Featured Posts

  • "Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded." -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

  • "He who enjoys good health is rich, though he knows it not." -Italian Proverb

  • "The only journey is the journey within."-Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How to Avoid Morning Sickness During Pregnancy

Many pregnant women experience morning sickness during their pregnancy. There are a few tricks to avoiding this unwanted phenomenon.

  1. Eat protein every two hoursDuring pregnancy a woman's protein requirements are higher. If she isn't getting enough, then she may feel nauseous. A spoonful of nut butter (almond, peanut, etc) is a great snack as well high in protein. Other protein sources include: dairy products, eggs, beans, quinoa, pumpkin seeds & meat sources. 
  2. Eat smaller meals throughout the day. This tip goes with #1. If you are eating every two hours, you may not feel like you need to have three big meals. Smaller meals throughout the day will balance your blood sugar. Many experts believe that low blood sugar can cause morning sickness. 
  3. Examine your multi-vitamin. Not all prenatal vitamins are made the same (or absorbed by your body in the same way either!).  The iron and calcium don't always come from natural sources and can cause morning sickness. Actually, many of the ingredients in your prenatal vitamin come from synthetic sources. I believe (and this is just my opinion, not medical advice!) that the best vitamins come from whole foods (folic acid from dark green leafy veggies, iron from food sources like spinach, dark red cherries, red beets, etc). There are companies that make whole food prenatal vitamins. Ask at your local health food store. 
    Natural Morning Sickness cure
  4. Make sure you are well hydrated. Sometimes morning sickness can be caused by dehydration. I know, it can be difficult to drink or eat anything if you feel lousy. But, the more dehydrated you become, the morning nauseous you may feel. The recommended amount of water you should be drinking is 1/2 your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 140 pounds, then you should be drinking 70 ounces of water per day. If you don't like water, consider adding lemon or drinking a diluted juice (100% fruit juice - no sugar). Additionally, coconut water is a completely natural "gatorade". It restores your electrolytes, as well as hydrates you. 
  5. Consider drinking ginger tea. Ginger is commonly known to decrease nausea. It's an amazing tool for women who still feel nauseous despite trying everything else. Just buy some fresh ginger from the store, put it in boiling water for 5-10 minutes and then drink. You can even add a bit of lemon and honey. 
  6. Try to get out and exercise. If you feel nauseous all the time, you may not want to get out and exercise. But, many women report that they feel much better during and after a walk or run. Fresh air may also help you too. 
Avoiding morning sickness

Monday, May 26, 2014

Birth Abuse is Real - A Call for Reform in the Hospital Setting

The amount of abuse that happens in the birth world is quite appalling. As a birth doula, I have witnessed comments from nurses and doctors that are quite unsettling. I have also reached out to my doula community and was even more shocked with what other doulas have experienced while supporting laboring women in the hospital. 

Here are some real comments made by OBs, nurses and other support people in the hospital setting:

"We are going to move you into the OR when it is time for you to push, this will make it easier on us when your uterus ruptures, so your baby won't die". - to a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) mom

I'd like to discuss some of the research about vaginal birth after cesarean and uterine rupture. 

In this study, they examined the risk of uterine rupture in women who had had a previous c-section. They found the risk for uterine rupture was 0.3% (based on 1,922 women).

Also, this study found that uterine rupture occurred in 1.3% of their patients going for a VBAC, and that "uterine rupture was associated with the use of epidural analgesia." 

If you average these two studies out, the risk of uterine rupture after a previous cesarean was 0.8%. Women are bullied every day into repeat cesareans by nurses, doctors, and even friends and family. This is not good evidence based medicine. As you can see from the above statement, this comment was unacceptable and wrong. 

In my experience, many doctors and nurses act like a cesarean is much safer for the mother and baby than a vaginal delivery. I have even experienced a doctor laugh about the possible side-effects listed on the consent form to a woman prior to a cesarean, expressing that they rarely happen (and then the most severe complication actually happened to this person). C-sections do have their own risks. 

This study concluded that delivery via C-section was related to a longer length of hospital stay in late pre-term babies.Thisstudy concluded that cesarean delivery "increased the chances of unfavorable neonatal outcomes."

