Comments Off on Five Ways to Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy By Marianne Ryan

Five Ways to Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy By Marianne Ryan

Posted May 20th, 2013 in Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Fresno VBAC by Kathryn DiPalma

Great article by Marianne Ryan.

Whether having children is in your 10-year plan or you’ve decided now is the time to start trying, it’s never too early to begin preparing your body for pregnancy. Ensure your body is ready to carry a baby by addressing before pregnancy any pain or problems associated with posture or weakness. Unfortunately, these issues can worsen during pregnancy and cause pain and dysfunction. The good news is a physical therapist can evaluate, diagnose, and treat pre-pregnancy musculoskeletal issues and continue to help you during pregnancy and post-childbirth.

Tips to Help Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy

1. Strengthen your pelvic muscles. To strengthen your muscles, use pelvic floor contractions (commonly referred to as Kegels), which involve gently squeezing the sphincter muscles (rather than the buttocks and thighs). These tightening exercises help prevent leakage when a woman sneezes, coughs, etc, and also can help reduce pelvic pain during pregnancy. However, many women do Kegels incorrectly (perhaps because muscles are too tight and need to be relaxed before strengthening). Physical therapists who specialize in women’s health can instruct women in how to perform these exercises safely and correctly.

2. Prepare for “baby belly” by focusing on your core. Core exercises can help prevent diastasis recti —abdominal muscle separation. As your belly grows, the abdominal muscles that run vertically along either side of the belly button can be forced apart, like a zipper opening. If these abdominal muscles separate from each other too much, the result can be low back pain, pelvic pain, or other injuries as your body tries to compensate for its weaker core. This also can result in the post-pregnancy “pooch” many women find undesirable. But beware, some exercises, such as sit-ups, increase the likelihood of developing diastasis recti.

3. Take a breath! Learning proper breathing and relaxation techniques from your physical therapist will help prepare your body and mind for a healthy pregnancy. It is important to learn to properly exhale before performing any exercise. With proper technique, your core and pelvic floor muscles will contract automatically, and this will lead to optimal stability and injury protection.

4. Begin a regular fitness routine. Exercise will help reduce the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body and will boost your muscle and cardiovascular strength—strength you’ll need to carry that extra baby weight. Once you become pregnant, consider engaging in relatively low-impact activities such as swimming, walking on even surfaces, biking, or using an elliptical machine. Runners should be aware that loosening of their ligaments may make them more susceptible to knee and ankle injuries. Also, when the muscles and ligaments that support a woman’s pelvic organs weaken, the repetitive jarring of running can cause these organs to descend. This is known as pelvic organ prolapse. Physical therapists strongly recommend that, to prevent this condition, women wear undergarments that offer pelvic floor support, or compression shorts that support the pelvic floor both during and after pregnancy.

5. Practice good posture. Poor posture can have a major effect on every part of your body, particularly with regard to pain during pregnancy. A physical therapist can evaluate your posture and suggest muscle-strengthening exercises and lifestyle education (such as not sitting at a desk for long periods, and carrying your grocery bags properly). Establishing healthy posture habits—pre-baby — will better prepare your body for the extra weight of pregnancy and lessen your chances of low back and pelvic pain.

So, in the midst of all the planning and excitement, don’t forget to focus on yourself, the mom-to-be. You have a big job coming up. Take time to prepare your body for the rewarding challenges ahead.

Comments Off on Getting Organized!

Getting Organized!

Posted August 20th, 2012 in Birth Doula, doula, fresno, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Fresno Birthdays, Fresno VBAC, labor by Kathryn DiPalma

This weekend I spend a lot of time organizing all of my DVD’s.

  Several of them were loose and needing to be put in cases and labeled.  Now they are ready to be checked out!

Comments Off on Great Quote!

Great Quote!

Posted April 3rd, 2012 in clothing, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Fresno VBAC, Newborns by Kathryn DiPalma

“Children cry because they are hungry, lonely, tired, wet, or in pain. Compassionate people do not withhold comfort from adults who are crying. Why in heaven’s name should a
loving parent withhold comfort from a little child?”

– Robert Mendelsohn M.D.

Comments Off on Insider’s Tip on How to have a Great VBAC

Insider’s Tip on How to have a Great VBAC

Posted January 4th, 2012 in Birth Doula in Fresno, C-Sections, Fresno Birth Doula, Fresno VBAC, Uncategorized, VBAC by Kathryn DiPalma

Insider’s Tip on How to Have a Great VBAC

Very good information from Gloria Lemay’s blog.

