Empowered Birthing, Doulas, Women’s Business & The Role of Men in Birth | Nadine Richardson from She Births {Podcast #023}

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About Nadine Richardson

Nadine Richardson​, mother, yoga teacher, doula, speaker, creator and founder of the world’s only scientifically verified childbirth education program, She Births® and host of ​The She Births® Show​ (Podcast & YouTube).

Over the last 20 years Nadine has become an expert in childbirth, pregnancy and prenatal yoga. She is an inspiration to all parents, female entrepreneurs and those passionate about making birth better. She knows that together we can shift the cultural meme of birth from a medicalised traumatic event​ to something so much better.

“My role is to awaken people to their birthing potential. Through our innovative education every family can create not only a more normal birth but also a beautiful birth; bonding, enriching and empowering, the perfect start for every family.”
~ Nadine Richardson

It is Nadine’s mission to take the fear out of childbirth and help couples continue the joy of pregnancy right through their labour and into early parenting. By helping women connect to, and trust their bodies while also equipping partners to not only provide effective support but become an active participant in the journey we shift the locus of control. Discovering that we have agency and our choices are critical to individual birth satisfaction shifts the way we see ourselves and our role on the planet.


In This Episode We Discuss

What is a Doula

An ancient service of women helping women through birth.

“Doula” in latin = to serve.

They play a significant role assisting women through the psychosomatic experience of birth.

The Role of an Obstetrician

"Obstetrician" in Latin means "To Observe."

They should be there to intervene if more advanced medical interventions are required. Which in Australia is 10-20% of woman at high health risk.

Midwife in latin = “Be with woman.”

Midwife does the safety and vital checks - heart beat, blood pressure etc. But unfortunately they don’t get to “be with woman” as much, as they are more doing paper work. 

0.6% birth in Australia are home births.

Why every single woman should do a doula training.

It is the primal role of woman. Assisting at births is an important rite for one’s womanhood, femininity and fulfilment.

Having a Doula present at birth is the best intervention a woman can have to reduce C-Section rates.

The Role of the Partner (Mostly Men) In Birth

Have we placed to much expectations on male partners? 

Are men actually fit for the job of assisting a birthing experience? Let alone asked to be the primary! support person in an experience they have no knowledge of, what so ever!

Traditionally, birth has always been womens business. Men should not go anywhere near that.

It is criminal to send anyone in a birthing room without good education and preparation. 

C-Sections

30% C-Section rate in most western countries.

Aus has some of the higher C-section rates in the world, at 32% in public hospital.

47% in private hospitals! - nearly 1 in 2.

Causes for increasing C-section rates:

  • Over-managing low risk people.
  • Litigations.
  • Money.
  • Schedules - “Doctor Dinner: wants to shorten his day at work and get home for dinner”
  • Culture, fear and control amongst the woman.

Why you want a vaginal delivery over C-section:

  • When a baby is born via C-section they have a significant reduction in microbiome.
  • Babies born via C-section are more likely to have life-long asthma.
  • Babies born via C-section are less likely to continue breast milk.
  • Babies born via C-section are linked to increases in austism.
  • Babies born via C-section are correlated with lower IQ.
  • The recovery and “bounce back” of a mother is significantly better with vaginal delivery than a 6 week recovery from major abdominal surgery.
  • Woman who endure C-sections and more likely to get a hysterectomy in the future.

Knowing that you can make a beautiful birth no matter what unfolds (e.g. C-section, epidurals) is really critical to less fear for everybody.

C-sections are still a monumental birthing experience and we can make it beautiful with birth education programs like She Births.

