What do you know about your cervix? We find that many of us aren’t well informed about our cervixes, but it is such a dynamic and interesting part of our body and does so much during our fertility, pregnancy, and birth journeys. So, we have compiled a blog post to give you the 411 on your cervix! This comes after our Instagram series on the cervix in honor of January’s Cervical Health Month.
Let's start with the basics...What is a cervix?
The cervix is a canal that connects your uterus to your vagina. It comes from the Latin word ‘neck’ and is sometimes called the "neck of the uterus". In the below image, you can see that the cervix in a non-pregnant woman, tilts more towards the back.
Some Interesting Facts about the Cervix:
Now that we have labeled, and chatted about the non-pregnant cervix, let’s move into talking about the cervix during pregnancy. We will discuss: what a cervical exam is and what it is not, what cervical checks measure, pros and cons of cervical checks, and how to advocate regarding cervical checks during pregnancy and labor.
What is a Cervical Exam (or cervical check)?
Cervical exams check the cervix for common changes that occur throughout pregnancy and labor!
You may think that measuring a cervix is a precise business that includes a special tool. It's not! It is literally someone spacing out their fingers to determine how many centimeters open the cervix is. As you can imagine, this is highly subjective. Many labor care teams work to norm their measurements, but we commonly see one provider like an OB saying one dilation and then a nurse or another care provider saying another. It can really throw you for a loop, but as long as you know, you can temper your expectations of its precision.
What Does a Cervical Check Measure?
Well first, they measure more than just dilation! They actually measure 5 different metrics:
Pros and Cons of Cervical Checks During Labor
As with many things during birth, there are pros and cons. We believe it is very important to be informed and to know both the positives and negatives of birth options. This stands true for cervical checks as well. Below are *some* of the positives and negatives of cervical checks during labor. Once you know some of these positives and negatives, you can make an informed decision about them for your birth plan and then advocate for your preferences during labor.
- gives data that can be helpful, such as whether to be admitted to your birth place. As a doula trained in spinning babies, it gives me some additional data points to recommend specific positions or movements to ensure baby is in the best position for a smooth birth.
- can encourage you if you like the way you are progressing
- can give you the go-ahead to push with the urge after 10 cm (we don't want to push before 10 - the cervix can swell)
- introduces bacteria and therefore increases risk of infection
- it can hurt and feel foreign
- can disrupt your labor flow, including getting in an uncomfortable position
- can discourage you if you haven't yet made the progress you were hoping for
- some may pressure you to begin pushing as soon as you reach 10cm, instead of honoring "laboring down" and spontaneous pushing
A Note About Cervical Exams During Pregnancy
Increasingly, routine cervical exams during pregnancy (without specific evidence of need) are going to the wayside, and for good reason. Sometimes you still hear that OB's are requiring cervical exams during pregnancy, sometimes early on, and for all of their patients. We also hear of OB's beginning/restarting cervical exams weekly at 36 weeks. Some offer it and others expect it. We find that there is a fairly reliable overlap with the doctors that do routine cervical checks during pregnancy and those that favor old-school hospital style birthing where they know better and intervene often (inductions, pushing on your back, limiting food and drink, etc.). We find that many of the most consent and evidence-based providers that honor the safest low-intervention path, don't usually have routine cervical exams as part of their pregnancy care protocol.
It might not be the full picture of a provider, but it is a clue.
As always, there are exceptions. For example: if you have a history or there are signs for preterm labor, a cervical exam could be helpful in mapping out your care plan. You, do you.
You Get to Choose
Here are our best tips:
This blog is a collection of breastfeeding‑related posts that @615doulaco put together in honor of National Breastfeeding Month. What once used to live in Instagram Guides, now lives on the blog! Breastfeeding can be hard work, but with education and support, you and your baby can find your groove!
Breastfeeding Myths Busted
Ways Your Partner/Support People Can Help You
The Benefits for Both You and Baby
How to Know When Baby is Hungry
What is Colostrum and How is it Good for Baby
How Much Colostrum or Milk Does a Baby Need?
Save Your Sanity and Focus on the Facts
How Do I Know My Baby is Getting Enough Food?
