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A resource to support expecting moms (and partners, too!) with evidence-based information to navigate the awesome adventure of pregnancy, birth, and being a new parent. Vanessa Merten provides evidence based info that goes way beyond the typical “pregnancy instruction manual”. Every episode is designed to give you all of the evidence, research, pros, cons, risks, and benefits – all so you decide what the best option is for YOU and feel confident about your decisions during your pregnancy and ...
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Fifty years ago, you went to the doctor, and whatever they told you was the correct answer. They were the experts and the gatekeepers of information. Today, doctors are still experts, but access to information is widely available to patients. There has been a major shift in patients being informed, especially concerning pregnancy and birth. Ideally…
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Happy Mother’s Day! Whether you are expecting your first baby, already have kids, or listen to this podcast because you help support new moms, I hope you feel celebrated today. I want to thank you for being a part of this podcast and for the honor of allowing me to be with you on your journey to motherhood. To celebrate Mother’s Day, you can get 50…
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You see a midwife or OBGYN because they are the experts in prenatal care, pregnancy, and birth. They are trained to identify risks, ensure you and your baby are healthy, and assist you in navigating pregnancy and childbirth. In the nine months you are pregnant, you can expect to have around 14 prenatal appointments. Each appointment allows your car…
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For many birth workers, where they enter this work is not the same place where they wind up. For example, some may enter this work providing labor support. Yet they may find once they have their own children, that postpartum work is a better fit. Others may enter into the field via postpartum support. Then, life leads them into childbirth or newbor…
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Your care provider is the cornerstone of your prenatal care and birth experience. You will work with this expert resource throughout pregnancy to make critical decisions. Choosing your care provider is more nuanced than having a midwife for a home birth or an OB/GYN for a birth at a hospital. Your comfort and trust in your care provider is more imp…
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A birth plan is a document that outlines your preferences for labor and what happens directly following the birth of your baby. A birth plan is much more than a piece of paper you hand to your care provider. It is the process you go through to prepare for your desired birth experience. This process will lay the foundation for preparing you for the …
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As doulas, it's not uncommon to encounter individuals with a fear of birth. This fear can be rooted in many sources. First, the way in which TV represents birth. Second, the stories our friends and family share; and third, an individual's lived experiences. The media often portrays birth as a dramatic process. The water breaks and the camera cuts t…
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Administering erythromycin eye ointment to newborns is a standard procedure in the United States to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum. Ophthalmia neonatorum is a newborn eye infection that affects 1-2% of newborns in the United States. This infection can be caused by sexually transmitted infections, viruses, and bacteria. As with any intervention, ther…
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Doula mistakes come in all shapes and sizes. We're human, so it's understandable that mistakes will happen. Some mistakes will be unavoidable and only discovered through trial and error. Others can be avoided. Common mistakes include a lack of effective communication, such as being slow or failing to follow up on inquiries or client communications.…
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In the United States, one in three babies is born via cesarean. Every expecting mother should be knowledgeable about cesarean birth, even if that is not your primary birth plan. As cesarean births have become more common, options have expanded to make the procedure more mom- and baby-friendly. In recent years, the idea of a gentle cesarean has emer…
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A cesarean section, also known as a C-section, is a surgical procedure to deliver a baby through incisions in the mother's abdomen and uterus. You and your doctor may plan a cesarean birth if you have a complication that would make a vaginal delivery difficult. Every expecting mother should be knowledgeable about cesarean birth, even if that is not…
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One of the most common questions we hear is, "How do we navigate the question of how many clients we have supported when we first start out?" The question "How many births have you attended?" Or "How many families have you supported postpartum?" is not uncommon. Certain personality types are more inclined to ask these types of questions. For them, …
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For most of human history, a mother in labor was free to move around and change positions at will, with the most common positions being upright. In the mid-1600s, obstetricians started putting mothers on their backs. Thankfully, in recent years, more evidence has supported allowing a mother to choose the positions in which she labors. How your body…
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The third stage of labor starts after your baby is born and ends with birthing the placenta. Even after your beautiful baby is born your uterus will continue to contract. These contractions are generally more mild than the contractions you experience during birth. As your uterus begins to contract and shrink, your placenta will detach from your ute…
