They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but these days as the third trimester ticks on and my baby’s birth day creeps closer, you might catch me arguing a good doula is a pregnant girl’s best friend!
To be honest, I was totally in the dark about what a Doula was before becoming pregnant. I’d heard the word in passing, a sort of spiritual coach that gets you through big life moments like birth, but from what I could understand the whole concept was a bit too hippie for me. It was only when I started really paying attention to other women’s birth stories this year in anticipation of my own pregnancy, eager to hear what it’s really all about, the word kept coming up again and again. So many strong, smart women I respected in my community seemed to give birth with a doula by their side, and so I started to consider I might be into having one on my team too.
I shopped around online for a bit, but none of the websites or Instagram pages I came across really spoke my language – they were all a bit too woodsy or granola feeling, and though I absolutely respect that sort of thing, I know it isn’t the kind of vibe I respond to best. When my friends at Good Space (best yoga in the city FYI) sent me Birth Boss’ profile with the note “You NEED this Doula!” I knew she was the woman I had been waiting for. We almost immediately connected over DM and made a date to talk through if we might be a good match – a sort of two way interview. After many hours of excited chatting in a coffee shop, the rest very quickly became history!
So who is Rhiannon when it comes to my birth team, and what exactly does she do? While I’ve heard she’s SUPER amazing at leading and coaching partners on birthing day, in my case she’s sort of a full-on partner/support person stand in. She’s my main advocate, helping me figure out all of my preferences ahead of time and committed to enforcing them in the moment. She’s my number one cheer leader, director of any friends and family I chose to include, and soft touch expert (pressure and soft touch can really help with labour pains when done correctly!) There have already been so many moments in my pregnancy when I have felt endlessly thankful to have her on my side, and I seriously can’t recommend her enough if you need support with pretty much anything fertility, birth and postpartum related.
But enough from me, let’s hear from the Birth Boss herself:
We’ve also included a nourishing third trimester smoothie recipe too! Scroll down to the bottom for all of the details
What even IS a modern day doula? //
Basically, a doula is like a BFF / life coach / wise sage / maid of honour for all things birth & postpartum. They support and empower you to make the best choices for you and your family, and leave the medical side of things to the folks wearing scrubs. As a maternity care specialist, I’m a trained doula in all aspects of the journey to parenthood, starting from fertility all the way to the first year after baby.
Why do you need a midwife and a doula? //
While a midwife is your primary medical care provider, a doula provides support in a different way, supporting the birthing person emotionally, informationally (by providing answers to all your questions), and physically (by offering comfort measures in labour). I like to think of it as your midwife focusing on the waist down, whereas a doula focuses on the waist up in birth.
How can a Doula help if you’re a single parent? //
Every birthing person deserves to have someone who is entirely focused on you & your comfort in labour. A doula can provide comfort measures, talk you through the scary bits, and help you advocate for your preferences to your care providers. You’ll never be alone (unless you want to be).
How can a Doula help if you’re partnered? //
I love working with partners to help them feel involved in labour too! For example, a partner can physically support the birthing person by slow dancing/swaying together during a contraction, while the doula applies pressure to the birther’s hips from behind, allowing the pelvis to open for a smooth descent for baby.
Otherwise, it can be nice to have an extra hand on deck so that your partner can sleep, text updates to the fam, get a bite to eat, or go to the bathroom without worrying about leaving you alone. You’ll always have one person supporting you when it’s a team effort!
Do you think physical atmosphere affects birthing? Explain. //
Absolutely! When you’re uncomfortable or feeling afraid, your body reacts in a way that can definitely effect your birth. It’s called the fight or flight response, which causes all the blood to rush to your limbs so you can run away from the danger in your environment, actually causing the blood flow to stop going to your uterus, causing a slower and more painful birth. Science is crazy, right? So feeling safe & comfortable in your environment is pretty much essential to make sure your labour progresses in a positive way.
-What are some of your favourite things to bring to a birth day? What’s in your kit?! //
– Essential Oils
– Massage Oil
– Reflex balls (great to hold on to or apply pressure on the lower back)
– Rebozo (traditionally a Mexican shawl, used for many purposes, including carrying babies, as well as being used to help support women during the birthing process. Traditionally Midwives, Mothers and Doulas around the world use the Rebozo to wrap around the pregnant mother in a way that serves as a support to her during labour.)
– Snacks (for mama, partner, & me!)
– A fan (for when things get hot & heavy!)
– Water Bottle
– Face cloth (a cold cloth behind the neck or forehead feels amaaaazze)
If you had to use one word to describe birth, what would it be? //
Third Trimester Strength Smoothie Cubes
We developed this smoothie cube recipe with Birth Boss for the perfect boost of winter nourishment. The ingredients are tailored for birthing body wellness, but it’s safe and delicious for just about anyone, whether you’re just starting to think about fertility or caring for your newborn. We recommend making a bunch of these cubes early on in pregnancy to help get you through the exhausting days at the end where extra easy nourishment can make all the difference, and they’re great for the postpartum period too!
3 bananas – high in potassium + magnesium (helps with those third trimester leg cramps)
1 cup pitted dates (depending on how sweet you like it, chop and soak overnight If you don’t have a high power blender) – high in potassium, magnesium & fibre (prevents pregnancy constipation). Recent studies found that women who consumed dates showed a “reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and produced a more favourable delivery outcome” Source here.
¼ cup almond butter – high in healthy fats that help fetal growth, energy source
⅓ cup Vegan Protein powder – the protein requirement for pregnant people goes up as pregnancy advances, so protein powder is the easiest way to supplement! Plant-based protein powders avoid the bovine growth hormone found in some dairy-based powders that could affect fetal development.
2 teaspoon Moodbeli Bliss Booster or similar cacao / maca powder – a traditional Mexican fertility enhancer; adaptogenic (improves energy, hormone balancing)
Tablespoon milled chia, plus a tablespoon to sprinkle on top – omega-3 fatty acid (good for fetal development); protein (for labour energy!)
Water, just enough to get the mixture blending (1/4 cup)
Glass of Almond Mylk – 50% more calcium than regular milk, calcium stores needed for milk production
Blend everything until completely smooth, use a spoon to add mixture to an ice cube tray. We used a silicone one which makes getting the cubes out extra easy!
Hit the ice cube tray against the counter once or twice to remove air bubbles and freeze!
Enjoy 2-3 cubes blended with your choice of milk.
Recipe makes 12 to 15 cubes. Make sure you take them out of the ice cube tray within a couple days to prevent “freezer taste”. Store cubes in a Tupperware or freezer bags for up to 6 months.