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HomeHealth & FitnessCelebrity Doula Lori Bregman Answers Our Pregnancy Questions

Celebrity Doula Lori Bregman Answers Our Pregnancy Questions

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Though precious, birth work isn’t without pressure. Doulas are helping bring new life into this world, supporting the people doing the birthing so that they can, in turn, support their newborn babies. Now, imagine you’re a doula to the stars. That’s the reality for Lori Bregman, whose clients include Kristen Bell, Kate Hudson, Kelly Rowland, and Anne Hathaway.

Bregman has 25 years and more than 1,500 births under her belt. She began her career as a celebrity masseuse, but felt called to birth work. “I was always drawn to working with pregnant women,” Bregman tells PS. “Everything I learned — whether it was body work or nutrition or yoga or spiritual coaching — I kept gearing it toward pregnancy, birthing, or new moms.”

Bregman’s clients typically seek her out five weeks or so into their pregnancies, but sometimes as early as when they’re trying to conceive. The doula’s prenatal support includes nutritional advice, birth prep, body work, and she’s also there during labor. “I am basically their support system throughout the whole journey,” Bregman says.

Now, Bregman has a new gig as the doula in residence for the supplement brand Needed. “Literally, it’s the only product I recommend,” she says. Bregman personally takes the Women’s Multi, along with Needed’s Stress Support and Cognitive Support supplements.

As part of the partnership, Bregman has a recurring advice column. Thankfully, PS was able to get a preview and pick Bregman’s brain on pregnancy, birth work, and, essentially, how to turn the delivery room into a spa.

PS: What does a typical work day look like for you?
Lori Bregman: Every day is a trip. Right now I’m on call for about four or five births. I go to bed at night not knowing if I’m gonna wake up in my bed or not. Being a doula makes you incredibly flexible. I always plan my day but I never know if I’m gonna have to cancel. My famous last words are, “If I’m not at a birth, I can be there.”

But in a typical day, I do a lot of education. I do tons of birth prep all day long with my clients. Yesterday I went from client to client to client prepping them for birth.

A lot of it is building relationships — and building deep relationships. As I’m birth prepping, my clients are texting me all day long. Then I go to bed like at 8:00 p.m. because, like I said, I never know if I’m gonna wake up and have to go to a birth at 2:00 in the morning.

PS: That keeps you on your toes.
LB: Yeah, the one thing that keeps me really going is my daily self-care routine. Any birth worker will tell you that. It’s like what I tell the moms I work with: if you don’t put that oxygen mask on yourself, you can’t take care of others and serve others. That usually means going for hikes in nature with my dogs, taking all my supplements, going to bed early, journaling and doing my morning rituals. It really helps fuel me so I can go back out into the world and give. It’s such a rewarding career but can also be taxing on the body if you don’t take care of yourself.

PS: You have a few famous clients. How does that come about? How does one become a celebrity doula, and do you find that it changes the work in any way?
LB: Back before I was a doula, I was the masseuse of Hollywood. So, this was my clientele before. I think the reason all these celebrities like to work with me is ’cause I don’t treat them any different from anybody else that I work with. There’s a sense of normalcy where they can just be themselves and not have to be “on” or be that public person. They can just drop in and really be who they are.

I really don’t work any different with them than I do with my other clients. To me, everybody’s kind of a celebrity, you know? I try to treat all my clients like they are.

PS: What are your top recommendations for expecting parents who can’t afford a doula, but would still like to access some of that support and preparation?
LB: Well, I would definitely recommend subscribing to Needed, where you’ll get access to their “changemakers,” who are sharing a lot of wisdom and information. I’m myself doing a Dear Doula column.

I would recommend always taking a birth class that’s not hospital-related, otherwise you’re just going to learn their way. There are so many ways to get educated outside without a doula but having the support is really important. Picking your care team and your place of birth really important. You should birth around people that you feel really safe around and you can be yourself with. You should be heard and respected. Your questions should be answered, and if you don’t feel good around your care provider, if you feel dismissed or disrespected, you can change your care provider at any time.

