Protein in Pregnancy: What’s the big deal?

Have you ever wondered just how important your diet is for your growing baby in your belly? Have you ever allowed craving after craving to drive your food intake? Have you ever felt like your body only wanted to eat carbs, carbs and more carbs? If you have answered yes to one or all of these questions, this blog post is for you.

Throughout pregnancy, a protein rich diet can make all the difference in maternal and fetal health. It can reduce risk factors for pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, and even improve your birth outcome. But how?!

When your baby is growing the fastest, during the second and third trimester, it is vital that your body intakes protein which contains amino acids. These acids are the building blocks for you and your baby. Most experts recommend consuming a minimum of 80 to 120 grams of protein per day while pregnant. It is also important to use salt to taste. Between 20-25% of your daily calories should come from protein. As explained in the chart below, albumin is made directly from the protein mom eats which in turn increases blood volume. When mom doesn’t get enough calories, the protein is burned up rather than being used to make albumin. This unfortunately drops blood volume. The result of high blood pressure is due to the kidneys producing an enzyme called renin which makes the blood vessels constrict. This down spiral of events often leads to early signs of pre-eclampsia and usually early induction of baby.

Adequate protein and salt for the pregnant mom are vital in an overall healthy pregnancy and an uncomplicated delivery. Best choices that include protein are as follows: meat and poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, dairy products, beans and peas, nuts and seeds, high protein grains, protein powder. If the mother will increase the amount of salt, protein, and calories that she eats, the blood volume will increase, and blood pressure will come down to a normal level. Sometimes, this could even mean eating an ounce or two of protein every hour. It is in fact possible to reverse pre-eclampsia risks with proper protein-rich nutrition. For more information on the link between nutrition and pre-eclampsia, see www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com.

protein in the maternal diet

New Childbirth Classes in Baltimore

We have had the honor of providing childbirth classes in Baltimore since 2014. There are many reasons we love and use the Birth Boot Camp curriculum to prepare couples for an amazing birth. The materials are unmatched and the curriculum, which is updated with current statistics and research yearly, is the most modern and comprehensive we have found.

Since the program was launched in 2011, it has had amazing growth. Birth Boot Camp childbirth classes are now taught throughout the United Stated, as well as in Canada and Guam. The latest, and potentially most exciting change, has just been announced.  In addition to the comprehensive 10-week childbirth series, Birth Boot Camp will now offer 5 new classes to meet the different needs of birthing couples.

homebirth baltimore

 

 

Training Couples for an Amazing Out-of-Hospital Birth

This class gives you all the tools and information you need to know about the nuts and bolts of labor.  We will discuss the stages and variations of labor and tools to keep labor pain and discomfort at a minimum.  Waterbirth, labor positions, and relaxation techniques are also addressed. This 4-series class is $220 and includes a beautiful color workbook.

 

 

infant care class baltimore

 

 

Homecoming: Life with a New Recruit

Get parenthood off to a great start with this 2-series class.  Topics include: postpartum health, newborn procedures, babywearing, breastfeeding, and safe sleep.  This class includes a workbook and a 3.5 hour breastfeeding video download, which discusses feeding positions, common challenges, and pumping and returning to work.  The fee is  $115

 

 

food and fitness

 

Food & Fitness

Aside from preparation, staying low risk increases the likelihood of meeting your birth goals.  Join us for this 3 hour workshop to discuss how eating well and preparing your body can be the most effective way to remain low risk.  We will discuss nutrients that are crucial to a maternal diet as well as exercises and stretches to promote flexibility and stamina, giving you the most comfort during pregnancy and birth.  This class includes a workbook.  The fee is $95.

 

 

Classes coming in January 2018 include:

Coping Strategies for an Amazing Birth

Training for an Amazing Hospital Birth

 

We proudly provide our childbirth classes in Baltimore at The Womb Room in Hampden.  To learn more about our classes or to see our class calendar, click here.

