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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Getting Your Baby Into Position

While my 9 year old and 7 year old were in their swim lessons at the YMCA today, I was sitting on the bleachers reading a copy Optimal Foetal Positioning that I have out on loan from the Syracuse ICAN chapter. A lot of it was things that I'd heard before, having taken the Bradley childbirth classes when I was pregnant with my second.

One thing I hadn't remembered though, was that the cervix actually needs to open wider than 10cm to properly accomodate a posterior baby. With an anterior baby (facing mom's spine) the presenting part of the baby's head is 9.5cm and with a posterior baby (facing mom's front), the presenting part of the head that needs to get through the cervix is 11.5cm. Now, a cervix can and will stretch much more than the 10cm that we hear about in the childbirth classes, but it sounds to me like this may be one of the reasons that pushing out a posterior baby can take more time.

Additionally, moms who go into labor with a posterior baby often report having increased back pain, known as "back labor." This can be a challenge to cope with.

Optimal Foetal Positioning talks a lot about posture and the fact that how we go about our daily routines, things like the way we sit and the kinds of furniture we use, can affect the positions of the babies we carry.

The following video clip talks about what moms can do during pregnancy (before labor begins) to encourage their baby into an anterior postition:

During pregnancy, I'd also recommend that moms see a chiropractor who is trained in and experienced with the Webster technique. The ICPA has this to say:  "The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces interference to the nerve system and balances maternal pelvic muscles and ligaments. This in turn reduces torsion in the uterus, a cause of intra-uterine constraint of the baby and allows for optimal fetal positioning in preparation for birth."

If you are in labor and find that your baby is posterior, there are things you can do to encourage him or her to get into a better postion:

  • Walk up and down stairs, sideways if possible
  • Try an Abdominal Lift during contractions
  • Do chair lunges (with a partner for support)
  • Lean forward over a birth ball
  • Sit on the toilet with one foot raised on a stool
One reason to have a doula, both during the actual labor and talking to your doula in the weeks leading up to birth, is that a well-educated doula will have this information. She can offer you information on getting your baby into the best position for birth before you actually go into labor and she can help you work with your body while you're in labor so that you're using the most effective positions to help your baby descend through the birth canal.

If you're in Syracuse, New York or nearby and have questions about how a doula can help you, feel free to email me at

- Liz Baer

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yeah, Baby!

If you haven't had a chance yet to meet the ladies of the CNY Doula Connection, come on out to "Yeah, Baby!" at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool this coming Sunday, September 26th!

Check it out:

We can't wait to see you there!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


The good news for consumers is that Syracuse now has more avenues for parents to find a birth or postpartum doula. There are two avenues, the CNY Doula Connection and Doulas of CNY.

Earlier today, I deleted some comments on a previous blog post on my personal blog, Syracusedoula, that were left by the owners of Doulas of CNY. I made the choice to delete the comments rather than respond to them because I didn't want to continue the conversation with them, but I am going to go ahead and address it here, on the Doula Connection blog.

First, some quick definitions:

"CNY Doula Connection"- A doula networking group based in Syracuse, with members in Syracuse, Rochester and Utica. Meets monthly to plan marketing and to have fellowship together. Provides free mentoring to new doulas. Charges $75/year membership fee to doulas. Contact info for each doula is accessible via the group's webpage. Decisions are made by voting, usually at a meeting, sometimes over email.

"Doulas of CNY"- A doula agency, based in Syracuse, run by Christine Goldman and Julie Crosby. Members meet together to discuss marketing and talk together. Provides mentoring for a fee. Charges members 25-30% of what they make from each birth, though the fee seems to be negotiable. Clients contact doulas by calling the agency, doulas pictures and bios are listed on their website. Decisions are made by the owners.

The comments that I deleted were addressing that I wasn't comfortable with 1) the amount that doulas pay to be a part of Doulas of CNY and 2) the fact that contact information for their doulas isn't listed on their website. Those are two of the reasons why I personally chose not to join Doulas of CNY.

The CNY Doula Connection is still fairly new and is starting to get the word out that there is another doula group in town. There is another options for doulas now who want to network but need or want to put out less money to do so.

Both of us serve familes, do community outreach, offer sliding scales to clients who need it, take the occasional free birth and are involved in the Syracuse birth community. One is a business, one is a networking group.

Both groups provide support and resources to new and expectant parents. You can call either group and find a great doula.

We have two different ways of doing things, but the service provided is the same. Being a founding member, I personally believe that the CNY Doula Connection is a better option for doulas, but some women will be more comfortable with an organization that has been around longer and does more of your marketing for you and that's ok. With our networking group, everyone has to put in a lot of work to get the word out. Will that change when we've been around longer? Probably.

For a long time, Doulas of CNY was the only game in town, so to speak. That's no longer the case. It may take some getting used to for them, but I think it will only be a good thing. The more doula agencies and groups there are, the more the community will be able to learn about doulas and why what we do matters. Competition encourages growth.