International Childbirth Education Week – 25-31 January

Why It’s so Important

Ever since I became a Doula in 2018, one of the things I have been most passionate about is education. Not just my own ongoing education in the support of mums and bubs, but the education of my clients. This is why I believe International Childbirth Education Week is so important.

Study after study has shown that women’s satisfaction with their labour and birthing experience impacts both their health, and their relationship with their baby. It only makes sense, then, to ensure you are armed with all the information you need to make the right choices for you.

That’s not to say everything will always go according to your plans. But the better informed you are, the more able you are to change direction if necessary, and make different decisions with purpose and power, rather than from a place of fear or uncertainty.

Benefits of Childbirth Education

Some of the key practical benefits of good childbirth education are:

  • Increased maternal confidence during labour, delivery and postpartum. Knowledge is power, and when a mother knows what to expect, and how she might be able to approach it, she is more confident and empowered in her choices.
  • Decreased fear and anxiety about childbirth. Fear and anxiety have been shown to increase complications during labour and birth.
  • Lower levels of medical intervention, including induction, use of analgesics and labour interventions like forceps, vacuum delivery and emergency caesareans.
  • Better navigation of the maternity care system. Knowing what your viable options are allows you to take control of how your labour and birth will be handled.
  • Increased likelihood of vaginal delivery. Whilst having a c-section is sometimes necessary, vaginal delivery has been shown to not only positively impact the health of the baby, but leads to shorter hospital stays, less likelihood of infections, and faster healing times.
  • Better understanding of pain management, and the impact on mother and baby, allowing for informed decision making.
  • Increased likelihood of breastfeeding, which has benefits for both mum and baby, not to mention the convenience it allows.

What Do I Mean Education

These days, there are an infinite number of ways you can educate yourself on just about any subject, including pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum.

When I talk about education, I don’t just mean attending Childbirth Classes at the hospital or Baby Health Clinic. Some of the important things you need to understand include:

  • What happens to your body, and that of your baby, during each stage of labour, birth and the postpartum period.
  • The difference between the biomedical model and the humanised model of childbirth, and their relative merits.
  • What your options are in terms of the type of birth you would like. Gone are the days when women went to hospital and were told what to do. These days there are myriad options, from the full biomedical model, to birthing centres, home births, water births, free births and more.
  • Understanding your options in pain management and potential interventions.
  • Knowing the medical and technical terms for what is happening to your body, so you can understand what is happening and what the potential impacts may be on your labour, delivery and postpartum.
  • Being in a position of knowledge from which to choose the support people around you during your birth.

The most important thing is to choose reliable sources for your research. Some resources I would recommend include:

And there are a couple of great podcasts you can check out: 

The Importance of Caregivers

According to a recent study from Spain the factors most important in influencing satisfaction with the experience of childbirth are:

  • Personal expectations
  • Caregiver support
  • Quality of caregiver-mother relationship
  • Involvement in decision-making[i]

This shows how important finding the right caregivers – whether that be a doctor, midwife or doula – is to the experience of childbirth. Your caregivers should not only be experienced and qualified, but should share your philosophy on labour, birth and the postpartum experience.

So while researching childbirth, research caregivers as well, and don’t be afraid to ‘interview’ them – after all, they will have a vital role to play in one of the most important times of your life. A good place to start is professional organisations, as well as friends and family who have recently had babies.

If you would like more information about how a doula can help you gain the knowledge you need to make informed choices about your labour, birth and postpartum journey, I would love to chat. Give me a call on 0422 258 771, or contact me here.

[i] Hodnett, E. Pain and women’s satisfaction with the experience of childbirth: a systematic review.

Surviving Christmas – A Guide for the Pregnant and Postpartum

Christmas is, for some, a joyous time of year. For others it’s a frantic race to keep up with the demands of friends and family. And for some it’s a time of stress and tension. Whatever Christmas usually means for you, being pregnant or having a newborn changes things.

So with Christmas fast coming up, here are some tips on how to cope with the silly season. If you plan it right, this could just be the best Christmas season ever.

Pregnancy Christmas

Whether you are struggling through the tiredness and nausea of the first trimester, or you’re struggling to move with the weight of a baby on your bladder in the third trimester, Christmas will probably require some rethinking.

