Archive for the ‘Shelley’s Blog’ Category

After a long labor, we finally gave birth to a website! With the help/support of a good friend/doula colleague and web designer, we are proud to announce is live! Now families can find out more about our classes, look at a calendar and inquire about classes directly. Amanda and I offer LIVE virtual childbirth education in small groups that are personal, informative and fun!

4 Week Virtual Prepared Childbirth series – $175 per couple

MON 6:30-8:30pm – Jan 11, 18, 25, Feb 1FULL    TUES 6:30-8:30pm -Jan 5, 12, 19, 26 FULL

MON 6:30-8:30pm – Feb 8, 15, 22, Mar 1        TUES 6:30-8:30pm – Feb 2, 9, 16, 23

MON 6:30-8:30pm – Mar 8, 15, 22, 29        TUES 6:30-8:30pm – Mar 2, 9, 16, 23

MON 6:30-8:30pm – Apr 5, 12, 19, 26        TUES 6:30-8:30pm – Mar 30, Apr 6, 13, 20

MON 6:30-8:30pm – May 3, 10, 17, 24        TUES 6:30-8:30pm – Apr 27, May 4, 11, 18


Breastfeeding Basics & Newborn Care- 2.5 hour virtual class- $75/couple

Thursday 6:30-9pm – Jan 14              Thursday 6:30-9pm – Feb 11

Thursday 6:30-9pm – Mar 11                Thursday 6:30-9pm – Apr 8

Thursday 6:30-9pm – May 13


Preparing to VBAC – 2 hour virtual class – $60/couple

Thursday 7:00-9:00pm – Jan 21                Thursday 7:00-9:00pm – Mar 18

Thursday 7:00-9:00pm – May 20


Labor Skills Refresher Class – 2 hour virtual class -$60/couple

Thursday 7:00-9:00pm – Feb 18            Thursday 7:00-9:00pm – Apr 15


to inquire about availability please email Real Deal Birth directly at

4 week virtual Comprehensive Childbirth series — $150 per couple


MON 6:30-8:30pm – Jul 27 & Aug 3-17        TUES 6:30-8:30pm – Aug 11-25 & Sep 1

MON 6:30-8:30pm – Aug 31 & Sep 14-28         TUES 6:30-8:30pm – Sep 8-29

MON 6:30-8:30pm – October 5-26            TUES 6:30-8:30pm – Oct 6-27

MON 6:30-8:30pm – November 2-23            TUES 6:30-8:30pm – November 3-24

MON 6:30-8:30pm – Nov 30 & Dec 7-21        TUES 6:30-8:30pm – December 1-22


Preparing to VBAC – One 2 hour session – $50/couple

Thursday- September 3  6:30-8:30pm        Thursday – November 5  6:30-8:30pm


Labor Skills (refresher class) – One 2 hour session – $50/couple

Thursday – September 17  6:30-8:30pm        Thursday – November 19  6:30pm-8:30pm


Breastfeeding Basics and Newborn Care- One 2.5 hour session $60/couple

Thursday – August 13  6:30-9:00pm            Thursday – September 10  6:30-9:00pm

Thursday – October 8  6:30-9:00pm            Thursday – November 12  6:30-9:00pm

Thursday – December 10  6:30-9:00pm

My friend and colleague, Amanda Wyszkowski and I have partnered together to provide comprehensive, quality Childbirth Preparation in a virtual classroom! Beginning April 14th we will offer a 4 week series designed to prepare couples for any birth- regardless of where you are planning to deliver, or what your ideal birth looks like… We’ll give you the honest, straight talk you want to hear. These classes are live with an instructor, not pre-recorded.

Together, we have nearly 40 years of experience in the birth field… have attended hundreds of births as doulas. Our goal is to answer your questions, offer techniques to help you manage labor pain, understand the potential for medical interventions, and learn how to make decisions that fit best for you, your birth, and your baby.

You can get more info about our classes and upcoming schedule here. The Real Deal Prep for Birth and Parenting.

My support group for expectant and new mamas has a new home! New Mama Happy Hour now meets in the classroom at OBGYN North 12221 Renfert Way ste 330 Austin Tx 78758 from 11am-12:30pm every Wednesday.

This FREE group is “drop in” style and unstructured. We usually do some quick introductions first and then dive in. What do new moms want to talk about?

Sleep (or lack thereof), baby sleep patterns, sleep regressions, safe sleep, sleep training, sleep, sleep, sleep!

Challenges of new motherhood, stay at home moms, returning to work moms and all the feelings that go along with all that

Changes in our relationships, including partner, but also our extended family and friends

Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, formula feeding, pumping, milk storage,  introducing solids

Ways we can take care of ourselves (and why this is so important)

Ways we can help our partners be better parents/helpers/spouses

A safe place to share, vent, cry or just have some adult conversation. Bring your lunch or a snack. Don’t worry about putting on makeup or changing out of your yoga pants– you are welcome just the way you are!



