BabyLove Welcomes: Stephanie Slaughter, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

Note from Veronica: I am excited to announce 4 new practitioners who will be joining us at BabyLove. They will be practicing in the gorgeous new offices that were put into BabyLove’s original home in Suite 200. I am thrilled to say that all of these women have a passion for working with other disciplines and to help and support women and families. Here’s one fantastic provider!

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Stephanie received her B.S.  in Biology from the University of Maryland in College Park.  As a graduate of the Tai Sophia Institute for the Healing Arts in Laurel, Maryland, she has also completed both a Master’s program in acupuncture as well as a Post Baccalaureate certificate program in Chinese herbal medicine.  Stephanie has experience treating a wide array of health concerns, including:  infertility, PMS and other menstrual concerns, menopause, digestive issues, chronic pain, headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more.

Her passion is in helping her patients create a healthy balance in their body, mind and spirit, so that they may live a more satisfying and whole life.  Stephanie has experience in treating with three different styles of acupuncture, including:  The Balance Method, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Five Element.  This allows her to assist patients in a healing transformation with treatments tailored to the individual person; yielding the best possible outcome.

Stephanie is a Diplomate in Acupuncture from the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is certified as an Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist (ADS) by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association. Stephanie is licensed to practice acupuncture by the Minnesota Board of Medicine.

Stephanie maintains a healthy and active lifestyle.  Whether it’s training for a marathon, camping, or simply enjoying a picnic by the water, she loves to spend time outdoors, having fun with friends and family.

Stephanie will begin seeing patients at BabyLove on 2/16/15. You can schedule an appointment with Stephanie here.

Check out Stephanie’s website, too!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Coming next month: another expansion!

I’ve been teasing it off and on over the last month or so, but I’m excited to announce that more providers will be co-officing at BabyLove, with most of them starting in February. Families will have access to more mental health services, lactation support, and complimentary care that’s solely focused on Women’s Health. We’re also hoping to add more classes, including infant massage and Yoga Calm to the schedule very soon.

I am keeping my current space in suite 102. The new offices are going in to the original location of BabyLove; same building, just back into suite 200. The guys are busy working on the walls and whatnot. It’ll all be close together and easy for families to get the help they need in one spot.

I have some pictures that you can check out, and hopefully I can fill in more specifics in the next few days!

The new entrance (which was always there, just not where you'd go in.)
The new entrance (which was always there, just not where you’d go in.)
The old entrance to suite 200 is now gone.
The old entrance to suite 200 is now gone.
Office #4
Office #4

 

Office #3 (yeah, I know this is backwards).
Office #3 (yeah, I know this is backwards).
Office #3 again.
Office #3 again.
Office #2
Office #2
Office #1!
Office #1!

Exciting!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

5 things that $800 stroller can’t do

medium_4462789966
photo credit: stobor via photopin cc

OK, so I have a confession: I’m sure he’s  REALLY nice guy, but….I’m not a fan of The Baby Guy. The baby gear industry racks up 50 BILLION dollars worth of sales every single year. Fifty BILLION dollars. As the NYT times review on this book about the baby gear industry points out, this is an industry that preys on parents fears and anxieties, with ever-skyrocketing prices that all sell the illusion that the right products are NECESSARY to make it through pregnancy and postpartum.

I’m not trying to shame anyone. Hey, any industry that makes billions of dollars is really hard for anyone to compete with. And like I said, Jamie Grayson is, I’m sure, a perfectly nice guy, but you have to stop for a moment and wonder what exactly you’re hoping to get from his advice. What specific things do you hope to gain from only having the priciest gear piling up in the nursery? Beyond the gorgeous articles and glowing reviews telling you that you MUST HAVE THIS STROLLER AND THESE VIEWS, there are a few things I want to point out:

1) The $800 stroller can’t help you learn how to have a safe and healthy birth and help you find a care provider and birth place you are happy with

2) The $800 stroller can’t support you at home during early labor

3) The $800 stroller can’t help you with breastfeeding

4) The $800 stroller can’t help you recognize the signs of postpartum depression or anxiety and then refer you to qualified help

5) The $800 stroller can’t come over to your house, make meals for you, clean your house, and answer your questions about how to take care of your baby

So, I invite you think about where you put your dollars. How much will you actually gain from those items you scan in the baby store onto your registry? I’ve been there too–with baby #1, I made sure we had all the STUFF (though 9 years ago there wasn’t as much stuff as there is now); by baby #2, I went and got a couple of not-pink sheets, maybe a new changing table cover, a few lap pads–and that was it. Everything else was unnecessary.

