Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Childbirth Professional Day - Meet Niki Johnson

1. What is your Childbirth Profession?
I am a Doula and Childbirth Educator.

2. Describe your profession and why someone would want to choose your profession for support in pregnancy and/or childbirth.
A doula is a professional support person. A doula does many things for the birthing couple. A doula offers physical and emotional support to the birthing couple and educates and informs parents of their options in Childbirth. A doula is an advocate for the couple and can help them maintain their birth plan or explain options when there needs to be a deviation from that plan. Having a doula can help to alleviate fear of the birth process, and a doula can offer suggestions on positioning and comfort measures to help facilitate a smoother birth. A doula is also an independent person working for the couple who can offer continuity of care from the home to the hospital and between the changing shifts at the hospital.

A childbirth educator is a person who teaches about pregnancy, labor, and birth. As an independent educator, I am not steeped in one method, or one hospitals standard operating procedure. I teach the anatomy of pregnancy, the physiology of labor and birth, exercise and nutrition as the base of a healthy pregnancy, relaxation and other pain management techniques, and complimentary therapies for the childbearing year. The most important thing you as a parent can take away from childbirth classes is the ability to become a consumer of your health care and your own responsibility in keeping your pregnancy healthy.

3. Why did you get started in your profession?
I had a really 'normal' birth experience with my oldest. An induced birth at 37 weeks after an inversion from breech, an epidural, flat on my back pushing, an episiotomy, etc. My son was premature, apparently my due date was off, and was in the NICU for 10 days with a collapsed lung and feeding issues. I then went on to have nursing problems due to his having a bottle in the hospital. It left me feeling inept to care for my son when I took him home. Those experts who told me to trust them didn't come home and parent for me. I had to regain my confidence as a mother. When I had my second, I educated myself and decided against all the interventions in hopes of having a healthier baby, an easier labor, and an easier recovery. I found out that in order to have the kind of birth I envisioned I would need support. In our society birth is seen as scary, dangerous, and a job for the professionals. In reality a couple must do it, just like they must change the diapers, feed, and care for their children. I decided after my second was born that the most integral things to my journey were taking independent childbirth classes, not hospital protocol readiness, and hiring a doula to help me during labor to stay on track with my plans. After doing it for 8 years, I have realized that women who are empowered during their births have an easier time making decisions for their children all around. She becomes an advocate for her family!

4. In detail, what is your personal childbirth philosophy?
That birth is a normal physiological event, albeit an intense transition into parenting, it prepares us for the amazing gift of being parents. I believe that God has made our bodies and our babies to working synergistically. Keeping birth normal means not intervening into it unless truly medically necessary. Our society sees birth as a disease needing to be cured, not a family event that needs to be supported and celebrated!

5. If you could tell all pregnant women in the world something, what would it be?
Trust your inner instinct. It is still there, it may be hidden or pushed down way inside, but it is there. No one knows your body or your baby better than you do!

6. How long have you been in your profession? Are you certified? If yes, by which entity?
I have been a doula for 8 years, I originally certified through DONA international. I am certified through ICEA as a childbirth educator

7. Do you have a business name? How can people contact you for pregnancy and childbirth support?
BirthingWISE is Women Inspired Support & Education. I can be contacted at 605-351-4207, or wisebirthing@gmail.com

8. Where do you practice?
As a doula I work anywhere, if you are having a hospital birth I can labor with you at home and in the hospital, if you are having a home birth, I labor with you at home! I take clients in Sioux Falls, and am willing to travel. As a childbirth educator, I teach out of local chiropractors office.

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