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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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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Ep 11: International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Trish Hanning

IBCLC Trish Hanning of Sweet Songs Breastfeeding, Tampa on the Working Birth podcast

Trish Hanning, RN, IBCLC photographed at her office in Tampa, FL.

Lactation consultant Trish Hanning, RN, IBCLC discusses helping moms and babies in the NICU to achieve their breastfeeding goals. Working as a lactation consultant in both a hospital and private practice setting, she talks about her experience working with preterm babies, the biggest challenges for pumping and nursing in the NICU, breastfeeding after a c-section, tongue ties, and how she explains the benefits of breastfeeding to moms. Download on iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go, or listen below!

What are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants?

Trish works with Mary Unangst, IBCLC, at Sweet Songs Breastfeeding who was interviewed in episode 7.

Breastmilk is like medicine for babies in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).

A great resource list for tongue ties (ankyloglossia).

Breastmilk is important for the gut health of infants.

You can connect with Trish on her website or Facebook.

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Ep 10: Midwife Jessica Brumley

Jessica Brumley, Director of Midwifery at USF Health for Working Birth podcast

Midwife Jessica Brumley, CNM, PhD, Director of Midwifery Services at USF Health, photographed in Tampa, FL.

Midwife Jessica Brumley, CNM, PhD, discusses practicing midwifery in a hospital setting and working collaboratively with OBGYNs for an integrated model of care. She talks about how she first came to hear about midwives, what spoke to her about the profession, and how the births of her own children influenced how she practices. Jessica also discusses her research on racism being a stressor during pregnancy, issues of health disparity and how they effect minorities in the US, and being a part of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Diversification and Inclusion Task Force. Download on iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go, or listen below!

Show notes and links:

Jessica is the Director of Midwifery at University of South Florida Health

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Diversification and Inclusion Task Force.

You can connect with Jessica on the USF Midwifery website and Facebook.

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Ep 09: Author & Activist Suzanne Arms

Author and birth movement activist Suzanne Arms on the Working Birth podcast

Author, activist, and practical visionary Suzanne Arms photographed at The Red Tent Collective in Dunedin, FL.

Suzanne Arms is an author, activist, practical visionary, photojournalist, filmmaker, speaker, teacher, and founder of the Colorado-based nonprofit, Birthing The Future. Often called a grandmother of the birth movement, Suzanne has been active in the birth community since the 1970’s when her book Immaculate Deception was named a New York Times Best Book of the Year. She shares how knowing her own birth story, as well as her mother’s and grandmother’s, has impacted her life and work. Suzanne also delves into a range of issues surrounding birth and the mother-baby unit, including: the culture of fear surrounding childbirth, cellular memory, epigenetics, the safety of drugs used in labor, the primal period, the importance of conception, feminism, politics, patriarchy, attachment, the sensitivity of boys, and how a peaceful birth and peaceful childhood can impact the world. Download on iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go, or listen below!

Show notes and links:

Immaculate Deception and Immaculate Deception II (check out midwife Peggy Vincent’s review, the top one on the Immaculate Deception II Amazon page!)

Articles on cellular memory and the field of epigenetics as it relates to prenatal and perinatal psychology.

Doris Haire, activist and one of the founders of the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA). Her seminal work The Cultural Warping of Childbirth (1972) seems to be available only on online library catalogs.

Industrial chemicals and pollutants found in the cord blood of newborns- a 2005 study and 2009 study by the Environmental Working Group

The BirthKeeper movement

The primal period/primal continuum

Jeannine Parvati Baker and her book Conscious Conception

You can read more about Suzanne’s prolific work in the birth community on her website, Birthing the Future, and connect with her on her Facebook page.

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Ep 08: Midwife Vikki Bennett

Midwife Vikki Bennett for the Working Birth podcast

Midwife Vikki Bennett, ARNP, CNM, photographed at the Natural Birth & Baby Expo in Tampa, FL.

Midwife Vikki Bennett, ARNP, CNM, and Clinical Director of a birth center, discusses her journey from nursing to midwifery & working in women’s health. Vikki shares the heartbreaking challenges of working with pregnant women and newborns in Port-au-Prince, Haiti just after the massive earthquake hit in 2010. She also speaks about her frustration with the maternity care system in the U.S. and being part of the solution by practicing the midwifery model of care in a birth center setting. Plus, I learn why midwives are moving towards using the term “community based birth” instead of “out of hospital birth.” Download on iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go, or listen below!

Show notes and links:

Vikki received her masters at Frontier Nursing University.

Breath of Life Women’s Health & Birth Center

The midwifery model of care.

American Association of Birth Centers

You can connect with Vikki on Breath of Life’s website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Ep 07: International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Mary Unangst

Mary Unangst on the Working Birth podcast

Mary Unangst, IBCLC, photographed at her office in Tampa, FL.

Mary Unangst, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) discusses breastfeeding and the mother baby dyad, the biggest concerns she hears from moms, the process of becoming an IBCLC, getting recognized as a healthcare provider, barriers to breastfeeding, the risks associated with not breastfeeding, and how we can better support moms. Plus, being a breastfeeding mom in a military family stationed abroad, and what doing this intimate work fulfills in her. Download on iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go, or listen below!

Show notes and links:

The different types of lactation consultants.

Becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant is a 3-5 year process. The knowledge needed for the licensing exam includes maternal & infant development, nutrition, physiology, endocrinology, pathology, pharmacology, toxicology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, techniques, and clinical skills. Whew!

La Leche League.

Mary earned her BS in Maternal and Child Health from Union Institute & University.

Info on barriers to breastfeeding, from the Surgeon General.

Mary worked as a breastfeeding peer counselor through WIC, which was set up to improve the nutrition of women, infants, and children.

Breastfeeding support for moms everywhere:

Breastfeeding support for moms local to Tampa Bay: Champions of Children, Baby Bungalow, Hillsborough Breastfeeding Task ForceTampa Bay Baby Cafe

Risks of not breastfeeding for mothers and infants.

Education on infant behavior by WIC in California. Really good stuff in here!

Induced lactation, for mothers who adopt or for mothers from same sex couples who did not carry, is great for bonding.

You can connect with Mary on her website or Facebook.

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