Here is a fascinating article about the natal cleft or the red line.  I am going to try and start looking for it at my births so my clients do not have to get vaginal exams.  Worth a shot.   Here is the research and article explaining how it works.  Dads can do it too at home.  Good luck!  Doula Dawn

Expecting a baby?  Going to Babywear?

Come learn all about babywearing and baby safety.

Any expecting couples near Ann Arbor interested in participating in a baby wearing/baby safety class at Elephant Ears? I talked with Becca yesterday, the owner, and she said I just needed to get people together. total fee is $50 so if we get 5 couples, it is super reasonable, and the more the merrier. I have attended this class before as a birth doula and learned a lot about baby developmental stages corresponding to different wraps and preventing baby self-asphyxiation, and more. the information blew me away! It is a 2 hour class I think. We can arrange date after enough interest. Ask your friends who are expecting too and send them my way so I can arrange it.

Expecting couples can contact me through my website if they are interesting in getting on the list for this class.  I will arrange once I have enough interest.

My Personal Testimony for Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy…..

“I have always been concerned with health and my professional interests are based in public health.  I believe the food in my fridge is my pharmacy, but well-rounded healthy living during pregnancy is multi-faceted.  Before I got pregnant, I witnessed dozens of births as a birth doula, then, it became my turn.  I had only dreamed of this moment and now taking the utmost care of my baby and I were a part of my reality.  Getting chiropractic care during my pregnancy was non-negotiable.  As a doula, I had seen many women go through pregnancy without this care and then, go on to have posterior, breech, or transverse-positioned babies which landed them either straight in a C-section or in a labor that sometimes lasted up to 60 complicated and intervention-filled hours.  Today, fewer OBs and even Midwives are trained to catch mal-positioned babies vaginally.  Babies will use gravity to get into the best position, but the first rule is spinal and pelvic balance.

Chiropractic care had already healed my chronic 26 years of miserable headaches, and I was convinced that it would help my baby assume the best position for labor enabling a smooth delivery.  In the middle of my pregnancy I switched to the Drs. at Positively Chiropractic and the difference was unbelievable; they specialize in adjusting the pregnant body.  After my first adjustment, I could not stop telling people about the difference I had experienced.  They checked my pubic bone and other muscle groups to ensure a holistic adjustment.  I have had clients who had severe pubic bone pain and it greatly increased their pain during pregnancy and limited their choices of labor positions.  One woman even had to use a walker in the third trimester.  It is clear to me that all chiropractors are not created equal and I drive 45 minutes one way to get their care during pregnancy.

My goal for chiropractic care is prevention—I want my baby to receive the maximum nutrients for optimal development (nervous system) and for me to avoid a long, hard labor or an automatic C-section (pelvic structure).  Most chiropractic care is covered by insurance now, so why not empower yourself, your baby, and your birth in this way!”

–Dawn Bussey

**Written on a sunny fall day at the end of October as I enter my third and glorious trimester with much excitement!!




This is a wonderful slideshow that demonstrates exactly how chiropractic care during pregnancy can steer your baby towards optimal positioning and thus, likely shorten your labor and decrease labor pains. is a very popular and respected tool that I use as a professional doula to help clients. Their rule #1 is pelvic joint and ligament balance or alignment. Babies would get into ideal position if they could.

As a local doula and pregnant lady, I LOVE the care I am getting from the ladies at Positively Chiropratic in Stockbridge, MI. I am 26 weeks and my baby is already head down which is a good sign. Thank you! Doula Dawn

Check out the slideshow and pictures here to learn about you and your babies interconnected anatomies and how you can empower your birth.  I am glad to answer any of your questions about this critical topic.

Of course I love the website Fit Pregnancy as many of you know.  This article about midwives highlights a national shift where we are seeing more and more families selecting midwives instead of OBs for their obstetric care.  Families are realizing what is important to them and educating themselves on the subtle and large differences between philosophies of care.  This article goes into detail about all the different types of midwives and where they practice, and then also lists questions that you should ask midwives as you do your interviews.

Will you hire a midwife for your next birth?  Read on to learn more and if you have any questions, I’d love to answer your inquires through my contact page.

