September 21, 2016

10 Natural Ways To Help Induce Labour

Looking for home remedies or natural ways to kickstart your labour? These tried and true methods are some of the most common and most known to help encourage labour for the mom who is 40+ weeks.

Caution: Do not attempt any methods before you are 40 weeks pregnant as the fetus is not completely matured or ready for birth. Also consult your doctor before trying any of the below mentioned remedies. 


Pregnancy Symptoms

1. Acupuncture/Acupressure

This remedy has been around for ages and stems from ancient Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is the process of inserting very thin needles into specific trigger points of the body. Although this a method used for a variety of illnesses, it is also very effective in inducing labour. Alternatively, if the idea of needles concerns you, there is it’s counterpart, Acupressure, which is very similar only no needles are used and the therapist simply applies pressure to the trigger points in your body. Both can be very effective.  With Acupressure, you also have the advantage of doing this during your labour as well to help facilitate a natural birth and to reduce pain.  Ask your care provider for more information.


2. Sex and Nipple Stimulation

Increasing the amount of sex you have is a fun and very effective way to induce labour.  Sex triggers the release of Oxytocin, which is a hormone responsible for inducing labour. Also penetration can help stretch and ready the skin for birth. The semen is also full of a hormone call prostaglandin, which contributes to the softening,ripening, and dilation of the cervix.  NOTE: If you have pregnancy complications such as placenta previa, this is not the best option for you. Make sure you consult your doctor of midwife first.   Similarly, nipple stimulation creates the same effect in the body by releasing Oxytocin.


3. Castor Oil

Drinking Castor Oil can help induce labour and has been used as a home remedy for years. As with all remedies mentioned here, consult your doctor. It is recommended to not exceed 60ml of castor oil as it serves as a diuretic. Diarrhea and dehydration could become risk factors if too much is taken. Using castor oil can also lead to fetal bowel movements.



Makes sense that if we want things to start happening we need to move around.  Walking is one of the most common ways to induce labour and also shortens the pre labour stage where Braxton Hicks contractions are most common. The action of walking along with gravity are helping prepare the baby for birth and assisting them in descending further into the pelvis.  Make sure to stay hydrated and not over do it. You will need your energy for labour.


5. Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil is an excellent oil for ripening of the cervix. Many women take tablets every day nearing the end of their pregnancy to ensure labour begins on time, Alternativly, with a doctor or midwives presence, EPO tablets can also be inserted directly into the vagina near the cervix before bed, for a more effective and immediate result.


6.Warm Bath

Sounds too goo to be true, but true it is. This is exactly what started my labour as I was at my moms house overnight and thought I would relax in her huge bathtub. Sure enough, a few hours later my labour had begun.  Warm baths not only soften the skin but most importantly put you in a very relaxed state. Allowing your body to function without the barriers of tension.  It is very important not to take a hot bath as the temperature of the water should just be warm, anything more than this can overheat the baby and cause fetal distress.


7.Spicy Foods/Curry

Wives tale or fact? Some studies do show that eating spicy food near the end of labour helps to stimulate your stomach muscles and soften your cervix.  Like any remedy mentioned here, consult your doctor and don’t overdue it. If you are past 40 weeks and craving something spicy, give it a try, it might just kickstart labour for you.


8.Climbing Stairs

Climbing stairs is a great way to help your  shift your baby into the right position in the pelvis. This movement also encourages water breaking. If you have a high risk pregnancy this remedy may not be for you, this is used more often for low risk pregnancies.



9.Raspberry Leaf Tea

Unlike other remedies mentioned here, It’s best not to use this herbal remedy to kickstart your labour. Instead, raspberry leaf tea may help your labour to progress on time and efficiently once it has begun. The remedy works best if you allow several weeks for it to build up in your system. So if you want try this remedy, it’s recommended you begin taking it when you’re about 32 weeks pregnant. Raspberry Leaf Tea is known to tone the muscles of your uterus so they contract better and work more efficiently.  Taking this tea weekly is a great way to help your labour progress at a nice pace.


