Preparing for labor and birth? We’ve got you covered with articles on topics such as: birth plans, induction, pain medication, comfort techniques, epidurals, food and drink in labor, unmedicated labor, aromatherapy, laboring in the water, c-sections, vbacs and much more!

breathing techniques for labor, woman taking a breath

Your Childbirth Game Changer: Learn 3 Effective Breathing Techniques For Labor

By Christie Collbran | February 12, 2024

“I’m not ready to give birth….”  Is this you?  Does the thought of giving birth make you anxious?  Not sure what to expect?  Perhaps you are still recovering from a less than ideal birthing experience?  Whatever the reason may be, you might be dreading your upcoming birth. I get it, there are a lot of…

Holding Hands in the Delivery room, Who Should You Allow

Who Should You Allow in the Delivery Room? 5 Questions to Ask

By Christie Collbran | January 7, 2024

Is your due date fast approaching? There are always so many things to figure out when it comes to giving birth. Packing your hospital bag, knowing your birth plan, who to invite… You might be wondering, who should I allow in the delivery room with me? This can be a difficult question to answer, and…

Pregnant Mom looking at belly - prodromal labor

Am I Going Into Labor? Understanding Prodromal Labor

By Christie Collbran | January 1, 2024

Coming to the end of your pregnancy can be such a challenging task. Not only are you done being pregnant, but the inevitable question rears its head:  When will I go into labor?  Most of your pregnancy goes by in the blink of an eye. But the last month of pregnancy is a different story. …

pregnant couple in the third trimester

Third Trimester Checklist: What to Do in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

By Christie Collbran | December 11, 2023

Congratulations you made it to the third trimester of pregnancy! You are on the homestretch, the excitement is palpable, and your baby’s arrival is just around the corner. To help you have a smooth transition, we’ve compiled a comprehensive third trimester checklist just for you.  Go here to see our First and Second Trimester Checklists. …

Baby items - pregnancy after loss

Pregnancy After Loss

By Christie Collbran | October 28, 2023

Losing a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth is one of the hardest things any parent will ever go through. When I was pregnant with my 2nd child, I went into preterm labor at 17 weeks. Having made it to the 2nd trimester we had already announced the pregnancy to friends and family. My husband and…

Woman embracing another women in a therapy group, recovering after a traumatic birth experience

Recovering from a Traumatic Birth

By Christie Collbran | October 16, 2023

Childbirth is a powerful and transformative event, but sometimes the experience can be traumatic. Things don’t always go as planned and the feelings you have during and after the birth can be emotionally challenging.  On a personal level my first baby’s birth was very difficult and I experienced a degree of PTSD afterwards. I worked…

Pregnancy After 35, Advanced Maternal Age, man hugging pregnant woman

Pregnancy After 35 | Advanced Maternal Age

By Christie Collbran | October 2, 2023

One day you’re 34 and feeling fine, but as the clock strikes midnight on your 35th birthday the switch is flipped and your fertility takes a nosedive, right? Forget gradual changes – your ovaries throw a little party and the DJ starts spinning “Last Dance.” Your eggs decide to pack their bags and head for…

A doula offering a cup of tea to a new mom, why choose a doula agency?

The Benefits of Choosing a Doula Agency

By Christie Collbran | September 18, 2023

If you’re on this page, you’re likely considering bringing a doula into your birth or postpartum experience. Kudos to you for prioritizing support and care during this remarkable journey. As someone deeply involved in the Tampa Bay community – a doula here since 2009, and the founder of Buddha Belly Doulas since 2014 – I’ve…

Pregnant Mother holds belly, Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks Contractions: The Prequel to Labor

By Christie Collbran | September 4, 2023

Braxton what?! If you’re on this page, chances are you’ve heard whispers about Braxton Hicks contractions and today, we’re going to demystify them for you.  What are Braxton Hicks Contractions? Braxton Hicks contractions, also charmingly known as “practice contractions,” are the dress rehearsal before the real show. They’re your uterus’s way of flexing its muscles…

Birth Doulas Meeting with a Pregnant Couple sitting on a couch

The Prenatal Meeting with Your Birth Doulas

By Christie Collbran | August 14, 2023

When you work with Buddha Belly Doulas for labor support you get two doulas who are on-call for you 24/7! During pregnancy your doulas are available to answer questions, provide support and help you prepare for your special day. When you go into labor, whichever doula is on-call at the time will be the one…

Brain vs heart, making decisions during labor

Decision Making During Labor: Using Your B.R.A.I.N.

