Jillian Bretz: Birth & Beyond Doula Services

It is my intention for you to feel prepared, safe and supported during pregnancy, birth and beyond. Serving growing families in New Hanover County, Brunswick and Pender Counties.

Operating as usual


I’m in 💕
Also in for doing whatever it is YOU choose to do 🙌

💭I dream of the day 💭

Due dates are guess. An estimate. A guesstimate. A window of opportunity. Based on varying menstrual cycles. Going before your due date is a variation of normal. Going past your due date is a variation of normal. Giving birth ON your due date is as well, but only 3-5% of babies come on their due date!


Because I've wanted to repost this for a couple weeks now. To the mama who needs to hear this tonight.

Reposted from @3:23 Photography & Birth Services

To the woman who read the books, took the classes, put her body into every bendable spinning position babies position there is, moved and swayed, planned and prayed. I know when you see the posts of women who hummed their babies earth side in hours, in a warm tub, looking blissful, it feels laughable. Not for you. It didn’t happen for you. To the woman who lays in postpartum, aching from her cesarean, listening to the woman in the room next to you roaring her child into her arms, sounds of birth followed by a fresh baby cry, but not for you. It’s important to remember we follow the labor that our body allows. Do I attend primarily natural births? I sure do. Have you ever looked into the face of a woman, sweat on her brow, pleading for her baby to rotate its head just right? Hours of non stop contractions, no break. Exhaustion. Every labor is not the same. In a world where I feel SO passionately about a birth plan, doulas and midwifery, I feel just as much passion for the women who simply gave it everything. Every bit of their being.

Birth is not always bliss. With the right tools and listening to our bodies can we make it that way MOST of the time? Yes. To speak on medicinal help in times of dire exhaustion or life threatening emergencies is simply ignorant. You won’t find it here. If the situation wasn’t what you wanted it to be, it’s okay to grieve it. Don’t hold yourself to the standard of an “uneventful” labor and feel that you failed. You didn’t. I promise you didn’t.


When the uterus is working on going back down in size, you may experience afterpains, or contractions. These often feel more intense the more pregnancies you have. You may notice them when your babe is nursing.

A heating pad across the belly can feel extra nice.

One Week Postpartum⠀⠀⁣⠀
Your uterus weighs around one pound, which is half of its weight just after giving birth.⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀
Two Weeks Postpartum⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀
Your uterus weighs around 11oz and is within your pelvis.⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀
Four Weeks Postpartum⠀⠀⁣⠀
Your uterus weighs around 3.5oz, which is close to pre-pregnancy weight.⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀
It takes about 6 weeks - a year for our bodies/stomach to get back to pre-pregnancy weight and size. Our bodies transform during pregnancy that it seems only natural for our bodies to need this much time to recover, heal, and to gain strength again.⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀
Learning to accept and love my body throughout pregnancy and postpartum was a challenge at times, but a wonderful lesson in acceptance and self-love. We try to tell ourselves it doesn’t matter, but we are only human and sometimes feel sad or feel challenged to accept permanent changes to our new body.⠀⠀⁣⠀
We not only experience pressure from society to get back to pre-pregnancy weight and have our body back to what it once was, but we also put this pressure on ourselves. Instead we should be kind to ourselves and treat our body with the same love, kindness, and nurturing behavior that we practiced when our little one was growing in our womb.⁣⠀
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Photos from Monet Nicole - Birthing Stories's post 09/20/2022

Photos from Monet Nicole - Birthing Stories's post

Photos from Jillian Bretz: Birth & Beyond Doula Services's post 09/19/2022

Celebrating September continues…spent half the week in CO last week being loved OB by some of my favorite people 💗💗💗

Got to see one of my fav bands too!

If you’re curious about my availability, there are two ways to find that info - the Contact Me page on my website is a great place to check as it’s updated regularly. For those of you that don’t want to adventure over there, I am booked through February 2023 and looking forward to meeting my spring 2023 and beyond clients 💕

has a bunch of really incredible doulas too!

Photos from Jillian Bretz: Birth & Beyond Doula Services's post 09/12/2022

Find the things that bring you joy and feel good to YOU and sprinkle them all over the end of pregnancy ✨

Pregnancy is temporary! You can choose how you want to spend your time AND how you want to feel 💕


• asking friends and family to send texts of encouragement

• making special plans to celebrate your due date

• scheduling massage, acupuncture, or other bodywork

• continuing to move your body everyday (in nature or AC)

• connecting with the people that make you laugh and feel like your best self

Take care of you and know you’re getting closer everyday to meeting that sweet babe


My happy place - anywhere cooler than in the summer. 🤣
This year we hit the and loved our WA trip.


