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Friday, June 8th, 2012
12:23 am - Advice regarding first birth observation

Hi all, this is my first post!

I decided a few years ago that I want to become a doula, but have delayed my certification process for various reasons.
Yesterday a co-worker learned this and asked if I would be interested in providing doula services for her as part of my certification. My husband and I have discussed it at length, and decided that circumstances will never be perfect, so I should use this as motivation and just go for it. I am equally excited and terrified, which (for me) is a good sign!

I have already been working on the required reading, and will be attending a birth doula workshop at the end of July. My coworker is due November 3rd. She is really excited about the possibility of having a doula, and anxious for my answer. I want to let her know that I am going to commit to this, but because I don't have any real training yet, I don't know the initial process between families and doulas. I am admittedly anxious about this because she is technically my superior and also generally very needy and clingy, so I want to make sure we establish clear expectations and boundaries from the beginning. I'm unsure of the best way to proceed...

Should I tell her yes, but say that we should hold off on further conversation until after my workshop?
When should I have her read and sign the Client Confidentiality Release Form?
Should we discuss our expectations, boundaries, services provided, birth plan, etc., or hold off? What *should* we discuss now?

Obviously I am *very* green here, so any advice is very welcome!
Thanks in advance!

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Monday, March 5th, 2012
9:57 am - two questions

hi all,

two questions for you:

-do any of you manage to provide doula or midwife services without a cell phone (either because you just don't have a cell phone or you live somewhere rural enough that cell phones don't work there)? if so, how do you make sure that folks are able to easily reach you?

-if you have a backup doula that you use in case something happens and you are unable to make it to a birth, did you manage to find someone who is very similar to you in personality / doula style? or do you feel comfortable having anyone who is trained be your backup?


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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
10:38 am - Client Pregnant after Miscarrage - Advice Needed

I was contacted by a prospective client in May to work as a doula for their first birth. When she was about 9 weeks along she miscarried.

The other day she contacted me to say that she is pregnant again.

I'm going to be meeting with her and her husband tomorrow and I know that the emotions from the last pregnancy will need to be dealt with (maybe not at that meeting, but some time). Does anyone have advice on what I might say or how I can act?

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Monday, December 20th, 2010
3:40 pm - Doula Groups working in Shifts

A few seasoned doula friends and I are planning a collaborative effort which will require us to work in shifts. I am wondering how other doulas working in groups arrange their time, and still manage to make sure that everyone is paid adequately, even if they are not present for the birth-moment.

Any advice on this subject?
Please do tell!

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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
9:38 pm - CAPPA Approved Labor Doula Training

CAPPA is holding a labor doula training in San Francisco, CA on September 18th - 19th, 2010. Both days are from 9am-5pm, with small breaks. This is a great opportunity to certify with an amazing organization and get in person discussion and information.

Start your journey and business as a Certified Labor Doula - earn money while doing something you are passionate about and supporting families through the labor and birth of their baby / babies.

What you will learn during the training:

*How to secure clients, interviewing and follow through
*Scope of Practice for Labor Doulas
*Code of Conduct for Labor Doulas
*Informed consent and informed refusal for your clients
*Interventions for birth / when are they medically necessary
*Comfort techniques for Labor and Birth
*Supporting parents in the immediate postpartum period
*Breastfeeding Basics
*Listening and communication skills
*Creating and marketing your business
*Much, much more!!!

The cost is $350.00, this includes your training manual, attendance and handouts. The cost for your certification packet, membership and processing fees are separate.

To learn more and REGISTER contact Rena' Koerner at 562.925.6948 or email doularena@integrativechildbirth.com. You can also visit CAPPA at www.cappa.net

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6:23 pm - Placenta!

If this isn't allowed, I apologize...please feel free to delete.

I've just created a new community on LJ called placenta_love. It's a place for birth professionals, placenta encapsulation specialists, birth junkies, parents and anyone who has an appreciation for placenta. My hope is that it will be a vibrant space for placenta pictures/artwork, stories, rituals, recipes, questions and tips.

