Posts by Category : Birth


BAI Student Profile- Jessica Walker

Jessica Walker

I chose BAI for many reasons, but the main reason was that it offered a more holistic approach to becoming a doula and serving your clients. I try to empower women through their birth experiences and I felt like the education I would receive from BAI would enable me to do that. It’s also very reasonably priced and you don’t have to pay yearly membership fees, like most other certification organizations. My doula highly recommended BAI because Demetria is so accessible. When my birth became complicated, my doula called Demetria and chatted with her about it. That was an unexpected personal touch that I wanted during my own training.

One of the best things I learned during my training was my limitations. I really explored some of the ways I may not serve as well as I’d like, and I had a lot of time to consider how I’d cross those barriers. This isn’t something many doulas consider until they’re in the situation. I found this to be helpful because it helps me serve a wider range of people than I may have otherwise. It has also helped me define my niche and consequently better know how to take on the right clients for my practice.
I’m a 26-year-old mom of two amazing kids, one born in the hospital and the other at home. I live with my boyfriend, Dan. I love to read and write, blog, crochet, sew, hike, camp and rock climb. I like listening to indie and classic rock. I have to admit, my life is pretty rockin’.

My life’s work is about empowering women. I do this as a doula and childbirth educator. I also encapsulate placentas. I’m a certified event planner and I use this training toward planning Blessingways and baby showers. I’m a Red Tent facilitator. I’m also a blogger about holistic lifestyles, self-improvement and personal growth. I plan to continuously learn new ways I can serve women.



Book Review- Essential Homebirth Guide

Book Review- Essential Homebirth Guide Jane Drichta and Jodilyn Owen.

“Our goal is not to have every mother birth at home—our goal is to encourage parents to gather quality information, to gain exposure to a philosophy that screams trust in mothers and trust in babies, and to provide parents who do plan a homebirth to be well equipped with an understanding of how to thrive in that decision.” – Jane E. Drichta, CPM and Jodilyn Owen, CPM, authors of The Essential Homebirth Guide: For Families Planning or Considering Birthing at Home.

And that is what this book does. I love how the book speaks to mothers about her options, her choices and encourages her to explore and address her needs. I will be adding this book to the Birth Arts International reading list, and I will have a few copies on hand for my client lending library.

The book is readable, absorbable and readily digestible for parents and family members. Thanks for giving women information in a clear, concise voice. The book is full of information for communities, education, preparation, communication stated in a compassionate voice.



Get your copy at Amazon


Book Review “Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Heart – A Midwives Saga” by Carol Leonard

Book Review “Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Heart – A Midwives Saga” by Carol Leonard

This is a must read for all midwives, and midwives to be or birth workers in general.

I have met Carol at a few conferences and actually purchased my copy directly from her, and she is as fabulous in real life. She speaks with a clarity often not encountered in life let alone on a book on midwifery, and its struggles.

She weaves her personal story throughout the book and makes the reader understand the struggle, drama and the actual life part of a midwife. Midwives have lives, and families and needs like anyone else, and she presents their needs in a way that leaves the reader in awe of the awesomeness of birth work and the dedication needed when one dips her toes in the waters for the first time.

I will be adding this fabulous book to our reading list for the midwife’s assistant training program. Thanks Carol, sharing your integrity, and journey will I am sure inspire many birth workers of the future.

You can get the book here on Amazon.


Meet a BAI Pro

Caroline Dotson

DotsonWhy did you choose BAI?

I chose BAI partly because of the distance learning program but also because I felt like after reading and researching about Demetria Clark that we were like minded in our ideas about birth, supporting women in their decisions and in the holistic approach to child birth (and life). I love that she was an herbalist and that she was so willing to mentor her students, even from afar. She was great about communication and always responded to my emails even when my enrollment was delayed. BAI is different than other doula certification in the way it looks at the whole woman and not just pregnant aspect of the woman.
What did you learn about yourself while taking the program?

I have learned that I have to set aside my personal view of birth when it comes to supporting women and their families in choosing the birth that they want. It is not my birth. I will not steal the “stage.” I have a strong personality but I realize that being that strong voice in a women’s ear is much more valuable than being that strong aggressive presence. Recently during a birth the couple didn’t know the sex of their baby and when the baby came out I said “IT’S A…” and quickly silenced my self, letting the mother announce the sex as she sat up to see. If that would have happened six months ago I would have proudly shouted out the sex with no regard to the sanctity of the parents being able to enjoy the moment for themselves. I am very grateful for all that I am learning at Birth Arts International.
Tell us a little about yourself.

