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Waiting For My Due Date


Waiting For My Due Date

Colorado midwife, Jessica Nipp says, “Babies are not “stubborn” or “reluctant” or “giving their mommies a hard time.”  They have no idea that they are expected to *come out* because they don’t understand that they are *in*. They have always existed there and don’t realize that things will ever change. A recent study indicated that one of the factors that triggers labor is a chemical released by the baby's lungs into the amniotic fluid. Once That chemical is present in sufficient amounts, the mother’s body is triggered to begin labor, because it has received the indication that the baby’s lungs are strong enough to breathe and survive independently.”

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So, in honor of all the people who are waiting for baby to arrive, we share some things to do while you wait.  

  1. Watch the movie “Due Date” 

    We all know laughter is the best medicine.  And chances are, if you’re at the end of your pregnancy then your body is feeling “done.”  So kick up your feet up and watch a funny movie like Due Date. Laughter helps release pain numbing endorphins. A good belly laugh is one of the most effective forms of pain relief. 

  2. Prep freezer meals- or- have a doula do it for you

    You may hire a postpartum doula to come and do this for you! Yes, #PostpartumDoulasDoThat In fact, two of our doulas are also personal chefs.  While we’d love for you to tap into their services for sleep help or general expertise after your baby arrives, there’s something reassuring about being stocked with meals before baby (or babies) make the grand entrance.  Looking for vegetarian, vegan, or have some other dietary priority? We’ve got you covered and can even do the shopping for you! Want to DIY? Try Once a Month Mom for some great ideas.  

  3. Write out your vision for this birth and/or your preferences

    Maybe you’ve already created a “birth plan” with your doula.  If so, great! But every doctor, midwife, and nurse will tell you that birth is unpredictable. Your doula will likely tell you that the real power isn’t in the “plan” but in knowing your options and deciding what’s most important to you about your experience, however that unfolds.    So go ahead and write it out! Put three bullet points on a 3 x 5 index card. Visualize or imagine your best birth in your mind, whether that is unmedicated, planned cesarean, induction, or with an epidural. Bring out the colored pencils and draw a picture. Who cares if it looks like a kid drew it?! Set your intention.  

  4. Lactation cookies

    We shared a yummy recipe on Instagram.  Drop a comment on how they turn out for you!  

  5. Create a care package for yourself!

    Check out our affiliates under the Brands We Love!  We want to give a special shout out to Earth Mama Organics for the goodies they sent along.  The heartburn tea was so tasty and helpful in the last few weeks of pregnancy. The mini-4 pack of deodorant was perfect to slip in a purse (and a few for the diaper bag, too!) and increased the comfort-level during “Hell’s Front Porch” stage of summer.   And lastly, the belly oil helped ease the stretching of the belly, and um, all the other growing body parts in the home stretch of pregnancy.  

  6. Dance the baby out

    Recently, we shared a video of a doula client who was up for Zumba during labor! It helped her baby come out faster. Maybe this will work to bring baby to your arms sooner, too!

  7. Read POSITIVE birth stories

    Doulas of Capitol Hill’s motto is Let’s Tell Your Story. We recognize that this is a day you will remember for the rest of your life. Check out Summer’s Triplet Birth Story, Elisa’s VBAC Birth Story, or Sarah’s Fast First Time Mom Story.   

  8. Get a massage/ chiropractic / acupuncture

    Doulas of Capitol Hill offers in-home prenatal and induction massage!  Also check out our friends at Lavender Retreat, Chiro Group, or Fertile Living for chiropractic or acupuncture.  

  9. Hydrate/ Red raspberry leaf tea

    We know that drinking red raspberry leaf tea helps prep your uterus for labor. Check with your care provider and then drink up! One of our favorites is Traditional Medicinals, as it’s easily found in most stores.  

  10. Eat dates

    Did you know there is evidence showing that pregnant people who consume dates at the end of pregnancy are more dilated when they come to the hospital  AND are less likely to need pitocin to augment their labor. 

Bonus: Have Sex! If you are a healthy, full-term person, and your bag of water is intact, then sex at the end of pregnancy might result in going into labor sooner and less likely to need an induction.


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.


Real Food for Pregnancy: A book review


Real Food for Pregnancy: A book review

Real Food for Pregnancy should be on every must-read list for all newly pregnant people, or those trying to conceive.  The author, Lily Nichols, covers all of the bases on what to eat during pregnancy and what to avoid, taking time to explain the nutritional evidence for and against specific foods. More than that, Real Food for Pregnancy goes beyond food and tackles exercise, common pregnancy complaints and conditions, how to avoid toxins in our modern world, and even after baby is born and into the “Fourth Trimester.”  The book makes a compelling case for optimizing prenatal health through nutrient-dense foods, through a Paleo-ish diet, providing a refreshing, research-backed approach that is both referenced and an easy read for the expecting person.

The book starts out by telling us what is “Real Food” saying “in a nutshell, real food is made with simple ingredients that are as close to nature as possible and not processed in a way that removes nutrients.”  

We all know the old adage of “eating for two” but the author encourages us to “think quality over quantity,”  by focusing on macronutrients like protein, healthy fats, and vegetables.

I had an Ah-ha moment when I learned that folate, derives from the word “foliage,” meaning that dark leafy greens are a major source of an essential nutrient packed into every prenatal vitamin.   However, in prenatal vitamins it’s the synthetic version, folic acid, which can be harder for the body to process, especially the 30% of the population with the MTHFR gene mutation.  Deficiencies in folic acid can lead to birth defects and can impair brain development, making it so important for the whole population of pregnant people to get enough folate if their bodies aren’t great at processing the folic acid in their prenatal vitamin.  

In this book you’ll also get sample meal plans and several recipes!  One of my favorites was Lily’s Electrolyte Replenishment Drink, a recipe that is great for the first trimester, when many people experience dreaded “morning sickness” that often lasts all day.  This drink is also good for labor, when the body may be taking a break on digestion, but the energy needed for birthing a baby increases.

As a birth doula and postpartum doula in the DC metro area, my clients often come to me for advice and resources to guide them to a healthy pregnancy.  They tell me their doctors don’t give them much in nutritional guidance other than to avoid alcohol, too much fish with mercury, and to take prenatal vitamins.  But pregnant people are some of the most motivated individuals and are willing to learn new tools to lead a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their babies. They want to know how to avoid unnecessary and sometimes scary interventions during labor, and one of the best ways to do that is to stay low risk throughout the pregnancy.  If the end goal of pregnancy is a healthy baby and a healthy (and happy) mom, then this book will help get you to that rewarding end!


1. Nichols, Lily. (2018). Real Food for Pregnancy: The science and wisdom of optimal prenatal nutrition.


Tips for Dealing with Carpal Tunnel During Pregnancy


Tips for Dealing with Carpal Tunnel During Pregnancy

Staying Healthy for the Holidays includes taking care of your body physically. Today our wonderful affiliate and friend, Katie Bayer of Concierge Physical Therapists shares with us tips for dealing with carpal tunnel during pregnancy.

According to  this study from 2015, 4% of the normal population suffer from carpal tunnel but that number increases to an average of 35% of people during pregnancy.

From “carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The median nerve runs from the neck, down the arm, and to the wrist. This nerve controls feeling in the fingers.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway made up of tiny “carpal” bones and ligaments. When the tunnel is narrowed by swelling, the nerve is compressed. This leads to pain in the hand and numbness or burning in the fingers.”

In this video, Katie will give tips on reducing pain during daily activities, simple stretches, and tips for sleeping.