Birth Circle is dedicated to educating and informing mothers (and fathers) about birth, and pregnancy. We currently are the most complete and up-to-date birth resource in the world, and we tap those resources to bring you detailed information and stories on everything surrounding birth. Whether you aren’t sure what you’d like for your birth or you are planning a scheduled c-section or an unmedicated home-birth or any variation in between, Birth Circle is here for you.
How to Optimize Prenatal Nutrition Using Real Food | Lily Nichols
Today, we talk with Lily Nichols, a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition (https://lilynicholsrdn.com). She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes (https://lilynicholsrdn.com/books/). We begin by defining gestational diabetes as elevated blood pressure during pregnancy, either first recognized or first developed during pregnancy. We explain why high blood sugar is so dangerous, particularly for the development of the child. As we discuss the risks of high blood sugar, we point out that most can be prevented by screening early, awareness, and caution. We then talk about the best approaches to prenatal nutrition. We discuss how the recommended guidelines and diets for pregnant women are often too high in carbohydrates, which is what led Lily to write her book and develop her program. We talk about ketones, and the common misconceptions that surround them in nutritional recommendations and guidelines. Lily urges everyone to consider the physiological reality in the development of babies instead of making assumptions based on data on diabetic ketoacidosis. Lily talks about the importance of consuming whole foods and getting all of the nutrients they provide in their most natural, unprocessed forms. She focuses on choosing foods based on which nutrient deficiencies are most common during pregnancy, as paying close attention to blood sugar levels. She explains how grains, which are less nutrient rich, would be closer to the top of her “food pyramid” for pregnant women. We talk about the importance of taking ancestral, traditionally based diets into consideration when selecting your foods. We then discuss how nutrition can affect postpartum recovery. 2:55 What is Gestational Diabetes? 9:05 The Best Approach to Prenatal Nutrition30:47 Specific Recommendations for Prenatal Nutrition38:45 How Nutrition Affects Postpartum Recovery“This is the physiological reality. We don’t have to try to stuff people full of carbs to try to avoid ketosis. This physiologically happens in all mammals…we just get super freaked out over data on diabetic ketoacidosis, and then people try to extrapolate that for nutritional ketosis in pregnancy, and it’s not the same thing.” 23:11https://birthcircle.comFor Any Questions, Email Me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Orgasmic Birth | Elizabeth Davis
In this episode, we talk with Elizabeth Davis, midwife, reproductive health care specialist, educator, and consultant. She is also the author of Heart & Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy & Birth (https://elizabethdavis.com/books/). She tells us about her first experiences with birth, including her being present at an unassisted birth, as well as her traumatic experience with her first birth when she went into labor a month early. Because of the premature labor, she reluctantly birthed in a hospital, where she received a lateral episiotomy. She then tells about her second, home birth, whose success and beauty gave her a transformation of her previous experience. Her worries about tearing over her episiotomy scar shifted her focus deeply on her vagina, and as a result her delivery gave her a crescendo of sensation and emotion that she considered an orgasmic birth. Later, she met Debra Pascali-Bonaro who introduced her to the term “orgasmic birth,” and influenced her to write Heart & Hands, which focuses primarily on the physiology of birth. Elizabeth then shares that “orgasmic” in “orgasmic birth” refers to any experience that is ecstatic, transcendent, sensual, and powerful. She explains how the pattern of female orgasm with the highest peak of sensation has plateaus on the way up. She compares this to progress in labor, and how both processes reflect female identity. She shares that even a painful birthing experience can still reach the point of having an orgasmic dimension. We then talk about what women can do to encourage an orgasmic experience at birth. Elizabeth explains how orgasmic birth can lead to healing from emotional, physical, and psychological trauma. We then discuss how unassisted birth relates to orgasmic birth. We talk about the proper roles of midwives birth workers. We then finish with Elizabeth sharing that the coursework she has on her Heart and Hands course is linked to the National Midwifery Institute. To learn more, visit https://elizabethdavis.com. 1:07 Elizabeth’s Story12:09 What is Orgasmic Birth? 25:09: Unassisted Birth and the Proper Role of Midwives44:21 The Heart and Hands Course“[Midwives] really have not gotten out there and said, ‘here’s how we assess dates, here’s how we continue to assess well-being. We can estimate amniotic fluid volume by palpation. We can make note of fetal well-being, not only by mom doing kick counts, but listening with a fetoscope for an extended period of time, and noting good variability and reactivity.” 36:50https://birthcircle.comFor Any Questions, Email Me at email@example.com
