Ep 16: Mental Health Advocate & Doula Rebecca Hartley-Woods

Rebecca Hartley-Woods, advocate and doula on the Working Birth Podcast

Rebecca Hartley-Woods, advocate for perinatal mood disorders and doula, photographed at the Hillsborough County Children’s Board in Tampa, FL.

Rebecca Hartley-Woods, mental health advocate and doula, discusses her personal experience with perinatal mood disorders and her work founding a non-profit that sheds light on perinatal mood disorders that 1 in 7 moms experience. We talk about the gap between mental health professionals and maternal health professionals and why so many women fall through the cracks, never receiving help. She shares her own experience with postpartum depression, anxiety, PTSD and OCD. We also discuss antenatal depression, signs and symptoms, therapy, resources, as well as Rebecca’s background as a public worker and current work as a doula.
Download on iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go, or listen below!

Show notes:

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders include a wide range of experiences and disorders, including postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety, postpartum PTSD, postpartum OCD postpartum psychosis, antenatal/prenatal depression, and more.

The Seventh Mom Project

1 in 7 American women experience postpartum depression (study here)

Perinatal mood disorders are the #1 complication of pregnancy

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that every woman should be screened for depression and anxiety during the perinatal period

The Dark Side of the Full Moon film

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale: a screening tool (though not a diagnosis) for depression and anxiety

Storms of Motherhood Training

Postpartum Support International– including support for family members.

Find help for dealing with perinatal mood disorders in the U.S. or internationally HERE

If you need help right away:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Website

Postpartum Society of Florida– search for help with postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorder by zip code

Suggested reading list on perinatal mood disorders

You can connect with Rebecca & The Seventh Mom Project on their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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Power with Presence

Doula Yamel Belen on power with presence - Working Birth podcast

On episode 15 of Working Birth, doula & RN Yamel Belen talks about giving moms power- sometimes by simply being present and there for them- emotionally, physically, and otherwise. Research has shown that a doula’s presence at a birth results in shorter labors, with less complications, and women are less likely to have negative feelings about birth. Doula power!!

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Ep 15: Doula & RN Yamel Belen

Doula and RN Yamel Belen on the Working Birth podcast

Doula and RN Yamel Belen photographed at home in Plant City, Florida.

Yamel Belen discusses her work as a doula and pediatric registered nurse. She talks about how her work as a nurse in the medical foster care system informs her work as a doula, and how she fell into doula work. She discusses trust, empowerment, and the importance of fully supporting women in labor. A mom of five, Yamel talks about involving families in the birth process, and the pregnancy-positive culture she grew up in. Plus, what has surprised her most about being a doula.

Download on iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go, or listen below!

Show notes:

Yamel is a registered pediatric nurse that works for the State of Florida’s medical foster care program. She also has a doula agency: One Love Doula Services.

The Prego Expo

You can connect with Yamel on Facebook and Instagram

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Ep 14: Midwife Jessica Willoughby

Midwife Jessica Willoughby on the Working Birth podcast

Midwife Jessica Willoughby, LM, CPM photographed in Tampa, FL.

In this episode of the Working Birth podcast, midwife Jessica Willoughby, LM, CPM discusses how her background in anthropology has helped her understand differences in culture as they relate to labor, birth, and breastfeeding. She speaks about the gifts midwifery has given her, paying it forward, and challenges with living the on call lifestyle. Jessica also talks about empowering c-section experiences as well as the most important things she’s learned about midwifery. Download on iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go, or listen below!

Show Notes:

Jessica is the full time midwife at the Birth Center of St. Pete, and is a Licensed Midwife with the state of Florida and a Certified Professional Midwife

Rosemary Birthing Home in Sarasota, FL

She attended the three-year direct-entry midwifery program at the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery in Gainesville, FL

This is the last of the mini 15 minute episodes I recorded at the Tampa Bay Birth Network’s Natural Birth & Baby Expo this past March. I’ll be back to regular 30-60 minute episodes from now on!