"You cannot put your faith all the time in one system. If you go into these systems without education, you will get funnelled down a conveyer belt, and that is where we get great amounts of intervention and dissatisfaction. Education is key to empowerment."
~ Nadine Richardson
"You need to be open minded and have a little element of belief that birth can be something different to the medicalised traumatic event that has been showed to you on television."
~ Nadine Richardson

The post-natal hormonal orchestra that floods the mothers brain

  • 200-400x more oxytocin than the best sex orgasm.
  • Beta endorphins flood the neo-cortex which shut down the analytical mind. These are also opiates and allows the woman to transcend in between contractions and go through this extraordinary ego dissolution. 
  • Adrenaline comes at the end of labour to deliver the baby.

The Brain-Uterus Connection

Via the Ferguson reflex - a positive feedback loop between uterus and brain.

  1. Baby’s head stretches cervix and feedbacks on pituitary.
  2. Pituitary secretes oxytocin into blood and travel down to uterine muscle via specific nerve pathways. 
  3. Oxytocin stimulates the uterus to further contract of the muscles in the wall of the uterus and pushes the baby down, the cervix stretches further. oxytocin is released from the brain back into the body and goes back to the uterus for more stimulation, , cervix stretches etc. 

The Vagina as the Seat as Consciousness

Active Birthing and why a woman should not be lying on her back during labour.

  • Squatting, on all fours, standing, whatever is comfortable for the woman.
  • Upright and active. Gravity. Shorter labour. Nishkarma yoga - do less and achieve the most. 
  • Don’t ask a woman to lie supine - this is dangerous, damaging to the pelvic floor. They have to go up a U bend. It’s a miracle they can go out. 
  • All fours are the best.
  • Mother should be dancing, move bum.

She Births: The Better Birthing Method

  • 65% reduction of epidural rates
  • 44% reduction of c-section rates
  • 53% reduction in resuscitation of babies.
  • 32mis shorter (2nd stage) labour.

The clinical trial from the prestigious British Medical Journal of Medicine. 

“Our mission is to restore the sanctity of birth, build stronger families and hand the power of birth back to every woman.”
~ Nadine Richardson

The curriculum is based on three pillars; Knowledge, Inner Strength and Outer Support.
She Births® combines evidence-based and holistic techniques for a better and safer birth experience – including active birthing, yoga, massage, acupressure, breathing, relaxation and effective partner support.

She Births® provides a comprehensive toolkit of skills for mum and partner, empowering mums to have better births and enabling partners to provide effective support. Utilising a unique philosophy the course prepares couples for every birth scenario enabling them to create a beautiful birth experience, no matter what unfolds.

She Births® is available as a ​Weekend Course or an ​Online Program via App – making it accessible across the world.

More than 8,000 expectant parents have completed She Births® from all around the world.

The Essential Post-Natal Support Network

Beyond nannies and baby sitters. The importance of immediate family. 

Soul Mama Circles - Real support and connection amongst new mothers.

The importance for women to share their birth story at least 8-10 times in a sacred space.

Post Natal Care Regimen

Ayurveda Post Natal Care Plan

  • The important to rest after birth - simple and sacred - “40 days or rest for 40 years energy.”
  • Post natal herbs to balance vata and erratic hormones post birth.
  • The fourth trimester.

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The Psychology of a Ninth Month Old Foetus

At this tail end of the pregnancy, the foetus becomes endowed with all its characters - the five senses (gandharsadi), intelligence (buddhi) and the physical anatomy and physiology are basically fully developed.

What the foetus also acquires at this time is an ability to remember it’s past lives. But along with these memories come an overwhelming amount of information.


Put yourself in the bare slimy feet of a 9-month-old foetus. A variety of compendiums start rushing through its mind:

  • Visions of thousands of variegated living forms,
  • The taste of a variety of food and drinks,
  • The taste, sensation and texture of having sucked breast milk from many different species,
  • Having gone through a cyclic process of birth and death, with repeated birth from thousands of female genitals (Yonis) from a variety of species.
  • Memories of sufferings, miseries, sorrow (Dukha), insults and criticism that were not averted and never resolved.
  • Good and bad deeds from past lives cause confusion and clouds the memory in the little foetus brain as it attempts to link these deeds with past sufferings.

