May-June Childbirth Education at Quinte Midwives

There will be a May-June childbirth education series at Quinte Midwives, beginning May 20th.  This course is designed to help you feel confident, calm and prepared as you approach your birth and new parenthood. It will also provide your partner with skills and knowledge that will aid them in supporting you during labour and birth, as well as postpartum. Continue reading for details! Continue reading

Spring and Summer Prenatal in Cobourg

photo credit: Bhumika.B via photopin cc

photo credit: Bhumika.B via photopin cc

Happy Spring! I am pleased to announce three upcoming childbirth education series’ in Cobourg. These courses are designed to help you feel confident, calm and prepared as you approach your birth and new parenthood. They will also provide your partner with skills and knowledge that will aid them in supporting you during labour and birth, as well as postpartum. Continue reading for details!

If you would prefer a course in Belleville, there are spots available in my Tuesday evening series at Quinte Midwives. The next series there begins April 22nd and there will be additional courses throughout the spring and summer.

Deadlines for registration are one week before the first day of class.
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But, WHY not? Dietary Restrictions During Pregnancy. Part One: Contamination

photo credit: Dan Zen via photopin cc

photo credit: Dan Zen via photopin cc

As most of us are all too aware, pregnancy brings with it some pretty big lifestyle changes, especially in the realm of food and drink. Women are told to cut out alcohol and sushi, soft cheeses and coffee, but less often are they told the reasons behind those recommendations. You wind up following rules (or not) blindly, because no one ever bothers to answer the simple question, “why shouldn’t I eat _____ while I’m pregnant?”. As with all things birth, I feel that people are in the best position to make decisions for themselves when they have all of the relevant information available, rather than simply acquiescing or refusing based on what their friends did, what their doctor says or simply what feels right. Don’t get me wrong, friendly advice, medical recommendations and intuition are all super important, but they’re all also greatly improved by awareness of evidence gained from credible sources.

In this series of posts I will go over the main categories of food and drink restrictions and include common examples from each. First up: contamination.

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Prenatal Education in Cobourg!

photo credit: Zixii via photopin cc

photo credit: Zixii via photopin cc

I am excited to announce an early spring weekend prenatal course at House of Wellness in Cobourg! This is a two-day intensive course designed to help you feel confident, calm and prepared as you approach your birth and new parenthood. It will also provide your partner with skills and knowledge that will aid them in supporting you during labour and birth, as well as postpartum.

Continue reading

A new home…

I am thrilled to announce that as of yesterday, my doula and childbirth education practice has found a new home in Cobourg. I couldn’t be happier to have joined the team at House of Wellness!

Beginning next week I’ll have office hours there on Tuesdays and Fridays and I will be teaching both prenatal education and pregnancy fitness classes there too. I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be working alongside some amazing health professionals, including Kristi Prince, ND; Marissa Wopereis, RMT; April Boyd, MSW, RSW and one of the midwife teams from New Life Midwives!

Keep your eye on my class schedules page and on the House of Wellness website for more info on upcoming courses.

Exercise in Pregnancy Part Two: Body Trust

Last month I posted about the many physiological benefits for moms and babies that can be reaped by exercising during pregnancy. As promised, this post is a (somewhat delayed!) follow-up to that one, in which I’ll be exploring the concept of ‘body trust’. What does that mean? How does exercise help us get it? And why does it matter? Read on to learn more! Continue reading

Warm and Fuzzy: New Client Testimonial

Another testimonial from a wonderful client. There’s nothing like the privilege of being invited into someone’s birth experience.

We looked at a number of Doulas before selecting Heather. She provided exceptional care and support throughout our unexpected excessively long labour. Her skills and wisdom, especially in regards to pain management were especially helpful. Over four days she became part of our home and helped us to welcome our little girl into the world. We would highly recommend Heather as a Doula, she offers exceptionally good value, especially considering her extensive knowledge base.

 

Podcast Interview: doulas, gender politics and birth culture in Ontario

 

 


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Check out the recent interview I did with Paul Dore of Open Kwong Dore, a podcast for curious people.

Birth Without Fear

'They felt comfortable knowing that they had two knowledgeable and experienced midwifes and a doula to support them,' explained Ms Dives

Photo credit: Jackie Dives

I came across a beautiful set of photographs this morning, in the UK Daily Mail and wanted to share them with all of you. Check out the full article and photo series here.

Taken by fellow doula, Jackie Dives, these pictures really capture the beauty of a home birth. There is a level of bliss that seems only attainable in birth when a woman is truly comfortable, cared for and respected. It’s a pretty hard thing to achieve in a hospital setting but I see it every single time at home.

Obviously, home birth is only right for those who really want it – in other words, if you’ve done your research and you feel you’d be more comfortable in a hospital, then that’s where you should be – but for those who prefer it and who work with their midwives and are deemed good candidates for home birth, let no one call their choice “wild or erratic” again.

To learn more about home birth and the studies that have been done to determine its safety, check out my post (Home)Birth. Is. Safe.

The Motherbaby Dyad: Can maternity care ever truly be ‘baby-friendly’ without first being ‘mother-friendly’?

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Most people now acknowledge that close physical proximity between mothers and babies during the first hours, days, weeks and even months of life is ideal for both. We know that being skin-to-skin encourages the baby’s oxygen levels to remain stable, that it regulates her temperature, that it encourages bonding between the two, that it stimulates milk production in the mother’s breasts and that babies held skin-to-skin for long periods tend to cry much less often (and have lower levels of stress hormones as a result). We know that breastfeeding on-demand helps both mother and baby adapt to life after birth; that room- and even bed-sharing helps everyone get more sleep, can prevent SIDS and make breastfeeding easier; that picking up a crying baby rather than letting them ‘cry it out’ keeps stress levels low and tends to lead to less anxiety later in life. Basically, the goal in all of these things is to allow the newborn to live outside of the womb in a manner that resembles life in the womb as closely as possible. Human babies are born essentially premature when compared to other mammals. While the calf can walk at birth and the baby chimp can cling to it’s mother’s back while she climbs, human babies are still essentially foetal. Why? Simply put, we walk upright, which affects the size and shape of our pelvic bones and we have big brains, which require large skulls to keep them in. In order for our human skulls to fit through our human pelvises (which they do very well, thank you very much – remember, as Ina May says, “Your body is not a lemon.”) we must be born early relative to other mammals. This works out ok, as long as we are prepared to care for what is essentially a foetus living outside of the womb. Doing so is even more demanding than pregnancy and requires support systems, maternity leaves, lots of encouragement and the ability to pick oneself up again time and time again (i.e. self-compassion). I have written before about the importance of community and social support systems for new parents but today I am thinking about the process of labour and birth and how they affect both mom and baby (or, motherbaby as many people are now referring to newborns and their moms to signify the importance of caring for them as a single entity). We accept that what happens after birth affects both mother and baby, but the evidence also shows that how a mother is treated prenatally and during labour and birth affects both individuals as well. So what does it mean for a hospital to be considered “mother-friendly” or “baby-friendly” and why are these two separate sets of considerations? Continue reading