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Braxton-Hicks, Breaking Water, Birth Tubs, and Breastfeeding: World Water Day


Braxton-Hicks, Breaking Water, Birth Tubs, and Breastfeeding: World Water Day

Today is #WorldWaterDay which was created by the United Nations to bring awareness to the global crisis of access to safe drinking water, particularly those most vulnerable are  marginalized groups like women, children, indigenous peoples, disabled people, and refugees. In 2010, the UN recognized “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.” The 2019 theme is “Leaving no one behind.”  

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Today we’d like to share our top water-related tips for pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.  For every share on Facebook or Instagram of our blog we’ll donate $1 to Water for People.

The World Health Organization estimates that for every $1 spent on water, sanitation and hygiene programs, there is about a $4 return in productivity.

Water is life and that is true even more true during pregnancy when access to clean water means a healthier pregnancy.  

Access during labor means an environment with less risk for easily avoidable infections (hello, hand washing!) and preventable deaths.  Availability of clean drinking water for new mothers and babies means healthier families who grow and thrive.

This article in the Huffington Post explains many of the direct and indirect consequences to lack of clean water to women and girls and how that relates to maternal health.

Thankfully, our clients in DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland who are hiring a doula, overnight newborn care, or breastfeeding specialist aren’t likely to be personally impacted by lack of clean water access in their homes, birth center, or the hospital where they deliver.  So today we’re giving our 4 Doula Tips about water for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum!

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Braxton Hicks-  

You’re up at night Googling “What does a contraction feel like?”  and you’re not sure if it’s time to call your doula. You remember she insisted you CALL (not text or email) if ANYTHING was potentially happening, so you call. She listens intently to what you’re feeling, and agrees, it could be labor, or it could be Braxton-Hicks, aka “practice contractions.”  She suggests trying these three steps and to call her back, reassuring her that “real labor” contractions will get longer, stronger, and closer together. If this doesn’t happen after trying these three steps, it’s probably safe to say your body is just practicing.

Braxton Hicks or real labor contractions

Birth Tub-

You’ve seen tv and movies of childbirth.  From Katherine Heigl’s screams in Knocked Up to Melissa McCarthy banging on a drum during The Back Up Plan to basically everyone in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, all of them have one thing in common, the women are freaking out.  

But at Doulas of Capitol Hill we’ve seen LOTS of births (probably more than the filmmakers in Hollywood) and shake our heads.  It is possible to find real comfort beyond the epidural (which we also fully support!)

We know, and studies agree, that laboring and pushing in the water has a lot of advantages.  That’s why when you search “waterbirth in DC” or “waterbirth in Northern Virginia” you may see our name come up; we rent birth tubs for people to use at home.  

We also support clients who are delivering at hospitals and birth centers where laboring or delivery in the water is an option. We’re especially looking forward to the return of tubs at George Washington University Hospital!

where can I have a water birth in DC, Northern Virginia, Maryland

Breaking Water-

It’s that moment that everyone fears will happen at the worst time, like when you’re in your bosses office!  People make jokes about it, too, which makes it even more nerve wracking. One mom told us about her own experience with a person working at Wal-Mart who thought they’d be funny and followed the mom around the store with a mop “just in case” her water broke while she was shopping.  She was only 7 months pregnant! Some people just have no idea!

Did my water break?


If staying hydrated during pregnancy is important then drinking enough water during breastfeeding is equally important.  While breast milk works on a supply and demand system, meaning the more you remove the more that it signals your body to make, dehydration can be a huge factor for some people in low milk supply.  If you’re wondering “how much water should I drink while I’m breastfeeding?” Here’s what Kelly Mom (a fantastic resource for breastfeeding) had to say:

“Pumping moms may find that they need to pay more attention to remembering to stay hydrated.” - Kelly, Do Breastfeeding Mothers Need Extra Calories or Fluid? By Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC.

“Pumping moms may find that they need to pay more attention to remembering to stay hydrated.” - Kelly, Do Breastfeeding Mothers Need Extra Calories or Fluid? By Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC.


October is Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss Awareness month


October is Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss Awareness month

For the 1 in 4 women to experience such a loss, it can be a difficult time.  The people in our lives try to be there for us, but often times the results are less than helpful.

After reaching out to a number of women who have been open about their experiences with loss, many of them had similar unhelpful things said to them during a time they are grieving.  

For those of you who wish to avoid such awkward or potentially hurtful statements, have a listen to those who have lived through it.

On this loss in relation to other children-

"At least it wasn't your first child"  - after confiding about miscarriage, a baby we had tried 1.5 years to conceive.

"At least you know you can get pregnant." - said after same miscarriage. Currently been unable to conceive for over 6 years now. (secondary infertility)

“You have two healthy kids, be GRATEFUL for what you have.”  - I can be grateful AND sad, you can have both emotions BRENDA.

“You’ll have another one.”

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Platitudes.  Avoid them like the plague.-

“It will happen when it’s right”- what does that mean?

"It wasn't meant to be” and that “we could just try again." It's not like I fell off a bike or ruined supper. Please don't imply I'm wrong for grieving by saying just make another one.

Comparisons Syndrome-

“It happens to everyone.”

“It’s more common than you think.”  

“It’s not that bad.”

Never say any sentence that begins with, "at least". -

“At least you lost the baby early. At least you have other children. At least you'll have more. At least you got to see the baby once before saying goodbye. Etc.

On this loss and the timing of it-
“It wasn't a real baby yet.” -18 days there's a heartbeat. That's pretty real.

“See the silver lining that you didn’t go full term.”  

‘So you weren't that far along, you were only 8 wks.’- I cannot say whether this particular woman was trying to console me or marginalize my loss but in the moment where the pain is constantly in your throat and the idea of loss is besieging your heart; it felt like a dismissal....The thing is we don’t lose a pregnancy.. it’s not a matter of getting to 40weeks gestation, it’s a matter of having a family member, it’s a matter of an entire life, with ideas, hair color and temperament joining your world; the world. Loss can be difficult for people to sympathize with; even people who have experienced loss and all the more when the loss is only physically felt by one person (mom). Loss is loss, and losing your unborn child is complicated because their body is part of your body; and you essentially lose a part of yourself no matter how many or few weeks they were there.

Anything religious.  Especially if you don’t know their faith or religious beliefs-

“The baby is in heaven now” or variation “the baby is in a better place.”

“God needed her to be with him.”  

“She is an angel now.”

“You will have another one.”

“It was Gods will and he knows what’s best.”

“You will be with her again someday (in heaven).”  - So many of these are related to religious faith and unless you’re talking to a deeply religious person it’s terrible.  And we don’t usually know how religious a person really is.

“It’s a blessing in disguise.”

Unhelpful advice-

“Give it some time and you’ll feel better.”  

“Just relax.”  -are you f*@#ing kidding me?!


I think mostly for me it was the silence that hurt the most… when people didn’t know what to say or do, so they pretended nothing happened or that I’m not really a mother.

What was helpful-

“I’m sorry for your loss” -The only thing to say.

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The most helpful, honestly came in the form of someone being there to listen, or just to be present with me in silence and support, the general act of gently moving forward in the present even if it's to visit them for three weeks and just being loved and needed. But what also helped was that someone just admitted, "I don't know what to say, but I am here to listen if you want to talk to me.