Informed Pregnancy with Dr. Berlin: Podcast Episode #178
Kristin chats with Dr. Berlin about the Informed Pregnancy Project. The Project aims to utilize multiple forms of media to compile and deliver unbiased information about pregnancy and childbirth to empower new and expectant parents to make informed choices regarding their pregnancy and parenting journey. You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes, SoundCloud, or wherever you find your podcasts.
Welcome. You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting. Let’s chat!
Kristin: Hello. This is Kristin with Ask the Doulas. I am joined today by Dr. Elliot Berlin, and for those of us in the birth working world, Dr. Berlin is a legend. I’m so excited to have him on. He’s an award winning prenatal chiropractor, childbirth educator, labor support body worker, and cofounder of Berlin Wellness Group in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Berlin graduated summa cum laude from Life University of Chiropractic in Atlanta, Georgia and the Atlanta School of Massage. His separate schooling in massage therapy, body work, and chiropractic formed the backbone of his innovative pre- and postnatal wellness care techniques. Unique chirosage sessions soothe and relax tight, painful muscles and restore motion to restricted joints. These 30 to 45-minute treatments effectively address most pregnancy aches and pains in just a few visits and promote a healthy, comfortable, and functional pregnancy and an ideal environment for labor and delivery. Dr. Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Project aims to utilize multiple forms of media, from podcasts, YouTube series, documentaries, and online workshops to compile and deliver unbiased information about pregnancy and childbirth to empower new and expectant parents to make informed choices regarding their pregnancy and parenting journey. Dr. Berlin lives in LA with his wife, perinatal psychologist Dr. Alyssa Berlin, and their four fantastic kids. Welcome, Dr. Berlin!
Dr. Berlin: Thank you so much, Kristin. Thank you for having me, and thank you for the amazing work that you do.
Kristin: Thank you. And you are also a doula, correct?
Dr. Berlin: I am a doula. It’s an interesting, circuitous route to how I got there, but I am one of the few doula guys.
Kristin: Male doulas, yes. I love it. And I know you from a lot of your filmmaking. The Trial of Labor, Heads Up, and you’ve done so many film projects related to pregnancy and birth. That is also amazing. As I mentioned with your podcast, as well. So I love that you’re tying all of your work together.
Dr. Berlin: Yeah, I mean, it’s all – it really is one big bundle that it all complements. Like, if you’re going to support people in modern day, especially America, in pregnancy, birth, postpartum, parenting, then all the pieces are kind of necessary for holistic support, not just hands-on work, not just focused on body, but also mind and also empowerment through information, which is hard to get sometimes.
Kristin: Exactly. And it is nice to have so many online options compared to when I had kids. So my kids are 10 and 12, and there were very few online programs and options. You had to find support in your community.
Dr. Berlin: Yeah. And thankfully, on the local level, there are communities growing through services like the ones that you offer and communities like the ones that you build. The village is coming back together. We had village support, and then we moved away from our villages and had no support. And things got a little dicey, but slowly as a team, all of us are trying to bring that back.
Kristin: We sure are. It’s so important. So how did you decide to specialize in prenatal chiropractic care, out of all of the different specialties you could have focused on?
Dr. Berlin: I originally – medicine was my jam. I was going to do everything medicine. I pictured myself doing groundbreaking surgery and all sorts of interesting things like that. From the time I was very little, I was – I saw a CPR class happening, and when I found out that you could use your body to be somebody else’s heart and lungs for a little bit, I decided I wanted to use my body to help other people. And I pursued at first very basic things like CPR and first aid and lifeguarding, responding to emergencies. But then as a teenager, I studied emergency medical technician training and started working in ambulances and emergency rooms. I kind of came to a halt when I was 19 and my father passed away, partially from a medical mix-up. And I still love medicine very much, and I respect it, but I wanted to be in healthcare on the more natural side of things, supporting the body in other ways, preventing perhaps the need for reliance on drugs and surgeries. So I took some time off. I studied complementary forms of healthcare, and I fell in love with the combination of chiropractic and massage, working on the musculoskeletal system from both sides.