Thus, the quality of mental and physical characteristics which are developing in the 9th month of pregnancy depends upon the good deeds of previous births (Purvajanma).


And then...
The moment the foetus passes through the female genitals and contacts with oxygen (Vaishnava Vayu), it forgets even the most painful sufferings and miseries, previous lives and good and bad deeds.

feature pic: Duvet Days


Ayurvedic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Yay! You, your friend or family member is pregnant! Congratulations. I have written this guide and am here to assist you through this exciting (and sometimes scary) period of transition and growth.

According to Ayurveda, pregnancy and delivery can be the most rejuvenating experience of a women’s life, during which every cell of the mother’s body can be transformed. Unfortunately, in the west we did not get that knowledge and mothers often pay dearly with health concerns after a pregnancy.

During pregnancy, everything that the mother-to-be touches, smells, tastes, hears and sees has an imprinting influence on the foetus. Her actions not only form various health and physiological features of the future baby, but blueprint and dwell with the unborn human for their whole life which influences their health, even through old age.

That being said, this is a time for the pregnant lady to relax, retreat and do what she desires. There should be minimal restrictions and rules (these are below). She should be treated like a queen (fellas, I know you always do) and follow her desires with little friction.

Alongside this pregnancy plan, we highly recommend couples to do the She Births Birthing Classes. Discount code: vitalveda10

Guidelines for Throughout the Whole Pregnancy

Flood your Life with Sattva

Everything the mum-to-be does should be sattvic for both the mother and child. Sattva is a quality in us that translates to “purity.” If Sattva is increased, then so is our inner stillness, clarity of mind and contentment. Love radiates and flows in abundance, while the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “bonding/loving hormone”) is simultaneously secreting. 

Recommendations to enhance sattva in her mind, body and spirit:

  • Fresh, seasonal whole-foods cooked with love is sattvic food.
  • Create a nourishing and calm environment in your home and avoid stimulating and toxic (rajasic) environments like loud music and polluted air.
  • Surround yourself with loving, like-minded people and avoid toxic relationships and people who stress you out.

Self-Oil-Massage - It is always better for the soon-to-be-mum to do self-massage rather than getting done by a practitioner. If you don't feel like it, no need to do self-abhyanga in the first 6 months.

If receiving a massage from a practitioner, it should be a very, very light abhyanga, without touching the belly.
Avoid all treatments from another practitioner in the first trimester and eighth month.

Learn how to do Self-Oil-Massage here

Daily Meditation - The key to a healthy pregnancy and happy mother and baby. The foetus also absorbs her peaceful and alert attitude. Vedic meditation is recommended.

Reduce EMF (Electro-Magnetic-Field) Exposure

Wireless devices emit signals (EMF) that communicate with our mitochondria and cause mitochondrial dysfunction, which is a birth for many diseases. It also generates free radicals, dehydrates our body and thrashes our adrenal stress index. You definitely don’t want to expose your vulnerable foetus to EMFs. Mainstream medicine already knows this by restricting x-rays etc., but has not yet realised the danger of wireless devices like mobile phones, laptops, wifi etc.

Ways to Reduce EMF

  • Turn your wifi, smart TVs, mobile phone off at night and when you are not using them.
  • Whenever your mobile phone is near your body, keep it on aeroplane mode.
  • Avoid high density EMF environments that are like being in a microwave. Offices for example.
  • Purchase Belly Armour - a comfy shielding material to wear when your out and about.
  • Neutralise nnEMFs with grounding in nature - barefoot on earth, walking on beach, swimming in natural bodies of ocean.

Reduce Ultrasounds

Unnecessary excess radiation. Studies show they do not improve birth outcomes. Get one mid-pregnancy, at 22 weeks to check body parts.

 

Reduce Aeroplanes

Studies showed flight attendants had a double chance of miscarriages because of the dense radiation exposure. What more is flying is probably the number one activity that aggravates vata the most.