Breastfeeding Positions to Try
Breastfeeding Positions Continued
Common Breast Holds
Understand How Baby Latches
Quick visual reminder for getting a strong latch
Get a Deep Latch with the “Flipple” Technique
“Flipple” IRL Example
Learn How to Hand Express
Some Thoughts on How Long to Breastfeed
How to Properly Store Breastmilk
Paced Bottle Feeding Explained
Alternative Feeding Methods
You're Doing Great Mama!
Local Breastfeeding Support
Waking Baby to Feed
Are you pregnant in Nashville and wondering how to choose the right OBGYN or midwife for your pregnancy and birth? Here are some of our top tips.
Choosing a quality midwife or OBGYN for your pregnancy is an important decision and is key to having a positive birth experience. Like many of the decisions in pregnancy, it can also feel overwhelming. You want to find someone who you feel comfortable with, someone you trust, and someone who you know will provide you with the best possible care. In our work with Nashville families, we have found this process to be helpful in choosing your provider:
Reach Out For The Intel:
Tour and Interview:
Don’t be afraid to Switch Providers during Pregnancy:
You asked, we answered! We get tons of questions about baby registries from our families. What should you include, what should you not? What is worth the price, what is not? Diapers, swaddles, baby wipes, nipple cream, etc. 🤯So, we decided what better way to answer your questions than to poll our very own 615 Doula Co. community and get their opinions! On October 4th-10th we did just that and received dozens of answers in our question boxes and polls. Not to mention, the dozens of DMs we got from mamas who were passionate about their favorite products and just could not fit it into a question box! If you weighed in, thank YOU!
So, without further ado, here is the master recap of all things baby products, gear, services, and more! We have made it easy for you, by gathering only the most commented on or recommended items. Oh, and Amazon shoppers, don’t forget to ‘add to cart’ and save while the Amazon Prime Deal Days are going on (10/10 & 10/11). Happy shopping!
The Essentials and Logistics
What are the must-have items to add to your baby registry?
While there were no clear top two winners, the most commented on must-have items were:
2. Hatch because you can control volume and sound from your phone plus it has different night light features
3. A portable, rechargeable sound machine
What is a priority for your registry?
Every mom has a different priority for her baby registry; whether it be adding luxury items, adding services, having a budget friendly registry, or only adding minimal items or the essentials only. It was clear that the 615 Doula Co. moms’ priority were adding minimal items or essentials only with a whopping 52% of moms choosing this option (Hello, fellow Marie Kondo fans!), and the clear second winner was making sure the registry was budget friendly (26%).
Which platform(s) did you use for your registry?
There are so many stores and online sites that offer baby registries, from Walmart and Target, to Amazon and Babylist, it is hard to know which one(s) to register at. For many moms, they choose where to register based on what stores are nearby. It makes returns and exchanges easier. However, for some moms, they would rather only use websites so they can mail back returns or make exchanges that way. The 615 Doula Co. moms are clearly website people! 55% of moms reported they used Babylist for their registry, claiming it was so easy to use because it allowed friends and family shopping their registry to see the best prices for items and which different stores carried that item. It was an easy place to view everything at once. However, 35% of moms used Amazon and loved that option as well.
What item(s) could you do without?
There were two clear winners for items that moms felt like they could live without: a swing, and a Boppy nursing pillow. Many moms stated that their baby was never a fan of the swing so they truly felt like it was a waste of money and space in their house (hello, big bulky swings). We were a little surprised to hear that the Boppy nursing pillow was a top item moms could ‘pass’ on, so we took the debate to DMs and found that breastfeeding moms found them cumbersome to feed with because they would slip out from under baby and create an awkward gap between baby and mom. These moms opted to use no nursing pillow or some loved the “My Breast Friend.”
Interestingly enough, we had a couple moms communicate polarizing views on the famous countertop bottle sterilizers. What we found after having some conversations with them is it seemed like moms who use formula or exclusively pump consider the bottle sterilizer an absolute ‘must-have’ item. While, moms who exclusively breastfeed consider it an item to pass on.
What is/was your favorite swaddle?
