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Birth Story of Deniz
by ElginNote from Orgasmic Birth: We honor every birth story and every person’s birth choices.  Birthing a baby requires you to make personal choices for yourself and your baby to enter the world safely with respect and love. While I personally recommend birth with skilled caregivers, midwives, nurses, and doctors, we honor it’s every person’s right to choose to have their baby where and with whom they feel safe.  Sharing birth stories is an important way to pass along birthing knowledge and wisdom. By sharing a wide variety of birth stories we are not offering our endorsement nor providing information that replaces medical care and advice.

When I learned that I was pregnant to my second child the first thing that came to mind was “How am I going to give birth this time?”. My first birth although being quick and healthy was still a hospital birth and I felt very far from good during the whole process.

This time l was going to create the birth that my heart was longing for – an unassisted home lotus birth. I educated myself throughout my pregnancy, unlearned the wrong information l had about birth and pregnancy. Yoga, swimming and my unassisted pregnancy and childbirth social media groups had been my best friends. Most part of family and friends thought I gone crazy yet l knew very well what l was doing. Although it was hard to get negative feedback from my surrounding during such a sensitive period l was proud of myself to have the courage to do what my heart was calling for, the best for myself and my family. I can’t explain how grateful l am to my husband who trusted me so much, he was my best supporter. I went unassisted through my pregnancy after week 8 and this was a perfect way to prepare for our beautiful frebirth. It helped me to learn connecting with my body, baby and intuition rather than depending on other methods that are outside of me and not even proven to be safe. Pregnancy and birth is mine and baby’s, this time l owned them.

Birth Story of Deniz

When I learned that I was pregnant to my second child the first thing that came to mind was “How am I going to give birth this time?”. My first birth although being quick and healthy was still a hospital birth and I felt very far from good during the whole process.

This time l was going to create the birth that my heart was longing for – an unassisted home lotus birth. I educated myself throughout my pregnancy, unlearned the wrong information l had about birth and pregnancy. Yoga, swimming and my unassisted pregnancy and childbirth social media groups had been my best friends. Most part of family and friends thought I gone crazy yet l knew very well what l was doing. Although it was hard to get negative feedback from my surrounding during such a sensitive period l was proud of myself to have the courage to do what my heart was calling for, the best for myself and my family. I can’t explain how grateful l am to my husband who trusted me so much, he was my best supporter. I went unassisted through my pregnancy after week 8 and this was a perfect way to prepare for our beautiful frebirth. It helped me to learn connecting with my body, baby and intuition rather than depending on other methods that are outside of me and not even proven to be safe. Pregnancy and birth is mine and baby’s, this time l owned them.

"My son seeing him massaging me came to massage me - l was so so delighted of having my two loves supporting me that at a point the surges were totally painless and they even turned to be pleasurable. I was filled with gratitude and unconditional love."

I loved the sensation of my water breaking. It was the first time it naturally occurred and this was very precious to me, its smell, its clear color. This was the birth coming the way l finally had the courage to create and cherished every part of it.  After my waters broke the surges were 5 minutes apart. I was at home with my husband, 3 year old son and my mother. We prepared the living room which was going to be my birth area. We used very soft lighting, candles, diffused lavender oil, burned candles and listened to my birth playlist.  My mother was playing with my son as my husband was supporting me both emotionally and physically. We have never talked about him being so much involved in my birth before,when the surges came he directly started to massage me and I loved it. We had never practiced it, never even talked about it but he did it like a pro. It really made me feel loved and supported. My son seeing him massaging me came too to massage me l was so so delighted of having my two loves supporting me that at a point the surges were totally painless and they even turned to be pleasurable. I was filled with gratitude and unconditional love. I was moving and breathing through each surge as my son was hugging and caressing my back and my husband was massaging me. I was in a trance like state, especially when l did the spiraling movement through the surges. I felt that intense energy of creation and destruction in the same time. I felt that for every creation there is destruction but destruction is just a movement, it is only energy changing form. And in the middle of all of this there is sexual energy. I felt sexual energy at its purest form, reminding me how life is sacred and pleasurable when we let it flow. Around 8:30 pm my mother put my son to sleep and l was only with my husband. I cried both out of happiness and out of sadness. I was so grateful for the birth and how smooth it was going and I was sad at the same time remembering my first birth. Letting myself do what I have to do, listening to my body and intuition was so rewarding. I intuitively breathed and moved through each surge and although they were not always easy to handle, feeling the wisdom of my body was so empowering.

"My son seeing him massaging me came to massage me - l was so so delighted of having my two loves supporting me that at a point the surges were totally painless and they even turned to be pleasurable. I was filled with gratitude and unconditional love."

Surges got much stronger and l really needed to focus to my body and breath. My surges were not regular, when l asked about it to my body l understood it was our own way to take breaks and each surge had a different character and purpose. There was a time where l felt like birth was not progressing. I reached out to feel what l think was a cervical lip and l felt the head of baby behind it. I knew l should be patient, l knew my body was already  doing perfectly on its own way. When l felt insecure I checked baby intuitively and l immediately knew that everything was going perfectly.

There was a time when l had more fear and more pain, l started to doubt myself, which made me understand that l was in transition. Moving and massages were not helping anymore. When it got very hard l told it to my husband and his support and encouragements were very helpful. I continued to focus on breathing. Breath has always been one of my best friend through contractions,  I breathed very deeply and very quickly through each surge, Although I had learned hypnobirthing techniques I found that my own intuitional way of breathing much more satisfying in both pain and emotional management. Along with this the best that worked for me was surrendering to my body and pain. When l succeeded to surrender to pain instead of running from it, l felt it different and it was much more manageable. It instantly made me remember that surges are there for my and baby’s good, embracing them was beautiful and empowering.  When l did this the FER [fetal ejection reflex] kicked in and my body started to push. I just slightly and gently helped my body push baby out. I was on hand and knees position. I “moared” (the only word l could think of for a sound between roaring and moaning) my baby out while l heard my husband’s delighted exclamations “his head is out, oh his hands, oh my baby” . Hearing his delighted voice helped me to get baby in just one big push. I loved that part, l had almost no ring of fire and l really liked the feeling of my baby passing through the canal and getting out. It felt primal,  powerful, no word can describe how healing this felt. Husband catched baby, baby was pink and started to cry right away. I took baby from him, hugged him and checked his gender to see he was a boy it took 4:45 hours from the waters breaking to my baby getting out. l soon put him to breast.

