ISBCC Preparing for Childbirth – Resources List

General Resources

Class #1: Childbirth Options

Class #2: Caring for ourselves during pregnancy



Prenatal Yoga in Boston

Healthy Pregnancy Recipes

Class #3: Stages of labor

Birth preferences

Vitamin K

Eye Ointment

GBS: Group B Streptococcus

Optimal Cord Clamping

Stages of Labor

  1. Braxton-Hicks Contractions: These are painless, seemingly random contractions that begin as early as 6 weeks but typically become noticeable during second trimester. They can be brought on by dehydration, and while they’re not problematic, if you do feel uncomfortable be sure to get plenty of water.
  2. “Warm-up” labor (also called Prodromal Labor): This pattern of start and stop labor can be confusing. Contractions may start to become regular and more intense, but labor may stop entirely, sometimes for days. This isn’t usually an issue (just go with the flow…) unless your water has broken. These contractions are working though, preparing your cervix for labor by softening and even opening it.
  3. Signs of impending labor: Bloody mucous, your “mucous plug” (which tells us that your cervix is beginning to soften and open!), cramping, feelings of nesting and restlessness.
  4. Early labor: Contractions come every 10 to 15 minutes apart and are relatively light. You can talk through them, walk through them, eat and drink and go see a movie and hang out with friends and, if it’s nighttime, get plenty of rest. A big day ahead!
  5. Active labor: Contractions come every 3-5 minutes apart and feel more intense, especially as your cervix opens more and more. This would be a good time to have your doula come over, get in the shower, receive a massage, and stay relaxed.
  6. Nearing transition: Contractions are at their most intense. You might feel nauseous and even vomit (which actually helps to open your cervix!), might feel hot or cold, or even shake from the hormones. These are all normal. You might also see bloody mucous or feel intense pressure in your pelvic area.
  7. Transition: Your cervix has dilated to 10cm and soon your body will begin pushing the baby down. With more room in the uterus, you may feel a short rest, anywhere from nothing to more than an hour.
  8. Pushing: Your uterus is bearing down against the baby and pushing her through the birth canal. You’ll bear down with your contractions until the baby crowns and is born.
  9. Immediate postpartum: The baby is born and immediately placed on your abdomen. The placenta is still sending blood through the cord to your baby until it either thins on its own or is cut. Within the next 15 minutes to an hour the placenta is born, a painless process. Your care provider will massage your uterus to ensure that your uterus is clamping down and feels hard. If you require stitches, it’ll happen during this period. You initiate breastfeeding and begin bonding as a family!
  10. When to go to the hospital? Remember 4-1-1. Contractions are coming about 4 minutes apart, last for a minute, and this pattern continues for at least an hour. Definitely go if you feel a strong urge to push (like a huge bowel movement!) or if you see bloody mucous combined with the 4-1-1 pattern. It makes sense to go if you’re experiencing other signs of nearing transition.

Local childbirth doulas:

Suggested Reading

  • The Birth Partner, 3rd Edition, Penny Simkin – A great companion for dads and other friends or family members planning on attending the labor and birth about what to expect and how to best support mom in different stages of labor.

Class #4: Medical interventions, risks, benefits, and alternatives


  • Early term (37-39 weeks) inductions without medical reasoning: Just say no (American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2013)
  • A Timely Birth (Midwifery Today, 2004)
  • Options to delay an induction: Regular non-stress tests–a test during which an external fetal monitor is placed to see how the baby reacts to Braxton-Hicks contractions–will reassure you and your caregiver that the baby is doing well. They may also request to do a biophysical profile, an ultrasound to evaluate the placenta and baby.
  • Scalini’s lasagna recipe. Several of my clients have made this recipe with success…maybe it was good timing, and maybe there’s something to it!

Cesarean Sections

Class #5: The Postpartum Period

  • Set up a food tree: Ask your friends to visit with a meal that you can put in the fridge or freezer. It should be easy to reheat. CareCalendar is an online resource for organizing friends and family as a postpartum support network.

Postnatal Bleeding

Changing Relationships

Postpartum Blues, Depression, and Anxiety

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