Thursday, January 19, 2017

10 STEPS to a Good Respected Birth in Central Florida

10 STEPS to a Good Respected Birth in Central Florida

This is one of the biggest questions I get asked constantly… this is also one of the biggest reasons why I get hired… is to have a respected choice in birth.

STEP 1: Eat Healthy.

Start your pregnancy out right. Eat healthy. Avoid complications later by starting as soon as you can, even if it’s the end of your pregnancy - It’s NEVER too late. Also, it is the best time for you and your family to transition into a healthier lifestyle that your child can model from you later.

Katinka Bencs, Health Coach and Culinary Nutritionist teach a NourishME series. It can help you not only with basic nutrition but she will also show you how to put it in practice. The classes are taught in her own kitchen. You get to enjoy a 3-course, wholesome, gluten, dairy free, and mostly organic meal. You get to take home the recipes. On top of all of this an arsenal of knowledge on how to build a strong foundation for the health of your baby, while having a healthy journey into motherhood. The information she shares is not typically shared by healthcare professionals Katinka can really help you with cutting back on research time.
The NourishME - Expecting Mommies (part of the series) is definitely a must for any new mom (and dad) who would like to get inspired to get in the kitchen. Learn to whip up nourishing meals while also expanding their lifestyle with nourishing choices she presents. It also doubles as a great date night!

NourishME – Expecting Mommies Covers:
- Essential nutrients,

- maintaining energy levels,

- stabilizing blood sugar,

- managing morning (or evening) sickness,

- making better choices to satisfy those (let’s be honest sometimes crazy) cravings

- holistic lifestyle adjustment

STEP 2: Stay Active

Studies show that active moms and adjusted moms (at the hands of a chiropractor) experience:

- Less discomfort during pregnancy
- Gain less weight

- Feel better and have a higher self-esteem
- With toned abs and a regular cardio workout moms will have more stamina.

-Moms that are physically fit are less likely to ask for pain medication.
-Less likely to be constipated
-Less likely to develop Gestational Diabetes and Pre-Eclampsia (with a good wholesome nutritional diet)
-Less likely to have a malpositioned baby.
-The best one of all these is… Labors tend to be shorter!

Inspirit's Prenatal Yoga is a good way to stay active. 

 STEP 3: Get Adjusted, regularly.


Because if your pelvic bones or tendons are torqued or out of line the uterus can be misshapen, which can in turn make the baby sit awkwardly and maybe even in a breech position. Getting regular adjustments are an easy way to avoid malpositioned babies. During labor, getting adjusted can help keep your pelvis open and baby descend with more ease. 

Orlando is lucky to have a wide selection of very experienced (in pregnancy, birth, postpartum and babies) chiropractors. Best part is that there is likely to be one right around the corner of your neighborhood.

We have several great chiropractors here locally in Orlando, FL.

Some of our favorites include:

Christina Cueller at Revival Chiropractic, -Altamonte, FL.
Cynthia Gabaldon – Baldwin Park, FL.
Beyond Chiropractic –  Altamonte Springs, FL.
Spaulding Family Chiropractic –  Sanford, FL.
Long Family Chiropractic –  College Park, FL.
Life Connection Family Chiro- Avalon Park, FL.
Peak Chiropractic – Celebration, FL.
Body Healing Chiropractic – Kissimmee, FL.

STEP 4: Educate Yourself and Your Partner.

Education is Key. I cannot say this enough. The more educated you are the better and wider your options will be. You don’t know what you don’t know, right?

Start of by reading:
  • Ina May’s Guide to childbirth; 
  • A Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, and 
  • Hypnobirthing, Morgan method

These are the basics we suggest every client read.

Find a good childbirth education class. The best bet is to find one OUTSIDE of a hospital, one from a birth center or an independent source.  Even if you are birthing at a hospital, find one that will teach you the tools you need to manage labor and navigate the LOCAL hospital system. Doulas of Orlando offers comprehensive childbirth education course. For more information please visit our website.

STEP 5: Choose a Good Provider.