  1. Take care of you. Right now, you’re doing the single most important thing you can do – growing a human. So don’t be afraid to say no to invitations if you don’t feel up to it, or to cancel plans if you need to. And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for getting the rest you need.
  2. Make it easy on yourself. Whether that means buying gift vouchers online rather than braving the crowds, or picking up a deli salad for that BBQ, do it.
  3. Watch the heat. Even if it’s not sunny, Christmas in Australia can get very steamy. So make sure you drink plenty of water.
  4. Consider your invitations. If there’s going to be lots of standing around, maybe an event where you can sit will be more enjoyable for you. Better yet, BBQ at a house with a pool – perfect!
  5. Eat what you want. Being pregnant is probably the only time you don’t have to worry about busting a button, so indulge. Leaving out the alcohol and excluded foods of course.



The months after you give birth are not only precious, but they’re probably the most important time to take care of yourself, not to mention your precious new baby.

  1. First and foremost – remember what’s important. The health and happiness of you and your baby. Nothing else will matter in the long run, so any decisions you make should have that priority front and centre.
  2. Baby brain is real. So be like Santa and make lists. This will not only give you a feeling of satisfaction when you cross things off, you will have the peace of mind of knowing you haven’t forgotten anything.
  3. The internet and gift vouchers are your friends. You may well be the person known in your family for thoughtful and special gifts, but if you can get away with phoning it in any year, it’s this one. And there are not recorded cases of death as a result of receiving a gift voucher for Christmas.
  4. Adjust your expectations. Whether you have been the family go-to for organising Christmas lunch, group presents, or family BBQs, this is your opportunity to hand all that over to someone else. For this year at least.
  5. Adjust the expectations of others. Christmas lunch is always at your place? Maybe someone else can take it on this year. Be clear with your message, and do it early.
  6. Be selective. If an event doesn’t fit with your schedule, or is too far away, or you just plain don’t want to go, say so.
  7. Set boundaries. Newborns are delicate creatures, and we are living in a time where there are lots of unpleasant viruses afoot. So decide if you are happy for people to hold your baby, or you want them to wear a mask, or wash their hands, and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to advocate for the health of your baby
  8. Make it easy on yourself. If you still want to have Christmas (or whatever celebration your family has) at your place, ask for help. Get people to bring a plate. Order deli salads. Buy bakery desserts.
  9. Put away the guilt. If all of the above is giving you guilt-hives, stop. The most important thing is enjoying your first Christmas with baby, even if they are too young to remember.
  10. Relax and enjoy it. Because next year you will be chasing around a toddler (or crawler) so there will be no relaxation for you!


Ask Your Partner

If you have demanding family and friends, now is the time to lean on your partner for support. It’s really important that you be on the same page in relation to what invitations you accept, what you’re prepared to do, and how others are able to interact with your baby. So have a discussion well in advance. And if you need to, ask your partner to be the one to break potentially bad news. If you can take pregnancy and childbirth, they can take a couple of uncomfortable conversations!


A Little Help (not from Santa)

No matter how much you try and divest yourself of responsibilities, there will always be a lot going on at this time of year. So if you want to completely bow out of Christmas this year, don’t feel bad about it. Embrace the slow postpartum period, nurture yourself and your baby (whether baby is in utero or in a crib) and embrace this magical time. Christmas will come again next year. And you’ll have a baby just old enough to enjoy it by then.

If you feel the Christmas season might be too much for you and would like the support of a doula in helping you get through this tough time, I would love to chat. Give me a call on 0422 258 771, or contact me here.

Let me take this opportunity to wish all the mums, present and future, out there a wonderful holiday season. May 2023 bring all of us happiness, health and joy.

Best wishes,



The Benefits of Using Herbal Remedies in Pregnancy, Childbirth and Postpartum

Creating new life is the most natural thing in the world. That doesn’t mean it comes without challenges and difficulties. But it is my belief that many of the challenges, both physical and emotional, can be eased by the use of the natural herbs and remedies women all over the world have been using to heal and nourish their bodies for centuries.