By Christie Collbran | July 23, 2023

The waves of labor bring you up and down and occasionally all over the place. At times in labor, we simply have to go with the flow and surrender to mother nature’s plan. However, now and again we may need to use our B.R.A.I.N. to make decisions during labor.    While childbirth can be filled with…

IV during labor, Group B Strep Test, GBS

The Group B Strep Test and Its Role in Labor

By Christie Collbran | July 10, 2023

One of the numerous tests and procedures to deal with during pregnancy is the Group B Streptococcus (GBS) test. This is a routine part of prenatal care and July is International GBS awareness month. So, in this blog post, we will shed light on what to expect regarding your GBS test and the results.  What…

Rh Antibody Testing

Understanding Prenatal Rh Antibody Testing

By Christie Collbran | June 6, 2023

During pregnancy you may encounter various prenatal tests and new or complicated terminology. Your doulas are here to help you understand this information. One such test is the Rh Antibody Screening. Let’s break it down and highlight the important points you should know.  What is the Rh antibody test?  This test aims to identify specific…

Breastfeeding Class Instructor showing how to use a haakaa breast pump

Should I Take a Breastfeeding Class?

By Christie Collbran | May 8, 2023

I talk to a lot of expecting mothers and hear many of them say they hope to be successful at breastfeeding, but they aren’t sure it will work out. These hopes are mixed in with stories they’ve heard from friends and families. At least 80% of women initiate breastfeeding. That is a high percentage who…

taking blood pressure of a pregnant mother, monitoring for preeclampsia

What is Preeclampsia?

By Christie Collbran | May 1, 2023

Preeclampsia is a complication that happens in about 1 in 25 pregnancies in the United States. While it’s a serious condition, it’s important to remember that with proper care and monitoring, many women with preeclampsia can still have a healthy and safe birth. So, what is preeclampsia?  Preeclampsia is a condition that typically develops after…

pregnant woman, holds belly with eyes closed, preparing for a vbac

12 Steps to Prepare for a Successful VBAC

By Christie Collbran | April 17, 2023

My first child was born via cesarean and my second child was born vaginally. Despite the odds we had a vaginal birth after a cesarean, aka VBAC! I gave birth in the comfort of my home with my husband, a licensed midwife (CPM) and my birth doula present. The journey from c-section to VBAC was full…

Newborn baby is presented to Mom, on an operating table, during a cesarean birth

Cesarean Birth: What to Expect

By Christie Collbran | April 11, 2023

Learning about cesarean birth, even if you are hoping to avoid it, is always a good idea. When I was taken for an emergency c-section, there was little time for anybody to explain things to me. I was grateful I had gained knowledge about cesarean birth in the birth classes I attended. As a first…

Holding a Hot Water Bottle on her abdomen, Childbirth Afterpains

All About Childbirth Afterpains

By Christie Collbran | March 27, 2023

Childbirth afterpains are one of those things that: “nobody tells you about!” So let me be the one to rectify that.  When I first heard about childbirth afterpains, my mind went to the perhaps grim analogy of an earthquake. Forgive me. I grew up in Los Angeles, California where we did earthquake drills regularly in…

Your Prenatal Care, A woman gets an ultrasound in early pregnancy

Prenatal Care: What to Expect

By Christie Collbran | January 22, 2023

Regular prenatal checkups are an important part of staying healthy while pregnant. During these visits your doctor, nurse or midwife will monitor your baby’s development and do routine testing to find and prevent potential complications. This is also a good time to ask questions and learn important information related to your pregnancy, labor and birth.…

Choosing an OB/GYN or Midwife, a care provider sits with a family

Choosing an OB/GYN or Midwife (Hospital, Birth Center or Homebirth)

By Christie Collbran | January 16, 2023

Is an OB/GYN or a Midwife the best choice for your prenatal care? How do the different options affect where you will give birth? There are many factors to consider when choosing your prenatal care provider and your birthing location. In addition to taking into account your personal health history, it also comes down to…

Pregnant Woman on a phone call, when should I call my doula?

When Should I Call My Doula?

By Christie Collbran | January 2, 2023

You’ve decided to hire a doula to help you have a better birth experience. Great plan! So, now you are asking, when should I call my doula? Or, how do I best use her services? There is no wrong time to call your doula for help and guidance. When you hire Buddha Belly Doulas, we…

how doulas support dads and partners

How Doulas Support Dads and Partners

By Christie Collbran | November 12, 2022

I can’t tell you how many clients I call to follow up with after they use our birth doula services who say, “My husband wasn’t convinced we needed a birth doula, but after delivery he said we could never have done that without her.” Whether you are first time parents, or adding another child to…

Mom in Though about Whether or not to get an Epidural

Should I Get an Epidural?