I "moared" (the only word l could think of for a sound between roaring and moaning) my baby out while l heard my husband's delighted exclamations "his head is out, oh his hands, oh my baby"

My placenta came 3 or 4 hours later. I knew placenta was detached and l had no more contraction. I was really tired and l didn’t feel like doing any more effort to get it out with my baby in my hands and still attached to the placenta, l wanted to gently pull it out but l wasn’t sure if this would be right to do it, l didn’t want to clamp the cord either.  I asked my husband to call his sister who is an OBgyn to ask her if she has any advice. She advised the same thing. I started to very gently pull the cord but l wasn’t very enthusiastic doing it, l just wanted to have rest. My husband got up to wash his hands and he started to do it for me. That moment was such a powerful one for us. I really wanted that placenta to be out and seeing my husband doing this so delicately, with such confidence felt magical to me. We were sharing birth so much, that in fact, we gave birth together. When placenta was out l felt a huge relief, it felt like the relaxation I would have after a huge wonderful orgasm. Feeling the blood flowing out was interestingly satisfying. We put the placenta into a bowl and we loved to look at it and the blood it was releasing. Words can only be a mere reflection of the whole experience,  birth is so precious with its every aspect.

One day later, we felt ready to separate baby and placenta. We burned the cord and buried the placenta.  

Birth is beautiful, sacred, empowering. It is so wonderful to know and experience that such a strong process is our natural ability. Natural birth empowers me, is healthy for baby and me, gives my baby the softest start to life, and is one of the biggest gifts for our family. It is also much more, it is reclaiming our sovereignty and healing the divine feminine which has been oppressed for such a long time.
I have been very inspired by other mothers who had so beautiful and empowering births.  now it is my turn to help other mothers to reclaim their birth by sharing my experience

Positive birth stories need to be shared

The post Creating the Birth I long for appeared first on Orgasmic Birth.

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Mistreatment in Childbirth

My heart breaks reading this new report about mistreatment in childbirth. I have heard too many of these sad stories, and have even been a witness as a doula to abuse during birth. It’s terrible, inhumane, and inexcusable, yet it happens every day. “The Giving Voice to Mothers study: inequity and mistreatment during pregnancy and childbirth in the United States” was a collaborative effort by the University of British Columbia, Every Mother Counts, and other collaborating partners. I am grateful to all the people who shared their stories to create a unified voice demanding maternity care to do better.

As Maureen Corry said to me years ago:

statistics are people with the tears washed off making it easier for us to read.”

For each person, their story often goes well beyond the moment of mistreatment and extends for their lifetime because as we know – birth is a day we never forget.

“The findings of the study are striking—17.3 percent of women reported experiencing one or more types of mistreatment and percentages were even higher for women of color compared with white women. Among mothers with low socioeconomic status, 18.7 percent of white women reported mistreatment compared to 27.2 percent of women of color. Indigenous women were the most likely to report experiencing at least one form of mistreatment by health providers, followed by Black and Hispanic women. Being shouted at or scolded by a health care provider was the most commonly reported type of mistreatment, followed by delaying or refusing requests for care.” – read more

The “Giving Voice to Mothers Study” only further ignites my excitement to be named Co-Chair of the new International Childbirth Initiative (ICI). The International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization (IMBCO) and the Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) have joined forces developing a single global initiative to provide guidance and support for safe and respectful maternity care, building upon their previous work and incorporating the most recent evidence and insights into what constitutes optimal maternal and newborn health. The Initiative is endorsed by leading birth organizations around the world, and includes “12 Steps to Safe and Respectful MotherBaby-Family Maternity Care.”

Our 12 steps are moving us in the direction to end mistreatment in childbirth. 

But I won’t stop there – birth can be so much more, and even a day that can be Orgasmic! One way to combat disrespect in birth is to find a provider that endorses in the ICI and provides as Ibu Robin Lim says, “prenatal care, not prenatal scare!” Share more of my tips for a respectful, pleasurable birth with your friends and colleagues by encouraging them to join my mailing list. 

  • As new members they will receive:
  • 40% off their purchase or rental of my film, Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret
  • 27 minute webinar where I bust the myth that birth is something to be feared
  • PDF download of my "10 Ideas to Move from Pain to Pleasure in Childbirth and Beyond"

The tides are turning – as my midwife and dear friend says, “women of earth take back your birth!” – and Step 1 of the ICI ensures a human rights framework of safe, respectful, quality, collaborative maternity care with compassion.

Together we can and are making a difference – please share your thoughts on the “Giving Voice to Mothers” study, and join us as we continue to work to improve people experience in childbirth.

End disrespect in childbirth - share this story

The post Mistreatment in Childbirth appeared first on Orgasmic Birth.

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Orgasms for the win!
I am honored to be included in Kelly Hoover Greenway’s article this week in Romper recently – “5 Benefits Of Orgasm During Pregnancy You Need To Know About!”

“If you haven’t heard the term “orgasmic birth,” don’t worry, you’re not alone. Until I spoke with the woman at the forefront of the movement, Debra Pascali-Bonaro (doula trainer, Lamaze educator, director of Orgasmic Birth, and more), I hadn’t either. But after our conversation I was left feeling pretty disappointed I didn’t know about it before the birth of my two sons. The idea here is that “the same hormones you produce during orgasm are produced during birth.” We have this idea that childbirth is a horribly painful experience full of cursing and screaming, but Debra is trying to shift that narrative and show women that “birth is part of sexuality. When you bring your sexuality to birth you provide more comfort and pleasure.” read more

​Kelly’s interview came at the perfect time, as I am currently in Austria with my special doula friend Angelika, who hosts me for a doula workshop each year. My morning routine includes listening to a special audiobook while walking to town for a coffee. I am always looker for ways to go deeper into sexuality and birth so I’ve recently been finding books on female sexuality.