X-posted like crazy. Thank you for your patience. :)

current mood: calm

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Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
11:45 pm - The Doula Project is Recruiting! Applications are due 6/1

Hey all,

Here's a copy of our application, but you can also find it at www.doulaproject.org



Hey friends!
The Doula Project is seeking smart, awesome, caring people to join our organization in New York City!

What is a Doula?
The word doula is an ancient Greek term that translates to “caregiver.” A doula provides emotional support, pain management and relaxation techniques, and information to her clients as needed.
Birth - A Birth Doula will provide all of the above throughout a client's labor and delivery, as well as the immediate postpartum period (about two hours after the baby has been born). The doula meets with clients prenatally to talk about birthing preferences, the creation of a birth plan, and to practice different positions and relaxation techniques for labor. Additionally, a birth doula provides a postpartum visit to review the client’s birth experience and refer them to any resources they may need. Birth doulas are on call for their clients for five weeks, from week 37 – 42 of their pregnancies.
Abortion- An Abortion Doula will provide all of the above to clients who are choosing to terminate the pregnancy. The doula will stay with the client throughout her procedure, as well as part of the recovery period, and will remain in touch with the client as she desires thereafter.

About The Doula Project:
The Doula Project is a pro-choice New York City-based organization that was started in 2007 to provide free services to lower-income individuals across the spectrum of pregnancy. It was founded by pro-choice doulas and reproductive justice activists, two of whom currently serve as the Project Co-Coordinators. The Project is a volunteer led and run organization that trains and manages its own doula base. We currently have 3 programs that serve the greater NYC area:
1) To provide doula care to people facing abortion, miscarriage, and stillbirth (in partnership with a Manhattan Public Hospital and Planned Parenthood Brooklyn). You do not have to be a birth doula to serve as an abortion doula. We train our own volunteers on this component of care.
2) To provide doula care to people choosing adoption (in partnership with Spence Chapin Adoption Agency). Please be a trained birth doula to apply. We do not require a lot of experience, only a formal training with an established doula certifying program.
3) To provide doula care on a case by case basis to lower-income individuals who are not affiliated with either of our partner organizations.  Please be a trained birth doula to apply. We do not require a lot of experience, only a formal training with an established doula certifying program.
We are recruiting doulas for all components of our mission, though priority is given to those who are interested in being both Birth and Abortion Doulas. While you are not required to serve as a doula for all components, you are expected to support the mission and values of the entire project and the work each individual doula engages in.  You are also expected to attend all components of our training. We encourage you to apply for all components of our work!

Abortion Doulas:
We are looking for people interested in training as abortion doulas to work with clients in NYC clinics and hospitals. Doulas will be present and provide emotional support to clients before, during and after abortions. We are looking for people who can work at least 2 weekdays a month as well as complete 40 hours of training, provided by The Doula Project, in the summer of 2010.  Trained birth doulas are particularly encouraged to apply, though we are excited to bring on reproductive health and justice activists who have no prior doula training.
Job description:
*Report to the assigned hospital/clinic each workday
*Meet with clients in the clinic/hospital before abortion and answer any
questions/concerns, help fill out paperwork, and provide pre-abortion
*Provide client with emotional support during abortion (includes 1st and
2nd trimester and lamanaria placements). Please note: This means you will be expected to be in the operating room with the client as needed.
*Provide clients with your number to call you anytime to talk after abortion.
*Meet with clients anytime if desired after abortion