 

Natural Pain Relief Options For Birth

Maybe you are looking to have a natural birth experience? Or perhaps, you plan on getting that epidural as soon as you get to the hospital! No matter what your ideal birth looks like, the majority of women will benefit from some great natural pain relief options and techniques to help them get through contractions!

Labor is so aptly named, as it is the purposeful hard work you do, on the final journey to meet your baby! During labor your body goes through incredible physical, emotional, and hormonal changes. This transformation of birth is often accompanied by a substantial degree of discomfort. Of course laboring women want to mitigate pain, but short of using pharmacological interventions, how do you really reduce pain in labor and birth? You support your body’s own natural pain relieving abilities! Here is the key to natural pain relief: During birth you want to reduce cortisol levels, the hormone produced in response to stress, and catecholamines, the ‘fight or flight’ hormones, produced in response of fear. And you want to increase oxytocin and beta-endorphin levels, to help facilitate labor, provide a sense of euphoria, and alleviate pain. The following seven natural pain relief options for birth help your body balance specific hormones, to ease labor discomforts.

Education
Educating yourself about pregnancy, labor, and birth will help build your knowledge, prepare you emotionally and mentally, and give you the necessary tools and techniques to navigate the modern birth landscape. Education serves as an important natural pain relief tool, because you are replacing fear of the unknown with information and excitement about your birth. When you know what to expect from the birth process, it becomes much easier to cope with the pain of labor. You can educate yourself by taking a comprehensive childbirth course, read birth stories, and find informational and supportive books about the birth process. Knowing what to expect will build your confidence and prove to be a powerful pain relief tool!

Relaxation
There are several facets to relaxation that you should consider. You want to create a relaxing birth environment and learn to relax, both physically and emotionally. Employing this trifecta will serve as exceptional natural pain relief during labor. First, you want to create a relaxing birth environment. Curating a serene atmosphere with dim lighting, candles, aromatherapy, and calming music can get the oxytocin flowing, and ease tension to help you enjoy labor.

It is also important to relax both physically and emotionally. A recent study suggests engaging in relaxation exercises, through a mindfulness-based practice during pregnancy, can help reduce anxiety and facilitate an easier and more satisfying birth experience. Mindfulness is simply a state of awareness, that arises from paying attention to the present moment. This mindfulness app, specifically created for pregnancy, birth, and parenthood, is a fantastic training tool to help you engage in relaxation wherever you are. There are also several simple, but effective exercises that will teach you how to relax your muscles during times of tension and stress. To benefit most from these physical and emotional relaxation exercises, set aside time once or twice per day during your pregnancy. Relaxation training can truly help you have an amazing birth experience.

Movement
Your baby must navigate down and out through your pelvis during labor and birth. Movement is key in facilitating this, and serves as an important pain relief strategy for you. Getting into a more upright position, or even just changing positions regularly can really help you manage even the most intense contractions. Movement can speed up a slow labor, help a posterior baby turn into a more optimal (and less painful!) position, and help you get a little more comfortable. Consider taking a walk, spending time on a birth ball, or use the support of your partner’s body to sway through contractions. Finding rhythm and ritual through movement is a fantastic pain coping mechanism.

Water
Hydrotherapy is a scientifically proven natural, stress reducing and pain relief technique. Laboring in a warm bath can provide an incredible level of pain reduction. Taking a hot shower can be exceptionally relaxing, while helping you get upright, which helps baby move down and through your pelvis.

Acupressure
Acupressure is based on principles from Traditional Chinese Medicine, an ancient and holistically focused wellness practice. Utilizing and applying direct pressure to specific points on the body during labor, may provide you with phenomenal pain relief. Acupressure is a wonderfully convenient and cost-effective pain relief tool. You can take advantage of the benefits almost anywhere, and without any special equipment. When direct and appropriate pressure is applied to this area of the back and on the feet, relief from uncomfortable back labor may be alleviated, almost effortlessly.

Massage
The demonstrated pain relief benefits of massage during labor are extensive. There are both physical and emotional advantages to massage therapy during labor and birth. It can relax tense muscles, easing the pain of contractions, shorten labor, facilitate rest, ease anxiety, and promote a sense of serenity. Your partner or birth support person can help you access the amazing pain relief options of massage by following these techniques.

