Due “Date” A-Z Series

Continuing in the A-Z Pregnancy Blog Series we come to the letter D. I bet you thought I was going to write about doulas, didn’t you? Well, I have written previously quite a lot about doulas. Here a few links if you want to read about:

https://knoxvilledoula.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/reasons-to-hire-a-doula-for-cesarean-birth/  Reasons to hire a doula for a Cesarean Birth

https://knoxvilledoula.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/doula-musings-today/ What I can and cannot do as a doula

https://knoxvilledoula.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/hiring-a-postpartum-doula/  Hiring a postpartum doula


So for D I thought I would write about the “due date” or EDD, estimated due date. It is an estimate and some feel it should be more of an estimated due month rather than a date. After you see how it is calculated perhaps you will also feel the same.

In order to calculate your due date, add 7 days to the date of your last period and then add nine months, with the assumption of a 28 day cycle.  But remember that babies don’t know anything about this estimated calendar date and a full term pregnancy is considered anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks.

Due dates are usually calculated on your last period instead of the date of conception because of a number of reasons.

  • Although the average woman ovulates (releases an egg) approximately 2 weeks after her period, the exact time is not always known.
  • Once an egg has been released, it can remain fertile for up to 24 hours.
  • Sperm can last for up to 7 days after intercourse to fertilise an egg.

Nowadays an ultrasound is frequently used for dating but the date can be off by a week or more. Depending on which study/evidence is cited, approximately only 5% of women give birth on their estimated due date. But it’s fun when it happens! Only 35% of women go into labor the week of their EDD.

Keep your due date in mind, absolutely, but don’t panic if baby ends up surprising you. Parenthood is all about surprises! You will soon be holding your baby in your arms.

All Rights Reserved, 2019
Kimberly Sebeck, CLD, CCCE, HCHD
Knoxville Doula


Cravings in Pregnancy


Yes, they’re real. Sometimes they can be fairly tame, like extra pickles on a sandwich or very odd like pickles mixed with ice cream. Yes, some women really do mix some weird combinations. I myself craved artichokes early in my pregnancy in an almost indescribable way. I’ve always wondered if it was because of the vitamin C content. Most of the time, however, women find themselves craving “comfort food” or foods that are a combination of salty and sweet and/or with a higher fat content.

The one caveat would be when someone craves non food items like dirt or clay. This is called pica and is a medical condition and needs to be addressed with your medical provider.  Also an extreme craving for ice could be a sign of anemia so mention that to your medical provider, although they usually check your bloodwork for signs of anemia.

Why do cravings happen? No one is 100% certain of the answer although it seems to be related to hormones. One solid theory is that as hormones shift, dopamine levels can lower which can lead to cravings. Another theory or one that may also work in tandem is that our body is craving certain nutrients. Now ice cream wouldn’t be what anyone would consider a nutrient, however, craving dairy could mean someone is needing more calcium. Salt could mean a need for more magnesium, fatty foods could mean a need for more essential fatty acids, and so the theory goes. Yet another theory is that the baby itself is putting on fat and needs fat to shape and grow its brain.

When you think about food as a source for growing your baby it can help you to think of healthier ways to satiate those cravings. Having smaller meals broken up during the day  can help digestion.  Occasional ice cream or french fries (maybe mixed!) isn’t going to hurt you but having them all the time isn’t the best nutritional choice. Maybe having food with a higher calcium content and magnesium content most of the time followed by a little bit of ice cream sometimes would be better. But I’ve been pregnant, too, and I know Baskin Robbins saw more of me during the last couple months of my pregnancy than they have seen me since!

So yes pregnancy cravings are real. Moderation is the key. And one day you can tell your child how you dipped bananas in ketchup or ordered a salad with triple amounts of artichokes or put hot sauce on absolutely everything.

All Rights Reserved, 2019
Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula
This is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice



Body Changes in Pregnancy & How to Love It

I know, I know. You were promised a “glow”. Instead you can barely roll over in bed, coffee makes you nauseated, it’s been days since you pooped, and what is going on with your skin?!

This blog isn’t going to minimize the fact that some aspects of pregnancy are really really hard. Hopefully some of the suggestions will give you a deep breath and a reminder that the hard time won’t last forever.