Kristin: That is amazing.
Dr. Berlin: Yeah. You don’t have a muscular system that’s in a vacuum from the skeletal system. They’re deeply intertwined. So I went to school for both separately, and I squished them together to sort of make the peanut butter and chocolate of holistic healthcare. And that was the first step. That really kind of pointed me down this path. In terms of pregnancy specifically, my wife, who you mentioned earlier, is a psychologist also working in this space. We were in grad school together, and we were finishing. We thought, this is a great time to have a baby. And no matter what we did, no baby would come. We tried all the natural things. We tried all the medical things. Heavy interventions. And for reasons nobody can explain, they were just like, we don’t think it’s ever going to happen. You should explore other pathways to parenthood. And we couldn’t because we were just broke. Not just financially broke, but our relationship was on the rocks. Our physical, mental, and spiritual health was gone. It was quite the roller coaster, and we were young. We were, like, 25 and 27 years old. So we decided to just take a little time and heal, to work and not give all the money to medical treatments, to spend time together and find that spark and rekindle the relationship and to work on our health. We started doing Chinese medicine, meditation, yoga, better nutrition. And over a period that turned out to be ironically nine months, really ended up in a much better place in every way possible. And that’s when we moved to Los Angeles, and when we got here, we started to think, what alternative ways to parenthood are there? But it was a short discussion because we found out we were pregnant.
Kristin: I love that.
Dr. Berlin: Me, too. And then, yeah, every couple years, another baby came. It was like we couldn’t turn it off. So we opened our mind body practice, and we had – it was for general health and wellness, but there was definitely an eye on boosting natural fertility. And the first year, we had a couple babies come through. And then every year after that, it just snowballed. There were babies everywhere. Our patients wanted to continue care with us, and although I didn’t know that much about pregnancy at the time, and certainly pregnancy care, there was nobody else here in Los Angeles that seemed to be working on pregnancy. So I did as much as research and homework as I could on the providers who came before me and felt confident that I could provide chiropractic care and massage care without harming the mother or baby, and that’s how we got started. And then once we did enough pregnancy care, then you get a lot of questions about things that I didn’t know answers to, so I’d research the answers, and after having those same questions and answers over and over and over again, decided to put it to paper and write a little blog that became a magazine that we published for several years, and then that eventually turned into the podcast and also our newest project, which is a video streaming service. So all the different things. And even attending birth kind of organically rolled. I’m doing massage and chiropractic right up until the last minutes of labor, and then someone’s in labor, and if it’s going on for a long time or there’s back labor or anything like that –
Kristin: You can adjust them during the birth and provide hands-on support. I love that continuity of care.
Dr. Berlin: Yes, exactly. And once I was being called to births on a semiregular basis, I thought it would be helpful for me to have additional skills here. So that’s when I did doula training. My wife did it with me, actually. She’s also a doula, and as a psychologist, she would serve as a doula for people who needed a little bit more expertise with either anxiousness or OCD or things like that.
Kristin: Yeah, past trauma, other medical occurrences. That makes a lot of sense. So you likely don’t have much time to do doula work anymore with all of your projects.
Dr. Berlin: Right. I never really meant to be a doula. It’s just that as part of the training, you have to do some births. Once I started doing birth, people were like, wait, I want the doula who’s going to massage me the whole time at my birth.
Kristin: I certainly would have, yeah.
Dr. Berlin: So it kind of spread, and then I was like, wait a second. I can’t be doing these births all the time because I’m in the office for ten hours a day, and I have a family. And so I ended up kind of scaling down from being a doula to just doing body work for an hour, two hours, three hours, whatever was helpful. And then after the pandemic, so many people here decided to do a home birth or out of hospital birth, and many of them not really out of hospital birthers by nature, just not wanting to be in the hospital with everything that was going on. And so –
Kristin: Of course, and the visitor restrictions, yeah.