Emotional Support
Having a supportive birth team is one of the most effective natural pain relief tools available! It is crucial to find a provider you trust, who encourages your birth philosophy, educate your birth partner, and hire a birth doula! A doula is a trained maternal support practitioner who provides emotional, physical, and educational assistance to a laboring mother and her birth partner. Evidence overwhelmingly supports having a doula as a powerful natural pain relief option. With dedicated labor support, women are more likely to have a satisfying and positive birth experience and require less medical pain management. Doulas can provide comfort with numerous pain-relief techniques that help reduce anxiety and fear, support physical and emotional relaxation, promote an uncomplicated physiological birth, and facilitate a positive birth environment.

Birth can be a joyous occasion for the the entire family. With the right preparation, support, and natural pain relief options, you can absolutely have the best (and possibly pain-free) birth experience. If you would like more natural pain relief tips, tools, and techniques, enroll in our Natural Pain Relief Strategies For Labor Workshop. This incredible class helps couples gain an amazing sense of self-reliance, so they can cope with labor beautifully.

The Nurturing Root loves to support and educate families in Baltimore. We offer an exceptional array of Birth Boot Camp natural childbirth courses and holistic newborn care classes, in-home placenta encapsulation, and family-centered postpartum doula and infant care support. We are honored to serve your family. Please contact us for more information, today!

What Is A Postpartum Doula?

Short answer; a postpartum doula is a cross between your mythical, awesomely helpful mother-in-law, and an expert baby whisperer! But seriously, a postpartum doula is a trained parenting, infant, and postnatal support professional. She provides education and assistance to families during the newborn period. This type of postpartum practitioner has a wealth of specialized experience and education, to help you adjust to parenthood. Think of a postpartum doula as your personalized parenting coach. Her goal is to help your family learn about normal newborn behavior, baby care techniques, infant sleep, postnatal recovery, breast and infant feeding techniques. There are really two avenues of support, a postpartum doula will provide. In the most traditional sense, a postpartum doula will help with a family-centered approach, or she can care for a growing family, by providing infant-focused care.

With a family-centered approach, a postpartum doula can guide, educate, and assist you through the parenting process. She may help you learn how to breastfeed with ease and confidence, answer questions you may have about feeding, diapering, bathing, grooming, and calming baby, and assist you with babywearing tips and techniques. Additionally, she may help you with meal planning and preparation, household organization, and give you access to trusted parenting and infant resources and referrals.  

A postpartum doula can also help your family with infant-focused care. Within this framework, your doula serves as a newborn specialist. She will be attentive to all of your baby’s needs, so you can properly rest and recover, after birth. Infant-focused care is particularly helpful to parents who are wanting assistance during the evening and overnight hours. Your postpartum doula will provide dedicated newborn care, so you can have the most restorative sleep, knowing a skilled professional is attending to all of your baby’s desires.

If you want personalized support, guidance, and resources to help you make the best decisions for your new family, consider hiring a postpartum doula! To learn more about how a postpartum doula provides practical support to families during the transition to parenthood, read this article.  Also check out The Relievery’s practitioner resource directory, or Doula Match, to find a postpartum professional in your area.

*This post was first published on THE RELIEVERY*

The Nurturing Root is honored to support and educate Northeast Ohio families. We provide Birth Boot Camp childbirth education, holistic newborn care classes, in-home placenta encapsulation services, and family-centered postpartum doula support. If you are looking to have a healthy pregnancy, amazing birth, and gentle postpartum recovery experience, contact us! We also welcome you to join our FREE Facebook community, Cleveland Holistic Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting. This is a great space for families and professionals interested in a variety of natural birth and parenting topics

15 Facts about the Foreskin and Circumcision

Circumcision, the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis, is most commonly performed on newborns.  With a global circumcision rate of approximately 30%, the United States in the only country in the world that circumcises infant for non-religious reasons.