Dotson Family

I am the mother of four boys, 11, 6,  almost 3 and 14months. I had 2 epidural births and two natural birth center births. I am passionate about women knowing what there choices are in birth and developing a community of female support, through a doula and/or midwife, will help women make better choices. I am also in school to become a midwife. I live in rural Colorado and there is only one midwife who covers a large area and no doula’s for 40 miles. I previously owned a bookstore but as my family grew I knew I was being called to a different career. I love Jesus, I have holistic view points and I believe in doTERRA essential oils. I love hanging out with my boys and my husband of 14 years, going camping, to sporting events and doing ministry. You can find me cooking, playing with yarn, sewing, reading, being silly and learning about midwifery at any given time.
What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future as a doula are to offer a my services, birth doula, breastfeeding counselor, mother’s blessing ceremony, and postpartum doula, to the women of my community along with the surrounding areas for the next year. During that time I plan on implementing a program to offer my support FREE to single women and teens who desire it. I would love to teach  a few other women how to become doula and be a doula mentor, along with developing a more informative child birthing class and informing the community of the choices in childbirth. As I finish up my academics for midwifery, I plan on starting my clinicals and spending time learning about midwifery in the Philippines, this would put my doula work on hold but will add to my experience. I have two long term goals: one is to stay in my community and develop a better birthing community of people, possibly opening a birthing center on the Western slope of Colorado or becoming a missionary midwife (with my family) teaching the women in underdeveloped countries the skills of midwifery and how they can implament them with little to no medical supplies that would make the reliant on other organizations.

Learn more at


How To Become A More Confident, Busy And Totally Awesome Doula!

How To Become A More Confident, Busy And Totally Awesome Doula!

Just a disclaimer before I start: various things make for an awesome doula – please bear in mind that this article has been designed to help doulas on a professional and business level.

YES! You can be a totally awesome, confident doula with a thriving business! A doula that all your clients rave about… doesn’t that sound great?

No matter if you’re just starting out as a doula or if you’ve been a doula for a while, sometimes we hit professional or emotional plateaus (or even a client drought) where we start to doubt ourselves, are unsure of where things are going or if we’re as experienced as we need to be.

These tips are my top suggestions for doulas in this situation – so if you need a bit of a boost or guidance in getting fired up and super passionate again, help is just a few moments away!

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #1: Read, Read, Read!

Talking in front of others can be a really scary thing for many people. But, you will notice that it is so much easier to give a speech if you really know what you’re talking about. Remember back to your school days – how nerve racking was it researching a topic then having to talk about it?! The more you know your area of expertise, the easier it gets and the more confident you get. The less you need to refer back to your notes and the more you can hit the ground running without breaking out a sweat.

You can never know enough or learn enough, no matter what you choose do in life, so feed your brain with books, workshops and classes. Schedule some regular time – each day if you can – to read a new book on birth related topics.

Wealth and success isn’t a big screen television or a really fast car… wealth is in your library. Many very successful business people will tell you that one of their biggest secrets to success is to feed their brain every day. You may have heard of the story of Warren Buffett, one of the world’s wealthiest men (THE world’s wealthiest man some years). He wanted to become a business success, and decided he had to learn about finance. What did he do? He read every single book in the Omaha Public Library with the word ‘finance’ in the title – some twice… when he was 10 years old!!!

Warren Buffett is clearly a huge success with his chosen passion and you can be too. It’s never too early or too late – if you get reading, your confidence, knowledge and credibility will thank you for it!

“Think of something new you’ve actually learned in the past week; if you can’t think of anything, get comfortable where you’re at because you’re not going anywhere. To stop learning is to stop living.” — Robert Kiyosaki

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #2: Grow Yourself As A Person And Business Owner

You will only go as far as you develop yourself as a person and a business owner. Following on from the first tip above, its equally important to focus on learning about personal and business growth and development.