That’s not to say there isn’t a role for the medical fraternity. Of course there is. But in the normal course of events, with a medically standard pregnancy and birth, herbal remedies provide a safe, effective solution to the normal stresses, strains and discomforts of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.

Little Yarrow

Early on in my time as a Doula I recognised the importance of understanding the use of herbal remedies, not just as external concoctions and teas, but as central ingredients in creating healing and nourishing postpartum foods.

I searched for somewhere I could learn what benefit specific herbs could bring, and how to use them. This is when I came across Little Yarrow Herbal Medicine.

The Little Yarrow Apprenticeship is focussed on providing an understanding of the properties of a range of herbs and ingredients, and when and how to use them safely.

This incredible course has enriched my ability to provide my clients with the best possible care during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.

Uses for Herbal Medicine

Many of the ingredients we use in Herbal Medicine have multiple benefits, and by combining them in the right way, we can provide relief for a range of normal pregnancy ailments, taking into account five key goals:

  1. Enhancing nutrition during pregnancy and postpartum
  2. Strengthening the uterus both before and after birth
  3. Supporting the nervous system to alleviate stress, anxiety and exhaustion
  4. Easing minor ailments that are part and parcel of the changes occurring in your body
  5. Preparing for birth, and healing afterwards

Herbal Medicine can help in ensuring these goals are met.


Some of the common ailments women experience in pregnancy, which can be alleviated by herbal remedies, are:

  • Constipation
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Haemorrhoids and varicose veins


For some women birthing is quick, for others it’s a slow process. There is no right or wrong. Herbal remedies can help when a woman experiences:

  • Nausea
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Labour pains


Pregnancy and birth takes a toll on your body, and it is important not to put too much pressure on yourself to ‘get back to normal’. That said, you don’t need to suffer unnecessarily with aches and pains which can be soothed with simple, gentle treatment. Herbal remedies can help you during your postpartum period with:

  • Healing tears and wounds of the perineum
  • Aching muscles
  • Increasing and enhancing milk supply
  • Breast feeding issues like mastitis and cracked sore nipples
  • Supporting uterine health by relieving heavy flow and cramping
  • Supporting energy and mood

Herbal Remedies from a Doula

Since completing the Little Yarrow Herbal Medicine Apprenticeship I have developed a range of teas, soaks, meal and snack recipes which incorporate the remedies I learned about. These nourishing and healing recipes help my clients feel great and recover from the strain pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period puts on their bodies.

If you wish to use my services as a Postpartum Doula a range of food is included in the package. However, you can also purchase many of my products here. (link to shop page)

I prepare all my products, meals and snacks by hand in small batches.[1]


A Simple Recipe[2]

I would like to share with you a simple infusion recipe you can create yourself at home that will help boost your mood during both pregnancy and postpartum.

3tspn Lemon Balm

3tspn Passionflower

3tspn Chamomile

Brew as a strong tea, leaving for 15 minutes in hot water. Strain before drinking.

Whether you feel you would like to include the support of a Doula in your pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience, or you would just like to experience the benefits of some of my herbal remedies, I would love to chat. Please give me a call on 0422 258 771 or contact me here.

[1] I have a NSW Government Food Authority Food Safety First Certificate for food preparation.

[2] Whilst all these herbs are safe for use in pregnancy, it is always a good idea to check with your health care professional when trying something new.

 10 Things They Don't Tell You About Pregnancy

Talking to people about pregnancy can be pretty confusing at times. Some people will say you’ll love it, you’ll never feel better. Others will tell you horror stories of all the ailments they experienced. The truth is, every pregnancy is different, and ever woman will have her own experiences. What I believe is important is to be informed, so you know what you might experience. So here are a few of the lesser-known, and entirely normal, symptoms – both good and bad – you might experience during your pregnancy, why they happen, and what you might be able to do to lessen their impact.