Here is the article link:

Having a BABY? TONIGHT, come meet Doula Dawn in Ann Arbor and learn about doulas. The trend these days is that more and more families are learning about what the research says about how amazing doulas are. As a result more doulas are being hired around the country. Come find out what the big deal is and how a doula could support you through this emotionally transformative time of having a baby. See you there!

Tonight at 7pm at Whole Foods (Washtenaw Ave.) in Ann Arbor.  Last lecture of the year!  Here is the FB event to RSVP.

Transition.  The movement from one position, stage, state, to another.  Applied to labor, it’s the oft talked about time that leaves some women fearful and unsure.

Have you heard of this stage of labor?  Does it make you shudder?  Should it?

What’s the big deal about transition, you may wonder.  How will you mamas-to-be know it’s upon you?

First, before we listen to any scary accounts, before we rile ourselves up, before our eyes get too big with panic–let’s define it. Let’s learn exactly what it is.  From my own experience, education is great for dispelling myths and reducing fear.  Less fear equals less tension which in the end equals less pain.  And who doesn’t want less pain?  A more comfortable labor–yes please!

Transition is the last part of active labor – when your cervix dilates from 8 to a full 10 centimeters – and marks the shift to the second stage of labor.  During this stage babies will often descend further into their mothers’ pelvises.  For these reasons some women feel this time to be the most intense period in their labors.  Understandably.

Common signs that you may be going through transition include, but are not limited to:

  • very close, very strong contractions (coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting upwards of a minute or longer)
  • shaking, shivering
  • nausea, vomiting
  • growling/grunting (yes, growling and grunting)
  •  bloody show/lots of discharge
  • change in body temperature–feeling HOT
  • self-doubt

Not one of those sounds pleasant, eh?  I’m with you.  Kind of the opposite of a stroll through the park.  Now you know how to identify transition, but you’re still not any less fearful.  Here’s the thing.  And it’s a glorious thing I might add.  Usually when a woman is in transition it generally means the end is in sight.  Baby’s arrival is thankfully near.  On average transition lasts about thirty to ninety minutes–and is the shortest part of your labor respectfully.  So if you have been rocking and rolling without pain medication up to that point–it’s important for those trusted people present at the birth to encourage you.  Love you.  Support you all the more.  To remind you that you ARE DOING THIS.  One contraction at a time.  One long slow breath in and one long slow breath out.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat. 

You are doing this.

I have experienced knowing I was in the transition stage twice in my life.  Both times I knew that my body was changing–that I was almost completely dilated and effaced and in transition–first because I was so incredibly hot.  My doula applied cold cloths to my forehead and the back of my neck.  What a relief!  Second, because I was nauseous. I vomited.  And third–because I WAS DONE.  When I gave birth to my daughter, and then a few years later to my son I remember telling my husband and doula both times, I don’t want to do this anymore.  Help me.  I don’t want to do this anymore.    

And they reminded me that I was doing it.  That my baby was coming soon.  That I was very strong.  And beautiful.

So it’s like this Mamas,  take confidence in your knowledge.  When all is said and done,  when the chips are lying where they’ve fallen,  whether or not you identified transition as it was happening, will most likely not matter.  Thank goodness for endorphins!  And hormones! And love!

Most likely your eyes will be locked in amazement on the brand new person in your arms and your heart too busy exploding with new found joy.

A great website for finding baby gear reviews is Baby They rate every item with good, better, best and so it is really easy. The not so easy part is that some of the items that I would like are not eco friendly. That has been the toughest part of this “Bussey Baby Mission”, deciding between what is rated best and what is rated as eco-friendly. It is a great lesson in choosing your battles. Some things I know will have to have plastic on them, but other things I do not need the “best.”

GOOD NEWS for pregnant women!

If you’re pregnant, the benefits of watermelon are even more delicious. Watermelon eases heartburn and reduces swelling; its high water content (92 percent) and fruit sugars alleviate morning sickness and dehydration; and the minerals it contains can help prevent third-trimester muscle cramps. Ounce for ounce, watermelon is richer than tomatoes in lycopene, an antioxidant that protects against cancer and cardiovascular disease, boosts the body’s immunity to infections and naturally raises the skin’s SPF, according to Steven Pratt, M.D., author of SuperFoods Rx(HarperCollins, 2003).

