For the past several years, an REI-sponsored doula named Lydia has been helping pregnant mothers and fathers in Cairo navigate pregnancy, childbirth and early infancy. Additionally, she has been teaching doctors and nurses in a state-of-the-art maternity hospital, as well as medical residents at two teaching hospitals in proper delivery room procedures. Now, the Lydia Center is UniquelyYours Birth Services!
UniquelyYours Birth Services, a full-service pregnancy center, will continue the tradition of the Lydia Center by educating local birth professionals and pregnant couples about natural, gentle, and undisturbed births. Services will continue to reach couples in the cities, towns, and villages surrounding the metropolis of Cairo, Egypt.
As a licensed and certified AMANI doula and childbirth educator, Lydia’s courses are fun, interactive and based on the latest evidence and research. Lydia holds certifications from Waterbirth International and Blissborn, and thanks to an REI scholarship, she is the only Evidence Based Birth® instructor in Egypt (and only one of two in the Middle East!) teaching expectant parents about options for birthing their babies, as well as educating medical professionals about the advantages of gentle birthing.
Services offered to expectant parents by UniquelyYours Birth Services to expectant parents:
Childbirth Education: Prepare for Your Birth, Gently and Naturally
An eight-week, in depth childbirth education course based on the most current evidence based birthing information. Expectant parents are educated on how their bodies work, how to prepare for pregnancy, labor, and birth, and how to adapt to parenthood. Additionally, several hours are dedicated to teaching expectant fathers what it means to have a father/child relationship. New parents also learn to distinguish between myths and truth.
My Body-My Baby; Preparing for a Hospital Birth/Know Your Rights
A three-week class focused on how to navigate the complicated process of a medicalized birth, including the concept of ‘rights’ or informed consent (a previously unheard-of concept), so expectant parents can have the best and gentlest birth experience.
Ready or Not; Here I Come!!
An informal context to help expectant parents prepare for all the last-minute details and get all their questions answered in one class.
A two-hour course where expectant parents (or doctors who like to give their patients the most current, evidence based care) can learn what it takes to prepare for and support labor through hydrotherapy and waterbirth.
Labor and Birth Support
Doula services provided via an on-call process for two weeks prior to a couple’s due date, one-on-one care throughout labor, and care for three-to-four hours after the baby arrives. This allows for a very special time with the couple, developing an intimacy that supersedes many other relationships.
A one-hour support class to assist new moms having breastfeeding issues.
Massage Your Baby
A one-hour class where parents can learn massage techniques that will promote intimacy and bonding with their baby.
Services offered to residents and doulas:
An ongoing class for residents and 4th year medical students. Instead of learning the biology of pregnancy, attendees learn how pregnancy impacts a woman—physically, emotionally and spiritually. Taught at a major hospital in central Cairo, this class is attended by residents from several different government teaching hospitals.
Birth Guardians Doula Program
This program is still in its planning stages, with curriculum currently being written by several local doulas (including Lydia), each with different certifications. Permission has been granted to use the Birth Guardian name.
AMANI Doula Training Classes
Lydia has hosted several AMANI Doula Training Classes, a three-day intensive course followed by nine to 18 months of self-study and practices in order to become certified. She meets with many of the current doulas regularly to assist them in their studies and to host group lessons. Many of the doulas fondly consider her as their ‘leader’.
Photography continues to be at the center of Lydia’s work. It has allowed her to meet other doulas who know of moms who want to be photographed with their babies. Additionally, several doctors also now refer patients to Lydia for birth photography, at the hospital, in the operating room, or during delivery.
· Pregnancy Photography Session - A two-hour session for expectant moms capturing the memories of their “baby bump”.
· Newborn Photography - A one-hour session capturing baby’s first precious moments.
Because of her incredible doula and photography skills, Lydia has been invited into the homes and hospital rooms of families she never could have approached on her own and has been able to create immediate and deep bonds with families. Lydia has been instrumental in helping to strengthen families in Egypt while also building the nation of Egypt, one childbirth (and photograph) at a time.
Contribute to the work of UniquelyYours Birth Services.
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