TENS unit for Labor

I currently include the TENS unit in the price of all of my doula packages. After training to use the TENS with my clients I realized how wonderful this tool was and how helpful it is in birth! I couldn't imagine not using every tool I have at my disposal to help my clients achieve the birth that they desire. It seemed silly to me to deny a client this option just because they didn't know how helpful it would be and they didn't rent it or choose a package that included it before labor. 

DFW_Doula_TENS-Unit-Rental_Labor-Doula

I am excited to offer TENS unit rentals for doula clients! This is a non-pharmaceutical option to help bring pain relief in labor! 

What is a TENS? 

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It is a hand-held devise that connects via wires to 4 special stickers/pads attached to the laboring woman's back. The electrical pulses go just below the skin to stimulate the nerves. 

How does the TENS create pain relief? 

The TENS unit provides pain relief in two ways. The consistent nerve stimulation creates an increase in endorphins and that helps to reduce your perception of pain. It also works through what we call Gate Control - the nerve fibers in your body that carry pain receptors are smaller and slower "highways to the brain" than those that carry the touch receptors that the TENS unit stimulates. It is kind of like touching a hot stove, you knew you touched it because you felt your hand touch a hard object. You knew intellectually that it was hot and you should react and you have lifted your hand off before your brain has registered that it hurts. With the TENS unit, your brain recognizes the contractions but is previously occupied with the stimulation the TENS unit is providing and it reduces your perception of the intensity of the contraction. 

Denton.Birth.Doula.TENS.Unit.

I have a TENS unit that my chiropractor gave me, can I just use this instead? 

No, probably not. TENS are not made the same. Some stimulate the muscles rather than the nerves. Not all of them are set up to change settings like you need to in labor to meet the demands your body needs with the contractions. The TENS unit I exclusively use with doula clients is imported from the U.K. where TENS units are commonplace in hospitals as an alternative to epidurals (they don't use epidurals routinely) and the mother is able to control the intensity for upper back from lower back, left and right so it is exactly what she needs at that moment! These units also have different settings to change the pattern of the stimulation pulses. With other TENS units it's recommended that you turn them off and on to create a similar effect... what a hassle! 

Benefits of using a TENS unit

  • You maintain your mobility, you aren't attached to the bed to use it! It can be used in any location (not water, it is electric) so it's a great option for laboring at home, birth center or hospital birth! 
  • It does not have side effects! Just about every other thing that you might receive for pain relief has a side effect of some form (even seemingly benign things like a bag of IV fluids!) so this is a great low-risk option! 
  • You can take it off or put it on at any point in labor. It's a no obligation option! Research does show that it is most effective when used in early labor and then throughout but it's beneficial regardless. Unlike any intravenous drugs or epidural, there is a wearing off period where you have to wait for the drugs to leave your system. This isn't the case with the TENS. When you take it off, it's done. 
  • In a study regarding the use of a TENS in labor, the majority of women who used one in labor said they would do it again in a future labor! 
  • It can be effective for back labor! This is a big deal considering even epidurals are not always and effective pain relief option for back labor! 
TENS.Unit.For.Labor.Doula.FlowerMound.Lewisville.McKinney.Fortworth.Keller

What else should I know?

  • You should not use a TENS unit before 37 weeks of pregnancy (unless you're already in active labor).
  • It can't be used in the water, so if you're planning a water birth it has to come off before you go into the tub. It is still fine to use it when you aren't in the water! 
  • It doesn't completely take away labor pains, this is just something to help - another coping tool. Some women report that they didn't realize how much it was helping until they took it off, so they asked to have it back! 
  • You cannot use it if you have epilepsy or a seizure disorder. You cannot use it if you have very high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia. 
  • You cannot use it if you have a heart arrhythmia or a pacemaker

 

I teach all my clients the ins and outs of the TENS unit at one of our prenatal visits so you aren't learning the device when you are in labor. Let me know if you have any questions! 

 

 

Rebekah Lewis provides birth doula services and postpartum belly binding in the North Texas area including Denton, Decatur, Gainesville, Krum, Aubrey, Flower Mound, Grapevine, Coppell, Highland Village, North Fort Worth, Keller, McKinney, and surrounding areas.