By Christie Collbran | February 10, 2022

Epidurals. They can be a touchy subject. Let’s discuss what may, or may not, occur if you choose to get one. And, yes, Buddha Belly Doulas support your choice for an epidural. “We were made to give birth”. We have all heard that before, right? It is true, we were made to do this. We…


Second Trimester Checklist: What To Do in the Second Trimester of Pregnancy

By Christie Collbran | October 19, 2021

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the second trimester! Hopefully you are settling into this new life of being pregnant and the exhaustion and nausea has decreased. Maybe you’re even starting to feel that second trimester boost of energy. We’ve put together a helpful checklist for you to use as you navigate the next several weeks…


Virtual Childbirth and Baby Care Classes

By Christie Collbran | September 23, 2021

What if you cannot fit an in-person birth or baby care class into your busy schedule?  We’ve got you covered with our virtual birth and baby care classes! Here at Buddha Belly we offer a number of different options for all of the classes that we teach. Making our classes accessible to you is a…


First Trimester Checklist: What To Do in the First Trimester of Pregnancy

By Christie Collbran | August 31, 2021

The first trimester is exciting! Congratulations, you’re pregnant! And now your mind is probably swirling as you think of all the things you need to do. For this reason, we’ve prepared a first trimester checklist to help you get through your first twelve weeks of pregnancy. 1. Remove stress from your life.  Yes, this is…


Which Tampa Bay Hospitals Permit Doulas? (updated January 2022)

By Christie Collbran | August 18, 2021

As we know, COVID is currently surging throughout the greater Tampa Bay area. As such, visitor policies at local hospitals are frequently changing. So, which local hospitals are permitting doulas to support labor and delivery patients right now? First, we should note that professional doulas are not the same as “visitors.” Doulas are essential members…


My Surprise Breech Baby and Tips

By Christie Collbran | April 29, 2021

My first baby was breech and was born via an emergency c-section. We only discovered he was breech when I was well into labor, which is pretty unusual. “I think we need to head to the birth center,” I told my husband. At 37 ½ weeks pregnant, I had gotten up in the middle of…


Six Tips for a Natural Birth at the Hospital

By Christie Collbran | March 31, 2021

So you want to have a natural birth at the hospital!? Navigating our current maternity health care system can be a little tricky. However, a natural birth in the hospital is possible. Lots of families before you have done it. It is a feasible and realistic goal. So we say – you can do it!…


Parents Need Help Not Judgment

By Christie Collbran | February 5, 2021

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to deal with a Judgy McJudgerpants in your life? I recently wrote about coping with a colicky baby as a new parent – what made it better and what didn’t. Three aspects of the situation made it harder: lack of support judgment and unsolicited advice. I was exclusively…


Tampa Bay Hospital VBAC Rates 2019

By Christie Collbran | November 5, 2020

Planning to have a VBAC? (VBAC = vaginal birth after cesarean.) Do you know the VBAC rate for your hospital? I know we say this a lot, but it bears repeating: the hospital that you choose to deliver your baby at has a huge impact on the outcome of your birth experience. In fact, it…


Tampa Bay Hospital C-Section Rates 2019

By Christie Collbran | October 21, 2020

Do you know the c-section rate for your hospital? Without a doubt, your hospital of choice has a huge impact on the outcome of your birth experience. There are numerous factors to consider when choosing your hospital, and their cesarean rate should be at the top of the list.   Experts explain more in this article…


Breastfeeding Myths

By Christie Collbran | September 17, 2020

Is taking a breastfeeding class a good idea? We say – Yes! There are so many myths and silly ideas swirling around about breastfeeding. Sometimes these myths can deter you from even trying or succeeding at breastfeeding your baby. Getting the facts at a breastfeeding class can help you get a good start on your…


Caring for Baby After a C-Section

By Christie Collbran | September 3, 2020

Healing from a c-section can sometimes be overwhelming. You, a warrior, just had major surgery. Now you not only have to care for yourself, you have to care for your baby! This is a challenge that is sometimes forgotten. Once you’ve left the hospital, how can you easily care for your newborn? First of all,…


The Benefits of Private Childbirth Classes

By Christie Collbran | August 26, 2020

Not everybody wants to leave their house to take a childbirth class. Therfore, we offer private childbirth classes that are taught in the comfort of your home, in person (or over a virtual platform.) Our certified childbirth educators bring all the learning to you, including all of the books, teaching props and gear. In this…