10. Pineapple

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is believed to help soften your cervix and help start labour. Eating a large amount can stimulate your tummy, which can help to get labour underway.

There are many other remedies that you can find online, as well as many other herbal teas known to help prepare the body for labour.  For normal or low risk pregnancies these are safe to try.





July 3, 2016

What Symptoms Can I Expect During Early Pregnancy?

Congratulations! Your PT says positive. You are pregnant. You may already be noticing some changes in your body, or if it is very early you may feel exactly the same, with the exception of being super excited that is. There are far too many pregnancy systems to name them all, and each mothers pregnancy is different. Some mothers experience no morning sickness but may have heartburn, others, back pain, and food sensitivities. Below are 6 of the most common symptoms that you may start feeling early on as your body and hormones start changing.  If you have any concerns about symptoms that you are feeling, be sure to talk to your doctor during your prenatal visits.

Nausea and Vomiting (often in the morning)
For many moms to be, every morning starts with nausea and sometimes vomiting. Not your preferred way of starting the day but remind yourself that this is temporary.  For many moms the nausea lessens or sometimes goes away completely by the third month.  If you are one of the lucky ones you may not have this symptom at all. It is however one of the most common. Help ease this time by drinking water, ginger or peppermint teas. Having some crackers on hand can help curb it as well.  It is also suggested that you eat smaller meals more frequently rather than a few larger meals. Try avoiding anything too spicy or greasy.  


There is a lot going on in your body. Your hormones are changing, your body is slowly changing as it starts to prepare for carrying your baby. Your metabolism is working overtime. It is completely normal to be very tired during pregnancy. Stay hydrated, eat healthy, and do some light exercises to stay on top of it, but in the end, just take a nap. When is it ever a chore to sleep anyway? 


Heartburn was my worst symptom hands down. Sometimes it was so strong it would lead to vomiting.  Some natural ways to remedy this is to try and elevate yourself rather than lying flat on the bed. Also eating smaller meals more frequently as apposed to larger ones will help here again. If it is truly causing you too much pain your doctor may be ok with TUMS or a prescription antacid but always consult your doctor first. 


This one symptom effects just about all of us as our bowels slowly get pushed together to make more room for the baby as she grows.  High fiber  and lots of whole grains will help here as well as drinking lots of water. Most importantly move around. Light exercise, walking, and stretching will all help to reduce your constipation. 

Aches or pains in the abdomen.

Wondering why you are always feeling aches and pains? Well considering your uterus is growing very quickly (up to 18 times larger than its original size) coupled with weight gain, and major hormone variations, its likely you will be feeling achey in different areas at different stages of your pregnancy. Some discomfort in the abdomen or lower back is normal, however if you are concerned about any pains you are feeling, or are in severe pain, consult your doctor right away. 

Noticeable increase or decrease in libido.  

A change in your sex drive when pregnant can either be heightened, or completely disappear Although hormones are the main cause for this, it is also the increased blood flow in your body particularly in your genital areas. Woman with stronger nausea, heartburn, fatigue etc tend to have less libido as they are focusing on overcoming those symptoms, making sex the last thing they are thinking about.





June 9, 2016

Infant Sleep Tips For New Moms

children-1048307_1280For many mothers, the issue of sleep is arguably one of the most physically and emotionally challenging aspects of raising a baby. Sleep deprivation in mothers can not only lead to fatigue, but in some cases depression and anxiety to name only a few symptoms. Since every baby’s sleeping pattern will be different, and every mothers sleeping habits will be different, there is no one-size-fits all method. As a postpartum doula and as a mother myself, I would like to share my experiences with matters of sleep.


