"Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go."
-Fred Rogers

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Informed Choice

I have found that one of the most important steps you can take while pregnant is to become informed.  Find out what it is you don't know about giving birth.  This doesn't mean merely taking the hospital sponsored class, trusting everything your OB tells you, and showing up hoping for the best.  Remember, you don't know what you don't know, and your doctor probably isn't going to go out of his or her way to tutor you on the ins and outs of the "birth world".  It's YOUR responsibility to educate yourself on how the maternity system works.  You need to explore the many options for prenatal care and the various childbirth philosophies out there, and then it's imperative that you decide which philosophies resonate most with you.  Are you okay with the medical model of childbirth or do you prefer the midwifery model of care?  Are you okay with routine interventions and protocols?  Have you researched the risks and benefits of routine interventions and protocols?  Do you know the rates of interventions for your doctor specifically and your hospital in general?  Have you explored the option of homebirth?  Is your care provider truly following evidence based practices?  If not, have you started to make arrangements to switch to a provider who is?

Remember, it's bigger than you.  You are carrying a child in your womb, and he or she is counting on you to make INFORMED decisions.  Now is not the time to just go with the program, especially when the program involves a "one size fits all" approach.  Most care providers routinely do the same interventions for every woman (breaking water bags, elective inductions, starting IV pitocin, epidurals, etc.), regardless of whether or not a mom and baby need those interventions. 

Most women ask why it matters.  I've been asked many times why a woman shouldn't get all of those interventions.  What I think most people don't know is that interventions, each and every one of them, come with risks and are designed to be used judiciously.  Some of the risks are small and fairly benign, but some are pretty serious.  For example, if a woman decides to allow herself to be induced without medical cause, and before she is in early labor or even pre-labor, her chance of having a C-Section is 40-50% higher than a woman who allows herself to go into labor naturally.  Her baby is also at risk for having a myriad of health issues at birth, in the early childhood period, and throughout life.  And if she ends up in a C-Section, the risks to mom and baby go up significantly for each subsequent pregnancy.

It's essential that every pregnant woman knows her options.  She deserves to know the risks and benefits of all procedures, PRIOR to those procedures being performed.   A woman's right to allow or decline procedures MUST be respected.  Without truly informed choice, consent, and refusal, a pregnant woman cannot be assured that the best and most appropriate care is being given to her baby and herself. 

To learn more about informed choice please attend my workshop this Saturday, April 24th, 2010 from 9:30-11 a.m. at Belle Up Maternity:

I will be holding a workshop at Belle Up Maternity on Saturday April 24th from 9:30-11 a.m. I will talk about prenatal options, informed choice, and doulas. Please tell all of your clients about it! or if you are pregnant, please join us! If you have already taken HypnoBirthing with me or are currently taking it, you are welcome to come for free!!

RECLAIMING YOUR 40: Empowering Expectant Moms for 40 Weeks & Beyond

During what should be one of the most enjoyable times in their lives, many of today’s expectant moms are left wondering “Who’s pregnancy is this anyway?” The short answer: it’s yours!

This class provides an empowering overview of prenatal and childbirth options, including: care provider/hospital selection, prenatal and labor & delivery rights and informed choice. You will also learn about the benefits of a labor and post partum doula to determine whether using one may be right for you. If you believe—as we do—that knowledge is power, then this is the class for you!

DATE: Saturday, April 24, 2010

9:30- 11:00 AM

FEE: $15/person (or couple) *Get $15 credit toward HypnoBirthing® class upon completion of class


Tricia Fitzgerald, M.Ed, HBCE, CD(DONA), Gentle Beginning, Inc.

Tricia, who was most recently spotted on TLC’s “A Baby Story” as a doula to one of her clients, is a Certified HypnoBirthing® Practitioner and Labor/Birth Doula, who specializes in teaching her clients comfortable, relaxing and empowering birthing methods and techniques that positively support the birthing process for their hospital or home births. Tricia holds a Masters in Early Childhood Development and Education from DePaul University, where she currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education. She lives in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago, and she and her husband have three daughters, one son, and one angel in heaven—all born using HypnoBirthing® The Mongan Method.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A letter to health care providers

If you are an Obstetrician or Certified Nurse Midwife, thank you for all you do for pregnant women and their babies.  If you know or visit an OB and/or a CNM, please share the following letter with them.

Dear Dr. or CNM:

Perhaps you are familiar with HypnoBirthing®. If not, I'd like to tell you a bit about this method of childbirth education. HypnoBirthing® differs from other childbirth education in three ways:

1. Most childbirth classes teach that pain is inevitable with birthing.
HypnoBirthing® teaches that most pain is due to fear and anxiety,

and the subsequent effects of catecholamine. Positive visualization,

similar to techniques employed in sports psychology, and deep

relaxation techniques enable women to labor free of anxiety, thus

releasing their natural endorphins to make labor more comfortable.

2. HypnoBirthing® emphasizes that pregnancy and birthing are

normal, healthy functions and that the majority are without pathology.

Women are encouraged to trust in their bodies to function as they are

designed, and to trust in their health care providers to manage

problems if they arise. Therefore, we do not spend much time teaching

about complications in pregnancy and birth.

3. HypnoBirthing® encourages women to always remember that the

most important consideration during their pregnancy, labor and birthing,

is the health and wellbeing of their baby. We believe that

if women really connect and begin bonding before birth, they are more

likely to make wise decisions about managing their pregnancy and labor.

During their labor, HypnoBirthing® women are very deeply relaxed with the aid of self-hypnosis. They are able to move around in this state, and are not asleep or unconscious. They are encouraged to have their husband, a friend or relative serve as birthing companion to help them to maintain and deepen their relaxation as labor progresses. Women using HypnoBirthing® can, and will, ask for anesthesia if they need it. If you would like additional information, I am more than happy to meet with you briefly or provide a mini-in-service, perhaps over lunch or breakfast. I left some brochures for you to share with your patients.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of service to you.


Tricia Fitzgerald, M.Ed, HBCE, CD(DONA)
Gentle Beginning, Inc.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Spring is finally upon us here in Chicago.  The wind smells of life and the promise of more beautiful days to come.  My girls are thrilled to be able to play outside and I am happy that they will  no longer spend all day destroying the house!  My son Mickey is growing and changing everyday and I can't believe he'll already be 4 months old.

As I look ahead I am beginning to plan my HypnoBirthing classes and doula availability calendar.  My maternity leave from births allowed me time to bond with my baby and to nurture and nurse him on demand.  I am happy to report, though, that for doula services I am available to interview with moms and dads who have guess dates of January 2011 and later (the "later" aren't even pregnant yet!!).  I will continue to teach HypnoBirthing classes on Saturdays at Little Company of Mary Hospital                       
( http://www.lcmh.org/body.cfm?id=672) and on Sundays at Elmhurst Yoga Shala (http://www.elmhurstyogashala.com/prenatal/hypnobirthing.html).

I have a few spots left for my Saturday class beginning April 17th and my next Sunday series will begin mid-June.  Please e-mail me at fitzer21@hotmail.com for more information.

Please watch "A Baby Story" on TLC on Monday April 5th at noon to see me as a doula for one of my HypnoBirthing moms here in Chicago.

Happy Spring!!