Read autobiographies of successful business people and entrepreneurs, like Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs – you may not agree with the business decisions or choices of some of these people, or may not want to be as busy or famous, but it will get you an insight into the mind and thinking of highly successful people. You’ll learn how they got to where they are now. You’ll read about their attitudes and philosophies – the mindsets that are required to make it. You’ll find successful people have similar habits, which you can adopt too.

Not only are there many brilliant business books out there, but an endless number of seminars for personal and professional development, which I LOVE going to. You meet people who are movers and shakers just like you. Great people who are friendly, keen to network and learn. People with passion and guts. You know the saying about becoming like the people you spend most of your time with? The people around you can either motivate, encourage and uplift you, or they can keep you in the wrong place or chasing your tail. You must be willing to grow your comfort zone, and trust me, you’ll have an absolute ball learning and growing!

“You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?” — Jim Rohn

Here are some Facebook pages of some great leaders to follow:

Here are some great business books to read:

You Can Purchase These Books From…

There are many more resources, but these are a great start.

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #3: Network With Other Doulas

The doula world is such an awesome place to be. Doulas share your passion of birth and would happily talk birth all day (and night!). Not only is this great for you socially, but you can gain a wealth of experience from other doulas. Ask questions, hear their stories of births, share… there is so much to be learnt from other doulas. Start up a group and have a regular meet-up, or find out if there are any in your area – just do it! Try and get involved with other doulas, and make an effort to learn and share together. You’ll leave feeling awesome and loved up, overflowing with oxytocin and food for your birth junkie soul. Local doulas may even be able to team up with you to help out with childcare while you’re doula’ing or even forming a business together!

I can’t imagine any nicer people to spend your time with than other doulas – you’ll be sure to make many friendships along the way! You also get to know them well enough in case you happen to need a back-up or just some great advice one day.

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #4: Open Your Mind And Believe In Yourself

I know doulas can sometimes doubt their abilities, usually due to one or more of these three things:

  • They’re unable to get the number of births they want
  • A birth they attended went awol
  • They’ve had an unhappy client

These things happen. No matter what business you’re in, you will get unhappy clients, births will go in a direction that we didn’t expect, and you’ll have to deal with unpleasant situations sometimes. But never stop believing in yourself, because this is all part of the learning process – see it as an opportunity to grow. If we don’t have challenging experiences, then we don’t grow or learn. Its when we resist and take it personally, we can’t see what we need to see. Its important to stand back, look at the situation and say, ‘What could I have done differently here?’ or ‘What can I learn from this situation?’ or, ‘Is there something I need to learn more about?’ Feeling crappy about it all and giving up is just going to make you, well, feel like crap. And you wont get to where you truly want to go.

Remember, nothing prepares you for anything in life quite like hands-on experience does. If you always consider yourself a student, learning every single day, you’ll feel much better about yourself and have a great attitude that will move you forward.

A successful business owner in any given field knows to expect plateaus. Business will be going well, growing, growing… then a crisis will hit, business will slow down, or something will happen to cause you to question it all. But, instead of giving up, feeling hopeless, useless – the successful business owner keeps working through it until they get to the other side. If you give up when it’s tough, you don’t get the huge rewards of getting through a tough spot and come out fine the other end – usually quicker and easier than you initially envisioned and you’re back on track once again.

I’ve had experiences where something awful has happened in my business, usually I have been attacked for my beliefs and stances and had to deal with really nasty comments or feedback. These sorts of situations can really rock you to the core – sometimes and you wonder how you’ll get through the next day with it hanging over your head. I’ve had fantasies of just deleting BellyBelly off the server in my earlier days – in my grumpy head I would think, ‘Fine, you don’t like it, see what it’s like when it’s all gone!’ which was all so easy to think in my early 20’s as a new mother who was very sleep deprived and with PND! But, every single make or break moment is all in the past now, gone, forgotten and something valuable learnt from, and thank goodness I didn’t give up, as today BellyBelly is busier than it has ever been, with close to two million page views a month. I can work from home with my babies, the hours that fit in with my lifestyle and I get to do what I truly, deeply love. Don’t give up on your dreams just for one sticky moment. You can get through every single one of them! And doing that makes you a much more confident business owner.