There were two clear winners in the swaddle department, and to our surprise both are very reasonably priced! The Halo swaddle came in as the top contender. The runner up was the Swaddleme!
Diapers and Wipes
So what is the deal with diapers and wipes?! Well, let’s get down to the nitty gritty (no pun intended 🤭; sorry, I have a 6 year old and we are still in poop-joke land) and talk about favorite brands and what is most important to moms in a diaper/wipe.
What is your favorite diaper brand?
As a first time mom, you tend to hear a lot about how diaper brands and/or styles are dependent upon gender. However, we polled moms that had both a boy and a girl and 91% of those moms reported gender did not matter for their favorite diaper brand in style or function. Phew, one less thing to worry about! It also can be difficult when choosing a diaper to know what is most important to you, whether that be clean ingredients, price/convenience, functionality (aka no leaks), or cloth. To our 615 Doula Co. moms, functionality was the clear winner of importance with clean ingredients coming in as a close second.
While there is not a clear winner for diapers, what a lot of moms do is add a bag of each of the brands in their registry and try them out to see which they like best. Here are the top 5 diaper brands 615 Doula Co. moms love:
What is your favorite wipe brand?
Similar to diaper brands, there are many reasons you might choose a wipe from how well it grips poop, to the moisture level, to if the wipe has clean ingredients, to how it comes out of the package. The 615 Doula Co. community is passionate about this topic and clearly chooses a wipe based on 1. Clean ingredients and 2. poop grip. Here are the top 4 brands for favorite wipes:
What supplies were worth the hype?
We hear from a lot of moms about so many products that are ‘worth the hype’ and it can be overwhelming to have so many options. Our 615 moms reported these two items that were 100% ‘worth the hype.’
What were your favorite breastfeeding/nursing bras?
There are a lot of nursing/pumping bras on the market. Here are the top two most popular:
We find that a lot of moms like to have a hospital-grade pump to use as their primary pump for 90% of the time, so as to keep up a healthy milk supply, and a more convenient or wearable pump for the times they just have to be on the go. These were the top answers for both hospital-grade and wearable options:
Many moms do not realize that their insurance should cover a pump. Make sure to check with your OBGYN or Midwife and ask them how you can get a pump covered through insurance!
There are many ways to wear baby, whether it be a ring sling, structured carrier, or wrap. After talking with moms, we have found that it truly depends on baby’s preferences and mom’s preferences. However, 615 Doula Co. moms clearly loved the combination of a carrier wrap for the first 4ish months and then a structured carrier once baby was older.
Which was your favorite carrier?
The landslide winner for a carrier wrap was Solly Baby. Moms loved how soft, stretchy, and compact it was for on the go. However, there were three pretty close winners for favorites of more structured carriers
Postpartum Care Items
We know as moms, we tend to put ourselves last. Postpartum care is no exception to this (even though it should be, because mama you need all the support and care! You are healing!!). So in order to keep your healing as a top priority, it can be really helpful to put these items on your registry to make sure you have all you might need ahead of time! These are the items we hear most moms rave about:
Who doesn’t love to talk about, research, and dream about those baby splurge items? We all know that specific item that comes to mind when we think “Oh, I would love to have that!” Here is what our moms had to say about what splurge item was totally worth it:
Some other less common ones we heard were: Guava bassinet, Baby Bay Cosleeper, Happy Baby carrier, Mockingbird stroller.
A new trend we are seeing is adding services to your registry (i.e. doula, pelvic floor therapy, meal services, lactation support, and more!) Many parents feel uncertainty about the etiquette of including services and then the logistics of how to make it happen. Here are a few things to consider when choosing if adding services is right for you:
2. Ask for cash instead of gift cards and use that cash to book a service. The best way that this is successful is to have an organizer who asks for cash on your behalf. For example, this could be your workplace. If your workplace is throwing you a baby shower, have whoever is hosting it ask for cash only towards a specific service.
3. If you are having a smaller baby shower with just a few close friends, request that they all go in together to buy you a service on your wishlist.
Local to Nashville?
We are connected to some great local Middle TN service providers that you can add to your registry: from lactation to pelvic floor therapy and everything in between! Below are a just a few of the wonderful providers in the area: