About Me March 6, 2008
Hi! My name is Rosemary, I’m wife to Andrew, mother to Ethan Jason and our newest baby, Elijah.
After my own beautiful birth experiences, I was compelled to support other women on their own journey to motherhood. I knew I wanted to help the whole family birth their own way; without having someone tell them they couldn’t eat, or that they would have to have a c-section. After searching for an organization, I found out about Doulas of North America. I jumped on the opportunity to become a birth doula and childbirth educator! Every time I get a call from an expecting couple, I get so excited to help. I look forward to continuing my education and adding tools to my knowledge.
For more information on my services, or classes, click on the icons in the top right corner. I’ve also listed some really great birth stories starting with my own, then followed by some of my client’s amazing stories.
Safe Herbs For Pregnancy March 12, 2010
What’s safe & what’s not
So kids are back in school, everyone’s coughing and sneezing on each other ( not just the kids!), and the flu seems to be everywhere! What’s a pregnant woman to do? It’s hard to know what’s safe to take to either boost your immune system naturally or to fight off an illness that’s already there.
Unfortunately there’s not a lot of evidence based research done in America on the effectiveness and safety of herbal use. Instead there is a safety rating method that is used to determine what’s safe and what’s not.
Here is an example of how the safety rating method is used:
Using a couple stalks of rosemary to cook and flavor your chicken breast is not going to pose a risk to your healthy pregnancy, however if you were to use rosemary in medicinal amounts, it could be dangerous. The same goes for other common herbs like garlic, ginger, sage, and turmeric. All of these herbs could possible pose dangers in your pregnancy when used in large medicinal dosages, however is completely in average food consumption.1
Herbs to avoid during pregnancy
The following herbs are considered Likely UnSafe or Unsafe during pregnancy : 2
- Saw Palmetto – when used orally, has hormonal activity
- Goldenseal – when used orally, may cross the placenta
- Dong Quai – when used orally, due to uterine stimulant and relaxant effects
- Ephedra – when used orally
- Yohimbe – when used orally
- Pay D’ Arco– when used orally in large doses; medicinal
- Passion Flower – when used orally
- Black Cohosh – when used orally in pregnant women who are not at term
- Blue Cohosh – when used orally; uterine stimulant and can induce labor
- Roman Chamomile – when used orally in medicinal amounts
- Pennyroyal – when used orally or topically
This is a list of herbs that are regularly recommended by care providers:
So this is VERY important: NEVER SELF DOSE OR DIAGNOSE WITH ANY MEDICATION, INCLUDING HERBS.
Every woman is different, therefore every pregnancy is different, with its own specific needs. The best and safest way to use herbs is to talk about them with your midwife, holistic physician, herbalist, naturopathic, or homeopathic practitioner. If you are not under the care of one of these you can easily find one on the web. A regular physician is not likely to understand herbs because it is not part of western medicinal studies.
Also, educate yourself not only for your safety but to also ensure the best outcome for you and your baby. Be your own advocate! You should research not just the kind of herb, but also what part of herb is safe ( Stem, root, leaf, ect.) and the best and most effective way it can be used. This can be in a tea or tonic, or maybe capsule.
Safe herbs for pregnancy
The following herbs are rated Likely Safe or Possibly Safe for use during pregnancy:3
- Garlic- This supplement is great for fighting off infection.
- Ginger root – This is a useful herb to use if you have bad nausea and vomiting. It is most commonly used in tea or capsule.
- Oats & Oat Straw – This is a great herb that is rich in calcium and magnesium. It helps relieve anxiety, restlessness, and irritated skin. It can be found in bath mixtures, or topical ointments.
- Peppermint Leaf – This is a great way to reduce all those early pregnancy symptoms we sure could do without. It’s helpful in relieving nausea and flatulence.
- Raspberry Leaf – This herb is rich in iron. It’s many different reasons for use are to help tone the uterus, to increase milk production, help curb nausea, and to ease labor pains. Some studies have even reported that using this herb can reduce complications, leading to a reduction of intervention use during birth.4 You can find red raspberry leaf in many pregnancy teas may see pregnancy teas that are made from red raspberry leaf to help promote uterine health during pregnancy.
- Slippery Elm Bark – This is a very powerful herb and should be mixed in foods or smoothies. You should use this to help relieve nausea, vomiting, heartburn, reflux, and vaginal irritation not associated with a yeast infection.
Listed below are some herbs that have been classified as having insufficient reliable information available, however they are commonly recommended by care providers for pregnant women. As stated before, always be your own advocate and do extensive research.
- Chamomile (German) –This herb is used in so many ways from tea, oils, capsules, ect. It has high counts of calcium and magnesium and is commonly used to help aid sleeplessness. It also can be used to ease joint inflammation.
- Dandelion – This herb is used in many forms like Chamomile. It is rich in Vitamin A, calcium, and iron. The root and leaf of dandelion can help with a mild case of anemia and suits well when needing to nourish the liver.
- Evening Primrose – Can be used to maintain moodiness or other hormonal issues. Evening Primrose contains natural prostaglandins and this helps in softening and ripening the cervix.
- To find an alternative medicine doctor for your family click here.
- For a guide to herbal descriptions and their different uses click
Here is a list of books that can be ordered through your favorite bookstore:
- The Natural Pregnancy Book, by Aviva Jill Romm, Ina May Gaskin
- Herbs for a Healthy Pregnancy, by Penelopy Ody
- The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy, by Shonda Parker
1, 2, Natural Medicines Database http://www.naturaldatabase.com/
3 Women’s Health Series: Herbs of Special Interest to Women. J Am Pharm Assoc 40(2):234-242, 2000.
4 Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2001 Mar-Apr;46(2):51-9. PMID: 11370690
Much work is cited from books, speaking with midwives and internet research.
Childbirth class schedule and curriculum March 10, 2010
CHILDBIRTH CLASS SCHEDULE
** Call to set up 4 week classes**
They begin the 1st Sat. of each month
Series 1: Saturday morning
(4 spaces avail)
- Jan 8th 10:30-12:30 pm: Nutrition and exercise for a low risk pregnancy; goals for your birth.
- Jan. 15th 10:30-12:30 pm: Pregnancy anatomy and physiology; relaxation and visualization.
- Jan. 22nd 10:30-12:30 pm: Partners role in birth, hiring a Doula.
- Jan. 29th 10:30-1 pm: First and second stage of labor; please allow extra time for this class.
- Feb. 5th 10:30-12:30 pm: First stage review, plan your birth, explore different birth settings and protocol.
- Feb.12th 10:30-12:30 pm: Complications, intervention, and postpartum preparation.
- Feb.19th10:30-1 pm: First and second stage review; please allow extra time for this class.
- Feb. 26th 10:30-1 pm: The new family, breastfeeding, adjusting to change, newborn cues.
Series 2: Sunday morning
(4 spaces avail)
- Jan. 9th 10-12 pm: Nutrition and exercise for a low risk pregnancy; goals for your birth.
- Jan. 16th 10-12 pm: Pregnancy anatomy and physiology; relaxation and visualization.
- Jan. 23rd 10-12 pm: Partners role in birth, hiring a Doula.
- Jan. 30th 10-12:30 pm: First and second stage of labor; please allow extra time for this class.
- Feb. 6th 10-12 pm: First stage review, plan your birth, explore different birth settings and protocol.
- Feb.13th 10-12 pm: Complications, intervention, and postpartum preparation.
- Feb. 20th10-12:30 pm: First and second stage review; please allow extra time for this class.
- Feb. 27th 10-12:30 pm: The new family, breastfeeding, adjusting to change, newborn cues.
Series 3: Saturday afternoon condensed class
(4 spaces avail) ** This is a 4 week class**
- Jan 8th 2-4:30 pm: Nutrition and exercise for a low risk pregnancy; goals for your birth; Partner’s role.
- Jan. 15th 2-4:30 pm: Stages of Labor & comfort measures.
- Jan. 22nd 2-4:30 pm: Breastfeeding & stages of labor review.
- Jan. 29th 2-4:30 pm: Your amazing newborn, adjusting to change, & more breastfeeding.
Belly laughs! August 30, 2009
Everything to do with pregnancy isn’t serious, some things are really funny! This is also true about motherhood. Those little bundles of joy are so hilarious to watch grow up; from the things they say to the things they do. For some serious gut-busting laughs, check out this website; you’re in for a treat! http://www.organicmotherhoodwithcoolwhip.com/. Here’s a little preview:
Momolympics Tryouts Begin on Tuesday
You thought high school was bad? Were you shunned by the cheerleaders? Teased by the Pom Squad? Just wait. You don’t even know the meaning of the word humiliation yet. No matter how many boxes of edamame and organic lollipops you buy, the Organic Mommy Cult will never let you in.
What’s the deal with all the competitive mothering these days anyway? Isn’t being a mom hard enough? Why do mothers feel the need to push each other down in order to pump themselves up? And furthermore, why do moms feel the need to judge their own children based on how they compare to someone else’s?
The struggles of day-to-day motherhood are difficult enough. Just getting through the day without having to use the Wet Vac six times is an enormous accomplishment, when you have babies and toddlers in the house.
If we’re going to compete, let’s at least standardize it and make it a legitimate tournament. We’ll call it the Momolympics and we can give prizes that will be useful and validating of our all our mothering efforts like a membership to a swanky gym with free babysitting, a coupon book of fancy date nights, an indestructible DVD player, a live-in housekeeper, earplugs, and hemorrhoid cream.
So, if you wish to compete in the Momolympics in any of the following categories, please leave a message in the comment section below. Medals and prizes will be awarded on a per-event basis. And we regret to inform that bungee jumping while attempting to dose toddlers with Tylenol is no longer an official Momolympic Sport.
1. Tastiest organic meal made in under 30 minutes while holding a screaming infant and doing spin art with a toddler.
2. Fastest time at removing a single pea from inside a toddler’s nose.
3. Highest number of relatives called on the phone while simultaneously folding laundry and breastfeeding an infant.
4. Most emergencies solved by using only the contents of one’s purse and/or diaper bag (potential emergencies may include diarrhea blowouts, cuts and scrapes, hunger in between meals, loss of blankie and/or favorite toy, grape juice explosions, etc.)
5. Largest number of coherent emails sent in under 10 minutes while keeping two toddlers and an infant entertained without using ropes, hypnotism, straightjackets, Benadryl, and/or TV sedation.
6. Most beds made successfully with hospital corners within 10 minutes while a team of wild toddlers plays tug of war with your sheets.
7. Greatest number of seated toddlers entertained during a three-hour airplane flight using only a plastic cup, a bobby pin, and an In-Flight magazine. Immediate disqualification occurs if toddlers remove their seatbelts, stray from the seated position, and/or speak the words “Are we there yet?”
8. Highest number of wholesome (and edible) snacks carried in a single diaper bag or purse. Additional points received for large amounts of fiber, superfoods, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Points lost for sugar, trans fats, and salt.
9. Most number of times to successfully do the Chicken Dance while playing Candyland and reciting The Cat in the Hat from memory in under 10 minutes.
10. Most creative Lego tower built with a five-year-old companion in under 5 minutes, while a gang of crazed one-and-a-half-year-olds tries to thwart your every move.
11. Tastiest homemade, organic fruit juice Popsicle made with the help of your own children and seventeen of their closest friends.
12. Fastest time buckling six unhappy and tantruming two-year-olds into five-point harness car seats, while smiling and singing “When You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands.”
Now that’s what I like to call Laugh Out LOUD funny!!!
Maternity Health Care Reform! August 20, 2009
Look How Far We’ve Come!
Thank you all for your support! I’m pleased to recognize the leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for passing a comprehensive health care reform bill; America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200). This bill takes a big step toward widening access to evidence-based maternity care that is safer and more effective than the prevailing style of care pregnant women experience in the U.S.
In particular, the bill will:
- Prohibit the use of pregnancy as a pre-existing condition by health insurance providers;
- Widens access to certified nurse-midwives by eliminating inequities in how they are reimbursed under Madicare;
- Measure and report publicly the performance of maternity care facilities and providers and use results to improve care;
- Pay for home visits by nurses for families during or after pregnancy by Medicaid;
- Expand access to primary maternity care by improving Medicaid coverage of freestanding birth centers;
- Provide incentives to maternity care providers under Medicaid to provide care to underserved women and their families.
This legislation goes a long way toward acheving our eight steps to reform maternity care. It also expands access to primary maternity care that supports a woman’s innate capacity for birthing, breastfeeding and attachment, and avoids overuse of medical services and gives priority to prevention and wellness.
Continue to call your senators to gain support and together we can change maternity care in America.