Breastfeeding Support in Denton, Texas

Denton is a great place to have a baby and raise a family! If you are looking for breastfeeding support we have some wonderful resources.

Every Tuesday at 10:30 Presbyterian Hospital of Denton hosts a breastfeeding support group. This is free and open to the public. This is a great way to get quick questions answered and see a lactation counselor for a minute or two to troubleshoot any problems you may be facing. You can find more information here.

If you are needing more help and support than what a quick visit with a lactation counselor can provide, I recommend calling Cherish Lactation. Susan and Catharine (a mother-daughter duo!) are hands down amazing and the best breastfeeding resource in Denton! One of them will come to your home and help with your breastfeeding and make a long term plan to meet your breastfeeding goals! 

Cherish Lactation also hosts a once-monthly support group at the North Branch Library. They meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 10:00 am. The meeting room is located next to the childrens section to the left after you enter.

My Favorite Birth Books

I am frequently asked what books I recommend for expecting mommas. Here are some of my favorites! For those who are my clients, the books I have an ** by I have in my lending library and you are welcome to borrow them!

** The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer

** Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

The Business of Being Born by Riki Lake and Abby Epstein

This isn't a book, but it is a huge part of the out of hospital birth and natural birth movement in the United States right now and I love it! It and the sequel (More Business of Being Born - 4 parts) can be found on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video usually.

** The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

** What to Expect when your wife is Expanding

I debated putting this one on the list. It is certainly a bit irreverent but my husband found it hilarious and was a great conversation starter for the two of us when we were expecting our first baby. I wouldn't suggest it be the only thing your partner read as you prepare for birth, but it isn't bad!

** Birthing from Within

** Hypnobirthing, the Morgan Method

If you're considering hypnobirthing as your preparation for childbirth, let me know!

** The Healthy Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears

** The Birth Partner

** Belly Laughs

Again with the internal debate on what to include on the list... I wouldn't recommend it as your only read by any means, but it's a fun book while you're expecting!

 

VBAC Books

In addition to the other books I have suggested, if you are considering or planning on a vaginal birth after cesarean I suggest these books specifically about VBAC.

** Cut, Stapled, Mended: When one woman reclaimed her body and gave birth on her own terms after cesarean by Roanna Rosewood

This book is exactly what the title would lead you to believe, it is about Roanna's journey to VBAC after a cesarean birth. This is one of the books I read as I trained to become a doula and I love it!

Cut it Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America by Theresa Morris

This book examines the exponential increase of cesarean birth in the United States and looks at the reasons for this trend in birth.

Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

In 100% honesty, I haven't read this one yet - but it comes very highly recommended by my friends who have prepared for a vaginal birth after cesarean.

 

Some of the links to products may be affiliate links. This just means that if you make a purchase from one of these links I may receive a small percentage of your purchase. It does not cost you extra.

Pumping & Building a Stash: Products and Tips for stay-at-home-moms

For moms who aren't returning to work - building up a milk stash

For mom's who don't need a lot of milk to return to work at 6 or 8 weeks (etc) I recommend not pumping until they are at least 6 weeks postpartum. Pumping becomes a full time job if you do it often with cleaning all the pump parts and the time commitment it takes. Breastmilk supply is a supply-and-demand process. If at three weeks postpartum you start pumping, your body is going to be over-producing milk and that's a recipe for engorgement and mastitis if you're not careful! Here are a few tips and tricks I've learned & clients usually find helpful!

If you are returning to work or will need to be away from baby (or just want to bottle feed in addition to breastfeeding!) these are still great tips, but I'll have a separate post for you soon! 

Milk Savers - Your "Breast-Friend"

ha, ha. Awful joke I know. There are a couple of different kinds of these. These will collect milk for you while you do absolutely nothing, just whatever you would normally drip into a breast-pad, you can gather to turn into a bottle for baby at a later date!  

Shells: I love the shell ones for the early days postpartum. It prevents friction on your nipples when you can barely stand to have a shirt touching you, much less a bra. They are also awesome at allowing air to get to your nipples to reduce the chance of developing an infection while your supply is regulating and everything seems to be getting soaked in breast milk. (link to shell here)  If you have flat nipples, shells are a *must* and you really need to start wearing them before baby comes! They will absolutely collect milk that you drip during the day but the base where milk will pool and collect isn't very deep and can spill out easily as you bend over (so still wear breast pads!).