Getting to the Heart of Birth | Nikki Shaheed
Today, we talk with Nikki Shaheed (www.nikkishaheed.com), one of the Co-Owners of Birthing From Within International. She is also a childbirth mentor and doula, and is the author of Heart Centered Pregnancy Journal (https://birthingfromwithinsanantonio.com/pregnancy-journal/). We begin with Nikki sharing how she got involved in the Birthing From Within courses. We talk about the importance of finding your inner wisdom and becoming aware of how your imprinted beliefs impact your decisions in preparation for birth and parenting. We talk about how to go from feeling primarily defensive through your birth experience to making your birth process a transformative experience. We talk about the importance of setting up your birth experience and preparing yourself beforehand so that you can feel protected internally and protected by people you trust. Nikki then tells us how self-compassion is everything in processing your entire birth experience. We discuss more in-depth the importance of self-awareness and doing the work prenatally to accept your emotions and responses to help you through your birth experience. Nikki then shares what makes Birthing From Within different from other birth modalities, including its focus on “the heroic journey” when training doulas and birth workers. We talk about crossing thresholds and making shifts without shame, and embracing the transformation and education that comes with your birth experience. We talk about defining your most sincere intention with your birth and building your birth team around that intention. We finish by discussing how the Birthing From Within program helps protect birth workers with burnout and trauma. We invite both birthing mothers and birth professionals to visit https://birthingfromwithin.com. 1:13 Nikki’s Story4:22 Practicing Self-Awareness and Rewriting Your Story26:48 The Birthing From Within Program42:03 Preventing Burnout for Birth Professionals “If we think about the hormone cycle, and we think about that dreamy state that people need to get into in order to feel less pain and intensity and have the oxytocin and endorphins flowing, and lose track of time, that does not align with having an argument with someone in the middle of labor.” 10:47 https://birthcircle.comFor Any Questions, Email Me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Taboo Postpartum Truths | Marissa Zwetow
In today’s episode, we talk with Marissa Zwetow, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of Postpartum Happiness (http://www.postpartumhappiness.com/about-postpartum-depression), through which she provides postpartum coaching and therapy. She is also the author of Postpartum Happiness: What to do when you love the kids, but hate the job (http://www.postpartumhappiness.com/book). Marissa tells us about her own experience with postpartum depression and all of the challenges she faced, and how that fueled her purpose and passion to validate, support, and help moms who face regret and other negative emotions after birth. We talk about the pressure and anxiety that can be imposed upon mothers by cultural and societal expectations of how they should feel about birth and motherhood. We discuss the dangers of comparison and the value of understanding. Marissa goes over some “taboo postpartum truths,” such as the birth may not go the way you want yet and it’s okay to feel disappointed, as well as there might be grief for your past life. Another is that it’s okay to not feel happy with the role of the mother, and how struggling mothers should seek the support they need without shame. We talk about working with your partner, and how you can reach mutual understanding. Marissa reminds moms that they are not alone, and how looking through support groups on social media can help you find your “tribe” of like-minded women with similar struggles. We talk more about diagnosing and dealing with more serious cases of postpartum depression and cases of psychosis. We give advice for fathers who are struggling with depression after birth. We recommend getting your free copy of the guide, 12 Taboo Postpartum Truthshere: http://www.postpartumhappiness.com/free-postpartum-article. 1:40 Marissa’s Story10:34 “Situational” Postpartum Depression; Dealing With Expectations 21:02 Taboo Postpartum Truths32:11 Dealing With More Serious Cases“I was on to the next challenge. So now it was breastfeeding, and that was disastrous. I didn’t produce enough milk, she didn’t latch correctly, and my daughter had reflux, which just really translates into colic.” 5:25 https://birthcircle.comFor Any Questions, Email Me at email@example.com
Train Your Brain for a Positive Birth | Tracy Donegan
