Blog Posts by Belly Friendly

  • Birth Centers – an Excellent Blend of Home and Hospital Birth

    By Tori Kropp, R.N.

    As you know, I am pretty outspoken about my concerns regarding homebirth. There is, however, an excellent blend of the comforts of homebirth with the safety of a hospital - a birth center. Although, the choice to have a more natural, nurse-midwife attended birth is frequently available in a hospital, it is a core principal in a birth center.

    What is a birth center?

    A birth center is a facility that provides prenatal and childbirth care in an atmosphere that is typically relaxed and homelike. It can be free-standing or located within a hospital complex.

    Your care at a center that is located within a hospital complex may be provided by nurse-midwives or physicians. Care at free-standing birth centers are typically provided by nurse-midwives.

    If you experience complications during your pregnancy or labor your practitioner will consult a doctor - typically a specialist at a collaborating hospital.

    What situations would make a birth center not the

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  • Hypnobirthing. What is it?

    Hypnobirthing. Giving birth while under hypnosis? That doesn't sound right. So what is it?

    Hypnobirthing is a technique that helps mom focus intently on the labor process and understand how the birthing muscles work in harmony. According to, this method "teaches you that, in the absence of fear and tension, or special medical circumstances, severe pain does not have to be an accompaniment of labor."

    Celebrities, most recently Jessica Alba, have embraced this trend in natural birth. Completely awake, it helps you relax and be aware and totally in control of your body. Birthing centers and hospitals have classes that teach these self-hypnosis techniques.

    Relaxed and calm. Isn't that how it should be?

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  • Your Fertile Window

    By EarthyMe, Barefoot & Pregnant

    As I think of pregnancy & just how to do it, I consider the many options out there for me to start charting my fertility.

    Sure, there's the fun part of "trying." Blind faith, no rhyme or reason. Kind of like the equivalent of throwing spaghetti at a wall til it just sticks. It has its appeal and I know plenty of people have conceived this way but...

    What the heck, I ought to make it worth both our whiles and take full advantage of the fertility tools available! Let it be known I'm a touch squeamish.

    So what is out there?

    First, the best days to try are the days you are in your fertile window. Before ovulating, your body is the most fertile & you are most likely to conceive. Fortunately for us, we are also most attractive to the opposite sex on the days we ovulate, so we certainly have help in knowing just when our fertile days are!

    There are various methods to determine your fertile window. Let's dive in!

    1. Billings Method or

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  • Why I Love My Childbirth Class

    By MamaSandoval, Barefoot & Pregnant

    One thing that I knew for sure before my husband and I even conceived was that a baby would change our relationship forever. When people learn that we're having our first child, the reaction we get is either a look of pity, along with a comment along the lines of "enjoy being alone while you can" or a smile and something like "the baby is going to make you both so happy." I find that I tend to agree with the latter. Bella hasn't even arrived yet, and already she has drawn my husband, Rafa, and I closer. We're kinder, more affectionate, and more in love with each other than before we knew we were expecting. While our relationship was great before, now it has become even more wonderful. Part of this great change is due in part to the childbirth class that we started taking.

    Focused on natural childbirth, the class goes through not only the anatomy and physiology of childbirth, but the best ways to help deal with the pain, tension, and worry

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  • The Surprises of Pregnancy

    By MamaSandoval, Barefoot & Pregnant

    As I enter my 6th month of pregnancy, I've realized that there have been quite a few surprises. Some of them have come completely out of blue, others I had heard stories of or read about, but all of them have taken me by surprise in one way or another.

    1. The Heartburn. Ah yes, we all know the old wives tale that lots of heartburn means a nice, hairy little baby. Well, if this is true, then I am fairly certain that I have a monkey developing inside of me. I get heartburn when I'm eating, sleeping, exercising, working, relaxing, and any time in between. I have always been proud to say that up until now I have had a digestive tract like a garbage disposal. Before pregnancy I could eat anything I wanted with out a drop of acid entering my esophagus. Alas, those days are over and I am left popping Tums like candy and wondering if I'm going to have to wax my daughter's unibrow before she's five.

