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Pregnancy is normal. Birth is safe in any setting. Discover your choices.

568 pregnancy article submissions by the Mothering community.

Natural Parenting Toolbox: Labor Supplies Checklist

Now is the time to stock up on things you might need during labor. If you are giving birth away from home you can begin to pack your suitcase. Here are things you might consider having handy at home, or packing up to take with you: A couple of your favorite nightgowns or long pajama tops. You can choose one that is made for nursing, if you prefer. Something comfortable for your feet such as slippers or socks, or maybe a pair of slipper socks with rubberized bottoms. Hot water bottles, heading pads, and icepacks. A tennis... read more

Body Wise: Breathing Exercises in Labor

There are three kinds of breathing exercises that you will want to practice during the last weeks of pregnancy and use during the first stage of labor. These are variations on the classic Lamaze-prepared childbirth breathing. The deep cleansing breath. This is a simple breath. Sit with your spine comfortably straight. Put your hands on your abdomen. Slowly inhale as you watch your belly rise. Slowly exhale. Let out a sound as you exhale. Use this deep cleansing breath at the beginning of each contraction to help focus you and then begin the chu-chu or moan-pant. The... read more

Maternity Center Questions

By Michelle CrouchWeb Exclusive - February 13, 2009 When I was expecting my first baby, the nurses who gave the hospital tour stressed how comfortable the hospital was with natural childbirth. Instead of asking specific questions about what that meant, I believed them. I should have known better. Though my labor was normal, the nurses would not unhook me from the fetal monitor to let me walk around the room to ease my contractions. They didn't have birthing balls or a squat bar available. At one point, they even tried to keep my doula out of the room. Despite those... read more

Midwifery in the U.S.

May 03, 2011 by Geradine SimkinsPresident, and Interim Executive Director, Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) This article is excerpted with permission of editor, Geradine Simkins, from "Into These Hands: Wisdom from Midwives." Published by Spirituality & Health Books, April 2011. Every new member of the human family arrives on Earth through the body of a woman. Each day on our planet, the majority of babies emerge from the waters of their mother’s womb into the hands of a midwife. Since the dawn of time, midwives have been receiving the generations into their... read more

A Sacred Pregnancy

A special thank you to Anni Dautler for writing this guest blog post on the sacredness that is pregnancy and birth! When I was pregnant with my second child, Lotus, I became obsessed with trying to find women I could connect with that knew about the sacredness of birth and the rite of passage process that every mother goes through, but few mark. My pregnancy craving was for that sisterhood that used to exist back in the day when women lived in tribes and pregnancy wisdom was passed down from mother to mother. Not being able to find what I was truly looking... read more

Planning for a Calm Birth

Photo by Christy Scherrer When you hear the words calm birth, do you picture a zen-like setting?  Do you imagine experiencing as little labor pain as possible or having a birth that follows a scripted plan? Ready for a surprise? Studies show that your confidence in yourself and your ability to make your own decisions about your care has a much greater impact on your birth experience than even how much labor pain you experience.  As birth doula Wendy Fowler, CD(DONA), says, Feeling in control and [being] part of the decision... read more

How Childbirth Went Industrial: A Deconstruction

By Henci GoerWeb Exclusive - November 27, 2006 “The trouble with people is not that they don’t know but that they know so much that ain’t so.”-- Josh BillingsHenci Goer, author of The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, skewers a recent, ripe-for-the-deconstructing article in the New Yorker on the rise of cesarean sections. If you read Atul Gawande's article with mounting dismay, this brilliant, research-based riposte will leave you thoroughly restored. Gawande’s history of obstetrics begins with the premise that childbirth is a complicated, dangerous business... read more

What Specialized Knowledge Does a Doula Have?

One thing to realize is that a Doula is very schooled in the knowledge of Childbirth - labor, all its phases and stages, its nuances.  Also all the terms and measurements the Doctors will be using to decide how ready you are for labor, such as your Bishop's Score, which includes the station of the baby in the pelvis, the situation of the cervix, it's effacement, & dilation and what all that means in concert.  She knows what labor positions to use when, to help keep labor moving forward, to help keep the baby in an optimal position, to alleviate some of the pain you're... read more

You Can Be A Birth Advocate - The Time Is NOW

I have been thinking a lot about birth advocacy lately. There is a national rally coming up this Labor Day- The National Rally for Change (go here to find a location near you.) A friend of mine is hosting one near me- THANKS RUTHIE! And I bet there is one near you too. Change in birth is in the air- all that needs to happen is WOMEN need to get things rolling. This will have to be a grass roots movement, driven by the consumer. Ladies- that consumer is you and me. I teach birth classes and I blog a lot- for me that is my small way of having... read more

Bellyrama: Celebrating Birth and Mothering Through Yoga

Anna Melzer at Bellyrama 2011 Thank you to Alisa Blackwood for the guest post. When Anna Melzer’s water broke at 41 weeks pregnant, her contractions were manageable. She faced two choices: go to the hospital early or drive to Minneapolis’ Lake Harriet, where an outdoor yoga festival for pregnant women and mothers was about to begin. She chose the yoga festival, aptly named “Bellyrama.” “I was so happy with my choice… mamas, sunshine, the lake, the breeze, yoga, squats, dancing… heaven! Best yoga practice ever!” Melzer says. She spent... read more

Mothering › Pregnancy Articles