I’m loving reading more about closing the pleasure gap between male and female orgasms in “Becoming Cliterate” by Dr. Laurie Mintz.

I have long spoken about female sexuality and childbirth and how essential it is to explore our cultural, religious and family beliefs around sexuality, as well as work on any healing we might need. When we have prepared for the wholeness of birth – physically, emotionally, sexually, spiritually – we can expand fully into all that is available in birth.

Merging into the oneness of ourselves and expanding wide in birth can be the same as orgasm. That OMG moment where all else dissolves, our mind leaves worries, fears, judgement behind and we feel the divine within and all around. Essential in childbirth is to let our mind go and dive into our intuitive inner wisdom …this allows our hormones to flow, and our minds to move into the same altered state of consciousness we feel in sexuality. What better way to prepare for birth than to explore ways to experience orgasm?

If you agree and would like to join me in reading “Becoming Cliterate” by Dr. Laurie Mintz, I’d love for your join me as I share a series of Instagram Lives chatting about this very subject!

As Dr. Mintz says “Language is a reflection of culture” – and those that know me well know I have long called for a new healthy language for women’s bodies and childbirth. We need to abandon our current language which includes negative and illness based wording. Together let’s create a NEW language for our bodies, sexuality, and birth and ditch all the negative.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the Benefits of Orgasm in Pregnancy and Becoming Cliterate!

Share the love! Orgasms need to be shared

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Birth is birth is birth
by Krista Lynn 

On Sunday, February 11th I woke up feeling a little strange. Nonetheless, as mom’s do- I got ready and my family and I left for the 9:30am service at Orchard Hill Church in Wexford, PA. I was a bit nauseous during the service, and remember stepping out into the lobby for some air. When we returned home, I took this adorable photo of my son, which would become the last picture I took of him as an only child! He was SO excited to become a big brother, and took practicing very seriously. 

I can’t remember exactly what was going on at the time, but my partner was dealing with some things and acting in a way that had me very on guard and generally unable to just relax. Like my son, I am an empath, and pick up on what everyone else is feeling and thinking. This is exceptionally heightened during pregnancy.  I had been experiencing prodromal labor for the better part of ten days that point. If you’re not familiar with prodromal labor, it’s basically very real labor surges, but unproductive ones. Surges are hard enough when they’re doing something; it’s simply maddening when they are not!  It’s not “fake” labor pains like Braxton Hicks, but it doesn’t help your cervix dilate either. Fun stuff. Really great way to mess with your mind and exhaust you before labor actually even begins! 

"I was having a mental block that would affect my ability to labor the way I wanted."

Having extensively researched birth and having read about 500 birth stories during this pregnancy alone (thank you to Ina May for everything you’ve ever written, especially Spiritual Midwifery), I knew that whatever was going on with my partner was causing my body to be on the defensive, and a body that is in a guarded or fight or flight mode is not conducive to labor. I was having a mental block that would affect my ability to labor the way I wanted.

When I got home, I remember sitting down on the couch with my partner and saying- whatever it is, we need to let it go. We need to be completely here and ready for this baby, and I have to be able to relax so that my body can do what it needs to do. I’m so glad I read about mental blocks and that we had that conversation, because within an hour , I could feel my entire body begin to relax. I had no prodromal labor that night and slept pretty well; that is, for a full term pregnant woman!

I worked a shorter day on Monday, maybe 6 hours or so. I remember getting a Venti Coffee Frappuccino from Starbucks that morning (yes, I drink caffeine in limited quantities; I had an 18 month old. Do what you gotta do!), and the day going by pretty quickly. I made a big shrimp linguini dinner (which I might make tonight too, it’s been on my mind all day thanks to my bff Krystina) and it was delicious. 

A glass of wine and a warm bath

That night we were watching Anderson Cooper in the master bedroom and I remember surges starting. Taking my midwives advice, I had a glass of red wine and got in the bath. An hour later I was ecstatic that the waves hadn’t stopped (if you experience prodromal labor, a good way to distinguish between that and real labor is to try to flush it out by relaxing your body – my midwives suggested taking a hot bath or shower, trying one benadryl or even a glass of wine to see if it continues). 

I went downstairs to get a little more food in me, knowing that I would need the energy if this really was the real deal!  I texted my doula around 11pm (the great and mighty Bethany Brown of Birth Doulas of Pittsburgh), and she informed me she was at a 42 week induction at Magee-Women’s Hospital. Of course, I told her I was going to try to rest and see what happened.

I woke up at 2:30am, about 2.5 hours after going to sleep, and knew that this was the real deal. I was so excited (yes, I get excited about childbirth. I think it is incredible!)! I texted Bethany again, at which point she let me know that she would contact her backup- Becky. She reached out to Becky, and I got back in my glorious whirlpool jet tub. I got out my Mama Tens machine, and connected with Becky. I let her know how I was feeling, and we decided to check in around 4:30am to see how things were going.

I got in touch with my mom asking if she could come out to take care of Nico in the morning and get him to school; she happily obliged and arrived within the hour. I took out my Spiritual Midwifery book and read some more birth stories in between the surges, and read the notes that I had made myself on my iPhone (relax your jaw, laugh, keep your eyes open, etc…). I”m so glad I did that, because most of what I read really helped once I was in transition! I think I stayed in that amazing jetted tub until about 6:45am! I loved laboring in the tub – what an amazing way to experience labor. I was feeling so much intensity, but was not in pain. I had candles lit, and was letting my body work through the surges without fighting them. 

Around 6:30am I told my partner that if I didn’t get out of that tub soon, I wasn’t going to. I knew the intensity was really picking up. Around the same time I texted my backup doula- Becky- that we were going to head to the hospital. We were going to have a baby today! 

I remember timing it so that as soon as I got out of the tub, I had my partner affix the tens unit beneath my bra line and on my lower back, and wow- was that a great distraction for the intensity I was otherwise feeling; particularly without the assistance of the water. I got dressed and went downstairs, where my mom and Nico were playing in the living room, for some final hugs before leaving. I had a few surges during that time, and I know I was making some gutteral sounds through them, which caused my son to look at me quite strangely. He was only 18 months old and was slightly concerned with the sounds I as making! He hugged me. I picked him up for a photo and the surges calmed for a few minutes, probably in the excitement of knowing I was going to have a baby and the emotion I was feeling hugging my first baby one last time as an only child!

