What Do Amniotic Fluid and Tacos Have in Common?

She's 9 months pregnant and strolling the aisles of the grocery store picking up last minute things to make freezer meals before her baby comes.  Her water breaks and there's a big gush of fluid rushing down her legs onto the floor.  Contractions start immediately and she's panting and groaning through them.  Everyone rushes to get her in a car and the vehicle flies through traffic lights and stop signs to get her to the hospital just in time for her to scream her baby out.  EMERGENCY!!!

I hope you already know that it rarely ever happens that way.  And if you didn't know, I'm here to tell you: It probably will not happen like that to you.  In fact, only about 10% of women have their water break before labor starts.  The majority of waters rupture well into the labor process, and quite often, very near the end.  

What do Amniotic Fluid and Tacos Have in Common-.png

Now I bet you're wondering why the title has the word "tacos" in it, huh?  Well, if you've given birth before, you've probably experienced a situation where your care provider asks you if your water has broken yet.  If the answer was yes, they may have asked you a few questions about it.  Check those questions out now so you know what to look for next time and can be prepared to answer them!  If your water breaks, remember "TACO":

T (Time): 

What time did your water break?  Care providers will want to know how long your membranes have been ruptured.  In most cases, there are protocols for how long you can have ruptured membranes before birth.  The concern is an increased risk of infection, as your protective bag of waters is no longer surrounding your little baby inside.  If your water broke and you're not already in active labor, remember to limit the risk of infection by not inserting anything into the vagina, including tampons, fingers, having intercourse, etc.  Take showers instead of baths.  Remember, each time something (even a gloved finger from a care provider) is inserted, the risk of infection goes up.

A (Amount): 

Was it a huge gush of fluid that came out like a waterfall?  Or did you happen to feel a few small leaks here and there?  Could the leaks have been urine?  Have you had sex recently?  Could the leaks have been semen? Could the leaks or fluid be vaginal discharge?  Many women experience a lot of discharge in late pregnancy.  Those may sound like silly questions, but they all happen and that's okay!

C (Color): 

What color was the fluid?  Normal amniotic fluid is colorless and sometimes a bit cloudy.  Occasionally it is lightly tinged with small amounts of blood or mucus. Sometimes it has white flakes in it, which is just vernix that came off of baby's skin.  The reason why they ask this question is because sometimes the fluid can be slightly or heavily tinted with meconium. Sometimes, baby passes his/her first stool while still in utero.  This is common and very rarely an indication of a problem, but the care providers like to know because each hospital has a different protocol for how to respond to this situation.  In our local hospital, they invite a respiratory therapist into the labor and delivery room just before birth.  The respiratory therapist stands in the back and out of the way.  If the baby has trouble breathing on his/her own, the therapist is there to help, so the baby doesn't aspirate any of the meconium in the water.  Usually the baby is born, cries and breathes just fine, and the therapist quietly slips back out.  If you're concerned about this or would like to know the protocol in your own hospital, make sure to ask your care provider during your pregnancy.

O (Odor): 

What does it smell like? Yep, you gotta smell it to answer this question.  Either your underwear or a sanitary pad that you're wearing.  Most people describe amniotic fluid as smelling odorless, sweet, clean, or like semen.  I suppose each person thinks of it differently.  Here's why we smell it.  We want to make sure it doesn't smell like urine, which has a distinctive smell.  And we want to make sure it doesn't smell foul.  Foul smelling amniotic fluid can be a symptom of a uterine infection that you'll want to get checked out.  In most cases, though, you're just trying to determine if it's amniotic fluid or urine.

So, there you have it.  Tacos and amniotic fluid DO have something in common!  If you think your water has broken or are unsure, go through these little questions yourself so you already know your answers for when you call your care provider. 

Now, did I ruin Mexican food for you for the rest of your pregnancy?  I hope not.  If I did, just rearrange the letters and remember the word "COAT" instead!

The Birth That Changed My Life: Part III

This week in our Delmarva Community Birth Stories series, we're doing something a little different.  This story is shared by Thrive owner and doula, Maria Mengel.

If you haven't read Part I  or Part II yet, hop on over and check them out now.

We were in a really weird space.  Baby Charlotte's heart could stop beating at any moment.  And yet, there was nothing to do but wait.  Wes owns his own business which is right next to their home.  He would come home during lunch and talk to and read to Charlotte.

Wes would wake up in the middle of the night and feel Meghan's belly just to be sure that Charlotte would still kick back.  

My family spent a good bit of time with them during this time.  We looked at Charlotte's MRI photos, we talked about her and to her, and we tried to keep busy.  I remember Wes being pretty down.  But Meghan was surprisingly not.  It's hard to try to understand how she was feeling, but I think I can compare it to how sometimes people in devastating situations just do what needs to be done because there is simply nothing else to do.  She knew that there would be a time after the birth to grieve, mourn, process, and then finally begin healing.  It seemed to me that she was blocking those emotions while still holding out hope for baby Charlotte and her desire to spend whatever time she had with her in a positive way.

In conjunction with their midwives, the bereavement coordinator at the hospital she would be delivering in, the specialists at Children's National Medical Center, and me, Meghan and Wes drafted a number of birth plans to be prepared for all of the potential outcomes.  One for if Charlotte had passed before before birth (stillbirth plan), one for if Charlotte was born and it was clear that she would not be able to breathe on her own (comfort care only), and one for if Charlotte was born with vigorous breathing and crying (potential for medical care).  

Their specialists told them that there was only about a 5% chance that Charlotte would be born with the potential to breathe on her own since her lungs were so underdeveloped.  And after that, only a 5% chance that she would continue to be able to do so and medical care would actually be a possibility.  The statistics were pretty clear: It was a fatal diagnosis.  Because of this information, Meghan and Wes made the very difficult decision to only intervene with medical care if Charlotte was born breathing, crying, and made it very obvious to the medical staff that her lungs would function completely on their own.  The specialists told them that it would be very easy to be able to tell the difference.  If so, Meghan and Wes were comfortable providing Charlotte with the care that she needed for her renal system.  

There were so many text conversations with Meghan about how they came to this decision and why they were so adamant about not interfering.  They knew that if Charlotte was born alive that it was highly likely that they would only have a few moments or hours with her.  They didn't want those moments to be spent with Charlotte whisked away, hooked up to a ventilator, and away from the ones who love her.

They didn't want her to live her only earthly moments out of their loving arms. They didn't want her to die on a table surrounded by strangers.

My brain still has a difficult time wrapping around this issue.  I can absolutely see and understand the desire to want to do anything  possible to save your child.  And I know that there are parents out there who would make that choice.  As their doula, I planned to support them no matter what their decision was.  But truly, I felt so much respect for their decision to completely respect Charlotte's story and path and their desire to keep her as comfortable and at ease as possible.  

During this time, our conversations moved to her fears.  She had a few clear and distinct fears that she wanted to be able to work through before her birth.  In my childbirth education class, we talk a lot about using affirmations to help process fears and move away from negative thoughts.  I offered to create some pretty affirmations for Meghan to read to herself every day.  I'll share a few of them here.  

Before I do, I want to share that I understand that these affirmations are not within everyone's belief systems.  That's totally okay.  I made sure that the wording was something that Meghan was comfortable with and  that she completely approved.  I know that everyone will approach such a difficult subject by bringing their own life experiences, spiritual and religious beliefs, and heart with them.  As her doula, it wasn't within my scope or desire to express my beliefs.  I simply wanted to support her in processing her fears so that she would be as mentally prepared as possible for her labor and birth.

Some of the fears:  That Charlotte won't be born alive, that she will be in pain, that she will not breathe on her own.