  1. The first and most obvious change is you are growing another human! Whoa! That’s almost mind boggling. Another person (or persons) are taking up residence inside your body. Of course there will be some uncomfortable changes! Yet you are entrusted with this life giving task. Your body was made for it. It’s up to the challenge. You have a mission to grow this other being.
  2. Feel all that stretching? Stretching of the skin, stretching of your breasts, stretching of maybe some inner organs you never thought about before? You are expansive, and in a monumentally good way. You can use this time to think about and practice these stretching sensations as how you will stretch as a mother. Your body, mind, and heart are stretching in ways they didn’t before you were pregnant and the pay off is oh so sweet.
  3. Speaking of your mind and heart, this is a great time to really get deeply in touch with what your body needs. Many jokes are made about cravings but go deeply into what your body is telling you. Are you bone weary today? Your body is telling you to carve out some rest. Are you having trouble settling down to sleep? Is your body telling you to meditate before bed? Cut back on caffeine? Are you feeling anxious? Do you need to reach out to your partner for some cuddles or more help around the house? Begin tuning in to what your body is telling you and make adjustments accordingly.
  4. Constantly peeing. Like.. constantly. Being hungry but only being able to eat a tiny bit. Pregnant bodies do that because the bladder has pressure on it but because your kidney volume can increase by 60%. Your colon is also compressed and your GI system is retaining more water and the whole system is slowed down. That’s the bad news of it but the good news is it’s supposed to work that way. These processes allow for room for your growing baby and uterus, as well as prepare for increased blood volume and retaining nutrients, etc. This allows us to trust that our bodies are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Trust that your body is housing and growing your baby.
  5. While we are talking about nutrients, take this time to nourish yourself! You’ll need some extra calories each day when pregnant — make those delicious, healthy, and nutritious calories! Eat a rainbow of colors, plate your food in an appealing manner, pour yourself a non alcoholic mocktail. You are nourishing and nurturing yourself and your baby, enjoy it! Banish society’s obsession with thin from your mind. Your mission right now is to house, nourish, and nurture yourself and your baby and it can be glamorous, beautiful, creative, anything you want it to be.
  6. Pamper yourself if and when possible. Get a pedicure, get a prenatal massage. Buy some whipped lotion and have your partner rub your feet at night. Have a girlfriend style your hair.  Use a facial scrub. Wear silky robes or sarongs if you love them. Really the options are endless.
  7. Remember to exercise! It is great for you, your body, your mind. Always check with your doctor first but walking is almost always a safe outlet for pregnancy as well as water aerobics. Sometimes feeling how strong and capable our bodies are can make us appreciate and love it more.
  8. Intimacy can be tricky. Sometimes during pregnancy your hormones can make you feel more intimate and sometimes it can make intimacy seem far far away. Talk to your partner about it. Maybe cuddling and massages with each other will fill the space for now. Either way, having an honest conversation and reassuring each other of your love and affection will help your relationship. Your body is going through a lot of changes after all. The changes will be temporary but you want your relationship to last.
  9. As a doula I think pregnant bodies are gorgeous but I do remember having fleeting moments when I myself was pregnant. Worrying if I would lose all the weight or if I was still attractive. It seems so superficial now and yet those are very real concerns for most of us! Try this mantra: My body’s purpose is twofold now – to care for my own health and well-being and to grow and nurture my baby. 

All Rights Reserved, 2019
Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula



Advocacy and Doulas



Advocate is a big buzz word in the birth world. There is no wonder there is some confusion when it comes to the role a doula has concerning advocacy regarding clients and at a birth.

The definition of advocacy as a noun is “someone who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy”. Merriam Webster defines it further as someone who “pleads the cause of another”, often specifically before a tribunal or judicial court.

A court case isn’t something we would expect or hope a doula would need to be involved in at all. In fact, doulas do not speak for a client because doulas do not have a legal right to make medical decisions for clients. So what do most people mean when they use the word advocate when speaking about the role of a doula?

Most of the time when a client is interested in having a doula present they are interested in having their voice and preferences be heard. This is why hiring a doula well before birth and working with one prenatally is so important. Professional doulas who stay within their scope of practice are well versed and trained in helping their clients learn how to advocate for themselves! Prenatal meetings to go over different options, childbirth preparation, birth option plans, ways to discuss important topics with providers, and navigate twists and turns as they come up during pregnancy is vital to empowering pregnant people to speak up and be heard. Preparing your partner to answer questions and ask for time to make informed decisions is part of the process as well. As a doula I am not going to make a decision concerning the welfare of your baby and yourself. I will give you unbiased information and remind you to ask informed consent questions, just like we have practiced in prenatal sessions. I can reference your written birth plan as well. Most of this work is done prior to labor so it is familiar and second nature.