  1. Hair – If you’re normally frustrated by thin or wispy hair, pregnancy could be the answer to your woes. The increase in estrogen prolongs the hair growth phase and means lots of women suddenly find their hair thick and luxurious during pregnancy. Some even notice a change in colour. Sadly, the downside is that it’s sometimes not only the hair on your head that becomes thicker and glossier. Your bikini line, your nipples, and even your tummy might start to sport a bit of extra fuzz. Plucking, waxing or shaving based on your preference will take care of this.
  2. Skin – Some women find they break out during pregnancy. Others find their occasional breakouts clear completely and their complexion is the best it’s ever been. It’s the luck of the draw. Some women also find their skin itches. On your belly it can be related to all the stretching that skin is doing. Anywhere else, and it is probably caused by the increase in estrogen. If you experience itching, aim for cool showers, move to low-allergenic, low-perfume products and moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. If the itching is intense tell your doctor as it could indicate cholestasis, which relates to bile production, and will require treatment.
  3. Smell – the increase in estrogen can also affect your sense of smell. Scents you previously enjoyed – like fresh brewed coffee – can suddenly make you nauseous. Some women find chewing gum or sucking on eucalyptus drops helps with this. And of course avoiding the local fish shop. That can be a big one.
  4. Sex – Lots of women report an increased sex drive during pregnancy. This is due to the increase in estrogen and progesterone in your body, along with increased blood flow to the genitals, making you more sensitive. Conversely, some women report a complete lack of interest. So you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best! And you should probably warn your partner that it might wax a wane. The second trimester will usually be the sweet spot, so to speak.
  5. All-Day Sickness – For many women, morning sickness is a misnomer. It can last all day, or only come on in the evening, or you might never experience a moment of illness at all. And it doesn’t always clear up in the first trimester. You may find yourself nauseous through the entire pregnancy. If you do suffer any sort of nausea during pregnancy, carry dry crackers or breadsticks with you at all times. These will soak up any acids in your stomach and should help. Some women find ginger helps, in the form of ginger ale or biscuits, in your meals, or even crystalised. Try different forms and see what, if anything, works best for you. If you can’t find any relief you may have Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and your midwife will be able to give you advice on the best form of treatment to ensure you don’t become dehydrated.
  6. Bigfoot – Yes, you read that right. The size of your feet will increase. This is not only due to the swelling caused by increased weight and extra blood, but by the hormone Relaxin, which loosens your ligaments to allow your pelvis to open up for birthing. And you may find your feet never quite go back to their original size. All that said, if your feet are very puffy, talk to your midwife or healthcare provider as this can be an early sign of pre-eclampsia. And do yourself a favour. Pick up some slightly larger slip-on shoes early on. By the time you hit six months you might find you struggle to do up buckles or laces.
  7. Nipples – Much like your feet, your nipples will grow during pregnancy. Not only in diameter, but they will darken and swell, so they stand out more. This is caused by an increase in Progesterone. As you hit the third trimester they may also start to leak colostrum in preparation for feeding your baby. Usually this will only happen after a hot shower, or when they are stimulated, but it can happen any time. If you experience this, pick up some nursing pads. You can get disposable or reusable pads, it all depends on which you prefer.
  8. Gas – During pregnancy your body produces Progesterone, which acts as a relaxant on your muscles. But it doesn’t discriminate and only relax those muscles needed for birth. It relaxes them all. This has the effect of slowing down your digestion. And when food sits in your stomach longer gas is created. Whether it comes out upstairs, downstairs, or both, take note of what you eat that seems to make it worse, drink plenty of water and get plenty of fibre to help keep you regular.
  9. Baby Brain – It’s a real thing. As your pregnancy progresses you may find you are struggling to concentrate on anything else. This is nature’s way of focussing your attention and energy on the most important thing you will ever do – bringing new life into the world, and is caused by changes in your hormones. There’s not a lot you can do about it other than try to get plenty of sleep, reduce stress and wait it out.
  10. Belly – Finally, here’s one for the end of the pregnancy. Many women are surprised by the size of their tummy immediately after birth. As a rule of thumb, you can expect your belly to reduce to about the size it was at around 7 months. But it won’t be hard. It will be squishy. Bear in mind, your muscles have been put under an enormous strain, so cut them, and yourself, some slack, and give them time to heal before you start stressing about your baby belly. A doula can give you some tips on exercises that will help your tummy shrink back to pretty much as it was pre-pregnancy.

If you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, and would like a doula as part of your pregnancy, birth and postpartum team, I would love to have a chat. Give me a call on 0422 258 771 or contact me here.

Pregnancy Loss & Stillbirth

Warning – this article deals with emotionally devastating issues. If you have lost a pregnancy, or experienced stillbirth and are struggling with your feelings, there is support available: 

Or contact your GP

Becoming a family with your partner should be a time of joy. But for many women, the journey through pregnancy is cut short by loss, or ends in the heartbreak of stillbirth or neonatal death. And yet these things are rarely talked about. Society seems to think if we don’t talk about them those who have suffered the experience will be able to heal and move on, when in fact the reverse is true. If you experience pregnancy loss or stillbirth, it’s important to acknowledge your loss, and to grieve, just as you would at the loss of any loved one.

It Happens More Than You Might Think

In Australia, up to 1 in 5 known pregnancies result in miscarriage, and many women miscarry before they are even aware they are pregnant, 1 in every 135 pregnancies that reach 20 weeks ends in a stillbirth.

Clarifying the Medical Terms

Until it is happening to us, or someone we know, we are often unaware of the meaning of some of the clinical terms used by the medical profession around miscarriage and stillbirth. These are some of the terms your medical team may use when discussing your loss:

Miscarriage – loss of pregnancy prior to 20 weeks gestation, usually in the first trimester.

Stillbirth – Death of unborn baby after 20 weeks of gestation, usually in utero, but sometimes during birth.

Ectopic Pregnancy – where the fertilised egg implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube.

Molar Pregnancy – where the fertilised egg does not develop into a baby, but rather a cluster of cells.

Blighted Ovum – where a sac and placenta develop, but a baby does not.

Neonatal Death – a baby who dies within 28 days of birth.

Wondering Why

One of the hardest things to deal with when experiencing this loss is the lack of explanation as to why. It’s human nature to search for reasons, and when there is no medical explanation it can make it more difficult to process your grief, and accept your loss.

At times like this, understanding and support are vital in getting you through, but friends and family are also grieving, and are not always in the best place to give you the support you need. A professional with the appropriate training and experience can be invaluable, not just to you and your partner, but to your wider support circle.

Finding the Support You Need

While you are experiencing pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or neonatal loss your medical team will do all they can to assist you in a physical sense. But the emotional and psychological trauma you are experiencing will take more time and is often harder to heal.

Having a support team around you is vital. Not only for you as the mum, but for your partner, who will be trying to support you whilst at that same time dealing with their own grief and loss. In addition to your family and friends, there are professionals out there who can help.


A doula is trained to provide comfort, and there are likely few times in life when you will need comfort more. Not only can they provide the physical comforts like food specially prepared to heal your body, and the practical comforts of someone to take care of light household duties for you, but they can offer a compassionate and understanding shoulder. This support can provide you with the time and space you need to come to terms with your loss.


Having a counsellor who is trained in pregnancy loss and grief can provide you with a safe space in which to express your feelings. The will be able offer clarity in understanding the natural grief, anger, anxiety and panic you are likely to be feeling, and support you as you find a path towards acceptance.

Your Feelings

As with any grieving, you will go through a wide range of emotions after the loss of a baby. It is entirely normal to feel anger, disbelief, disconnection, numbness, anxiety, confusion, and overwhelming sadness.

It is not uncommon to find it difficult to sleep, eat or concentrate. Or you may find you want to sleep all the time.

Whatever you are feeling, the important thing is to take all the time to grieve and heal that you need. There is no time limit, and you may find your grief is not linear, but will rise and fall.

Whilst there is no requirement for a funeral when you miscarry, many women feel it helps to have some form of commemorative ceremony. This can provide a focal point for your grief, and allow your loved ones to feel they are helping in a practical sense. But this is entirely personal, and whatever you wish to do is the right thing for you.

If it helps, keep in mind is that most women who experience pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or neonatal loss go on to have a healthy baby. Your doctors will advise when you might be physically ready, but don’t be rushed. Only you can determine when you are emotionally ready to try again. In the meantime, take care of yourself and your partner in whatever way feels right for you.

If you feel you, or someone you love, would benefit from the support of a doula in navigating this difficult time, please give me a call on 0422 258 771, or contact me here.