Cesareans also have other risks, including: increased risk of bleeding, longer healing time compared to a vaginal birth, breathing problems in babies, increased risk of injury to your bowel or bladder, wound infection and more. 

"At my very first birth as a doula, the mom was shaking while in transition (no epidural) and the monitor kept slipping. the nurse came in and very rudely kept repeating "STOP SHAKING" to the mom, who obviously couldn't help it."

A nurse who works with birth every day should know that involuntary/uncontrollable shaking is a totally normal part of labor. If you have ever seen or experienced this shaking, you know that it cannot be controlled or stopped. Additionally, transition is a time during which women feel very sensitive to suggestions or comments. I'd like to propose that these kinds of people should not be working with women who are in such an intimate and vulnerable experience.

"To a mom in the NICU with her 1 day old: you better not make him work too much to eat (mom wanted to breastfeed), Formula will be much better because then the baby won't get too tired while eating."

There are so many studies out there that conclude that premature babies should only be fed breast milk, be it from the breast or a cup (if the breast isn't available). There are so many things wrong with the comment above. First, formula should be a last resort to a premature baby. Mom's breast milk is the best, and if that's not available, then the preterm baby should eat donated breast milk from a milk bank, if available. The International Breastfeeding Center states the following:

Work in NICU’s friendly to breastfeeding, especially in Sweden, have shown that babies can start taking the breast even by 28 weeks gestation and many are able to latch on and drink milk from the breast by 30 weeks gestation. Indeed, some babies have gotten to full breastfeeding by 32 weeks gestation. This means breastfeeding, not receiving breast milk in a bottle or tube in the stomach. With Kangaroo Mother Care and early access to the breast, it can be done elsewhere as well. 
This study also shows that the use of exclusive breast milk (no formula) to extremely preterm infants in the NICU is the best.  

"I overheard an OB say, "You are not really in labor, We need to start pitocin or you never will be" to a mom who was 4cms and was in the middle of a contraction"

Do you know that stress and fear contribute to "failure to progress" in labor? When an animal goes into labor, they find a quiet and private space to birth their babies. If they feel threatened or disturbed, they begin releasing stress hormone, and it shuts down their labor until they find an undisturbed space. The same goes for women in labor - if they do not feel safe or protected, they begin to release stress hormones and labor will slow down or stop. Think about the hospital environment for one moment - the woman is meeting nurses and possibly the doctor for the first time, people are coming in and out of her room, support personnel are talking to her during her contractions, she is strapped to a fetal monitor and sometimes forced to lie in a position that is excruciatingly painful for her... this scenario often leaves the woman feeling the opposite of safe or protected. 

It's quite shocking that so many people deny this emotional and hormonal aspect of childbirth. Every doctor knows that when stress hormones are released during any other time, the body is in fight-or-flight mode and many other functions (like digestion) shut down until the person feels safe and at ease again. How is childbirth any different?

"Your baby doesn't know how to nurse. You have to teach him (as the nurse forcefully put the baby on the breast, and opened its mouth with her finger)."

This isn't necessarily abuse, but it is ignorance at its finest. Many babies are born as nursing machines! They immediately latch on and know exactly what to do. Every baby, including animal babies, has the innate instinct of how to feed themselves. Breastfeeding can be difficult if you don't have the right latch (which usually takes only a couple of adjustments), but babies certainly know how to do it.

As a side note, babies who were born to mothers with an epidural may be slower to feed, or have more problems nursing (although not always the case). This study found that "intrapartum analgesia was associated with partial breastfeeding and breastfeeding difficulties in the first postpartum week." 

Scare Tactics During Childbirth

Some situations are real emergencies. I get that. But many doctors use scare tactics in situations where they aren't warranted (which causes the release of stress hormones in laboring women, and we all know what happens next). This can lead to depression and post-traumatic-stress-disorder in women who had a less than ideal birth situation. If it was a true medical emergency, the woman is already feeling scared and traumatized - it's not necessary to throw the "your baby is going to die" card in her face. Here are some real examples of what doulas and mothers have experienced:

"The OB called for a c-section, and mom asked for monitors to be repositioned as she could still feel baby moving vigorously inside her. The ob nearly bellowed, "By all means, argue with me while your baby dies!" This was after the mom had already been bullied into every intervention, and it seemed clear the OB wanted to give the mom a c-section from the beginning."

