birth preparation

Get Snacking: Labour Snacks for the Birthing Person

Labour Snacks

Whether you're a snacker or not, eating during labour is mostly done in the form of snacking (it's difficult to eat a full meal while labouring)! To make snack prep easier, we thought we'd give you a list of great snacks for labour:

  • cut up fruit - we love bananas, apples, watermelon, and cold berries, stay away from citrus as it doesn't feel good coming back up (throwing up during labour is common)
  • cut up veggies - we love carrots and cucumbers
  • nuts and seeds - watch our for allergies
  • dried fruit (unsweetened)
  • popsicles - we love natural fruit juice popsicles and tea pops 
  • miso soup - fantastic umami snack! 
  • broth - veggie or meat, make sure it's clear (i.e. doesn't have chunks)
  • protein balls (see recipe below)
  • crackers, pita, naan, toast - you can have some dahl with it too! 
  • smoothie - dairy free

Recipe for Protein Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop chocolate/vanilla protein powder 
  • 1/3 cup of nut butter 
  • 1/3 cup of shredded coconut (unsweetened) or more as needed
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • add ins (depending on consistency): 2 tbsp ground flax sees/chia seeds, 2 tsp maca powder, etc.

Directions

In a food processor/blender mix protein powder, nut butter, and coconut until they are mixed well.

Add maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt. Pulse until combined - if the consistency is too runny/moist add some add-ins.

Rolls into balls - if they're still a little sticky you can roll them in shredded coconut, cocoa powder, crushed nuts, etc.

 

These are nutritious and delicious snacks for labour, but if all you can hold down is a bar of Snickers and fries have those instead ;) 

xo,

The Spectrum Team

Thinking about hiring a doula? Here are some things to know - part 1

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"Having a person who unconditionally nurtures you during a major life experience is a privilege too few enjoy. Doulas provide this exquisite nonjudgemental support to others - often strangers - and touch people's lives in profound ways."                                                                 - Loretta Ross, The Doulas Radical Care for Pregnant People

You may have heard the word doula before - perhaps in a pregnancy, birth, and postpartum context; perhaps in a reproductive justice context. Or maybe you've never heard it before. 

A doula is a person (often woman-identified, but not always) who helps people during their perinatal journey - most often during their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum (but, again, not always). Depending on where are you during your perinatal journey doulas are an investment - both financially and emotionally (your doula may be with you between 4 to 100+ hours, holding space for you, and guiding you through vulnerable and emotional times). Below we touch on some questing to consider before deciding on a doula. 

1) What do you want a doula for?

While most doulas attend only births and/or offer postpartum support, fulls spectrum doulas are slowly emerging. Perhaps full spectrum doulas have always existed, but doula work began moving past only birth/postpartum support more significantly in 2008 when the Doula Project in NYC began training volunteer abortion doulas. 

Today, full spectrum care encompasses even more - doulas offer fertility, miscarriage, abortion, birth, postpartum, adoption, and surrogacy support. You can absolutely get a doula for any or all of these life's events - if you'd like to learn more about it, drop us a line. All of us at Spectrum Doula Collective are full spectrum doulas. 

2) What's the difference between midwives and doulas?

We get asked this question a lot. A midwife is a healthcare practitioner who studied midwifery in a university and a clinical setting. In Ontario, midwives are regulated by the College of Midwives of Ontario (CMO) and they are paid for by government under the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, meaning that residents of Ontario not covered by OHIP can still receive midwifery care for free. 

A doula is not a healthcare practitioner and as such does not do any clinical duties. A doula is trained by a doula organisation (although there are those who had been nurses or midwives and now solely practicing as doulas without specific training). Doulas not currently a regulated profession and are paid for out of pocket although some private insurances are starting to cover doula care (see below). 

While midwives are concerned with the health of you and the baby, doulas are concerned with your mental, physical, emotional, and sometimes spiritual well being. Doulas hold space for you and provide you with support, caring, and encouragement. 

3) What about certification?

Some doulas are certified, some doulas are not. There are many certifying organisations for doulas with different prerequisites. Most of them have a course section and a practical section. Some prospective doulas take only the course section and start practicing, some doulas do the practical as well but don't certify, some doulas do both and certify and some don't do either. 

There is no regulatory body for doulas. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if certification is important to you. 

4) Can your insurance cover it?

Sometimes. Some people can claim doula care under their health spending account with "flex dollars" built in; however, some insurance companies require that the doulas are certified through specific organisations (usually either DONA* or CAPPA). Some doulas are also RMTs or Naturopaths and may be covered through those designations (though this limits your choice of doula). 

*our doulas DONA-certified 

5) What about your partner(s)? (if applicable)

If you currently have a partner (or more) they (or you) may wonder if their role may change when hiring a doula. The short answer is yes. 

The longer answer answer is that your partner(s) role is amplified. Doulas provide partners with both the skills and confidence to support you. Doulas work with partners during all stages of your perinatal journey. 

 

We hope you found this useful - stay tuned for our part 2! If you have any questions, drop us a line

Love, 

The Spectrum Team

Winter Walking: 4 options to walk in Toronto

winter_walking

Movement is so important for promoting health and wellness in pregnancy and yet busy lives means that many of us have difficulty meeting our exercise goals. Thankfully there are many movements that can be incorporated into our daily lives. Such as walking!

Walking is often overlooked as a form of physical activity. It strengthens your legs, back and pelvis and improves your alignment and flexibility. These can help relieve prenatal aches and discomfort and prepare your body. It’s great during labour too!  A 2013 Cochrane Review showed that upright positions, such as walking, lead to greater comfort for the birthing person and a shorter length of the first stage of labour.