Wait, you already have a health-care provider? 

Ok that’s good! 
Do you know the provider's C-section rate? 
What does the provider think about natural birth? 
Does the provider suggest you take childbirth education? 
What about Doulas? 
What about VBACs? Does the provider support them? 

These are basic questions you want to ask your provider.

Midwives are safe option here in Central Florida, especially for moms whom are experiencing a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy. Word of warning they are not all made the same. So shop around and pick one YOU feel safe and comfortable with.

We, doulas, cover and go over our favorite OB-GYNs and Midwives with our clients. Go ahead ask us.

STEP 6: Choose a Good Birth Location.

In Orlando you have the choice between: Birth centers, Home Birth, and Hospitals. It is important to keep an open mind and explore your options. It’s not one shoe fits all.

So, how do you know if you choose a good location? Give me the 411! The numbers, it’s all about the numbers! Remember, you want clear and straightforward answers and those come in percentages! According to The World Health Organization C-section rates should be 8-15%, these are NEEDED C-sections. 

We have a problem with our C-section rates in Florida. Florida is the 4th most C-section happy state of the good old US of A, with some hospitals reporting 70% C-section rates. Locally here in Orlando and the outskirts it’s around 40%. WHICH IS FAR TOO HIGH. There are times when a C-section is the best for both mom and baby, and we completely respect that. It is your choice and we support YOUR choice 100%

So let’s say you want to stick with your current provider and this provider only works out of a certain location… Then the next step is crucial.

STEP 7: Hire a Certified Doula. No I’m Not Kidding.

Hiring a good experienced certified doula comes with a price and yes it is totally worth it! We can help you navigate any hiccup that can happen before, during and even after birth. A good doula should be unbiased to the type of birth you want to have. 

No, doulas are NOT just for women wanting a natural birth. A mom who chooses to get an epidural will need support changing positions to keep labor going, will need support during pushing and more. Moms whom have a medically necessary or elective procedures like a c-section will need support just like a mom having a vaginal birth. They are giving birth too. Things can change during labor and having a professional who has been in similar situations can be a priceless tool to keep you and your partner calm and in the loop.

A doula is there to support your choices in an unbiased manner and provide comfort measures. She is also there to make sure you understand everything that is going on and that the providers take the time to explain everything fully. Translating medical jargon is part of the doula's job too.

 Average investment for a certified experienced doula here in Central Florida is 750 and can be up to 1800+. Book us early because we get booked quickly

STEP 8: Make a Birth Plan.

Saying you are 100% sure you are not having a C-section is unrealistic but a healthy 10-15% chance is. You want to make sure you stay positive and flexible. Try to keep your plan limited to ONE page even if its back and front. Make sure you include any traditions or special request. Most hospitals especially here locally will go over it with you. I would love to say that “Gone are the days that they made fun of moms for bringing in birth plans”… not entirely. You still get a few stragglers but make sure you make your wishes clear. YOU are the boss; it is YOUR choice what ultimately happens to you and your baby. Not the doctor’s, nurse’s and NO not your doula’s choice either.

Make sure to ask a lot of questions.

STEP 9: Wait for Labor to start on its own.

I can almost hear the groans. Yes, I feel you. I know it’s hard when it’s the last few weeks/days(or you flew by your due date, SORRY!) of pregnancy and you feel huge and uncomfortable. 

This is a big one. According to American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology elective inductions increase your chances of having a C-section rate by 50%. With our local C-section rates at about 40% you can be looking at an overall 60% risk with just the intervention of inducing your labor, add other interventions and well it goes up. 

Your baby also benefits from the hormones of labor. Baby is the one that starts the process of labor, signaling that he or she is ready to be born. 

Remember to follow the steps and it will keep your chances of a good respected birth high, even if you choose to be induced, get an epidural or have a c-section. Which is ok! Remember it is YOUR choice.

 STEP 10: Stay Home as Long As Possible!

