What’s a doula? How do I know if I want one at my birth?

For all of time and throughout most cultures women in childbirth have been supported, usually by a female family member or close friend. Over time, this important support person has faded out of most births. Some of this is a result of families living farther apart than ever before. While some is due to our fast-paced medicalized birth environment- which is leaving a void for personalized support, advocacy and evidence-based information. Part of the solution? Doulas!!

SO, what IS a DOULA?!

In short, a doula is a trained childbirth professional. They are equipped with the knowledge, skills and techniques to guide you through pregnancy, labor and also help you adjust during your postpartum period and beyond! A doula works with your care provider and your partner to ensure you feel safe and supported. A doula adds to your birth experience in 3 main ways…

Physical Support

Doulas provide physical comfort techniques to laboring women including massage, counter-pressure, hot/cold compresses, acupressure and more. This helps so much during labor; not just as pain relief but to comfort and relax the mother as well. Your doula may suggest certain position changes depending on how labor is progressing and during pushing they may assist in holding your legs or even capturing some of these special moments on camera! A doula also provides physical support to your partner by allowing them to take breaks when they need to. Labor can be long and stressful for our parters as well! Having a doula ensures you are never alone (unless you want to be, and that’s ok too!).

Emotional Support

Perhaps most importantly, your doula is there to help support you through the ups and downs during this most precious time in your life. While care providers are primarily focused on “healthy mom and baby”, they don’t always take into consideration our emotional and mental wellbeing. As joyous as birth can be, for some, it can also be a source of deep trauma. Everybody wants mom and baby to be healthy but our health is not just physical. The way we are treated during and after birth matters! When things don’t go the way we hoped in labor or postpartum, your doula is there to help you process your feelings and can also help recognize when you need to seek a professional. 

Informational Support

We live in a world where we have SO MUCH INFORMATION in the palms of our hands. It’s pretty amazing to have the kind of instant access that we do however, when it comes to important decision making-  like the ones you have to make during pregnancy and labor- how do you know what’s good information and what’s not? And when you do find quality information, how do you decide what is right for YOU and YOUR FAMILY? This is where having a doula in your corner can make all the difference. Doulas are trained and educated to provide unbiased, evidence-based information. They help clear up any confusion you may have and help you make informed decisions every step of the way. And because your doula gets to know you and your partner on a personal level, they provide resources and empower you to explore what makes sense for you and your family.  

Labor is unpredictable and when unexpected things occur (as they often do), there ‘s no better way to be prepared and empowered than to hire a doula. That being said, it’s important to interview multiple doulas to find the one that you connect with and whose philosophies aline with yours. (This goes for your care providers too!!) 

If you are pregnant and want to have a doula but are unsure of how to afford it, you have options! It is still fairly rare, but some insurance companies are now covering doula services so check with them first. I’ve heard of  mothers who have added this to their baby registry and had family and friends contribute towards their birth or postpartum doula! Many doulas offer payment plans and if you are pregnant during tax time many will allow you to pay them when your taxes come in. My personal favorite way to make some extra money? Selling some unused or unwanted items online! Not only does it free up space in your home for the new baby but it could also give you both the best start to life. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Early Signs You May be Pregnant

“Am I pregnant?”, “symptoms of pregnancy”, “what are early signs I could be pregnant” are some very common thoughts (and internet searches!) for women trying to conceive as well as those trying to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. Taking a pregnancy test is the only way to know for sure if you are pregnant or not, but many women report having signs of a pregnancy very early on. Being aware and detecting one of these early signs may be what prompts you to take a pregnancy test.

 It’s important to remember that every pregnancy and person is different and these symptoms can vary greatly; there are many who will become pregnant and have none of these signs. 

Fatigue

It’s no surprise that making a baby is TIRING WORK! This type of out-of-this-world tiredness can hit you right from the start. For some, it creeps up slowly and for many it persists throughout pregnancy. (although the second trimester often brings with it a lovely boost of energy) The best thing you can do for yourself is to get plenty of rest, eat a well balanced diet and stay hydrated!

Implantation Bleeding

Within one to four weeks of conception some women report mild cramping and spotting. This is a normal symptom of pregnancy known as implantation bleeding and happens when the fetal tissue attaches to the uterine lining and some may mistake this as a period. If there is a lot of bleeding or a foul smell present, contact your doctor or midwife right away.  