FACTS ABOUT CIRCUMCISION

  1. Originally, the goal of circumcision was to desensitize the penis to curb masturbation. Dr. Kellogg, inventor of the corn flakes, was a major promoter of the procedure.
  2. The foreskin, similar in sensitivity to a clitoris, is a highly erogenous, functioning part of the male anatomy.  It's purpose is to protect the glans, or the head of the penis from abrasions and to keep dirt and bacteria from the urinary tract.
  3.  The average adult foreskin consists of 1½ inches of outer skin, 1½ inches of inner mucosal lining – totaling a length of 3 inches – and is 5 inches in circumference when erect. This amounts to a surface area of 15 square inches, or a surface area equivalent to that of a 3" by 5" inch index card.
  4. Circumcision is not routinely practiced in most countries.  In fact, The United States is the ONLY country where circumcision is done routinely for non-religious reasons. Aside from being a Muslim and Jewish cultural practice, it is a very American practice.
  5. After reviewing 40 years of research, it has been determined by the American Academy of Pediatrics that routine infant circumcision cannot be recommended.  In fact, no professional medical association in the world recommends routine infant circumcision, nor do they state it is medically necessary.
  6. When the foreskin is removed, the head of the penis can develop a thick layer of skin to protect it, making it much less sensitive.  As a result, circumcised men are 3 times more likely to have issues with erectile dysfunction.
  7. Circumcision can reduce a baby's risk of getting an urinary tract infection (UTI) by 1%.  In other words, in order to prevent 1 UTI, 100 circumcisions would need to be performed.
  8. It has been claimed that circumcision can reduce one's risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. The United States has one of the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS, yet we are the only country that routinely circumcises male babies.
  9. A foreskin doesn't separate from the head of the penis until adolescence, sometime between 3 and 15 years of age.  Until this separation occurs, you only need to clean the outside of the penis.  You clean it just as you would any other part of your body.  In fact, a newly circumcised penis, which has an open wound, may be more difficult to clean and care for during diapering.
  10. 117 babies die each year as a result of circumcision complications. The foreskin and penis is a highly vascularized area that contains a significant amount of blood flow. A newborn only has a total of  11.5 ounces of blood.  That's just shy of a cup-and-a-half.  A newborn only needs to lose 1 ounce to hemorrhage, and 2.3 ounces, which is a the amount in a shot glass, to bleed to death.  You can read more about it here from DrMomma.org.
  11. According to the CDC, circumcision rates have fallen to 55.4% in the United States.
  12. A Mohel, a person specially trained  in circumcision techniques, can perform the circumcision, even on non-Jews.  It has been argued the Mohels perform the procedure more quickly and gently than in clinical settings.
  13. Cortisol levels, a stress hormone, are 3-4 times higher during circumcision than prior to the procedure, which can contribute to post-op breastfeeding challenges.  It is also thought that the pain and trauma from undergoing circumcision may impact the child's response to pain or stress throughout their life.  Canadian investigators report that during vaccinations at age 4-6 months, circumcised boys had an increased behavioral pain response and cried for significantly longer periods than did intact boys. For more information about this click here.
  14. Foreskins are harvested to make high-end face creams and are often used for cosmetic testing to determine a product's safety.
  15. Anti-circumcision activists are referred to as intactivists.
If you're in Maryland and researching topics related to pregnancy, birth, and newborn care, please visit our class descriptions page. We'd be honored to help you prepare for an amazing birth and entry into parenthood.

20 Reasons to LOVE Birth Boot Camp

 

I make it no secret that I love Birth Boot Camp, a 10-week natural childbirth class for couples. I am proud to be a part of the organization and I know that the curriculum and materials really do help couples have AMAZING births. Take a peek and I know you’ll love Birth Boot Camp too.

1. Up to Date, Modern, Evidence Based Education for Couples: Birth Boot Camp prepares couples for an amazing birth. The curriculum is up to date, featuring modern research and evidence based practices. Don’t worry, you won’t be watching birth videos from the 1970’s, but you will see modern women birthing their babies in a variety of environments and ways.