Meghan later told me, "I wanted to believe them.  I read them over and over and over every day.  I hung them in our bathroom covering part of the mirror so I was forced to read them no matter how much pain they caused me."   

During the two weeks between diagnosis and birth, Meghan, Wes, and Meghan's mom and dad spent a lot of time at home as a family and cherished those final moments with Charlotte.  But we also did some "normal" things.  One day, Meghan and her mom accompanied me and my daughters to a small, low-populated beach.  Understandably, it was difficult to be in public because I'm sure Meghan would have received lots of "congratulations" comments and questions about when she is due, what her baby's due date is, what her baby's sex is, etc. Those would have been difficult questions and I know that she wasn't in a place to share all of the information yet.  In fact, they chose not to share any of this information with the public or on their social media until after Charlotte was born.  So we chose a more private, quiet outing.  Because Meghan knew my family so intimately, she told me that night after we went to the beach that it hit her while watching my girls play in the sand that her daughter would probably never know them, play with them, or grow up with them.  That was a really hard day.  We also had conversations about how to tell my daughter, Clara, who was only 2 and a half at the time, and who was over the moon about the baby in Meghan's belly.  

I did my very best to be her friend and her doula.  I scheduled her a massage.  I arranged an appointment with a 3-D ultrasound tech to get a recording of Charlotte's heartbeat in a bear so that they could hear her heartbeat forever. We talked so much about her birth plan and her desires for her care and Charlotte's care.  When Meghan told me she might like to have some maternity photos after all (they had previously decided not to do it), I called right away and found someone to come to their home that afternoon.  Melissa Goodyear of Bluebug Photography did a fantastic job with their photos.  She is also a volunteer photographer with the organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, so she had plenty of experience working with families dealing with loss and was incredibly compassionate.  As you can imagine, the session was extremely emotional.  

How they did that photo session, I'll never know.  How they smiled at all in those two weeks, I'll never know.  How we were still able to joke and be ourselves in spite of it all, I'll never know.  What I do know is that they wanted to cherish that time.  They wanted Charlotte to know that she was loved.  Meghan tried so hard to be happy and thankful for whatever time she had left.  She knew that her baby would feel all of her stress and anxiety, so she smiled and talked to Charlotte constantly.  In the last photo, they decided to take some photos in the nursery.  The photo of Wes wiping her tear gets me every time.

On the morning of Charlotte's due date, I woke up to my phone buzzing early in the morning.  Meghan was in labor.

**Click here to continue to Part IV**

The Birth That Changed My Life: Part II

This week in our Delmarva Community Birth Stories series, we're doing something a little different.  This story is shared by Thrive owner and doula, Maria Mengel.

If you haven't read Part I yet, hop on over and check it out now.

I received the worst message that you could ever receive as a friend/doula:

"Amniotic fluid is basically zero.  They can't find any kidneys or bladder.  Without kidneys, the baby will die after birth.  We're going to AAMC for induction.  You should come now."

Then it was followed by:

"worst nightmare"

I was completely in shock and "respond" mode.  I was in the shower, so I jumped out, toweled off, texted my husband to come upstairs now, and started getting ready.  I was in the car within minutes.  I was nervous, scared, worried about my friends and their baby, and in a real hurry to get there.  On my way, I called and talked to my mom and my doula/mentor to keep my mind from racing too much.  They both promised to pray and reassured me that I would be able to support my friends no matter what.  I told them that it wasn't fair that my first bereavement birth after receiving my certification was for my best friends.  I was still feeling pretty raw from the sudden death of my little brother just months before, and I truly didn't know if I could do it.

I didn't waste any time, but I didn't speed either.  While I was alone in the car, I tried to think about everything that I learned about babies who passed after birth.  I would need to be strong enough to explain to my friends what to expect and yet compassionate enough to support them through a potentially long induction and birth.  Two hours later, I pulled into the hospital parking garage.  I practically ran to the elevators, through the Labor and Delivery doors and down to the room where the nurse told they would be.  I quietly opened the door to my friends sitting on a couch together talking with their midwife.