About five minutes into the car ride, I got a text from the backup doula that she was exhausted, and was going to contact her backup. I’m not going to sugar coat this; this sent me into a full on RAGE and I got out of my headspace for a little bit. The next 45 minutes were definitely the most difficult part of my labor. I have realistic expectations for doulas- they are miracle workers, underpaid, and just provide incredible support for laboring women. I was fully aware that there is an overlap in guess dates between the 37-42 week mark, and that’s why they arrange for backups. However, this didn’t change the fact that I was now going to be on my third doula, who I had never met or didn’t even know the name of, wasn’t sure how to contact her, and didn’t know if she would be able to meet me and assist with my birth, since my doula and the backup were otherwise occupied and presumably not able to communicate much about my history. Plus, because I insisted on birthing with midwives, I was in the middle of a SEVENTY minute drive to the hospital. During (what I later found out) was transition. I was MAD.

"...the excitement of knowing I was going to have a baby and the emotion I was feeling hugging my first baby one last time as an only child!"

I called my original doula Bethany, who was so kind to step out of her induction for a few minutes to speak with me.. I was experiencing INTENSE labor. Thankfully, she helped me get back to where I needed to be to continue on with the labor and delivery I had been dreaming about. 

I’m going to be honest, it doesn’t take much to take you out of the space you worked to get in. Everything is exaggerated during labor, and the slightest thing can throw you off. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re physically and mentally prepared for curve balls, because you don’t want to lose what you worked so hard for. I’m so glad Bethany knew me well enough to get me back on track, and was able to do so. 

I got myself back in my head space as we got closer to the hospital. Looking back, I definitely can recognize now that I was in transition, but I think I was distracted from the combination of rage and experience with my first labor. I was certain I would arrive and simply be 2-3 cm dilated. 

We rolled up to the valet at the hospital at 8:33am and left everything except my cell phone in the car. We figured we’d get it later after we saw how much time we had. It took about 15 minutes for me to get to the labor and delivery room; I was experiencing intense surges of about 45 seconds each, with at most 15 second breaks in between. The hospital attendant working at the Emergency Room entrance tried to put me in a wheelchair which I found hysterical. The thought of trying to sit down through what I was experiencing was comical.

When we got into the labor room at Jefferson Hospital, the nurses wanted me to get into the bed to put me on the fetal monitor and put an IV in my arm, as would be normal protocol for an L&D triage.. My birth plan of course said no IV, but I was okay with a hep lock. Unfortunately for them and fortunately for me, I was having no parts of following any instructions. I didn’t get on the bed, I didn’t get the fetal monitor on (yet), and I didn’t have a hep lock inserted or even attempted. I didn’t sign any consent forms, and I sure as heck did not put on a hospital gown. I asked my midwife Diana to check my cervix dilation while I was standing up leaning over the couch in the delivery room, because that’s how I felt comfortable. And she happily obliged (thank you, amazing midwives, who are flexible, supportive, and generally awesome). Much to my surprise, I was 9cm dilated!

I remember happily shouting an expletive, and then seeing a look of panic on my partner’s face. Knowing the baby was coming soon, he wanted to run back to the car to get the cord blood kit that we had purchase (we bank privately through CBR- more about that another time!). Collecting cord blood for banking is extremely time sensitive; it can only be done in the first 3-5 minutes after birth, and we had left everything in the car. He started to take off to get it when I hollered at him to get his a** back here! He was doing great counterpressure work on my hips, which I was certain were about to explode, and I was terrified of losing that pressure when the next surge came.

We had no idea where the third doula was — we knew she was coming from an hour away too. I’m not even sure I knew what her name was at that point. A very kind nurse in training offered to run to the car to get the cord blood kit- I wish I could remember her name because I’d love to send her a thank you present. Diana suggested breaking my waters right around 9:00am, certain that the baby would just be minutes away, but I wanted to wait until the student nurse returned with the cord blood kit.

It’s a good thing I did, because after she returned, my waters were broken at 9:15am, my backup to the backup doula (Amanda) arrived at 9:16am, and Gabriella was born at 9:17am! I remember Amanda walking in the room right before Gabriella was born, and shouting- “Okay, we’re delivering! Let’s go!” I can’t remember if I laughed or if I even had any idea who she was, but I didn’t necessarily care at that moment either.

I never in my life felt anything so exhilarating as catching my own child after delivering naturally. I birthed leaning over the back of the hospital bed, while on my knees. I did not push (which is crazy considering I “pushed” for two hours with my first).. My body knew exactly what it was doing and it was incredible to just be there and let it. I learned to trust my body by listening to my body. I worked HARD to have the natural birth experience that I wanted, and I am damn proud of myself for the effort I made and the result it achieved.

I don’t believe there is any one way to birth or become a mom; birth is birth is birth, and it should be celebrated equally. And today, on International Women’s Day, I am celebrating the birth of my daughter Gabriella, and my birth as a mom of two.

Tomorrow I’m 23 weeks pregnant with my third, and I cannot tell you how excited I am to have one more chance to give birth. I have arranged a completely different birth plan this time – and I can’t wait to share it at some later point. Thank you for reading my story!

Share the love! Birth stories need to be shared

The post Birth is birth is birth: All Birth Should be Celebrated appeared first on Orgasmic Birth.

