10 Most Common Questions Asked by First Time Parents

As a doula in the south, I get all kinds of unusual questions: Can I take MARTA to the hospital? Should I just wait out early labor at IKEA so I can be close to the hospital? Will my pastor/psychic/softball coach be able to visit me before I give birth? These are not the typical questions, but they are in no way “stupid.” Because believe it or not, when it comes to birth, there are actually no stupid questions. Unlike in school. But there are some questions that come up so often that I’ve on more than one occasion thought I should make a public service pamphlet to pass out to expecting parents. So, I guess this is the start of that PSA.


You probably won’t, but if you do, it’ll be okay. Typically women do not pass out from the pain of childbirth. The pain invigorates you. I suppose it’s not totally unheard of, and if for some reason you are worried you’ll pull a Melly from Gone With the Wind, tell your birth team your fears. When you vocalize your fears you give yourself the ability to control your situation. You can make sure someone will be there to help in the case your fear is realized. But just to be clear–Fainting is not one of the ways the human body typically responds to labor. What you may be thinking of is exhaustion. Laboring women get exhausted as fuck–they often sleep between contractions, and feel utterly wiped out — but you can be given oxygen if you feel light-headed. Though still rare, it’s actually more common for the non-laboring parent to faint. Of course, this would be nice to avoid, but there’s no shame in this — some people just get lightheaded around blood or stress. Partners: If you suspect you might break into a cold sweat or worry you’ll fall apart during childbirth, a doula can help you bear the load while you make sure you eat well and stay hydrated. You can do it, but having help is never a bad idea.


You probably will. Real talk. But I promise you, you won’t even notice. It will be wiped away before you can even work up the embarrassment. Doctors, midwives, doulas, labor assistants, and nurses, have seen it all and won’t bat a single eyelash at this normal bodily function. Usually it’s not much — during early labor you’ll probably expel most of your pee and poop when you get up and down a million times for the bathroom. Baby is still playing with your bladder like it’s a squeeze toy, so there won’t be much left. If you don’t have an epidural, the feeling your body gives you to tell you it’s time to push feels almost exactly like the feeling you get when you are running to the bathroom after a long car ride needing to go #2. But this time you get push out a baby instead! Poop is no big deal. Trust


3. WHEN SHOULD I LEAVE FOR THE HOSPITAL/ASK MY MIDWIFE TO COME FOR THE HOME BIRTH?For first-time parents, and in the absence of any particular medical concern, it is generally recommend to head towards the hospital when the contractions are 3-4 minutes apart, one-minute long, and have been that way for an hour (4-1-1). You’ll be in touch with your doctor or midwife before that time so you won’t be doing anything irresponsible to let labor really get going at home. If you’d prefer to minimize interventions, staying home through early labor is especially beneficial. First-time labor is on average 24 hours — babies born in Ubers are rare and even more rarely those of first-time moms. So tell your partner to chill. You’ll probably make it there on time. Talk to your doctor or midwife about when to go and what to expect at home before you do so that your fears are allayed.

For home births, call your midwife and birth team as soon as you believe you are in labor. When your team is coming to you, you want to give them as much heads up as possible. Labor usually takes awhile, but you don’t want to call your labor team too late and end up delivering your own baby without being adequately prepared. Yes, to be honest, lots of babies are born unassisted—but let’s not let that be your baby unless it’s your organized and prepared plan.


As you know, I am a professional doula, so on this one question I admit to being biased. A doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. The doula’s purpose is to help women and their partners have safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experiences. So in short, yes. If you have the means and desire for personalized birth help, then hire a doula.

Labor can involve 12+ hours of stress with the nurses and doctors only popping in to check on you—which is normal. They have many patients. Doulas only have ONE patient at a time, so you get their full attention and your spouse/partner/family has support as well as yourself. Hire a doula if you want continuous support. Listen, I know cost can be prohibitive. Depending on where you live and the level of your doula’s experience, doula services can cost between several hundred and a thousand dollars. (Message me if you are looking for a doula who works on a sliding scale based on income.) It’s my personal belief that every expecting woman who wants a doula should have one. Studies show that continuous labor support reduces the length of labor, the number of interventions and the likelihood of a C-section—which cuts down costs in the long run.