Virtual Doula

Virtual Labor Doula Support

By Christie Collbran | March 31, 2020

During this current health crisis families are still having babies and in need of labor support. In this time of social distancing and with hospital doula/visitor policies are in flux, we’ve got a plan. We are still here and able to support our clients virtually with the same level of compassionate care. Our Virtual Labor…


How A Peanut Ball is Used in Labor

By Christie Collbran | May 10, 2019

What is a peanut ball? How is a peanut ball used in labor? There are many important benefits to changing positions regularly in labor. We often suggest that women in labor change positions every 30 mins to an hour. When you are laboring with an epidural you are limited in the number of different positions…

Group Childbirth Class

Group Childbirth Classes

By Christie Collbran | February 26, 2019

We are excited to announce that we will now be offering group Childbirth Classes! Our group childbirth classes prepare you to have a smooth pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience. You will learn about the process of labor, birth and routine medical procedures. Our goal is to answer all of your questions and help you feel…

Birth Plans Change

Birth Plans Can Change

By Christie Collbran | August 9, 2018

“When our birth plan changed and I needed a surgical birth, my doula held my hand in the operating room and helped us to stay calm.” – Haley, St. Pete Beach Birth plans can change, like Haley describes. Many people (mistakenly) think birth doula support is only for a “natural” birth or vaginal birth. What…

Not Everybody Needs or Wants a Doula

Not Everyone Wants or Needs Doula Support

By Christie Collbran | August 1, 2018

Not everyone wants or needs doula support. And that’s okay. There, we said it. And it’s true. We do believe that every birthing person and new family needs unconditional support. What’s unconditional support? Presence: in the moment, validating your cares and concerns and affirming your experience. Insight: clearly understanding what you or your baby is…

Induce Labor Naturally

Induce Labor Naturally?

By Christie Collbran | July 31, 2018

Looking to get labor started? Are there any natural ways to induce labor? There is a LOT of misinformation out there (thanks a lot, Dr. Google!) about DIY ways to kick start childbirth. But do they actually work? Acupuncture? Little evidence that it induces labor, little evidence that it can cause harm. So, maybe? Red…

Food and Drink in Labor

Food and Drink in Labor?

By Christie Collbran | July 11, 2018

Food and drink in labor? Many people are surprised to find out that their birth facility or care provider restricts “oral intake” in labor after admission to the hospital. ACOG (the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) says: “There is insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about the relationship between fasting times for clear liquids and…

Dancing in Labor

Dancing in Labor and Delivery

By Christie Collbran | April 17, 2018

Dancing in labor? Yes, this is wonderful if you feel so inclined. Let’s discuss why it works. In order for your baby to be born, she must descend and make several movements through the birth canal. Your position can greatly influence her progress during labor and delivery. Using gravity and changing positions frequently is helpful…

Tampa Doula Support

Is Having a Doula Important?

By Christie Collbran | April 16, 2018

Is having a doula important? Imagine you are planning to compete in an Olympic sport. Would you prepare, train, practice, compete and execute the sporting event all on your own? Or would you have a coach, trainer, nutritionist, medical staff and your family nearby to guide, encourage and take care of you as needed? Of…

How Will I Cope in Labor

How Will I Cope with Labor?

By Christie Collbran | April 9, 2018

How will I cope with labor? What are the options? Some mothers know exactly what they want and others would like to research and learn about their options. Here is a brief summary of some pain relief and coping strategies used in labor. 1. Unmedicated/Comfort Measures Laboring mothers that plan to go without medicine often…

right way to give birth

Childbirth: There Is No Right Way (updated 2022)

By Christie Collbran | April 3, 2018

Is there a right way to do childbirth? My mother was a hippie who was very naturally-minded. I was the first of her three children, all of which were born at home with a home-visiting doctor. At five years old I got to be present in the room when my little sister was born in…

Aromatherapy in Labor

Aromatherapy in Labor

By Christie Collbran | January 23, 2018

Recall a time in your past that you felt relaxed and comfortable. Was there a nice smell associated with this time? Maybe the smell of a particular flower that you enjoy? Aromatherapy is one tool that can be used for comfort in labor. Essential oils are extracted from plants, flowers and fruit and distilled. They…

Early Labor vs Active Labor

Early Labor vs Active Labor – When to Go to the Hospital? (updated 2022)

By Christie Collbran | October 26, 2017

Understanding the differences between these two phases of labor will help you to make a better decision about when to head to the hospital, birth location or call the midwife! What does early labor look like? Early labor is usually the longest part of labor and can last from a few hours to a few…

Birth Doula vs Postpartum Doula: Which One Do I Need Most?