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The Beautiful Work Challenge: On Birth
A new podcast from catalysta
“Each of us can transform to meet the challenges facing humanity.”
What are the essentials of birth? Who broke maternity care? Is transformation possible? Empowerment, disempowerment, the health of babies & society all begin at birth. Have you thought about these questions? I am honored to be a part along with many of my mentors, colleagues and friends in this powerful discussion in The Beautiful Work Challenge: On Birth–a new podcast.“What the heck can we do?” This podcast, video and collaborative series explore how professions, political and economic systems and each of us can transform to meet the challenges facing humanity.The Beautiful Work Challenge addresses and assesses the work we do together as revealed by trailblazers whose stories are told in three parts: the essence of the topic, its current state-of-affairs, and the possibilities of transformation. We begin at birth.
I have never thoughts of myself as a trailblazer but I do love the term and as I sit reflecting I guess creating a documentary and co-authoring a book Orgasmic Birth – speaking and teaching about the best-kept secrets of pleasure, love, and sexuality in childbirth did blaze a trail.To speak up and share my thoughts with so many others whose work set the foundation for my explorations both personally and professionally with birth – I am humbled.I look forward to hearing your thoughts. We all make a difference as the personal is political and especially in the way we give birth and are born. We are learning that birth is not just another day in our lives, it’s one that shapes memories, contributes to our health and well-being for years to come and maybe for future generations. There is so much more to consider than what we know-how much we don’t know about the short and long term effects of the over-medicalization of childbirth.I hope this series will inspire you as much as it does me.
The Essence

The Essence moves from preconception to attachment, bonding & post-partum with Debra Pascali-Bonaro (Orgasmic Birth), Phyllis Klaus (The Doula Book), Ina May Gaskin (Birth Matters), Thomas Verny (The Secret Life of the Unborn Child), David Chamberlain (Babies Remember Birth) and more.

The Currency
The Currency looks at the roots of disempowerment, the impact of media and contemporary inquisition as presented by Robbie Davis-Floyd (Birth as an American Rite of Passage), Penny Simkin (Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide), Betty-Ann Daviss (Birth Models That Work), Michael Klein (Dissident Doctor) and others.
The Transformational
The Transformational is about policy, practice, crisis and education through the experience of Ibu Robin Lim (Bumi Sehat Foundation), Angie Truesdale (Centering Health Care), Vicki Penwell (Mercy in Action), Karen Guilliland (New Zealand College of Midwives), Ashley Hill (Birthmark Doula Collective) and more.
Trimtabs: On Birth
A companion video series, Trimtabs: On Birth, shares the knowledge of five women with practical suggestions for transforming the field of birth. Watch my video below where I discuss International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative and the launch of The International Childbirth Initiative, and then head on over to the Beautiful Work Challenge to watch more from Dana Walrath (Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College, Dublin), Heather Clarke (Certified nurse-midwife, Frontier School of Nursing University), Karen Melton (Somatic practitioner in pre and perinatal psychology and health) and Nese Karabekir (Birth psychologist, co-founder of Birth With No Regret).
Trimtabs: On Birth - Debra Pascali-Bonaro, Chairperson, IMBCO - YouTube
Watch all - Trimtabs: On Birth

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Creating Space for a Sexy Birth
with Debra Pascali-Bonaro and Amy L. Gilliland, Ph.D., BDT(DONA)

Amy Gilliland joined me for a sexy webinar all about pleasure and birth in any setting. 

We share:

  1. Creating comfortable space for your sexuality in birth (even in the hospital)
  2. The role of a doula and partner for your sexy birth
  3. How sexual beliefs, perception and trauma can get in the way of a pleasurable birth
  4. The rule of Three
  5. Birth Memories
  6. A Partner’s Role
  7. A Doula’s Role
"Great info!! Thank you. Loved the rule of 3, Friendliness hormone, and the fact that pleasure and safety go together. Looking forward to more of these webinars, Amy and Debra!!!"
~ Augie Rigual
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Creating Space for a Sexy Birth with Amy L. Gilliland, Ph.D., BDT(DONA) - YouTube
"thank you very much! sending you love to all from Ivory Coast!"
~ Tiffany Rygaloff
Learn more about Amy’s work and her new book:https://amygilliland.com/
About Amy
Amy L. Gilliland, Ph.D., BDT(DONA), AdvCD(DONA), CSE (AASECT) researches and teaches about doula labor support, women’s sexual experiences, infant mental health, and the psychological needs of people during the birth experience. She is an AASECT certified sexuality educator, past faculty at Madison College, and one of the first DONA International birth doula trainers. In her thirty plus year career, her work has spanned the perinatal spectrum. As a University of Wisconsin-Madison research fellow, her current projects include a critical analysis of the birth doula profession and completing her model of human childbirth as an attachment based neurological activity. Dr. Gilliland’s previous research has been published in JOGNN, Midwifery, Journal of Perinatal Education, Sexuality and Culture, and the Wisconsin Medical Journal. She is considered to be a thought leader and visionary on birth doula issues through her influential blog, Doulaing The Doula, and her new book, The Heart of the Doula: Essentials for Practice and Life.
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The post Creating Space for Sexy Birth appeared first on Orgasmic Birth.

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6 Tips for a Loving, Pleasure-filled Birth
with Debra Pascali-Bonaro and Midwife Red Miller

Red Miller joined me for a pleasure filled, orgasmic webinar. It’s filled with so many amazing tips for finding your own pleasure in birth and life.

We share:

  1. Preparing for a Pleasurable Birth 
  2. How to Claim your Power Instead of Giving it Away
  3. Orgasmic Birth is more than Orgasm 
  4. Self-Love Practices Every Pregnant Mamma Needs
  5. The most loving way to address an intervention
  6. What do your throat and your vagina have in common?​​​​​​​

Loving all these juicy tips? For a limited time Red and I are offering a 2 for 1 special for our childbirth courses. You can learn more and register here: https://prepclass.lovebasedbirth.com/p2plbb

watch now
6 Tips for a Loving, Pleasure-filled Birth - YouTube
Are you ready to prepare for your pleasurable, powerful and loved filled birth?
Check out our special 2 for 1 offer!https://prepclass.lovebasedbirth.com/p2plbb *offer expires May 15, 2019
About Red Miller

Red Miller is a Biodynamic Midwife, Birth Consultant, Craniosacral Therapist and founder of Love Based Birth.

She has lived and loved in India and Asia for the last decade.
As a midwife she has attended over 700 births in more than 10 countries including Nepal, USA and Singapore; and in diverse settings such as the rice fields of Cambodia to a palace in Malaysia.

Her quest is to guide women to tap into their inner knowing so they can have a fearless and magical birth.