Generally, no. But ask your doctor or midwife because different practices and hospitals have different policies and anesthesia availability. This question is often asked by my clients who want a natural birth but are terrified they may change their minds and find they are too late. I always reassure my clients that they are in safe hands when it comes to meds. Hospitals are always ready to medicate. There used to be a “window” for epidural anesthesia for pain relief in labor — it was generally between about 3-7 centimeters dilation, not too early in labor, not too close to the pushing phase. But modernly, for the most part, epidurals are available as long as the patient can sit still long enough to get one and the anesthesiologist is available. Talk to your care-provider about epidural logistics so that you feel reassured if you know you want one.


Not necessarily. If your water breaks (spontaneous rupture of membranes) at night you may sleep through it and wake up to find you’ve made yourself a nice water bed. If it breaks during the day you might think you’re peeing — a little urinary incontinence at the end of pregnancy is common (the baby’s head is literally sitting on your bladder) but most women realize that it’s not urine pretty quickly. For one, it feels different and definitely doesn’t smell like urine. Often there’s a bit of a gush (you have to change your clothes) right when the membranes rupture as there’s a pocket of fluid under the baby’s head that comes out first, but then the baby’s head blocks the opening of the uterus so fluid tends to come out only when you change position. Sometimes it doesn’t gush but comes out in a slow leak. Both are completely normal. In the movies, a woman’s water breaks and she rushes to the hospital. This is NOT what happens in reality. Most of the time, the water breaks during labor, not at the onset and often it doesn’t mean you need to rush to the hospital. It does mean you should call your care-provider and that you’ll be having the baby at some point in the next day or so. If your water breaks before you have any contractions be reassured that labor is on its way.


There are signs that labor is imminent, such as the loss of the mucus plug, the baby lowering or “dropping” and a crampy, shitty feeling; but mostly you’re looking for contractions that become longer, stronger and closer together. A contraction is the tightening of the uterine muscle and can last anywhere from about 45-90 seconds at the very end of labor. Your belly becomes very hard during a contraction and then softens again. Most say they don’t hurt at first but get very intense as labor progresses. Many women get Braxton Hicks contractions during pregnancy which are technically contractions (tightening of the muscle), but they are not opening the cervix and making you go into labor. The difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and labor contractions is that the latter don’t go away when you change position or drink water and they become longer, stronger and closer together. Often women start to realize it’s actually labor when they’re about 5 or 6 minutes apart and feel intense enough that you have to stop what you’re doing to cope with them. If you can’t talk or stay aware of what’s going on around you during your contractions, they are the real deal. If you have a doula, they should be able to help you decide when it’s time to get on the road. Talk to your midwife or doctor about signs of labor and under what circumstances they would like you to call or go into the birthing facility.


Tearing is common (but not a certainty) in first-time vaginal births but most women get superficial tears, not the kind that tear through muscle. Stitches are sometimes required and will fall out on their own. The things you can do to help prevent tearing is massaging the perineum throughout pregnancy with approved lubrication, choosing a care provider who will allow you to change positions during birth (and who also isn’t scissor happy), and lastly giving up the idea that births happen on your back. The likelihood of tearing can be influenced by the positioning for pushing, speed of second stage labor and mostly by the skills of the practitioner and whether or not an epidural was used. To minimize tearing, go with a doctor or midwife who is comfortable with you pushing in an upright position, which may help reduce pressure on the perineum, and who has a low episiotomy rate. An episiotomy is an incision on the vaginal opening that is supposed to prevent tears but can actually make them more likely. You can try forgoing medications or demanding only a low dose epidural that can be turned off for pushing so that you can get into optimal gravity-friendly positions. Being in control of your muscles will take you farther than any other technique.


No. The episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S where Rachel gives birth has lied to you. Personally, I don’t know of any hospital that puts laboring women in together. Maybe in the 1950s when maternity care moved from primarily in home to in hospital only, women were put together to Labor, but not in the US today. For recovery, yes, often the standard is a shared room with a curtain between the two moms. But while in labor you get and deserve your own room for privacy.


