Doula, Prenatal Coaching, and Prenatal Massage
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.
A doula provides individualized care based on a woman's circumstances and preferences. She works with a woman and her family, physicians, midwives and nurses with the goal to enhance communication and understanding. It is a vital part of birth to be comfortable, relaxed, understood, and heard.
We are your advocate, your voice in a time of need, and we support your strength. That being said, we can also help the expecting mother's partners. The pressure on the mother and partner or support person is shifted, allowing them to participate in the birth of the baby in more comfort and enjoyment. Ideally, the doula, the partner and the midwife or medical team make the perfect support system for the mother, all complementing each other's strengths.
Our doulas are certified through the high standards and training of DONA International.
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labour
- Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
- Provides continuity of care, emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint
- Helps the woman and her partner obtain information they need to make appropriate decisions
After the consultation, if you choose to work with our doula further, the services you will receive may include:
- Two Prenatal Visits:
During the first visit you plan your birth experience. We address any concerns or fears that may come up and discuss your expectations of my role as your doula and your support team (partner, support-person, midwife, medical team). You prepare a detailed birth plan with Rebecca; she helps you get the information you may need to make informed decisions along the way. If you are having a hospital birth or a home birth, you will be well informed about what to expect.
During the second prenatal visit (approximately 6 weeks before your due date) you prepare for the big day by discussing, in detail, the various ways to stay calm, confident and relaxed to enable you to have the birth experience you envision. This is like a prenatal workshop, where we will give you and your birth partner many time-tested practical tips to consider through every phase of labour. We review the different labour and birthing positions, breathing, pressure points, and comfort measures that you can use. We will help you understand how the natural birth process and how positive affirmation can minimize fears you may have.
We will also discuss breastfeeding and the post partum period where we share some practical tips on how you can be prepared to transition into motherhood more peacefully and confidently.
You choose if these two visits would take place in the comfort of your own home or at The Acupuncture Turning Point.
- Prenatal MASSAGE Appointment or extra prenatal visit
A prenatal massage is recommended in last trimester. This light massage given at our clinic promotes circulation, relaxation and pre-labour induction -- actually, we don't "induce", but rather, help you relax. This means your labour is not delayed by stress, and you can birth your baby in your own time, more easily and naturally. An option is to replace the massage for a third prenatal visit.
- Pregnancy support
Your doula will be available by email or phone most days to answer any questions that come up or refer you to the appropriate professional who can help you. She will be on call 24/7 by her private cell phone two weeks prior to your due date and for two weeks after your baby is born. Your doula will be a reliable resource for you throughout your pregnancy. She provides reassurance and promotes confidence by offering evidence-based information on various topics related to pregnancy, labour, birth, post-partum, breastfeeding, and baby care for you to have at your fingertips.
- Support and guidance at the birthing
Again, your doula will be on call via her personal cell phone number 24/7 two weeks prior to your due date and for 2 weeks after your baby is born. She can attend your birth in the hospital, birth center or at your home with your chosen physician or midwife. She will stay with you throughout your labour and the birth of your child, and for about an hour or two after the baby is born, until you are settled and to assist you with the first breastfeeding if needed.
- Post partum care
Our doula will come to visit your little miracle for a postpartum visit once you’re at home or when you need her. Usually you receive a home visit from a public nurse the day after you are home. You can call our doula when you’re ready or need her any time. She will chat with you about how you feel, reflect on your birth experience, and help you with breastfeeding and settling in with your baby. Another important service our doula can offer is to facilitate the writing of your birth story. Whether you do it, or she documents her perspective of this miracle, it will be something to cherish for generations.
As your pregnancy coach, I won’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Coaching facilitates women and couples to embrace a positive, natural childbirth experience by assessing relevant information to make choices that help you reach your goals.
Birth is a process that changes a woman's life, transforming her into motherhood. Pregnancy coaching helps a mother consciously explore her options and make choices based on her values & priorities. This process prepares her mind and body to step into her true power as a woman creating the foundation to be mother.
Our doula works one-on-one and with expectant mothers and families. Together you explore pregnancy and birth topics, designed for your needs and wants, including:
- Examining your own ideals and determine your priorities for your birth experience
- Learning various childbirth options
- Creating a unique birth plan that feels comfortable to you
- Overcoming your fears about giving birth
- Discovering ways to nourish your body and soul throughout your pregnancy
- Gaining useful tools and resources to help you achieve a positive birth experience
- Clarifying your vision for the ultimate pregnancy
- Uncovering hidden challenges and blind spots that could be sabotaging your pregnancy
- Creating a post-partum plan, acknowledging the challenges of being a new parent
- Supporting an inspired, nurturing and energized outlook towards your pregnancy
A woman's body is designed to adapt to the dramatic physical and metabolic changes during pregnancy. Prenatal massage can enhance the function of muscles and joints, improve circulation and general body tone, and relieve mental and physical fatigue during this amazing transformation. The gentle, non-invasive approach of prenatal massage eases discomfort associated with pregnancy, helps the mother prepare for labour and gives her nurturing, emotional support.
We can still work with you if you have a higher-risk pregnancy (hypertension, gestational diabetes, history of miscarriages, etc), but it is important for you to first discuss your condition with your midwife or physician before seeking massage.
Pregnancy massage is light massage work that may include other modalities that promote circulation, relaxation and pre-labour induction -- actually, we don't "induce", but rather, help you relax. This means your labour is not delayed by stress, and you can birth your baby in your own time, more easily and naturally.
Pregnancy massage can:
- Reduce swelling in hands, feet and ankles
- Lessen sciatic pain
- Ease general muscle tension and in specific areas like the low back & neck, calf cramps
- Tone and relax muscles relaxes and increase flexibility
- Help with relaxation which in turn can decrease insomnia and stress
- Increase blood and lymph flow which can nourish tissues while eliminating toxins
- Strengthen the immune system through lessening the fight-or-flight response
- Stimulate the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain-relief system, into the brain and nervous system, to help relieve anxiety or depression
- The mother's partner or support person can be shown pressure points and massage techniques that can be used during the birth to ease the process and make the mother as comfortable as possible
Meet Rebecca, our doula and one of our registered massage therapists