Dr. Berlin: Yeah, and the masking. Just so many restrictions. Really can’t walk around anywhere anymore. So they were giving birth out of the hospital but not all that comfortable with it, and so they would want a larger cast of support characters. I was getting invited to a lot of births, and it’s kind of – I would be in the office during the day, birth at night, come back to the office and sleep on the massage table for an hour, get back to work. So I’ve kind of scaled back from that, too, more recently. And once in a while, I still end up at a birth. I leave it to the universe if somehow I’m going to be extremely helpful, I’m sure I’ll end up there, and if not, I won’t. And I think that works best for everybody.
Kristin: Yeah. And it makes sense. I mean, I feel like there are more and more inductions now after the pandemic, and so if my client has an upcoming induction, I try to get them into their Webster-certified chiro and look into acupuncture and other sources to get things going if their body’s not ready. So I’m sure you get a lot of those last-minute calls to come in for an adjustment, and then especially with the massage work that you do on top of the adjustments.
Dr. Berlin: Yes. So a lot of it is labor preparation with pelvimetry. There’s this idea in obstetrics that we can measure how big the baby’s head is and how big the pelvic opening of the mom and sort of guess whether that baby is going to have an easy time coming through or the baby’s going to get stuck. And it goes back many years, all the way to when they would measure with calipers to when they would take the 37-week X-ray, until they realized that was doing harm. And even today, we still try to guesstimate. But the American Academy of Family Physicians recommendation currently is not to even measure because the only way you can tell is to try. And the reason pelvimetry, I think, is so ineffective as a predictor is because it’s looking at structure, anatomy, and not function, physiology. A baby’s head is a bunch of bones not fused together, so they can mold and come through a space that’s smaller. If you have a 14-centimeter head, it can mold in and come through a 9-centimeter space. And the same with the pelvic: a properly functioning pelvis is not one big bone. It’s a bunch of bones connected by ligaments and cartilage, and there should be movement. There should be fluid movement in those bones, especially at the end of pregnancy when the body facilitates that with relaxation hormones. But if where the bones of the pelvis come together, there’s lack of movement, there’s restriction, or the soft tissues that connect those bones, muscles, tendons, and others have excessive tightness and dysfunctional shortening, stiffness, then it’s not going to have the function it should have. But if it does have the function, it should be able to expand and contract and it should be able to help the baby rotate into all the great positions and move through the body smoothly, even if the baby is on the bigger side, because it can open up bigger than its typical space. Then afterwards over the first year the baby’s head starts to fuse together, and over the first couple of months, the hormones all dry up, and the stability comes back into the pelvic bones, and they can’t open up as much. But pelvimetry just looks at the size, but not what it can do. Can that larger head mold in and become smaller? Can that smaller pelvis open up and become larger? They’re designed to do that, but there’s no way to measure how well they’re going to be able to do that. But one thing we can do – we can’t do much about the head – we can make sure that that musculoskeletal pelvis is as functional as it can be. And whether you’re giving birth spontaneously or being induced, that is a key component in the functionality of birth.
Kristin: Yeah, and I’m a big fan of prenatal chiropractic care and movement during labor is so key. But you’re right, as far as inductions, the big baby is one of the most common, other than advanced maternal age or, obviously now with COVID, having COVID during pregnancy is one I’m also seeing.