Physically you can, and you should. Many hospitals have a no eating, no drinking rule for laboring women. Which is RIDICULOUS. It started years ago when women would get general anesthesia for C-sections — the fear was that mom could aspirate on vomit under anesthesia. But these days moms almost always get a local anesthesia for a C-section. Still, the rule is in place in too many hospitals. Protocols are definitely changing and most doctors and nurses will say something along the lines of “what I don’t see, I don’t know.” But, if eating and drinking is important to you, research your area’s hospital protocols and what care providers are most lenient. They know this rule doesn’t make sense for most women — labor is hard and nourishment gives you strength.

There is nothing wrong with fighting the system but be careful with what you choose. I wouldn’t bring into the hospital a crock pot of ginger chicken. It will smell down the hall and cause dissension with the staff. High protein snacks and water with electrolytes (Vitamin water or Gatorade) can be a great idea however. Also eat very well and often during early labor before you go to the hospital. Most women aren’t that hungry once active (hard) labor starts and will be just fine with the ice-chips the hospital provides.

So, what did I miss? Do you have any questions you’d like me to cover? Message me at or find us on Facebook at Belly Blossom Doulas. We want to hear from you!

💋Happy Tuesday,

Your Doula—Hannah

To Induce Labor or Not to Induce Labor–that is the question!

Happy Friday my Blossom friends!

Today I want to chat about induction. Believe it or not, induced labors have increased by over 40% in the past three decades. What the blue hell is that about?! Is it because babies have forgotten when they should be born? Is it because our modern world has created mothers who can’t naturally go into labor? No. It’s not. Our bodies normally know what to do.

I want to make it clear that I’m NOT against hospital births or using interventions in birth. They totally have their place and save countless lives…..But I AM against my clients and other mothers not knowing the facts. Truth is mamas, a lot of inductions are UNNECESSARY. Now, I’m not suggesting you tell your doctor or midwife to “fuck off” the second they suggest induction—all I’m saying is, you deserve to know WHY they want you to Induce.

“Question everything!”, my grandmother always told me. She was a super smart woman.

What happens when you medically Induce Labor?

If your labor hasn’t start naturally, you’ll be started on an IV infusion of oxytocin. This drug (often referred to by the brand name Pitocin) is a synthetic form of the hormone that your body produces naturally during spontaneous labor, but at a much higher level. To ripen your cervix and Induce Labor, your healthcare provider may use prostaglandins.

So, The Number One reason I hear most mothers Induce is they believe their baby is “late.” But you’ve got to realize that babies and doctors don’t always have the same “due date” in mind. The date given to expecting mothers has a large margin for error. Two weeks either way— we really should be given a “due month” instead. I’ve known healthy babies born at 36.5 weeks and I’ve known equally healthy babies born at 43. I’m no doctor, but there seems to be a lot of space between those weeks. There are legitimate reasons to induce, but don’t let the baby being a week “late”, with no other reason, be one.

So let’s get down to the reason I wrote this post. Questions that you should absolutely ask your care provider when they suggest induction. These will help you make sure you are in control of your birth! Question everything! It is not disrespectful to question your doctor, no matter what Memaw says. Your body is YOURS. You deserve to know The Who, What, Where, Why and Hows that happen to your body and baby. As always, I suggest having a doula at your birth to help you work out how induction fits into your birth plan. Also, induction often leads to other interventions, and doulas can help inform you of what you can expect along the way. Here at Belly Blossom we believe every mother who wants a doula should have a doula!

Questions to Ask your Doctor BEFORE Induction:

1 Why are you being induced? Are you simply overdue or are there some legitimate health concerns? 

2 Would they be opposed to following the ACOG’s standards by monitoring you till 42 weeks before inducing?

3 How favorable is your cervix? This can affect how they induce and how likely the induction is to be successful. Ask for your Bishop’s Score.

4 How do they plan to induce? Are they going to use a cervical ripener to soften your cervix? Are they going to go right to Pitocin? The answers should be tailored to how favorable your cervix is. 

5 Ask what they would do if you don’t go into labor even after induction? Do they send you home and wait it out? Straight to C-Section? How do they plan to manage things?

6 Will they let you eat and drink after induction starts? If not, is there a legitimate reason you aren’t allowed?

7 Will they let you move about, use water, change positions…? If not, why?

8 Do they require continuous monitoring or do they do intermittent?

9 Can you have pain meds? When can you have them? What narcotics do they have standard orders for? What dosage? Is there a cut off point to recieving pain medications (if you are 8+cm, will you be able to get anything?)

