Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why would we improve birth?

can't ban this vagina, vbac, improving birth, fundraising runs, 5kBirth is birth. It's perfect; without need of improvement. Right? Yes, of course. But, the care mothers and babies are receiving, here in the U.S., with our outrageous healthcare costs, during this beautiful part of life that sets the foundation for humanity, is in much need of improvement. Women deserve evidence-based care.

The mission behind the Rally to Improve Birth is not about convincing women to abandon the system. It’s not about hospital birth or home birth. It’s about bringing evidence-based care and humanity to childbirth – wherever that takes place.

There are some folks who refuse to be affected by the system; those who live off the grid and do choose their own path. Not everyone will birth their children unassisted, with no one else present. I understand the frustration with the system but the system isn’t all that it’s about – it’s about awareness. It’s about bringing the concept of evidence-based care to the average mother; the mother who might not realize she shouldn’t hire a surgeon for her normal, healthy, low-risk pregnancy; the mother who doesn’t know that 40 weeks is a guestimate and it’s common to go past; the mother who is told she is “not allowed” to have a vaginal birth.

As a vbac mom I know the frustration with the new statutesin Arizona and while I don’t agree with the changes in the system, it is at the very least something that has happened here; while they are nowhere near ideal, it has brought attention to the issue. Will I hire an LM under those regulations? I don’t know. Will I use our local birth center? I don’t know. Will I plan for an unassisted birth? I don’t know. Will I travel to Phoenix again, or Flagstaff? I don’t know. But look at that – I have options.

Every woman, in every situation has options. But so many don’t realize it. The Rally to Improve Birth, as it grows each year, is bringing attention to these very issues; the issues of induction and vbac and EFM and autonomy. It’s not just about wanting evidence-based care to be provided by health care providers but also about women understanding that there is such a thing as evidence-based care and that it is lacking in the U.S.
The theme this year, #breakthesilence is raising awareness to the birth trauma that happens every single day here! Women are #improvingbirthbecause they may have not received evidence-based care and they want now want to advocate for humanity in childbirth!

While some have thrown their arms up in the air and proclaimed their mission to be #abandonthesystem –not all women are going to do that and for those that don’t ImprovingBirth.org is sparking the change in providers, hospitals and consumers, which could bring evidence-based care and humanity in childbirth to the women who choose to remain part of the system.

Thank you for those who have shown your support and stand with the Rally to Improve Birth, bringing your wisdom and information to our rally attendees! I hope you'll join us for the first annual 5k Fun Run!!

evidence based care, childbirth, improving birth, 5k, fundraising runs


In love and service,

Rally Coordinator, Improvingbirth.org

Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's Not About You {Don't Hate, Let's Educate}

Dear mother who had a cesarean,
It's not about you
Dear mother who had a natural birth,
It's not about you

It's not about you and it's not about me; it's bigger than us! It's not about your birth choices or mine, or anyone else's. We each make choices that are best for our own unique situations with the information that is given to us. The information that is given to us is what's so important.


The United State's ranks 60th in Maternal Mortality Rate while flaunting some of the worlds highest World Health Organization's recommended cesarean section rate of no higher than 10-15%, with an astounding rate of 32.8% that can vary greatly even among neighboring hospitals. ACOG has released guideline after guideline after guideline in effort to reduce the climbing cesarean rate and encourage vaginal birth [after cesarean (pg 6)]. What makes all of this a greater challenge, isn't the system, it isn't even the doctors who aren't following ACOG guidelines, it's society, perpetuating lies and fear throughout your community. There are obviously a variety of complex reasons for the high cesarean rate but each woman holds the responsibility to create positive change for our sisters, for our daughters and generations to come by speaking out with facts and encouragement for those around us. Too often I see women perpetuating the fears and the lies that many have come to believe; especially in regards to VBAC. I encourage you to take a class on VBAC and understand the real risks and benefits of a trial of labor vs a planned cesarean delivery. You deserve the facts and evidence based care. An informed decision is not one driven by fear; it is one made from statistics and access to all of the information.

Women deserve access to the safe and appropriate choice of VBAC and banning vaginal births is not in the best interest of babies and families.

acog, vbac, cottonwood az, hospital birth, cesarean section, journey of life, natural birth

I was recently confronted by a mother who felt attacked by the statistics; a mother who had chosen a RCS for the birth of her second child. I do not know her whole story but she was adamant that vaginal birth was very dangerous! [Perhaps she hadn't know the facts and was second guessing her decision or perhaps she just didn't like that I had personally made a decision that differed from hers or perhaps she was emotionally burdened because she felt that she didn't have a choice.] I don't know, but whatever the reason, this is bigger than her, this is bigger than me, this is bigger than you.

As a doula, I support any birth - I've supported natural births and medicated births, I've supported inductions, I've supported a planned cesarean section and emergency c-sections. I am well aware of the need for facts and evidence based information, especially in the face of our alarmingly high cesarean rate and climbing maternal mortality rate. Women need to be empowered and spreading false information or being denied all the of the information is damaging to society as a whole. The system isn't going to change, women need to be the change.
There is no room for spreading fears and falsehoods.
Each woman is tasked with the responsibility of taking charge of her health; making safe and appropriate choices that are right for their individual circumstances.

Your choice doesn't have to be the same as mine or any one else's. What's important is that your choice is made from fact, not fear; aka making an informed decision.  I further encourage you to give the women surrounding you the same courtesy of informed choice by stopping the wild fire of misinformation and sharing facts.

Had a cesarean? Don't freak. Know the facts.
If you're local to Phoenix of Tucson Give Birth offers a VBAC Workshop
If you're local to Cottonwood, Prescott, Flagstaff or other surrounding areas, yours truly of Guiding Angels Birth Services also presents a VBAC Workshop for Northern AZ. And be sure to check out these helpful links!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Happy World Breastfeeding Week

It's been a busy week for breatfeeding mommies this doula! Mother's Nest is proud to bring you Verde Valley's nursing lounge! Haven't been yet? Come on by. There's play things for little tykes, comfy couches for moms and many pillows for your nursing comfort!



Mother's Nest is Verde Valley's Nursing Lounge























Guiding Angels Birth Services sponsored the BIG latch on event in Prescott, AZ! We had a booth where participants could come and "design a belly cast" for a chance to win a $15 gift certificate to Mother's Nest!


How have you celebrated World Breastfeeding Week?

Contact info

Jennifer Valencia | Birth Doula | 928.300.1337
Jesse Valencia | Placenta Encapsulation Specialist | 928.300.2398

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