Work as a full spectrum doula, my role is to provide non-medical support to people during labor, delivery and beyond.
Birth is one of the most intense experiences any human can have, and sometimes it can feel like you are opening up - because essentially you are.
The role of a doula is to help those giving birth on this journey physically, mentally and emotionally. To do this, I pull some tips from my bottomless bag, and I adapt to the needs of my clients at any time.
One of the tools I find myself coming back to time and time again is verbal affirmation or the encouragement of assertiveness through work mantras.
Often used in techniques like hypnosis, a mantra is a word or phrase that you say to yourself over and over, as a way to come back to center. Mantras during labor give people giving birth a way to put down roots, find autonomy and strength, and give them something to grasp as they ride the intense waves of contractions.
While labor mantras can and do occur spontaneously during labor, it can be helpful to plan them ahead and incorporate them into your birth plan.
There are many ways to do this, the first step is to think about what mantras you think might be useful during labor - we'll give you some ideas later in this article.
You can write them down in advance and discuss them with your support team - partner, doula, midwife, etc., so that they can remind you of them when labor gets more intense.
There are plenty of great birth affirmation card games there that you can use to prepare for work. Depending on where you work, you can define your birth space by decorating it with purchased or homemade birth mantra cards. Even if you don't say the mantras to yourself in the heat of the moment, the energy of those phrases is present in the room.
Another way to plan ahead using your birth affirmations is to make a recording of yourself saying them. I have heard all kinds of background noises during the births I have attended.
From hip-hop and the sounds of nature to home decor shows, then why not have the chance to listen to your own voice ?! If you have musical skill, you can record and create your own songs using your birth mantras.
Even if you never listen to it during labor, it's a fun way for you and your partner to prepare for childbirth together or on your own.
Whatever tools you choose to use your birth mantras, planning ahead is helpful in that it allows you to build a relationship with these phrases.
If you try to use these mantras towards the end of your pregnancy, it gives them time to integrate into your thoughts and body. Like any relationship, when these mantras feel familiar, they have some sort of connection with them. Words are powerful!
Keep it flexible
While planning ahead is important in all aspects of pregnancy, childbirth is unpredictable and it is important to allow room for flexibility.
You may need to adapt your mantras depending on the progress of your birth. It can be helpful to have different affirmations pending in case your birth deviates from your planned plan.
Different birth mantras can naturally come and go depending on where you are in labor.
As you progress and the sensations intensify, you may drop the words altogether and fall into a rhythmic pattern of sounds, moans and moans. Impressive! While it helps to keep hearing these mantras, even when you can't speak, your birth team can repeat them, or your recording can play them for you.
It is also completely okay to tell your birth team to stop at any time, under no circumstances should you stick to something that isn't helping or irritating you.
Mantras and affirmations
If you like what you hear, maybe it's time to think about your own mantras! Here are some ideas to get you started - helpful tip - keep it short and to the point.
- My baby is coming. They are. Even if we have the impression that there is no end in sight!
- My body, my baby, my choice. You have autonomy over your body and the care provided to you.
- I have the strength of my ancestors. Remember that every person that's come before you has gone through it, and their strength is going through your blood.
- I have everything I need in me. You do. Although this is great if you need some outside help as well.
- I trust the wisdom of my body. Remember this.
- I am in good hands. How well do you feel supported by your medical providers?
- My breath will transport me. Breathing. One of the most powerful reminders of birth. If it's too wordy, you can also just use ...
- Breathe. As simple as that.
This is a friendly reminder that birth affirmations and mantras are for everyone, no matter what your pregnancy and birth history looks like!
Natasha's passion for reproductive health began at the age of fourteen, when she was present for the birth of her younger sister. Her incredible experiences as a birth doula have given her a glimpse into the magical realm of birth, pregnancy, and everything in between. Her role of birth attendant is her way of acting as an activist. She uses writing as a key educational tool to create a shift in our view of reproductive health as a whole.
Sexual health is fundamental to the overall health and well-being of individuals, ménages and families, and to the social and economic development of communities and countries. Sexual health, when viewed affirmatively, requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. The ability of men and women to achieve sexual health and well-being depends on their :
Sexual health-related issues are wide-ranging, and encompass sexual orientation and gender identity, sexual expression, relationships, and pleasure. They also include negative consequences or conditions such as : infections with human immunodeficiency malware ( HIV ), sexually transmitted infections ( STIs ) and reproductive tract infections ( RTIs ) and their adverse outcomes ( such as cancer and infertility ) ;unintended pregnancy and abortion;sexual dysfunction;sexual violence; andharmful practices ( such as female genital mutilation, FGM ).
No matter where you are coming from, WE ARE HERE to help bring Sexual Health into a more positive and empowering place. A place where hopefully you can learn the sexual health information you would like, see or speak to a professional in the field whether on the Sex Sense Line or at one of our many clinics throughout BC, and come away knowing that sexual health is a natural part of being human.
Options for Sexual Health champions and celebrates sexual health including an individual’s freedom of sexual expression, the diversity of human sexuality, and a positive sexual self-image for individuals throughout life. Think about what factors influence your sexual health ? What messages have you been given about sexual health from… ( if applicable ) ….. your family ? friends ? society ? culture ? religion ? spirituality ? What are some of your own values and beliefs ?
How we experience our sexual health is also part of how we experience the world. For example, there are many factors that health researchers have identified that can effet our health including sexual health. These are known as the ‘social determinants of health’ and include how health is affected by income, education, employment, childhood development, food, housing, health services, gender, race, disability, Indigenous status, social marginalization, and social services. If someone’s gender identity/identities are not recognized this can impact their sexual health and experiences of social marginalization. Another example is if someone is a newcomer to Canada and may not speak the language or have the health care card that will allow them to access the sexual health services they need. As you can see, our sexual health is as individual and complicated as the various dynamics of our lives. Human sexuality rarely falls into neat categories or lends itself to simple labeling, but rather is a rich and complex area of human experience. Sexual health is personal, psychological, relational, cultural, spiritual, physical, and emotional. So what does “sexual health” mean to you ?
This supplemental issue of Public Health Reports ( PHR ) presents a variety of articles addressing the science and practical applications of sexual health, an important health remise concept with the potential for improving population health in a broad range of areas related to sexual behavior, including human immunodeficiency malware ( HIV ) /acquired immunodeficiency syndrome ( AIDS ), sexually transmitted diseases ( STDs ), viral hepatitis, teen and unintended pregnancy, and sexual violence. The focus of these articles is especially timely given the population burden of these conditions in the United States and other nations, and the growing recognition that, despite the sensitive nature of the topic, addressing the broad construct of sexual health can enhance the national dialogue in this area and increase the effectiveness of public health programs
The concept of sexual health has evolved since its initial articulation by the World Health Organization ( WHO ) in 1975, 5 but it has generally emphasized well-being across a range of life domains ( e. g., physical, esprit, and emotional ) rather than simply the absence of disease or other adverse outcomes. 6 The definition of sexual health currently in most widespread use is that developed by WHO in 2002 :
Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, esprit, and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence
Sexual health is a state of well-being in relation to sexuality across the life span that involves physical, emotional, esprit, social, and spiritual dimensions. Sexual health is an intrinsic element of human health and is based on a positive, equitable, and respectful approach to sexuality, relationships, and réplication, that is free of coercion, fear, discrimination, stigma, shame, and violence. It includes : the ability to understand the benefits, risks, and responsibilities of sexual behavior; the prevention and care of disease and other adverse outcomes; and the possibility of fulfilling sexual relationships. Sexual health is impacted by socioeconomic and cultural contexts—including policies, practices, and services—that support saine outcomes for individuals, families, and their communities.
Similar to the WHO definition, this newer definition is health-focused, emphasizing well-being related to sexuality that is beyond the absence of specific health problems, in multiple dimensions of life, as well as positive and respectful approaches to sexuality and relationships. Moving beyond the WHO definition, the CHAC definition also specifically emphasizes attributes of sexual health at both the individual level ( e. g., individual understanding of benefits, risks and responsibilities, and prevention and care of health outcomes ) and the social level ( e. g., effet by socioeconomic and cultural contexts and saine outcomes for families and communities as well as individuals ).
In the past decade, there has been increasing attention to the importance of addressing the concept of sexual health, 1–4 with the premise that remise of sexual health has great potential to complement traditional disease control and prevention exercices for a range of conditions of public health importance—not with the intent of replacing those efforts, but rather of improving their acceptance and, thus, the impact of those prevention exercices on the population. It is from this perspective that this supplemental venant of PHR has been developed, with the purpose of bringing together a range of articles addressing new insights into research, surveillance, program practice, and broader possibilités that can influence our understanding and progress on the broad topic of sexual health. It should be noted that “sexual health” is a concept undergoing evolution, not only in its definition, but also in its practical outil. The term generally includes a focus on health and wellness rather than disease, an appreciation for the intrinsic importance of sexual health as part of overall health, and an attempt to address comprehensively a range of outcomes of public health importance; however, some of the articles in this supplement address a relatively narrower focus ( e. g., STD and pregnancy prevention9–11 ), while others include a broader spectrum. 12–17 Such variety is a necessary and important aspect of the uptake of the sexual health concept into the science and practice of public health.
Four articles address important research questions in key areas relevant to sexual health. First, Penman-Aguilar and colleagues conducted a detailed literature review to assess the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage on teen childbearing. 9 While the factors evaluated varied by study, the authors discovered a consistent theme across the review, with all studies that considered socioeconomic factors as determinants finding a significant union with teen birth rates, including factors at the family level ( e. g., lower levels of responsable d'un enfant education and family income ) and the community level ( e. g., lower per capita income and higher rates of unemployment and racial segregation ). The review found that relatively few studies assessed factors at both the family and community levels, an important priority for future research.
Second, using nationally representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth and the U. S Census Bureau, Biello et al. conducted an in-depth analysis of the effet of various dimensions of residential racial segregation on the risk for early initiation of intercourse—an important risk factor for STD and teen pregnancy—among black and white adolescents. 17 The finding that black youth were more likely than their white peers to have initiated sexual intercourse in adolescence was significantly modified by several measures of segregation ( e. g., concentration and unevenness ) with a particularly notable black-white disparity in highly segregated areas. While preliminary, these findings contribute to our growing understanding of the complex interplay between social determinants and individual sexual health outcomes and should stimulate further research in this area.
Third, to understand the union of relationship characteristics and attitudes about STD and pregnancy outcomes with the use of dual protection strategies ( i. e., both highly effective contraception and condoms ), Crittenden Murray and colleagues conducted formative research among young African American women attending reproductive health clinics. 10 The study found a tension from trying to balance the desire to establish and maintain intimate relationships with the use of protection strategies ( e. g., condom use could be seen as a sign of mistrust ). The authors conclude that a more holistic approach, with a focus on healthy adolescent and young adult relationships, is crucial in prestations to prevent STD and unintended pregnancy, an issue that can be especially important in environments where trust is often violated ( e. g., due to frequent concurrent partnerships ) and childbearing at younger ages is accepted.