10 If labor is progressing well can they turn OFF the pitocin for a while and see if your body will take over? You may want the opportunity to have the kind of contractions that are perfect for your body and be able to get off of the monitor for a while so you can walk and change positions more easily. This will help ensure proper fetal alignment, more so than laboring in bed. If you can’t, What is the reason they can’t turn it off? 

11 Is there a time limit on your induction before it is considered a failed induction or turns into a c-section? Do they follow active management? Do you have to progress Xcm in X amount of time? If you are well and the baby is well, can you take it slow and steady instead? If not, why?

12 Can you decline having your amniotic sac ruptured as part of the induction process? You should know that you can reconsider later, like if you get stuck at 8cm for a few hours, but as a matter of routine you might would rather not have it ruptured. You may worry about the added stress baby could face with the pitocin contractions if they don’t have the benefit of the cushion. Fetal malpresentation, cord prolapse and cord compression are other concerns, as well as infection.

Question Everything my friends!

I wish you the best birth experience!

If you have more questions, ask me!


Hannah- Your doula

Who do I choose? Forming Your Birth Team 

Hello! When I started this blog a few weeks back I intended to do two posts (or one at the very least) a week… but Hurricane Irma had other ideas. I was without power for awhile, but me and mine are safe and getting back on track. I hope and pray that all of you who’ve been affected by the storms are safe and rebuilding. Hurricanes really are bitches. (And somehow they keep getting worse…. how ’bout that climate change? Never-mind, I don’t have time to do a political rant today.) 

I do have some important things to share with you all about the kind of care you can choose for your pregnancy and birth. Believe it or not, you get a choice about the care you receive. Who do you want at your birth? Creating your own personal birth team can be a hard task. So I thought I’d help make it clear what each care provider does. Below are some questions I am asked on a regular basis: 

  • “What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?” 
  • “Why would I choose a midwife over a doctor?” 
  • “Do I need a doctor and a midwife? Or does my midwife work for my OB?”
  • “Isn’t the Labor and Delivery nurse I’ll have at the hospital just like a doula?” 

These are all great questions. I think sometimes Doulas or other birth workers (myself included) get tired of answering these questions because it’s easier to just say “yeah a doula is kinda like a midwife” and just move on. But that really isn’t benefiting the birth movement or the mother. Nor is it true. Everyone has their own job and special place in the birth world. First, let’s dive in and define who these people are. 

OBSTETRICIAN: An Obstetrician is a doctor, first and foremost. He or she delivers babies and is in the practice of obstetrics, the art and science of managing pregnancy, labor and the puerperium, the time immediately after delivery. 

OB/GYNs are amazing and essential to our world but like most doctors, they are accustomed to “fixing” something. Your doctor may be focused on the easiest and quickest way to get your infant into your arms. This is great for some, but others may want a more natural approach to their births. There is no wrong way. Generally if you choose an OB as your care provider you will see not just your chosen provider but also members of his/her practice throughout your pregnancy. This is great if you want quick answers to a question or don’t have a flexible schedule, because usually there will be someone on your OB’s team that can see you. During the labor, the doctor will come in and out to check on your progress and, as the definition above states, “manage” your labor. Obstetrics is a surgical field, so in the case of a cesarean, it would be your OB that would perform the procedure. If you do not want a cesarean, be sure to check your OB’s birth statistics. Some of them are excellent surgeons and turn to that option quicker than others. 

******Dr. Bootstaylor at SEE BABY of Atlanta is an excellent obstetrician if you are looking for an OB in the Atlanta area*****

MIDWIFE: A midwife is a trained professional with special expertise in supporting women in maintaining a healthy pregnancy/birth, and offering expert medical care to a woman and her newborn throughout the childbearing cycle.