Posted on October 9, 2009 by gloria

The following is a post I sent to the ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness
Network) list. It is very, very important information for ALL birthing women
and can make all the difference in a VBAC birth. Read it carefully, copy it,
send it to your clients. One of the ICAN women replies to my post at the

Subject: ICAN: Tip for birth

I wanted to write to those of you who are pregnant to tell you something
that has been running through my mind all day about how you can be
successful with your VBAC births. Many births begin in the night…. woman
will get up to pee, feel her membranes release and then an hour later begin
having sensations fifteen minutes apart. Because we think of birth as a
family/couple experience, most women will wake up their husbands to tell
them something’s starting and then, probably because we all hope we’ll be
the 1 in 10,000 women who don’t experience any pain, we start getting the
birth supplies organized, fill up the water tub, etc. I have seen so many
births that take days and days of prodromal (under 3 cms. dilation)
sensations and they usually begin this way. The couple distracts themselves
in that early critical time when the pituitary gland is beginning to put out
oxytocin to dilate the cervix. Turning on the light, causes inhibition of
the oxytocin release. Many couples don’t call their midwives until they have
sensations coming 5 minutes apart at 7:00 a.m. but they’ve been up since
midnight timing every one of the early sensations. If they had called their
midwife at midnight she would have said “Turn off the light and let your
husband sleep as much as possible through the night. You, stay dark and
quiet. Take a bath with a candle if it helps and call me back when you think
I should come over.”

That first night can make all the difference and yet so many couples act
like it’s a party and don’t realize they are sabotaging their births right
at the beginning. Staying up all night in the early part does two things–it
throws off the body clock that controls sleep and waking and confuses the
brain AND it inhibits the release of the very hormone you need to dilate
effectively. You know that it can take days to recover after a night of
partying or after working a graveyard shift. Don’t start your birth with
that kind of stress on your hormone system.

When you begin to have sensations, I urge you to ignore it as long as you
possibly can. Don’t tell anyone. Have a “secret sensation time” with your
unborn baby and get in as dark a space as you can. Minimize what is
happening with your husband, family and the birth attendants. What would you
rather have–a big, long dramatic birth story to tell everyone or a really
smooth birth? You do have a say over your hormone activity. Help your
pituitary gland secrete oxytocin to open your cervix by being in a dark,
quiet room with your eyes closed. Gloria Lemay, Vancouver

Pam wrote:

“I really loved what Gloria had to say here. For me, it’s all about what
went wrong at my first birth (stayed up all night timing
contractions…stupid, stupid, stupid, and was totally wiped out by morning),
and could have been improved at the second, when I lacked a place to stay
dark and quiet. I printed it out for my husband to read, and am putting it in my
file of important things to remember when labor starts, within the next
couple of weeks.”

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Posted December 24th, 2010 in fresno, Fresno Birth Doula, Fresno VBAC, VBAC by admin

Today I was totally blessed by my last clients testimony that she wrote for!  Heidi and Ryan were such a fun couple to work with. It was a total blessing to me to be privileged enough to help them and be apart of the birth of baby Leah!  Thank you Heidi for your kind words.

“My husband and I were told Kathryn had her doula license while pregnant with our second child. The birth of our first child, Levi ended up being a C-section. I decided shortly after his birth I wanted to attempt a VBAC with our second child. We felt a doula would allow us more time to spend together during the birth process, to be more relaxed and have someone to advocate for us if necessary.

We met with Kathryn a number of times before the birth and she was always encouraging and willing to answer any questions. We were pleased she took on our family, as the due date was close to Christmas.

During the labor process Kathryn was very helpful, as she knew the answers to questions I had about the labor process (I did not labor as far with my first). She helped me focus on my breathing, when I would panic. Having her present made things more comfortable for me and my husband. For me, it felt like I had my mom in the room. I knew that she would not let me endure anything that was not necessary and she was going to support me in whatever decisions I made regarding the birth process. For my husband, having her there allowed him to be relaxed and not stress thinking about what he should or should not be doing for me. I could tell he was more at ease during this birth than with the birth of our son.

If we have a third child we will pick Kathryn again. We were very happy with our experience. We successfully had our daughter, Leah Susanna on 12/7/10 via VBAC (Kathryn’s first VBAC). We would like to say, “Thank you Kathryn for helping make our birth process very positive.” We will be passing your name along. I can say this birth was enjoyed much more than our first. This will always be a fond memory for us.”