Check out our special 2 for 1 offer – only available through May 15, 2019https://prepclass.lovebasedbirth.com/p2plbb
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The post 6 Tips for a Loving, Pleasure-filled birth appeared first on Orgasmic Birth.

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A Midwife's Gentle Support

Today I have a very special reason to thank and celebrate Midwife, Lonnie Morris for not only being my midwife 30 years ago at her birth center in New Jersey, but as a dear friend, colleague and most recently for caring for my daughter Megan and helping to welcome my 4th grandson Jordan into the world!

Lonnie and I have had the opportunity to attend many births together – friends, family and clients and most recently for my daughter too.  It is so special when you can trust your children’s birth to the wise loving hands of a midwife you have known since your own births!

© Maegan Dougherty
"My daughter Megan was truly an amazing, strong, birthing goddess who was able to birth gently surrounded by respectful loving care and great midwifery wisdom and love. "

My daughter Megan was truly an amazing, strong, birthing goddess who was able to birth gently surrounded by respectful loving care and great midwifery wisdom and love.  Megan’s strength along with Lonnie’s skilled midwifery care guided us all through a gentle, peaceful belly birth after 44 hours of challenging labor. 

We had the best of both worlds – additional medical care that was provided with supportive staff and a collaborative midwifery/physician partnership. This gentle, collaborative care honored Megan and her husband Shawn’s decisions, gave Megan time to labor, and baby Jordan the benefit of the hormones of birth and process of labor. 

© Maegan Dougherty
© Maegan Dougherty
© Maegan Dougherty
© Maegan Dougherty
© Maegan Dougherty
© Maegan Dougherty
© Maegan Dougherty

It is such an honor to both be invited to my daughter Megan’s birth and a privilege to have my own midwife who has welcomed my 4 grandsons into the world be the guiding light.  Even when a Belly Birth was needed- she guided us all, assisted in the surgery herself making sure Megan could see Jordan being born, provided delayed clamping/cutting and skin-to-skin bonding.

It doesn’t get more special than sharing so many life-changing moments together! I had the honor to attend Lonnie’s granddaughter’s birth too. Words can’t explain the gratitude I have for Lonnie – her love, midwifery knowledge, wisdom and skills, and friendship.

Lonnie is truly a trailblazer in New Jersey and in the U.S. bringing Midwifery care to so many. Even in times where the midwifery model of care has not been the norm or supported at many of our hospitals, she has advocated for the right for VBAC, Vaginal Birth Twins – (including my own vaginally born twin grandsons) and held a space for women and their partners to create the memories they desire.  We know that being cared for, respected and part of decision making creates birth memories that last a lifetime for every birth. Lonnie, thank you for creating memories that I always cherish – you have guided, encouraged and helped me to grow. Now in this next phase of my life, you have supported my transition to Nonna as you empower my children and their partners to create births and become empowered families.

Midwifery Care is truly the heart of society and creates relationship and bonds that last a lifetime!

© Maegan Dougherty

https://maegandougherty.com

Do you have a midwife you'd like to thank?
About Lonnie Morris, CNM ND

Founder of The Childbirth and Women’s Wellness Center, Dr. Lonnie Morris is a national pioneer in natural childbirth as the founder and director of New Jersey’s first out of hospital childbearing facility – The Childbirth Center, P.A. She holds a Doctorate of Nursing and practices as a Certified Nurse Midwife. She has delivered over 5000 women herself and supervised another nearly 5000 deliveries in her roles as a C.N.M., Birth Center Director, Director of Midwifery at Pascack Valley Hospital and attending midwife at other area hospitals. Lonnie has been a highly vocal advocate of normalizing birth for all. See our story for more information. She has served in various capacities on the Boards of the National Association of Childbearing Centers (now the American Association of Birth Centers) and the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM).

The post A Midwife’s Gentle Support of a Long Labor and Cesarean Birth appeared first on Orgasmic Birth.

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Communication is Key: Partnership Matters in Birth & Life
with Piper and Chaz Lovemore a featured couple from Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret 
“Your intuition is overridden by your fear. When you get rid of your fear, you are able to trust your intuition.” – Chaz 
10 Years ago, we introduced you to Piper and Chaz as they welcomed their baby in our film, Orgasmic Birth. Since then, they have gone on to have 5 more babies, move to Hawaii, are unschooling their children, and are on a mission to support parents in their journeys to become parents. Together they are Lovemore Lamaze, teaching Lamaze Childbirth Classes to expectant parents. Piper also serves families as a birth doula, midwife, and freebirthing consultant. Chaz shares his wisdom counseling partners in addressing their own fears and finding their intuition. In our latest webinar, Piper and Chaz (along with cameos from the Lovemore pack), share their top tips for Communication and preparing for birth as partners. As Piper said “Birth is a grand foreshadowing of the tools you’ll need as a parent. So the less obstruction there is in downloading that information that is trying to come through, perhaps the more ease you’ll have in growing and expanding into parenthood.” 
Piper and Chaz - "Communication is Key!" - YouTube
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About Piper and Chaz
Piper LoveMore is a birthworker on a mission. Her goal: to empower families around the globe to navigate their birth experiences with confidence and pleasure. To that end she has pursued certification as a Lamaze educator, a doula, and a midwife, spending countless hours in service to the parturient population. Chaz LoveMore is an audio engineer by trade, and a birth educator by necessity. “I realized that most dads had no idea what I was talking about, most of them were terrified, and I felt like that was unacceptable.” Having been transformed by his first birth experience, he sought to encourage other partners to discover the power of their presence in the birth space, by speaking directly to their unique concerns. Together with Piper, he has worked to craft a unique childbirth education experience that both prepares and inspires expectant parents. Piper and Chaz have enjoyed five freebirths since their Orgasmic Birth delivery. They now live, love and explore in Hawaii with their six, free-learning children.
Find more from Piper via her @DecolonizedParenting Podcast
Would you like to have more pleasure and less pain in birth?

You know that with knowledge come power…

Let the world’s leading childbirth educator and doula trainer,
Debra Pascali-Bonaro guide you with comfort measures she has acquired from around the globe. 

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The post Tips for Birth Partners appeared first on Orgasmic Birth.

