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Callie Corless                                                                                          

Comprehensive Childbirth Classes - Birth Doula Services                                 

Denton, TX

Callie provides childbirth classes in North Dallas and Flower Mound, TX and birth doula services in the Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex. The Swaying Doula provides birth services for pregnant mothers and their families, as well as prenatal exercise and dance fitness to help pregnant mothers have a healthy pregnancy and prepare their bodies for labor, birth, and postpartum recovery.

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The Swaying Doula - birth, pregnancy, and breastfeeding information and natural birth classes in the Dallas Fort Worth Texas area including Flower Mound, Highland Village, Denton, Coppell, Lewisville, Grapevine, Irving, Plano, Frisco, and The Colony TX.

Filtering by Tag: Birth

3 Simple Things To Add To Your Birth Bag

Callie Corless

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1. Hair Ties

Have you ever gone to a workout and realized just how important that little band of elastic is? Hair plastered to the side of your face, stray strands falling in your eyes - majorly annoying. Birth is another equally bad time to forget a hair tie. Pack a few extras in your bag asap. You won’t regret it.

2. Depends

I brought this up at a visit with a client recently and they scoffed a bit at the suggestion. Then we discussed what it’s like if your water breaks early on in labor, and you’re leaking everywhere you go. Yeah. The benefits of not having to worry about constantly changing pads/clothes, and the many other charms of having these on hand soon won her over. Plus, they beat those flimsy mesh panties you get at the hospital any day!

3. Phone Charger

It’s no secret most of us really like our phones. But if you want to catch a sweet moment in labor, or tell family when the little one has arrived - only to find your battery is dead? Not good! It’s even worth it to buy an extra to keep in your bag so there’s no last minute scramble when it’s go time. 

Now go and have an AMAZING birth! 

The Lowdown On Postpartum Belly Binding

Callie Corless

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*Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare provider. I strongly encourage you to seek out the advice of your healthcare provider and to see a physical therapist who specializes in postpartum pelvic floor restoration as part of your postpartum recovery plans. Belly binding is intended as a tool for support while your body heals, not as a treatment plan or a cure for a postpartum condition.

Traditional belly binding is used in many countries around the world, and the Bengkung Belly Binding method as shown originated in Malaysia. It uses a very long strip of woven fabric - which means non-stretchy - that you wrap in a specific way around your belly postpartum to support healing after birth and shorten recovery time. 

I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea when I first heard of it, but like most things - don’t knock it ‘till you try it! (Or at least until you hear about the kind of benefits/results you can get from it.) Once I became more familiar with belly binding and had the opportunity to try it out firsthand, I was fairly amazed at what a great tool this can be for postpartum mothers. (And did you know it can be worn to help reduce cramping and discomfort while on your period? Genius.)

How can belly binding help?

When you are pregnant, your uterus expands, putting pressure on the abdominal muscles and causing them to separate. (If you’ve heard this many times before, stick with me here, there’s more! I promise.) Your hips also widen, and your pelvic floor and surrounding ligaments are stretched and weakened. Once your baby is born, your body is left without a lot of support to encourage it back towards its original position. Our bodies have amazing capabilities to stretch and give, but they also need a lot of love and support as they heal and come back together. 

Belly binding is a great option for women that want to be proactive in supporting their bodies in the immediate postpartum period. When wrapped properly, it can support these muscles and areas that may have a hard time on their own. The point is not to just “shrink your tummy” - although many women report a noticeable difference when wrapping on a regular basis after baby.

When we talk about Diastasis Recti(separation of the large abdominal muscles), this is more than just developing a “pooch”. It is a sign of core and pelvic floor weakness that can lead to other issues such as incontinence, uterine prolapse, or back pain, etc. Supporting these muscles just makes sense.

How do you wear a belly binding wrap?

Postpartum herbs - Not as weird as it looks! Simply mix with some coconut oil and rub on your belly. A flannel panel is placed over it to protect your clothes and wrap. If you aren't up for the mess, no problem. Binding alone can still be very beneficial. 

Postpartum herbs - Not as weird as it looks! Simply mix with some coconut oil and rub on your belly. A flannel panel is placed over it to protect your clothes and wrap. If you aren't up for the mess, no problem. Binding alone can still be very beneficial. 

The wrap is first anchored firmly around your hips, then carefully tied and knotted upwards over your belly until it is finished off and tucked in a few inches above your belly button. When you hire a belly binding professional, they will teach you how to wrap for comfort, and how to apply herbs if desired(there are certain herbs that can be rubbed onto the belly underneath the wrap that may assist in the recovery process). Not into herbs? The belly binding itself is still extremely beneficial.