Information sited from Childbirth Connection on 8/19/2009
References & Documents February 25, 2009
On this page, I’ve listed great informative books, support groups, and services that I think are just perfect for an expecting family. I hope this will help you navigate your way through the overwhelming information out there.
I’ve also listed important documents that are related to the childbirth classes and doula services I provide. Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find these. Here you can find the registration forms, childbirth questionnaire, HIPPA form, doula contract, and others. You can print them off directly from the site, or copy and paste them in whatever format you prefer.
This book is written by a seasoned midwife who payed a huge role in the natural birth movement in America. Reading “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” is like cracking an ancient code etched in many women’s DNA. As Ina May’s words unfold, they bring to modern consciousness information that is essential and visionary, articulating and applying the ancient wisdom of childbirth in the language and culture of the present time. In this information age, this book is creating a “new” birth culture. Like “Spiritual Midwifery” in its time, “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” is a pioneer and an instant classic, a significant and inspiring milestone in the evolution of human culture. This book is intelligent and lovely.
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way is a wonderful resource on the Bradley Method. Author, Susan McCutcheon introduces you to the Bradley Method, explains how it differs other birthing methods, like Lamaze, discusses ways to choose your childbirth educator and your doctor/ midwife, explains the extreme importance of nutrition and how to prepare yourself for this life transforming experience.
Along with the general information she provides in helping you to prepare, Susan thoroughly walks you through the Bradley Method. Through exercise, illustration, nutrition, and practice, McCutcheon completely covers how you should prepare and deal with both First and Second Stage of Childbirth. Finally, she closes the book with a discussion of various childbirth controversies – episiotomies, cesarean sections and home birth.
Mothers-to-be, this book will empower you with stories of birthing women all over the world and all through history. It takes you through fun, artistic ways to open your creative doors; preparing not just your left brain, but also your fantastic feminine right brain for the big event!
Because of the lack of breastfeeding info in many hospitals and doctors’ offices, and the lack of baby-knowledge in general in our culture, it is such a relief to just get answers. This book is divided into three sections – the first is a primer on breastfeeding – benifits, proper positioning, good and bad “advice” and how to deal with it, and the tactics used by formula companies to undermine breastfeeding. The second section deals with common problems and solutions, and the third deals with special situations like introducing solids, weaning, nursing toddlers, sleep, seperation, and troubleshooting.
Check out his very helpful website for great videos of live breastfeeding! www.drjacknewman.com
The Le Leche League of America is a great way to meet other moms choosing to breastfeed their babies. Go to a meeting in your area while you’re pregnant and get to know the leaders and other mothers. They can become very helpful should you run into difficulty during your first few days of nursing your new baby.
Click here to find a group close to you.
For all kinds of information pertaining to well woman’s health, American Pregnancy Association has got you covered. There you will find
information about pregnancy, birth, and adoption just to name a few. Click here to be directed to the website.
Do you keep saying, “My back hurts!”,? Maybe you should go see a pre-natal chiropractor! I have had great experience with Dr. Ruth Durkee. She is gentle, no jerking motions. Ruth took the time to massage my back, shoulders, and neck to relieve any tension she felt in my body. This is her information, give her a try; you won’t be disappointed! Dr. Ruth Durkee Dallas,TX 214.969.9330 or visit the on the web
When I has my second son, Jason, I decided with my husband that it was time to check out cloth diapers. Once we did some research we learned how much waste is created from disposable diapers. It was astonishing! No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be
gone. We chose the best system of cloth diapers out there in my opinion.
check out these bumGenius diapers. You will be so surprised at how easy it is to treat Mother Earth well!
1. What is your age? General health status?
2. Do you exercise regularly? What kind of activity? How often?
3. Are you having any discomfort sleeping, or in general?
4. What are your expectations of your birth experience?
5. What are some of your fears or concerns about your birth?
6. How does your partner feel about attending an 8 week birth class?
7. What do you hope to achieve through attending this class?
8. How do you feel about your care provider?
9. How has he/she inspired confidence in you and your partner?
10. What do you know about breastfeeding?
11. What are your plans for pain management?
12. What are you views of labor induction?
13. What are your views of fetal monitoring?
Breastfeeding-Starting Out Right February 24, 2009
painting by Liz Smith
I commend you for wanting to breastfeed your baby! You have probably heard that breastfeeding is healthier for your baby and even you. This is true, in so many ways you can’t even imagine, and with some effort (more or less) you can succeed! But it can be challenging at times, and this is where it helps to have support (yes, this is from my own experience – having suffered from mastitis and latch problems among other things). But I was able to work through my problems and continue to breastfeed which I am extremely thankful for now.