I was breathing heavily from running and when I walked in it was completely silent.  

Without speaking, I walked across the room and sat down with my friends when Wes said "Well, the induction is not until Monday".  Apparently Labor and Delivery was really busy that day (Friday), so they decided to wait until Monday for the induction.  Their baby had been surviving with extremely low amniotic fluid levels and seemed to be doing fine for some time (they estimated up to 6 weeks or so), so they figured a few more days probably wouldn't make a difference.  Everyone seemed so relieved.

It was kind of awkward because we were all in shock, sad, relieved, and scared at the same time.  The midwife came back with a specialist on the phone from Children's National Health System in DC.  He expressed his apologies about their situation but offered them a pretty innovative opportunity.  He told them that he could see them early Monday morning for a fetal MRI to get a closer look at baby's renal system and lungs.  He told them that he would hopefully be able to get a more concrete diagnosis before the induction that morning so that they would know how to prepare for their baby's treatment after birth.   They decided to accept the offer and scheduled an MRI in Washington D.C. at 7:30am and an induction in Annapolis at 9am. 

We spent the next hour or so on the phone making appointments and then made the two hour trip back home to the Eastern shore.  Meghan's parents were on their way from upstate New York and they needed to stop at the grocery store to stock their fridge for guests.  Wes took my husband to the store with him while Meghan and I stayed at my house with the girls.  Meghan and I talked about how it all seemed so strange and so awkward that we just found out that her baby might die and we were doing normal things like grocery shopping and watching my kids play.   When they went home that night, I promised to stay in touch.

Guys, thank God for texting.  

We spent the time between her diagnosis and her birth texting constantly.  It was so much easier for Meghan to express her thoughts and feelings through texts than saying it all out loud.  Our relationship as friends grew leaps and bounds through those messages, many of which I saved so that I wouldn't forget.  The good and bad feelings, the fears, the worries, the logistics,etc.  It was like having a diary to process our thoughts together.  And it was so much easier to text our thoughts than say them out loud.

On Sunday, we scheduled our prenatal meeting together.  It was supposed to be a meeting where we discussed their dreams and desires for their beautiful water birth.  But instead, I got my first taste of what it was like to be a bereavement doula.  I met with Meghan and Wes and we discussed their options.  If the MRI the next day confirmed their worst fears, and baby truly did not have a bladder or kidneys, and severely underdeveloped lungs, they would have a few choices.  The staff at their hospital informed them that they could continue with the induction the next day, with the understanding that the baby might not make it through the stress of labor and die before birth.  Or they could wait for spontaneous labor, knowing that the baby may pass before labor begins, and then definitely deliver a stillborn baby.  Or, they could schedule a cesarean to guarantee that Meghan and Wes would have a chance to meet and hold their baby still alive, and then know that baby would probably pass in her arms shortly after.  

We talked about what to expect with all of the options, including the details that I didn't ever want to have to share with my friends.

They were aware that funeral arrangements would have to be made, but weren't ready to talk about it yet, so Meghan's mother and I talked through their options and I contacted a funeral home, asked questions about their options in terms of transportation of the baby's physical form and services.  I gathered all of that information and placed it in a folder in my birth bag.  They decided to wait until after the MRI in the morning to make a final decision about their birth plans.

The next morning, I knew that it would likely take a long time before the MRI was finished and they were able to talk with all of the necessary specialists in DC, so I did the only thing I could think of to pass time.  I feverishly cleaned my house.  I literally was scrubbing the freaking baseboards because if I sat still too long, I started getting sick thinking about what might happen later that day.  I had a knot in the pit of my stomach and every once in a while, I had to sit down and mentally tell myself that what they were about to go through was much harder than my role in the process, and that I could support them 100%.  I knew that there would be a lot of processing and healing time afterward for everyone and I planned to give myself the energy and space for that after the birth.  