Milk Savers: The same spilling situation can happen with the milk savers, but they are deeper so less likely if emptied regularly. (link to milk savers here) You could absolutely just buy one of these products (I'm all for buying less, good quality gear!) but some people find the milk savers to be bulky - it's really just a personal preference thing! 

Milk Savers Collector.jpg

Clients: Let me know if you think you might have flat nipples at a prenatal (I promise, this won't be awkward to bring up... I bet I also openly recommend sex at some point in our conversations!) and we can talk about ways to set yourself up for breastfeeding success! 

Use a silicone breast "pump" to start your stash

I say "pump" because I don't think these would actually be effective at draining your breast as your primary pump. They are however wonderful to compress, attach to the breast you aren't feeding from and collect whatever let-down flow comes. It's a freezer stash with almost no work! You can start doing this as early postpartum as you would like. 

 

You can find a Silicone Breast Pump here. 

 

Store parts in the refrigerator

You can store pump parts in a gallon zip lock bag in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours between sterilizations. I would still give them a good rinse in the sink to keep the fat in the milk from coating the parts and making them hard to clean, but this will cut down on the time commitment you're making when pumping so you only have to wash and sterilize once a day! For working moms or moms that are needing to pump often, I recommend having two sets of pump parts so that one can be cleaned and drying on the rack while you have another set to use.

Pumping Bra Hack 

If/When you decide you're ready to pull out the big double-electric breast pump you will quickly find that it's a two handed process. Mom's often don't have one hand to spare, much less two so a pumping bra can be handy. Not everyone is a fan of pumping bras or a fan of their price tag. Here is a link to a genius pump bra hack on pinterest! This is how I pumped when I went back to work full time after my first! While you're in Pinterest land - this is my breastfeeding board and it has lots of great tips and videos about latches! 

On the topic of bras... when you're purchasing nursing bras - do not get a bra with an underwire. For some unknown reason Motherhood sells these bras with underwires but that can often lead to clogged ducts and mastitis because of the pressure it puts on your breasts. 

Other Tips & Tricks

Cloth breast pads are so much softer than the disposable ones so they're perfect in the beginning! Brand matters with the disposable ones (in my opinion). I'm not a big name-brand gal, but I loved the Lansinoh breast pads. There were other brands I could stand, but those are by far my favorites. There are samples and small packages, so start with a small sampling of each brand and pick which one fits you best! 

If you have a sore on your breast, a little bit of breast milk can help heal it up! It has great antibacterial properties in it! 

Lanolin is recommended by well, just about everyone... and it's great... but so is coconut oil - and that's food based, has natural antimicrobial/antibiotic properties and is my first pick in nipple "creams". If you do find yourself needing Lanolin (I did, you wouldn't be alone!), a little goes a long ways! And it's kind of greasy, so you will want to make sure you're wearing nursing pads to protect your bra and shirt. 

Chamomile tea bags on sore nipples can help reduce swelling. Just dip them in some hot water and squeeze out the excess water (you still want them wet, test on the inside of your wrist, make sure it's not too hot!) Apply and remove as the heat diminishes, you don't want to leave the wet bags against your nipples too long. 

Breastfeeding in Public

You will at some point find yourself needing to feed babe in public. Some of us are a whip-it-out kind of mom and don't mind who notices you feeding your baby, others would prefer a cover and then many fall in the middle. My kids hated the breastfeeding cover. They're hot natured and the covers are hot! I would end up more exposed than if I just didn't use the cover at all when my child would suddenly rip it aside to look at the world going by.  If you use what I call the Two-Shirt trick, you can breastfeed discretely without a cover. 

Under whatever t-shirt you're wearing (because let's just face it, you aren't going to be wearing a dress for a long time... you have to practically undress to breastfeed in many dresses...) just wear a nursing cami. This is a link to some, Target also has a great selection. You just want to make sure it has those same clips to drop the side down as your nursing bras. The cami stays down, your t-shirt comes up and you're only exposing your nipple and a small bit of breast for baby to feed. Practice at home in front of a mirror, you'll be a pro in no time! I can walk around stores feeding and talking to people and many don't even realize what I'm doing! 

