Tag Archives: childbirth

Birth through Photos | Raleigh Birth Photography

Once a month I will be sharing some of the Births I have photographed through Manda’s Memories Photography. I have been photographing births for nearly 4 years and each birth is so unique. Documenting a babies birth day is so special; capturing the moment they take their first breath and finally feel fresh air on their skin. These memories slip away so fast but having them documented is a true gift.

This birth I have chosen to showcase this month took place at home. They kept the gender a surprise and the anticipation was high! Mom wanted to have the baby in the water but never quite made it back to the tub.


Raleigh Birth Photography | Birth Through Photos

A video of their birth can be found here.

Raleigh Birth Photography | Home Birth Raleigh Birth Photography | Home Birth Raleigh Birth Photography | Home Birth Raleigh Birth Photography | Home Birth Raleigh Birth Photography | Home Birth Raleigh Birth Photography | Home Birth Raleigh Birth Photography | Home Birth Raleigh Birth Photography | Home Birth


If you are interested in having your birth photographed in the Raleigh NC area,

please contact me through This Link.


What Is A Doula?

If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.

If you are new to the arena of childbirth you may have heard a funny little world being thrown around here and there… doula. What is a doula? I get asked this question on a regular basis. It is new and strange word to many, but it comes from ancient Greek and means “woman who serves”. In today’s culture a doula is a trained professional who provides continuous informational, emotional and physical support to a mother before and during childbirth and/or provides practical and informational support in the postpartum period.

What Is Special About a Doula?

Unlike any other childbirth professional, a doula is solely there to support the mother. Doctors, nurses and medical staff are there to assist in the delivery of a healthy baby and may not always be able to solely support the mother in the ways she needs.

Doulas are also one of the only childbirth professionals who will provide continuous support to the mother throughout labor and birth. Nurses and doctors have other patients and responsibilities and are usually unable to stay with a single family throughout all of a labor and delivery; a doula provides continual support from the start of active labor through delivery.

You have a relationship with your doula. In many cases you will not know exactly what doctor or midwife will be on call when you deliver and you will not know what nurse or nurses you will be assigned. This means that most moms have little to no relationship with the people supporting them during this important time which may be disconcerting to some new parents. However, because most parents hire a doula towards the middle of their pregnancy there is a lot of time to establish a relationship and get to know each other.


Why Should I Consider Hiring a Doula?

There are four primary reasons that expectant parents should consider hiring a doula.

  1. Information: When you hire a doula you have an experience and trained professional available to answer any question you may have whenever you have them. This is reassuring and can help moms feel more prepared and confident about the journey ahead of them. Doulas are also a great way to get connected to resources in your area because they can refer you to services, groups, and doctors that may be of interest to you.
  2. Support of Partners: Doulas are often primarily there for the mother during the pregnancy and delivery process but moms are not the only ones who benefit. Doulas can be a huge support to the mother’s partner and family as well. For many partners childbirth is a new and scary territory that they have little to no experience with. Yet, without continual labor support moms often end up relying on their partners for support. This can be incredibly stressful and sometimes traumatic for partners, so having a trusted professional in the room allows many people to feel more at ease and better enjoy the birth of their new family member.
  3. Physical Support: Numerous studies have shown that the presence of a doula at a birth tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications, reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction cesareans, and reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals. This is especially appealing to women interested in having a birth experience with minimal interventions. (1)
  4. Emotional Support: Studies have also shown that parents who receive support can Feel more secure and cared for, Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics, Have greater success with breastfeeding, Have greater self-confidence, Have less postpartum depression, Have lower incidence of abuse (1)


How do I Find a Doula?

There are a couple of great resources to help you find the doula that is going to be the best fit for you. First you can check out websites for doula certifying agencies like DONA International and look at their directories for certified doulas in your area. You can also connect with local resources such as La Leche League, your childbirth educator, or even your care provider. Many groups like this have lists of doulas that they would be happy to share with you. Finally, connect with other moms! There is no greater vote of confidence than one from a mom who has been through the process. Ask around and see who other local moms recommend.


Childbirth Advice

Today I’m happy to share a guest post by Taryn Leary on Childbirth Advice. She teaches childbirth classes here at Sweetbottoms and has some fantastic tips for women (and their partners) preparing for labor. Knowing I have less than two months to go until my little bundle arrives prompted me to read her expert advice very carefully!

Childbirth Advice - 10 Things You Need to Know About Childbirth {That you probably won't get from a book!}

One of the first things most women do when they find out that they are expecting is to run down to a book store or the library and pick up a book or two! From What to Expect when You’re Expecting all the way to Ina May’s Guide, you can learn a LOT about pregnancy and birth from cracking open a few good books– but some things just aren’t found in the majority of pregnancy books. Taking a comprehensive childbirth class will not only ensure that you have the basics of “what to expect,” but can provide in-person, hands-on instruction that applies specifically to you and your journey into parenthood!