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Dr. Berlin: I also think the ARRIVE trial did a big disservice. It’s one of those examples where a particular study comes out, and a major shift takes place on the ground based on that one study before we even fully understand the way the study was done and what the results mean. And this happened with the team breach trial in 2001. They did a study of breach babies born vaginally versus by Cesarean, and the study found there was a small but statistically significantly better outcome for breach babies who were born by Cesarean versus vaginal birth, and immediately the United States and Canada and then the rest of the world followed in suggesting that all breach babies be born by planned Cesarean. And it wasn’t until two years later that the same group of researchers in Canada, Mary Hannah and group colleagues, found out that there was – by looking at the two-year-olds now, there was no long term difference in health among them. And then two years after that, another researcher named Glazerman sort of picked apart the way the original study was done, showing that you can’t necessarily take those results and apply them to everybody, meaning some babies are better candidates and some women are better candidates for vaginal breach delivery than others, but there wasn’t a real selection process in the study, and some facilities and practitioners have better equipped staff and machinery to support a breach birth than others. And so those are just some of the – there are many issues with that study. And so then in 2006, the United States sort of changes the language. ACOG says that, okay, maybe vaginal breach birth is a reasonable option for some people if you can still find a practitioner who’s skilled and comfortable doing it.
Kristin: That’s the thing. There are so few in my area.
Dr. Berlin: Yeah, around the country, because once we stopped doing it overnight, how does anybody train on it?
Dr. Berlin: And without training, who’s going to feel comfortable doing it? And so it’s sort of a disappearing art, which is what prompted us to make our film, Heads Up: The Disappearing Art of Vaginal Breach Delivery.
Dr. Berlin: And also prompted some of the sort of old timers who always did breach and still do break to start trying to teach others, in particular Dr. Stuart Fischbein, I think kind of got an RV and started driving around the country.
Kristin: Yes, I heard about that.
Dr. Berlin: Teaching as many people who want to listen who are still curious. Midwives, obstetricians, and others all about breach birth. So there’s an effort to maintain or restore the choice, but it’s an uphill battle.
Kristin: Yeah, for sure.
Dr. Berlin: And the same is true with the ARRIVE trial, which essentially had the hypothesis that if we – since babies are fully cooked at 39 weeks. They’re just getting bigger. There’s nothing new developing. And sometimes after 39 weeks, bad things happen in pregnancy. What if we just got them all out at 39 weeks? The contrary thought is, well, what kind of harm does that intervention do? Maybe it will push us into doing a lot more Cesarean births that was unintended, unnecessary, and might have other consequences. And then the results were a double surprise. The induction at 39 weeks did not statistically significantly improve morbidity and mortality among babies, and the other surprise was, in that particular study, the induction group at 39 weeks had a lower Cesarean rate than the managed care group, the people who just waited to go into labor or to need intervention for some other reason. I do a very complete analysis of that study on our podcast, Informed Pregnancy with Dr. Emiliano Chavira who is a maternal fetal medical specialist and OB-GYN, and we really break it down for you to see. The results were not super clear. But for many medical practitioners, it has become the sort of Bible of how to manage all pregnancy regardless of age and other factors, that all babies should be out by 39 weeks, by induction, by Cesarean, or other means. So I think we’re doing a lot of induction for that reason, and it may not be the best idea.
Kristin: Yeah, I mean, again, that cascade of interventions and unplanned surgical births, which have a long recovery time, and other issues. So we did talk a bit about informed choices and decision-making, and obviously, all of the resources that you’re compiling are a great way for our listeners to start doing research on their own and being prepared for discussions with their provider if any interventions are discussed or induction is brought up. So what are your tips for making informed decisions throughout pregnancy and during labor?