Birth Doula or Postpartum Doula: Which One Do I Need Most?

By Christie Collbran | October 23, 2017

This might be a bit shocking to hear from the owner of a doula agency. After all, we hope you’ll hire us to help you prepare for birth with one of our childbirth classes, support you prenatally and at your baby’s birth as birth doulas, help you recover quickly with placenta encapsulation, AND help you…

Getting Ready to Give Birth

What Should I Be Doing Now to Get Ready to Give Birth? (updated June 2022)

By Christie Collbran | September 28, 2017

As you near the end of your pregnancy you may be wondering: “What should I be doing now to get ready to give birth?”  This is a very common question that we hear as birth doulas in our prenatal sessions with clients. In this session, we meet with the pregnant woman and her partner, in…

cesarean recovery

Recovering after a Cesarean (updated July 2022)

By Christie Collbran | June 21, 2017

Cesareans are so common these days that we sometimes forget they are major abdominal surgeries. In addition to recovering from this surgery, the mother is also taking care of a brand new baby. It’s a lot to cope with at the same time. Here are some c-section recovery tips from the doulas on our team.…

Labor Progress

Ugh, Why Am I Not in Labor Yet? (updated June 2022)

By Christie Collbran | May 19, 2017

As I got to the end of my first pregnancy, I was so ready to meet my baby. I’m not quite sure that I was ready to be in labor – that sounded hard – but I really, really wanted to find out what he or she looked like. Technically we didn’t know the sex,…

My Water Just Broke

“My Water Just Broke!” says Every TV Birth

By Christie Collbran | April 26, 2017

If we trusted modern film and TV portrayals of labor and birth, we would all believe that the first sign of labor is that your water will break unexpectedly. A huge gush will splash all over you and the grocery store floor where you were peacefully doing your shopping, all over your friend’s new car,…

dog care

Woof! Don’t Forget About Me!

By Christie Collbran | April 21, 2017

Who is going to take care of your dog while you are in labor? I wish I had thought more about this. I was planning a homebirth with a licensed midwife. Our dog, Nikita, would just hang out at home with us. Planning for something else never even crossed my mind. She was really sweet,…


All About Labor Induction

By Christie Collbran | April 4, 2017

Labor induction is the process of using medical interventions to stimulate labor. When it comes to starting labor, it’s generally recommended to wait for it to begin naturally, unless there are specific medical reasons that call for induction. Some reasons given for induction include: hypertension, preeclampsia, heart disease, gestational diabetes, infection in the uterus, placenta complications…

doula support for c-sections

Yes, Doulas Are for Cesareans, Too (updated 2022)

By Christie Collbran | March 29, 2017

Should I hire a doula for a c-section?  Some people have the idea that doulas are only helpful for women that want to have a natural, unmedicated or vaginal birth. Well, that just is not true! Doulas benefit everyone, including mothers that are having a cesarean – whether it is planned or not. “I had…

doulas benefit everyone

Doulas Benefit Everyone

By Christie Collbran | March 23, 2017

It’s World Doula Week! (March 22 – 28th) This year the theme for World Doula Week is “Doulas Benefit Everyone.” The doulas at Buddha Belly are proud and honored to do this work. So how is it that doulas benefit everyone? Mothers: This one is the most obvious. Doulas work for mothers. We support you with information, education, comfort measures, emotional…


What Is It Like to Have an Epidural?

By Christie Collbran | March 7, 2017

Many women in the U.S. choose to use medical pain management in labor and birth, and the most common option is an epidural. Sometimes it is referred to as epidural anesthesia or epidural analgesia. It is a regional medicine (versus local) – this means it only blocks pain in a specific part of your body.…

water birth

Labor and Birth in the Water

By Christie Collbran | March 2, 2017

We recently attended a Waterbirth Education and Certification Course taught by Barbara Harper, RN, Midwife, author and educator. We are happy to share some of the highlights and things we learned. Many birth locations now offer the use of warm water immersion in birth tubs as a comfort measure during labor, and some locations support…

Labor of Love Birth Center Tampa

Tampa Birth Options: Labor of Love Birth Center

By Christie Collbran | January 26, 2017

We are fortunate in Tampa Bay to have so many excellent birth location options, including Labor of Love Birth Center in Lutz – the “home of natural birthing.” For the last ten years, Labor of Love has been owned and operated by Bea Rowell, RM, LM, CPM. It is professionally and expertly staffed by four…