Doulas are often advocates for evidenced based birth practices as a whole, in society. We form support groups and are members of national organizations. But if it seems like you are gearing up for a fight for evidence based birth practices with your birth provider, we would encourage you to look up ACOG’s recommendations and see if those recommendations are being followed. Honest communication between yourself and your provider is extremely important — expecting anyone — a doula, your partner, a sister to “protect” you from your provider may signal that this is not a good working relationship with this particular provider or perhaps there needs to be an open communication about the disagreement in care and expectation.

So while it can be a little confusing to answer outright if a doula is an “advocate” (in some ways we are and in some ways we are not), the main answer is we teach our clients to advocate for themselves and we are there to remind them how if necessary.

All Rights Reserved, 2019
Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula


Pregnancy A-Z Blog Series


Readers of my blog will be treated to a blog series with pregnancy, birth, and postpartum categories starting with each letter of the alphabet. It has been some time since blogging has been a focus of mine so this undertaking should get my writing skills flowing again.  Some of the blogs will be technical and some will address more emotional aspects of pregnancy, et al. I hope you are as excited about this project as I am. If you have a suggestion for a letter topic, drop a comment below.

Kimberly Sebeck, AKA Knoxville Doula
All Rights Reserved, 2018


Q&A with a Hypnobabies Instructor

Q. Tiffany, I understand that you used Hypnobabies with one or more of your births and these were vbacs? Could you tell us a little bit about how you learned about Hynobabies and why you decided to use it?
A. Yes, I used Hypnobabies for two of my three VBACs. One birth was in the hospital, and one was at home.
When I was pregnant with my third baby I knew I wanted to actually enjoy my birth. During my first two births, an urgent cesarean and VBAC,  I experienced a lot of suffering and trauma as well as under preparation despite self education and professional birth classes.  So, when I had two births that didn’t go by the books and ended up being traumatic, I was devastated at the amount of suffering I had to endure to bring my babies into the world. Pregnancy number three and the rise of the internet made it possible for me to find a new way. In my search I came across a YouTube video of a mom using Hypnobabies to breath her baby out, smiling in between contractions and I was instantly hooked. I knew I wanted to have that kind of calm control and joy during my babies birth. I was able to have wonderfully healing and comfortable VBACs using Hypnobabies with zero interventions and great recovery and post partum periods.
Q.  How did Hypnobabies work for you in those births?
A. The first time I used Hypnobabies I was diligent at following the daily and weekly schedule. I remember hitting the 39 week mark and avoiding scheduling an induction at my doctor visit. At a time in pregnancy when most moms are ready to meet their babies I was able to use Hypnobabies to remain comfortable and really pamper myself that last week. I went into our birthing time at 39 weeks and 6 days while running errands. I kept my earbuds in and was able to stay comfortable even swinging at the park with my older children in the evening. Once I got them to bed things picked up and I continued to only feel pressure while using what Hypnobabies calls Eyes Open Hypnosis. It was great. Being able to snack, and spend relaxing time with my husband while in my birthing time and remaining completely comfortable was so new to me that I didn’t realize I was as far into my birthing as I was. It was an hour after I put the kids to bed that I decided it was time to head to the hospital and once we got there I was able to walk myself to the elevator and continue using my hypnosis while the nurse was checking me in. Then I sat on my ball, still with my ear buds listening to my hypnosis birthing day tracks, for about 30 minutes until I felt pushy. He was born in three pushes thanks to the unique Hypno-anesthesia tool Hypnobabies teaches! It was incredible! I was able to comfortably push my baby out and smile afterwards. When we got the pictures back that my mom took the entire room was smiling! Hypnosis really worked! I birthed an 8lb 4 oz. baby via VBAC remaing calm, comfortable, and it was so easy! I had nurses and doctors come by our room all day to find out how I did it so easily and all I could say was Hypnobabies! I was also surprised to find out that Hypnobabies techniques worked amazingly well to remain comfortable after birth as well which made my recovery period easy and comfortable.