Today, we talk with Tracy Donegan, founder of the GentleBirth app (https://gentlebirth.app). She is also a doula and doula trainer. She tells us how she became a doula, including how she started the first doula service in Ireland, her home country. While teaching a hypnosis for birth program, she felt drawn to the unexplored, neurological approach to understanding birth. She describes the GentleBirth program as encompassing the traditional approach to childbirth education, while combining it with neuroscience and meditation. She talks about how the course involves the partner, emphasizing the important part they can play in the birth space. In every aspect of the course, the aim is to develop mental resilience and mental regulation to ensure the best possible outcome with every birth, for both the mother and the partner. She also talks about how affirmations, meditation, and breathing techniques are used to improve sleep and other aspects of self care during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. She explains the importance of a birth education course not only for preparing a mother for the birthing experience, but also for parenting, which is “when the real work begins.” We talk more about hypnosis and meditation, and discuss how the course can be for medicated, unmedicated, and induced births. We also discuss the “Labor Companion” feature of the app. We talk about the new science of pain perception, and how we can help our body process the different sensations of birth.1:15 Tracy’s Story and the Beginnings of GentleBirth 5:17 How the GentleBirth app Works 29:44 How Hypnosis and Meditation are Involved in the Course 33:48 Other Features of GentleBirth; Pain Perception"If you come to a GentleBirth class, you learn all about the physiology of birth, you learn comfort measures, but you also spend a lot of time learning about your brain, and how to use it to the best of your advantage. It’s like a muscle that we’re training.” 5:40Socialhttps://www.instagram.com/gentlebirthofficial/http://www.tiktok/@gentlebirthhttps://www.facebook.com/gentlebirth/ https://birthcircle.comFor Any Questions, Email Me at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Have a Better Hospital Birth | Heidi Snyderburn-Campbell
In today’s episode, we talk with Heidi Snyderburn-Campbell, birth doula and author of Birth Story, a pregnancy guidebook and journal (https://www.birthstory.com/the-workbook-landing-page). She is also the host of the Birth Story Podcast (https://www.birthstory.com/the-podcast). We begin with Heidi recounting her first experiences assisting in birth and how she became a doula. We then talk about birth law in North Carolina, from Heidi’s understanding, and how births with doulas have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic there. We break down virtual doula services when hospitals don’t admit doulas into the birth space. Heidi shares her processes for adapting to virtual doula services. We discuss different hospital policies for admitting doulas into the birth space during a pandemic. We then talk about how to rock your hospital birth once doulas are again allowed into the birth space, which we think will happen soon. Heidi talks more abut her book, Birth Story, whose purpose is to inform and educate parents on the entire pregnancy process. Included in the book is a step-by-step guide to all of the standard hospital policies and procedures, as well as an explanation of the reasons, pros, and cons for each. We talk about how birth plans, if properly filed and if the mom and the baby are healthy, can be used as legally binding documents to oppose anything that detours from your wishes. We then finish by summarizing everything that should go into your prenatal preparation.1:04 Heidi’s Story7:42 Birth Laws in NC; Tips for Virtual Doulas; Hospital Policy During Pandemic30:55 How to Rock Your Hospital Birth 53:46 Prenatal Preparation "There was a lot of preparation with the partners — making sure the partners understood how to use a rebozo, how to do a double hip squeeze, how to put pressure on the sacrum, how to do some abdominal lifts or some belly sifting, so that when I’m then directing or coaching from the other side of the camera, they know what I’m talking about, because we already went over it in the pre-natal appointments.” 21:00 https://birthcircle.comFor Any Questions, Email Me at email@example.com
Customer ReviewsSee All
I love this podcast! Sarah interviews a wide range of knowledgeable, engaging guests on a wide range of birth-related topics. Excellent!
I love this podcast! It feels so comfortable, like these experts are right in your living room. I love the variety of birth and postpartum professionals on the program. Sarah’s passion to empower Fearless Birth and provide families with a circle of expertise is essential, critical, and invaluable! If you are expecting, a new parent or plan to become pregnant this is a must-listen-to series. - Rickie, Childbirth Educator and Postpartum Doula
Love her non-judgement!
I love the variety of guests she has on and how they always discuss all birth options without judgement. I've heard podcasts where it's obvious the host has an agenda. But not with this one! She brings in such great guests! I've learned so much!