What Do Doulas Do?

A Birth Doula understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labour.  She assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth. She provides continuity of care, emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint. She helps the woman and her partner obtain information they need to make good decisions.
Women have complex needs during childbirth. In addition to the safety of modern obstetrical care, and the love and companionship provided by their partners, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect. They need individualized care based on their circumstances and preferences.
The role of the Doula encompasses the non-clinical aspects of care during childbirth.
The comfort and reassurances offered by the Doula are beneficial regardless of whether or not the woman chooses pain medication.

How will hiring a Doula help?

Studies indicate that when a Doula is present, labours tend to be shorter with less need for technical aid, and there is greater maternal satisfaction. This provides a more relaxed postpartum environment and enhances early mother-infant relationships, breastfeeding and family adjustments.

A Birth Doula…

1. Does not replace the woman’s partner or care providers
2. Does not make decisions for, or speak instead of, her client. She does not project her own values and goals onto her client, or discourage the woman from her own choices
3. Does not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, fetal heart tones, vaginal exams, or postpartum clinical care

Postpartum Doulas

Postpartum Doulas recognize the importance and challenges of family adjustments following the birth of a baby. Services may include all or any of the following (usually customized to meet the needs of individual families):
1. Reassurance and support to help parents feel comfortable and confident with their babies
2. Breastfeeding support
3. Practical hands-on help such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry and short errands
4. Provide relief child-care/sibling care

Overall, a postpartum Doula will “mother the new mother”, so that she, and her loved ones ease into their new roles confidently and smoothly. The quality of emotional care received by the mother during labour, birth and immediately afterwards is a vital factor that can strengthen the emotional ties between the mother and child and her partner. The importance of these relationships cannot be over emphasized, since these early relationships largely determine the future of each family, and also society as a whole.

When you don’t feel so well

Nausea and Vomiting

Many pregnant women feel sick from time to time. It often happens in the first few months of pregnancy. It may be the changes in your hormone levels that cause you to feel sick.

Try these ideas to help you feel better:
1) Eat several small meals each day rather than three large meals. Try not to skip meals, though. You will feel worse if your stomach is empty.
2) Try eating crackers, bread or dry cereal before getting out of bed in the morning.
3) Get out of bed slowly in the morning.
4) Have a snack before bedtime.
5) Drink fluids before or after meals, not with meals.
6) Stay away from coffee, fatty foods and foods with strong smells or tastes.
7) Talk to your health care professional if you cannot stop vomiting, or if you feel too sick to eat at all.
In the second half of pregnancy, many women get heartburn. Heartburn happens because of hormone changes and the pressure of the baby against your stomach. This can cause stomach acid to move up to your throat, causing a burning feeling. Remember! Heartburn is common when you are pregnant.
Here is some relief:
1) Eat several small meals each day, and not three large meals.
2) After eating, wait at least one to two hours before sleeping.
3) When you lie down, raise your head and shoulders with a pillow.
4) Drink fluids before or after meals, not with meals.
5) Choose lower fat foods.
6) Stay away from coffee, colas, alcohol and smoking.
If your heartburn does not go away, talk to your health care professional before you take antacids.
Food passes through your body more slowly when you are pregnant. This helps you absorb the extra nutrients you and your baby need. But, it can also cause constipation.
To prevent constipation eat foods that are high in fibre and to drink more fluids. Being physically active is also important.
Try these ideas to help you feel better:
1) Start the day with a whole grain cereal.
2) Choose whole grain breads, brown rice and whole wheat pasta.
3) Eat beans and lentils more often.
5) Drink more fluids. Choose water, milk and 100% fruit or vegetable juice. Warm or hot fluids may help.
Before you take laxatives, talk to your health care professional. Some laxatives are not safe to take when you are pregnant.
Gestational Diabetes
Some women develop diabetes when they are pregnant. Diabetes means blood sugar levels are too high. Some of the signs of high blood sugar are feeling thirsty, urinating often, weight loss and feeling tired. Often you will not notice any signs.
High blood sugar can harm you and your baby. If you have any risk factors, your health care professional will test for diabetes when you are about 24 to 28 weeks pregnant. Ask your health care professional if you should have this test.
You have a greater chance of developing gestational diabetes:
1) If you are overweight.
2) If you have a family history of diabetes.
3) If you are of Aboriginal, Asian, Hispanic or African descent.
4) If you have had a baby over 4.5 kg (9 pounds).
5) If you have gained a lot of weight while you are pregnant.
If you develop gestational diabetes, ask your health care professional to refer you to a registered dietitian. Changing what and how you eat can lower your blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes almost always goes away after you have your baby. However, you will be at a higher risk of developing diabetes later in your life.