When Meghan finally called, she told me that the news wasn't good.  They were unable to find any bladder or kidneys still.  They told her that her baby's lungs were severely underdeveloped (as a result of the low amniotic fluid) and that her worst nightmares were confirmed.  Life outside of the womb for their baby was highly unlikely.  They weren't going through with the induction. They were coming home and waiting for their baby to decide when it was time to be born.  They were aware that there was a risk of stillbirth, but they wanted to respect their baby's timing. 

Baby Rice's diagnosis:
Bilateral Renal Agenesis
Pulmonary Hypoplasia
• Potential slight spinal malformation

I was absolutely heartbroken for my friends.  And I was so relieved to know that today wasn't the day.  

We didn't know it at the time, but we still had another two whole weeks before their baby was born.  They decided after the MRI to find out the sex of their baby so that at least for a short while alive, their baby could have a name.  Here is the MRI photo of Charlotte Catherine Rice.

**Click here to continue to Part III**

***Of course, I have received full permission from Meghan and Wes to share my version of this story and use their real names***

Community Question: GBS Testing

It's our first installment of "Sincerely, Your Doula"!  We're here to answer a question submitted by our community that will hopefully be helpful to you, as well!

"I'm 34 weeks pregnant today.  My doctor said that at my next appointment I'll be tested for 'GBS'.  What is that?  How do they test for it? What if I test positive?"  -Jessica (Princess Anne, MD)

Thank you for your question, Jessica!  Every pregnant woman in the United States who is being seen by a medical care provider will be offered the GBS screening around the 36th week of pregnancy.  You may want to know what GBS is and what it means if you're tested positive for it.

GBS (Group B Streptococcus) is a colonization of bacteria living in the gut of many healthy people.  In pregnancy, it is possible that what was once a "normal" colonization, may become an over-colonization, spreading to the vagina.  The risk is when baby is born vaginally, and may pass through the bacteria, becoming colonized as well, and subsequently ill.

So, at or around your 36th week of pregnancy, your care provider will likely request a swab (Q-tip) of your vaginal tract (and possibly rectum as well) for a culture test to determine if GBS has colonized there.  If your culture comes back positive (as it does for up to 30% of pregnant women!), then your care provider will likely recommend intravenous antibiotics during your labor process to act as a prevention against illness for your baby.  

GBS colonization in your vaginal tract is NOT harmful to you and the risk of your baby becoming ill is very small.  So, as I often share with my clients: GBS is something to be aware of, not something that you should lose sleep over.

Of course, in our childbirth education class, we always suggest asking questions and learning as much about your pregnancy and body as you want/need.  There are many layers to every test, routine procedure, and treatment, and we encourage you to do your research, ask your doula for more resources, and talk with your care provider about all of your concerns and options.  Here are some of the most common questions we get from our childbirth education class and doula clients concerning GBS (click on these links for statistics if you're a research gal like me):

  1. What is the risk of my baby becoming infected with GBS?
  2. If my baby is infected, what are the chances that they will become ill?
  3. Are there risks to antibiotic use in labor for me or my baby?
  4. Do I have to be tested?
  5. Can I prevent GBS colonization in my vaginal tract?
  6. How accurate is the test?
  7. How effective is the antibiotic treatment?

What are some other questions about GBS that you have or have had?

If you have a question that you want our doulas to answer, please submit it here in the comments or email us at maria@thrivebirth.org.  We're happy to share our expertise about anything concerning pregnancy, birth, our services, parenting, feeding, etc!

These Are A Few of Our Favorite... Books

The doulas at Thrive Birth Services of Delmarva want to share our favorite pregnancy/birth/parenting books with you.  We know that sometimes the vast amount of available books can seem overwhelming when you're expecting.  We've narrowed it down to our very favorites so that you can check them out for yourself (click on each title to view the Amazon descriptions).


The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer and Rhonda Wheeler

A fabulous resource for gathering information about all of the risks and benefits of common labor and birth procedures and interventions.  The perfect book to buy when making your birth plan.