Pro-Tip: You can breastfeed in baby carriers and wraps. It might take some figuring out how it will work for you. Many times you'll have to adjust the fit to bring baby down to your breast, but the carrier often provides lots of privacy and no one will know you're feeding unless they are very much in your personal space! Personally, I have had luck breastfeeding while baby-wearing in an Ergo, ring-sling, Moby Wrap and k'tan

 

I hope that some of these tips are helpful to you in your breastfeeding and pumping journey! 

This post may contain affiliate links. This just means that if you clicked an affiliate link and make a purchase I might receive a small commission. These products are things I recommend regardless of potential commission and all opinions are my own. 

Rebekah Lewis provides birth doula and postpartum belly binding services in the North Texas area including Denton, Decatur, Gainesville, Krum, Aubrey, Flower Mound, Grapevine, Coppell, Highland Village, North Fort Worth, Keller, McKinney, and surrounding areas. 

 

Labor Script: Imagery - Journey to the Center of the Womb

Imagine that you are breathing directly into the womb -- where your baby floats in a private sea of crystal-clear water. After a few minutes, imagine that the breath you take in is a soft white light. 

As you continue to breath in, imagine that light filling the womb, surrounding your baby with vitality and health - giving energy. Do this for a minute or so.

Now imagine that the light that fills the womb is beginning to radiate outward in all directions. Let it fill your body with a radiant glow. Keep breathing the light in and breathing out everything that you don't need. any tension, any thoughts that get in your way.

Imagine that the light leads you inside the womb and that you have come to explore.

This is your baby's cradle - warm, snug and secure - where baby is nourished in your being. 

Imagine the baby in their own private sea of crystal - clear water, all enclosed by the warm cavern of the strong membranous sac, cushioned and protected. 

The baby's eyes are closed peacefully, the fingernails and toenails are growing. Every now and then the baby kicks tiny feet against the uterus. 

You and your baby are one, right now. Imagine that you are breathing in harmony with your baby. Let yourself go into a deeper more relaxed state. Take a moment to appreciate your baby's home. Notice the beautiful umbilical cord that connects the baby to the placenta. Through this cord, your baby receives everything needed to grow and be perfect. 

Acknowledge that as your baby is growing, your body is changing in preparation for birth without your having to do anything about it.

The muscular uterus holds your baby gently and lovingly as it prepares for the powerful contractions that will massage your baby for his/her first breath and urge him/her out when your baby is ready.

The cervix is becoming soft and stretchy. It is not ready to open yet, but when your baby is ready it will open a gateway. 

Acknowledge further that your whole being is preparing for parenthood and let yourself relax more deeply, at peace with the sureness of that knowledge. 

Mentally thank your body for the miracle it is now working and will continue to work. Take a deep breath, slowly count to five, stretching gently and open your eyes. 

Labor Script: Relaxation

Close your eyes. Take a few slow, deep breaths in through your nose, exhaling through slightly parted lips. As you begin to relax, let your breathing become just a little deeper and a little slower without straining in any way. 

Now tighten the muscles of your left arm and hand, clenching your fist, hold for a few seconds, feel the tension. Tighten the muscles of your right arm and hand, clenching your fist. Hold for a few seconds, feel the tension. Release, letting your arm and hand go limp. Feel the relaxation. Tell yourself: my arms and hands are heavy and warm.

For the next few minutes, each time you tense a muscle group, feel the tension. Each time you release, take a few seconds to feel the relaxation. 

Tighten the muscles of your left leg and foot, curling the toes. Release, letting your leg and foot go limp. Tighten the muscles of your right leg and foot, curling the toes. Release letting your leg and foot go limp. Tell yourself: my legs and feet are heavy and warm.

Squeeze your buttocks together tightly. Release.

Draw up the muscles of your pelvic floor (as if you were trying to hold back from urinating). Release

Tighten your abdominal muscles, drawing in your belly as if you were trying to touch your backbone with your abdominal wall. Release. Feel your abdomen relax completely.