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Who's throwing Black Women in the River?
Unnatural causes of infant and maternal mortality in Black women and how city planning can help

Written by Gabriella A. Nelson

Dr. Adewale Troutman is an academic professional who has focused the last few decades of his career on how health outcomes alter between different demographics and varying circumstances. One of his famed allegories starts with two men fishing standing riverside. The fishermen watch a baby float down the river, followed by another. The first fisherman reacts by jumping into the river, hoping that he can save the babies and asks the remaining fisherman for assistance. Instead of jumping in the river to help, the second fisherman begins to run upstream to stop whoever or whatever is throwing the babies in the river to begin with.

As a student of city planning, there is no question that participants in the field have the ability to run upstream and enact change. Just imagine if in that parable there was a city planning policy that regulated how people were able to use the river, put in place physical barriers upstream if necessary, and created an agenda getting to the root of the problem with overarching goals and objectives focused on how to keep babies safe through community input and local expertise. Through thoughtful agendas, relevant visions, equitable design, and strategic frameworks, the skills of city planners can truly help change the trajectory of disparities throughout our communities, especially in areas of public health. In the early histories of American cities, the planning and public health professions were often inextricably linked. But a split emerged as municipal governments grew, divided into more departments, and consequently separated the academic fields. Today, city planning and public health efforts must be relinked as our nation struggles with alarming rates of infant and maternal mortality in the Black Community.

Who is throwing Black women and babies in the river soon after the miracle of birth?

And how can city planners become the second fisherman, running upstream to address the root of it all? In order to suggest solutions, we have to understand the problem. The United States is the only developed nation where maternal mortality rates are going up.(1) For decades Black women have died of pregnancy-related complications at higher rates than white women and are now suffering the most from an escalating maternal morality crisis. Black babies are experiencing dismal birth outcomes, even as Black women are breaking beyond barriers in their careers and at universities. Even Serena Williams’ life-threatening experience after birth engrossed the minds of many as people began to think about what maternal and infant mortality and almost-deaths mean for Black women across the spectrum of education, income, and even celebrity.

The issue of Black maternal and infant mortality has been very prominent in the public
eye over the last few years. Recently an article in the NY Times addressed the disparity
and focused on the lived experiences of systemic oppression as a main contributing
factor.(2) In fact, scholars have researched how using a life course perspective while
studying health disparities often leads to evidence that racism is a contributing factor,
stating that disparities developed in one generation may further disadvantage the “starting point” for the next.(3) Stress that accompanies subtle and overt discrimination, violence, and domestic terrorism through racism can biologically alter the body and can travel to the fetus in utero, negatively affecting birth outcomes and taking a toll on the mother through all stages of maternity.

"For decades Black women have died of pregnancy-related complications at higher rates than white women and are now suffering the most from an escalating maternal morality crisis."

In response to the recent NY Times article, chilling accounts of Black mothers across the nation joined forces to speak on their own experiences coming face-to-face with infant and maternal mortality; sometimes speaking for those that are no longer with us. Some of the worst statistics on pre- and post-natal outcomes can be found down south in the Mississippi Delta where a key element is rural living conditions that make it hard for people to access medical services.(4) But this epidemic is also happening right in our own urban backyard. In a big city like Philadelphia, where our claim to fame (besides winning Superbowl 52) is our stronghold on “Eds and Meds,” Black infant mortality is effecting families at a rate much higher than their white counterparts. In the Preliminary Vital Statistic Report for 2015-2016, Philadelphia’s infant mortality rates remained 3 times higher among non-Hispanic Blacks (12.9 and 12.4 per 1,000) compared to non-Hispanic whites (3.9 and 4.2 per 1,000).(5) Low birth weights, which can lead to further complications and sometimes death, are effecting Black babies nearly two times as much as white babies. And in 2015 and 2016, the highest rate of preterm births was among non-Hispanic Black women.

As for maternal mortality, Philadelphia’s rate remains higher than the national average.(6)
"City planners were no innocent bystanders in the abusive history of Black women’s bodies... Evidence indicates that housing instability is associated with low and very low birth weights, preterm delivery, infants that are small for their gestational age, and maternal and infant mortality."(9)

While the thought of conceiving, being pregnant, and giving life to another human seem like a series of sacred events, Black women’s reproductive capacity has always been a point of public discourse in this country. Many times, Black women have been dictated on how, when, where, and to what extent they were allowed to reproduce. Let’s be real, this country was built on the backs of Black folks who were carried in the wombs of Black women. Dorothy Roberts, University of Pennsylvania professor of law, sociology and civil rights, thoroughly writes about the history of Black women’s bodies and how, many times, they were used to preserve an oppressive social structure. In her book, Killing the Black Body, Dr. Roberts chronicles how reproduction played a role in slavery through the ownership of Black bodies, unconsented medical experimentation, the Eugenics and Birth Control movements, and even in welfare and criminal justice policy through the modification of people’s behavior.(7) Her book gives keen insight into understanding the disconnect and distrust between Black people and medical institutions that continues to build upon the existing disparities we see today in infant and maternal birth outcomes.

City planners were no innocent bystanders in the abusive history of Black women’s bodies. In fact, city planning efforts have and continue to directly impact Black women’s reproduction through the creation and segregation of neighborhoods, systematic housing instability, disproportionate economic development and access to resources, and environmental injustice. In the book Infectious Fear, Samuel Kelton Roberts chronicles just how influential segregationist city planning politics were to public health during the tuberculosis epidemic in Baltimore during the first half of the twentieth century.(8) In a recent article on Rewire.com, housing instability is earmarked as an important, yet overlooked, risk factor for maternal death from pregnancy-related causes. Evidence indicates that housing instability is associated with low and very low birth weights, preterm delivery, infants that are small for their gestational age, and maternal and infant mortality.(9) City planning whether through policy implementation, real estate and infrastructure development, or urban design has had a heavy hand in creating the injurious circumstances for a modern day maternity and infant crisis in the Black community.

