Tag Archives: natural birth

Top 12 For The Doula Bag

I have a great faith in the natural process of birth.  I love supporting a couple in welcoming their new baby – throughout the pregnancy, birth & postpartum.

Achieving a positive birth experience is comes from being educated, and having an educated & experienced support team.

As a doula, and someone that likes to be prepared for anything, I take a range of natural products to aid the birthing mama.

Here is the list of items I pack in my doula bag:

  1. hair ties (for the mama)
  2. hot water bottle (you could also use a microwavable heating pad, but they don’t have a microwave.  I don’t like the plug in heating pads because they are not as easy to move with the mama)
  3. gum/mints
  4. fresh lip balm (for the mama)
  5. battery operated tea lights (candle light is soothing, and these can be used in hospitals too!)
  6. unscented massage oil
  7. essential oils: lavender, jasmine, clary sage, peppermint & whatever else mama might request.
  8. homeopathic remedies: aconite, pulsatilla, caulophyllum, chamomilla, nux vomica, arnica, carbo vegetabilis, kali phosphoricum,&  gelsemium.

  9.  tennis ball (for rolling on the back)
  10. Rebozo
  11. Elle TENS unit
  12. Postpartum Wellness Bath Tea fr making healing frozen pads, and putting in the peri bottle to speed healing.

I should add that for home births I find the Aquaborn birth pool to be an excellent tool.  It doesn’t fit in my doula bag, and can’t be used in hospital births – so that’s for another post!

I welcome any feedback – share what you pack in your doula bag, or what you found most helpful as a birthing mama!

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Tips for Achieving a Positive Birth Experience

***Please be aware that not all of the tips given are necessary or safe for everyone – please talk to your midwife or doctor about all of the information here before using any of it!***

  • Eat well – it is important to maintain a healthy diet throughout your pregnancy.  Frequent, small meals high in protein throughout the day will help minimize sugar cravings and maintain energy levels.  Snacking on nuts and vegetables is a great way to nourish your body.  Fruits and sugary snacks should be kept to a minimum so as not to increase your risk for gestational diabetes.
  • Exercisemaintaining flexibility and fitness levels is important for the work of labour!  Prenatal yoga, swimming, and walking are all excellent forms of moderate exercise.  Exercise can help you maintain your energy levels and improve your sleep and overall comfort throughout your pregnancy.  Be sure to consult your health care provider before beginning any new exercise routines, or if you feel any unusual discomfort.
  • Cervical Ripeningbefore labour can begin, the cervix has to soften and shorten.  Acupuncture, the application of evening primrose oil to the cervix, sexual intercourse, and the use of homeopathics can all aid in the progression of cervical ripening.  Make sure the acupuncturist you see is experienced and specializes in working with ecxpectant mothers, and of course consult with your health care provider before doing anything to ripen your cervix.  Cervical ripening (if approved by your health care provider) is often something that one would begin at around 36 weeks.
  • Perineal Massage massaging the perineum before childbirth helps to stretch the tissues, and more importantly – creates an awareness of the muscle.  When a baby’s head is crowning, the mother must consciously relax her perineum to help prevent tearing- this can be a challenge unless one devlops an awareness about this muscle, and practices relaxing it even when there is pressure against it.  Ask your health care provider or doula for a hand out with detailed instructions on how to do this and what stage of your pregnancy this is appropriate.
  • Educationgroup or one on one prenatal education classes can make a big difference for people.  Also reading inspiring and educational books can help you gain an understanding about the physical and emotional changes you can expect throughout your pregnancy and labour.  Become aware about common medical interventions and medications – find out the common reasons for their use and the possible side affects.  Ask questions of your doctor, midwife and doula – knowledge is power!
  • Meditation practicing meditation throughout your pregnancy, and particularly leading up to labour can help you stay feeling centered.  Meditation can mean many different things for different people – it can be guided meditation with a mentor, or simply taking 10 minutes out every day to sit and enjoy nature, or some quiet time to connect with your baby and your body.
  • Choose your support team carefully –  people often envision a bit of a gathering for their birth, it’s important to realize that labour is a very primal experience and one needs to feel comfortable on every level to do whatever it is their body feels.  It’s a good idea to have an extra set of hands because labour can be long and often requires a lot of: massage, counterpressure, the fetching of food and beverages, preperation of comfortable places, photo taking if desired, additional information and suggestions when mom and partner are exhausted, giving the partner a break to pee / eat/ sleep when needed, and of course reassurance and support for the partner as they support the mother.  Choose somebody that you feel comfortable vocalizing around – if the people you have in mind are going to be anxious about seeing you experience intensity, or fearful of possible complications, or tend to ask a lot of questions for reassurance (ie: are you ok? do you need anything?) it may be wise to consider other support people or deligate someone to guide and reassure the people you have with you.
  • Hire a doula doulas are educated and experienced in such a way that they help create a quiet, calm, and confident environment through gentle guidance and reassurance to loved ones and the labouring mother.  A doula can offer updates, reassurance and guidance to family or friends that are present or waiting near by; a doula provides the mother with physical necessities (or guides her partner to) without having to be asked; a doula offers appropriate phrases and statements to mother and partner for the various stages of labour; a doula can provide, and show the partner, acupressure to ease pain for the labouring mother; a doula often carries heating pads, homeopathics, aromatherapy and other tools to help mom cope with the intensity of labour; a doula can help the parents remain calm, informed and empowered throughout even a complicated labour therefore creating a more positive birth experience.
  • Perineal healing – after giving birth many women experience discomfort as a result of hemorrhoids, tearing, or swelling – this can be soothed by applying cold pads soaked in Natural Creation Postpartum Wellness Bath Tea.  Postpartum Wellness Bath Salts can also be added to a hip bath.  Taking homeopathic arnica can also help reduce swelling, and sore muscles over the whole body (again – consult your health care provider).

For more information on how to help achieve a positive birth experience please contact a doula in your area Vancouver —  Kelowna —  Victoria for a free consultation.

Posted in Birth and Postpartum Doula, Motherhood, Uncategorized, Vancouver Doula | Also tagged , , , , , , , ,

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Music and Birth

Often people are interested in having some music for their birth.  It’s hard to choose though – you’re not sure what state of mind you will be in, or what you will need.  I find the best way to approach planning for your birth is to look for things that relax you, keep you feeling calm and centered.  If you practice yoga you will practice relaxation and breathing techniques that trigger this relaxation.  Many people use hypnobirthing to train their bodies to relax in response to certain verbal cues – this is also very helpful during the birthing time.

I was looking for some music to accompany my yoga to this morning and came across a YouTube video.  I wanted to share this because for some, this would be great to add to your birthing day playlist!

Posted in Affirmations and Quotes, Pregnancy, Vancouver Doula | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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Interview with Chelsea – Calgary Birth & Postpartum doula

chelsea Chelsea Lafrance is a Natural Creation Doula, servicing Calgary Alberta.


What training have you had?

I have taken the DONA Birth Doula workshop and I am in the process of certifying.

Do you have one or more backup doulas for times when you are not available?

I work closely with two back up doulas. We host monthly educational/social meetings where you are welcome to come and meet one another. If you are unable to attend a meeting we can arrange a private meeting if you desire.

What is your fee, what does it include and what are your refund policies?

I charge $550 for by birth services. My fee is structured into two payments. A $200 non-refundable retainer fee and a $350 postdated cheque due two weeks after your due date.

My Fee includes three prenatal visits, continuous labour support and two postpartum visits. Additional postpartum support is available at an additional cost.

Tell me about your experience as a birth doula.

When I first learn what a doula was I knew I had found my path. I love helping women discover the power within themselves to birth their babies and become mothers. Just like every women is different so is her birth, I am there to help her build a positive memory of that experience.

What is your philosophy about birth and supporting women and their partners through labor?

I believe birth is a normal event in a woman’s life. I believe she has the knowledge within her to give birth. It is my role to help nurture and protect the labouring women so she can give birth in a way that is right for her. It is a big job to support a woman in labour and I believe partners also need support and guidance (not to mention, bathroom breaks) during this life changing event.

May we meet to discuss our birth plans and the role you will play in supporting me through birth?

Our first meeting is free with no obligation for you use my services. After you have engaged me as your doula we will meet three times to develop your birth preferences and get to know one another.

May we call you with questions or concerns before and after the birth?

I am available 24/7 by phone or email if you have any issues you need addressing.

When do you try to join women in labor? Do you come to our home or meet us at the place of birth?

I come whenever the mother feels she is ready for extra support, which may be different for every woman.  I prefer to meet my clients at their home so we have a chance to get into a rhythm before making the transition into the hospital.

Do you meet with us after the birth to review the labor and answer questions?

I will meet with you twice after you have given birth to discuss your feelings around the experience, help with any breastfeeding issues, give support with infant care and deliver your birth story.

If you are interested in meeting with Chelsea . You can reach her at chelsea@naturalcreation.ca or call 403 – 589 – 7672 to set up a time to meet!

with walker

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“Birth with my Doula” – Livvy’s Birth Story – Shared by Allison

My first pregnancy was very easy. I decided not to have a doula – against the advice of my friend (who is a doula). I didn’t want to have “other people” invade my private experience, but I was more than fine going with a doctor, in a hospital, and going the medical route of labour and birth.