1- What to expect from your provider and birth setting

Books can tell you what to expect in a “general” hospital from a “general” practitioner, but practices can vary greatly. Talking to someone (a childbirth educator or doula) who has worked with many local practices and birth settings will be able to give you an accurate picture of what to expect when you arrive to have your baby.


2- Community matters

Okay, you probably already knew that community matters, but for pregnant women and new mothers community is absolutely necessary– and sometimes difficult to find. During pregnancy, many women find they feel the need to talk to other pregnant women or women who have recently given birth. Attending a childbirth class affords a built-in small community of other families who are roughly in the same stage of pregnancy. These families may ask questions you forgot to ask (or hadn’t thought of!), reaffirm for you that your goals are important and achievable, or provide a safe place to let out your concerns and be supported by others who probably feel the same way.


3- What labor REALLY looks like, sounds like, and feels like

Recently, I had an epiphany about “Transition.” I hear from time to time that people read about transition, heard about it in classes, and when it arrived…were completely shocked by the things that they felt and did. This lead me to put together an activity in which one or two (willing!) class participants assist me in acting out what transition may look and feel like. Needless to say, those parents are not likely to forget the signs of transition. As an added bonus, attending a class will afford you a place in a very small group of people who have heard me imitate a sound that I refer to as “The ghost/goat.”


4- Your partner needs preparation, too.

If we’re honest, most partners do not read the same books, go to the same websites, or talk to other women about their birth stories the way expectant mothers do. They probably also won’t be found watching “A Baby Story” in their free time. Your partner needs to know what to expect during labor and birth not only to be able to better support you, but because they also deserve to experience birth in a positive, confident way– just like the birthing woman. I strongly feel that childbirth classes are more beneficial for partners than they are for pregnant women in most cases because it creates a pre-scheduled time just for learning about everything they need to know!


5- Positions for Labor

In fairness, plenty of books show some great positions for labor and birth, but I find that most women do not try them out unless time is cut out of a busy schedule to do so. It makes sense, really– we think: “Well I know how to get on my hands and knees, no need to practice that,” but the fact is that most women are not going to try something they are unfamiliar with in the middle of labor. Practicing a few common positions for laboring and pushing can help you not only get comfortable doing it, but sometimes can also alert women to which positions are likely to be most useful for them (some women love squatting, some women hate it!) when the time comes.


6- “The Double Hip Squeeze”

The double hip squeeze– I tried to fit this in elsewhere, but it really deserves a number of its own. This relatively simple technique is lauded by pregnant women (and new moms) everywhere! It basically involves using both hands on mother’s lower back (read: butt) to shift the rear plates in the pelvis, opening the front and lower portions of the pelvis and when done correctly, almost always resulting in a resounding “Ahhhhhh!”  You, too (partners), can learn this magic trick and be cheered on as a hero for years to come.


7- How to use a Rebozo

I got you there, didn’t I? What on earth is a Rebozo! The Rebozo is a long piece of cloth used to help laboring women get comfortable and relax, as well as being useful in helping a baby get into an ideal position for birth. It sounds a little wacky, but pregnant women LOVE rebozo techniques and it is a fantastic tool for partners to utilize to stay involved in the birth process.


8- What May Chang smells like, What a rice sock is, and what on earth a tennis ball has to do with labor

Okay, so that’s three things, but they amount to the same thing: Reading about it is not the same as trying it out! Learn about essential oils to encourage calm (or energy!) and progress, make a rice sock to take home and use throughout late pregnancy and during birth, and use a tennis ball to give a fantastic lower back massage all in one class! Coming to a childbirth class brings everything you wanted to try out together in one place, helping you efficiently prepare for your birth.


9- You might “give up” around 9cm– and just need extra encouragement!

I talk to so many women who were surprised at their change of heart late in labor, and meet many women who say “I got an epidural and then found out I was 9cm, I wish I had known it was almost over!” Most women (in my experience) start to feel a little overwhelmed and may “give up” on their original goals right in the middle of transition, and almost all of those women just need to hear “You are almost done! You are doing great!” a few times, until the storm has passed. This is great for pregnant women to know as well as important for partners, as anticipating this moment will help you prepare and know just what to say to get over the last big hill before meeting your baby.


10- How to wear your baby!

Babywearing–much like the Ghost/Goat sound– may be specific to my class, but it is just as important! New parents do not receive much instruction in how to care for and comfort a fussy baby, and while I am probably biased (I am a certified babywearing educator through Babywearing International), I feel that keeping baby close in a carrier is not only an ideal way to keep baby happy (and a happy baby makes a happy Mama!), but also allows caregivers to care for baby without feeling trapped in a chair or bed all day. Do the dishes, fold the laundry, go on a walk and dance down the hallways, all with baby in tow– I’ll bet your pregnancy book can’t teach you how to do that!

Pregnancy, labor, birth and early parenting are exciting and challenging transitions; I encourage all families to do everything they can to prepare for these changes and be confident in their ability to be great parents!

Taryn Leary is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. She offers a 7 week comprehensive childbirth series on an ongoing basis at Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique

in Raleigh, NC. Learn more about her classes at www.birthisajourney.com.