The first thing to know, especially if you are a new mother is that you will be shocked at just how little sleep you will get. When I was pregnant with Ethan my now 20 month old, moms would say “just wait…you don’t even know what tired is yet”. I remember that always used to upset me. For one I was a sensitive sleeper naturally and have struggled sleeping through the night on a good day. I was no stranger to fatigue. I also have common sense and figured it would be challenging anyway.  I mean really who likes hearing “you don’t even know…or… just you wait..”. But, and its a big but lol, I really had no clue. So as much as I thought I was emotionally prepared…. I just wasn’t. I think rather than telling moms “you don’t even know what tired is yet”, I would like to say to you perspective mother’s that you are not supposed to know, you are supposed to discover this amazing journey on your own. You may even be one of the lucky ones who has a baby that sleeps very well through the night. So don’t stress about it until you approach your own unique challenges as they come to you.


It is also important to note that it is not recommended to sleep train or let your baby self soothe when they are still in their infancy. The first 1-4 months infants don’t have the capability of tricking you or manipulating you, they also need to eat a lot. It is normal during this time for babies to go no more than 2-3 hours between feedings. If they are crying, it is because they need something. Either your comfort, a diaper change, some more milk, or simply your embrace. So sorry mamas, the first few months are hard on everyone. I personally experienced severe anxiety in the night as I had postpartum depression as well. To put it in perspective, imagine how tired you would be after giving birth, your hormones are all over the place, your body is producing milk, and here you are sometimes alone in the silence of night desperately needing some sleep, perhaps struggling with feeding, or dealing with a colicky baby.


I will not go into the different methods of sleep training your children as there are many, and they all have their positives and negatives.  For Ethan, I created my own method of mixing self-soothing with going in and comforting him., I would just slowly extend the length of time before I went in again. This worked for me. But the tips I am going to share can be applied regardless of how you sleep train your LO. Each approach can work. Don’t let someone advise you on how you should handle this issue. Your instincts will tell you what will work best for you, your child and your family. So regardless of what options you choose, or perhaps one that is somewhere in between, here are the tips that helped me get through this difficult time.




1- Communicate your goals with your partner. I have seen countless times where one partner is choosing the route of self soothing, and when the baby is crying, the other partner is tempted to go in and soothe the baby, or lashes out and feels he/she is neglecting the child. It is so important to handle this as a team. Always do the same routines with the child at the same time. If a strategy isn’t working for you and your family, change it up, just always be on the same page.


2-White noise. Having a white noise machine can really help keep your baby calm and increase length of sleep for your little one, as these sounds mimic the dull constant noise that they hear in the womb.

3-Lighting is very important. Make sure the area your child is sleeping in has a consistent light that is mainly dark, warm, and soothing. They will associate this environment in time with sleeping. Also dark rooms reduce the chances of your baby responding to their environment or nearby stimuli.


4- Be consistent. While you are sleep training your child, try your best to keep their mealtimes, bath times, and most importantly night time routines as consistent as possible. Sometimes this will not be possible but always try and stick to the same timelines. This will also train your baby to know when it’s time to go to sleep.


4-Swaddling. After you have your baby, if you have not already received instruction on how to swaddle in a childbirth education class, your nurses will show your how to swaddle your LO. This is very effective for most infants, however some (like my little man) did not like it past two weeks of age. Swaddling creates a sense of constriction and security. Some mothers swaddle with the arms in, others with the arms out so baby can support themselves better in the night. Talk to your doctor, nurse of midwife if you have questions about the best method of swaddling.


5-Accept help. If you are able to have someone else do an occasional feeding. Take advantage of that. If you are bottle feeding then your partner can help share the load and allow you to get some more zzz’s. If you are breastfeeding and not introducing a bottle, this tip will not be an option.


6-Give them time. Once your infant is a little older and able to sleep longer than before, it is important to let them try to fall asleep on their own. Basically if they are crying, and its more of a whine or whimper, as hard as it can be, let them sort through those emotions. This is the beginning of your baby learning to sleep on their own. If they are screaming or sound like they are suffering then of course, check on them. You will soon learn your child’s cries, as are there are many different ones.


7-Be positive. Lastly, and this is not based on any evidence this is just my experience. The nights that I felt happy, and connected with my child. When I would stare in his big beautiful eyes and smile, he tended to sleep better then the nights when I had anxiety or was frustrated with pumping. I think babies are far more in tune with our emotions then people realize. So if you are upset or stressed, use whatever comfort measures you need to to leave that negative mental space before holding your child in the night.