Dr. Berlin: I think the most important thing is to have the right providers around you, the right obstetric providers. They wield a lot of power. They wield a lot of knowledge. But there’s a wide spectrum of approaches to care, especially during pregnancy and everything that follows birth and postpartum. And some people really do like a paternalistic doctor who will come in and tell you, this is what we’re going to do and not really give you very many choices. But those patients want someone else to take all the responsibility and make all the decisions, and there are great practitioners like that who are amazing for that. However, there are also some people who like to be very much in control of every decision that’s made, or at least have sizeable input, and if you’re with that type of practitioner, you’re going to end up being very unhappy. So there are medical doctors; there are midwife, and in Los Angeles, we sort of have this weird circumstance where you can have almost anything. We have OBs that are delivering at home. We have midwives who are delivering at the hospital. We have birth centers. So there are a lot of choices. But you sort of have to know yourself a little bit. Am I more medical in general? Am I more natural in general? Do I like to be more involved in the decision making or have decisions made for me? And then once you know all of that – and not everybody has this luxury, but if you do take advantage of it, find out who the practitioners are, and do some interviewing early on. See from that pool of practitioners who are likeminded to you, who do you have the best chemistry with? And that’s important. I could see every day, people come out of their OB appointment. Some of them are ecstatic, like, oh, so uplifting to go there and check in and reassure me. And other ones come out almost crying every time, either from the way they were spoken to or the way they’re sort of being pushed down an alley that they don’t want to go down. And that becomes really sometimes dangerous at birth because if you’re not on the same page as your practitioner and they start to recommend interventions, you don’t know, is that because they like intervening, and that’s the way they’re comfortable delivering babies, or because you really need that at that moment? And when you’re in doubt, then it becomes dangerous. That’s not a good time to be doubting your practitioners. So to the extent you have the luxury, it’s nice to be able to know yourself, know the available pool of practitioners, and then find somebody who’s on the same page with you. I think that’s the greatest, single most important thing for having a good experience, no matter how it goes.
Kristin: Right. And I’m a big fan of a birth preference sheet, a birth plan, and having that conversation with your provider, even though that provider may be sharing call with a large practice and may not be the one attending, but having in my experience as a doula, having the okay from the primary provider is helpful.
Dr. Berlin: Absolutely. The reason we sort of compile so much data and try to find different forms of media to deliver it in because today there are a lot of choices, and all of us as medical professionals are pulled in many different directions. There is – you know, if there are going to be two options for you as a patient, and one of them takes all day for me, and one of them takes an hour, and they pay the same, there’s motivation for me to really want to do the one that’s going to take the hour because it pays 24 times better. And I don’t necessarily have time to do the one that takes 24 hours. That’s certainly not for everyone. So I have motivation. And we’re just human. I’m not saying that doctors are bad; I’m just saying we’re human. We all have decisions to make. And there’s a lot more where that came from. You know, what will your insurance cover versus not cover? Sometimes our hands are sort of cuffed by the insurance companies. They’ll say we’ll pay for this procedure but not that procedure, or this medication but not that medication. We’ll pay for 2 visits or 12 visits. And then there’s our insurance, which is looking out for liability, which is risk to the provider, not necessarily directly related to risk to the patient. Certain procedures may be more liability, more risk of lawsuit or other things like that. For example, if you go against the community norm, which right now for breach is to do C‑sections for all breach babies, if you’re one of those practitioners who says, you know, it’s your baby, your choice if you want to do a vaginal birth. You look like a great candidate. Let’s do it. That automatically gives the practitioner more risk, more liability.
Kristin: Absolutely, or VBAC. I mean, you’re right. They’re taking on a lot more liability.
Dr. Berlin: Totally. And so it’s not as simple as it used to be. I mean, at some point, I just picture the doctor. When someone was sick, a family doctor would come over and always have a little black bag. Inside, there was probably some alcohol, some aspirin, and a thermometer, and that was it. They took your temperature, and if they thought you were going to live, they’d give you some aspirin and alcohol to keep you comfortable until it happened, and same if they thought you were going to die. Now, it’s a lot more complex. And so with doctors and hospitals and everybody really being – any practitioner being pulled in lots of different directions, it’s important to know what the choices are so that you have a voice representing you specifically. Not that the providers won’t want to represent you; they also have other factors to consider, and some of them may or may not be in your best interests. And that data is sometimes hard to come by, so the podcast – now in our tenth year, we have 350 episodes. Some of them are just – each episode, we have one on umbilical cord. What’s a normal umbilical cord? How is it formed? What’s the typical anatomy and how does it work? What are some things that can be a variation from typical anatomy, and what kind of problems might they cause or not cause and how to mitigate them? Same for placenta; same for amniotic fluid; same for gestational diabetes and so on and so forth. And a lot of them are just birth stories where people come, and the ones that are most popular are before and after birth stories where we’ll interview somebody during their pregnancy about pregnancy and their plans for birth, and then on the other side, how did it go.