Post yoga bliss ✨

I talk a lot about yoga for the pregnant physical body - finding ease, relief, and comfort through movement. Learning to listen to what the body needs and what feels good in the moment. Wiggling, rocking, circling the hips. These things can serve you well in labor and beyond.

Yoga deepens the mind body connection, allowing us to more easily tap into our intuition. During the birth (and parenting) process, we must drop in and listen to ourselves to know what we are needing from moment to moment and to enhance our decision making from an internal, knowing place.

Yoga is healing. It creates space for our bodies to process the feelings, stories, and trauma we hold deeply within us.

Yoga is both a solo practice of showing up on your mat where you are and doing the things that your body is needing, and a place of connection. We can build community when we show up 💗💗💗

Photos from The Warrior Within Birth Services's post 09/04/2022

Photos from The Warrior Within Birth Services's post


Walking tomorrow @ Halyburton. Hope to see you there!

Link to donate to our efforts to support midwifery in NC: https://go.rallyup.com/ncforcpms/m/jillian

Walk for your midwife, walk for your community.

There aren’t enough midwives to meet the needs of homebirth families in NC.

We want insurance coverage for people choosing to birth at home, system integration so folks can safely utilize resources and higher levels of care when needed, and the ability to practice midwifery without the threat of prosecution.

You can donate to support our legislative efforts. Link in stories.



Welcoming September 🍁

This year feels bigger with the milestone of my 40th walk around the ☀️ coming at the end of the month.

I intentionally took the month off from attending doula births so I can listen to good music, love and be loved on by my favorite people, and be one with nature.

There are a few days left to contribute to the Walk for Midwives fundraiser and I will link that in my stories if you’d like to support my efforts to help expand midwifery access in NC.


Photos from Lactation Counseling Services's post 08/31/2022

Mark your calendars! TWO Weigh Days Wednesdays in Sept!

Five questions to ask if you're offered induction of labour - Dr Sara Wickham 08/25/2022

Five questions to ask if you're offered induction of labour - Dr Sara Wickham

5 questions you may want to explore with your provider when the suggestion for induction is offered

Five questions to ask if you're offered induction of labour - Dr Sara Wickham What are the best questions to ask if you're offered induction of labour? Here are 5 great questions and what you'll learn from the answers.


Midwifery isn’t for everyone but everyone should have options. Most states license CPMs. NC doesn’t. Licensure for CPMs will bring more birth options to our state.

Link in stories to donate!

Posted • We are excited to announce the official kick-off of the 2022 NC Walk for Midwives fundraiser!

The upcoming year will be critical for Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) legalization efforts in North Carolina.


Visit: http://go.rallyup.com/ncforcpms to join the NC Walk for Midwives!


Step 1: Donate - help us reach our fundraising goal of $20,000!

Step 2: Sign up - become a Supporter and fundraise for NC Advocacy until Labor Day (9/5/22)

Step 3: Walk - Join us in Wilmington on September 5, 2022 for the official NC Walk for Midwives. Those who can’t make it are encouraged to walk in their own community.

Birthing people are increasingly seeking safe community-based birthing options across the state, and CPMs are the answer. It is crucial that we legalize CPMs and integrate community-based midwifery into the perinatal care system in NC.

Please join the effort to legalize CPMs in North Carolina. Take a step and support our cause!!


Applications are being accepted through Thursday!

Local to the Wilmington area?

Pregnant and due October-December 2022?

If so, you are invited to apply for this needs-based scholarship. Preference for awards for professional doula support will be given to low-income families, single parents, and birthing people facing hardships.

Applications accepted through 8/18/2022.

Apply here: http://capefearareadoulas.org/scholarship


"Many women come to me and say "I want a peaceful zen birth like the ones I see on social media".
"What would that look like?", I ask.
"I want to be in a pool of water, breathing my baby out, staying in control and not yelling".

They tell me about these "zen" births on social media- often just snippets of the labour put together with some relaxing music over top (I must admit, I like to watch them).

In reality tho, in all of births that I have witnessed, yes there is some breathing and zen moments, but there is also a lot of roaring, sweating, moaning, crying, vocalising, wild movements and noises. Lots of acting "out of control". Lots of pure instinctive expression. It is so important not to inhibit any of this!

To be fully expressed during labour helps us to release the energy that builds in the body. Vocalising is a wonderful way to cope with the intensity of labour and helps us to free tension. We know that tension creates more pain. This is one of the tools we practice in my classes.