"Had an OB point his finger in a mom's face while was screaming at him to shut up during contractions, he growled at her that she was in "his house" and he would talk to her when HE wanted and he wasn't on her schedule. It was one of my first births and I spoke out of turn, tried to quietly say "Dr I think she's in a lot of pain right now, if you can just wait until the break between contractions..." never got any further because he turned and pushed his finger in MY face and told ME to shut up because I didn't know anything and didn't need to be there. I was then asked to leave for almost 2 hours while the epidural was placed (it didn't take 2h, OB was being punitive)."

I'm wondering if doctors like this actually like delivering babies. Doctors can be tired, but honestly? 

"My OB told me that I was putting my baby at risk by hiring a doula to support me throughout labor. Needless to say, I switched providers (even though I was late in my pregnancy) and had a great birth experience." 

Research clearly shows that having a doula as a member of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of the labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40% and requests for an epidural by 60%.*

Additionally, in the article Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Deliverythe American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynocologists states that: 

Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula. A Cochrane meta-analysis of 12 trials and more than 15,000 women demonstrated that the presence of continuous one-on-one support during labor and delivery was associated with improved patient satisfaction and a statistically significant reduction in the rate of cesarean delivery (**). Given that there are no associated measurable harms, this resource is probably underutilized.
"I saw an OB threaten to call the cops & have the mom "baker acted" if she wouldn't be induced (baby looked perfectly fine on the monitors)."

Do you remember what I said about stress hormones above? Talk about a labor stalled because of of an abusive doctor...

For those who don't know what the Baker Act is, this explains it: 

The Baker Act allows for a person to be picked up and transported to a crisis stabilization unit for an involuntary psychiatric examination. It is based on the behavioral criteria that the person may be harmful to himself or others. If the person meets these criteria, the judge signs the Emergency Admission Order prepared by the Clerk.
"According to the ultrasound, your baby is big and you will probably need a C-section"

This baby ended up weighing just over 7 pounds at birth. I have heard this countless times, and in my experience, the estimation is often inaccurate. This study concluded that "all ultrasound estimated fetal weight formulae would either over or under estimate the fetal weight." 


The following are crazy comments made by medical professionals. I don't think they need much explanation.

"A nurse to my client (who was being cared for by social services) after having baby #3 said that maybe she should keep her "legs crossed or get the tubes tied"!!! I could have strangled this woman for making her feel bad about her situation! She had no idea about her history, or the hardships she had been through!"

"While walking the halls with a VBAC client, there was a very loud conversation at the nurse's station making fun of a woman's birth plan. Particularly her request for immediate skin-to-skin in the event of a cesarean. It angered and shocked both my client and I."

Come on... we all know the benefits of skin-to-skin. If you don't, read here. This article also points out the importance of skin-to-skin following a cesarean. 

"As a doctor yanked the placenta out before it had separated, my client was screaming in pain. He said in a sarcastic voice, "Get a grip.""

"As on the on call doctor was sewing me up from a repeat c-section (my doctor wouldn't give me vbac options), she said, "yup you weren't pushing that one out.""

Doctor to doula: "You need to press right here (points to two spots on back)." 
Doula: "She really doesn't want to be touched right now - it's making her contractions more painful, and she's handling her labor so beautifully."

Doctor: "But the key is to press and make pain somewhere else so she will be distracted from her contractions."

"Mama wanted to natural birth - she was induced at 39 weeks and after 4 vaginal checks in 10 hours (doc was in the room to do another vaginal check) the doc said, "if I can't get these two fingers up there how do you expect the head of the baby to come out from here!""

Stress can also cause tension. Increased tension = difficult vaginal exams. 

"I had an OB tell me that I had to be in bed, on my back, and on monitors while attempting a natural childbirth...."because we need to know ahead of time if it is a bad baby.""


Folks, abuse in childbirth is real. It happens all the time and, unfortunately, nobody says or does anything about it. If you experience it or witness it, there are actions you can take. Contact the hospital ombudsman and report the doctor or nurse. If it's a nurse, contact the nurse manager of the unit. We should really be taking steps to correct this - verbal abuse and bullying is uncalled for and should be taken seriously. 