*Commit to two 5- 8-hour weekdays per month (Monday – Friday 9-5PM)
*Commit to meeting with the client outside of clinic setting after abortion, if desired
*Provide personal number to client as desired
*Attend monthly abortion doula meetings
*Attend 40 hours of training in the summer of 2010 (includes 25 hours classroom over the course of one week/15hours clinic over the course of three to four weekdays)
*At least one-year commitment to project
*When working in hospital/clinic settings, become hospital/clinic volunteer and go through volunteer training
Adoption and Birth Doulas:
We are looking for previously trained birth doulas to work with birth moms who may be choosing adoption and with clients who cannot otherwise afford doula care. We partner with Spence-Chapin to provide doula support to their clients and support low-income clients who sign up through our website, free of charge. You do not have to have a lot of experience as a doula and will work as part of a two-person doula team. A back-up doula will always be provided for every birth.
Job description:
*Provide non-judgmental prenatal and labor support for clients who are choosing an adoption plan
*Coordinate with your partner doula to ensure that at least one of you will be available at all times during your five-week on-call period.
*Meet with clients, for a minimum of two prenatal visits as desired by the client and as time allows
*Assist client in the creation of a birth plan
*Answer questions and provide resources per client's request
*Remain in constant contact with client before and during the on-call period, and after, as client desires
*Provide continuous support at the time of the client's labor and delivery
*Meet with clients for a minimum of one postpartum visit after the birth, as the client desires
*Participate in adoption training with Spence-Chapin (part of larger training we provide)
* Commit to one (1) birth every 6 weeks
* Commit to a minimum of two prenatal visits and two postpartum visits
*Commit to the five-week on-call period with your partner doula. At least one of you must be available at all times during the on-call period.
*Provide personal cell phone or pager number to clients
*At least one-year commitment to the project
*Adhere to Doula Project and Spence-Chapin policies and protocols.

Doula training will take place the weekend of July 17th and 18th (9am-5pm), as well as the evenings of Tuesday, July 20th and Thursday, July 22nd (6pm-9pm). In order to offset some of the cost of the training workshops, we will be asking each applicant accepted to the Doula Project to pay $25 on the first day of training.  We recognize that this may be difficult for some of us; if this is the case for you, please just drop us a line.  We will waive the workshop fee, no questions asked.

How to apply:
 People with experience in doula work, reproductive health, rights and justice
work, abortion counseling or health services are encouraged to apply. People
under 30, people of color, queer and trans people and Spanish speakers are strongly
desired. People with flexible/free weekdays are ideal.  While we are willing to negotiate for the right person, priority will be given to those who can commit to at least two weekdays a month.

*Abortion doulas and births doulas who take births through our website will serve in an unpaid volunteer capacity. Adoption doulas will receive small stipends through the adoption agency. We realize this is a big time commitment and will do everything possible to take care of our doulas and work within your schedules.*

If you are interested in working with us, we are accepting applications now
through June 1st. Please send completed applications at apply@doulaproject.org.

The Doula Project:
Application for Training 2010

Basic Information

Email address:
Phone number:

Please list any languages other than English that you speak and your proficiency in each:

Please provide a detailed picture of your regular day-to-day commitments and general schedule for the next year:

Can you attend the trainings on the weekend of July 17th-18th (9am - 5pm), as well as the evening trainings on Tues, July 20th, and Thurs, July 22nd (6pm - 9pm)?


How did you hear about The Doula Project?

Are you a (trained) birth doula? ___ Yes ____ No
If not, are you interested in becoming a birth doula? ____ Yes ____ No
Please check the boxes for the doula work you are interested in doing for the Doula Project: ____ birth doula _____ abortion doula ____ both birth/abortion

Please describe your experience and/or interest in birth, abortion, and/or adoption work: 

You will be working with several other doulas and clinic staff closely and will be expected to communicate with them frequently and share your experiences working in the clinic.  If you are a birth doula, you will be working as part of a co-doula team with your clients.  What is your experience in working with a team and what role do you usually take?

What is your experience working with communities or cultures that are different from your own?

What is unique about you that could contribute to the Project and could enhance your work as a doula?

What do you think the role of a doula should be during a birth or abortion?

Please write a personal statement that responds to the following questions: What does the phrase “Spectrum of Choice” mean to you?  How do you see this phrase as being relevant to being a doula?

Please submit a resume highlighting your work in reproductive health, rights, or justice, counseling, social work, doula work, our health services. Please also submit 2 references who would not mind being contacted.