We have been well conditioned in society to behave in certain socially acceptable ways. When we act "out of the norm" we can feel shame or embarrassment. Repressing our expression keeps our bodies rigid and keeps us living in our minds and not in our feeling heart.

As part of your birth preparation I recommend you start to express yourself more. Vocally express your pleasure more when making love. Let your body move in ways it wants to- close your eyes and feel. When you feel sad, allow tears to come. When you feel angry, roar into your pillow. Sing loudly when your favourite song comes on. Laugh without inhibition. Make noises- even "inappropriate" ones.

Labour is not something to be controlled. It is for letting go."

📷: Monet Nicole - Birthing Stories

Words by Mothers Circle


Doula scholarships are LIVE! Apply now and get supported 🙌

Local to the Wilmington area?

Pregnant and due October-December 2022?

If so, you are invited to apply for this needs-based scholarship. Preference for awards for professional doula support will be given to low-income families, single parents, and birthing people facing hardships.

Applications accepted through 8/18/2022. Apply here:

Local to the Wilmington area?

Pregnant and due October-December 2022?

If so, you are invited to apply for this needs-based scholarship. Preference for awards for professional doula support will be given to low-income families, single parents, and birthing people facing hardships.

Applications accepted through 8/18/2022. Apply here:


Isn’t this photo absolutely stunning?! I’ve admired Amanda Bacon with Bits O' Bacon Photography for awhile 😍😍😍

I've got a problem...

I can't stop ordering maternity gowns for my beautiful clients.

Two new ones came in last week. Four new ones were ordered this week. I thiiiiink we're up to 20 gowns in the client closet now?

It's an issue, but it's an issue I'm okay with. 😆



So thrilled to share the work my friend Angel is offering to our birthing community!

I believe that we all need to be deeply held, loved on, and nurtured in our postpartum. Connect with .and.nurtured to find out more about how she can support you 💗💗💗

Posted • .and.nurtured Nested and Nurtured. Now serving you.
Honoring the sacred window of postpartum.
Holding the mother.
Nurturing her body and spirit through deeply nourishing foods and hands on support.
Now booking clients in and around the Wilmington, North Carolina area, due September 2022 and beyond 💫
Visit the link in my bio to schedule a free discovery call.


Cape Fear Area Doulas 💗💗💗

One thing we feel very strongly about is that our doula clients are informed about their options surrounding all things prenatal, labor, birth, and postpartum.

Evidence Based Birth *JUST* shared the newest evidence on eating and drinking during labor. They touch on:
~ Nutritional needs during labor
~ New info on gestational or pre-gestational diabetes and eating during labor
~ New research on anesthesiology and its relationship to eating and drinking during labor
~ How body mass index and fat phobia relate to anesthesia concerns, and what that has to do with eating during labor

Get the scoop and download the 1-page article here: https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-eating-drinking-labor




What does a contraction feel like?⁠

I find them so hard to describe as they change as labour progresses!⁠

At first it is just a small twinge. Like running in place. You can feel it, but it's no biggie.⁠

Then it gets more intense. With a contraction, you primarily feel the intensity at peak of the surge. It's like feeling the increasing burn in your legs as you run up a hill...and then feeling that relief as you reach the top and get to run down the other side.⁠
Other muscles are now involved...it's not just your uterus but your abdominal muscles and your pelvic floor are working too. ⁠

And towards the end of labour, it is like an all out sprint. The intensity lasts from the start of the contraction to the end of the contraction. ⁠
You might feel like you have nothing left to give...but you can see the finish line and you keep pushing because you know your baby is almost here!⁠

I think labour does lend itself well to the marathon analogy.⁠
It usually lasts a while, some parts will feel easier than others, you will hit a few walls.⁠

So treat it like a marathon.⁠
Prepare yourself.⁠
During early labour, take it slow and rest up as much as you can (lie down until it is not comfortable to lie down anymore)! ⁠
Ensure you are drinking replenishing fluids and snacking for energy.⁠
Work with your body!⁠
Know how to push through those walls!⁠
Have a support team cheering you on!⁠

How would you describe a contraction?⁠

Image via .world.


Today I joined some of my favorite birthworkers at the walk organized by & .

So grateful to be a part of a community that supports birthing people and families.

Thanks for all you do, & !

Support Cape Fear Area Doulas 06/23/2022

Support Cape Fear Area Doulas

Cape Fear Area Doulas will be at the annual Climb out of the Darkness walk at Halyburton Park on Saturday.

Please join us!