I am honored to be chosen as one of the maternity wellness professionals recommended in the Feb 2020 issue of Tribeza magazine!

Tribeza Wellness Guide 2020

While the debate will always continue about the safety of homebirth vs hospital birth, a recent meta analysis of 14 studies which included 500,000 women concluded that in LOW RISK women, home birth did not pose a higher risk for either moms or babies than LOW RISK women in a hospital setting. The Authors concluded:

Planned home birth is a reasonable option that should be available to childbearing women as part of the maternity care system, and to achieve optimal outcomes, home birth practitioners should be integrated into the maternity care system.

We still have a long way to go in the United States in offering options to childbearing women– but hopefully this is a step in the right direction! Read more here:

A recent ACOG article made the following recommendations, which have been part of the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices for some time now! For low risk women in labor, it is recommended that women wait until active labor before being admitted, have freedom to move around and change positions to maintain comfort and enhance labor progression, to utilize non-pharmaceutical pain management techniques such as massage and/or water immersion, to do intermittent fetal monitoring, follow your body’s urges to push (not forced long breath holding) and – for those desiring it- 1:1 physical and emotional support from a doula! There are a few more details in the article as well- but the big message is- if you are low risk, limiting routine interventions is best for both mother and baby outcomes- things like routine IV’s, continuous electronic fetal monitoring, and amniotomy have NOT been shown to improve outcomes.

Ultimately – talk to your provider about what is best for you and your baby. Open up communication with him/her about your desires or wishes. Find out what is “routine” for their practice or the hospital where you’ll be delivering. (Birth centers and homebirth midwives generally follow the low intervention protocol- unless a medical situation warrants interventions) Stay involved in your care and make decisions if those “routines” apply well to your scenario. Don’t be afraid to speak up for what you want!

Here is the BRAIN acronym I use in my classes when we talk about medical interventions in birth:

B- Benefits- tell me how this could help me, my baby, or my labor

R- Risks- tell me about the potential risks/side effects or trade offs for this procedure/treatment

A-Alternatives- what else should I consider (including non-medical alternatives)

I-Intuition- how do you feel about this intervention?

N-Not now- if not an emergency, take some time to think about it, discuss your options with your support team, or just wait and see what happens!



Here is a link to an interview with me hosted by Jessica Chastka who is a Physical Therapist who specializes in pelvic floor issues. She works for Sullivan Physical Therapy in North Austin.

In our interview, we take a look at what doulas do, both in their role as birth and postpartum professionals, and debunk some myths about doulas. We talk about finding a doula, what to expect, what questions to ask, how much doulas cost, and what exactly doulas do/don’t do in their roles.

And–what does a pelvic floor PT do? Well, I should let Jessica talk to you about that since she’s the expert… but what do I refer my clients/students to PT for? Lots of things. Here are the most common:

Urinary incontinence  (leaking pee) during/after pregnancy (this is common but does NOT have to be something you live with!)

Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) after pregnancy

SPD pain during pregnancy (loosening of the pubic bones in pregnancy)

I also refer to pelvic floor PT to my clients who have had previous pregnancies where babies were malpositioned. (breech, OP or acynclitic) which often results in a cesarean birth. In particular, if they are planning a VBAC, I’ll recommend they seek PT to make sure their bodies are balanced for the upcoming labor/birth. PT’s can work on the soft tissue (muscles/ligaments, etc) to help the uterus and pelvic floor function normally which is critical for normal placement of the baby and facilitates an easier vaginal birth!

Thanks Jessica for hosting the interview!


Lots of families come into my childbirth classes asking how they can reduce their risk of having a cesarean birth. We talk about what the research has clearly indicated, which includes:

-Get good prenatal care, eat well, exercise, go into labor as healthy as possible

-Stay at home during early labor

-Avoid medical interventions, especially induction and continuous fetal monitoring, unless medically indicated.

-If a mom wants an epidural, wait until labor is well established (5cm or more)

-Wait until the baby is low enough before pushing

-Hire a birth doula

One thing that has not come up in the articles or research though is something that needs to happen way before all these things… and that’s CHOOSE A PROVIDER WHO HAS A LOW CESAREAN RATE. My students are often surprised to hear that while our cesarean rates at our local hospital here in Austin typically fall into the “average” range matching the national averages, the rates actually vary greatly from physician to physician. A recent article in the Science and Sensibility blog outlines some research which shows clearly that provider attitudes vary greatly, and that does indeed influence their recommendations when it comes to making decisions about performing a cesarean.

What can you do? Ask your provider about their cesarean rate for low risk, first time moms who have a head down baby at full term. (This is known as the NTSV rate) Find out how this rate compares to the “target” rate of 24%… Ask him/her the reasons they usually do cesareans, and their general attitude about cesareans. You’ll get a feel for things, and if they seem to not be in alignment with your beliefs, you may be better off finding another provider.

Does a doula really make a difference?
Families report having a postpartum doula improved breastfeeding outcomes, increased their confidence as parents, helped them get better sleep, and improved their emotions, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.