Missed Period

This is the most common early sign that you have a baby on board. Missing a period is a clear sign you should take an at home pregnancy test. However, for women who have irregular periods, this may not raise a red flag and you may have to stay in tune with your body to pick up other possible signs. 

Breast changes

Pregnancy brings on many changes to the breasts including tenderness, swelling and sometimes tingling. Your areolas may also darken and get larger. This can take some time to happen but for some women this is their first clues that they may be expecting. 

Morning sickness

Because of all the hormonal changes that pregnancy brings it’s common to have some nausea and even vomiting. Although you can have “morning” sickness anytime of the day or night, it is common in the morning partly due to having a lower blood sugar upon waking. You can try to remedy this by keeping some grapes, dried fruit or nuts in your room and eat a small handful when you get up to use the bathroom throughout the night.  

There’s some less common changes that can happen to you as well. With my first child, I had frequent urination as early as the first few weeks of conception. I know some women who have had intense mood swings and find themselves very emotional before they even missed their period. 

If you suspect you are pregnant, take an at home test. If it is negative and you still feel you may be expecting, wait a few days (or a week if you can!) and test again. Your local health department can also help confirm a pregnancy, free of charge. If it’s positive, congratulations! Contact your doctor or midwife for your first appointment.

Benefits of vernix & delaying baby's first bath

Being pregnant, there is an unimaginable amount of decisions that have to be made. One of those decisions is whether or not you want to delay baby’s first bath. You may have seen some hype about this on social media and probably wondered why anyone wouldn’t want to give their baby a bath after birth. After all, birth is messy! The answer lies in a slick white substance called vernix.

Vernix caseosa (or just vernix for short) is the white coating that protects the baby’s skin in the womb. This protective layer keeps baby’s skin nice and soft (and without wrinkles!) despite spending the first 9 months of life suspended in fluid. Pretty amazing! During labor, it also provides extra lubrication to help move the baby down the birth canal. We now understand (and evidence supports) that vernix has some incredible benefits after pregnancy as well. It’s these benefits that have parents asking that their baby’s bath be delayed. 

Immune boosting antimicrobials 

The unique properties of vernix is vitally important for a newborn. We all know that newborns have delicate immune systems and are more susceptible to illness. Research shows that vernix contains antioxidants to help boost baby’s immunity as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Outside of breastfeeding, this may be the next best thing to help build natural immunity and protect your new baby from infection and illnesses.

Regulates body temperature    

Newborns need help staying warm and keeping their body temperature normal. Vernix is lipid-based and helps keep baby’s temperature regulated and their skin nice and soft. This is important in keeping babies’ organs and other systems working properly. We must also consider that when a baby comes out of a bath, it’s going to be chilly! Luckily, we can avoid this cold stress until baby is more acclimated to life outside of the womb!

Positive Bonding

Any time spent between mama and baby after birth is going to positively affect initial bonding. By delaying baby’s first bath you get to spend that time bonding in the hospital AND create your own special memory by doing the first bath yourself at home! This uninterrupted time during the first couple hours post birth could also help establish breastfeeding. 

So how long should you delay bathing? Some parents delay the first bath for 24-48 hours while some wait days, weeks or even a month. There is no right answer here! Nurses can simply wipe the baby off and you can rub the vernix into the skin over the next couple days. The choice is absolutely up to you. If you decide you would like to bathe baby yourself at home, make sure you include this in your birth wishlist (plan) so it’s not overlooked. 

Breathe. I know all the choices you face bringing a new life into the world can be overwhelming.

The most important thing is what you are doing right now- learning; so that you can make informed decisions going forward. Good for you! You are well on your way to being the best parent you can be!

Thankful for the family I never thought I’d have

As someone who has struggled with infertility, I remember those painful days of hoping, wishing and praying for a baby. After a few years of trying (with the wrong person..), very irregular periods and a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) I convinced myself that having kids of my own would never be in my cards. The unwanted jealousy when someone I knew was expecting and the grief of feeling “broken” or “unworthy” was sometimes all-consuming. Every period and negative pregnancy test was another low blow that just compounded all those feelings. 

If this sounds like you- my heart goes out to you but please know, there is always hope. 

After some much needed growing and maturing, I had found Mr. Right (finally!) and decided that I wanted to try to combat my PCOS. I did tons of research, blood work and looked into natural ways to increase fertility. Everything I kept learning about fertility really came down to diet and lifestyle, both of which for me, needed tons of work! 

