Bump Naturally – Childbirth Education & Doula

Natural Childbirth Education, Doula, Photographer – Bossier City, LA / Shreveport, LA


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You Are What You Eat (& What You Slather on your Skin)

As soon as I found out I was pregnant with my son, I immediately cleaned up my eating habits (started buying organic, added lots of protein, made sure to drink half my body weight in ounces of water) but it never even crossed my mind to look at what I was slathering ON my body and belly on a daily basis. I eventually heard through the grapevine that the acne regimen I was using was not recommended during pregnancy or nursing (which was confirmed by my doctor). I figured this was only the case because it was a harsh acne product… I never thought that my “natural” and “organic” shampoo/conditioner and makeup products from Target and Sephora could be “toxic”. Clearly, they wouldn’t be for sale if they weren’t safe, right?

#SwitchtoSafer w/ Beautycounter

To my horror, I learned (soon after the birth of my daughter) that I was blissfully unaware that companies could and were green-washing products with marketing buzz words like “gluten free,” “organic,” “botanical,” and “natural” that hold absolutely no meaning in the self regulated market of personal care products. Did you know that the U.S. hasn’t passed any major protective legislation banning harmful ingredients in personal care products since 1938 (despite the introduction of over 80K new ingredients since then)?! I quickly discovered that the majority of the products I had been using my entire life were full of yuck. And when I say yuck, I mean carcinogens, hormone disruptors, allergens and God knows what else.

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The Story of Arlyn’s Birth

While I know only 5% of moms deliver on their due date (and it’s super common for that day to come and go), I wasn’t mentally prepared to go beyond 41 weeks. My son arrived a day before his due date, so I figured his sister would arrive in similar fashion but that was not the case.

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Photo Credit: Virginia Lee Photography

Early on, I learned that I had an anterior placenta which is not as common and can cause positioning issues with baby (they tend to favor a posterior position or even go breech). I made sure to see my chiropractor (Diamond Chiropractic Health Center) regularly to stay aligned and give her ample room to get into a good position. I was lucky that she was head down the whole time but she stayed posterior or transverse right up until I went into labor.

After trying all the witchcraft I could think of, at my 41 week appointment I decided to try a membrane strip to see if that would help get things going. I waited and still, no contractions. Finally, at 41+1 in the afternoon I started having very mild but consistent contractions. I was hopeful that this was the start of labor but with Bradley (read his birth story here) I never really had early labor (I woke up in active labor) so I wasn’t sure if this was actually it. Sure enough, around 9:30pm my contractions fizzled out and I was feeling pretty defeated. Luckily, I was able to get a great night of sleep. In the morning, I decided to use my breast pump and apply some clary sage essential oil to see if I could get contractions going again. Within an hour, I was having consistent (and slightly stronger than the night before) contractions about 6-10 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds long. We decided to labor at home and wait for our scheduled appointment that morning at 9am.

Union arrival to my OB appointment, we had an BPP ultrasound to check fluid levels (since they had been steadily decreasing) and sure enough my fluid was non existent. The good news was that she finally turned anterior!!! When my OB (Dr. Bellmann) checked me, I was fully effaced, 5cm and baby was at 0 station. Although I didn’t feel like I needed to admit to hospital (or even need of my doula yet), Bellmann encouraged me to get settled as she expected me to progress quickly!

Upon being admitted to WK Pierremont around 10:30am, I alerted my birth team and had my photographer and doula meet me at hospital. We set up my room by firing up my birth playlist, hanging my birth affirmation banner, displaying my labor candles and diffusing my lavender essential oil.

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Around 12pm, Bellmann came to check on me and I was at 7cm and starting to recognize signs of transition. My contractions were now on top of each other and I felt like I didn’t have any breaks. I was so happy to have my doula and husband there for physical and emotional support. Swaying on hands and knees was something that helped me through the tough contractions.

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My Decision to Plan a Home Birth

Choosing to birth at home was not a decision I made lightly… In fact I never even really considered the idea until recently. I’m still not 100% committed but I have decided to plan for my dream birthing environment! I certainly don’t want to take on any unnecessary risks and if any red flags come up (GBS+, blood pressure issues, etc.) I will certainly change my plans accordingly.

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The birth of my son Bradley was a literal whirlwind. When labor begin, I was basically in hard active labor immediately and was in transition just few short hours later. Since subsequent babies tend to come even quicker, I was having a lot of anxiety about when to head to hospital and worrying that I wouldn’t have time to set up/use all of my birthing equipment (birth tub, stool, etc.). I kept envisioning my husband lugging all my birth swag and struggling to get everything set up in our small hospital room only to have to follow hospital policy and get out of tub every 20 mins… It just seemed overwhelming and stressful. Not to mention, if I decided to labor at home… we may have a baby born at home by accident. I decided it made more sense just to prepare for the possibility of birthing at home and now I’m pretty excited about that option 🙂  Continue reading


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Maternity Style Hacks

Maternity clothing is expensive and somewhat limited. Since I was pregnant during the winter (in Minot, ND) with my first child and currently pregnant in the 100 degree summer heat (Bossier City, LA), I decided to get a little creative instead of investing in a whole new maternity wardrobe.

Dresses

I got this jersey fabric t-shirt dress (in three different colors) on sale for $15 each at Old Navy! The stretchy fabric makes it perfect for accommodating a growing bump. Any dress you already have that is big enough (even if it’s not stretchy) will work if you add a high waisted belt. Adding a belt helps give your bump a more defined shape so you don’t just look like a blob.

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Preggo Product: Raspberry Leaf Tea

I swear this tea gave my uterus super powers the first time around (with my lightening fast labor)… so you better believe I’m drinking it religiously this time around as well.PreggoProducts-3

Raspberry Leaf Tea is believed to help “tone” the uterus, increase milk production, decrease nausea, and ease labor pains. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Many other pregnancy teas contain red raspberry leaf to help promote uterine health during pregnancy.

I recommend starting to drink Raspberry Leaf Tea around 20 weeks. Begin with just one cup a day. You can increase to 2 cups a day around 25 weeks, 3 cups a day around 30 weeks and the last couple weeks try to consumer 4 cups a day! This tea really doesn’t have much of a flavor so you may choose to add some honey or almond milk to it but I typically just drink it as is.

I’d love to hear your experiences with drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea during pregnancy! Do you think it helped tone your uterus?


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Preggo Product: Piper Wai

Since I’m pregnant, I’ve decided to start a new blog series about products I love to use during my pregnancy. First up is the natural deodorant, Piper Wai

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Our skin is our largest organ and while pregnant it’s even more important to limit the amount of chemicals and yucky stuff we lather on our skin. One thing, that’s a must is deodorant… but I hated using the aluminum kind (especially while growing another human). I had been searching for an alternative but had no luck and kept going back to my aluminum-laced Secret deodorant. Continue reading


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Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy

Prior to my pregnancy, I had never been to a chiropractor. I’d never had any chronic headaches or back pain before so I never saw the need. I learned in my natural childbirth class that chiropractic care during pregnancy could potentially lead to a shorter and easier labor… so of course I was going to try it out!

During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis in preparation for childbirth. This is great but it can also cause your body to become out of alignment. Regular chiropractic care (by a Webster Certified Chiropractor) during pregnancy can not only ensure efficient communication between your body and baby but can also reduce pain, improve digestion, help you to sleep better and so much more. Continue reading