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.

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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.

To YOUR Health

I am excited to announce that beginning next week I will be hosting a half-hour radio show on the subject of health and self-advocacy on Northumberland 89.7 Small Town Radio! To YOUR Health will air live on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30. You can call in to ask your questions during the show (905-372-2391) or you can send me your questions in advance by leaving them here in the comments or emailing me at heather@labourdoula.com.

If you’re not in Northumberland County, you can still listen by using the TuneIn app available for free on your computer, smartphone or tablet.

Happy listening and I hope to hear from you!

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

MamaViews: How to Get the Most From Your Relationship With Your Doula

While I’m working on part two of my post about prenatal exercise, I thought I’d share something with you to tide you over! The lovely folks over at MamaViews recently asked me to contribute to their article, How To Get The Most From Your Relationship With Your Doula. Check it out by clicking on the badge below!


Late Winter Prenatal Class (Toronto)

photo credit: blmiers2 via photopin cc

photo credit: blmiers2 via photopin cc

I am offering another weekend prenatal course in Toronto in March. 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.

Join me on Saturday, March 8th and Sunday, March 9th, 2013 from 10am to 5pm at the Centre for Social Innovation (Annex – 720 Bathurst St.).

To register, email heather@labourdoula.com with the following information:

  • your name and your partner’s name (if applicable)
  • your phone number and email address
  • your expected delivery date and expected place of birth

This course is ideal for those expecting a baby between April and June. The course is $240 per couple. There is a non-refundable $50 deposit required at registration. Discounts are available for doula clients.

Topics for the course will include (but are not limited to):

  • natural pain management and coping strategies for labour
  • the physiology of labour and birth
  • positions for labour and birth
  • risks and benefits of common interventions (including pain medications)
  • self-advocacy/informed decision-making skills
  • breastfeeding
  • postpartum care
  • newborn care and characteristics

Wondering why you should take an independent class instead of one offered by your local hospital? 9 great reasons here.

Exercise in Pregnancy Part One: It Does Your (and Your Baby’s) Body Good!

As a fun addition to my doula and childbirth education work, I have recently been training to become a pregnancy fitness educator. Pretty soon I’m going to start offering classes for moms who want to stay fit and limber during their pregnancies, and who want a little guidance, as well as a group to join, in order to do it. All of the reading that I’ve been doing as part of this training has made one thing abundantly clear – exercise during pregnancy is (for the vast majority of women) a good thing. Today I’ll be talking about the physical benefits of exercise for mom and baby (mom may be doing the exercise, but everybody wins!) and then in part two of this post I’ll delve into the less well-known, but equally important concept of body trust and why it matters for pregnancy, birth and the postpartum. 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.