Two Doulas Are Better Than One

Another Reason Why Two Doulas are Better than One

By Christie Collbran | January 14, 2017

Recently, one of our clients gave birth to her twin babies at 32 weeks. Her doula was by her side supporting her during labor, delivery and postpartum. She had a very positive experience. While many babies are born closer to their due dates, you most likely won’t know exactly when your baby will be born. As doulas,…

afraid to give birth

I Was Scared to Give Birth

By Christie Collbran | December 8, 2016

Second pregnancies go so fast. Between keeping up with my toddler, Annie, a career and busy family life, before I knew it, I was eight months pregnant. At first, I felt sad that I hadn’t had a moment to be “present” mentally while growing this new baby. Then one day, I was driving home from…


Newborn Care: Why Delay Clamping Baby’s Umbilical Cord?

By Christie Collbran | December 6, 2016

Once your baby is born, at some point, his/her umbilical cord must be clamped and then separated from the placenta. Many families are now considering delaying when this clamping happens because of the benefits offered to the newborn. Approximately one-third of a baby’s total blood volume is in the placenta and/or umbilical cord at birth.…

shaving or waxing for childbirth

Not-so Private Parts: Should You Shave or Wax Before Birth?

By Christie Collbran | November 18, 2016

If you’re currently pregnant, have been pregnant previously or thinking about getting pregnant in the future, chances are you have wondered about this. Given the incredibly personal nature of this topic, though, you most likely didn’t talk about it with anyone. Maybe your sister or a very, very close girlfriend who has given birth. Most…


To VBAC or Not to VBAC?

By Christie Collbran | November 17, 2016

If you are here, you are probably asking yourself “Should I try to have a VBAC or should I choose a repeat cesarean?” Always speak to your doctor or midwife to get their professional medical advice. But, if you are anything like me you may also want to do your own research. When I was…

Morton Plant Hospital Clearwater

Giving Birth at Clearwater’s Morton Plant Hospital

By Christie Collbran | November 16, 2016

Tampa Bay is fortunate to have many different excellent birth options, including Morton Plant hospital in downtown Clearwater. Today we had a private tour and are pleased to share what we learned! Before You Go into Labor You’ll be able to pre-register and meet with a special “family admission nurse” to talk about your choices and…

Doula Support Tampa Bay

Five Things My Doula Did For Me

By Christie Collbran | November 5, 2016

So often we hear, “Why do I need a doula?” or “What does a doula do?” I looked back at my last birth and found five of the most important things my doula, Christie*, did for me. This list will look different for everyone, but I think it gives some more perspective to the common…

nitrous oxide for labor pains

Labor Pain and Nitrous Oxide

By Christie Collbran | October 23, 2016

Have you heard about this new option for pain relief in labor – nitrous oxide? Well, to be fair it’s technically not new. Nitrous oxide, a tasteless, odorless gas made up of 50% nitrous and 50% oxygen, has long been used in other countries like England, Canada, Australia and more. It was used in the…

Why Do I Need Childbirth Classes?

I Trust My Doctor. Why Do I Need Childbirth Classes?

By Christie Collbran | October 19, 2016

At a childbirth education class recently, a father-to-be asked a very thought-provoking question: If you have a great care provider (OB/midwife), why do I need childbirth classes? Why do we need to know any of this stuff? Why not just trust them to make the decisions for you? While not comprehensive, here are a few ideas…

Two Doulas Are Better Than One

Two Doulas Is Better Than One!

By Christie Collbran | October 17, 2016

One of the distinctions of Buddha Belly is our commitment to offering premier, professional support to growing families in Tampa Bay. That’s why we’re pleased to announce our newest innovation: doula teams. Because two doulas is better than one! How does it work? If you hire Buddha Belly to support you at your baby’s birth, you…

laboring down

What’s Laboring Down?

By Christie Collbran | September 27, 2016

Whew! You made it! You’re finally at 10 cm dilated, that means it’s time to start pushing, right? Well… maybe not yet. Dilation is only one small part of the coordinated efforts made by your body and your baby’s in order to be born. Other things that need to happen are effacement, tilting of the cervix AND…


Birth Plans & Your Unpredictable Birth

By Christie Collbran | September 19, 2016

We love helping our clients figure out and come up with their birth plans. It’s a great opportunity to learn about all of the options and variations that can come up in labor and birth and what you would prefer. One of the hardest things we deal with as laboring and birthing people is accepting…

hospital bag maternity

Hospital Bag Checklist

By Christie Collbran | September 16, 2016

“What should I bring to the hospital?”  Here are some ideas. A few items on the list will also be provided by your hospital (blankets, pillow, shampoo, soap, etc) but if you prefer your own toiletries and want to feel more at home we suggest you bring these items with you. Download a copy of this checklist here. Labor…

the many uses of a yoga ball

The Many Uses of a Yoga Ball (updated July 2022)

By Christie Collbran | July 28, 2016

A yoga or exercise ball is a great tool to have in your home during your pregnancy, labor and beyond. Due to the many helpful ways you can use a yoga ball, it really is a worthy and smart investment. When choosing a ball be sure to get the appropriate size based on your height.…

Oxytocin hormone

The Love Hormone: Oxytocin

By Christie Collbran | June 8, 2016

Oxytocin has physical AND behavioral effects on the human body, making it one amazingly magical chemical. (Note: oxytocin and pitocin are not the same thing. Pitocin is the synthetic version of oxytocin. It can replicate the physiologic aspects of oxytocin on the body, but not the behavioral ones.) It’s called the “love hormone” because our…

Benefits of a Childbirth Class

Are Childbirth Classes Still a Thing?

By Christie Collbran | May 25, 2016

Yes – taking a childbirth class is still a thing! Let’s breakdown the benefits of a childbirth class. I know we are now accustomed to Googling and using the Internet to find information. And while those are definitely a resource, taking a childbirth class in person is still a great option. I attended a 10-week childbirth…


When is the Best Time to Hire a Doula?

By Christie Collbran | May 23, 2016

Is it ever too early or too late to hire a doula? Our answer is: if you are currently pregnant, it’s never too early or too late. If you hire a doula very early in your pregnancy, you will have more time to use her services and get to know each other. Your doula will be…


6 “Out of the Nest” Ideas for…Nesting

By Christie Collbran | May 20, 2016

As your pregnancy comes to an end, you may notice an increased desire to clean, organize, cook or otherwise prepare (mentally or physically) your “nest” for your baby’s arrival. This may be in spite of your normal desire to do anything of the sort! I spent more than one hour cleaning out the microwave a week…

prenatal yoga

Why Prenatal Yoga?

By Christie Collbran | May 18, 2016

During my last pregnancy, I attended prenatal yoga classes at Yoga Village in Safety Harbor and I was really happy that I did. I got more out of it than expected. Here are some reasons to consider prenatal yoga. 1. Relief from common pregnancy discomforts. As your body transforms, more weight and stress is put…

Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy

How Chiropractic Care Helps with Pregnancy and Birth

By Christie Collbran | May 11, 2016

We are happy to introduce Dr. Savy Ford of Blossom Chiropractic in St. Pete. She is our guest blogger for today’s post sharingMany of our clients have had positive results through chiropractic care from reduced discomfort in pregnancy to assistance with a slow to start or stalled labor. Let us know if you are looking for a recommendation for a chiropractor…

4 Easy Comfort Measures

4 Easy Comfort Measures for Labor

By Christie Collbran | May 5, 2016

While almost no woman would ever use the word “comfortable” to describe how they felt in labor, there are things that can be done to lessen the pain of birth. This list isn’t exhaustive but are approaches that work and that you can easily try without a lot of previous training or experience. Environment The…

C-Section Rates Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Cesarean Section Rates (2014)

By Christie Collbran | May 2, 2016

The location and caregiver you choose will have a major role in the outcome of your birth. In fact this may be one of the most pivotal prenatal decisions that you will make. The World Health Organization proposes a cesarean section rate that does not exceed 15%. Below are the most recently published (2014) cesarean section rates for Tampa Bay…

You Can Do Hard Things

You Can Do Hard Things

By Christie Collbran | April 24, 2016

It’s Cesarean Awareness Month. Having been through an unplanned, emergency cesarean, this topic is near and dear to my heart. So I’ve been thinking about how to share what has been on my mind about this subject recently. And I realized it’s bigger and more than just cesareans. I realize that it relates to any…

Why We're Doulas

Why We’re Doulas…The Answer Might Surprise You

By Christie Collbran | April 14, 2016

We’re not all mothers. We didn’t always think we wanted children. Maybe we want some, one day. Maybe we’d like one as soon as possible. Maybe we already have several. We’re not all home birthers. We’ve birthed in hospitals, birth centers AND at home, with pain medications, medical interventions and via cesarean. On a personal level,…

Gentle Cesarean

What Is A Gentle Cesarean? (updated June 2022)

By Christie Collbran | April 11, 2016

Many families are interested in what is referred to as a ‘gentle cesarean’ or a ‘family centered cesarean.’ The purpose is to allow mothers and partners a more active role at the birth, create a peaceful and calm atmosphere and to emulate what happens during and after a vaginal birth. Let’s discuss the features that…

When To Go To the Birth Location

It’s Baby Time! When Should We Leave Home?