The Birth Partner, by Penny Simkin

The BEST resource for dads, partners, mother-in-laws, doulas, and anyone else who plans to attend the birth.  You will find information about how to best support your partner and what to expect in the process.

The Birth Book, by William and Martha Sears

By the famous pediatric specialists, The Birth Book is a comprehensive guide to childbirth.



Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, by Sarah Buckley

By far the most extensive and all-encompassing resource out there.  Written by an MD, the book combines clinical research and information with the beautiful stories of her own children's births.  Maria says that if you were going to purchase only one childbirth book, get this one!

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin

Widely regarded at the mother of authentic midwifery, her guide to childbirth includes some inspiring birth stories that leave you excited and hopeful.

The Food of Love: The Easier Way to Breastfeed Your Baby, by Kate Evans

Funny and completely original, you won't find any other breastfeeding book like it!



Spiritual Midwifery, by Ina May Gaskin

Another staple by Ina May, it's a must read for any expectant parents!

After the Baby's Birth... A Woman's Way to Wellness, by Robin Lim

All too often overlooked in our culture, the postpartum time is a chance for new mothers to heal, bond, and set themselves up for health in the long-term.  Robin Lim's book takes a look at cultural traditions around the world and how to best support a new mother so that she and her family can thrive.

Hypnobirthing--The Mongan Method, by Marie Mongan

Using hypnosis techniques to help you relax and stay comfortable during labor are becoming more and more popular among birthing women.  The Mongan Method is a great way to introduce hypnosis to expectant parents.


We want to know! What are/were your favorite books?!

5 Questions to Ask in a Doula Interview

If you're expecting and considering hiring a doula, call around and ask if you can schedule a consultation with one or more doulas.  During this interview, you can get to know each other and decide whether you want to hire that doula to support you during your pregnancy, labor, and birth.  Use that initial interview to ask all of your most important questions and reflect on how she makes you feel.  Here are some questions to ask your doula in that important first interview. 

Why did you become a doula?

This question can be used as a way for you to get to know the doula you are interviewing.  Learn a little about her background, her passion for birth work, and why she's made a career our of supporting women like you.

What are your strengths as a doula?  What do you consider to be the most important part of your job?

Although this question can be another way to get to know her, it has a more important role.  If the doula considers the most important part of her job to be to help women achieve un-medicated births and you know that you are planning or open to a medicated birth, this is perhaps not the doula for you.  Use this question as a guide to help you decide whether this doula is a good match for you.  A doula who is supportive of all birth choices and nonjudgmental is someone who can truly serve you.

What does your fee cover?

Review the doula's contract carefully and ask any questions that you feel aren't specifically covered in the contract.  How many prenatal and postpartum visits does the doula offer?  At what point during your pregnancy is she on-call for your birth?  How often is she available by phone, text, or email for questions or concerns during your pregnancy?

Do you have a reliable and competent backup doula?

Hopefully, the doula that you hire will be the doula at your birth.  Rarely though, of course, things beyond her control may happen and she may have no other choice but to miss your birth.  If she is ill or if she's already attending another birth and you go into labor, can you be sure that a reliable and competent back-up doula will be available for face-to-face support?  Who are her back-up doulas?  

Do you have any special training or experience with a specific complication or outcome?  (If you have or expect any special circumstances)

If you know that your baby will be spending time in the NICU after birth, you may want to consider a doula who has training or experience with NICU babies.  Or if you are planning a cesarean, hiring a doula who can prepare you for what to expect during your surgical birth may be very beneficial to you.  Take this with a grain of salt, though.  If you have established a trusting and positive connection with a doula who doesn't have the exact specifications that you originally desired, you will still benefit greatly from her care and support.  And ultimately, your relationship with the person who will be there during one of the most important and intimate days of your life is what will give you comfort and peace on your birthing day.