My next Hypnobabies birth went a little differently. I had a major water skiing accident and knee injury right before I got pregnant so I was going into pregnancy with a body that wasn’t performing at it’s best. I then had Hyperemesis Gravidarum and could barely function for 6 months. (I did not look into the Hypnobabies track “Eliminate Nausea Now” which I regret) I did not do my Hypnobabies practice as diligently as the first time either so I feel like I caused myself some discomfort early in my birthing time by not preparing as well. I went into my birthing time at 40 weeks and 6 days which once again, Hypnobabies helped me remain calm, healthy, and comfortable so my baby could choose his own birth day. We had a planned Home Birth so my midwife and her assistant came over once I knew it was my birthing time. One thing that can happen to Hypno-moms is that time feels half as long so my 25 hour birthing time only felt like 8-12 hours to me. I was able to lie down in my bed and listen to my tracks to remain comfortable while I progressed slowly from 7-9 cms. Then I was able to use Eyes Open Hypnosis once again to move from our birth pool to the bathroom and follow what my body needed and finally getting in the pool and leaning over the side on my kneeling. I was also able to be comfortable and wait for the fetal ejection reflex letting my baby and body work together. One thing that surprised me was he had a slight shoulder dystocia (from misalignment due to the knee injury right before pregnancy) and I was able to remain comfortable, thanks again to Hypno-anesthesia,  while my midwife unstuck his shoulder. Once he was out my midwife said how happy she was that I used Hypnobabies and what a different birth it could have been if I didn’t.  I was surprised once again that I was able to use Hypnobabies to remain calm and comfortable to birth a 9lb 2 oz. baby in my bedroom. Six hours after his birth I was in my kitchen (my husband had finally succumbed to exhaustion) holding my new baby and making a small sandwich for my 4 yr old.
Q. When did you decide to become a doula?
A. After I had my first VBAC in early 2003 I knew I wanted to help women have more support, better birth education, and happier birth experiences than I had. So 6 months after I had her I went to a Doula Workshop, pumping or nursing during breaks, and knew I was in the right profession. I took some time off from Doula work to attend Nursing school and then came back to Doula work lightly in 2010. In 2016 I went to Childbirth Educator training and then in 2017 I added Hypnobabies Classes and Hypno-Doula Support to my menu of services that I offer. In early 2018 I began working with Susannah’s House, a non profit, out patient treatment facility for substance use, teaching prenatal classes and offering pro bono Doula services to my students there helping moms and babies.
Q. When did you decide to become a Hypnobabies instructor?
A. I knew I wanted to become a Hypnobabies Instructor a couple of years after my 2nd VBAC and once I used Hypnobabies for the second time I knew I needed to bring Hypnobabies to Knoxville and surrounding areas in a big way. I attending training in April of 2017 and became Certified a few months later. I’ve been teaching for almost a year now and my students have had several great Hypnobabies births of all varieties and settings. I have had students come from up to 2 hours away to attend classes.
Q. Can you tell us a little about the classes themselves?
A. Hypnobabies Classes are once per week for 3 1/2 – 4 hours for 6 weeks. It is an adult education class so there is “Home-Play” which my students enjoy doing together with their partners. Hypnobabies is great because it’s the only birth class you need. It’s a childbirth preparation class as well as childbirth hypnosis which teaches true, medical grade, self hypnosis techniques and tools so moms can stay calm, and comfortable, during their birthing times and after. All needed materials are received in class as well and Birth Partners are encouraged to attend since much of the material is geared toward how they can help Hypno-moms remain comfortable although birth partner participation isn’t a must to take the class and do Hypnobabies.  I like my students to be relaxed and comfortable so moms get to use Anti-gravity lounge chairs if they would like during class and/or Hypnosis sessions. We also have a break with yummy snacks, usually with water, fresh fruit,  and veggies on the menu as well as some type of added protein. Moms and Birth Partners leave class feeling refreshed, educated, and comfortable making the pregnancy and birthing choices that are right for them knowing they have Hypnosis tools they can utilize.
Q.  How can anyone interested get in touch with you to find out more about your services?
A. To find out more about my Hypnobabies Birth Services as well as non Hypnobabies Birth Services I offer you can reach me by email at queenbeeandbaby@gmail.com or phone at 865-266-0909.  You can also find me on Facebook at Queen Bee and Baby Birth Service or Queen Bee Hypnobabies.
Thank you so much for this information, Tiffany! I have loved being a hypnodoula with Hypnobabies for the last several years and know that having local classes will only increase the interest in an easier and more comfortable birth experience that Hypnobabies offers. Please let Tiffany or I know if you have any questions.
All Rights Reserved, Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula 2018

Julie’s Hypnobabies Experience (Birth Story)



This summer I’ve had the occasion to have a nursing student, Kait, getting some service hours with me. She has helped me stuff goody bags, re-typed my Comfort Measures Class handout, and helped update important local lactation consultants lists and childbirth class offerings. One thing we also did was interview one of my previous Hypnobabies doula clients. Even though I was present at the birth, it was fascinating to hear Julie retell her story. I am paraphrasing many of her words as I didn’t tape record her but certain images are burned into my memory from her description.