 

Sleep On Your Left Side

Best to not sleep during the day, as proper night time sleep is essential.

 

Listen to Vedic Chants

Primordial sounds vibrate to the foetus to enliven desired aspects of consciousness. The vedic sounds also increase Sattva in the pregnant lady. Some good chants to listen to are the Bhagavad Gita and Hanuman mantras.

Balance Vata

The major theme during pregnancy is to balance vata, the energy of the nervous system. This is because the growth of the foetus and the process of giving birth is governed by Apana-Vata, the downward moving Sub-dosha of Vata. In cases of stress and tiredness, the upward-moving vata – called prana vata – has to step in and is redirected downward to support the needs of the baby. Lack of prana means lack of joyful feelings of pregnancy, which can leave the mum exhausted, depleted, tired and even depressed postpartum.

The key to balance vata is:

  1. Warmth (warm, cooked, nourishing foods, warm climate)
  2. Regularity (regular sleep times, meal times, meditation, regular bowel motions etc.)
  3. Rest - As much as possible. Times are designated to carry out work, travel or anything that requires strain (5th an 6th month).

All the recommendations in this article balance vata.

All 3 of your doshas are aggravated by the significant transition of pregnancy. 

Correcting imbalances while pregnant is much easier than once the child is born! Of course it would be ideal if the woman could balance the doshas before conception. 

DIET and HERBS

Foods to Avoid Throughout the Whole Pregnancy

  • Papaya - Excess downward movement (Vata anulomana) and to much heat.
  • Pineapple - Certain enzymes which cause miscarriage and to much heat.
  • Undercooked meat (beef and pork) - A risk of contracting toxoplasmosis, parasitic disease that can infect the baby and produce many symptoms that vary from premature delivery and low birth weight, to malformations and mental retardation.
  • Raw and undercooked foods, especially leafy greens, beans and lentils.
  • Raw Fish and Seafood - includes sushi and all shellfish. Some bacteria like listeria and some parasites like anisakis can be found in contaminated seafood; they produce an intestinal infection, which can lead to dehydration. Fever and dehydration during pregnancy can be linked to abortion or preterm birth.
  • Seafood High in Mercury - The bigger and older the fish, the more likely that it’s contaminated with mercury. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages pregnant women to avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, pregnant women should exceed two seafood meals per week.
  • Raw Eggs - Can be contaminated with harmful bacteria, especially salmonella, which can produce a severe intestinal infection that leads to high fever and dehydration, which can be harmful for the baby. Avoid all products that may contain raw eggs, such as homemade dressings, mayonnaise, and eggnog.
  • Caffeine - you should not exceed 200 mg per day. Caffeine is a stimulant, and it may increase your heart rate and your blood pressure, both of which are not recommended during pregnancy. It crosses the placenta to your baby, increasing its heart rate as well. This has been linked to prematurity, miscarriage, and low birth weight. A cup of coffee may contain anywhere from 150 to 400 mg of caffeine, depending on the type and brew.
  • Hot spicy foods.
  • Artificial flavours, preservatives and chemical additives.
  • Left-overs - Opposite to sattvic food (tamasic).
  • Excess honey - To heating.
  • Shodana Vati / Triphala / Laxatives / Excess detox foods/herbs - Laxative herbs that cause vata anulomana should strictly be avoided in the first trimester, and also avoided for the rest of pregnancy.

Foods to Avoid Part of the Pregnancy

  • Hing (Asafoetida) - Avoid in first trimester. Vata anulomana and sharp quality, breaks stagnation. Also no external application.
  • Turmeric - For the first 6 months for those sensitive like older pregnant ladies and those prone to miscarriages. A little turmeric is fine but excess is to heating.
  • Raisins in excess.

Indicated Diet

Other than the foods to avoid, don’t restrict yourself to much and honour cravings.
Remember, you are eating for two body types, so you should not follow a strict diet for one body type. Honour your unique cravings in moderation, especially from the fourth month when the cravings you experience are more likely those of the baby.

  • Sweet taste - It is the most sattvic or wholesome for the baby. Dates, fresh breads cooked without oils, whole grains, rice, fruits, quinoa, cooked beetroot, carrot, sweet potato, hot milk, porridge.
  • Ghee, coconut oil.
  • Hot milk - one of the most nourishing, immunity boosting and ojas building foods.
  • Kitchari
  • Almonds soaked overnight then peeled the following day.

Tips to Help with Constipation during Pregnancy

It is important to have daily morning bowel motions during pregnancy.

  • Eat citrus fruits like oranges and mandarins.
  • Pomegranate.
  • Lots of cooked leafy greens.
  • Psyllium husk is okay after first trimester, but consult a good practitioner regarding psyllium.

Herbs Indicated During Pregnancy

Samadhi (Enlivens Unity in Mind & Body)

Dhatu (Tissue Nourisher)

Smriti (Cellular Memory of Perfect Health)

Pregnancy Ghee (Sukhaprasava Ghritam)

Nasika (Nasal & Brain Oil)

Abhyanga Massage Oil

Special Phala Yoni Ghee

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness happens because the foreign body (foetus) changes the hormones and system. Some people are not compatible with this.

This does not mean you are unhealthy, in fact, it is traditionally believed morning sickness makes a baby more stronger and helps it survive.

Nausea Remedies

  • Madiphal rasayana - A fruity liquid Ayurvedic preparation that you take a small sip of whenever nausea is there. (Pictured).
  • Citrus fruits like lime.
  • Honey + ginger.
  • Cut the skin of unripe green lemon with your finger nail and sniff it.
  • Clove, fennel and ajwain powder mixed in equal quantities with unheated honey. (little less ajwain ).

Month-By-Month Pregnancy Insight

First Trimester: Extra Careful

This month is the riskiest for miscarriage. Therefore follow all the rules and diet advice more strictly including lots of rest and avoiding stress, work, travel and sex.  

Keep it a secret - Mainly for those who are first time pregnant or have been unsuccessful with conceiving or miscarriages. Ayurveda recommends this to avoid bad energy from external people, known as Dristi Dosha (“Bad Eye”).

Prop the foot end of your bed up 8cm to that you are on a slight tilt towards your head. This helps prevent miscarriage. 

4th Month: Dhauhrda (“Two Hearts”)

According to Ayurveda, in the fourth month the foetus’s heart is endowed with consciousness and the senses are said to develop.
This month is known asDhauhrda,” which means two hearts. This is because through the arteries, the heart of the foetus is connected with that of the mother. Thus, through these vessels (dhamanis), the feelings of the foetus is transferred to the mother. The mother may feel unusual desires during this period, which are probably the desires of the child. It is advisable to give a pregnant woman what ever she desires.

During this month the women should never sleep during the day as proper night sleep is essential.

Foetal Development:

By the end of this month, the foetus is about 8-10 inches in length and weighs 200 grams or more. The mother will probably start to “show” now. The ears are functioning, and there is evidence that the foetus hears quite a bit; the mother’s voice and heartbeat as well as external noise. The umbilical cord has become an engineering marvel, transporting 280L of fluids per day and completing a round-trip of fluids every 30 seconds.

Anguli (finger), Jathara (GIT) and Katipradesha (pelvic regions) forms in the foetus.

5th and 6th Month: Lenient Time

If you have to work or have sex during pregnancy, this is the time. During sex woman should be on their back only and do not strain abdomen.

You may start Yoni Pichu this month if vata (dryness) is high in the vagina, but please consult a quality practitioner before this.