A midwife that has her own practice works with each individual pregnant person to identify their unique needs and what they want from their birth experience. All Midwives operate from The Midwives Model of Care which emphasizes the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes. Midwives statistically have lower rates of interventions and provide the mother with individualized prenatal and postpartum care as well as hands-on assistance during labor and delivery. Midwives are not surgeons, So they cannot preform an emergency cesarean.  Midwives, like doctors, may work in a group that rotates who is on call and who will see you for your prenatal visits. Some midwives work alongside doctors in their practices, while others work individually or outside the hospital setting. There are different types of midwives: Direct Entry Midwifes, Certified Professional Midwives, and Certified Nurse Midwives. Depending on their credentials and training, some midwives work in hospitals while others solely attend home births. Midwives are a better fit for some pregnant people because they often give more individualized support and allow mothers to birth at their own pace. 

***If you are looking for a wonderful midwife who does at home prenatal care, I highly recommend Whitney Whitmoore, CPM. Contact her today. She’s amazing! ***

LABOR and DELIVERY NURSE: Nurses in the labor and delivery field provide care to women who are in labor or who have recently delivered, including those who may be having complications with labor. 

Nurses work under doctor’s orders to develop a plan to aid in the safe delivery of healthy babies. They work in the clinical setting only and they work on rotating shifts. There is no way of knowing who will be your nurse during delivery. Nurses are wonderful and often are the professional you’ll see the most during a hospital delivery. They will have several patients they are taking care of, all within the same floor. 

BIRTH DOULA: A labor doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth. (Post Partum Doulas provide emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. Some doulas wear both hats) 

Unless she has additional training, a doula is NOT a medical professional and will not perform medical procedures on the laboring mother or the baby. (In the case of an emergency when no other qualified care provider is present a doula can perform samaritain services. But never assume your doula is qualified to do medical procedures. It’s not her job.) She will not be able to fix your IV or check your cervix. However, she will most likely be one of the most consistent elements of your labor experience. She does not change shifts, never leaves your side, and only deals with one client at a time. Doulas work for YOU. Not the hospital. The doula will also labor with you at home and come with you to the hospital or birth center. 

So, now that I’ve beaten you over the head with definitions—back to the original questions:

What is the difference between a doula and a midwife? 
A doula acts as an emotional, physical and informational support for the mother. She will keep you informed of everything that happens to you, and help you prepare emotionally for whatever is ahead. A midwife delivers the baby and performs the necessary medical examinations throughout pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum. Many midwives are also available to do “well woman” yearly exams throughout a woman’s life, not just working with her while pregnant, like an OBGYN. During pregnancy and birth, many women choose to have both a midwife and doula. They are often an unbeatable team. 

Why would I choose a midwife over a doctor or vice versa?
Choosing your care provider is a very personal choice. It requires a good look at the model of care you would like for your pregnancy and delivery. (Consulting a doula is helpful when choosing what is best for you. She will have information on care providers in your area and can help you access your needs.) While both doctors and midwives try to offer the best care they can, the type of care they give differs. The Model of Care that midwives subscribe to reflects the idea that pregnancy and birth is a natural physiological process that should be inherently trusted. Doctors, on the other hand, use the medical model that focuses on the pathologic potential of pregnancy and birth. They both have the same desired outcome, but use different routes to get there.

When choosing your provider you should consider the style of care you personally prefer. Midwives will tend to be more present during labor; moreover, they will be more holistically based and allow more space for the labor to unfold naturally before moving to medical interventions. Doctors are not as likely to give you as much personal care and time and may move to medical interventions more quickly. But in the case where you have a health problem that complicates your pregnancy, you might prefer a doctor. He or she won’t wait around to see if that complication negatively affects your baby. On the other hand, if you want to labor at home or at your own pace without fear of intervention, a midwife might be the better of the two. Everyone is different. So choose what is best for you! 

Does my midwife work for my doctor? Do I need both?

Sometimes a practice has both doctors and midwives. But no, midwives don’t work for a doctor. They often work together in groups. But if your current doctor does not work with midwives you cannot have both as care providers. You don’t need both. If a midwifery practice does not have a doctor as part of the group, there will be a doctor that backs up that group. However, if you choose a home birth, you will have just a professional midwife and should you need further medical assistance, you would be transferred to a hospital. Some midwives have privileges at a hospital, while others just have a relationship with a doctor and will no longer be your care provider should you be admitted. 

Isn’t the Labor and delivery nurse just like a doula? 