Kristin: Yes, I love those. I send my clients to your podcast for the birth stories.
Dr. Berlin: Oh, thank you. I actually like going back and listening to some of them, too. And really it’s like them processing, what did they learn from the experience that they couldn’t have known otherwise, and what can we as a result learn from that as well? But more recently, we made two documentaries, one that we talked about, Heads Up. And I made another one about vaginal birth after Cesarean called Trial of Labor, and it’s four women who share their stories. They all had previous birth only by Cesarean and now are pregnant again, and they’re hoping for a more empowered experience. And we had no idea how these births were going to end when we started the project. We had very little time, and we just recorded and sort of gathered as much information about the process as they were going through it. And they shared these very personal stories because they want to help you. They want to help other people. They want to – the subtitle could be, How to have your second birth the first time around. How to avoid the mistakes that maybe were made.
Kristin: Really, that’s what it boils down to.
Dr. Berlin: Totally. And you can, but it takes work, and it takes information. And after we made these films, there was a huge, like, batch flare where we had screenings and online sort of virtual presentations, and we brought it to conferences and festivals, and there was a lot of activity around it and momentum and impact, which was the most important thing to us, and then afterwards, it kind of sort of fizzled out like a match does, and I realized the only thing I know less about how to make a documentary film is what to do with it once you have it. And I started to talk to other filmmakers in the space. There are some very, very powerful films, and it was similar for them. It would come out. There would be some noise around it. It would be – you feel really good. People get information. And then it would just sort of peter out. So I had this idea, what if we could take all these iconic films and put them in one place where you can access it online. You can access it through apps like Apple, Android, Roku, Apple TV, and just consume what you want to consume and leave what you don’t.
Kristin: It’s ideal because it’s so hard to search for things and to have the convenience is absolutely worth it.
Dr. Berlin: And they’re all just on different platforms, some of them really obscure, so you’d have to sign up for each one to see it, and some you can only do on your phone, some you can do on other devices. So that gave birth, so to speak, to this newest project, Informed Pregnancy Plus, and if anybody has way too much free time on your hands or lots of extra money, I recommend starting a streaming platform because that will solve both problems very quickly. It’s my new baby. I invest everything I have into it every day. We have a very small team here, and we are gathering the content, licensing the content, streaming the content, and also producing new content. So we have iconic films on there like The Business of Being Born. We have Orgasmic Birth. We have The Mama Sherpas¸ Breastmilk, The Milky Way, which is also a lactation film, great film. We have a very fascinating film from Japan called Prenatal Memory, which is a doctor who’s been researching for 40 years now what babies remember from their time in the womb. And we have a movie called Sick: The Battle Against Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is an important conversation that doesn’t happen enough.
Kristin: I haven’t seen that one. That’s a very important conversation.
Dr. Berlin: It’s a British film. We have two that are on the sadder side, but also extremely important, I think, to see and share and talk about. One is called You Are Not Alone, and it’s a documentary series from Australia about miscarriage. And another one called Still Loved from England which is about stillbirth. And our films, Heads Up and Trial of Labor, and another beautiful one called Beautiful Births. There’s a lot of great exposure and information through those films, and then there’s web series that are just coming in hot and heavy. Some that we produced, like the real midwives of Los Angeles.
Dr. Berlin: And a bunch of other web series that are just full of practical information. We started to put up a mind and body section with medications, with yoga, with fitness workouts. It’s just growing every day. And there’s workshops on there. One of my favorite things is my wife’s workshop called The After Birth Plan, and that is how to prepare your relationship for a baby, how to still like each other after you have a baby together. All of it’s in one place. All of it is very easily accessible.
