Winter Prenatal Classes at Nurturing Health in Cobourg

 

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There will be a January-February childbirth education series at Nurturing Health Naturopathic Clinic, beginning January 14th. This series is perfect for anyone expecting to give birth in March or April.

This six-week 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!

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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

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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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

Now Serving Northumberland County!

Happy Saturday everyone!

I’ve finally done it! At the beginning of July I officially moved to Cobourg. I am so thrilled to be here. Cobourg is such a lovely little town; I’m going to the beach every day and we have bunnies in the yard. What’s not to love?

I’m still working with clients in the east end of Toronto (I’m on-call for a couple of Toronto clients right now as a matter of fact!), but will now also be serving clients in Northumberland County and surrounding counties (e.g. Peterborough County, Prince Edward County and eastern parts of the GTA such as Oshawa and Ajax). I will also be continuing to teach group prenatal education classes – primarily weekends in Toronto, along with weekends and weekday evening classes in Cobourg, Peterborough and possibly other nearby towns as well.

I’m not taking on any more clients for the summer or early fall at this point, but if you or someone you know is expecting October through February, I have availability at those times. I’ll keep you posted on my group classes once I’ve got myself a teaching space.

New testimonial!

Another heartwarming client testimonial. I feel so honoured to have been a part of this birth.

Hiring Heather was one of the best decisions I made during my pregnancy. I had thought about a Doula early in my pregnancy, but hesitated because I didn’t know much about what she did and I didn’t know where to find one. About two weeks before I was due, a friend suggested I consider a Doula and gave me Heather’s number. After a brief conversation on the phone with Heather, I knew I had made the right decision. She made me think about things I hadn’t previously thought of and encouraged me to ask questions at my next doctor’s appointment.

I was very impressed with her prenatal knowledge as well as her experience with delivery. She always made me feel like I was in control over what would happen to me during delivery, but I was confident that she’d be the advocate I needed in the delivery room. Her calm demeanour and soft voice carried me through every contraction and provided the encouragement I needed to have a natural, drug-free birth. Even though I had only met her twice before the birth (baby decided to come early) I felt like I’d known her for years. Her presence at the birth offered a great deal of relief to my husband, allowing him to take care of logistics, all the while knowing that I was in good hands.

One of the things I appreciate most about Heather is that she goes out of her way to find resources to support us, whether it be how to deal with baby’s first infection or community groups for mom and baby. She is a wealth of information! Thank you for everything, Heather.

Late Spring Prenatal Classes

There are spaces available for my May/June Prenatal Class at the Centre for Social Innovation. This is a six week 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.

Classes will be held on Monday evenings, from 6-8:30pm, beginning May 6th, 2013 at CSI Annex (720 Bathurst St.). This series is ideal for those expecting to give birth between late June and August.

**Please let me know if you are interested in the course but not available on week nights.

To register, email me at heather@socialinnovation.ca. The fee for the course is $240 per couple. 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.

Don’t Believe the Hype

This article from The Wall Street Journal provides some great historical information that connects meaningfully with my previous post (Home)Birth is Safe.

The author, Nathaniel Johnson notes that,

In 1923, Mary Breckinridge started the Frontier Nursing Service in rural Appalachia….Within a decade, the astonishing impact of that care was apparent. The women the Frontier Nursing Service cared for, who were desperately poor and usually gave birth at home, were 10 times less likely to die in childbirth than the average American at the time. The nation as a whole wouldn’t catch up until the 1950s, after the widespread acceptance of antiseptic and the discovery of antibiotics.

Given that antiseptic practices and the use of antibiotics are available and in use in midwife-attended home births today, it makes sense that, as Sheila Kitzinger has argued, it is not a high level of medicalization that makes birth safer – it is overall health: access to good pre-conception, prenatal and postpartum healthcare, good quality nutrition, access to clean water and access to skilled birth attendants. This has been borne out the world over, regardless of whether women are typically birthing at home or in hospitals. Access to medical interventions for the few women who actually need them is important, which is why midwives are thoroughly trained to detect possible complications before they become problematic and why they only support home births for women who are not at risk. Obstetricians are trained to deal with problems when they arise, but midwives are far more likely to be able to prevent them in the first place. Continue reading

Education is key! Next prenatal course begins March 5th.

I have another upcoming prenatal series starting at the Centre for Social Innovation, in the Annex, on March 5th. This course will run Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9 pm for six weeks.

If you are expecting a baby between late April and early June, this is the class for you! I cap my courses at six couples, so that my students can get to know one another and start building those new parent networks early. This course will give you and your partner the information and skills you need to cope with labour and birth; self-advocate effectively with your healthcare providers; know how breastfeeding should look and feel; know what to expect of a newborn; and make decisions about parenting that will work for you and your family.

The course is $240 per couple. Discounts are available for doula clients. Email me for more information, or to register.

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

-pain management and coping strategies for labour

-the physiology of labour and birth

-positioning for labour and birth

-risks and benefits of common interventions

-breastfeeding

-newborn care, characteristics and abilities

-parenting options

Education is the key to having a birth experience in which you feel confident, calm and in control.