2. Partners Learn How to Be an Amazing Birth Support: You’re going to have a joyous birth and your partner will be supporting you every step of the way. Birth Boot Camp helps partners prepare too, so they’re confident and educated on the best ways to support a laboring person. Your relationship will soar to new heights after you experience childbirth together.

3. Nutrition: Proper nutrition is crucial to a healthy pregnancy and birth.  Birth Boot Camp class #2 is dedicated to proper nutrition in pregnancy. There is also a nutritional focus every week where couples will learn which foods are best for pregnancy by decreasing certain ailments, helping boost immunity in mom and baby and MORE! Moms will fill out their chow chart each week to track protein and food intake, to give them a better picture of their overall diet.

4. Exercise: Does your back ache? Are you experiencing heartburn?  Birth Boot Camp has a PT exercise every week that not only gets moms up and moving, but it also teaches couples which exercises and stretches help with common aches and pains like sciatica and even indigestion.

5. Comfort Measures: Every week in class, we will go over a comfort measure (maybe even 2 or 3) to help you stay relaxed and as comfortable as possible in the thick of labor. Partners will know how to touch you in labor and when to use certain techniques. By the end of class, you’ll have a toolbox filled with a wide variety of comfort measures to use in labor.

6. Birth Videos: At Birth Boot Camp we want you to be prepared for everything. Sometimes things come up that aren’t planned or expected, but by watching a variety of births, moms and dads will have an idea of what birth looks like from a variety of lenses. We watch a birth video in every class, including homebirth, induction, birth center water birth, shoulder dystocia, vaginal breech, and we even watch a cesarean. The goal is not to scare couples, but to prepare them and give them information so that they can make an educated, informed decision should the unexpected arise.

7. Relaxation: Relaxation is a crucial tool for having a natural birth. Tense muscles cause more pain and inhibit progress and lose, relaxed muscles are going to allow baby to descend in the birth canal more easily.  We practice relaxation in every class and there are a variety of relaxation exercises in the student manual for you to practice with your partner at home. When D-Day arrives, you’ll be well prepared to get into a relaxed state easily.

8. Games & Demos: Every individual has a different learning style. Some folks are visual learners, some auditory, and some people need action and movement to learn something well. Sometimes it can be easier to remember something when you see and feel it in action, right? Be prepared to laugh and have fun with your classmates when we break out games and hands on demonstrations.

9. Rebozos: A rebozo is a beautiful, long woven garment that women traditionally wear in Mexico and throughout Latin America, but it can be used as a versatile birth tool. Couples will learn of variety of rebozo techniques to help keep mom comfortable in labor. As a Baltimore-based, Rebozo Certified, Birth Boot Camp instructor, I incorporate a rebozo technique into most classes to give couples more tools in their Comfort Measure Toolbox.

10. Weekly Emails: Not only do couples get a ton of useful info in class, but every week after class every student will receive an email chock full of links to extra reading materials and videos pertaining to the topic of the week.

11. A Beautiful, Color Workbook: Each couple receives a colorful, 170-page workbook with great articles, chow charts, relaxation exercises, PT routines, diagrams, and vocabulary. This book will become your #1 resource for 10-weeks and can continue to be helpful even during labor.

12. A Breastfeeding Video: Each Birth Boot Camp couple will receive a link with 1 year access to the breastfeeding video, Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE, which is loaded full of helpful, essential info and trouble shooting advice for breastfeeding your baby.

13. Online Classes: Something has come up and you can’t make it to class? Have no fear, you won’t miss any of the info or material!  Each student has access to 4 make-up classes online. No time for a 10-week live class? That’s OK too. Birth Boot Camp also offers the entire curriculum as an online class to students who have a hard time committing to a certain time and place each week.