Laboring at home is tough but the most comfortable. As a first time mom it’s easy to get excited and we are very influenced by the media’s portrayal of birth. Birth, on TV, is immediate; that kinda goes like this: BAM! Water breaks, contractions start and now comes the baby! Total of what 3-5 minutes? NOP! Totally not how it goes. Average first-time mom can labor 12-24hours, which is believe it or not NORMAL.

Staying home will also help you dilate. So dance, move, walk, bathe and love on your partner to get your baby down and out! This is better than rushing to the hospital, waiting hours in a triage waiting room, be taken back to more waiting and then to be discharged because you’re only 2-3 centimeters dilated. Most hospitals now will only admit you once you're 6cm or close to.

Your certified experienced central Florida doula will have a good idea when it’s time to head to your place of birth or call your midwife. Of course if you feel it’s time, it’s time! You know your body better than anyone else, trust your gut.

 Doulas of Orlando is, of course, the place to go to find a certified experienced doula. 
Doulas of Orlando teaches in private and group childbirth education courses, which are based on birthing here in Central Florida. Call us at 321-804-2969 to schedule a free consultation or visit our website

Monday, August 1, 2016


Interview by Maria Luna Inthisack, CD(DONA) of Doulas of Orlando, LLC (Part 1)

Dr. Cynthia Gabaldon has a unique practice which centers on prenatal and pediatric chiropractic care. She works closely with Doulas, Midwives and Ob-gyns to give moms wanting a comfortable pregnancy exactly that.
What is Chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is centered on removing interference from the nervous system to the body. The nervous system is master control that runs the body. It which is protected by the skull and the spinal column or vertebrae. When those bones misalign the nerves that exit between vertebrae are affected on –how they transmit commands from the brain which in turn can affect the body, system, organs, tissues and cells. If we understand the importance of proper communication between the body and the nervous system then it is easy to see why misalignments can affect organ function, health, movement: the entire body’s proper function.
Why is this type chiropractic care so important in pregnancy?
Cynthia: “The nervous system controls everything. In terms of the health of the mother and development of the baby the nervous system is critical; having an aligned body keeps the communication lines open for baby’s proper development and health. My practice is a little different from a typical chiropractic office.  We deal with issues that are exclusive to pregnancy.”
“For example: as a baby grows the center of gravity in the mother’s body changes, muscles now tighten to keep her upright and not falling over. Additionally, the Relaxin hormone that is now in the mother’s body makes ligaments unstable.
What usual symptoms do you see that would make a mother come in to see you?
Cynthia: Usually, it’s either a mom in her third trimester when she is feeling uncomfortable with lower or mid back pain. Or a mom that saw me in her previous pregnancy will come in the first trimester to feel amazing the whole time. What’s good about coming in pregnancy is that same hormone Relaxin that makes the area unstable is also what makes it easier for me to move those bones back in place. Something that may have taken a non-pregnant person two or three weeks to correct may take one or two visits in a pregnant person. Other things they did not realize that I could help with also get relieved like headaches or shallow breathing. Most mothers think that shallow breathing is from baby being way up in their diaphragm and that’s why they can’t breathe. When most of the time it is actually because the muscles in the mid-back have gotten so tight that its caused the ribs to lose the normal alignment with the spine, and it pinches the nerves that control the lifting and lowering of the rib cage so they can’t get a good deep breath.
Symptoms chiropractic adjustments can alleviate:
  • Morning sickness
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sciatica
  • Low and mid back pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Pain in the hips
  • Pubic bone pain
  • Varicose veins
  • Swelling
  • Carpal tunnel