By Christie Collbran | April 11, 2016

They say ‘timing is everything,’ and this is no less true in labor than other aspects of life.  It does matter when you go to your birth location – you don’t want to be there too soon, and you probably don’t want to have your baby in the car! So when exactly is the right…

Netflix & Chill in Labor?

Netflix and Chill in Labor?!?!

By Christie Collbran | April 2, 2016

Early labor can last for many hours, perhaps even days.  And while early labor is not usually very painful, it can be exhausting and hard to tolerate. During early labor, your body and your baby are preparing the cervix by getting it into the right position, thinning it and starting to open it. Your uterus…

Who Will Be in the Birth Room?

Who Will Be in the Birth Room?

By Christie Collbran | April 1, 2016

A new baby brings such joy, not only to her parents, but also to a gathering of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, neighbors, friends… the list goes on and on. And truly, as new parents, you’ll learn to rely on the support they’ll provide over your child’s life. Is there ever a time you won’t…

Writing Your Birth Plan

7 Things About Writing a Birth Plan (updated 2022)

By Christie Collbran | March 10, 2016

Many expectant parents ask us about a birth plan – what should go on it, what shouldn’t? For most people, a birth plan is a good idea, when used as a communication tool. By this we mean, it communicates your preferences to your care providers in a clear, succinct fashion. Birth is unpredictable and there…


16 Reasons We Recommend Tampa General Hospital for Childbirth {updated May 2021}

By Christie Collbran | February 25, 2016

We have had great experiences with the medical professionals of Tampa General Hospital. We’ve been toured through the entire labor and delivery ward and NICU. We’ve been invited numerous times to speak at their childbirth classes as a guest speaker and to help in teaching comfort techniques to their students. Establishing relationships and building bridges…

How Does a Doula Aid in Labor

How Does a Doula Aid in Labor

By Christie Collbran | January 27, 2016

We’re often asked about how a doula aids a laboring woman. How a doula supports a woman during birth depends on the individual woman, her needs and desires, additional supporters and birthing style.  No birth or woman is cookie-cutter and as such what we do for each woman may be different. For instance, the new mother-to-be may…

Go With the Flow

A Failure to Plan…A Plan for Failure?

By Christie Collbran | January 21, 2016

Have you ever heard this expression? Both my father and father-in-law were in the Army, so this is a saying that I have heard over and over again. And while it’s not completely true in birth, it is still very applicable. As doulas, we hear a similar sentiment a lot… “I’m just going to go…

Tampa VBAC

The #1 Ingredient for VBAC Success

By Christie Collbran | January 5, 2016

When considering a VBAC, (vaginal birth after cesarean) determining your best course of action depends on a variety of factors. This includes your risk factors, health history and your personal preferences. Having a sincerely supportive care provider is the top priority for your best chance at VBAC success. So, how do you find one? Let’s…

Do Doulas Replace Partners

Do Doulas Replace Partners?

By Christie Collbran | January 1, 2016

The answer is no, they do not. Partners are an extremely vital part of the birth team. Nobody knows you, your strengths, weaknesses, desires and the essences of what makes you unique as well as your partner. The connection and love between you and your partner is crucial during labor and birth. “A father’s [or…

What Do Contractions Feel Like?

What Does A Contraction Feel Like? (updated 2022)

By Christie Collbran | September 22, 2015

What does a contraction feel like?  Will it hurt? You’re not the first one to ask these question.  Every first time mom asks and many repeat mothers do, too!  It’s very hard to imagine ahead of time what the physical sensation of a contraction feels like.  Likewise, it is hard to remember what a contraction…

Lightning Crotch

Lightning Crotch – What Is Effacement?

By Christie Collbran | June 3, 2015

Recently, a laboring mother had us, her birth team, laughing and giggling with the words she used to describe the sensations she was having.  A particularly funny phrase she kept using was “Lightning Crotch.” This is a stinging, burning, pins and needles type of feeling right in the crotch, not during a contraction but in between or…

Choosing your hospital and doctor for childbirth

How Are You Choosing Your Hospital & Care Provider?

By Christie Collbran | December 11, 2014

You will remember giving birth for the rest of your life. It is a sacred event that should be a loving and happy experience. There are many factors that will determine the outcome of your birth, including your health, genetics, any previous births, where you choose to give birth and who your care provider is.…