My provider started talking about a possible induction… what should I do?

It’s important for you and your provider to establish a trusting relationship, with open communication, and mutual respect.

Your provider should be fully aware of your concerns, questions, and preferences and you should therefore be comfortable to share those with him/her. I would recommend doing your own research on the matter and sharing it with your provider. Doing your own research and discussing it with your provider is not a sign of disrespect, but rather an opportunity to show your provider that you are an informed consumer of care, and that making informed choices if important to you. Always remember: it is your body, your birth, your choice.

cervadiI always like to remind my clients to ask the following questions when it comes to a possible induction:

1) What is the medical indication for the induction?

2) What is my Bishop Score (alternatively you could ask about your baby’s station and position, your effacement, consistency, and dilation)

3) What are the potential benefits of the inductions?

4) What are the potential risks of the induction?

5) What are the possible alternatives to an induction?

6) What if I chose to wait for labor to start on its own?

7) What can I expect the induction process to be like?

Here is a good place to start learning more about induction of labor… and remember: estimated due dates are just that: estimated!

Are doulas just for women who want a home birth or a natural hospital birth?

A recent ACOG statement identified doula support as an effective tool to improve positive birth outcomes, regardless of the laboring mother’s preferences and birth plan: “Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula.”   Doulas are trained to support laboring families during all types of births and in all birth settings. They add value to any kind of birth experience and can adapt their comfort-giving approaches and information-sharing based on the evolving needs of the laboring mother and of her support person(s). Find out more about the decision about hiring a doula, here and here.

Is a doula the same as a midwife?


Midwives are professionally trained to care for you from a clinical perspective. Midwives’ primary role is to provide you with competent woman-centered prenatal and postpartum care, as well as care during labor and birth. She is qualified and prepared to do vaginal checks, fundal height measurements, order blood work, assess your vitals, identify complications and refer you to appropriate care,  carry out resuscitation practices, assess your baby’s health immediately postpartum, and more. Depending on their training and background, you may find midwives assisting birthing women in hospitals, birthing centers, and private homes. Midwives can also provide well care to women throughout their life course.  Read more about midwives, here.

Doulas, on the other hand, are professionally trained to provide you and your partner with continuous informational, emotional, and physical support during labor and birth. Doulas will also meet with you prenatally and postpartum, usually at your home, to help you prepare for birth, or to help you adjust to your new life as parents. During labor and birth, they will not perform clinical tasks, but what they will do is invaluable to increase your satisfaction with the birth experience and, at times, reduce the risk of certain medical interventions. Read more about what doulas do and why you should consider hiring one, here. 

Morning sickness is brutal: what can I do?

Fruit cakeMorning sickness, which does not always happen in the morning, can be quite pesky and really take the pleasure and energy out of your day. That said, you probably just have a few more weeks left of it, before you enter your second trimester, at which point the vast majority of pregnant women experiencing regular nausea and vomiting, will no longer be plagued by it as much. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Asking your provider for recommendations is always a good idea, especially if your nausea is extremely severe or if it persists beyond the first trimester. Different women find different remedies helpful. You might want to give these a try:

  • Keep saltine crackers by your bed and eat a few first thing in the morning.
  • Have small snacks easily accessible throughout the day and try to eat smaller meals more often, rather than only three large meals.
  • Prioritize non-greasy foods and foods that are more easily digestible: with high carbohydrate and protein content, low on fat, and non-spicy. Nuts, yogurt, apple slices or celery with peanut butter, seeds, beans, cheese, crackers, and whole grains are all good choices, as they are also high in vitamin B content, which can be helpful in staving off nausea.
  • Ensure that you are keeping a steady inflow of fluids and are remaining hydrated. Water, ginger tea, broth, and ginger ale are good choices.
  • Pay attention to your triggers. Sometimes some smells or flavors can cause you to feel nauseous.
  • On the other hand, some smells can help you stave off nausea. Aromatherapy can therefore be an option as well. Some mamas have found ginger, spearmint, peppermint, and lemon essential oils helpful when diffused with an ultrasonic diffuser. Consider consulting a local aromatherapist for expert advice before using essential oils in pregnancy, as they can be very powerful and be contraindicated in some instances.


Will the doula replace the father or other support person in the room?

It is not uncommon for fathers, partners, grandmothers, or other support people to feel unsure about whether having a doula in the room will mean they will be sidelined or replaced. The truth is that they know and love the laboring mother more than the doula could ever know and love her. That is extremely important in terms of labor support and cannot in any way be replaced. On the other hand, doulas know birth. They are professionally trained with the information and skills needed to help mom and support person to seamlessly navigate the maternity care landscape, with all its policies, potential decisions to be made, rights and responsibilities. Doulas can suggest ways in which the support person(s) can enhance the laboring woman’s experience and comfort level. In fact research has shown that fathers tend to participate more actively when a doula is present, making the laboring mother’s experience that much more special. My take on that is that they often feel more equipped and confident about what they are experiencing, thanks to the support received by the doula, making them more at ease with being more active: they now have access to instant knowledge about what is normal, what each phase of labor is bringing, what positions are best when, what they can do next to help mom out, etc. Finally, doulas can enhance the support person’s experience as well, by providing them with the emotional, informational, and physical support they can benefit from as well. Doulas don’t replace… they simply add and enhance! This father nails it in his great blog post: check it out!

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