A Call For Hospital Birth Center Reform

Birth trauma is also real. Most of the doctors and nurses, who made the above statements, or something similar, do not see their patients after they have given birth. They don't see the trauma they may have caused her. They don't see the postpartum depression that she is experiencing because she hasn't come to terms with her birth experience. They don't experience the post-traumatic stress disorder that she developed from a traumatic birth. Woman are human beings, capable of emotion and hurt. 

This system must be changed. Doctors and nurses should be respectful and kind, promoting a safe and protected environment. This article, in the Journal of Perinatal Education, about health-care reform for pregnant and laboring women, states:

Health-care reform must promote, support, and protect natural, safe, and healthy childbirth. Because most childbearing women and their newborns are healthy and at low risk for complications, it is important that women have access to appropriate quality health care in a safe environment that supports a woman's innate ability to give birth, breastfeed, and begin to mother her newborn. In such an environment, overuse of costly interventions that interfere with the normal process of labor and birth are avoided except in the rare situations in which women are at high risk for serious health problems.
In Conclusion

I'm certainly not saying that all nurses and doctors are bad. I've had the pleasure to work with some of the most caring and wonderful health care professionals. Those support people are a beacon of light for women during their birth. But, abuse happens and we should do something about it. No woman deserves to be verbally abused and bullied while she is experiencing one of the most powerful and intimate experiences of her life. 


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. Her Montreal Natural Fertility site can be found here

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Poop 201: Commonly asked questions and answers about poop

A couple years ago I wrote a blog article about assessing your health based on what your bowel movements look and smell like, and how you feel when you are having them.

If you haven't read that article, I highly recommend doing so. I didn't know it at the time, but that article has proven to be a great success, and has hundreds of views per day. I also have a lot of people asking questions through comments.

This article is dedicated to answering some of the most commonly asked questions about poop. I hope this helps you with your bathroom extravaganzas.

Q & A

Q: I am getting poop 3 times a day, but the problem is I'm unable to control it.

A: A lot of people struggle with diarrhea. It is one of the most common health complaints. The first thing to do is to try and figure out why you are having diarrhea. Food sensitivities can contribute to uncontrollable episodes. You can try an elimination diet. Try eliminating one food at a time to see if it is the cause. You can start with dairy. Don't eat anything with milk (cheese, butter, icecream, etc) for at least two weeks and see if your diarrhea is better. If not, try eliminating the next allergen - gluten. Gluten free products are readily available in health food stores. This recommendation will at least get you started. If you're feeling really ambitious, you can try to cut out all processed foods - as these can be a major contributor to digestive problems. Don't know what I mean when I say processed? Basically anything that you buy in the non-refrigerated aisles of the grocery store.  If you can't understand the ingredients on the label, then you shouldn't be eating it. Soda can also cause diarrhea. 

Another thing to consider with diarrhea (and any poop related symptom) is your emotional state. Stress is probably the biggest cause of diarrhea. Just think of that time you had to do public speaking. Your nerves were on edge and you probably couldn't stop going to the bathroom before the speech. Even a small amount of stress can affect your bowels. The remedy - eliminate as much stress as you can from your life. Is your job stressful but you're concerned about money? You have to decide for yourself which is important - your health or your job. It may not seem like an easy decision, but if it can add years to your life, then isn't your health more important?! 

There are many more reasons why you can have diarrhea, but the above are good starting points. 

Q: I poop once or twice a week. I know it's bad for health so I would force myself to poop. But sometimes no matter how long I sit on the toilet bowl there's just no poop.

Constipation is another major health complaint. A healthy gut should produce 2-3 well-formed bowel movements per day. Please refer to the above answer (the answers are the same for both diarrhea and constipation). Make sure you are drinking enough water (1/2 your body weight in ounces). Try an elimination diet and check out your emotional state. Are you holding on to "crap" in your life? Sometimes this is the case and your bowel says "Ok, my mind and emotions are holding on to crap... I might as well too." 

Additionally, you should never force yourself to poop. You will cause hemorrhoids. and that's no fun. 

Q:  I have been having off and on problems with hemorrhoids for a couple of years now. Mostly from the invention of the smart phone and facebook in the loo. Ha. But seriously, having met with a Gastro two months ago, and her recommending banding, I would like to try to change my diet or add a supplement.