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #5: Find Your Niche

What makes you different from all the other doulas out there? A woman looking through a directory full of doulas will read the same thing over and over…

  • “I believe in supporting women”
  • “I became a doula in xxx after the birth of my children xxx”
  • “I am passionate about birth”
  • “Feel empowered about your birth”

… but what makes you any different to any other doula? Why should they choose you, with a smorgasboard of choices? Whats in it for them? What experiences can you draw on to make you different?

Something you might think is small may be the difference between you being chosen over another doula. In a recent coaching call I did with a Sydney based doula, I helped her realise that her own experience as a twin mother having a natural birth is a fantastic draw card and speciality for her to focus on. While twin births aren’t as high in number, she has a distinct advantage over other doulas, being able to understand exactly what they are going through, carrying and birthing twins.

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #6: Focus On What You Do Best – Let A Skilled Team Do The Rest

Any highly successful business owner – even Richard Branson – will tell you, he comes up with the amazing ideas and then steps aside for people who know what they’re doing best.

Many doulas have shoestring budgets (hopefully not for long after adopting some of my tips in my doula articles!) which means its harder to pay for what they really need for their business, for example a professional web designer, marketing or advertising.

If you do things on the cheap, or have unskilled people doing important things for your business, your results will reflect this. I know it’s really hard if you don’t have any finances when you started up your business, so if you don’t have the funds to have someone help you, check out my other article, 5 Effective Ways To Get More Clients. Then try to make a budget out of each payment to reinvest back into your business, so you’re not always on a such a suffocating, restrictive shoestring budget. Out of every paying client, and/or your own funds, assign a certain amount into your business savings account so you can work towards it.

A business mentor is always a great thing too. This is something successful business people do well – they have mastermind/mentor groups and have business coaches. They learn off one another, and motivate each other based on sound, experienced advice.

If you’re interested in getting one on one business help, I do Skype consultations (no matter where you are in the world) to help with improving business success, increasing website traffic, ranking higher in google, achieving a better marketing response and more. Find out more information here.

Kelly Winder is a birth attendant (aka doula), the creator of BellyBelly and mum to three beautiful children. Follow Kelly on Google+ and become a fan of BellyBelly on Facebook. BellyBelly is also on Twitter. Please note that all of my suggestions and advice are of a generalised nature only and are not intended to replace advice from a qualified professional. – The Thinking Woman’s Website For Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. View the original article here.


Doula Trainer- Mavis Gewant

Mavis GewantMavis is a BAI doula trainer and she is a gift to BAI.

She is a Labor & Postpartum Doula and Certified Lactation Counselor also offering Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding Support and Birth Counseling in Ulster, Dutchess and Orange Counties and is a Doula Trainer for Birth Arts International. Mavis a Sacred Artist and her Birth Mandala is featured in Pam England’s book, The Labyrinth of Birth. Learn more about Mavis and what she can offer at Sacred Mother Arts and Gentle Care Doula Services.

You can find Mavis training BAI doulas all over the world. If you want her to schedule a workshop please contact her about what it takes to host a regional workshop.


Safe Motherhood Quilt Project 0

I spent about 4 years working on this project, doing the website, fundraising, etc.. with Ina May Gaskin. I have even made panels for the quilt. This project is so important to me.

Please take the time to learn about this project.

Spread the word.

Participate if you can.

Make a donation if you can.

Visit the site and check it out.





Doula Trainer- Helena Wu 0

Helena Wu

Helena Wu

Helena Wu is a fabulous BAI trainer. She is a gentle and thoughtful teacher. We are so blessed to have her on our team.

Helena of Moon Mountain Midwifery and Herbal Medicine  is a Licensed Midwife who has   been attending homebirths in the southern Vermont area since 1990. She trained   by apprenticing with different midwives and is a Certified Professional Midwife.   She has been a La Leche League Leader, Childbirth Educator (trained through   ALACE and Cooperative Childbirth Association), Doula and Postpartum Doula. Helena has been a BAI trainer since 2003.

She loves teaching about natural birth. “I am committed to keeping alive the   old ways of being with women, developing our tools (herbs and other natural   therapies, simple ritual, love) and passing along the wisdom.” She is the   owner of Good Medicine Tree, an herbal apothecary, where she   offers products, herbal education courses (Happy Heart Sacred Plant Medicine and others) and health consultations. Fostering humankind’s awareness of their   connection with Nature and Spirit is her passion. She is a member of the Vermont Midwives Alliance, the Midwives Alliance of North America, National   Association of Certified Professional Midwives, United Plant Savers and is on   the Council of the Northeast Herbal Association.