Even better news for pregnant women: A 2003 study in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that daily lycopene supplements reduced the incidence of preeclampsia by 50 percent. Test subjects were given 4 milligrams of lycopene; a single serving of watermelon can have triple that amount. What’s more, scientists have discovered that watermelon is packed with vitamins A, C and B6, as well as potassium and magnesium. These nutrients are important for the development of your baby’s vision, brain, nervous and immune systems, and more. For you, potassium regulates water balance in the blood and body tissues during pregnancy. And you get all these benefits for less than 50 calories per cup.

With its plentiful health perks and juicy, refreshing taste, watermelon is one of summer’s most perfect nutritional packages. Try it in these sweet and savory recipes.

An Easy Way To Ease Nausea
Some pregnant women swear that watermelon is all they can keep down when morning sickness kicks in. Perhaps the only thing more refreshing than a big slice is a glass of fresh watermelon juice or a watermelon ice pop–and making either is so easy.


Click here to read full article and see the recipes.

1. Consume ginger
Ginger has long been known to help prevent and fight off nausea.  You can buy ginger root, ginger powder, or simply drink ginger ale.

2. Drink clear liquids
Have something to drink, but not cola or coffee! Have a clear liquid like water, 7up, Sprite, Gingerale, or a light tea.

3. Keep your head still
Try to limit your head movements.  Constant change in sensory input from your eyes can bother your head.

4. Breath deeply and calmly
When suffering from nausea or anxiety, your heart rate can increase, and your breathing can become irregular.  Take a few deep breaths, and then try to settle into a normal breathing cycle.  Continue to slow down your breathing, if it seems that it becomes slower than is natural, speed it up a little.  Try to find your natural breathing rhythm that requires no additional effort from your brain.  Doing this exercise can also help give you something else to focus on besides nausea and anxiety.

5. Stay at a comfortable temperature
The important thing is for you to be comfortable! If you are a little warm, or a little too cold, move somewhere that you will be more comfortable.

6. Get some fresh air
Getting fresh air can work wonders.  If you can, open a window or sit outside if you are comfortable with that.

7. Accupressure on the wrist
Pressure on your wrist has been shown to help decrease nausea associated with motion sickness.  In many stores like CVS, you can find bands sold that put pressure on a point on the underside of your wrist for this purpose.

8. Avoid televisions and computers
If you have been sitting in front of a television or computer for long hours, it can really strain your eyes.  Even if this didn’t contribute to your nausea, it can certainly make it worse, so give your eyes a break, and avoid tvs and computers.

9. Sit or lay in a relaxed position
Again, it’s about being comfortable.  Lay in bed, or sit in your favorite arm chair or recliner.  While sitting, try to relax your muscles to the point where you feel entirely limp.

10. Nibble of some light carbs
Being nauseas doesn’t meant you should avoid eating, but it does mean you should avoid eating anything with a strong, distinct taste that could bother your stomach.  Instead, try munching on some light, dry carbs such as crackers, toast, cereal, rice, etc.

11. Take anti-nausea medications 
Medicines like Dramamine or Bonine are meant to cure the nausea associated with motion sickness, and are sold at almost all drugstores.

12. Avoid strong smells
Along the same lines as strong tastes and television images, strong sensory input in the form of smell can add to your nausea.

13. Turn down the lights
Bright lighting might bother your head, so go somewhere a little dimmer.

14. Try chewing gum, or sucking a lollipop or mint
Some people say that sucking or chewing on something distracts them from the idea of using their mouth in other less desirable ways

15. Think of something else!
Once you feel nauseas, anxiety starts to kick in, and anxiety will do nothing but make it worse.  So learn to stop focusing on the concept of vomit.  Hum a song, think about something else that happened during your day.  Developing this skill can go a long way, so start to compile a set of thoughts can distract you during times of anxiety.