A: If you are straining or pushing too hard on the toilet, then you probably have hemorrhoids (AKA piles). For those of you who don't know what a hemorrhoid is, here is the definition: "a swollen vein or group of veins in the region of the anus." They can be itchy and/or painful and can bleed. Do you ever wipe your bum and see a little bit of bright red blood? It's probably from a hemorrhoid. Interestingly, hemorrhoids are very common in more developed countries that use sitting, "Western", toilets, and quite uncommon in countries that use squatting toilets. The best position to be in when pooping is squatting (think about it... it makes a lot of sense!). Unfortunately, "western toilets" are the major culprit of hemorrhoids. I just came back from India, and I have to say that their toilet system is great! You squat, you poop and then you wash. When we came back to Canada, I felt a bit shocked that we sit, poop, wipe with dry toilet paper and that's it. Actually, it's quite unhygienic. 

In order to avoid hemorrhoids, take the above suggestions if you are constipated. You want to remove the cause of the hemorrhoid - they are stubborn buggers and will keep coming back. If you already have a hemorrhoid, you can apply witch hazel directly on it with a cotton swab. Witch Hazel is astringent, and will shrink the hemorrhoid. If that doesn't work, there are a few other steps you can take. Bioflavonoids have been shown to help with hemorrhoids (but make sure they don't have an interaction with any drug you are taking). You should also wash and dry thoroughly after each bowel movement. Exercise is also great (for everything) - so get out there and start walking or jogging. There are many other natural remedies out there for hemorrhoids - if you want to know more, just do an internet search. 

Q: The moving of the bowls is not the problem here, but the floating stool. I had my gallbladder removed about 7 months ago and in the past several weeks my stool has been floating. My intake of fiber and water is okay, as my general eating habits have not changed. Should I be worried here?

A: In the original article I posted that your poop should first float and then sink. If you have poop that is floating, especially if you are having problems with your gall bladder, then you are probably having a hard time digesting fats. If you are having gallbladder issues, you should immediately change your diet to a healthy one. The gallbladder isn't your problem - it's your diet. The solution to gallbladder problems from the conventional approach is to remove it from your body. This approach doesn't address the fundamental cause of your symptoms, but instead removes the messenger. If your diet is good then you probably wouldn't experience gall bladder problems. Cut out all processed food from your diet. Make sure you are drinking enough water and that your diet mainly consists of fruits and veggies and protein (meat, eggs, nuts & seeds, etc). You should minimize the amount of amount of fried foods you consume, gallbladder or not. 

Q:  I am a vegetarian and I follow a gluten free diet. I take aloe vera occasionally and that seems to help but not always. I take a regular probiotic and drink lemon juice in water, tea, etc about 5x daily.... in addition to a lot of plain water. First thing in the am I usually have the urge to have a bowel movement and sometimes it feels complete but not everyday.... they are usually loose but not too bad. Then I have tea or coffee and usually have another... looser. But throughout the day I often have several more... sometimes large and sometimes small... sometimes loose and sometimes not but I begin to feel constipated and lots of bloating. It gets really frustrating because I feel like a pregnant woman in all of my clothes. I don't know what's causing this but I'd really like to fix it.

A: This is an interesting question. As you can see, this person is quite healthy but still has digestive problems. So many people are actually very sensitive to soy and don't realize it. If you are a vegetarian and eat an otherwise healthy diet, you can consider eliminating soy from your diet if have digestive complaints. It may be tough since it's a major source of protein for vegetarians, but you can get protein from other sources. Additionally, soy contains estrogen, which may throw off your hormones and cause other symptoms. Also, some vegetarians eat dairy products. If you are feeling bloated, have diarrhea or constipation, and/or have mucus - then eliminate dairy too. 

Q: I have a lot of cramping between the times I poop and during. The cramping can be very severe, and I sometimes feel nausea too.

A: Again, diet can be the culprit. Try the elimination diet. Also, you may want to consider a parasite cleanse. Most people have parasites and should consider a yearly cleanse. I will leave it up to you to research this and decide. Hulda Clarke is a great resource for parasite cleansing. 

If you feel like you have tried EVERYTHING to no avail, then consider that your problem may be caused by emotions or stress. You'd be surprised at what they can do to you. 