Observe your breathing, calm and regular. Tell yourself, my uterus and pelvic organs are warm, comfortable and relaxed. 

Arch your back slightly. Release, letting the muscles of your back sink into the surface on which you are lying. 

Tighten your shoulders by pushing them back as if you were trying to make your shoulder blades touch. Release, letting your shoulders fall limp.

Tighten the muscles of your neck by arching the neck slightly as if you were trying to look up. Release, letting your neck go limp. Now say, The muscles of my back and neck are warm and relaxed.

Clench your teeth together, tightening the muscles of your jaw. Release. Tell yourself: my jaw muscles are loose and relaxed. 

Squint your eyes. Release, letting the eyelids fall heavy and tell yourself, my eyelids are heavy and relaxed. Furrow your brow as if you were worried about something. Release, letting the space between the eyes feel as if it were getting wider. With the next breath out - say: my forehead is cool. 

Now, take a few deep breaths, letting your breathing become a little slower, a little deeper than usual, without straining in any way.  Let your awareness travel though your entire body from head to toe, releasing any additional tension you may find on the out-breath. 

Tell yourself: Because I am relaxed, I can labor and give birth better.

FREE Bump Day in Hurst, Texas for Pregnant Families

If you're a new mother or pregnant and local to Grapevine or Hurst you will want to mark your calendar for the upcoming Bump Day being hosted by Back in Motion Family Chiropractic! 

This event is FREE to anyone. There will be freebies, raffles and prizes! 

I will be there and happy to chat about Birth Doula services and Postpartum Belly Binding. Callie will be there representing Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Education - my favorite birth classes because they are the best! Birth Boot Camp was voted the BEST childbirth education in Fort Worth for 2016!

You can learn more on their website and if you're on Facebook this is a link to the event page

Hope to see you there! 

Belly Binding in Denton, Dallas - Fort Worth

What are the benefits of Belly Binding?

Belly Binding helps to return the abdominal muscles back to center (diastasis recti - abdominal muscle separation).

Stabilize loose ligaments

Reduces water retention

Helps to provide support for back and reduce back pain

Helps the uterus and other organs return to their pre-pregnancy place.

It feels amazing and supportive!

 

What happens in a Binding Session?

I will come to your home, bind you and teach you how to bind yourself so this can become part of your postpartum self-care routine. If you choose to use the herbal salve we will apply that as well. If there is someone you want to learn to bind you in the next few days I can teach them too. After you have learned to wrap yourself I will leave you with access to a couple of videos in case you forget something and of course you're welcome to contact me to troubleshoot if you have questions!

 

Has it been too long since I had my baby to benefit from belly binding?

No! It is ideal to bind in the first few weeks from birth, but there are still benefits much later.

 

How soon after birth can I have a wrapping session?

If your baby was born via cesarean wrapping will need to wait until your sutures have healed some, usually three weeks. If you had your baby vaginally, you can begin wrapping in the first week postpartum! 

 

When should I book a wrapping session?

It is ideal to book a belly binding session while you’re still pregnant. The wraps I use are professional high quality muslin bengkung belly bindings and it takes some time to ship. As soon as you have signed your contract I order all the supplies necessary for your binding session so they’re ready to go after your baby arrives! It’s never too late to book, but it might create a little wait while supplies are shipped if I don’t currently have the correct sizes in stock.

 

How is this belly wrap different than one I can buy in a store?

Bindings that you purchase in a store are a one size fit… mostly all. With the wrapping method I use we are able to customize the wrap to support the areas of your body that you are needing the most support. Your hips, back, belly can all benefit from the specific wrapping that is customized to your body. Your body is changing postpartum, so a store-bought wrap might fit for the first week or two after birth but won’t fit in subsequent weeks. This fits you like a glove, perfectly customizable so no matter how your body changes, it still works perfectly for you!

 

How do I care for the wrap?

The wrap is machine washable! Postpartum can get messy and the last thing we need when we’ve just had a baby is something that is difficult to clean! It is durable and after you use it to bind your belly it can be used as a baby wrap or can be saved to wrap after a future baby is born!