Putting the time and energy into birth is really important. It’s not empowering to have somebody make choices for you, and these choices might be right for them, but not for you. I see so many people putting time into their wedding — taking the pictures, getting the fancy dress and the beautiful flowers — but when it comes to birth, they’ll put it in the hands of somebody else.

PS: What’s your advice for someone who is starting to consider pregnancy? What can they do, or what questions can they ask themselves, before embarking on that journey?
LB: Stay away from what I call the faith-killers, those people that are like, “You are too old.” Because that gets into your head and really, your body’s gonna do what your mind says. I have 42-year-old clients right now that got pregnant. Looking at yourself as an individual, not a statistic, is really important. Don’t watch other people’s stories and let them become yours.

I am also a huge fan of acupuncture for fertility — huge. And I would cut back on coffee.

PS: Oh no, don’t tell us that.
LB: Well, just cut back. I didn’t say “out.” The other thing is, I would start pulling some really unhealthy things out of your diet and putting some really good things in. Really nourish yourself. And stress relief: yoga, meditation, really look at your stress levels. Bring in more mindful practices, get out in nature and hike, carve out time for yourself to just breathe.

PS: It’s interesting that there are so many products out there that cater to women and their fertility, but little is discussed about the role that men play in conceiving.
LB: It’s so important. People don’t realize this, but a lot of the infertility these days is caused by the male. And the man is actually responsible for the placenta in making the baby, which is so great. So the healthier they are before conceiving, the juicier and healthier the placenta’s gonna be.

PS: What are your childbirth or delivery-room must-haves?
LB: First of all, the calmer and more relaxed you are, the less you’re gonna feel pain. So, the making of the environment is really important. Bring things like flameless candles, or a diffuser with some aromatherapy oils. I like clary sage — it helps bring on contractions and helps with pain. I like lavender oil because it calms you. A lot of my clients like lemon oil because it helps with nausea.

It’s so important to stay hydrated. You get really thirsty in birth. Needed has Hydration Support, which includes electrolytes and it’s fruity. My clients love it. I bring packets of it and pour it into their water bottles. I also like to make sure they eat and stay energized. At hospitals, they don’t love you to eat. I don’t mind if my clients do. You wouldn’t run a marathon on no food, right?

The other thing that I would do is cozy blankets and cozy pillows. Make yourself really comfy. If you’re birthing in a hospital gown, it can make you feel like you’re going in for surgery. So, I always have my clients bring their own gowns and socks to feel that coziness. When you feel cozy and comfy, you release endorphins, which helps your labor progress.

I always have people pack Needed’s Sleep Support because your sleep’s going to be very broken after you have a baby. It’ll allow you to get that deep relaxation and sleep, and it will also help the digestive tract get moving after birth. I also recommend sleep masks, earplugs, an iPad full of music or hypnotherapy or something that just keeps you calm.

One thing I always have people do is a birth plan — I call it birth preferences. It’s a checklist saying how you want to be treated, how you want the birth to be handled, and how you want the baby to be treated. If you don’t go in there with a birth plan or preferences, you basically won’t have any options. I think that’s really important to pack and go over with your care provider first and your nurses. If you don’t have a doula, it’s a way to be able to hold space a little bit better because they know what your preferences are and they can look at that list.

PS: What is something that you find to be misunderstood about birth work?
LB: There’s a misconception that doulas only do home births. We do all kinds of births. A lot of my clients get epidurals, a lot of my clients do hospital births, some of my clients end up with C-sections. If my clients wanna go birth in the woods with a bunch of deer, I’m gonna support them. We do work with midwives and do home births, but we also work a lot in hospitals.

The other thing is, there’s a doula out there for everybody. There’s no one right way to doula. We all have different skills and mindsets and philosophies. When you’re choosing a doula, it’s really important to ask all that. How you feel around that person? Because they’re gonna be holding space for you.

PS: What is your favorite thing about what you do? What gets you up in the morning?
LB: What’s better than helping bring life into this world? Every time I get to do a birth, it’s an honor. It’s magical watching a woman — no matter how she chooses to birth — and all her power and her vulnerability. I feel so grateful and blessed helping make a difference in these families’ lives. Helping these children come into the world with a healthy foundation, that’s what gets me up in the morning.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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