When it comes to giving birth, delivery is just one part of the journey of not only a healthy baby, but also a healthy mother. Oftentimes, women are left feeling alone and scared throughout the process. We spoke all about this with Lori Bregman, a renowned doula, life coach, author of The Doula Deck, Mamaste, and The Mindful Mom-To-Be, as well as co-founder of Seedlyfe Superfoods. With over 20 years of experience, Lori works with moms-to-be and new moms on all aspects of their personal transformation from fertility through pregnancy and into new motherhood.
Throughout Lori's career, she has studied with and learned from some of the most esteemed healers and spiritual teachers across the world. These teachers have shared with her their wisdom, including spirituality, intuition, body/mind awareness, herbs/vitamins, aromatherapy oils, the healing power of foods, doula work, bodywork, yoga, nutrition, chakra healing, and numerous other forms of holistic practices.
Here, Lori shares what to expect while working with a birthing/fertility doula and why it can help women through their fears. She also points out the gaps that the western medical system is missing during this process and shares some wisdom for those wanting to embark on this exciting life-changing journey of motherhood.
What interested you in becoming a birthing/fertility doula? What guided you to where you are today?
Back in the day, I was a massage therapist/bodyworker that specialized in prenatal massage. When I was in massage school, they told us about doula training, so I took one. This was over 23 years ago when doulas weren't as popular as we are now. When I took my doula training, my teacher said, "There is a reason you all are here and drawn to this work. Something happened to you for you to choose this calling." I had this Ah-ha moment, but didn't know why. Around this time, I was doing some deep healing work on myself and through hypnotherapy with my teacher Michele Meiche, I discovered some deep wounding that happened to me in the womb during my birth and afterward that shaped me.
All the choices I made up until that point came from this unhealthy programming that became my belief system. I spent years healing the prenatal wound that I carried. Ever since then, I have made it my life mission and greatest passion to help the babies that are coming into the world today by working with the mothers to create a healthy foundation for them both to grow from.
What exactly is a birthing doula and how can this help to change the birthing process for a new mother?
A birth doula is a trained professional who educates, advocates, and provides mind, body, and spirit support throughout pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Having a doula during pregnancy can help prepare you by educating you on choices. We help you work through fears and can be a sounding board to help you find your unique way, place, and care provider to best support your authentic way you would like to birth. We teach you about informed consent, comfort measures, labor positions, tips, and tricks to help you have a smoother labor. We also are there to support you and are a familiar face that knows you well way before you actually give birth. We cultivate and build deep relationships with our clients, so when birthing and shifts change and people come and go, we are that familiar person who is always by your side, holding space for both you and your partner. All doulas work differently and there is a doula out there for everyone.
What don’t traditional doctors tell you about the birthing process that would be beneficial for all new moms to know?
Doctors have a medical background and are awesome at all the medical stuff! But there is so much more than the medical elements that a woman or a couple goes through during pregnancy, birth, and beyond. Doulas help bridge the gap between medical, spiritual, and holistic. Many doctors have a way of doing things that aren’t always the way in which the client wants to do it. We help teach you about all your options and choices. We also help remind you of what you as a woman are capable of.
What advice do you give new moms about birth prep?
Choose your team wisely! I cannot stress how important this is! I have only chosen to work with a handful or two of certain doctors these days that are supportive and listen to their client's wishes and concerns. Ever since covid, I have seen some of the best doctors do what's better for them than it is for their birthing clients. It's important to make sure you are all on the same page and feel heard, supported, and respected. Educate yourself as knowledge is power. If you don't know your options, you won't have any.
I have a 12-week virtual program that teaches how to build a healthy foundation for you and your baby to grow from. During the first month, I teach about nutrition, non-toxic living, intuition, self-care, and more. Month two is all about birth and month three is all about postpartum. You get weekly emails with an array of info, a group chat for the community, and tons of my tribe of experts come on and talk with you all. My next group launches on September 13. There are tons of great online programs, podcasts, and books out there as well.
What is cord blood collection and what are some of the benefits of doing this?