Breastfeeding is a learned art. It used to be that mothers and other women in the community passed advise along to their daughters, but nowadays many of our mothers did not breastfeed, and in worst case they are negative about breastfeeding. For others, they have no family and are on their own. There are lactation consultants, but many new mothers do not have the means or resources to hire one. Most hospitals offer breastfeeding education and advice. Lactation consultants visit new mothers and help them get off to the right start. On the contrary, some of these hospitals insist on feeding the infants sugar water and pacifiers, and keep them in the nursery which does not help the new mother get off to the right start! Every hospital in the state of TX gives this new mother a “gift bag” filled with formula marketing devices. These formula companies even give out pens and badge clips to the post-partum nurses so they can get free advertising from them. So what do you do?
To start, begin surrounding yourself with other moms who breastfeed. If you don’t have friends who do (although breastfeeding is becoming increasingly more common), join a La Leche League group. They have classes which offer support and information for breastfeeding moms. I would also recommend considering a birth center- or even home birth. If you have a midwife, she would be knowledgeable in breastfeeding and able to give advise. A gentle and positive birth sets the stage for a good start in breastfeeding. Babies who are born naturally are more alert and ready to breastfeed. Moms who have had medications often report that their babies are drowsy as a direct effect of the drugs and are not as interested in breastfeeding. Their sucking ability is reduced. In fact, American Acadmey of Pediatrics says that babies that are birthed naturally have 35% better chance to successfully breastfeed within the first 3 hours.
Nurse your baby soon after the birth. Here is a link to the amazing unassisted breast crawl video. Babies are more responsive the first hour, so take advantage of that.
If you give birth in a hospital, have your baby with you at all times. There is no reason for a healthy baby to be in the hospital nursery, but by your side. Do not supplement with sugar water or pacifiers. Your baby needs colostrum those first few days of life to build up healthy bacteria in the intestines. Colostrum is also rich with antibodies, vitamin K, B-vitamins, and has a slight laxative effect which helps get rid of the meconium in the babies bowels. If your baby is taking sugar water, he or she will be satisfied and not as interested in eating more. Water should not be given to breastfeeding infants as it will cause an electrolyte imbalance.
If an infant is supplemented with bottles regularly, he/she will likely develop nipple confusion. Sucking from a bottle is much different than sucking from the breast. If given a bottle, the baby will eventually forget how to suckle the breast, and get frustrated because it takes longer for the milk to start flowing. Contrary to what many believe, nipple confusion can also happen to older babies probably up to about 8 months or so.
Nurse every time the baby is hungry. Studies have shown that feeding on a schedule decreases breastfeeding success rates. It is my belief that babies need the extra suckling for comfort, and mothers need it also to keep an ample milk supply. Don’t overuse pacifiers. Put the baby to the breast instead. This extra suckling is what builds the milk supply, it’s sort of like putting in an order. When babies go through growth spurts they need to be at the breast more often to increase the supply of milk. Mothers often complain about not having enough milk, and I think this could be solved by having the baby at breast more often, co-sleeping, and of course making sure the mother has enough to drink and nutritious food. (Although mothers who have less than perfect nutrition have good milk also.) Just be patient and let you milk catch up to your baby’s new demands.
At night it is a good idea to have your baby next to you. Mothers who nurse often wake up a few minutes before baby begins to whimper, it’s like a 6th sense. Mothers and babies are very much connected. Mothers who have their babies in bed with them get more sleep as they can doze while nursing, and the hormones created by breastfeeding help mom and baby sleep.
If you experience complications, such as a painful lump accompanied with a hot red blotch or streaks, chapped, cracked, or bleeding nipples, or anything that doesn’t feel normal please call your Doula, lactation consultant, or midwife immediately. Remember, breastfeeding should not hurt you. For a list of some local lactation consultants please just call me or you La Leche
leader. For information on safe medication for breastfeeding go to this reliable website. Moms, always check with your care provider before taking medication.
This is a very special time and it only lasts of a tiny portion of your little ones life. Enjoy the closeness you will share with each other. As you gaze in each others eyes just remember how lucky you are that you have the ability to breastfeed at all!