Do you need special training to adjust a pregnant woman?
Cynthia: “Yes and no. Any chiropractor can adjust a pregnant woman, having said that, there are certifications. The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association ( has a diplomat program in prenatal and pediatric care– post-doctoral degree, which provides a chiropractor more experience but is not required.
A lot of moms ask: can seeing a chiropractor hurt me or my baby?
Cynthia: “There is no contraindication to seeing a chiropractor, or being adjusted at all. I have never heard of anyone or baby being hurt by an adjustment while being pregnant. It is very safe. In my office I have a table that opens up to accommodate a pregnant figure. So, there is no contraindication to adjustment.”
Can it cause a mom to go into preterm labor?
Cynthia: “No. No. The Webster’s technique is used to remove pelvic misalignments. That will help baby get into a better position for Labor but will not cause labor that is not imminent.”
 Is there anything an expecting mom should ask the chiropractor before she goes to them for adjustments?
Cynthia: a few good things to ask are:
  • If they have postdoctoral training in pediatrics and prenatal chiropractic? You can also check on the for certified Chiropractors. Although some are not listed on there. It is a good place to start your search.
  • What percentage of pregnant women do you see?
  • What percentage of children do you see?
This can give you an idea of how often they treat women or children, and also will show you how comfortable they are treating these types of patients.
We all have the perception that pregnancy is supposed to be hard on woman and that’s mostly all we hear. Many women suffer from really bad morning sickness or are not able to sleep, for example. How does that differ from your experience as a chiropractor?
Cynthia: “A lot of moms in my practice feel amazing. When a mom comes in with a lot of aches and pains, I already know that in a few weeks we are going to be really good friends. They are going to feel so great. I know that pregnancy is not supposed to be uncomfortable it is not supposed to be painful! I know this because I see it every day in my practice. Nurses, for example, have notoriously long shifts with heavy lifting and they tell me all the time that if they didn’t come in for regular adjustments between shifts they probably would not have been able to work late in their third trimester. What I see over and over is that misconception: “oh well, deal with it because you’re pregnant!” I couldn’t disagree more! Absolutely don’t deal with it!
If you are in pain in your pregnancy you are going to have elevated levels of cortisone and adrenalin. You are not going to have a good healthy attitude, the relationship with your partner will suffer, and you’re not going to be keeping active which is really important for pregnancy. Over all you are not going to have a good quality of life. I hear it all across the board. So it is nice to know that it is not only possible but it is usually the case that women have phenomenal pregnancies. You can also have a phenomenal pregnancy too and chiropractic care is a piece of the puzzle.
In a nutshell Moms-to-be when adjusted by a chiropractor, like Dr. Gabaldon, will see:
More energy
Digestion improves
Will sleep better
Headaches will start to go away
Lower and/or mid back won’t hurt anymore
Overall they feel better

OH! Did I mention that regular adjustments with a chiropractor like Dr. Cynthia Gabaldon can also help with labor? Stay tuned for Part 2 to this article. Check out Cynthia Gabaldon's website at

Originally written for Dimples Magazine found here

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Who Are We?


"She was most amazing as the laboring became stronger and stronger. She kept me focused and stayed by my side the whole entire time. A true testament as to why a doula is so crucial and needed at the time of childbirth" - Veronica

 Hi, I am Luna, a DONA Certified Doula, Childbirth Educator, Certified Lactation Counselor, and Placenta Encapsulator Specialist. I am just one of the experienced doulas at Doulas of Orlando.

So, what is a doula?

This question has been asked and answered through the ages by some of the most eloquent writers. The word “doula” is defined by Merriam-Webster as: a woman experienced in childbirth who provides advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth.  

The doula can hold numerous titles and serve various needs. There are Labor or Birth Doulas, Postpartum Doulas, Antepartum Doulas,  Loss Doulas, Rainbow Doulas, and even Hospice Doulas. She could be called a birth companion, a support person, or even just a friend. She can take as active or passive a role as the birthing couple wishes. 

Simply put... we are here to support YOU in whatever way you define it. 

Here at Doulas of Orlando we can offer our clients Antepartum, Birth, Postpartum, Bereavement, and Rainbow Doula services.

Our Mission is to serve the diverse community of Central Florida, bringing doulas that are multicultural and multilingual onto the team. We are actively recruiting doulas from all parts of the world to fill the very big need minorities have in Central Florida. It is our pleasure and honor to serve our community by supporting families in some of the most transitional moments of their lives. Mothers are the glue of society; by showing them unbiased support we can help make it a smooth transition into motherhood and therefore do our part in society.