Have an alcohol-free pregnancy

The safest choice for you and your baby is not to drink any alcohol during your pregnancy. This article has recipes for delicious non-alcoholic drinks, also called Mocktails. Try some out. If you don’t have some of the ingredients on hand, make up your own recipes. Share your favourites with family and friends. Pregnant women have additional reasons to think about what they eat and drink. Here are some tips for making healthy drinks for a healthy pregnancy:
1) No alcohol
2) Use no more than 4 oz. of juice per drink
3) Use 100% juices, fruit nectars, fruit cocktails or fruit drinks
4) Use frozen yogurt instead of ice cream
5) Use 2%, 1% or skim milk instead of cream
6) Use sparkling water (soda water) instead of pop
7) Add pieces of fruit or vegetables to garnish
8) Save drinks that are higher in fat, sugar or calories for special occasions
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause permanent birth defects and brain damage to your baby. There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Your baby’s brain is developing throughout pregnancy. In fact, it is best to stop drinking before you get pregnant.
It is best not to drink any alcohol during your pregnancy. There is no known safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy. Remember! All types of alcohol can harm your baby (beer, coolers, wine, or spirits). Binge drinking and heavy drinking are very harmful to an unborn baby.
Our recipes:
Blueberry Ice
1) Fill a tall glass with ice.
2) Add 1 oz. blueberry juice and 3 oz. white cranberry juice.
3) Garnish with a lemon twist.
Escarpment Moctail
1) Put 2 oz. orange juice in a glass with ice.
2) Top with 2 oz. lemon-lime sparkling water.
3) Garnish with a strawberry slice.
Mini Mary Moctail
1) Rim a tall glass with fresh lime and sea salt.
3) Fill the glass with ice and add 1/4 oz. lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. hot sauce and 4 oz. tomato juice.
4) Stir to mix. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a rosemary sprig.
Cookie Cutter
1) To a blender, add 1 cup ice, 1 scoop vanilla frozen yogurt, 1 tbsp. butterscotch sauce, 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon and 2 oz. milk.
2) Blend and pour into small glasses.
3) Garnish each with an oatmeal cookie.
Baby Belle
1) Mix 2 oz. pine­apple juice, 2 oz. orange juice, and 1 tsp. Grenadine in a glass with ice.
2) Top with 2 oz. lemon-lime sparkling water.
3) Garnish with a pineapple spear.
Mango Mash
1) Peel 1 ripe mango.
2) Add 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of ice.
3) Blend and enjoy.
Sunny Lemonade
1) Fill a tall glass with ice.
2) Add 1 oz. pomegranate (Substitute another type of juice if pomegranate juice is not available
) juice and 3 oz. lemonade.
3) Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
Berry Bramble
1) Fill a tall glass with ice.
2) Mix 1 oz. mashed raspberries, the juice of 1/8 fresh lime and 4 oz. sparkling water.
3) Garnish with a slice of lime.
Chocolate Amour Moctail
1) To a heatproof mug, add 2 oz. warm milk, 1 tbsp. chocolate sauce and 4 oz. decaffeinated hot coffee.
2) Stir to mix.
3) Garnish with an orange slice.

How much weight should you gain while pregnancy?

For most women, a healthy amount of weight to gain while pregnant is 11.5 to 16 kg (25 to 35 pounds). You must talk to your health care professional:
1) If you were underweight or overweight before you became pregnant.
2) If you are younger than 17.
3) If you are pregnant with twins or triplets.
Your health care professional will suggest how much weight gain is healthy for you.
Gaining a healthy amount of weight is important for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. The weight you gain helps your baby grow, helps you to feel well and gets your body ready for breastfeeding. 11.5 to 16 kg (25 to 35 pounds) seems like a lot of weight to gain. How will I ever lose it? You may be surprised that only 2 to 3.5 kg (5 to 8 pounds) of this weight gain is fat. The rest of the weight gain is for the baby, the placenta, blood and fluids. Your body stores fat to give you the extra energy you will need for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Eating well and being active can help you slowly return to your usual weight. Choosing to breastfeed may help you lose weight a little faster. Eat well and stay active, and you will have no problem gaining a healthy amount of weight. Let your appetite guide the amount of food that you need. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Pregnancy is not a time to go on a diet. Dieting can harm you and your baby.
How quickly should you gain weight?
It is also important to pay attention to how quickly you gain weight. Weight gain is usually slow during the first three months. About 0.5 to 2 kg (1 to 4.5 pounds) is normal. Your baby is small but is developing very quickly. Healthy eating is very important early in your pregnancy. For the rest of your pregnancy, the baby continues to develop and grow. You should gradually start to gain weight more quickly. You should expect to gain about У2 kg (1 pound) a week. Healthy eating and staying active can help you gain the right amount of weight. Gaining weight at a steady pace is a sign of a healthy pregnancy. Talk to your health care professional if you are gaining a lot more than 0,5 kg (1 pound) a week, or a lot less.
A balanced meal includes all four food groups – vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk, meat and alternatives. Desserts, like cake, pastries, and ice cream are high in calories, fat and sugar. We recommends limiting these foods. But, a special dessert can be part of a balanced meal once in a while. Just choose healthy desserts more often. Enjoy fresh, frozen or canned fruit. Try mixing fruit with yogurt.