14. Knowledgeable, Trained Instructors: Every Birth Boot Camp instructor is trained and knowledgeable about birth.  Many have had births of our own, we’ve witnessed other’s births, and we’re experienced breastfeeding moms. Birth Boot Camp instructors have a lengthy reading and video list to complete, assignments in the per-certification study guide, and a weekend workshop the wraps up with an exam. Your Birth Boot Camp instructor lives and breaths birth, and will be a wonderful support and resource for you and your partner.

15.Comprehensive Education Written by Experts in the Field: The Birth Boot Camp curriculum is brought to you by several professionals in the field, including midwives, massage therapists, childbirth educators, lactation counselors,  holistic health coaches, and doulas. Birth Boot Camp is one of the most comprehensive curricula in the field of childbirth education. This program leaves no stone unturned and couples graduate with a well rounded education.

16. Massage: Moms, how can you say no to massage? At Birth Boot Camp, learn techniques to properly massage a pregnant mom. This will be beneficial during pregnancy and during labor.

17. Newborn Care: Many couples have an amazing birth and then go home, not really sure what to do next. This can cause a great deal of anxiety in new parents. In class #10, we discuss many of the newborn procedures that are typically done after birth and you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not any are right for your baby.  We will also discuss baby sleep options, baby wearing, diapering options, breastfeeding, and baby soothing techniques..

18. Postpartum Health: Birth Boot Camp classes extend well beyond birth. We want moms and partners to be prepared and to have a plan for what their babymoon will look like. In this class, we will talk about postpartum nutrition, healing and recovery, postpartum depression, breastfeeding, and even SEX!

19. Instructors Located Nationally & Internationally: Birth Boot Camp has instructors throughout the United States and even in Canada and Germany.

20. Amazing Statistics: In 2014, Birth Boot Camp students had AMAZING births! Only 14% of students had cesareans, which is less than half of the national average. 86% of moms had vaginal births, 73% of which were unmedicated. Birth Boot Camp’s stats speak for themselves. This curriculum trains and prepares couples to birth confidently.

If you are looking for a childbirth class in the Baltimore area, contact us for more information on our Birth Boot Camp classes. 

Why I Chose To Be a Birth Boot Camp Instructor

The minute I saw that life changing line, the one where you gasp for air as butterflies fill your entire chest, I wanted to know all there was to know about pregnancy and birth. Blessed were we when we found out we were expecting only 2 months after saying our vows. The pregnancy was expected and surprising all at once and completely welcome. I discovered very early on that I wanted to have our baby at home. After watching The Business of Being Born late one cold, winter night, a fire was ignited in my belly. It is a fire that still burns today and one that only grows with time. I was so inspired. I was empowered. I was going to welcome our baby into the world in our home with the help of our midwife. It would be beautiful. It would be joyous. It would be peaceful.

During my pregnancy, I read everything I could about pregnancy and birth and felt well prepared and informed. I felt confident. My husband and I signed up for a popular relaxation-based class, which at the time seemed to be a good idea. While the relaxation exercises were helpful during labor, I even use them in my day-to-day life, I was disappointed at the brevity of the class as it related to actual pregnancy and birth. I’m not sure if it was the method or the instructor we chose, but I felt that everything was simply glossed over and the practice of self-hypnosis was really all we focused on. I wouldn’t know how profoundly the decision of what type of childbirth class we chose would affect us until much later, but I can say it was a decision I deeply regret.

At 35 weeks, my blood pressure began to climb and despite all of my efforts (bedrest, herbs, protein, acupuncture), I developed preeclampsia at 37 weeks. I mourned the loss of my homebirth and put on a brave face, but I was terrified of induction. I went to the hospital on a Monday morning for a biophysical profile and was told I needed to admitted immediately. While in triage, I was on the phone with my midwife discussing my wish to avoid any epidural anesthesia, even if I had to have Pitocin. The triage nurse told me I was being stupid. “There’s no need to be a hero.”