No. Labor and Delivery nurses are wonderful and can offer a lot of great advice for the laboring mom. However, you cannot expect your L & D nurse to provide the same comfort and assistance as a birth doula. They will have several patients they are monitoring at the same time and cannot offer consistent support. It isn’t their job to hold your hand. It is their job to monitor your medical needs. They work in shifts so if your labor exceeds 8-12 hours you will get a new nurse at shift change. Nurses are an essential part of your hospital birth team, but they work for the hospital. You may also find it appealing that you will get to know your doula before you deliver and you get to choose them! You will have little to no control over which nurse attends your birth. But you ARE guaranteed to have a nurse attend your birth in hospital. A doula isn’t provided. She is someone you choose for your team. 

I hope this helps you or other pregnant people choose what kind of birth team they want for themselves. Knowing what each member of a team does is essential to getting the best care. And YOU do deserve the best care. 

Contact me at (229) 563-4447 or @BellyBlossomDoulas on Facebook if you have any questions or you are looking for a doula in the Atlanta area. 


Hannah —your doula 

Thursday Thoughts: Why Would I Want to Invite a Stranger to My Birth? 

Here’s something to think about: What is the point of a doula? I’ve met a lot of people who genuinely do not understand why you’d would hire a stranger to be apart of their birth. They want to know why they would need a doula when they have a husband or partner present. They want to know why anyone would need help sticking to their own birth plan. And they really want to know why you’d need someone other than their doctor there… and I sooo get it! It’s a legitimate question

But if you really think about it, how many people are actually close to their doctors or know the nurses that attend their birth? Most modern births have strangers in attendance. Hospitals have to rotate their staff, and even if you get to know your midwife or care provider, you aren’t guaranteed that they will be available when you go into labor. So here are a couple of reasons I’ve found that you or (other soon to be parents) might want to hire a Doula to attend a birth: 

  • You are unsure of how you will react in labor and are looking for non-biased support to help guide the process based on your individualized plans laid out beforehand. 

Many people have very specific plans for their birth. (In fact, a doula can help you write a specific birth plan based on your wants and needs…but that’s for another day.) Whether it be all natural, as medicated as possible, a scheduled cesarean section, or a water birth…many women find that they are too busy birthing a person to keep everyone informed of their chosen track. See, Doulas offer support. Wanting Non-judgmental support means a doula can be the perfect person to delegate tasks to. 

Examples: “Don’t let my father-in-law in here.” “Please remind me that I didn’t originally want an epidural if the nurse suggests one.” “I need a cool washcloth.” “Help me change positions.” “When the new nurse comes in, give them a copy of my birth plan” “Text my mom for me and ask her to bring the camera when she comes.”
These may seem like tasks that can be done by your partner, (if you are in a relationship) but you’ve got to remember that he/she is becoming a parent too! There will be times when they might need support as well. Plus, having your partner hold your hand and pay attention to you while someone else takes care of the small things can really keep you focused on your goal: getting a healthy baby earthside. 

  • You do not want to be alone.

Sadly, many pregnant people learn too late that their plans will often clash with typical hospital protocols. It can become concerning how much time your medical staff isn’t present. I’m not saying that doctors and nurses are negligent! They care about you— it’s just that you probably aren’t their only patient and it’s impossible for them to give you undivided attention. Which is a fucking bummer! For a laboring mom who needs clarification on what kind of medication they are being given, wants to be moved, wants to ask questions, or merely wants to have someone to chat with them inbetween contractons….it is disheartening to find that paging a nurse to come in every 5 minutes will not be enough. Yes, lots of pregnant people have their significant others present, but (unless your partner is a superhero) he or she can’t be with you every second for the possibly many hours of labor either. They will need to get food, make calls, rest, go to the bathroom, hyperventilate into a paper bag about becoming a parent… 

But good news! Doulas are literally there to make sure you are never alone! You hired them, so they are loyal to you and only you, not the hospital or the doctor. They will stay with you from the moment you ask them to arrive until the baby is safely in your arms, settled into the rosy afterglow of birth. They are there to take care of your emotional needs. Also, Doulas LOVE to answer questions! A good doula will be able to answer most of the questions you need in order to make informed decisions for yourself and your baby, (and if they don’t know the answer immediately, they WILL find out.) They are masters of questions. We want you to feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable. Care providers want that for you too, but most likely will not be able to give you undivided support. And honestly, don’t you deserve to be catered to?! You’re creating a person for crying out loud! 