Tips Before Childbirth

Here are some great childbirth tips which can help you have the best possible birth. I used these things to prepare for the birth of my 5th child. I implemented all of these ideas at the end of my pregnancy, and ended up having the best labor and delivery experience of all five of my births.
Childbirth Tips
Drink Raspberry Leaf Tea
Go Swimming
Sit Up – Don’t Recline
Crawl on your hands and knees
Take Chlorophyll
Get Chiropractic Adjustments
My 5th birth was the fastest and easiest of all. My cervix dilated from 4cm to 10 cm in an hour. I pushed my baby’s head out in one contraction, and then the rest of her body out in the next. Fast and easy!

So how did these childbirth tips help me to have a very fast and easy birth?

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea.
I drank 3 cups of Raspberry Leaf Tea  a day. I was sure to get the Raspberry LEAF  tea (NOT raspberry flavored tea). Raspberry Leaf Tea  helps to strengthen and tone the uterus. This makes for stronger and more effective contractions during labor. Hint: It’s also good for easing menstrual cramps.
One of the childbirth tips I had not tried before was swimming. I wanted baby to be in the best position possible, and she was somewhat posterior (which produces back labor). So at 37 weeks, I started swimming 3 mornings a week. I typically don’t swim, but I joined a club just for the last few weeks of my pregnancy because I read that swimming helps to move baby into an optimal position in the birth canal. The better positioning that baby has in the birth canal, the faster labor can go. Worked for me 🙂
No reclining in bed, on the couch, or in chairs.
I propped pillows behind my back to sit upright. Reclining tends to allow baby to go into a posterior position, and if baby is posterior going into labor, then mom experiences back labor (no fun). I’ve had 4 babies that were posterior prior to labor starting. With baby #4, she was posterior, but I rocked on a special rocker for turning posterior babies, every day and she turned before going into labor.
Crawling on hands and knees
Crawling was, once again, to help position baby optimally in the birth canal. I crawled around on the floor on hands and knees, to help baby move into the best position for labor and delivery. Thankfully the Olympics were on, so I enjoyed lots of good TV time with my family – and had lots of opportunities to crawl around.
I took Chlorophyll  3 times a day because I was anemic and trying to build up the iron in my blood. This was at the midwife’s suggestion. I also took Red Raspberry Leaf tea according to the directions on the box, to tone my uterus so that labor would faster and easier. I was sure to get the Raspberry LEAF  tea (NOT raspberry flavored tea).
Both of these items really helped me during labor, and I am thankful that I had been drinking the tea and taking the chlorophyll in advance. The raspberry leaf tea helped my uterus to clamp down well after labor (important to limit bleeding), and the chlorophyll helped my iron level in my blood to be good.

How To Avoid Constipation During Pregnancy

It is Murphy’s law that just when you are able to get food into your body without having it come back up, that you suddenly find you cannot get the food out of your body.  Nearly half of all the women who are pregnant suffer from constipation during pregnancy.

As with all symptoms of pregnancy there is a reason for constipation.  When you are pregnant your body creates progesterone which in turns relaxes the muscles of the bowels and causes your digestive tracks to work much slower.  Your digestive track works slower to make sure your body absorbs the nutrients from your food for your baby.  This can create constipation, which if it not kept under control, can lead to hemorrhoids.

There are some ways you can help avoid constipation throughout your pregnancy.  Make sure you included plenty of fiber in your diet.  Fiber absorbs water and can help to soften your stools and speed their passage.  Eat plenty of high fiber foods like whole grain cereal and oatmeal.  Instead of eating white bread with your sandwiches, eat whole grain breads.  Add some oat bran to your cereals or yogurt.

Fresh fruits are also an excellent way to get your fiber in.  Melons and plums have a high amount of fiber in them as wells as dried fruits like figs, raisins, apricots and of course the well-known favorite prunes.  Prunes and prune juice have a like laxative effect and will help keep things moving properly in your body.  Aim to eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day.  You can tell you are getting enough fiber if your stools are large and soft and you aren’t straining to pass them.  Keep in mind though that too much fiber can lead to diarrhea which can lead to dehydration so do not over do the fiber in your diet.

Also, drinking plenty of fluid will help you combat constipation.  Fluids help keep digestive products moving through your system so it is very important for you to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day.   Keeping up with your fluids is important especially if you are increasing your intake of fiber.   Your body needs to water to soak up the fiber otherwise it can cause more constipation.

Also, make sure you are eating your yogurt if you can.  Yogurt has a bacteria called acidophilus that helps stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better.  Look at your prenatal.  Some of the prenatal that women take contain a lot of iron and iron can play a big part in constipation.  Talk to your doctor to see if you can switch for a while to a different prenatal that contains less iron or at least stay off of the prenatal for a while until your constipation is under control.

Avoid foods that can lead to constipation.  White bread and some cereals such as corn flakes can lead to constipation as well as white rice and bananas.  If all this fails, give your doctor a call to see if there is something you can take to help keep you regulated.  Most doctors will allow you to take Metamucil to help keep things moving.

Constipation is never pleasant but during pregnancy it can be even extra uncomfortable.  Make sure you take the steps to avoid constipation.  It will help make your pregnancy that much more enjoyable.