Now, I’m not an extremist in any way, but once I had found some hope and made the deliberate decision to try my absolute hardest to conceive, I went pretty extreme. I quit smoking and drinking- two things I had long wanted to do away with anyway but kept coming back to. I went on a 14 day juice fast. 14 days with no food!!  From there, I went on a strict vegan diet and combined with regular exercise (something I hated) and a great supplement regimen, I lost about 40 lbs in a couple months and all of my blood work looked better. 

After just 6 short months, on Christmas Eve, I took a pregnancy test on a whim and it was positive. Still, the best Christmas gift of my life. There was a time that I thought I’d want 4 or 5 kids, but after we were blessed with our daughter I would have forever been happy with just her. 

Fast forward a year, perfectly content I was shocked to find out I was pregnant with baby #2. Now, I couldn’t imagine life without both of those girls. The me from 10 years ago would have never thought any of that possible. I believe now that things happen when the time is right, even if it doesn’t always seem that way. I also believe, you should never just accept your circumstances because you always have options, no matter how hopeless things may seem. If all my efforts to get pregnant failed, I know I would have adopted and still had a house full of love and laughter. I still may adopt some day. And with options like IVF and surrogacy there are more ways than ever to have a family.

This year, as we are patiently waiting for baby #3, I’m taking some quality time out to really be thankful for this life and family I have been given. Parenting is tough and it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day.

I’ve been recently reminded though how short life is. It’s precious. Our time is precious. We need to cherish every moment and count our blessings every chance we get. Happy Thanksgiving my friends.

How to create a relaxing birth space at the hospital

The best birthing space is one that makes you feel calm, safe and supported. We naturally have these feelings when we are in the comfort of our own home, but how can you recreate that warm homey feeling in a hospital?? Most people aren’t crazy about hospitals but having a home birth isn’t a good option for everybody either. Creating a relaxing birth space is important no matter where you decide to have your baby, but in a hospital setting you have to put more planning and effort into achieving the right mood to keep labor progressing. 

Take birth classes!

Taking birth classes is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your new baby. It’s very cliche, but knowledge really does equal power. Participating in birthing classes will help you better know what to expect and you will start to be able to envision how you will want your birth space to be. Learning what to expect and how to cope with childbirth will build your confidence and make it easier to relax when the time comes. Educating yourself as much as possible will also help you make informed decisions throughout your journey. 

Lighting for the mood

Most women in labor are most relaxed in dim or no lighting but hospitals are bright, even at nighttime. Luckily most hospitals have dimmers on the lights so you can control the amount of light you want while in labor. Another nice touch are some simple battery-operated candles or opt for some that change color! These candles from Amazon are lovely. 

Music

Rhythm and familiarity are important factors in your birth room. Your favorite music can help reset your mindframe and keep you focused on something other than labor pains. Music is also key in blocking out some of the annoying and potentially stressful sounds in the hospital setting. Start building a playlist of songs you will enjoy while in labor! (I recommend choosing a nice variety of music since it can be hard to predict what you will want to listen to)

Aromatherapy 

If you consider yourself an “oily” person then aromatherapy is an obvious go-to for pregnancy and labor. But even if you don’t use essential oils on a regular basis I highly suggest you consider buying a small diffuser and bringing a few oils to use in the hospital. There are many different smells around the hospital and some can be triggers to some not-so-good memories. Try to find some oils that make you feel happy or remind you of a cherished memory to cover these unpleasant scents. Another bonus here is you can choose oils to help combat anxiety, stress, pain, nausea and boost mood, energy and motivation! 

Bring home to you

Think about all the things that remind you of being warm and cozy at home and bring those items with you! This includes your favorite pillows, blankets, and socks or slippers. You can bring some of your favorite photos or artwork to brighten up the room and serve as inspiration and a focal point during labor. Flowers and other plants are also wonderful to liven up your birth space and connect you with nature. 

Privacy

Some women want to be surrounded by lots of family and friends during their labor and that’s ok! But often times too many people in the room can slow things down and that is not the goal here! Privacy is a huge factor in relaxing and helping release oxytocin. The less people coming in and out, the better. This is particularly true of people you are not close to or may have conflict with. 