What DOES help with the fear, the anxiety, and the uncertainty?

1) Take evidence-based childbirth classes

2) Hire a birth doula (remember, a doula isn’t a substitute for childbirth education)

3) Take breastfeeding classes and find a breastfeeding support group

4) Make sure to be open with a loved one or friend if you feel like you’re experiencing anxiety and depression, and know help is out there

5) Consider hiring a postpartum doula

You know, believe it or not, you can put THOSE things on your baby registry. Ask for money to pay for doulas and classes. I’m sure Pinterest has some ideas for cute things people can do to gift you these services.  And while the expensive stroller looks impressive, navigating pregnancy, birth, and beyond takes more than things– it takes actual support.

If you want to see a sensible list of what you should put on your baby registry, head on over here and find my FREE checklist.  It’ll get the piles of presents under control.

Thoughts? Comments? Leave them below!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

How did women give birth 100 years ago?

It’s Friday. I’m going to just link to some videos on the history of birth.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

3 ways you can have a healthier pregnancy

Safe Birth 31 Days

As I mentioned yesterday, there are some things you can do at the beginning of your pregnancy to raise your chances of having a better birth. Now, I’m not talking about the crazy, overly alarming “stay away from everything and anything” advice you’d find in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I’m talking about some simple things that you can do in the early months to make a big difference later on.

1)Resist the urge to give in to all of the cravings- My theory (and it’s just mine) is that our bodies don’t know it’s 2014 when we get pregnant. It doesn’t know that there are things like supermarkets, refrigerators, and pantries all full of food. Your body thinks that food is scarce and limited (as it used to be), so it unapologetically gives moms the urge to eat as much as it can. But because it is 2014, you need to balance that huge desire to eat with smart choices. Avoid too much sugar, too many empty cards, and highly processed food as much as possible. While it’s true that if you only eat Big Macs every single day that your baby will be mostly healthy, you’ll feel like garbage, and that’s no good.

2) Start getting active- OK, so I know there’s always the warnings about starting exercise, but most moms are totally cleared to start gentle things, like walking or prenatal yoga. One thing I did when I was pregnant with my second child was take water yoga. There were no prenatal yoga classes in the area I live in, so I started doing what I lovingly called “yoga with the nanas.” It was gentle, but it still got me moving. If you were active before getting pregnant, it’s usually considered safe to keep doing the things you did before. So if you were an avid runner, it’s considered OK to keep running. But always listen to your body and touch base with your doctor or midwife on what you’re doing. Oh….and no riding bikes. Your center of gravity is shifting and it’s just not worth risking falling off the bike.

3) Drink lots of water!- This is one thing that I’ve tried to take to heart just in general, but make sure you’re getting enough water. Try to avoid things with sugar, even juice. (see above– it’s just empty calories!) If you’re thirsty, it means you’re starting to get dehydrated. And if you HATE plain water, work on finding a way to jazz it up. Get a water bottle you love and can keep with you throughout the day.

Because they are so dead simple, I feel like we forget to talk to moms about how important these things are. But they are the basic building blocks that, when started in early pregnancy, will leave you feeling better the more pregnant you are. And don’t forget– you’re growing a person! That’s important work your body is doing. Help it out by treating it well.

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Is a Doula the same as a Childbirth Educator?

doula same as childbirth educator

This Thursday, I’ll be heading down to the Lamaze International/ DONA International joint annual conference. I’ve been to a Lamaze conference. I’ve been to a DONA conference. As far as I know, this is the first time they two organizations have had a joint conference. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when both groups are in the same room. You see, there is some doula/ childbirth educator crossover, but not as much as you’d think. One reason? It’s far easier to get trained and certified as a birth doula than to be trained and certified as a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, mostly because there are simply more doula trainings. One thing, though, that I feel very strongly about is making sure people realize that hiring a doula is not an acceptable substitute for childbirth education, and a childbirth educator isn’t a substitute for a doula. Both are necessary, and they have very, very different roles.

A childbirth educator, and thus, a childbirth class, is important to help you understand the birth process, various interventions, and help you set realistic expectations for the first few weeks after your baby is born. You need to know these things before you go into labor– once you’re in the midst of birth and postpartum, you just won’t have enough bandwidth to absorb any of that information. And as I wrote previously about the relevancy of childbirth education in 2014, the conversations that we can have in class can not be replicated through any other means.

As a childbirth educator, my certifying organization works very hard to make sure we are staying up to date on evidence-based care. In fact, I’d argue that since we aren’t contractually required to follow a set curriculum that is rarely updated, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators are the most likely to have the most up to date policies and guidelines included in the class content. The policies and standards of care are ever-evolving; usually with the goal of improving outcomes for moms and babies.

As a doula, I prefer if the parents I work with have developed their birth preferences separate of my input. That way when the doctor or midwife asks them about their preferences, I know that the family has fully thought through what they want and don’t want. Education allows them to sort through all of their options, and doula support seeks to help them achieve those goals. And really, to think that 2 or 3 prenatal visits can cover as much as is covered in a birth prep class is an insult to those of us who are childbirth educators.

BUT…as a doula, I offer in-person support at the time of birth. That’s obviously not something I do for the families who take classes at BabyLove (unless they contract with me and my doula partner for doula services).  As a doula, my role is to stay there, in the moment, to offer physical and emotional support to the birthing mother and her partner. The act of being a doula is fluid, sometimes intangible, and it’s hard to articulate exactly what I do. So much of what I do comes from instinct, from my experience with other births, and largely just following mom’s lead.

As doulas have become more mainstream, the role of childbirth education has diminished. And I am frustrated that the same women who are fighting so hard to promote paid doula care are also trying to say that what they do is a replacement for childbirth education. If they want respect, they should be respectful. We would all do a lot better if we could acknowledge that it takes interdisciplinary cooperation to best care for and support new families.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Childbirth Education: Is it still relevant?

Childbirth classes Twin Cities
Wisdom from a dad about vaginal exams. He’s so right!

It’s no secret childbirth education class attendance has gone down in the last decade. The reasons are a combination of many things:

  • Hospitals cutting back on options for families as cost controls put pressure on small departments
  • Reliance on online resources by families
  • Doctors and Midwives actively discouraging patients from taking classes
  • The rapid inflation of class prices
  • Too many years of big, impersonal, boring classes that leave parents unlikely to recommend childbirth classes to others
  • The resurgence of named “method” classes

Again, as one of the few area independent educators (only?) who started my career teaching for hospital programs, I’ve had a very different experience with the role of childbirth education in the community. I’ve watched the attitudes flip, where moms are scared to take classes, or think the information is so obvious that they don’t need to spend any time in a classroom. And as much as I love doulas and I know they are evidence-based, there is a limitation to both the training and scope of practice that means that doulas aren’t meant to take the place of education. Once parents actually GET into my classes, there are a few things they are all pleasantly surprised about:

First, the ability to ASK questions and discuss a wide spectrum of topics with an educator who is neutral and can address things like evidence-based care and best practices. Asking those questions on social media and message boards don’t help parents get facts….just a lot of opinions, which can make it all seem relative, useless, and a waste of time to figure out. Instead, I find that when classes are run in a way that allows for conversation about topics between parents, with the guide of an educator, help parents sort through the opinions, and put other ideas and experiences into context.

Second, good classes are structured in a way that leads to many “AHA!” moments for parents that can’t happen when trying to get information from a book or online. Those moments are what then spurs other questions, helps pull together the larger picture, and inspires confidence. Part of what I LOVE as an educator is when I hear parents coming up with gems of wisdom that prove to me that the process of sitting through 8, 12, or 15 hours of classes is valuable, helpful, and worthwhile.

Third, and I’ve had this conversation with educators who have been teaching longer than I have– what we’re missing in the Twin Cities is the importance of having families from all walks of life and circumstances sitting in the same room. As is the case with so many things, the “boutiquification” of pregnancy and birth in everything from strollers to childbirth education is further separating us from each other, leading to a more fractured, less inclusive, less diverse experience. That leads to an echo chamber of sorts, and parents don’t have a chance to hear that there are other ways to see things, and other families might be facing different situations.

Finally, I want to point out that every doctor and midwife SHOULD be supporting the process of evidence-based childbirth education. Evidence-based. NOT outcome-based. If we are going to reverse current trends in the US of poorer outcomes for mothers and babies over the last 10 years, we can ONLY do that by bringing childbirth education attendance rates back up. It’s so very hard to put into words, but I’ll try: Even with the best care providers, there’s a limitation to the amount of time they can put into educating and giving resources to families. As a childbirth educator, my role in the community isn’t just to educate, but to help encourage families to have healthier pregnancies, find providers appropriate to their situations, and catching a myriad of things that otherwise fall through the cracks. It might not make sense, but I know my BabyLove families get it.

I’ll be headed to Kansas City next month to be inducted as a Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators. I’m honored to join a group of smart, caring, passionate women (maybe men? Hmmm…) who feel as strongly about the importance of childbirth education as I do. It’s not flashy, it’s not trendy, but I know that childbirth education is as vital in 2014 as it was when Elizabeth Bing first started teaching in the 1950s. And hopefully, class attendance will reverse trends.

That’s what I have today.

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Lamaze: What’s in a name?

Lamaze Childbirth Education

It’s not very often that I talk about the thought processes behind what goes on here at BabyLove; running this place requires a myriad of decisions, from minor, like what kind of wipes to buy to use in classes (I almost grabbed scented, but I was worried about someone being allergic to the fragrance), to big things, like leases and buildouts and hirings and firings. Now, I don’t have a degree in marketing or web design, but I’ve had to figure things out as I go along. Would it be better if I hired someone? Yes, but in the end I’ve had to realize that I have to weigh the costs versus benefits carefully.

But today I’m grappling with something that seems so mundane on the surface, but I’ve been struggling with it big time: Do I keep the Evening Lamaze Series and the Weekend Lamaze Series as they are, or do I change the names to “Informed Birth: Complete Childbirth Class?”

To me, 8 years ago, when I was first struck by the idea that I was called to serve moms and their families at births, I researched childbirth educator programs along with doula certifications. Doula trainings are far more frequent, so I attended that first. As I looked through the various childbirth education programs, I looked at Bradley first. I’d had friends take Bradley classes, but when I met with a Bradley teacher, she was a little hostile to the idea of doulas, and having read Dr. Bradley’s “Husband-Coached Childbirth” when I was pregnant with my daughter, there was something that didn’t seem really like it fit at all with how I looked at birth. (Orange Juice? Really?)

I also looked at Birthing From Within as a possibility.  I loved the book, but the trainings were all really far away and would cost a huge chunk of change. I checked out ICEA, too. At that time, ICEA was based out of Minneapolis, but there were no upcoming trainings, and I just could not get a good feel for what ICEA was about.

I went back time and time again to Lamaze. It made sense to me; I’m really pragmatic, so I liked that it was evidence-based, not a method. This might sound kind of silly, but when I read books about “methods,” I’m really put off by the idea that they are selling the idea that if you do x, you’re almost promised you’ll get a good/natural/ vaginal birth. I have the same feelings when it comes to books about sleep and books about toilet training, for what it’s worth.  I can’t ever shake the feeling that someone just made something up, gave it a name, and started selling books.

I was also really in love with the support Lamaze has for Doulas; back then, the 6 Healthy Birth Practices were called “Care Practices that Promote Normal Birth”. The actual care practices haven’t changed, and having a doula has always been one of the steps to having a normal/ healthy birth. After my encounter with the Bradley teacher who thought doulas were a bad idea (Yes, I know now that she’s an exception rather than the rule), I liked how Lamaze dovetailed with my vocation as a birth doula. I loved all of the care practices, too, and liked how they provided a framework to help families have the best outcomes possible.

So to me, Lamaze means healthy. Lamaze means informed. Lamaze means helping families face birth more empowered. As you’ll hear others say, Lamaze is “not your ma’s Lamaze.” I worry, though, about what parents think about Lamaze when they are trying to figure out what kind of classes to take. Do they just think about breathing? Do they think the emphasis is on vaginal births? Do they picture rows of moms sitting on the floors being coached by a spouse/friend/ family member?

I worked really, really hard to become an LCCE. Back when I certified, there were a lot more things I had to do before I was allowed to sit for the certification exam than LCCEs have to do now. I had to write an entire curriculum on my own. I had to get that curriculum approved by the Lamaze trainer. I had to teach a COMPLETE series (to two families I found via Craigslist in the library of the senior center) and have the whole thing observed by an experienced and certified educator. Only once those steps were completed was I given the green light to take the exam. I also like to point out that the Minnesota Department of Health only recognizes ICEA and Lamaze certifications for MA reimbursement.

So, I don’t know. I’ve announced the name changes in the last newsletter. But it was just now, as I was fixing the names on a page on my website, that all of these thoughts started running through my head. What do you think? Seriously. I want your thoughts.

Do I keep the names “Evening Lamaze Series” and “Weekend Lamaze Series” or do I ditch them?

Help!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Criteria for provider referrals

Recently, I had a conversation with a doctor about the hows and whys of how I choose which care providers to refer families to. They can be OBs, Family Med docs, Midwives, Pediatricians, Chiropractors, LCs, Birth and Postpartum Doulas, and Dentist, as well as a variety of other specialties. So, when I decide which names to give to a family, I do so based on the following criteria:

  1. Where is the provider located? Whenever possible, I try to find the most appropriate professional as close to the family geographically as possible. In some cases, it can be difficult to find certain specialties in certain geographic areas, so I may have to explain to the family why they might need to travel an extra distance to get care.
  2. What kind of training and qualifications does this professional have?Again, I want to make sure that the professionals have an adequate amount of experience.  I’m slightly hesitant to refer families to brand-new doulas, for example, because I’ve seen too many families left in the lurch when a doula wasn’t able to make it to a birth. I also want to know that the professionals have actual experience working with families with a specific situation. It’s always a good sign to me if they have gone to get extra training in a certain field, such as a chiropractor being Webster Certified.
  3. Do I feel comfortable with the how knowledgeable the provider is? While I’m not a doctor or a chiropractor, there are certain things that can clue me in to the quality of care they can give the families I work with. Accurate breastfeeding knowledge is one huge thing I pay attention to; sorry, it’s just not ok when they (especially chiros) start telling breastfeeding moms that they can only eat a perfect diet. Talk about #firstworldproblems! Car seats is another  issue that indicates the quality of a provider’s care. Any doctor who still tells parents to turn baby around at 1 year or 20 pounds is IMMEDIATELY removed from my list of who I can comfortable refer to; that hasn’t been appropriate for at least 5 years. Another red flag for me is when a provider can’t handle the basics, like getting measuring effacement backwards. If I, as a doula or educator, know the basics better than they do…well, that’s not good.  Extra negative bonus points if their lack of knowledge results is serious harm to mom or baby. Again, the doula should not know what’s wrong 3 hours before the OB figures it out.
  4. Do they quote actual studies? I may not know every study by heart, but I’m very good at recognizing absolute BS. IF they make up “studies” to try to seem evidence based, but in fact are making recommendations that do not match official guidelines of their professional orgs, that’s just not OK.
  5. Are they ethical? Do they behave with integrity? Do they charge a fair amount, or are they overpriced (and do they keep jacking up their rates)? Do they treat moms and babies with respect? Do they treat other professional with respect? I have no leeway for anyone that isn’t ethical.
  6. Do families have positive feedback? This is important. The experience that families have with the professionals to whom they are referred is a critical reflection on BabyLove. If I consistently hear good feed back and families are seeing positive results, then those providers end up getting a LOT more referrals from me.
  7. Do they reciprocate? In this heavily saturated market, I know that there are usually a lot of options. However, if a provider NEVER refers families to me, that’s just plain rude, and they can expect the same in return. It’s just common sense. I also try very hard to avoid the omnipresence habit of being “cliquey” when it comes to my network. Substance over style, I say.

I think all of these things are fair, and it has taken awhile to get down to a list I feel good about. I’ve been very excited to add good providers to my list in the last couple of months, too, and always love sitting down with any new professionals to chat and to see if they would be a good addition to my list.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Leave ‘em below!

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Soapbox Friday: Avoiding Labels

This week’s soapbox post is inspired by a conversation I had with a doctor last night. We were talking about the tendency for certain groups to be beyond biased when it comes to attitudes about birth. I get it; labels are easy. It’s far easier to say, “X is good and Y is bad” than to talk about the nuances and variations within certain groups.  However, we do a major disservice to expecting families when we don’t have more honest, less prejudiced discussions when it comes to everything from birth place options, care providers, and even childbirth education.

For me both personally and professionally, I get a little chagrined when people try to paint hospital-based childbirth education with a broad brush. Unlike the vast majority of independent childbirth educators in the Twin Cities, I started my career teaching in hospitals. Were there days when a doctor or nurse would come back to me and get mad about something they thought I said in class? Sure. Did it happen that often? Nope. For the most part, I had very supportive supervisors who were will to go to bat for us educators. Being in the hospitals also gave me greater insight into the inner workings of large systems, from the nurses to the supervisors to the doctors and midwives. Oh, and as a bonus, it also helped me understand WHY there are cultural variations from system to system.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’re also aware that I’m a strong believer in maternity care transparency.  It’s a terrible idea to only choose a birth place because the rooms are pretty, it’s where your sister had her baby, or any other myriad of reasons that don’t actually take outcomes into consideration.  If you ask a doula or anyone in general for suggestions for birth place options and care providers, make sure they have good reasons beyond, “I like it/him/her.” Do I even have personal biases? Sure I do! Do I try to advertise them? Not unless asked. Can I give you reasons for my preferences? Absolutely. I can give you a long list. I do know too, that my opinions are backed up by data. And beyond that data, there are finer nuances to take into account.

I guess, at the end of the day, I’d be very skeptical of any attempts anyone makes to tell you that OBs are bad, Midwives are good, homebirth is best, waterbirth is a must, hospitals are evil, birth centers are amazing, a specific kind of childbirth education is almost guaranteed to give you a specific experience, and doctors don’t know what they are doing. Are there good OBs? Yep! Are there midwives that don’t provide very good care? Yes. Is homebirth a good option for everyone? Heck no.  Does every mom need to give birth in a tub?  Nope. Can beautiful births happen in hospitals. They sure can! Are birth centers right for everyone? Not a chance. Do I love watching trend in childbirth education come and go? No. Do doctors deserve more respect? YES. And while you’ll hear me talk about overuse of cesareans and epidurals, by no means would you ever hear me say they don’t have a place in maternity care.

There are nuanced conversations to have, but it seems like most of the information and advice gets to be pretty predictable. I do realize that I fall into certain ruts, too, but trying to put groups into boxes and discuss maternity care in absolutes fails to allows families the ability to gather correct information and make choices that best fit their own situations.

Those are my thoughts for today. Thanks for reading!

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.