Event link: https://facebook.com/events/s/climb-out-of-the-darkness-annu/760996124855136/

To donate to our team: http://climbout2022.causevox.com/cape-fear-area-doulas

Support Cape Fear Area Doulas The Climb Out of the Darkness is the world's largest event raising funds and awareness


Sometimes switching providers or facilities is the thing to do. The reality is - it’s not always possible. And, avoiding people, situations, etc does not set us up to have the conversations that are necessary sometimes in order to move forward.
We can do hard things!

Read on below for some tips on how to have effective conversations with providers, or people in general. And follow Advocate Birth Doula•𝕿𝖗𝖆𝖈𝖎𝕯𝖔𝖚𝖑𝖆] for more bc she’s 🔥🔥🔥

Posted • Advocate Birth Doula•𝕿𝖗𝖆𝖈𝖎𝕯𝖔𝖚𝖑𝖆] There is only a small chance and percentage of people who can actually switch providers prenatally and what happens when there’s an “on call” provider you haven’t built a relationship with?
✨ Your beliefs and thought processes are important in your care.
✨ Even if you don’t align with your provider, you can speak your mind, Ask for more information, and make the choice on the information that’s right for you.
✨ if it feels gross or coercive:
❇️Ask for time to think
❇️Say, can you rephrase that without using emotion or involving personal examples?
✨It is ok and normal to disagree and ask for more options.
✨Communication includes reciprocation like a tennis match, that should not include pressure, emotional manipulation or any confusion.
✨Doula, There will be times facilitating conversations is needed and helpful when prompted by your client… effective conversations can change the mindset of the labor and birth on a significant positive level. Learning to hold conversations with perspective, empathy and compassion is a proven way to advocate involving the entire team focused on the client. Need more training on effective communication? Join the mentoring membership opening back up in Aug!


Share your baby’s estimated weight and actual weight below!

Were additional interventions pushed on you after you were told you had a big baby after an ultrasound? You aren't alone; this happens frequently. Yet most end up with babies smaller than what they were told.

👶Large cohort studies consider macrosomia to be 4500g(9lbs, 4oz)
Many small women who had physiological births have birthed babies larger than that. Note--PHYSIOLOGICAL being the key thing here.

🤰🏾Palpating and measuring your bump to estimate fetal size can be incorrect more than half the time.

👨‍⚕️Ultrasounds measurements, considered our best method, do not provide an exact measurement. It is an estimate, and that method only predicts the weight within 15% of the actual weight. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25101904/

🚶‍♀️None of this info takes into consideration the ability of your pelvis to open wider during birth if you are allowed to move freely in positions of your choosing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6484432/

🏨Suspected big baby is a main reason providers push induction or cesarean surgery. However, a large study in the United States found that 1 in 3 pregnant women were told their babies were big, but the average weight of the babies in this group suspected "big babies" was 7lbs, 13oz https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26140835/

As with anything, I implore you to do your own research, weigh the pros and cons of any intervention, don't be afraid to get a second opinion, and above all else advocate for yourself.
Where you told you needed interventions because were having a "big baby" because of fundal measurements or ultrasound?


This Saturday at 10 AM, join Cape Fear Area Doulas for Birth Circle at Family Tree Chiropractic, PLLC.

Connect with your local birth community, hear stories and share your own, if you want to!

This circle is free to attend and is open to pregnant people, those who have given birth and those who may give birth at some point.

Babies in arms are welcome to join as well but please arrange childcare for crawlers & toddlers+.

Photos from Jillian Bretz: Birth & Beyond Doula Services's post 06/09/2022

My responsibilities as a doula:
- my client’s needs, wishes and desires are the central focus
- support my client, support their partner in the ways they need to be supported
- form human connections with everyone in the room, whenever possible
- awareness of my biases, checking myself
- eating, sleeping and hydrating

Not my responsibilities:
- fixing the system/MIC
- getting items from the equipment/nourishment rooms

Videos (show all)

Posted @withregram • @theirthapp Last week the NYTimes reported on a new study that only confirmed what we already knew....
Millimeters matter when we’re talking about making space for baby! What a wonderful animation that shows how, when pushi...
💗💗💗Posted @withregram • @mamastefit How can we approach recovering from a cesarean birth?? A C-section is birth, but it’...
✨Movement in Labor✨Has a lot of benefits - one of them being comfort for the birthing person. Dancing, rocking on the ba...
First and foremost, go ahead and follow @mamastefit if you haven’t already 🔥🔥🔥Now onto the discussion abt opening the pe...




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