Monthly Archives: April 2014

Top Five Tips For A Natural Birth

This is a wonderful post with ideas to help you achieve the birth you want!

The Aspiring Yogi

natural birth image I’m 35 weeks pregnant with my second child and currently investing a lot of my head space on preparing for a beautiful natural birth. It’s been a long journey since my first birth which started with a post-dates induction and ended in an ‘emergency’ c-section. Since then, I’ve talked to many experts, read books, watched DVDs and generally educated myself about birth. I feel that I’ve done/am doing everything I can to ensure I have the best possible chance of giving birth the way I want it to happen. Much of this information is sadly not provided in the standard hospital ante-natal classes or the books that most women read in preparation. So I wanted to share this information with you in a simple and concise article.

So here it is…my top five tips for having a natural birth:

1)      Choose your birth place and support team with care


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Stay home as long as possible during early labor!

Stay home as long as possible during early labor! (If having a hospital or birthing center birth)


We have all seen the movies where a pregnant woman’s water breaks, her partner rushes her to the hospital (or barely makes it in time to see his/ her baby born) and the baby is born soon after being taken to her hospital room. This is rarely ever the case, especially for first time moms. Labor usually lasts a while and it can be difficult to even admit that you are in labor! You wonder, “Is this the real thing”?

Early labor can last hours or even days. The cervix dilates the first three centimeters and the contractions/ rushes/ waves can be anywhere from 5- 30 minutes apart and less than a minute long. This will turn into active labor at some point and the contractions/ rushes/ waves move to 3-5 minutes apart and last about 1 minute each. This part of labor is more intense and will require more “pain” coping techniques and it requires all of the mother’s focus. Active labor is when the cervix dilates the next 7 centimeters.

There are several reasons to stay home as long as possible in the early part of labor. I will talk about some of these below:

  1. Helps labor progress.

Oxytocin is the hormone that causes the uterus to contract. This is an amazing hormone that also is responsible for feelings of love and bonding. It is released during breastfeeding, orgasm, falling in love and when you get a massage.

Most times labor starts at home during the night. This is probably because you are safe and warm in your own bed, with familiar scents and you are most likely near your partner. These things set the right circumstances for oxytocin to flow and do its job for labor to really get going! If you interrupt the buildup of oxytocin too early, it may “shut down.” So if you are having your baby in a hospital or birthing center, leaving too early may interrupt what oxytocin is trying to do. Once oxytocin is really high in your system, however, and things are moving along at a more steady pace, it isn’t as easy to interrupt/ shut down.

Staying home for a while during early labor is a great idea to let oxytocin build up in your system to a point where “there’s no turning back.”

  1. Reduces the chances of induction and cesarean section.


Most women are held a standard called the “Friedman’s Curve.” This is a graph that obstetric care providers use to define a “normal” length and pace of labor. If a woman does not “progress” according to this schedule, she may be diagnosed with “failure to progress.” This is basically just a failure to be patient. Sometimes there are emergencies, however most cases seem to be because a woman is not progressing as this curve suggests she should.

By going to the hospital too early in labor, you may be subjecting yourself to an induction because you are being held to this standard. There is a normal ebb and flow to labor, it may slow down or speed up, and this is almost always JUST FINE! Induced labors are twice as likely to end up in a cesarean section. The drugs used to induce labors have risks involved. Cesarean sections have many risks involved. If staying home as long as possible can help avoid these interventions, do whatever you can to do so! Practice comfort measures with your partner, use distractions (walk, bake cookies, watch a movie, etc), or hire a doula.


  1. You can eat and drink, which is necessary during labor!


Many hospitals still advise against eating and drinking during labor. The reason is because of the very small risk of aspirating should you need an emergency c-section and you are put under general anesthesia. If you are home as long as possible during early labor, you can snack and drink all you want so you will have the energy necessary to do the hard work of birthing your baby.


  1. At home you have more flexibility with pain/ discomfort techniques.


At home you can get in your bathtub or shower, which is really quite soothing during labor. You can also use your couch, counter top, bed or other surface to lean over and sway during contractions. You may have a birthing ball (which may also be available at a hospital) that you can use. You are in your own space which makes you feel safe and will help labor progress. Some hospitals require continuous fetal monitoring which inhibits free movement, so being at home enables you to move around as much as you want!


  1. You are less likely to be sent home.


If you stay home long enough and go to the hospital when things are really ramped up, you will more than likely not be sent home for coming too soon.


Some things to do during early labor:

Eat snacks, make a birthday cake for your baby, take a walk, watch a movie, take a bath, have your partner give you a massage, read a book, clean, get baby’s things ready, RELAX!

What does Love Gentle Birth mean?


Love Gentle Birth means many different things. Let’s start with the word Love:

It is the most powerful emotion, it drives stories, it is a force of nature, it is inherently free, it is all around, you can give and receive love and more and more of it is created everyday. When I am invited to be with a family as they welcome a new member, or their first baby, I am witnessing so much love. The couple seems to fall in love all over again with each other and with their new baby. Anyone present at a birth will be overwhelmed with love and joy because it is such a magical time. As a doula, I nurture the laboring woman and show her love and compassion. Each and every day I hope to spread a little love through smiling at strangers, holding the door open, listening to others, exuding a positive presence, make my family dinner, tell them I love them, and open my heart to all. Love is in the name of my business because that is what is connecting us all and driving our story.