 

I’ve booked a Belly Binding session with you, now what?

Great! Now that I have your contract and payment I will ensure that I have the correct size wrap that will be best for your care and binding now we’re just waiting on baby to arrive! As soon as you have your baby give me a call (or text) and we’ll get your binding session scheduled. If you had your baby in the hospital vaginally, it’s usually best for me to come the day after you come home from the hospital.

 

I live in _________ do you offer belly binding in my area?

Probably! I serve the Dallas - Fort Worth and Greater North Central Texas area. It’s such a large area it’s hard to list every single town but some cities I have provided belly binding or birth doula services to clients in are: Denton, Corinth, Flower Mound, Lewisville, Highland Village, Keller, Haslet, Grapevine, Gainesville, Decatur, McKinney, Frisco, Sanger,

 

I still have a couple of questions, can I contact you?

Absolutely!! You can call or email me and I will be happy to discuss the service and answer any questions you may have! 

Photos Courtesy of KE Documentary

Discounts for Doula Services

Occasionally I'm asked if I offer discounts for my doula services. There are a few select instances when I do offer a discount to my clients.

Military Families

I offer a discount for Veterans or Active Duty personnel as a "thank you" for you and your family's sacrifice and service to our country!

 

(Good) Childbirth Education

I offer a discount to couples who complete good childbirth education. Unfortunately the classes at hospitals are teaching little more than "how to be a good patient" (those are the words of a local OB that recommends all her patients go find comprehensive childbirth education outside of the hospital  if they want an unmedicated birth!). Students who have completed comprehensive birth classes have more tools at their disposal and honestly couples who have the education side of things out of the way get more out of my services! Read more here

I offer discounts for couples who complete a Birth Boot Camp course (online or in person). If you have already booked my services, there is a coupon in your Supporting Arms booklet to get a discount on in-person classes! There are many great instructors with awesome classes all over the DFW area! Local to us, there are Birth Boot Camp classes in Denton, Flower Mound, Keller, Highland Village and Lewisville.

If a live class doesn’t work for your schedule, I offer the same discount for couples who have completed the online Birth Boot Camp classes. Follow this link to learn more! 

Another wonderful online option is Mama Natural's online class!

If you’re close to Denton, I also offer a discount for completing Inanna’s Birth Class. This is a 6 week course offered in one of the Midwives home in North Denton. It is also the only childbirth education taught by a Midwife in the DFW area! You can find more information here 

Samaritan Ministry Members

Samaritan Ministries offers reimbursement for a portion of doula services. We are personally members of Samaritan Ministries and I love the concept of cost-sharing medical expenses with other Believers. As a "thank you" for being a part of a company that recognizes the importance of doulas and financially backs the research that shows medical costs are lower and outcomes are better when births are attended by a professional labor support person (a doula) I offer a small discount. 

Repeat Clients

If you were previously a client of mine, contact me to learn about a discount on my services and special package just for repeat clients!

(I may not know that you qualify for one of these discounts - please let me know and I'm happy to apply it! Discounts cannot be combined.)

Contact me today to set up a consultation!

2016 in Review

2016 has been a very busy and wonderful year!

I have had the honor of working with many amazing families in 2016!
I can recall such beautiful details from each birth I had the pleasure of doula-ing for. These families I have served each have a special place in my heart!

I thought it would be fun to look at some statistics from 2016. As you may know, in addition to being a birth doula, I also serve families as a midwife assistant at a local birth center & have included the births I had the honor of serving at in the count.

I have dubbed this year the year of holiday births!
I served families that had babies on the 4th of July, Labor Day, Patriots Day, Thanksgiving and New Years Eve. 

denton-doula-birth-review

Of the 41 births I attended, there were 23 girls and 18 boys born. I served families using a variety of providers, both OB's and Midwives in Denton, Gainesville, and Flower Mound. 

I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store!

Contact me today to book doula services, my calendar is filling up quickly!

 

Rebekah Lewis provides birth doula services in the North Texas area including Denton, Decatur, Gainesville, Krum, Aubrey, Flower Mound, Grapevine, Coppell, Highland Village, North Fort Worth, Keller, McKinney, and surrounding areas.