Walking for thirty to sixty minutes each day or several times a week is great option for meeting movement goals. As it gets colder and the days shorter, we often tend to become less active and its harder to find the time or space for movement. Luckily, there are many options for walking within the city even on the coldest days:

1. Art Gallery of Ontario

It’s easy to walk for an hour or more while enjoying exhibits from classics to contemporary canadian art. There are four levels all accessible by elevator, but if you’re looking to increase your activity use the winding ramp to move through the gallery.

Every Wednesday from 6-9 pm the AGO collection galleries are free for the public!

2. Allan Gardens Conservatory

One of our favourite winter activities is visiting Allan Gardens, a greenhouse conservatory in Cabbagetown. It is a perfect way to escape the cold, grey winter days into the warm, tropical plant gardens.

Every December, the conservatory hosts their Christmas Flower Show with hundreds of flowers and holiday plant displays. On weekend evenings the conservatory can be enjoyed by candlelight.

3. Holiday Markets and Pop Up Shops

All throughout December, there are holiday markets and pop shops that let you shop while being active. These markets are great for finding unique gifts and crafts, many of which are made locally, and your favourite holiday drinks and treats!

A full list of holiday markets is available here

4. Brave the Cold

We can understand why so many chose to stay indoors during these winter months, but bundling up and heading outdoors has its benefits. We love the freshness in winter air and the beauty of the sun shining through bare trees and grey skies.

Green spaces, such as High Park or Evergreen Brickworks, are great options for outdoor walks. On those cold days, we opt for routes where we can stop in shops and cafes along the way, such as the Distillery District, Queen Street West, or Roncesvalle Avenue.

** Walking is one activity that many can incorporate to their daily activities or holiday plans, however we acknowledge it and the above suggestions will not accessible for all. Of the ideas listed above, Allan Gardens and Art Gallery of Ontario are accessible for those requiring mobility assistance.  

Love, 

The Spectrum Doula Team

Get Snacking: Date love with Daits - delightful natural treats

Prenatal Snack Dates

As the seasons get cooler we thought we would share some treat ideas! Dates are both delicious and beneficial prenatally - in one of our previous blog post we offered delicious ways of eating 6 dates a day. Some of those recipes require more ingredients than others -  for those days when you don't have all the ingredients on hand or you'd like an extra special treat we are happy to present you: Daits!

Daits was founded by Reem Aljarbou - a busy mama of two. Reem grew up in Saudi Arabia, where dates are a traditional staple of daily life. After relocating to Canada, Reem was surprised to find that none of the varieties of dates she loved were available here and so she began ordering shipments of her two favourite types of dates (Sukkari and Khalas). She would eat these plain or fill them with delicious and high quality ingredients, like nuts or nut butters. 

Healthy Prenatal Nutrition

Reem began sharing her date treats with friends and coworkers and everyone loved them!  Daits was born our of Reem's desire to share her family traditions with the rest of Canada and to offer a naturally sweet treat full of health benefits. 

Daits is located inside the Saks Food Hall at the Eaton Centre Pusateri's. You can find a treat for everyone in your family at Daits: plain dates pressed in their own juices or stuffed with almonds; protein bars (made mainly with dates and few other high quality ingredients); salted caramel date bars; and of course stuffed dates with whimsical names such as seeds of love (dates stuffed with walnuts, drizzled with honey, and sprinkled with fennel and nigella seeds), first dait (dates stuffed with roasted almonds, coated in almond butter, and rolled in crispy feuilletine), and cloud 9 (dates piped with peanut butter). 

If you (or someone you love) are in the mood for a delicious (healthier) treat, give Daits a try! We try it every week...

Love, 

The Spectrum Doula Collective

 

Movement: Imprint Pilates

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“I believe that a strong and flexible body is the key to living a long and pain-free life, and I work in a compassionate way to make moving and understanding your physicality an inspiring and enjoyable life-long endeavour.”
– Anita Ivic, Imprint Pilates owner

If you live downtown Toronto you have probably seen a lot of movement based studios and gyms around - maybe you even have your favourites! If you live downtown Toronto and you're pregnant or recently postpartum though, you may not find appropriate classes or sessions at these same places. Some studios  and gyms suggest that you can join their regular classes and the instructor may give you modifications but as we mentioned in our last blog post, that may not always be appropriate. 

If you're looking for specific prenatal and postpartum classes (or private sessions) look no further than Imprint Pilates, located at 101 Spadina Avenue (near Spadina and King). 

Imprint Pilates is a holistic studio offering both private and group Pilates and yoga as well as physiotherapy, massage, fascial stretching therapy, and acupuncture. They work with a wide range of people: athletes, people with injuries; people who may want to become stronger and/or more flexible; and both pregnant and postpartum people. 

Pregnant and looking for a group class? Imprint Pilates offers weekly prenatal Pilates and yoga classes every Tuesday at 5:30pm. This class is great for relieving everyday pregnancy aches and pains as well as for preparing your body for labour. If you're looking for something gentler and more introspective, there are is a restorative class twice a week (Tuesdays at 8:30pm and Fridays at 6:45pm) suitable for pregnancy as well. 

If you're looking for a private or a semi-private session (bring a friend!), all Imprint instructors are well-trained and experienced in working with both prenatal and postpartum bodies. Both Pilates and yoga session are available (Corina, one of our doulas, teaches private and semi-private yoga at Imprint!). 

Beyond movement-based sessions, at Imprint Pilates you can also find registered massage therapists, physiotherapists, and acupuncturists who can focus on prenatal and postpartum concerns.

If you're pregnant or postpartum and live or work downtown give Imprint Pilates a try, you may really love it!

Love, 

The Spectrum Doula Team