Foetal Development:

  • End of 5th month - Complete formation of Prusta Vamsa (vertebral column). Why Susruta samhita described to perform Upaveshan samskara (string belt) at 5th months in infants.
  • During 6th month - Mukha (face), nasika (nose), srota (ear), bones and cartilages are formed.
  • From the 6th month, the Buddhi (intelligence) starts to form so whatever you stress or actions you perform, you will give this to the baby.
  • Oil and sweat glands are functioning.
  • The delicate skin of the growing baby is protected from the foetal waters by a special ointment called “vernix.” If the baby were born in the month and given the proper care, he would survive.

7th Month: Nearly there

This month is in maintenance mode for a meticulous part of the pregnancy: the 8th month.

Foetus Development:
The baby now uses the four senses of vision, hearing, taste and touch. They can recognise his mother's voice.

8th Month: Vital Time for Increased Rest

The 8th month is very delicate. Where the subtle nutrient fluid called “Ojas,  that supports vitality and immunity, is transferred from foetus to the mother and back and forth.
This process should not be disturbed as it can leave the baby without or with low Ojas.
Thus, you need to get as much rest as possible and avoid what you are meant to avoid and enhance sattva.

Foetus Development:

  • The skin begins to thicken, with a layer of fat stored underneath for insulation and nourishment.
  • Antibodies increasingly build up.
  • The baby absorbs a3.7L) of amniotic fluid per day; the fluid is completely replaced every three hours.

9th Month: It's Coming!

Foetus Completely Developed:
This month the foetus is endowed with all characters and attains complete development. It can remember it's previous birth (purvajanma) which influences the quality of development.

The baby's heart is pumping 300 gallons of blood per day. They are fully capable of life outside the womb.

Research studies have concluded that an easy birth is highly dependant on a relaxed mind. Thus, surrendering the process of labour is key to a quick birth, as well as meditation.

Yoni Ghee

Soak an organic tampon in Yoni Ghee and then insert into vagina.
This softens and relaxes cervix.
Leave overnight or half the night. Changing it over once is good. Can do every 2-3 nights.
You can start this practice called yoni pichu at 37 weeks pregnant.

Can also do matra basti (small nourishing oil enema) with Special Phala Yoni Ghee.

Pregnancy Ghee (Sukha Prasava Ghritam)

Literally meaning  "Easy to Deliver Ghee", this medicated ghee helps prepare the body for birth and the quicken the delivery and make it smoother.

Dose: 2tsp 2x/day before meals or with hot milk. 

Also massage on belly in clockwise motion during labour for easier delivery.

Buy here

Small Nourishing Enemas "Matra Basti"

Matra Bastis can be given every second day for women that are healthy.

25ml before sleep and retain to absorb. This is to reduce the vata, strengthen the system and nourish the foetus with another lubricating fluid that is medicated.
*Only quality matra basti oil should only be used such as Vital Veda's/Raju's Special Matra Basti Oil or Deva 21 Oilor Special Phala Ghee.

How to bring on labour (if not coming)

  • Abdominal massage - Using a medicated ghee called “Sukha Prasava Ghritam or normal ghee or coconut oil (inferior), apply the ghee on the stomach and massage slowly and lightly in a clockwise direction downward towards the vagina.
  • Ensure you are taking Sukha Prasava Ghritam (“easy to deliver ghee”).
  • Eggplant parmigiana has been reported to bring on labour effectively for many woman.
  • Eat more cumin and leafy vegetables.

IT'S HERE!!

Postpartum, after the baby has exited the womb, is perhaps the most important time to implement Ayurvedic interventions and practices to rejuvenate mum and ensure proper nutrient and immune accumulation for the baby.

See my Ayurvedic Post Natal Care Plan Here

We highly recommend couples to do the She Births Birthing Classes and pregnancy support. Discount code: vitalveda10

Recommended Listening

References:

  • The Raju family
  • Foetal development - Paippalada’s GARBHOPANISHAD, A brief treatise on emberyo and fetus, translated by Dr. Durga Prasad Dash