I hope that these tips will help you get started on your journey with getting more sleep. I wish you and your family all the best. Don’t worry, they will sleep through the night eventually, you shall reclaim your sleep again. Until then, you are not alone. All the mothers holding their little ones through the night salute you. All the best.




April 8, 2016

How Much Milk Does My NB Need?


Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.40.42 AMMany new moms often wonder if their newborn is getting enough of their breastmilk or formula. Although this article should not serve as a definitive factor on whether your baby needs more food or not, a lot of this worry can be remedied by having a more clear understanding of just how big a baby’s stomach actually is. You will often hear that a baby knows how much they need at any given moment, and this is very true.  The below are some common comparisons to a baby stomach size, and what that would equal in breastmilk or formula.  You may be surprised just how little they need at first. This is beneficial as some mothers do not get their milk right away, and knowing this information can make you feel a little more comfortable during your first days as a mother.


Day 1

If your baby is full term, your NB stomach is approximately the size of a cherry.  Your baby may need to feed more frequently due to how small his stomach is.  If you are breastfeeding, your collustrum is loaded with everything your baby needs to start his breastfeeding journey.

Milk Equivalent 5-7 ml (1-1.4 tsp)


Day 3

Growing quickly, your newborns stomach is now the size of a walnut. Although your babies stomach is growing quickly he still only needs a minimal amount of breastmilk/formula.

Milk Equivalent

22-27 ml (0.75-1 oz).


One Week

At about the week mark, your baby’s stomach has grown to the size of an apricot.  This is where you can begin noticing some weight gain. Babies a week old typically produce 6 wet diapers a day.

Milk Equivalent

45-60 ml (1.5-2 oz).


One Month

You have hit the one month milestone. At approximately one month, your little one has a stomach that is the size of a large egg.

Milk Equivalent 80-150 ml (2.5-5 oz).


Any idea how big your stomach size it? Surprisingly a lot of people don’t know what a typical adult size stomach is. An adult stomach is roughly the size of …….

A grapefruit

Is My Newborn Getting Enough Milk


March 25, 2016

A Doula Wha?

birth doulaAlthough the role of a doula is increasing in popularity in North America. It is quite surprising how many people we talk to on a regular basis that have a look of confusion when you say the word “doula” in front of them. I’ve had friends say “whats a doula”, a “doo-la-la?”, “A doula huh?”.  I wanted to dedicate this post to answering the question of “what exactly is a doula?”.



The word Doula is a Greek word that means “woman caregiver”. Today, it is used widely throughout the world to identify a trained labour assistant or companion who provides both mother and partner continuous emotional and physical support. They also provide assistance with providing the families information and resources that they need before, during, and after birth. There are Birth Doulas (also known as Labour Doulas which is what this post is discussing), and there are Postpartum Doulas who assist the mother and family after the birth in their home, teaching and assisting them in their new life as parents.

Some Birth Doulas may have additional training in certain specializations such as acupressure, hypno-birthing, massage therapy, etc. But the basic role of a doula is to comfort the mother during her labour. This can range from being a calm and caring presence, to providing massage or pressure to relieve pain symptoms, to providing information, or getting ice and water.  Their role is different for every mother, as a doulas primary goal to is to be what that specific labouring woman needs her to be.


A Doula

  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman who is in labour.
  • Assists the woman and her partner in carrying out their plans for the birth and creating a birth plan.
  • Does not leave the labouring mother during her entire labour and for a few hours after birth.
  • Helps Facilitate clear communication between the labouring woman, her partner, nursing staff, and all care providers.
  • Assists mother partner and baby getting started with breastfeeding.

A Doula does not…

  • Provide medical advice, nor does she have medical training.
  • Speak on your behalf to your medical caregivers, or tell you what to do.


Some woman who are considering a doula are concerned that perhaps the doula may put pressure towards a certain way of giving birth, (natural, or epidural for example). It is important to know that doulas will support you in any decisions you make. Whether you are having a c-section, epidural, natural birth, home birth etc, a doulas presence is always there to support you.