Racial segregation of American communities was the intentional and malicious work of federal policies. Thanks in part to city planning efforts, the creation of inner city ghettos, concentrated poverty, racial stereotypes, white flight, and suburban oases are apart of a discriminatory narrative the shapes the lives of many Black people. As a Black person living in America, there are virtually no safe spaces where we can be free of judgment. No matter where we live or how successful we are, encounters of discrimination and prejudice are almost a sure thing. Imagine living your entire life in a state of constant stress, fear or anger brought about simply because of the color of your skin. What does that do to psyche? What does that do to the body of an adult? Now, throw a developing fetus in the mix encountering stress as its baseline for homeostasis. It’s almost as if America is playing a cruel joke on Black people, robbing us of our rights to life well before we have the chance to experience liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But city planners can help to harness some of the strengths that Black reproductive history has in order to leverage tools to battle these disparities.

In the past, Black women relied heavily on Black midwives to guide them through pregnancy, labor, and the post-partum period. Midwives, in those days, weren’t regarded as medical professionals but were spiritual leaders and cornerstones of the community at a time when Black people stayed away from clinics to have children due to mistrust and lack of access to medical institutions. In the documentary, All My Babies, Marry Coley, a midwife in the rural South, described the birthing process as a 10-day period. She would stay with the family before, during, and after labor doing anything she could to help the family.(10) She didn’t have a car so she would walk and average of 5-10 miles to attend births in Albany, GA sometimes barely getting paid. But for Black midwives of those days, it was their choice and their life decision to give this much time and energy to others regardless of payment.

Today, despite a long cultural history of midwifery in the Black community, Black women currently represent less than 2% of the nation’s midwives after decades of race-based professionalization of the field.(11) But an emerging cohort of Black doulas is currently taking stronghold of the fight to keep Black women and babies healthy. A doula is not trained to make medical decisions like a midwife. Instead she provides emotional support and works as an advocate for the mother. Her role is to stay with the mother through the entire birth, working along side medical staff, amplifying her clients voice and protecting the mother’s memory of her birth. Doula-assisted mothers see less instances of medical intervention, cesarean births, and birth complications altogether. We know that increased inductions, cesarean section, and epidurals have all been linked to an increase in the morbidity and mortality of baby and mother.(12) Why aren’t we using doulas more in our efforts to keep people alive?

City planners can work as advocates for equitable policy to make doulas accessible to all mothers, regardless of location, income, or healthcare coverage. Recently, New York City expanded the use of doulas under Medicaid to help combat infant mortality rates.(13) Although there are kinks and coils to iron out, this is a win for Black women that is derived from a rich history of reproductive agency and the traditions of Black granny midwives. Other programs like the Philadelphia Alliance for Labor Support at the University of Pennsylvania and the Maternity Care Coalition should be applauded and funded for their efforts to train community doulas and extend services to clients free of charge, empowering mothers of all backgrounds to exert their reproductive rights.

"City planners can work as advocates for equitable policy to make doulas accessible to all mothers, regardless of location, income, or healthcare coverage."

At its core, city planning curriculum in universities around the country can do a better job of linking policy and plans to real people, real places, and real problems. There is no better place to explore innovative, blue-sky, and radical approaches to some of our countries biggest problems than inside the walls and with the resources of an academic institution. JeffDESIGN is a collaborative academic program between Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University. This program teaches design and creative problem solving methods and it aims to equip the next generation of doctors with the skills and confidence to transform healthcare systems, services, spaces, and devices.(14) The way our current healthcare system is designed has greatly affected the health disparities we see today. Have you seen the inside of a labor room at your local hospital lately? How did it make you feel? Were you satisfied with your experience? The physical aspects of labor and delivery rooms and encounters with medical staff are a crucial component in addressing infant and maternal mortality. Studies analyzing women’s childbirth experiences and obstetric outcomes found that satisfaction with childbirth is considered the most important qualitative outcome in assessing childbirth experience, given that women’s satisfaction with this experience affects their health and their relationship with their infant.(15) Despite this research, the United States is a country with the shortest hospital stays and hardly any postpartum follow-up for mother, a very sensitive window for maternal mortality. While we appreciate the role our hospitals provide for moms-to-be, we also know that there is room to improve especially in areas of design, client comfortability, and even some medical practices.

City Planning directly effects the built environment around us. Pressing for incentives and policies to allow different kinds of real estate and infrastructure development is an elemental component of the profession. Creating housing programs specifically catering to the needs of at-risk pregnant women and mothers could really impact the way maternal and infant mortality is experienced in America. Impetus through federal, state, and local programs for the construction of non-hospital birthing centers in communities can help give mothers access to opportunities that can totally alter the course of their birthing experience. We can move the world for an Amazon HQ2, but what about healing our communities through tax incentives, funding opportunities and subsidies that consciously elevate birthing communities to keep women and babies alive?

Nurses and doctors in neonatal intensive care units are some of this country’s bravest heroes. There is no dollar value that can be put on the work they do to save lives as policies continue to reinforce the same cycles they work so hard to impede. Somewhere in the mix are city planners who learned from a profession that socially isolated families through redlining, displacement, and other brash efforts. The legacy of city planning has had some pretty negative and lasting physical, emotional, and biological effects on Black communities. Maternal and infant mortality is one. But moving forward, city planners will work in partnership with professionals across all fields of study to run upstream, while those who wade in the water to catch the babies already drifting down the river face the true consequences of what decades of institutional and systemic oppression breeds.

Click to download pdf

We welcome you to download Gabriella's entire pdf article, along with her citations and bibliography, for sharing in your community.

About Gabriella A. Nelson

Gabriella A. Nelson is a city planner, possessing a strong affinity at the confluence of urban development and public health. She currently works as a Project Analyst with the Philadelphia Housing Authority to help house some of the city’s most vulnerable residents and maintain a much needed level of affordability as the city re-surges. She believes the city is for everyone, especially for those who want to stay after bearing decades of disinvestment and devastation. Gabriella identifies as a problem-solver, an inquisitive thinker, and a creative whose experiences and opinions are deeply rooted in her Blackness, womanhood, and humanness.

Learn more about Gabriella – https://gabriellaanelson.com

The post Who’s throwing Black Women in the River? appeared first on Orgasmic Birth.

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