Preparing for Change

Excerpt From the: Peaceful Birth Workbook by Elizabeth MacKay.

Everyone knows that becoming a parent means that our lifestyle will entirely change, but many mothers and fathers to be don’t realize that they can take steps to prepare for this new life. We’re not talking about stocking up on diapers and taking mat-leave—we’re talking about preparing both mentally and emotionally for a new phase in life.

Preparing for change can also prevent postpartum depression, which has been shown to be caused by a feeling of being overwhelmed by the birth, not having enough help and a sense of isolation. Continue reading

Huggaloops Snuggle Sling + Give Away

Introducing the Huggaloops Snuggle Baby Sling. Invented by Canadian mom, Stacey Vukovics, Hugaloops is a totally unique design which uses three interlocking loops to hold baby close. Weight is distributed evenly, it is fully adjustible and made wth a double layer of 2-way stretch fabric, with double-stitched safety seams. Amazingly, there are even more reasons to love this product. In addition to being confortable and stylish, the Huggaloops baby sling has eliminated buckles or tying like with most other slings. You just slip on the loops and it is ready for baby!

We have been really excited about Hugaloops here at naturalmommy, so we met up with Stacey who agreed to do a give away with naturalmommy readers! We also just had to talk to her about her love of baby wearing and balancing business with motherhood. See below for our interview with her.

To win your Huggaloops Snuggle Sling, just like naturalmommy on facebook [here], and send us a message letting us know that you want one! We will pick a random winner and Stacey will send it out directly from Huggaloops headquarters. You can also nominate a mommy in your life that would love this product and if she wins, Stacey will send it to her for you! To make this give away even better Stacey would love for the winner to pick their own colour. She will contact the winner directly before she sends it out to let them decide the colour that best suits them. If you nominate a friend and she wins, you can pick the colour for her so it is still a surprise! Continue reading

Give Away & Interview with Worts + Cunning Apothecary

WORTS + CUNNING APOTHECARY is a purveyor of quality, handmade herbal products as well as natural products for moms. The Apothecary is currently in Mesa, Arizona and run by owner, founder, and herbologist Alexis J. Chapman.

Alexis chose the name for her apothecary by blending two words: Wort, meaning plant and Cunning meaning artfulness. In other words her focus is on working with plants in new artful ways, while retaining the ancient art of creating herbal remedies for health and healing.

We were so excited when Alexis agreed to offer a give away for our readers! She has chosen her Organic Bundle of Joy Postpartum Kit (featured in picture) which includes Herbal Sitz Bath, Sweet Nectar Milk Tea Blend, Blue Skies Postpartum Courage Blend, Labor & Postpartum Belly Balm and her Sassy Mama Tea Blend.

How does this give-away work? You must nominate a special pregnant woman in your life by sending us an e-mail or facebook message letting us know who you are nominating and why. It is as simple as telling us what you think is special about her and why you want her to win this special postpartum gift-set. We will be selecting our winner on Mother’s Day.

Want to win yourself? Get a friend or family member to nominate you! Once we announce our winner, Alexis will send out this amazing gift direct from Worts + Cunning Apothecary!

We also had the chance to chat with Alexis about her work and love of plants. Please read our amazing interview with her below.

Natural Mommy (NM): Alexis, how did you get started working with plants/herbs and what do you love about it?

Alexis: My story with plants begins with a koala – a real koala that I had the opportunity to hold and have my picture taken with when I was about 5 years old. For the next few years I knew that I was more than just a little girl, I was, in fact, a koala and set about exploring the world as I thought a koala would. I rode my tricycle around the city and in parks, picking leaves off trees and bushes and eating them. I figured out pretty quickly which plants tasted good, others that were not so palatable, and my parents (bless them) realized that they could not stop my koala-ness but began to educate me about poisonous and non-poisonous plants. We would move to a new place and my mom would take me around the yard, showing me what I could and could not eat. So it began, my lifelong journey with plants from koala girl to herbologist (though there is still a bit of koala left in me). Continue reading

Birthing Centers in Ontario Canada

New to Ontario, but not new to Quebec or Manitoba, is the opening of two birth centers – run by midwives and acting as a pilot project, which if successful will likely change how women give birth in Ontario.

“On Tuesday, Ontario women moved a step closer to having that third option when Premier Dalton McGuinty announced plans to launch the province’s first two birth centers.” (Toronto Star)

A birth center is a place where women can give birth with a midwife, aimed at expectant mothers who want to give birth naturally within a community setting. Many women do not want to be in a hospital, but are also not comfortable giving birth at home. A birthing center would offer another option for them to consider. Continue reading

Natural Remedies for Labour, Birth & Postpartum

By Jessica Carfagnini, ND of Thunder Bay Naturopathic Clinic

Botanical tincture
This is a botanical tincture that can be taken 6 weeks prior to delivery. Mother’s cordial
Caulophyllum, Mitchella repens, Chamaelerium luteum, Vibernum opulus (equal parts of individual botanical tincture, can be compounded – see Resources below). Dosage: 1 tsp 3 times/day, take in warm water. Continue until onset of delivery/labour. This tincture helps prepare the uterus for delivery, and also increases the effectiveness of contractions.

If you are past 36 weeks (i.e., 9 months), taking evening primrose oil 500 mg capsules up to 2-4 times a day with food can help initiate labour by increasing prostaglandins in your body.

Walking and light exercise can also encourage the baby to orient her/himself in mom’s pelvis. Continue reading

The Use of Acupuncture During Pregnancy

By Jessica Carfagnini, ND of Thunder Bay Naturopathic Clinic

During pregnancy women are often looking for effective ways to treat a variety of conditions in a safe manner. Since a great number of drugs are not safe to use during pregnancy many women consider other healing modalities, such as acupuncture, to relieve common conditions. Although there are certain acupuncture points that are not safe during pregnancy, a trained Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or Naturopathic Doctor (ND) has the skills and knowledge to needle safely and effectively.