  • You want to be in control of your birth environment by increasing the amount of security and comfort available, for yourself, or for your partner. 

I know this may sound harsh, but there are people who do not belong in your delivery room. (You know who I’m talking about) Its different for each person, but I can guarantee that everyone has someone they’d rather not be present while they are in the vunerable state of becoming a parent. For families that share deep connections, it’s hard to just say no to the ones that love us. 

Examples: It’s hard for Memaw to keep her opinion to herself when she’s watching her daughter give birth. Every other contraction she may be pestering you to take the drugs, reminding you about how “in her day” you didn’t question the doctor, or reminiscing about how you were a forceps birth because of your huge head. Nobody’s got time for that, Memaw

Okay, now Imagine having your 5 most favorite sorority sisters from college in the delivery room squealing and taking pictures. They are live tweeting every push. They are just soooo excited that you’re the first one of them to give birth…. Nope. That just sounds too loud to me! Your baby is going crawl backwards to get away from the woohoos. Having too many cooks in the kitchen is one sure fire way to stress out mom and baby. Listen, I know they are have their hearts in the right place, but most of the time, they are adding to your pain. I’ve seen women in the midst of body quaking contractions more worried about entertaining her company than focusing on what her body is doing. 

A doula is a perfect help for this, as she can help reassure your cheerleaders in the waiting room or at home that the process is going well. She can be your play-by-play color announcer. She can be your own personal bouncer. (Doulas wear many hats) Or if you send your honey out to talk to the family, your doula take care of you! Doulas are supposed to be a calming presence in the delivery room. They are the support system you really need. And they won’t be telling you about that one time Aunt Cheryl gave birth in a Volvo. Major perk. 

  •  You are looking for a resource for information.

When it comes to birth, there are so many options. There’s a world of information out there. But what sucks is…. most care providers are biased. They think the type of medicine they practice is the best way and are reluctant to tell their patients about other options. It’s not their faults really. They want your business and they like to do what they do best. BUT there is no one correct and proper way to parent, give birth, handle pregnancy, or to care for your children. There are so many ways to do all these things! You’ve got to figure out what’s best for you!

Some of my clients are very well versed in the ways, methods, medications, positions, techniques, and language surrounding birth. Others have no idea what’s going on. Either way, pregnant people end up becoming anxious. For a well-researched client, there can be anxiety over forgetting a piece of information. For the uninformed, everything can come crashing down on them at once, making them feel unprepared. Doulas are a great help for all kinds of families, because they are walking birth books! You get the benefit of having someone you can pepper with questions that are specific to your needs, as well as brainstorm alternate plans, should unexpected events occur. A doula is only concerned about what YOU want and need. They will exhaust all the options with you. Whether you need help choosing a care provider, researching the best way for you to feed, helping you prepare for birth, or explaining what will happen at certain points in labor—doulas are your unbiased birth encyclopedia! 

I could type out probably 50 more in depth reasons on why doulas are valuable to your birth team, but these are just a few for you to chew on this Thursday. If any of these reasons resonate with you in your search for labor support, I encourage you to contact us with questions. We’d love to meet you where you are at in this process and I know you can find exactly what you need from Belly Blossom Doulas. 

What do you think about doulas? I’d love to hear what you think about these Thursday Thoughts! Thank you for reading! 


Your Doula- Hannah 

Just This Once

Dear Reader, 

Hi! I’m Hannah, owner of Belly Blossom Doulas. 

I’m a DONA certified birth doula, a trained post-partum doula, a lactation consultant, a professional placenta encapsulator, and a supporter of all mothers/babies/birth/women. Pregnant women and babies are kind of my jam. 