You can connect with Jessica on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Ep 13: Infant Sleep Researcher Dr. James McKenna, PhD

Infant sleep researcher Dr. James McKenna for the Working Birth podcast

Dr. James McKenna, PhD, leading infant sleep researcher and professor of anthropology, photographed in his office at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN.

Leading infant sleep researcher and professor of anthropology Dr. James McKenna, PhD, discusses his extensive research on mother-baby sleep and cosleeping, bedsharing, and the new term “breastsleeping.” We talk about the science of the mechanisms behind infant sleep, cosleeping around the world, the mysterious sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), sleep training, and the neurological effects of separation. He discusses how cultural ideologies interfere with infant sleep practices, and the huge gap in what mothers are doing with sleeping & breastfeeding, versus what is being recommended to families by the American Academy of Pediatrics and local governments. Jim also discusses his new research on SIDS and colic/inconsolable crying, as well as the new field of psychoanthropediatrics.

This episode is absolutely packed with excellent information- enjoy! Download on iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go, or listen below!

Show notes and links:

In the mother-baby sleep lab– Dr. McKenna and his team have done infrared filming and polysomnigraphic studies

Cosleeping: “A committed caregiver and baby are within close enough proximity so that each can detect and respond to the signals and cues of each other. Cosleeping is a generic, taxonomic rubric within which lots of different types and forms of cosleeping can be found- safe, unsafe, bedsharing, sofa sleeping that isn’t safe, water bed sleeping, recliner sleeping. It has to be further broken down on whether it’s safe or unsafe.” Room sharing is also a form of cosleeping.

Bedsharing: “Refers specifically to what most western people do. It has a bed structure and mattress”

Breastsleeping: “A very different form, because of the functional interdependence and sensitivity of the baby to the mother and the mother to the baby.” Read about breastsleeping here in Dr. McKenna’s new article in Acta Paediatrica: “There is no such thing as infant sleep, there is no such thing as breastfeeding, there is only breastsleeping

Read about safe cosleeping/breastsleeping guidelines here, and here for the “Safe Sleep Seven” guidelines, and check out a ton of great frequently asked questions answered by Dr. McKenna here.

Some of the fear-mongering ads warning to never cosleep or bed share with babies: sleeping with a meat cleaver, tombstone headboard, and two from the U.K.

Most women do end up bedsharing with their infants (check out the chart!)– so why does the rhetoric of government agencies in the U.S. say otherwise?

McKenna’s new academic article explores the idea that SIDS and colic/inconsolable crying may be a result of failure of infants to be able to control breathing, due to separation.

Helen Ball is infant sleep researcher at Durham University in the U.K. And an here’s an interesting interview with her.

Nils Bergman is a public health physician and skin-to-skin researcher in South Africa that promotes Kangaroo Mother Care for preterm and full term babies.

Separation can cause high stress and high cortisol levels

You can connect with Dr. McKenna on his website.

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Ep 12: Midwife Kim Verbarg

Midwife Kim Verbarg of Sweet Child O Mine on the Working Birth podcast

Midwife Kim Verbarg, LM, CPM photographed in Tampa, FL.

Midwife Kim Verbarg, LM, CPM discusses the transformative power of birth and her journey as a midwife. She talks about first getting interested in birth and midwifery as a teenager, her own experience with unassisted birth, working at a birth center, living the on-call lifestyle, and what she’s learned from her clients. Download on iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go, or listen below!

Show notes and links:

Kim is a Certified Professional Midwife and a Licensed Midwife with the State of Florida.

The World Health Organization recommends a c-section rate of 10-15%. The current c-section rate in the U.S. is 33%. Another interesting piece of information from the WHO’s statement: “Caesarean section rates higher than 10% are not associated with reductions in maternal and newborn mortality rates”

Kim is the founder of the Sweet Child O’ Mine birth center.

You can connect with Kim on her website, Facebook page, and Twitter.

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