Traditional Chinese medicine is the oldest and most widely used system of medicine in the world. It has been catching on in the Western world due to its effectiveness in successfully treating a wide variety of illnesses and imbalances.

Women who are pregnant may seek acupuncture for rashes, sinusitis, urinary tract infections and other common conditions. Sometimes it’s as simple as needling a few points to gain some relief. For example, itchy rashes are considered a sign of “heat” in the body that can be released by administering as few as 6 acupuncture needles to specific points on the arms, back, ears and legs. Many acupuncture treatments do not even require that the patient remove their clothing. Simply wearing loose comfortable clothing that can be rolled up to the elbows and knees can provide access to some very powerful points. Continue reading

Cesarean Birth

Support and love from friends and family is important in every birth, regardless of the experience. Before giving birth, make sure you have support put in place. When confronted with a cesarean birth, be aware that you and your baby may need lots of extra love and support. Healing from a cesarean or any other procedure, such as an episiotomy can pose some additional challenges.

“A big drawback of cesarean sections is separation from your baby immediately after birth…once back at home, you will find it more painful to move around for a while, making caring for a new baby harder. It can take longer to bond with you baby, but be patient – it will happen…Cesarean babies are often premature, are more vulnerable to respiratory distress, and may be affected by what prompted the operation…A baby with physical problems needs extra attention, and you may need help to cope with sleeping or feeding.” (Meredith 18)

After a general anesthetic, drowsiness or lethargy can occur for you and your baby. Drugs that are absorbed through the blood stream may interfere with oxytocin (a hormone that is important for nursing and bonding), although exact side-effects of drugs is not clear. That said, breastfeeding may also pose some challenges after a cesarean. Some women notice that it takes longer for their milk to come in. It can also be more difficult to get into a comfortable position. Regardless of a cesarean, there is always the potential for challenges involved with breastfeeding, but it is well worth the effort to keep trying if breastfeeding is something you desire to do. Many Midwives have observed that given the right support, knowledge and patience, the vast majority of women are able to breastfeed. We suggest you view our page about breastfeeding [here] and ask for support, if you need some extra help getting the swing of things.

What is alarming is the rate at which women are getting c-sections. Web-sites like thestir are reporting that rates are said to go up to as much as 50% in the USA [and Canada’s rates are not much less than that]. Check out their article [here].

17 Century Midwives Were Women with Expert Knowledge

According to historians such as Doreen Evenden, research shows that “the seventeenth century [English] midwives were often women of considerable social status, both central figures in local women’s culture and representatives of the respectable part of the local population…the midwife was a ‘specialist’ whose expertise was concentrated in the area of child delivery.” (Evenden, 42, 170).”

Historical views of midwifery also illustrate a give-and-take relationship between a midwife and her community as well as a midwives’ expertise in the birthing realm. Whatever the midwives social status, all were trained through a system of apprenticeship under the supervision of an expert midwife. “A new archivally-based study of seventeenth-century London midwives has demonstrated that midwives were better trained through an ‘unofficial’ system of apprenticeship served under the supervision of senior midwives than has previously been assumed.” (Evenden, 9)

The midwife also had basic knowledge of common diseases and gynecological conditions (Evenden, 171) which, arguably, made them a threat to the economic prosperity of university trained medical men and experts in the contemporary medical profession. In addition to research from Doreen Evenden that supports midwives as experts in the medical field, the trial records themselves from seventeenth century London also demonstrate that midwives were medical experts who testified in court trails “about various forms of sexual impropriety,” (Evenden, 171), which points to the high level of respect that a community gave their midwives.

Midwifery manuals published by seventeenth century midwives themselves also act as primary sources on the subject of midwives’ involvement in birth and demonstrate seventeenth century midwives to be women with an expert knowledge in anatomy and birth during the seventeenth century.

Inuit Birthing Practices

Due to their location, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, research shows that Inuit people of the Canadian Arctic were seldom affected by colonization. For the most part they were free to practice their economic and cultural activities. (Babiuk, et al, 35)

Generally, Europeans traded with the Inuit and left. They did not attempt to settle the territory. (Babiuk, et al, 35) Inuit people lived unaffected until the 1950s, at which point they began to feel the impact of non-Aboriginal people and the Canadian government. (Babiuk, et al, 56) Once touched, many Inuit people were forced by the Canadian government to relocate to islands of the Artic with the promise of abundant land and modern amenities. Instead they found very little governmental support and barren, inhospitable lands. (Babiuk, et al, 56)

Their traditional migratory lifestyle was ruined and economic and cultural activities were terribly impacted. Inuit peoples of Canada have a history of traditional belief systems which believe that creation included the material world and the invisible (spiritual) world. “The entire universe had spirit, and the Creator was present in everything”. (Babiuk) In addition to their daily activities such as hunting, this belief system was embedded in their birthing practices.

From the earliest times, Inuit women viewed childbirth as a part of all other natural cycles of life. “Like death, birth was seen as part of a cycle of life that existed within the sacred realm, governed by ubiquitous spirituality that originated with the Creator.” (Carroll and Benoit, 265) In this regard, the arrival of a baby reminded everyone of the delicate cycle of life and death.

State of World’s Midwifery Doc

Many women who want a midwife cannot have one yet, women die in child birth everyday from a lack of adequate care. The below video “highlights the importance of the role of the midwife in reducing maternal and infant mortality as well as the issues and challenges they face.”