My lengthy induction included being bullied into a foley bulb, threatened with a cesarean, and lied to by a resident about my midwife ordering interventions. As the second phase began and I began to feel the urge to bear down, my son’s heart rate began to drop. I pushed and pushed and made little progress. I remember the nurses unhooking the lines to my IV to wheel me into surgery. My midwife looked deeply into my eyes and with a stern, but loving voice said, “Carmen, you have got to push this baby out.” In a magnesium sulphate haze, I sensed her urgency and pulled all the strength I had left to fight for at least a glimpse of the birth I had hoped for. 48 hours after the first intervention to start my labor, my baby was born vaginally and without pain medication.

I felt so utterly triumphant to have gone through a Pitocin induction without pain medication. It showed me how strong and tenacious I am. It was my first experience as a ferocious mama bear. As magical as it all was, there was still a hallow feeling, a very deep disappointment about not being able to have the birth I had so hoped for. This feeling morphed into anxiety, which was accompanied by horrible visions of tragic and gruesome things happening to my baby. I suffered in silence and feared I was crazy, but I feared even more what my family would think.

Luckily, with my second birth, I was able to manage my blood pressure throughout the pregnancy with the help of the Brewer Diet. I was able to welcome our son peacefully into the world at home and it was the most empowering, profound experience of my life. I wish every woman on the earth could experience the joys and triumphs of a natural birth. The cocktail of hormones that accompany that gooey, wet baby on your chest are better than anything I have ever encountered.

I am extremely thankful for both of my birth experiences as there were valuable lessons to be taken from both. I feel that by having the intervention-heavy hospital birth, I can speak from experience in my Birth Boot Camp classes about interventions and their outcomes, the loss of a birth experience, hospital politics, and the effect on a postpartum person.

The one common thread between both of my births; the one thing that casts an ever so light shadow over my joyous memory of the experiences was my husband’s ability to cope. My husband, to no fault of his own, was a less than helpful birth partner. Watching me cope with overlapping Pitocin-induced contractions and watching as I powered through each surge with a push was too much for him to handle. His anxiety was tangible, especially during my second birth when I was much more aware of what was happening. While I put my all into focusing on my mission, his energy was difficult to ignore. I found myself worrying about and comforting him as I labored through transition and the second phase, which quite honestly is the LAST THING I SHOULD’VE HAD TO DO. In hindsight it makes me a little angry, not at him, but at our poor choice in a birth class. If only Birth Boot Camp had been around back then.

What I love so much about the Birth Boot Camp curriculum is that it genuinely includes partners. A partner’s experience of the birth of their child is important, yet it is often forgotten in the birth world. Their experience matters too. Empowering partners so that they feel confident in the way they support their birthing partners should be a priority of every birth class. Sadly, I didn’t realize this until I had a partner that really had no idea how to support me. My husband felt helpless and seeing me in pain only added to his helplessness and anxiety.

My birth and postpartum experiences have already led me on a path to help other mothers have a postpartum experience free from the blues, anxiety and depression. My placenta encapsulation business has been such a blessing and it fills me with gratitude daily. I give mothers a gift, but what they don’t realize is I am truly the one receiving. I am honored to be a part of these women’s stories, even if it is ever so small.

I am ready to grow and make better use of this fire in my belly. I want to spread the word to couples about the benefits and joys of a natural birth and I want to give them the tools they need to be successful. I want my couples to be proud of their experience and I wish for each of them births that are not accompanied by unnecessary emotional baggage and pain. I hope that partners can be inspired by their partner’s courage and strength, and feel calm and at peace knowing that they are capable of providing their birthing partners with whatever they need to feel more comfortable, even if that means to leave them alone.

By educating and informing couples prenatally, they will be confident consumers who can avoid unnecessary and painful interventions during their birth. By attending my Birth Boot Camp class, I want my couples to rise above all the negativity that surrounds birth in our culture and in the media. I want them to take charge of their experience and hopefully, their teamwork during their birth will only strengthen their bond. Because of Birth Boot Camp, I wish the moment they become a family is met with triumph and the sweetness of finally and peacefully looking into those little eyes as the love hormones surge.

I already have the honor of serving postpartum couples and now I am on a journey to help prenatal couples as well. How totally lucky I am.

Carmen Calvo

Birth Boot Camp Instructor