When I started leaking some fluid, I had to go to the hospital to confirm it was amniotic fluid and not mucous I was leaking. When that was confirmed, I wasn’t allowed to leave. I was induced less than 6 hours later because my labour hadn’t yet started on it’s own. Because of the induction, the contractions came hard and fast with no rest in between and after about an hour or two and being only 2 cm dilated (I was 1cm before even going to the hospital) I opted for an epidural. My mother and husband could only sit by and rub my hand, no idea how to help or what to say. The epidural was a lovely feeling but I had no idea the consequences of the epidural or the induction on my body or on my baby. Another couple of short hours later, they discovered my baby was breech and a c -section would have to be performed.  All of this lead to a very dopey, unfocused birth with many “other people” coming in and out and not knowing what was going on or where my baby was and not really participating much at all in her entry into the world – something I was not prepared for and not even aware that I would feel so badly for it.
Because of all of these “snowball” effect events, I decided next time would be different.
My second pregnancy consisted of reading material such as Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth and the video “The Business of Being Born” and had my husband do the same. I went to a midwife and asked my friend Emily to be my doula. I was going to attempt a VBAC.
There are so many things I was happy about with my above choices. 1) I would not be medically induced because of the stress it puts on the body, it risks opening the uterine scar from my c-section. 2) Epidurals were an options, but not recommended because then I wouldn’t be able to feel if my scar did open during labour. 3) All of my labour partners were in full support of a natural birth and would be coaching me to stay as close to that goal as possible.
When I did go in to labour, I called my doula first. My contractions had been going throughout the night, and were about 5 mins apart, but only lasting about 30 seconds at 5.30am on Monday morning. She came over around 7am and chatted, did our dishes (!), made sure we had food for labour for both me and my husband, and made frozen tea pads for perineal healing after the birth. She left for a few hours, calling to check in, to run a few errands, and returned around 4pm,  My contractions still weren’t longer or closer together, but they were more intense, and I was having to moan through them instead of just breathing. She would moan with me, time my contractions, make sure I was getting fluids between them, make food for me, suggest other positions to help the pain, and by 6 or 7pm, when they were getting longer and more intense still, she would apply counter pressure to my back and hips and sway with me while we moaned together to keep the tones low.
When it was time to go to the hospital, she was right there with us, knew where to go, helped put bags away in a corner, grabbed a birthing ball for me to sit on, and prepared beverages and cloths to help keep me cool and hydrated. Every time I had a long or intense contraction she would help keep my tone low when it needed to be lowered, and assured me when I was doing well. She helped prepare the shower for me to sit in while Andrew ran warm water over me, and made sure there were warm blankets around when I got chills.
She also supported Andrew. She made sure he was getting enough rest and food to be there for me, guided him to massage and provide counter pressure through contractions as well, and reassured him while I was groaning like a slow-motion football replay :)
I could not imagine labouring without Emily. Every time I thought “oh it would be great if someone could….” she was already doing it. And even when I thought “that’s not necessary,” like doing our dishes or making frozen pads…..it was the biggest help in the world! I just didn’t know it. It was great to come home and not have to clean dishes to make a meal and the pads have really helped sooth my tender bottom.
From the bottom of my heart Emily………thank you!

I do not think I would have stayed at home as long or stayed as calm or been as comfortable with my decisions if you weren’t there providing the support that you did.

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Questions to Ask your Prenatal Health Care Provider:


Choosing the right health care provider has the potential to make or break your pregnancy, labour and postpartum experience. It is important to find a provider that is sensitive to you and your family’s needs; you should feel they are considerate, responsible, professional, yet warm. It is also important they maintain a relationship with other health care professionals so you can receive the appropriate care you require.

Most practitioners will provide an initial consultation; use this time to ask important questions to determine if their care is right for you.

What to ask a Midwife:

·What training and experience do you have?

·Can you handle both complications and emergencies?

·Do you have medical back up or a contingency plan for emergency? What will be your role in an emergency? Will you continue to be with me during an emergency?

·What kind of equipment do you carry with you?

·What is your back up arrangement if you become ill or are otherwise unavailable at any point during my pregnancy or the birth?

·Do you have clear protocols and, if so, are these protocols rigid or flexible? For example, what happens if I go into early labour, or if I go past my due date? What if my baby is breech and so on?

·What are your philosophies about birth?

What to ask an Obstetrician (also relevant for midwives):

·What are your credentials?

·What is your cesarean rate?

·What is your episiotomy rate?

·What is the rate of medicated births in your practice?

·How many women in your practice breastfeed their babies?

·Do you usually order medications, IV, enemas, monitors or do you judge each situation individually?

·Are women encouraged to use different positions during labour and pushing?

·What are your feelings on natural birth?

·How much time do you spend with women at prenatal visits?

·Will you be at my birth or will another physician attend (and if so, who will that be)?

·What are your policies for women who go past-due, for permitted length of labour and pushing (or any other concerns or questions you might have)?

Write down the questions that you are most interested in and bring them to your first appointment. Go with your gut. If you feel off about the midwife or Doctor you met with interview another, you have the right to receive the care you want.

Questions taken from: The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Shelia Kitzinger (1993) & The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm (2003)

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