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Saturday, February 27th, 2010
4:35 pm - A new doula's rant

I attended a birth on Wednesday. It all went well. I think she was satisfied and informed and is totally in love with her new baby boy. It was good. This woman did receive her fair amount of interventions, but she seem completely content with them at each step of the way. This morning we had a visit and she felt that everything went as well as it could and didn't think she would have changed a thing (she wasn't anti-intervention, really, but I thought she'd have liked to stall more on some things). So yay! That's what it's all about, right? Also, zero complications with mama and baby, which was really nice to see considering that my other two clients both had some emergent situation towards the end (precipitated by what, I'll never know...). The moment of birth is magical, for sure, and it was a privilege to be there for them on such an amazing day.

Aside from the doula portion, just the experience of the hospital is really crazy to me. I just can't for the life of me understand some of this stuff. It's all so invasive and rushed. Doctors say things that are untrue- or at least are based in untruth. For instance, with the last birth I attended we had to continually bargain our way out of pitocin. My client was at 8cm (and had been for an hour) and was having strong, piggybacking contractions. They came in and said "It's not anything you're doing wrong, but for some reason your contractions aren't doing the job that they are supposed to..." It's stuff like this that makes me want to burst out of my peaceful doula role and say "Well how the hell do you think her cervix has been dilating? huh?" I also went on the hospital tour with this particular client, and the nurse told the group that the reason they don't allow food during labor is because you actually aren't able to digest it... Uhm. No. That's not why, and it's not even true. I also happen to know that her doctor was actually irritated that my client didn't want an epidural (she was talking about it in the hallway and my nurse friend overheard). What is that about?
With this birth in particular, there were a few things that stood out. First, they started her on pitocin from the get-go, and had her convinced that her labor was already taking too long. They also didn't really listen to her when she said she didn't want more pain meds towards the end- upping her pit and sending in the nurse anesthetist anyway (at which point she was overcome again and didn't care). They fed her lines about her contractions not being strong enough to "do anything" and her labor needing to move along (for the record, she was admitted at 3:30am at 3cm and baby was born exactly 12 hours later). They also basically ignored her desire to try pushing in different positions and just kind of swept in and put the bed back and lifted her legs up. They also forgot that she wanted to wait to cut the cord until is stopped pulsating and cut it immediately. They were (to me) very aggressive about the delivery of the placenta at the end, giving her more pitocin to get it going just moments after the birth and pushing on her tender belly. At the very end, it's all going so fast- I just want them to take a minute to give her an option and let her know what they are doing!

I don't mean to sound like such a rookie- I know this is common procedure and my client didn't take issue with any of it. I'm a new doula, but I do a lot of research and have heard my fair share of stories. The thing is- this was so mild compared to my experience of the doctors with my other two births... I just end up feeling like we narrowly escaped some disaster this time- and I resent feeling that way. I also end up feeling SO lucky that I chose to have a homebirth- both because I really think I would have faced lots of intervention and bargaining out of things (44 hours of labor is probably not acceptable to them...), and also because it gives me fresh eyes while I'm a witness to the system. This model of care is SO DIFFERENT from what I experienced with my midwife. In many ways it leaves me questioning motives and feeling utterly confused. I don't want to think of these doctors in this way, and of course there are many exceptions, but sometimes it's really hard not to see many of them as detached and bored, unable to question their way of doing things.

I think the thing that I dislike the most about this model of care is the notion that women can't birth on their own and that their bodies are somehow faulty. They never explain why they are adhering to this timeline for "progress" and why it means that the cervix has to so steadily dilate, or why a woman's instincts are so frequently wrong to them. I can't tell you how often I read some new mama's reflection on her birth where she says something like "My pelvis was too small" or "I couldn't dilate" or something about how her baby was somehow saved. That kind of thing always makes me wonder what kinds of interventions were in place before those conditions came about, because I can't accept that so many women grow babies that they can't naturally birth.

This is nothing new to me, but it frustrates and confuses me to no end. I really do see the need for doulas and birth educators and just people who will help to empower women and their families. I feel like I'm doing important work. However, I can't for the life of me understand so much of what's going on at the other end. I truly hope that we are on the cusp of some revelatory change in the birth world (at least in the US), but until then I am left to wonder why so much is still broken in spite of all the knowledge at our fingertips.

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Thursday, November 5th, 2009
11:51 am

Is anyone else having trouble working due to Swine Flu Hysteria?

I just spoke with the head of labor and delivery at the hospital where my client is due to deliver any minute now. This is the same woman who assured me, in no uncertain terms, that I would be allowed to attend this birth. And now INOVA health services has decided that without exception only one support person will be allowed to attend each birth. No doulas. Unless dad stays home. She said she fought it. She pushed back. She really wanted to be on my side, but the decision is immovable. I just want to cry and cry and cry. Not only was I so looking forward to this birth (I adore this couple and we have wonderful chemistry), I've already accepted payment. And spent the money. I don't understand how they can just close down an entire industry like that.
She gave me the name and address of the people who made the decision and once I've calmed down I will compose a letter to them outlining the impact this has on laboring mothers (who are the hospital's paying customers) as well as doulas in the area who are already trying to function in a struggling economy and now have had our entire business shut down by forces entirely out of our control.

I tired to call my client and got her voice mail. How do I make this call? I told her I had arranged with the hospital to be allowed. And now, at the very last minute, I have to tell her I can't be there? I don't think I'll be able to do it without crying.

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Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
12:48 am - volunteer work in africa

I'm a Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Certified Doula interested in doing volunteer doula and volunteer lactation work in Africa. Is anyone currently doing volunteer work in Africa? I'm looking for any and all information including which country you are in, how you found your volunteer position etc etc.



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Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
2:49 pm - Help

Hi all,
I am making a birthday present for Gloria Lemay (if you are a pregnant woman, or interested in safe natural pregnancy/homebirth/women's health/breastfeeding and don't know her you should!!) http://www.glorialemay.com/, and am hoping you will all help me, I need a list of words describing Homebirth/ natural birth, single words and two word phrases.

I have started a list off of the top of my head, but need many many more. Since I have not been blessed with a homebirth of my own ( but if I was to ever be gifted with another child, I wouldn't do it any other way!!) I am sure there are words I won't even think of.

I will include words from other languages, and would love to, if you submit those please make sure to spell them properly with proper punctuation, and translate for me! ( include what language it is in too please!)

Please forward this to anyone!! ( I really mean anyone! - if you are on lists, forums, blogging circles, anything! ) you know who might have suggestions, I will weed out duplicates, and start the project tomorrow. ( I know short notice huh?!!) - The idea came to me in a dream last night, and I really want to make it happen.

My email is sunlitmists@gmail.com or simply send it to me through facebook or LJ

If I can get the list, this will be a beautiful token of all of our love and admiration for this amazing woman. Please help me. Even if all you can come up with is 10 words, you may have some no one else has come up with, and your voice will be included in this message.

(if you want your name added to the birthday wishes, please include how you would like to me noted, via screenname, real name, initials, ... )

Thank you,

Blessings to all,


please excuse the cross posting everyone, I am desperately trying to do this on a time crunch.

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Friday, August 21st, 2009
10:06 am - Feeling Discouraged

I have been stood up by so many clients, I don't even want to respond to inquiries anymore. I had a client due late July who seemed so sincere. I didn't get a deposit from her because she kept not getting back to me about a time to meet, but she had called me on short notice (late June) and seemed just to be genuinely busy with the end of the pregnancy and her three other children. I had a second potential client due within a couple of days of her. I contacted her, just to make sure she really was serious, told her about this other client and that I would turn the new client away if she really was planning on me, she responded emphatically stating that she definitely wanted me there.
And then...nothing. If she's still pregnant she's almost a month overdue. She hasn't returned any of my messages.
And the thing is, that's just totally standard. Why do people feel like they don't even owe me the courtesy of at least calling and saying "hey...the baby came, we decided we were good on our own. Thanks though!"

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Sunday, August 16th, 2009
10:51 pm - Support CPMs in Healthcare Reform

If we are going to have healthcare reform let us make sure CPMs are covered under it! Go and fill out your name and state and hit submit, you've signed the petition!


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Wednesday, August 12th, 2009
5:16 pm - The Prepuce a.k.a Foreskin and it’s reason for being

This is a touchy subject for anyone who is pregnant and expecting a boy child. Today in the US about 56.1% of all boy children are circumsized in the U.S. most of them just days after they are born. The American Academy of Pediatrics has this to say on circumcision, “Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.”.

You can read the full post and see the link to a great video here: http://sacredpathwaysdoula.com/the-prepuce-a-k-a-foreskin-and-its-reason-for-being

(1 comment | comment on this)

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
7:03 pm - Top Ten Tips for Dads/Partners/Friends/Family

I believe that dads/partners/friends/family can be important parts of the birth process. Often times, however, they feel at a loss of how to help the people they care for. Labor is not something that can really be controlled, and we don’t really know how our loved ones are experiencing this birth compared to ours. However I put together this list awhile ago as a presentation to a Bradley class, with the intent to give the Dad’s a little checklist they could go down if they were feeling uncertain. It is also meant to encourage the mom’s partner so they know that even just holding a hand can be a big help.

You can check out the list on my blog here.

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Sunday, August 9th, 2009
2:56 pm - Medical Induction Increases Risk of Amniotic Fluid Embolism

This is an article from October of 2006, but certainly it is still important for anyone facing an induction. Amniotic fluid embolism* is a serious complication and is usually extremely rare in normal birth. We need to make sure we are all informed on the risks of induction, so we can make an informed choice. For many induction is a necessary process.

Read the full article and post here, and pass it along.

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Saturday, August 8th, 2009
4:49 pm - Ultrasound Can Effect Fetal Brain Developmemt

A new study has come out evaluating ultrasounds. For a long time many natural birth and alternative birth people and educators have questioned the potential for harm in using U/S too frequently in pregnancy. While this study was done on mice, one must realize that if one form of wave-length will affect a living animal fetus it will effect another. There have been some other studies recently about U/S, this article however was published on MSNBC.

Read the full post and article link here.

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Thursday, August 6th, 2009
11:51 pm - Sacred Pathways Doula Services is ALIVE!

Sacred Pathways Doula Services is up and running!

With so many thanks for the time and effort put into the website by Little Owl Productions, the website is now a living, breathing thing! I am so happy to say that it looks beautiful and with help the content is fantastic.

At this point in time I am looking for suggestions for links to my resources as well as books and DVDs/Media. If you have any to share or suggest, please don't hesitate. Also if you are in the Portland Metro area of Oregon down to Salem, I'd love to talk about link-sharing. I'm all for spreading the word about Doulas, CBEs and Midwives in the area.


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Friday, July 24th, 2009
12:22 am - Introduction

Hi all! :) I wanted to post a quick introduction. My name is Robin and I've been a doula since 2001, although I've been inactive since 2004 (I took a break after the birth of my first child and then my second child followed a few years later, so the break continued). My second son is 16 months old now so I started pondering the idea of getting back into doula work, but he's still nursing very constantly so I don't think going to births is the best idea for at least a little while longer. But I still wanted to do something doula-related and when I brought this up with my husband, he suggested that we put together my doula experience with his marketing experience and start offering resources to help other doulas. :) This way I can be active in the doula community without being away from my son constantly, so it works out pretty well. (I still miss being around birthing women though. Oh well; everything in good time!)

Anyway, if anyone wants it, we've put up a free report about strategies to help grow your doula business at Doula Business Center - there's only the report there right now, but we're going to be growing it into an awesome resource. :) Hope some of y'all find it helpful, and if you've got any marketing-related questions, I'm your woman! :)

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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
10:58 am - Petition to Include Out of Hospital care in Federal Health Reform

This petition is to include out of hospital care for pregnant and laboring women in the Federal Health Care Reform. While this may not be everyone's choice of birth, it is a choice and it is a good one for many people. It has been shown to be as safe, if not safer, for normal pregnancies as Hospital birth. Even if you would not choose it for yourself, help support others who would by signing the petition. It only takes a minute of your time and can make a huge difference.


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