Julie’s story:

Julie had previously taken Bradley method of childbirth education with her previous pregnancy. She was very committed to going naturally and unmedicated but when she was induced for postdates and the labor went very long she opted for an epidural.  The pushing phase had lasted for over 4 hours. She did not have a doula with her first baby. The second time around she hired me and she chose to do Hypnobabies.

She said Hypnobabies really appealed to her and the more she progressed into it she realized the vast difference between it and Bradley. She said she found her birth plan from the first pregnancy and noticed how it came from a place of almost fear and things she didn’t want. She didn’t want to be induced. She didn’t want to have pitocin. She didn’t want an epidural. Yet, it didn’t address any of the things she did want. With Hypnobabies she was learning to manifest what she did want. She felt confident with her practice of Hypnobabies and my support as her doula that this birth would be different.

Fast forward to the very end of pregnancy and the mention of induction came up again as she was beyond her estimated due date. I do remember this well. She had an appointment with her provider and they discussed some options and what would happen if she hadn’t gone into labor within a certain time frame. She called me crying. I suggested she meet me at my office immediately.  She came over and I rubbed her feet and pressure points and we talked. I suggested she employ her practice and training of Hypnobabies and really believe and envision she would go into labor on her own. She began having pressure waves (contractions) in my office. We didn’t know if they would continue but it was a lovely and positive sign and she left leaving much more relaxed and at peace.

The pressure waves did continue, gently. She told us that she went home and made it like a cave. She told her husband to stay out, had her mother pick up her child and envisioned herself like a mama bear in her cave, warm and comfortable. This went on for some time until she called to let me know she would like for me to come over. It has been a couple of years so I don’t recall the exact time she called me but when I got there she was in the tub/shower, sitting on a birth ball, looking very peaceful. Waves were coming strong and regularly. I timed some to assess where we were at and we were shortly on our way to the hospital. She said she had absolutely no pain. As we were leaving she vomited in the driveway — another good and normal sign.

I followed them to the hospital in my car and called the student doula who was shadowing me to join us. Julie had been very gracious to allow Emily, a newer doula, to come to the birth not only to learn but also to assist Julie’s husband, who was new to the Hypnobabies idea of birth. As we pulled in to the hospital parking area, Julie was sick to her stomach again, another good sign things were progressing. I was able to park quickly and help Julie out of her car while Emily helped Julie’s husband park the car and get their things.

Once in the room, Julie was admitted and we all answered as many questions for the staff as we could so she could stay in her Hypnobabies hypnoanesthesia. We turned the lights off, kept the door shut.  The tub was filled, she remained comfortable.  Emily and her husband chatted and we all took turns getting her ice and bringing cool cloths. I kneeled by the tub and sponged her off.  Eventually it was suggested by the midwife for her to get out and go to the bathroom. This was not something she was very excited about, she related to us as she related the story.  After using the restroom she got into the bed. What I remember at this point was how dark and quiet and calm the room was. Her waves were coming very strong and beautifully at this point. The midwife had not seen many Hypnobabies births at this point and her eyes widened at seeing the strong contractions on the monitor and yet Julie remaining completely calm and at ease with them. Julie tells us that at this point in her birthing time, I still had no pain. I felt blue mountains erupting from my abdomen. It was so spiritual and magical.”

Soon after it became time to push and because of her extended pushing experience before, I suggested turning and leaning over the head of the bed to be in a semi hands and knees position but supported so she could remain in hypno-anesthesia. Julie says, “I turned into a mountain lion. A fierce and powerful mountain lion.” Julie pushed her second daughter out in around thirty minutes.

She uses words such as “magical” “awesome” “spiritual” “empowering” . She says the combination of having a doula and using Hypnobabies was “pure magic”. It “makes her want to have 12 more Hypnobabies just to experience it again– but I won’t”. Julie tears up, and so do we. She says she manifested this birth and we believe her.

Julie wants women to know that using Hypnobabies and a doula is a magical combination. I also agree with her that many childbirth education discusses things women do not want versus what they do want. It is possible to change the language and fear surrounding birth! Kait, the nursing student plans to use Hypnobabies in the future when she herself begins a family.

Thank you for sharing your story, Julie!

All Rights Reserved, Kimberly Sebeck, HCHD, CCCE, 2018 Knoxville Doula