I believe we ought to be gentle with ourselves and our loved ones. When a woman is in labor, she needs nurturing, she needs love and gentle words and encouragement. The baby being born absolutely needs a gentle entrance earthside as he/she leaves the safety of its mother’s womb. Gentle in the sense that those awaiting his/her’s arrival are calming their voices, warming their hands, dimming the lights, smiling and ready to give love. I also say gentle to suggest a birth as nature intended, provided there are no emergencies. The hormones and endorphins released during labor and birth are amazing and will provide comfort and a sense of pure bliss if allowed to work naturally. A baby being born needs a gentle transition, not to be taken away from mama immediately, scrubbed, poked and prodded. Baby needs to be placed on mamas chest with undisturbed time to smell, nuzzle at the breast, gaze into mama’s eyes, touch and fall in love with his/her’s parents. This transition is up to mama and the ones caring for her (partner, doula, midwife, nurses, doctors and family members.)


A baby is going to be born. There is also the birth of a mother, a father, a family (any variation of family, they are all wonderful) and the birth of new love. Birth is an amazing event that changes absolutely everything, and in such an incredible way.

Love Gentle Birth. What do these words mean to you? How can we welcome new babies to our world in a gentle way?  I welcome your thoughts and experiences!

Herbal Remedies Webinar Review

Just the other night I attended a webinar (online seminar) with Aremisa Hailey of Indigenous Remedies. She is very knowledgeable, and shared a wealth of information about herbs to use for common pregnancy complaints. Her philosophy on connecting with herbs, nature and our community was also really engaging, and something worth looking at. The company, Indigenous Remedies, offers Herbal Certifications, Herbal Consultations, Energy Healing/ Chakra Balancing as well as Womb Doula Services.

I wanted to recap some of the great things Aremisa discussed. First, she talked about the tag line from her website “Become the Earth You Walk On.” Aremisa emphasized the need to understand the connection between ourselves and the plants, the energies we give off. Plants also emit energies that can be healing and restoring to our mind and organs.

One thing I found really interesting was line of Bach Flower Essences, and how they emit a specific type of energy that can be used for humans, and in some cases pets, to address certain feelings and emotions. Some examples are:


“Those who have not sufficient confidence in themselves to make their own decisions. They constantly seek advice from others, and are often misguided” – Dr. Edward Bach
 Confirmation, seeking advice, do not trust own wisdom or judgment
Human indication:  When you do not trust your own judgment in decision-making.


“Those who are very mindful of the needs of others they tend to be over-full of care for children, relatives, friends, always finding something that should be put right. They are continually correcting what they consider wrong, and enjoy doing so. They desire that those for whom they care should be near them” – Dr. Edward Bach

Keywords: Possessive, over-protective, self-centered, critical, nagging, self-pity, easily offended, manipulating, demanding
Human indication:  When you find yourself manipulating and controlling your loved ones.
Animal/Pet indication:  Possessive in nature, very territorial, manipulating, loving to be in control.


“Those who are doing good work, are following the calling of their life and who hope to do something of importance, and this often for the benefit of humanity. At times there may be periods of depression when they feel that the task they have undertaken is too difficult, and not within the power of a human being.” – Dr. Edward Bach

Keywords: Depression overwhelmed by responsibilities, despondent, exhausted
Human indication:  Feeling overwhelmed and depressed, there is too much to do and you don’t feel that you can do it all.
Animal/Pet indication:  Overwhelmed by a sense of responsibility from a temporary circumstance: abandoning their litter

See for more information.

Back to recapping the webinar and discussing some of the herbal remedies for pregnancy. I will list the common ailments below along with Aremisa’s recommendations for specific herbs. She did not go into detail about what dosage and what form, which is important to know. Some herbs mentioned are useful in cooking or teas, for other usage I suggest discussing these with your healthcare provider or consulting an herbalist or midwife.

  • Constipation: Alfafa, relaxation herbs such as chamomile, skullcap, valerian. Also peppermint (great as a tea!), barley water and of course plenty of water and nutritional foods.
  • High Blood Pressure: Relaxation herbs such as chamomile, Hops, skullcap, linden blossom. This is also where she highly recommended some great herbs for cooking : garlic and cinnamon. High blood pressure in pregnancy can be dangerous so be sure to monitor this closely with your midwife or doctor.
  • Anemia : Alfafa! Apparently this is a fantastic herb for pregnancy. It contains many vitamins and minerals. She called it the “ultimate prenatal herb.” She also mentioned nettles here.
  • Gestational Diabetes: Cinnamon, garlic and relaxation herbs. Diet is very important!
  • Aches and Pains: Use your nervine herbs: chamomile, lavender, skullcap, valerian

Aremisa also discussed some herbs to use during and after labor (these should definitely be discussed with your midwife, knowledgeable doula or healthcare provider).

  • Weak/ Irregular Contractions: Black and Blue Cohosh (Best when used together) can help strengthen and regulate contractions
  • Prepare uterus for labor: Raspberry leaf (Great as a tea especially in the third trimester)
  • For Perineum: Witch Hazel and aloe

There are also many herbs to avoid during pregnancy, and there are also many others that can be used for the above mentioned complaints. I have only listed here what Aremisa discussed in the online seminar.

The key to a healthy pregnancy and labor is your diet and lifestyle. Herbs are a great alternatives to prescription medications, however eating nutritious foods, exercising (walking/yoga), keeping stress levels down, drinking plenty of clean water and quality prenatal care are the most important things. I hope this information was helpful! There is much more to learn on this subject. One great book is this: