October 1, 2016

birthPrep: Prenatal Education for the Modern Mama

When you hear the words prenatal class, what's the first thing that comes to mind? For me, I think back to when we took classes leading up to Owen's birth in 2010. They were riddled with birth videos from the 1980's, conversations of time mapping, and holding ice cubes during breathing exercises.



Times have changed, and so has parenting. In birthPrep, you can expect an open, conversational type teaching style wherein we talk about all of your options, and help you map out what works best for you. We know that these transitions can be scary and that there is a lot of information out there to sift through, so we've taken it all and wrapped it into one neat and tidy course.

We will cover topics such as.....

later term pregnancy development for both mom and baby
the signs and symptoms of labour
talk about when to call your doctor, doula, midwife or when to head to the hospital
reaffirm your plans and birth wishes
standard hospital procedures

And we will empower you to make confident decisions. This is your process; all of the items that we talk about in birthPrep are optional (under normal circumstances!) and we encourage you during the course to consider all options and outcomes, then make a decision based on what is right for you, your body and your baby.

You know best! Let birthPrep guide you to the end.

xoxo
Shannon

September 30, 2016

5 Minutes With Lisa

A new feature that we are starting on the blog is a 5 Minutes With.... article to give you a bit of insight into the life behind the doula.

First up is Lisa!


So tell us about the woman behind the doula! What do you like to do on your off?

I'm an active mom of two boys, Ronan is 7 and Keegan is 5. When I'm not hanging out with them, I enjoy sewing (all crafting, really) and playing soccer.

What is your favourite birth support, and why?

I love the yoga ball or peanut ball. It's so versatile and can be used in a variety of ways, even if you've had an epidural.

Why did you want to go into birth work?

Ever since Ronan was born, I've been fascinated by birth. His birth was very quick and I wasn't really sure of what was happening at each stage. It would have been so helpful to have someone I could rely on to normalize the process for me.

What other areas of parenting and birth are you passionate about? Do they influence your work as a doula?

I'm passionate about breastfeeding and car seat safety, and I'm actually taking my certification as a Car Seat Safety Technician this month! I am also fascinated by the family dynamics and how they change when a new sibling is added to the family. I love helping people navigate this time and help ease the transition for the entire family.

What advice do you have for a new (or new again) mom as she nears birth?

Take time for yourself and don't be afraid to say no. Some people think they are entitled to know everything about your pregnancy (gender, name, choices, etc.) and you are absolutely allowed to say no. The same goes for people wanting to touch your belly or even medical decisions that you may be uncomfortable with.


To book your consultation with this fabulously knowledgeable doula, you can email Lisa or get in touch with her by phone!

xoxo
Shannon

September 27, 2016

Stress Relief During Pregnancy

As hormone levels are out of whack during pregnancy, so are stress levels. Things that were never a trigger for you may cause an extreme amount of stress during pregnancy, so being prepared and filling your toolkit with stress relief exercises is a great thing to do in the early stages of pregnancy.



The first step in creating your stress relief toolkit for pregnancy is to think about the activities that you enjoyed prior to becoming pregnant. Maybe it was going to the gym or hitting the trail for a hike. Perhaps it was exploring a local bookstore or coffee shop. Maybe even a trip to the salon or spa for some pampering. Whatever gave you stress relief prior to pregnancy is a great place to start for what will give you relief during pregnancy.

Take it day by day. As your body and hormones change, so will your needs.

Then, think about the foods that you're loving right now that give you all the good feels. Chocolate, ice cream, pickles, salads, fruit, cake, cheese. Whatever it is that you're craving, tuck a few things away in your fridge or pantry so you have emergency stores for when your stress levels are high.

Finally, practice your breath and visualization. Breathe in evenly for a count of four and picture a place that brings an extreme amount of calm for you. It might be a beach, or wherever your partner proposed. It could even be your own home! Wherever you feel calm, grounded and centred, bring that place into your mind and breathe.