Cord blood and tissue banking happens post birth where they take the blood and umbilical cord tissue and bank it for stem cells to help treat certain blood disorders and diseases if needed down the road. When it first came out, a lot of my clients were doing it, but now, I have been seeing more people allowing the baby to have all that blood by letting the cord stop pulsing completely and turning white before cutting. By doing this, it helps give your baby a boost as they transition to life and switch over from breathing through cord to lungs.
What type of support do you offer to women as a fertility doula that may be different from mainstream fertility clinics?
Usually, fertility doctors send their patients to me to help with stress levels, emotional state, and mindset. Going through fertility treatments can often be hard on women and having that one compassionate person (who isn't a friend or family member) with who they can share openly without judgment helps a lot. I help them with diet and mindful practices to help calm and move energy. Sometimes we do fertility yoga, massage, or journal work, but often it's a lot of spiritual coaching that helps them get into a better head space with it all. What the mind believes the body achieves.
What are some of the top reasons why some women are having such a hard time getting pregnant these days?
So many things: the environment, stress, waiting later in life to have kids. But honestly, stress is a big one. I remember years ago working with a woman in New York City who was going through fertility treatments. I went to her office and suggested she put her legs up the wall for 10 minutes a day and do some deep breathing into her womb area. Doing this helps bring blood flow to the reproductive organs and relaxes the body. She showed me her schedule and asked me when I think she has time to do this. I said, "If you don't have time to put your legs up the wall and breathe for 10 minutes, then how will you have time to have a baby?" She didn't like that and kicked me out of her office. But then she called me later and said it triggered her because she knew I was right. Nothing new can come in if there is no space for it to land.
You mentioned your virtual coaching program; who would benefit from taking this, and what type of material is being taught in this program?
I offer virtual doula support for people all over the world where I do all the birth prep with them over Zoom. They have access to me at any time they need or want and I am available via phone, text, FaceTime, or Zoom during the birth. We also do daily check-ins post-birth and birth processing work. Included in this package are all my books and products as well as my 12-week virtual mindful mom-to-be class.
My 12-week virtual mindful mom-to-be is an offering I am so proud of.
Month 1: We build a healthy foundation for your pregnancy for you and your baby to grow from. This includes nutrition, self-care and mindful practices, non-toxic living, developing your intuition, connecting with your baby, the importance of being true to yourself and living authentically, being present, inner child work, setting boundaries, and more.
Month 2: Birth preparation and education, signs of labor, tips and tricks of the trade, comfort measures, breathwork, visualizations, setting birth intentions, labor positions, birth preferences, hormones, birth psychology, informed consent, and more.
Month 3: Postpartum Preparation: This includes my tribe of experts such as a lactation specialist, nutritionist, baby care expert, sleep trainer, pediatrician, postpartum doulas, and tips and tricks on how to thrive during the postpartum transition.
The program includes:
1 weekly 75-minute Zoom virtual group coaching session for 12 weeks
(All sessions will be recorded and sent in the following weekly email in case you can’t make it)
Weekly emails full of:
Postpartum tips for healing
Specific foods, supplements and recipes, and DIY products to support both you and your baby
Mindfulness, breathwork, meditation, yoga, and self care exercises
Suggested reading (books and articles)
Invitation-only Whatsapp group chats for community, checking in, and on-going support
Talks and advice from my tribe of experts
Our next class starts September 13, 2022 https://www.loribregman.com/online-programs
Check out Lori’s doula packages HERE
With over 20 years of experience as a Doula, what is some wisdom you can share with other women who are in the process or expecting their first child who may have fear around this process?
Watch the projections from others, educate yourself, read positive birth stories, always stay away from the faith killers, choose your birth team wisely, and stay off Google. If you are looking for a problem, you can be sure to find one on there. Feel things out by using your intuition about who, where, and with whom to birth. What worked for your best friend, mother or sister might not be right for you. Have strong boundaries and honor where you are at. Hire a doula for support and don’t compare yourself to others; they are not you.