Hire a Doula

Ok, being a doula myself, this is slightly bias. But seriously, having a doula at your birth will guarantee you have an amazing space to give birth in and with little to no effort on your part! There’s nobody better suited for the job than a trained childbirth professional who is passionate about all aspects of this process. Fixing up your birth space is one of the first things your doula will do for you when they arrive and they will likely think of things that you may not have!

One last thing, don’t forget to bring your birth plan with you. This will help make sure your birth team is on the same page and that things go the way you want them to (as much as possible). If you have any questions about what a doula does and how they can help you have a better birth, head over to my website and we can discuss it! https://tennesseevalleydoulas.com

Ways to (hopefully!) induce labor naturally

You are approaching your due date (or maybe way past it!) and you are ready to meet your baby!! Mama, I know how you feel…I went 42+ days with both of my kids! You want to get labor started but would like to avoid a medical induction if possible, so what’s a girl to do?!

First, you should always discuss with your doctor or midwife before you think about trying to bring on labor. Second, and this is a big one…. unless your body and baby are ready, these methods are not likely to be successful. (Sorry, I know that’s not what you want to hear!) That being said, there are a few things that you can try to bring on labor and many women swear by these methods!

Make LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

I know this can be tough when you are nearing the end of pregnancy! But having sex may help in numerous ways to get labor going and it probably has the most science behind it, although it needs to be studied further. This works in 3 ways. First, creating intimate connections with your partner releases oxytocin and helps us relax. Next, orgasm and nipple stimulation can cause the uterus to contract; it is thought this could also contribute to an on start of labor. Lastly, the deposit of semen in the vagina can help the cervix soften due to the prostaglandins it contains. An added benefit is the special moments created between you and your partner before your baby is born! 

Castor Oil or Spicy Foods

This is commonly recommended to women to induce labor. It seems that there is research to support castor oil starting labor. Castor oil is used as a laxative and can also stimulate the uterine muscles as well. This doesn’t work for many women though, and in just about every case you can expect to feel very nauseous, on top of having to sit on the toilet for good while. This is one I wouldn’t recommend, but if you get the all clear from your provider, it could be worth a try. Eating spicy food is believed to work in the same way by stimulating the bowels and hopefully uterus.

Acupuncture or Acupressure

Acupressure and Acupuncture both have a very long history and we are now beginning to utilize these techniques for many ailments and desired outcomes. To receive acupuncture you would need to search out a professional, but acupressure you can easily try at home. There are four main points on the body that are believed to promote labor. Here is a great reference if you would like to learn more https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323402.php 

Exercise

We are definitely not talking about lifting weights or running a marathon here (unless your body is accustomed to that). Walking however will help relieve stress and move baby down into your pelvis. This will cause pressure on your cervix that will hopefully cause it to soften! Rocking or even just resting on a birth ball can help accomplish this as well. Please make sure you keep hydrated and stop exercising when you feel like you need to. Listening to your body is key! 

Evening Primrose Oil

Some midwives will recommend using Evening Primrose oil to help the cervix thin and dilate. This comes in capsules that can be taken orally or even inserted into the vagina at night. (you just poke a hole or 2 in the capsule before insertion) There are also other herbs that may be recommended but they should always be used with caution and under the direction of your care provider.

Membrane Stripping

This one is definitely the most invasive and not totally “natural” either. I wanted to include it as an option here however because if all else fails and an induction is being pressed, it can be a good in-between. There are a few risks associated with this. First, it requires a vaginal exam and thus can increase the risk of infection. Second, there is a possibility your care provider could break your waters by mistake. Both of these are rare, but informed consent is important so you have to know the risks. During this vaginal exam, your doctor or midwife will insert two fingers and in a sweeping motion separate your amniotic sac from the uterus wall. This procedure can be slightly uncomfortable and can cause some cramping afterwards. This helps many women avoid more invasive induction methods. 

At the end of the day, it’s important we remember that babies come when they are ready, plain and simple. Sometimes they really need the extra time in the womb to strengthen their lungs or gain some more weight. It’s also worth mentioning that due dates are not exact. One of the best things you can do is to try and relax and enjoy these last few days or weeks before your family is forever transformed!!

Can you prevent perineal tearing in labor? And if so… how?

Vaginal tearing is one of those things that NO mother wants to happen during childbirth. Getting through labor and bringing new life into this world is hard work enough, recovering from all that AND perineal tearing… well, it blows people. I can tell you from experience.

The great news is there are things you can try in order to prevent vaginal damage during labor. The reality though is there are no guarentees here and sometimes despite our best efforts it happens anyway.

Good thing we would do anything for our kids and that they are SO WORTH IT.

Positions Matter

Positions in labor can really make all the difference and changing positions is often the solution to a stall during labor. If you are trying to avoid a tear giving birth the best positions to try are side-lying, hands and knees or an upright position (standing, sitting or kneeling) while being supported by your partner, doula or other member of your birth team. These positions

Perineal massage & support

Perineal massage can be done in late pregnancy to help prepare your perineal tissues for the stretching of birth. This can be done by yourself or your partner. Using your choice of oil or massage gel and fingers of choice, massage and stretch your vagina from the sides and back towards your anus. (sounds like a good time, huh?!) 

Try to relax

Being able to relax is one of the most beneficial things you can do in labor. (Easier said than done, I know!!) But seriously, it not only reduces your risk of tearing but also generally allows for a quicker and smoother birth too. Some things you can do to help you relax are listening to music, deep breathing, dimming the lights (battery operated candles are wonderful), finding and keeping your rhythm, prayer or other religious customs/ceremony, massage, visualization, acupuncture or aromatherapy.

Self stimulation

Yup, I said it!! This one hasn’t been researched enough but we do know that arousal creates lubrication and produces Oxytocin, who is a major player in childbirth. Nipple stimulation should also help contractions along. Another added benefit is your partner can (and should!) get involved. This may be the last few romantic and intimate moments you both have together before you become parents.

Water and Warmth

This is another big one in preventing damage to our lady parts! There is so much research supporting the benefits of laboring in water. The buoyancy and warmth of the water both relaxes and relieves pressure on the perineum. If you are unable to labor in water, your partner, doula or care provider can support your perineum with a warm compress while you push. Again, the moist warmth will relax you and help your vagina stretch. 

Despite having known about some of these methods during my first birth, my daughter came so crazy fast that all of this useful knowledge went right out of the window for me! Most births aren’t that precipitous though, so you should find you have time to try some of these methods for preventing damage to your vagina and perineum. 

Now go rock your birth like the rockstar you are!!

Things you can try to boost your milk supply

I know, I know, I’m going Dr. Seuss on you for a minute but having issues with milk supply is no laughing matter.

As a first time mother, I put so much thought and anxiety into what labor would be like (and how I wanted it to be) but when it came to breastfeeding I just thought it all be easy! Breastfeeding is maybe the most demanding job you will ever have, and if you’re like many women who are having supply issues…

The journey is that much more difficult.

But, oh-so-worth-it!!!

Have no fear though Mama, there are so many things you can try to boost and maintain your milk supply. Remember, you are not alone and you are a rockstar!!

NURSE, NURSE, NURSE!

This one really can’t be stressed enough. The very best thing you can do for your milk supply is to nurse often and as long as baby wants, making sure to offer both breasts each session. Our milk production is a supply and demand process so nothing gets our supply increasing like nursing baby!

Power Pumping

Utilizing the natural supply/demand relationship of our bodies, you can use a breast pump to increase your milk production. To do this, you pump 20 minutes then rest for 10 minutes. Followed by pumping for 10 minutes then resting 10 minutes. Then pump for another 10 minutes. You should always consult a lactation consultant before power pumping.

Lactation teas, cookies and other food products

There are quite a few products on the market that claim to boost milk supply. These include a variety of teas, cookies, protein shakes & bars. Just make sure they made with high quality ingredients and this could be a delicious option to try!

Fill up on milk boosting foods & stay hydrated!!

Oats- one of the best milk producing foods, try them warm or cold (overnight oats) or make cookies

Vegetables- particularly leafy greens, carrots, garlic, sweet potatoes, fennel, beets, asparagus (among others) 

Fruits- Papaya, cantaloupes, berries, bananas, oranges and avocados (yes, they are a fruit!!)

Seeds- Carraway, fennel, sesame and poppy seeds have all been known to increase supply

*Always make sure you are drinking plenty of water and nutritious liquids*

Supplements

There are a few supplements that are known galactagogues and can increase production in some women. The most well known of these are fenugreek, brewer’s yeast and blessed thistle. You should always consult your doctor before starting a supplement regimen. 

