationship, but rather is that perfect extra pair of hands in the background helping the process to flow as naturally as possible!

Why use a doula?

(Adapted from

A doula provides continuous non-clinical support to a woman and her coach during pregnancy, birth, and the early weeks of parenting. A doula at your side during labor is focused solely on you and your partner to provide emotional support, practical assistance, and a calm, consistent, objective presence. Part of a doula’s role includes suggesting appropriate comfort measures such as position changes, performing light massage, and assisting with guided relaxation. She may make suggestions to help your coach best support you, while yet allowing him/ her to fully experience the birth as a loving participant. Throughout your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period your doula can help you understand basic terminology, procedures and medical practices to further your efforts to make informed decisions. Your doula should be part of a whole team, where each member has a special role to play in supporting you for your birth.

“Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth. Review.” 2007. The Cochrane Collaboration. John Wiley and Sons, Ltd. “Results: Sixteen trials involving 13,391 women met inclusion criteria and provided usable outcome data. Primary comparison: women who had continuous intrapartrum support were likely to have a slightly shorter labour, were more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth and less likely to have intrapartum analgesia or to report dissastisfaction with their childbirth experiences…. Authors conclusions: All women should have support throughout labour and birth. “Social Support by Doulas During Labor and the Early Postpartum Period.” Hospital Physician, September 2001. Bruce A. Meyer, Jane A. Arnold, and Debra Pascali-Bonaro.

In summary, doula support can also result in:

» reducing the length of labor by 25%

» reducing your chances of having a cesarean birth by more than 50%

» reducing mothers’ requests for epidurals by 60%

» reducing mothers’ requests for other pain medications by 30%

» reducing the need for oxytocin augmentation or use of a vacuum or forceps by 40%

» a higher incidence of breastfeeding success

» a mother and partner who consistently report high levels of satisfaction with their birth experiences.

(In my Resources section, you’ll find the Iowa City Doulas link- to date, I’m not aware of a comparable link for all of the Cedar Rapids doulas- please let me know if you know otherwise!) I wish you the best in finding that perfect doula match for your birth!)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: obstetrician interview regarding Cesareans

April is Cesarean Awareness Month.
Can you imagine driving 3 hours to see your obstetrician or midwife for prenatal visits? Can you imagine feeling your first sensations of labor and driving that long? Can you imagine driving home with a newborn in the car and sitting on a donut for 3 hours?

I am working with women who are driving from all parts of Iowa to work with the Univesity of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and obstetricians. The sad part is that they are forced to seek care so far from home. The great part is that the UIHC CNMs welcome VBAC patients and are great advocates for VBAC awareness and primary cesarean prevention. 

SOURCE: [full interview]
University of Iowa Health Care Today April 2009

April Is Cesarean Awareness Month


The National Center for Health Statistics reported last month that the cesarean or c-section rate hit an all-time high in 2007, with a rate of 31.8 percent, up 2 percent from 2006.

When a cesarean is medically necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and baby, and worth the risks involved. However, a vaginal birth is still considered the safest birth for a woman and her baby. Marygrace Elson, MD, director of general gynecology in the Women's Health Center at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, talks about c-sections:

Why are the number of caesarian births on the rise?

As you mentioned, the total cesarean rate in the U.S. is now at about 32 percent. That's about doubled over the last 20 years. Operative deliveries have stayed right at about 9 percent. Here at UI Hospitals and Clinics, our rate is right at the national average, right around 32 percent.

These rates are impacted by several factors. The medical-legal climate in the United States certainly looms large for anyone providing obstetric care, because if there's a poor outcome with the baby, the plaintiff's attorney will argue that either one should have done a c-section, or, if you did, they will argue it should have been done sooner.

We're also starting to see women request elective cesarean births. It's estimated that about 2.5 percent of all births in the United States now are c-sections on maternal request. There are lots of motivations for this request. Sometimes families simply like the idea of picking a day for logistical reasons. The only real medical reason to consider elective cesarean has to do with pelvic support.

There's absolutely no question that having a baby weakens a woman's pelvic floor and this can lead to later problems with urinary incontinence or prolapse. Aside from a longer hospital stay and the other things we've already discussed, elective cesarean birth after 39 completed weeks is not a very big deal the first time around. The real issue of elected cesarean birth shows up with the next pregnancy because any time there's a scar in the uterus, the placenta may implant in the wrong place; for example, in front of the baby and this sets women up for hemorrhage and possible need for hysterectomy.

What bottom line advice would you give to pregnant women who are considering their birthing options?

Women should discuss their questions and concerns with the provider taking care of them during the pregnancy, including pain relief in labor and what the provider's philosophy is about interventions in labor and birth.

Together, they should discuss her risk factors and what the provider's recommendations are for birth route. This discussion should take into account the woman's age, her history, her future pregnancy plans. Both the woman and the provider should be on the same page. If a woman has had a prior cesarean birth and wants a trial labor, and if she's a good candidate but her local hospital cannot offer her this option, we would always be happy to see her in consultation in University of Iowa Hospitals and consider co-managing with her local provider.

Bamboo Birth Services- Doula
"empowering no-to-low intervention hospital birth"
specilizing in VBAC