Late Summer Weekend Prenatal Classes

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I am offering another weekend prenatal course in Toronto in August. 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, August 17th and Sunday, August 18th, 2013 from 10am to 5pm at the Centre for Social Innovation (Annex – 720 Bathurst St.).

To register, email register@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 September and November. 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.

photo credit: peasap via photopin cc

REMINDER: BirthFire is this Friday!

 

 

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Don’t forget that BirthFire – originally scheduled for May 10th, but postponed due to rain – is this Friday, June 14th at 7pm in Dufferin Grove Park. We’ll be at the main campfire site (the one nearest the rink house).

Check out the website for more info. Remember, this is an event for anyone* with an interest in birth, not only those who have given birth themselves. All are welcome, regardless of whether you wish to share something or simply to listen and support others. I hope to see you there!

*We would like to remind expectant mothers that there may be upsetting stories and information shared at this event. No one will be turned away, but we do not encourage pregnant women to attend, out of concern that negative birth stories may adversely affect your mindset as you prepare for your own labour and birth.

FAQ Fridays!

As you may have noticed, I haven’t had much time for blogging lately. It’s been a busy time for me, with classes and clients, as well as other life-stuff going on (nothing major, just moving to a new town and getting married!), and I haven’t been writing as much as I would like to.

As I don’t see this trend reversing any time soon, I thought I’d try my hand at a short (haha), once-weekly series to keep me honest. Hence, FAQ Fridays! Every week (on Friday, obviously), I will tackle a common (or ‘frequently asked’) question about doulas, birth, babies and what  have you. Feel free to drop me a line if you have a question you’d like me to answer!


FAQ #1:

How is a doula different from a midwife? Continue reading

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.

June Weekend Prenatal Class

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There are spaces available for my June Weekend Prenatal Class at the Centre for Social Innovation. 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.

Classes will be held Saturday June 15th and Sunday June 16th, 2013 from 10am-5pm, at CSI Annex (720 Bathurst St.). This series is ideal for those expecting to give birth between late June and August.

To register, send an email to register@labourdoula.com with your name, your partner’s name (if applicable) & email address, your estimated delivery date and your phone number. 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.

photo credit: Steve took it via photopin cc

Breathe

This morning I came across this wonderful article in the Journal of Perinatal Education. In it, fellow doula Mary Esther Malloy, advocates for a slowing down at the moment of birth. A moment in which mother exhales and lets go of the birth that she has accomplished and inhales the moment of meeting her baby, slowly, deliberately, purposefully. According to Malloy, this momentary pause is the place where we are, “finding our babies… finding ourselves as mothers, and finding our way into a new state of being.”

Waiting to Exhale: How to Unhurry the Moment of Birth

It’s MINE! Shared decision-making and evidence-based practice in childbirth

This is a brief, but interesting interview with Maureen Corry, MPH, Executive Director of Childbirth Connection on the subject of shared decision making.

Right off the bat, Corry mentions exactly what came to mind for me when I was confronted with the term “shared decision making”. She says,

…we’ve heard some concerns from women that shared decision making means giving up some control of decision making to the care provider – essentially a move away from informed consent and refusal. Because of the history of childbirth in the United States, and many troubling practices that still happen today, childbearing women are justified in being concerned about their rights.

Continue reading

Why Doula?

“Do you have any children of your own?”

This is a question that sometimes comes up when I talk about my work, whether I’m talking with a potential client or just chatting with someone at a party. Sometimes, when I respond with, “no, not yet.” and a smile, I’m met with a puzzled look. On a few occasions, the puzzled person has come right out and asked me, “so, why did you become a doula then?”

In honour of International Women’s Day today I thought I’d take a stab at answering that question. Continue reading

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