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Supporting single parents through pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period looks different than supporting those who are partnered. How we approach labor or postpartum support with an unpartnered parent will look different. Many factors will be different when planning for labor. For example, will they get to their birth location? Or who will mak…
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Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree. While dates are high in sugar, they also contain nutrients like fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B6. There are many claims about the health benefits of eating dates. Among the many claims is that dates can naturally induce labor and make labor shorter. Sounds pretty great, right? Thankfully, …
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Many studies demonstrate the benefits of yoga during pregnancy, from reducing time in labor to improving newborn outcomes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that modified yoga is one of the safest exercises for pregnant women. ACOG also cautions against specific poses and hot yoga. As with examining any activity, there …
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As birth professionals, providing evidence-based information to our clients is essential. However, it's not uncommon to wonder where to find quality research. Knowing how to read and interpret the evidence is also a skill that takes time and discernment. The first step is understanding the types of studies that exist. From randomized controlled tri…
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Research has firmly established that strength and resistance training benefits physical and mental health. Lifting weights may be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about strength training. This can include resistance bands, kettlebells, and body-weight exercises like pushups, pull-ups, or squats. Even activities like plyometrics and …
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Cardio is any workout in which you elevate your heart rate. Many exercises fall under the umbrella of cardio. This includes walking, hiking, running, biking, rowing or elliptical machines, dancing, playing sports, or HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Activities like jumping jacks, burpees, and jumping rope are also cardio workouts. A large b…
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According to the American Cancer Society, vulvar cancer accounts for 6% of all cancers of the female reproductive organs. Over 1600 individuals will die from vulvar cancer per year. Cancers of the uterus, cervix, and ovaries are far more well-known, identified, and diagnosed. Yet, cancer of the vulva is a diagnosis that is often hard to obtain. Oft…
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Regular exercise during pregnancy can decrease your risk of complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean birth and promote a healthy weight gain. Working out can also ease common pregnancy symptoms like constipation and back pain. In addition, living an active lifestyle will improve your physical and mental health in the shor…
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The most significant adjustment period is the first three months after your baby is born. In reality, recovering from birth takes longer for many new parents. You are healing and navigating how to care for yourself and a tiny human. This is a big transition from pregnancy and an even more significant transition from pre-pregnancy. Your baby is tran…
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Advanced maternal age is defined as a pregnant individual who is 35 years of age or older at the estimated due date or date of delivery. Pregnancy at or beyond this age is considered a risk factor for adverse outcomes in the birthing person and baby. When one is considered "advanced" in age, it is common for closer monitoring to be recommended duri…
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During pregnancy, you focus on your health, baby, and planning for birth. Many expecting moms often overlook what happens after birth and what they may experience postpartum. Your body needs time to recover after nine months of pregnancy, giving birth, and establishing breastfeeding. Many things happen after you have your baby that no one talks to …
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Week 28 until your baby’s birth, around 40 weeks, is the last stretch until you meet your baby. This episode covers everything you need to know to navigate the third trimester. Your baby undergoes many changes this trimester to prepare for life outside your womb. This trimester can be challenging as your belly keeps growing, and you have some new s…
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Combination feeding is one of many approaches families choose when feeding their baby. It may be the plan from the start. Or, clients may find themselves settling into combination feeding due to postpartum challenges. Some parents may feel that taking on 100% of the responsibility for infant feeding is an overwhelming task. For these individuals, s…
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Weeks 13 to 27 of your pregnancy tend to be the favorite period for many expecting moms. This episode covers everything you need to know to navigate the second trimester. Your belly will start showing, and you can feel your baby kicking. By this point, morning sickness should be subsiding. You have adjusted to many lifestyle changes to have a healt…
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The first 12 weeks of your pregnancy are the most significant adjustment period. This episode covers everything you need to know to navigate the first trimester. Your baby is building organs and structures. You will experience some physical and emotional symptoms of pregnancy. Understanding common first-trimester symptoms can help you cope with som…
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Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders impact 15-21% of pregnant and postpartum individuals, according to the National Institute of Health. As birth professionals, it is likely that you will encounter a client who experiences a mood or anxiety disorder during pregnancy or after birth. We must be able to identify the signs and symptoms of those who ma…
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