Despite medical cautions, mom ‘trusts her own body’ – I was at this birth:) 0

Just a little flash from the past.

Despite medical cautions, mom ‘trusts her own body’

JESSICA YORK, Staff Writer
Friday, February 24 SHAFTSBURY — Hers were the first hands to touch Jennabel Emma’s newborn head as she emerged into the world three months ago.
As the national trend spirals downward for natural births after a previous Cesarean section, Barbara Snyder not only had a natural birth after three previous Cesareans, but is encouraging others to trust their own bodies.
“I just had this feeling that I could do it and that I could be healthy,” said Snyder, who is a licensed nursing assistant. “If I hadn’t been as healthy, I don’t think I would have been a good candidate for it. In my opinion, it was a good option for me. But it’s not for everyone.”
Cesarean repeat rates increased from 69.8 to 88.7 per 100 births to low-risk women from 1996 to 2003, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Increases in repeat Cesarean numbers corresponded with a decrease in vaginal births after a Cesarean (VBAC), from 30.2 percent in 1996 to 11.3 percent in 2003 for low-risk women, the CDC reported in 2005.
Dr. Mark Novotny, chief medical officer for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, said he is seeing VBACs increase locally. Novotny said there is a balance between women who have natural births and women who have surgically assisted births.
But just because the numbers are going up for VBACs, Novotny and the hospital aren’t convinced that they’re the way to go. People in the medical profession are now aware that the risks associated with VBACs are higher than had been previously believed, Novotny said. Emergency surgeries that are needed in the case of a failed VBAC are always higher risk, said Novotny.
“Once things go wrong in obstetrics, they tend to go wrong rapidly,” said Novotny. “You’ve got to be able to act quickly to get the baby out quickly.”
SVMC is among thousands of hospitals nationwide no longer offering obstetric patients the option of a VBAC, according to Dianne Cutillo, SVMC marketing and public relations manager. The decision to do so was made after much consideration last fall, she said.
“It was not an easy decision, because caregivers in the childbirth center at SVMC value offering women the ability to have the kinds of birth experiences they choose,” Cutillo said.
Support group
Snyder, 27, runs a twice-monthly support group called “Trust Birth” for women who want to learn more about the birthing process – the natural, intervention-free birth process, according to Snyder’s Web site.
“It’s to find out more about trusting their bodies and learning that they can birth babies,” Snyder said.
After having her third child by Cesarean and a lot of research, Snyder said she decided that she would have a fourth child vaginally and at home, without assistance.
In November, after a false alarm two weeks earlier, Snyder was adequately prepared for the big push. After 14 hours of labor, some time on a birthing ball and a final rest in a birthing pool with friends and her husband gathered around, Snyder gave birth to her fourth child. Her husband was able to leave a little bit of umbilical cord for their oldest child to cut later on, Snyder said.
“She came out in the water – they swim right up,” Snyder said of the birth. “When the placenta’s still attached, they’re getting oxygen from the umbilical cord. But you get them up quickly, because the placenta detaches pretty soon.”
Serious complications
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has suggested that serious complications may occur more quickly during VBAC than during other labor, according to Cutillo. Because of this, the group’s guidelines suggest that the delivering physician and an anesthesiologist, as well as a standby surgical team, be on the hospital premises during labor when a woman is attempting a VBAC.
“Given those guidelines and the resulting impact on resources, fewer and fewer community hospitals perform VBACs,” Cutillo wrote in an e-mail. “As a rural community hospital, SVMC is among them.”
Novotny said patients have the right to choose what they want for health care, but it is important that they understand the consequences.
Snyder said if at any time during her pregnancy or birth she had noticed any problems, she would immediately have gone to the hospital. For Snyder, a natural home birth was the way to go. She said she was happy to be able to avoid the bright lights, fear and commotion of a hospital setting of her previous births, which did not take place at SVMC.
“They got me scared, thinking something was going to happen,” said Snyder. “It was different in that I was more relaxed. I think I was very well prepared. … Ask me three years ago, and I would have said, ‘No way, I’m not birthing at home.’ But I learned so much during my pregnancy. I did so much research, and I just met wonderful people.”