If you live on the Delmarva Peninsula and are considering hiring a doula, contact us to set up a complimentary consultation so that we may answer all of your most important questions.

What other questions are important to you in a doula interview?


The 3 BEST Pieces of Parenting Advice

"Breast is best."  "You have you let your baby cry it out."  "Get the epidural."  "Natural birth is amazing."  "You should delay vaccines."  "Time outs are the best way to teach your kids discipline."  "You shouldn't give pacifiers."

We've all heard it.  The moment you announce your pregnancy, you're a target for advice from well-meaning friends, family, in-laws, doctors, and even social media.  It can be confusing and overwhelming.  You begin to question yourself and your decisions.  You may feel anxious or upset when it seems that everyone else is doing a better job than you.  We've compiled what we believe are the BEST pieces of parenting advice you'll ever hear.

1. Stop asking for advice.

It's as simple as that.  Stop asking other people for advice.  You'll be continuously overloaded with contradictory suggestions that may only lead you back to square one.  You'll discover that certain people have different parenting styles than you.  And that's okay.  You're still allowed to be friends!  But asking for their advice may just not be helpful for you.  And that's okay, too.   Don't post all of your parenting struggles on Facebook.  That is synonymous with asking your 1000-member friends list for advice. 

2. Stop taking advice.

What about when the well-meaning friends and family offer unsolicited advice?  Also simple:  just don't take it.  You don't HAVE to do anything with your children simply because someone else said it worked for them.  It's okay to make choices that are different from others.  And if your friends and family are driving you nuts with the advice-giving, you have permission to be polite and direct and say, "Thank you for your concern.  I've got this."  (Even if you don't). 

3. Do research, trust your intuition, and take all advice with a grain of salt.

Are you a research-oriented person?  Do some research about the evidence of certain parenting practices or choices in pregnancy and birth.  Ask your doula for some resources.  Are you someone who appreciates or recognizes the power of your intuition?  Take some time and listen to your children or baby and yourself.  What does your intuition tell you to do?  What feels right for you?  If it feels right, it probably is.  Do you actually WANT to ask for advice?  That's okay, too!  This parenting gig is hard and everyone deserves and NEEDS a support system.  If you have some trusted family members or close friends whose opinion you value, by all means, ask away!  But remember to take their advice with a grain of salt.  All babies are different and what works for someone else's baby might not work for yours.  Be open to suggestions, but ultimately, you're the expert and authority on your own children.  Our postpartum doulas are there when your baby comes home to guide you through this crazy parenting journey while still respecting your parenting styles.  Ultimately, we want you to feel like you're doing the right thing.  Because you probably are!

Make your decisions with LOVE.  Make decisions for your family because of your undying love for your children, not because someone else said it's the right thing to do. It's never a wrong choice if you make it with love.

If you're pregnant and are thinking about all of these decisions now, hire a birth consultant or doula to guide you with resources and nonjudgmental support through this journey.

Pregnant on the Eastern Shore?

Raise your hand if you're pregnant on the Eastern Shore!  There is a growing network of expecting mothers on Delmarva.  The Facebook group Pregnant on the Eastern Shore is a community of pregnant and early postpartum mothers (up to 12 weeks) living on Delmarva.

Women are using this space to connect, ask questions, make friendships, and share their pregnancy and birth journeys.  

When circles of local women make connections and support each other, amazing things happen!  We live our pregnancies with passion and community.  We have friends to talk to who can understand our situations, struggles, and triumphs. We have a place to go when we need to be heard and we can feel safe, comfortable, and know that others will be there to support us.

Beginning in July, Thrive Birth Services of Delmarva will host occasional birth circles and workshops for pregnant and newly postpartum mothers on the Shore so that you will have an opportunity to meet the women in this group and form lasting friendships.  It has always been the main goal of Thrive to build a pregnancy and birth community on Delmarva.

If you are expecting, please join Pregnant on the Eastern Shore on Facebook and introduce yourself!