Since the objective of binding is to support your postpartum body, it is important to have someone who understands how to use it to assist you. Binding incorrectly can actually be more damaging than not binding at all if it is done in such a way that it is pushing the uterine and abdominal muscles downwards. We want to be lifting and supporting this area.

In the end, belly binding can be a great addition to your postpartum recovery plan, especially as a head start to healing well before you begin an exercise plan.

Have more questions, or are interested in scheduling your own Belly Binding in or near Denton County, TX? Find more info. about belly binding here

Happy Postpartum!

The Episiotomy Explained: Lessons from an Easter Egg

Callie Corless

Every year our family dyes eggs for Easter, and this year my three little girls couldn't wait to get started working on their creations. After we'd colored a few eggs, my oldest daughter pulled out some plastic shrink-wrap covers, a hairdryer to shrink the covers, and started to attempt to pull the design onto the egg. After a few seconds she said "Mom, it isn't fitting! The egg is too big!". I tried to help her pull the cover on, but again, within a few seconds she was expressing her frustration with the situation. I asked what she wanted to do and then came the response, "maybe we should cut it". 

Seizing this opportunity to use as a teaching experience I explained how that might work, but that it might also end up tearing a lot farther than the original cut when we try to push the cover onto the egg. A little reluctantly she said she wanted to try it. I made a tiny 1/4" cut into the wrapper, then carefully tried to pull the cover onto the egg, and as I did she cried out because the once tiny cut was now stretched open almost to the other end of the wrapper. 

What is an episiotomy, and why might it be performed during a birth?

An episiotomy is an incision made in the perineum(the area between the vaginal opening and the anus) to widen the vaginal opening to aid in the delivery of a baby. According to a statement made by ACOG in 2006, episiotomies were originally indicated for cases such as "abnormal labor progression, non-reassuring fetal heart rate pattern, vacuum- or forceps-assisted vaginal delivery, and shoulder dystocia." Unfortunately, the use of the episiotomy became more of a routine method for speeding up delivery, and the reasoning given was that it would "reduce the risk of spontaneous perineal tearing, subsequent pelvic floor dysfunction, urinary and fecal incontinence, and sexual dysfunction." 

"A woman's body knows how much room it needs to birth a baby, and does a magnificent job of determining that amount if given the opportunity."

After reviewing the data, ACOG found that women who had an episiotomy did not have significantly better outcomes than women who did not have one performed and their position states that "[t]he use of episiotomy during labor should be restricted." What has also been discovered is that the very damage that we would want to avoid, is actually a common outcome of having an episiotomy. When an episiotomy is performed it is near impossible to make a cut only up to the exact amount needed to deliver a baby, and even then the tearing will often continue along the line of the incision as the baby is birthed. On the other hand, when a woman is supported in allowing her perineum to stretch during the pushing stage, if she does end up tearing it most often will only tear up to the amount needed to deliver her baby. A woman's body knows how much room it needs to birth a baby, and does a magnificent job of determining that amount if given the opportunity. When extensive tearing happens during a birth it is often a result of an environment that doesn't encourage the mother to listen to cues from her body as she pushes out her baby. Some common examples of an unfavorable environment include laying in an unnatural position (such as flat on her back which still remains a routine position in many hospitals) and/or from directed pushing such as "purple pushing" where a doctor or nurse tells the woman to hold her breath and push as hard as she can during a contraction(also common practice in many birth settings). Neither of these practices encourage the mother to listen to her body and follow cues for when to slow down, pause, or stop pushing all together so the baby can descend in a careful and controlled way.

When an episiotomy is necessary

As is the case in many procedures there are times when an episiotomy is necessary and has resulted in better outcomes for mom and baby. In those cases, it is vital to have a provider that you trust to know the difference between when an episiotomy needs to be performed, and when to allow time for your body to do what it was meant to do: slowly stretch and ease your baby out during the pushing stage. 

To increase your chances of avoiding an unnecessary episiotomy you may want to hire a doula who can help you know the right questions to ask your provider, and what red flags to look out for that might indicate your provider isn't a good fit for the birth you are looking for. She can also help guide you through the process of labor and birth and support you so that you have the emotional and physical stamina to allow the pushing stage to unfold naturally and safely. Researching and signing up for a great childbirth class will also help prepare you for the many facets of labor and birth, and will aid you on your way to a safe, positive birth experience. 

When my daughter and I continued with the rest of the eggs, she brought me another shrink-wrap cover and an egg and asked "will you help me put it on carefully?". We slowly eased the wrapper onto the egg, little by little, and after it was successfully applied we looked back at the two and as we did she glanced at the egg with the cut wrapper, then looked at the egg with a wrapper that was still intact and said "I think it's so much better when we just put it on carefully so we don't have to cut it". I couldn't agree more.

~Callie Corless - Birth Doula and Prenatal Dance Instructor in Dallas - Fort Worth, TX