Kristin: So how do we sign up, Dr. Berlin?
Dr. Berlin: So online, you can go to informedpregnancy.tv and sign up that way, or Informed Pregnancy Plus has apps on Apple, Android, and Roku channel. We’ll soon be expanding to more platforms. But you can sign up on any of them. Everyone gets a free trial, a three-day free trial, so you can go there, browse around, see the content, and then it’s subscription after that. It’s around $6 or $7 a month or $60 a year, and you have unlimited, unfettered access. And notifications as new material comes out and new content is being added all the time.
Kristin: That’s so exciting. So our listeners can also find you, of course, at your Informed Pregnancy Podcast, and you’re on quite a few social media channels, and of course you’ve got your website, as well.
Dr. Berlin: Yes. So our website has access to everything that we do. And on social media, I’m primarily active on Instagram but also Twitter @doctorberlin.
Kristin: Awesome. Any final tips for our listeners?
Dr. Berlin: No, I think that we’ve discussed a lot. I think taking advantage of a local resource like the ones that you offer, Kristin, and also creating your own little community, your own little village. It does take a village, and I think that when we lived on the village, in the village, on the family property, you were exposed to childbirth all the time. You were exposed to breastfeeding all the time, and in fact the women of the village would gather around each other and support each other when it was their time. And when it was your time, they would gather around and support you through the entire process. And now that we don’t have that anymore, it’s all these new professions have popped up to try to replace that. You know, we need childbirth educators because we don’t know. Labor doulas, baby nurses, postpartum support doulas. This is all the village. But there’s other things that you can do to build village. Sometimes you meet them through your doula, through your childbirth educator, through your prenatal yoga or fitness classes. And then there’s online resources as well that kind of connect you together. And there’s now more and more online information and online resources that you can use to consume information however you consume it best, by reading blogs or some of the great books. One of the things we’re doing on Informed Pregnancy Plus is book reviews of baby books and parenting books, little five-minute video book reviews so you can get a lot of information, see which books might appeal to you most.
Kristin: I love that.
Dr. Berlin: But you can listen to it on audio. You can read it in print, and you can now watch it on video. It’s important to not wait until the very end when choices are being made for you but instead to empower yourself early and be an active decision-maker, be in the driver’s seat. One final thing I’ll say is – and it doesn’t only have to be this way, but as observations as a male doula at many, many childbirths is, the difference between home birth and hospital birth for me, observationally – and we’ve had both, too, my wife and I – but in the hospital, when I’m observing birth, it’s always the laboring person is asking these questions. “Can I go to the bathroom now? Can I have this drink? Can I have this snack? Can I walk around?”
Kristin: Right, because they’re the patient in the hospital.
Dr. Berlin: They’re the patient in the hospital. And the system is set up that, you know, almost as if you do what we tell you, like you work for us. And at home, it’s the exact opposite. If there’s any asking, it’s like, hey, mama, do you mind if we use this towel? Is that okay? Can we go in here? It’s just a total opposite of empowerment, and even for your laboring at home for a while. But these are some of the things that you see, like orgasmic birth is something that most people laugh at, like what? It’s childbirth. It’s supposed to be the most painful, horrible, and terrible thing ever. Orgasm seems like the exact opposite. But when you watch it – this film is an older film that is, I think, finally coming into its time because women are taking the empowerment back.
Kristin: Yes, I agree. It’s a great film.
Dr. Berlin: And realizing like, we have this. We can do this. This can be a powerful and empowering experience, but only if you have the right chemical – only if you have the right ingredients, and now those ingredients are more available than ever.
Kristin: Yes. Love it. Thank you, Dr. Berlin. I could talk to you forever.
Dr. Berlin: It’s mutual.
Kristin: Appreciate you so much.
Dr. Berlin: My pleasure. Thanks for having me, Kristin.
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