Essential oils

Basil and Fennel are both thought to be galactogogues and can boost milk production. Dill and Lavender can also be beneficial. It is extremely important to make sure you are using high quality oils as there are many artificial products out there. 

Contact an IBCLC

Often times, low milk supply is due to latching issues. It is always a good idea to search out an International board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) to help address any potential issues. These professionals can access your babies latch and give you guidance on how to correct any areas of concern. 

I hope you find some of this helpful in your journey. Please remember, that no matter how you feed your baby, the important thing is that they are fed. There should be no shame in using formula or any other alternative method of feeding. 

We do the best we can for our babies and that is the biggest success we can give ourselves.

The Extras you need for your hospital birth bag

It’s baby time!!! Hope your hospital bag is packed!

You’ve waited 9 long months and now its finally time to meet your baby. With so much to prepare (and the unknown of when baby will actually come) it can be easy to procrastinate packing the hospital bag. Even women having home births often find they are late ordering their birth kits. 

Sometimes too late…. Don’t let that be you!!

Knowing what you will need or want at the hospital is tough sometimes. We know we need clothes, toiletries, car seat (and make sure that’s installed early!) and items for baby. But what about the things you don’t really need but would make a huge difference in your labor and hospital stay? 

As a doula, creating a safe and calm environment for women to birth in is one of my top priorities. It’s wonderful that more and more hospitals are remodeling and creating a more home-like atmosphere for laboring moms but even then its the smallest touches from home that make the biggest difference. Here are some things to consider for your next birth..

  • Photographs (Sonogram pictures can be especially motivating during labor)
  • Music (an app on your phone or Ipod can be a wonderful comfort measure)
  • Pillows/blankets (the hospital will have these of course, but there’s nothing like your own pillows (and you can’t have too many!)
  • Battery operated candles (these add a nice touch  if you are a candle lover and really help create a calm atmosphere)
  • Aromatherapy (if you use EOs this is a must! Peppermint in particular for nausea and any oil that makes you happy!)
  • Lip balm and hair ties 
  • Bendy straws (you will need to drink drink drink! Bendy straws make it possible in any position!)
  • Battery powered fan 
  • Birth ball/peanut ball (most hospitals have these but if not you can usually bring your own)
  • Phone charger, Camera and extra batteries
  • Disposable underwear (the not-so-glamorous part of giving birth, but these will be your lifesaver for while)  
  • Extra clothes for your partner/support person

And last but not least….

Your birth plan

This last one is so important so that your birth team is all on the same page. Chances are there will be shift changes during the course of labor and having your birth plan will eliminate the need to discuss your wishes over and over. I recommend putting a copy right into your bag so you can make sure it will be with you at the hospital when you need it the most. Some women even laminate theirs and I love this idea! 

Now that your bag is packed, sit back and relax! When baby comes you will be ready to rock your birth!! 

What’s a medical mind? And more importantly, do you have one??

Have you ever been to the doctor and been prescribed a medication, never ask about the possible side effects only to suffer from one of them later? 

For some, this can be fatal mistake. 

In this day and age we are faced with more medical decisions than ever before. And with so many amazing advances in technology and medicine we have access to more options in treatments. This is wonderful news in most cases because who doesn’t love options, right?!  But there’s a scary reality in America concerning our healthcare…

Medical malpractice is the 3rd leading cause of death in our country.

Shocking, huh?? We likely have all faced medical decisions in the past and chances are high we will have to again at some point. Knowing this and knowing that atrocious statistic the next question we should ask ourselves is… 

How do we make the right choices for ourselves??

I recently read the book Your Medical Mind: how to decide what is right for you by Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband and it talks all about just that. There are so many factors that go into why we choose or decline certain treatments. This book really dives into all this and I can’t recommend it enough. But what it all boils down to is this:

Informed choices and informed consent.

Being able to give informed consent to a procedure or medication means that you have been fully informed of all your choices, and that includes the always available option to accept no treatment at all. Of all your options, you weigh the risks and benefits and that information makes it easier to decide what is best for you and your family.  

Of course, there are times when life happens so fast that we don’t have the time or luxury to compare all our options. Sometimes we have to simply trust in the medical professionals that we have chosen. But I also believe that nobody knows ourselves and our kids better than we do and as such, it is our duty to be as aware and educated as we can when it comes to our health and those who help us manage it. 

If you are interested in reading this book (and I think everyone should!), you can check it out here: