40 Weeks to Forever- EP 01

Rhiannon Langford, Doula - Episode 01 40 Weeks to Forever

Labour & Delivery 101

When we first connected with Rhiannon, we set out to answer one burning question – what is a doula?
The good news is she gave us the 411 on this, and everything else you might want to know about the labour and delivery process including how to manage any pre-birth fears. 

Pre-birth anxiety is a very real thing.
Many women are scared of the unknowns that L&D may bring. Some are fearful of the pain they may experience; others are concerned about tearing, and in true selfless Mama fashion some are more concerned about being away from their first little loves and how they will adjust to meeting their new sibling. We get it – there is a lot on your mind.

In this episode, Rhiannon puts parents-to-be at ease with her advice on how to let go of pre-birth fears and shares practical ways to talk to your care providers about your wants, needs, and desires as a birthing person. We chat about evidence-based birth, how to work through fear and anxiety, and we even dig in on the challenges of cesarian recovery and the 4th trimester.

Here are some of the highlights from our conversation...

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

So, in Ontario, your midwife is a registered care provider. So, you wouldn’t have an OB and a midwife most of the time. You would start your pregnancy and say “who do I want to be the person who’s primarily responsible for my medical care?” Then you make the decision at that point if you want to go for midwifery care, your family doctor or an OB. A doula, however, we don’t do the medical stuff. We can support you whether or not you have a midwife, a family doctor or, an OB and we’re there to support you through the emotional side of things, we’re here to give you advice on comfort measures and making sure that you are in the right position for where your baby is in your body. We also provide informational support. So, if you’re prone to go to Dr. Google all the time and go down that downward spiral, you can just send a quick text to your doula and say “hey, do you have any resources on inductions, or why I’m having this weird pain in my body.” And then we’re able to gather all the evidence-based resources, send that to you. We’re not here to say “this is our opinion” but we’re here to say, “this is what the doctors are saying. This is what the mommy blogs are going to say. You make a decision that works best for your family and we’re here to support you 100 per cent no matter what you choose.
Rhiannon Langford
"So, in Ontario, your midwife is a registered care provider. So, you wouldn’t have an OB and a midwife most of the time. You would start your pregnancy and say “who do I want to be the person who’s primarily responsible for my medical care?” Then you make the decision at that point if you want to go for midwifery care, your family doctor or an OB. A doula, however, we don’t do the medical stuff. We can support you whether or not you have a midwife, a family doctor or, an OB and we’re there to support you through the emotional side of things, we’re here to give you advice on comfort measures and making sure that you are in the right position for where your baby is in your body. We also provide informational support. So, if you’re prone to go to Dr. Google all the time and go down that downward spiral, you can just send a quick text to your doula and say “hey, do you have any resources on inductions, or why I’m having this weird pain in my body.” And then we’re able to gather all the evidence-based resources, send that to you. We’re not here to say “this is our opinion” but we’re here to say, “this is what the doctors are saying. This is what the mommy blogs are going to say. You make a decision that works best for your family and we’re here to support you 100 percent no matter what you choose.
Rhiannon Langford

What can we do pre-birth to prepare for labour and delivery? 

Such a great question because a lot of the times people say, “oh because there’s so much unknown, I don’t need to prepare because I don’t want to be disappointed if I don’t get what I want.” And I don’t necessarily agree with that because we might not have control over the specific outcome, but we do have a lot of power in the choices that we do get to make. So sometimes when people feel like they’re being pressured into a decision or they didn’t have enough information to make a decision - that can leave feelings of birth trauma or regret or “I really wish I did it a different way.” And we don’t want that, we want your birth to be like, “OK maybe it didn’t happen the way I thought it was going to be but it still was a really empowering and amazing experience.”

So, with my clients, I really like to help people know what the options that are available to them and also how to make those difficult decisions in the moment. So we’ll kind of go through what plan A looks like so we’ll go through the traditional birth plan. But I also encourage my clients to go through – what does plan B look like?
What happens if you have to have that emergency C-section? Are you going to be disappointed?
Are you going to be mad at your body?
Are you going to be able to bring in your air-pods so you can have your hypnobirthing tracks in the operating room?

Preparing for all those scenarios can help make it feel a little bit more comfortable when you are faced with the unknown. And then if there are things that we don’t prepare for because there are really so many things that can happen, knowing how to talk to your care provider effectively – what kind of questions can I ask? What are my rights as a patient? Those are all the kinds of things that you can work through with your doula prenatally or do that kind of research by yourself so that you feel confident in making decisions in the moment. And I also recommend having your birth partner be a part of that research process because, if you’re in the throes of labour, you might not be able to clearly articulate what your preferences are or be able to be that best advocate for yourself. So having someone there that knows your plan and is able to be your advocate. Especially in Covid, if you’re only allowed that one person – making sure they’re 100 percent there for you and able to articulate your preferences and talk to your care provider is so so important.
Rhiannon Langford
"Such a great question because a lot of the times people say, “oh because there’s so much unknown, I don’t need to prepare because I don’t want to be disappointed if I don’t get what I want.” And I don’t necessarily agree with that because we might not have control over the specific outcome, but we do have a lot of power in the choices that we do get to make. So sometimes when people feel like they’re being pressured into a decision or they didn’t have enough information to make a decision - that can leave feelings of birth trauma or regret or “I really wish I did it a different way.” And we don’t want that, we want your birth to be like, “OK maybe it didn’t happen the way I thought it was going to be but it still was a really empowering and amazing experience.”

So, with my clients, I really like to help people know what the options that are available to them and also how to make those difficult decisions in the moment. So we’ll kind of go through what plan A looks like so we’ll go through the traditional birth plan. But I also encourage my clients to go through – what does plan B look like?
What happens if you have to have that emergency C-section? Are you going to be disappointed?
Are you going to be mad at your body?
Are you going to be able to bring in your air-pods so you can have your hypnobirthing tracks in the operating room?

Preparing for all those scenarios can help make it feel a little bit more comfortable when you are faced with the unknown. And then if there are things that we don’t prepare for because there are really so many things that can happen, knowing how to talk to your care provider effectively – what kind of questions can I ask? What are my rights as a patient? Those are all the kinds of things that you can work through with your doula prenatally or do that kind of research by yourself so that you feel confident in making decisions in the moment. And I also recommend having your birth partner be a part of that research process because, if you’re in the throes of labour, you might not be able to clearly articulate what your preferences are or be able to be that best advocate for yourself. So having someone there that knows your plan and is able to be your advocate. Especially in Covid, if you’re only allowed that one person – making sure they’re 100 percent there for you and able to articulate your preferences and talk to your care provider is so so important."
Rhiannon Langford

About our guest

Rhiannon Langford is also known as the Birth Boss. She is a birth and postpartum doula, fertility coach, and maternal mental health advocate. She has a passion for helping growing families feel empowered on their journey to parenthood. 

thebirthboss.com 
@birthbossco
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On this season of 40 Weeks To Forever, we are chatting with both moms and experts, who are sharing encouragement, advice, and answering some of the most common questions all parents have (some you didn't even know to ask)!

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