When all else fails, there's always Netflix, ice cream and napping!

xoxo
Shannon

September 22, 2016

5 Things You Should Know About Home Birth

Thinking of having a home birth for your baby? We've compiled a list of 5 simple things that you should know and consider if you're thinking that this way of birthing is right for you.



Having a home birth means being able to create your environment

While is same is true of hospital births, birthing at home means having even more control over your environment. You are in familiar surroundings, which instantly lowers stress and keeps adrenaline low, letting oxytocin flow. To prepare, think about what your ideal environment looks like, smells like and feels like for birth. This may be the smell of a freshly baked batch of cookies, the blanket that you love to curl up with on the couch during movie night, or photos from your favourite vacation spot.

Embrace all of what this environment will be for you. Set up those pictures, wrap yourself in something lovely and comforting, bake cookies (or have your doula bake you cookies!).

Home birth can be messy

Well not can be, it is! All birth is messy! Have a shower curtain (or a few) on hand to protect your home and surfaces the best that you can and don't worry...everything can be cleaned!

Visitors may want to come earlier since you're already at home

This is definitely something we see with our home birth clients, and we encourage you to consider it carefully. At the hospital, if you've given birth in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning, chances are you won't be sharing the good news and visitors won't be knocking on your door much before noon. With a home birth, visitors seem to think that because you're already at home, you're free game for visitors. If you want space following the birth of your baby, you're perfectly within your rights as a new (or new again) parent to not share your news until you're ready, or post a sign on the door indicating when you will be accepting visitors.

Home birth isn't for everyone

If you are having a particularly difficult or strenuous pregnancy, are considered high risk or simply do not want a home birth, that's perfectly fine. There are loads of different conditions such as elevated blood pressure, prior cesarean birth, and prior significant postpartum hemorrhage, that make home birth a less than ideal option for some women. If you're still wanting a low intervention birth and to control your environment, discuss what your options are with your medical team and make a plan that includes as much of your home birth ideals as possible.

Only midwives attend home births

If you're considering a home birth and are under the care of an obstetrician or family physician with maternity specialty, chat with them about your options as only midwives (at least in Ontario) will attend home births. A simple transfer of care may be all that you need to carry your home birth wishes!

Remember! This is your body, your baby and your birth. Only you know what is right for you!

Having a doula present at your home birth provides a great deal of benefits, and we mesh incredibly well with the care of a midwife. While they are tending to your medical needs, we can provide emotional and mental support.

Put us to work! We're happy to head to your kitchen and make food to keep everyone energized. We can run out and grab supplies if they are needed. We can entertain older children if they are at home during the early stages of labour.

We can hold the space and help with the environment.

Wishing you all the best for a happy, safe, and healthy home birth!

xoxo
Shannon

September 14, 2016

Mommy Time Out

We have had such a great time with Moms Get Social over the past year - connecting with local moms and their babies in London, Ontario for a weekly social walk at Westmount Mall and Springbank Park.

It seems, though as with most things in life, that the needs of the moms who come to MGS are changing and shifting. Getting out for a walk and chat with babies in tow is awesome, but sometimes....you need a time out.



What can you expect at the new monthly Mommy Time Out events? Well...the biggest change will be that the babies and children will be (when possible) left at home. This is a chance for you to get out, have some space to yourself and do things that you want to do...when you want to do them.

Drink your coffee while it's hot
Go shopping and be able to try things on alone in the dressing room
Catch that movie you've been wanting to see
Eat a meal in peace and quiet
Unwind on your mat in a yoga class

Is Mommy Time Out just for local moms in London, ON? Absolutely not! We encourage you to get involved! Join the facebook group, engage, chat, find your community and something you can call your own. Reach out to local moms in your own area and start your own Time Out evenings! It doesn't have to be anything that breaks the bank or takes a huge amount of time, either! A quick coffee, sitting at the park and chatting, going for a walk.

Keep it easy
Keep it simple

and enjoy your time away. You're worth it!!

xoxo
Shannon
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