There are many different types of doulas, each with their own strengths and areas of expertise. Some doulas may be more into supporting a woman verbally and emotionally, informing her as her labour progresses, while others may be more physical and hands on, assisting with counter pressure to help reduce the pain of labour. Likewise all labouring woman are different and are sensitive to different things. Whats important is that you have found a doula who works well with your personality and is able to adapt to your needs during labour.

If the services of a doula are new to you, or you have questions about how we can help you during your pregnancy and labour, feel free to contact us. Reach out to your friends and community and see what other people are saying about doulas.

March 7, 2016

5 Reasons Dads Want Doulas

dad doulaMany partners feel challenged by the concept of having a doula for their birth. Some of the common trains of thought behind this could be the notion that they replace the partner, or perhaps may add an element of formalness to what should be a very personal experience. Most of these misconceptions can be easily removed upon meeting a doula that is right for you and your partner. It is important to include your partner in the decision making process when choosing who the right doula is for you. Below are some common reasons why partners who have experienced the presence of a doula, are raving about it and have changed their tune.


1. Tap Out and Take A Break Dad
Many partners may go into a labour and birth experience excited, ready, and eager to take on the challenges or fatigue that will follow. However halfway in, it can really be an eye opener as to how long some labours can actually be. If you have a partner who is uneasy or anxious about birth, you may be required to be by her side constantly. This can wear on your energy, mood, and physical body quite quickly. Some labours are spent walking up and down the hospital hallways, some labours are fast, others very slow. A doula is like a partner in crime for you. Need a break? Need to eat? Go to the bathroom? We got your back. A doula is not just for the mother, but we are there for you too. We dont replace you, we enhance your experience of your birth and allow you to focus on the aspects of it that YOU want to focus on.


2. A Doula Knows
Just when you thought taking a childbirth class was all you needed to be ready for anything. The big day comes, your adrenalin is in high gear, and …..all the signs, facts and things to pay to attention to that you learned at class …are kinda hard to remember at this point. You are trying to focus on a million things, getting the car, helping your partner, timing contractions, possibly thinking about parking, thinking about labour comfort measures you can do to help. The thoughts that go through your mind are many, and circulate quickly at the onset of labour and birth. A doula is someone who is a calm presence for both mother and partner. We can help you organize those thoughts and allow you to focus on your partner, giving her the comfort and attention she needs.


3. A Doula Knows What To Ask.

During your labour, if you are in a hospital setting, you will be required to answer many questions from the moment you check in, to pain medication options, to labouring positions, and everything in between. It can be easy to feel rushed or pressured into making decisions that you are not sure about. A doula can help to ask the appropriate questions to help you and your partner make informed choices about the labour and birth. Whether you want more information regarding a certain procedure or having a clearer understanding of what options you have. A doula helps you form those decisions confidently.


4. A Doula keeps You Calm.
From strange blips on the heart monitor thingy to a nurse making a facial expression that has you worried. There are a million things that can trigger feelings of anxiety or concern. One of the doulas primary strengths is bringing an element of calmness. For your partner, the doula is there to comfort her, and help her relax and experience her labour in a receptive and calm way, effectively keeping you calm too. Whether its providing information to help you feel more knowlegable about something, or whether it’s her calming presence and relaxation techniques. Your doula is there to help.


5. A Doula Builds You Up
Ever seen a movie with a boxing match? The bell rings, the boxer takes a seat, a coach is there to motivate them,give them water, highlight what they did well, and what they can try next. Well take away the boxing gloves and thats what you have during a time your partner really needs you. Your partner is going through a massive physical, emotional, hormonal shift and needs you to be receptive to her needs, and wants. A doula will help you to notice these signals, and help you in any way possible to be the comfort and supporter that she needs. We are on team YOU!

These are just some of the ways a doula is also there for dads. Share this with your partners and consider contacting a doula today and seeing if they are a good fit for you. You wont be disappointed. In fact you’ll probably never have another baby without your doula.