    2. The Awkwardness. I now know what a beached

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  • A Woman's Perspective on Husband Coached Childbirth

    By Mary Boston, Barefoot & Pregnant

    As a young girl, I became accustomed to hearing all about labor. How long it took, how "Johnny was stubborn from the get-go", and most importantly, how painful the experience can be. I also witnessed countless knowing looks exchanged from mother to mother as they expressed how "men just don't get it." Needless to say, this left me with the impression that labor is impossibly painful and men cannot possibly understand enough to support you.

    Approaching natural childbirth for the first time, I had tons of questions. The all consuming one being: exactly what does "the worst pain you will ever experience" feel like? For the record, I don't handle pain well, and the thought of a human exiting my body was a bit overwhelming. But I still wanted to try it naturally.

    With that said, I knew I needed help getting the birth I wanted. I predicted once the pain kicked in, I would cave and ask for the drugs, ultimately denying me of the birth experience I

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  • My Story So Far - Adoption Heartbreak

    By Nicky, Barefoot & Pregnant

    My husband and I decided we were going to adopt, thanks to my pcos. Pcos doesn't mean I can't have babies. It just means I need really good insurance or a lot of money to try. So a year ago we decided we were going to go through the county for adoptions. We did our Saturday PRIDE classes and completed a full home study. Our house was licensed 4 months after completeing pride. We were ready.

    During the waiting process a couple of babies were mentioned to us because the social worker wasn't sure if we would be interested, but each one of them I never turned down. However, each child that is up for concurrent planning has to go through 3 sets of supervisors before they pick a family. We were not picked on those occasions. I started to feel discouraged and found myself laying in bed at night wondering why. Why they have picked us and if we would ever find a match for our family.

    The whole adoption process through the county is not easy. There are

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  • What is Your Maternity Medical Coverage?

    By Topri Kropp, R.N., Barefoot & Pregnant

    With all the talk of the new health care plan, I started thinking about the maternity medical coverage items you'll want to investigate with your insurance company.

    • Does your plan cover prenatal and maternity care? Federal law requires that an employer with more than 15 employees offer such coverage.
    • Do you need "preauthorization" from the insurance company for prenatal or maternity care? Do you need to contact the health insurance company when you're admitted to the hospital or birth center?
    • Do you need a referral from your primary-care doctor to see an obstetrician? Can you make the obstetrician your primary-care doctor?
    • Will your plan cover care from a nurse-midwife?
    • What are the plan's policies regarding in-network and out-of-network health-care providers?
    • What is the coverage for prenatal lab tests, diagnostic studies, ultrasounds, and amniocentesis?
    • Does the plan cover medications that may be needed during
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  • Your In-home Full Body Massage for the Third Trimester!

    By Spa Mama, Barefoot & Pregnant

    When you can't make it to the spa for your much-needed pampering, it's quite possible to replicate the entire experience in the comfort of your own home, especially if you have an able (and willing) volunteer.

    Choose someone with both the energy and the patience to practice effleurage - the long gliding strokes used by professional massage therapists that increase the efficiency of the circulatory system and the removal of waste products from your body's tissues. This technique, done well, can really stimulate lymphatic drainage, giving you renewed energy and vitality.

    Here's what you have to do (the easy bit). Lie on your left side. You need three pillows - one to support your neck, one for hugging and one for under the bent knee of your top (right) leg.

    Here's what your sister/friend/partner has to do (slightly more complicated but ultimately a selfless act of kindness to a very pregnant woman). Using plenty of lotion, hold the inside of

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  • Swaddling Dilemma

    By Doula Giuditta, Barefoot & Pregnant

    Most parents say that swaddling helps their babies get to sleep, stay asleep, and get comforted quickly, especially when they are newborns. My problem with this is that the focus is on getting the baby to shut up, settle, be quiet in his/her crib, on his own.

    Does this remind you of the old adage, seen but not heard? A baby will fall asleep in mom's arms just as quickly. A baby will sleep on dad's chest just as sweetly, without needing to feel like he is back in the womb. We are too quick to try to get our newborn to stop crying, or communicating. Have you ever thought about how crying for a baby is really talking? Babies speak one language we don't quite understand right away, so we quickly respond by shushing, telling the baby "don't cry," and we are told that if we turn on vacuum cleaners or hairdryers we'll see the baby's gaze switch and they will quiet down. Yes, indeed that works, but what about allowing the baby to talk? Now I don't

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