I first started my doula business in my hometown, a mostly rural city in the Deep South. There was not a huge demand for pro-birth professionals there, but I did well. I attended more births than anyone expected for such a small town. Becoming a professional there was hard work, but wholly worthwhile. But Fate and a recent move to Atlanta this past May has pushed me to really become more involved in the social media aspect of being a doula. It was easy to get away with business cards and word of mouth in a small town, but to my chargin, that won’t cut it in ATL. Living in a urban area has really changed the way I run my business. For instance, I have discovered many of my potential clients are saddened when I tell them I don’t have a blog. (I’m pretty sure they are just trying to manipulate me into giving out free advice and information on birth—the devils) So due to popular demand, here I am, preparing to spout my advice and words of wisdom freely. This one post, just this once, will be about me. The others will cover topics on birth, parenthood, pregnancy, female empowerment, and how to prepare for new life. 

About me: The one question I am asked most often (after “what’s a doula actually do?”) is “what led me to the world of birth”. The answer isn’t simple. But I’ve always been drawn to babies. I worked almost full time as a nanny from the age of 15 until I decided to become a doula in my mid-twenties. It never occurred to me while I was getting my bachelor’s degree in English that working with mothers and children could be an actual career. It was just what I did to keep myself from starving as I worked my way through college. But I loved every second. I preferred nannying to school. If I had been more self-aware I might have saved myself some trouble. It wasn’t until a few years post graduation, struggling at jobs I disliked, that I realized I needed babies back in my life to be happy. And after all, don’t we all deserve to be happy?

Looking back, it makes sense that becoming a doula was the right path for me. I grew up in a small town with one hospital that was not pro-birth. I had several high school friends who had babies young and I remember the first time I was invited into a delivery room. I felt like I was meant to be there. I immediately wanted to change things–to make the mother more comfortable. I was confused on why they couldn’t get up and walk, or eat something when they were hungry. I kept thinking, “there has got to be a better way!” after seeing my friend strapped for 12 hours on her back with no food, finally give in to an unnecessary cesarean section. That was an eye-opening experience. There was so much to learn. Even witnessing birth in a less than baby friendly hospital, I felt so much joy from just being present. Birth is terrifyingly beautiful. I knew this from the first time I ever saw a baby take a breath. It was magic. I can’t say for sure when the exact moment I realized I wanted to be a birth professional was, but I know that it’s been inside me for many years. I’m honored to be apart of such an intimate and wonderful time in a person’s life. 

Some more information about me:

  • I’m married to a wonderful woman who is a massage therapist. We moved to Atlanta to find a place for ourselves amongst the more liberal and diverse population. We are so grateful to have found a community of loving people to support us here, including a great church family. 
  • I love Mexican food, French films, and watching Parks and Recreation. 
  • I curse like a sailor. I can reign it in when around children, but I’m likely to find it difficult to keep myself from using my colorful vocabulary here. Sometimes the only word that fits the situation is “fuck.” 
  • I am very open-minded and equally opinionated. I can promise you that you will find no shaming here. I do not believe in body shaming, mommy shaming, slut shaming, or race/sex/gender/age/religion/sexuality shaming. At the same time, I am very forward about my beliefs on equality and anonymity. All of my posts will be written in a genuine feminist spirit. 
  • When I’m not helping mothers cope with pregnancy and birth, you can find me reading, sleeping as much as possible, coloring, marching for women’s equality, painting my toenails, or eating too much pizza. 
  • I love ice. I prefer to be cold to hot, always. Which is strange because I can’t seem to leave this beautiful swamp state. 
  • If you ever need birth assistance or have questions about doulas, feel free to contact me. I will always respond. 

So, since I was an English major in college, I actually love writing. But my issue with having a blog is… people read it. I have no doubt that I have good knowledge to share, but letting everyone critique your writing on the internet is a little different than writing a college paper. So please, excuse my language, the plethora of typos, and my over-usage of commas. That being said, truly I am very excited to start this new journey with you, Reader. I feel like I have a lot to say on birth, pregnancy, motherhood, feminism, the healthcare system, and other deep subjects I’m sure we will delve into. If you’re willing to read this blog, I can promise you one thing: I will never bullshit you. I don’t believe in lying to my clients or friends. There is no point. But please remember, I’m only human. I am likely to mess up sometimes. If you can accept that I won’t always be perfect, I will keep my very sacred promise to always be real with you. I want every parent, every mother, every woman, every person to know all the facts about what their bodies can do. You are capable of beautiful and powerful things. Let’s discover our power together. 

With love, 

Hannah Hitchcock, CD(DONA)