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. Her Montreal Natural Fertility site can be found here

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Returning from India

As many of you may know, my husband and I recently took a 3-month vacation away. Nine weeks were spent in India and three in Israel. It was really an incredible, soul-searching trip. I am coming back now renewed and with a new mission.

I haven't posted much in the past few months (even years, I guess). I have been deeply thinking about what to do with this blog. I receive A LOT of emails and comments from readers. Many people contact me for free advice on what I think they should do. I don't get a lot of clients from this blog.

When I started this blog I was just starting out in my Naturopathic practice, and was still studying homeopathy. I didn't have a lot of confidence in practice since I had just begun. Over the three years of this blog I have grown as a person and as a practitioner.  I really value my time (and so do those people who seek me out for help). I really cannot answer every comment or email that comes in. I really do my best, but when I suggest that someone should have an appointment for a chronic problem, they stop all contact.

I really honour my space and my time. So, please enjoy the free information I provide on this blog. I would love to work with you if you so desire, but I will not be answering any comments with advice any longer. I also do not give any advice over email. I am posting this blog to really set my intentions. Thank you to all of my regular readers! I appreciate you!

I hope you still benefit from my posts.

To your health,


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 Year in Review

Well, today is Christmas, and I realize that I haven't blogged for many months.

It has been a very busy year for me. I moved to another country, assisted many births as a doula, finished my homeopathy program, renovated space in my home, made a few great friends, and traveled a lot. I also have to admit - I had a bit of writer's block for many months (I'm finally feeling myself come out of that...whew!). I went through a lot of self-transformation as I worked my way through the things that were blocking my self expression. Although it was painful at times, I have felt a lot of healing and I encourage all of you to work through your fears and let go of those things that are no longer serving you (maybe a New Year's resolution?).

I have also been deep in thought about our birth system, since that is what the majority of my work focused on this year. Sometimes it seems so flawed and I feel so helpless. I have a deep faith in a woman's ability to give birth without assistance. It sometimes feels frustrating to work in a place where childbirth is so managed and health professionals are constantly poking and prodding. I have seen women laboring beautifully at home, where they feel comfortable, and then go to the hospital where all contractions stop. Many nurses and doctors believe the woman needs assistance with medications to speed up labor, when in fact, the only thing the woman needs is to feel safe and comfortable. How many unnecessary interventions are used because a woman doesn't feel safe, comfortable and supported? Interestingly, in 2010, the U.S. ranked 50 in maternal mortality. That means that 49 countries had less maternal deaths in childbirth than the United States. Additionally, the U.S. spends more than any other country on healthcare related to pregnancy and childbirth! Doesn't that seem strange to you? We tend to think that the medical system is the best in the world, when, in fact, 49 countries out rank us!

I hope that 2014 is a great year of change.

I will be away on a 3 month backpacking journey, and I hope to post some exotic blogs from India.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to you, dear friend.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Montreal Doula

I am so pleased to be offering doula services in Montreal, Canada. I feel blessed to have found this path of helping women to achieve the birth they want. I am also very happy to be able to combine it with naturopathic and homeopathic care as well - they go hand and hand with childbirth.

Find my website here: http://www.montreal-doula.com/

And my Montreal Doula blog: http://blog.montreal-doula.com/

Want to know more about doulas? Read more:
Doulas are jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the birthing room. They not only provide support for the laboring woman, but they also provide support and reassurance for the father/partner and any family members present. Many people report a feeling of calm reassurance when the doula is around. Below is a handful of techniques that doulas use in the birth room:
  • *Doulas suggest labor and birthing positions for comfort and pain relief.
  • *Doulas help mom get into her birthing rhythm. 
  • *Doulas utilize the power of touch for pain and provides massage therapy as well as other comfort measures as needed.
  • *If an intervention is being proposed to you by hospital staff, your doula will be able to explain what it's for, the side effects and will help you make a good decision based on your wishes and desires. 
  • *Provide reassurance for the mom as well as any partner or family member present.

Your doula is your spokesperson, your advocate, and your birth coach. If you are birthing in the hospital, chances are you are going to see many nurses, doctors, and residents as they change shifts. This can be difficult for a woman who is trying to maintain her birthing rhythm. A doula builds a bubble around the birthing woman - so she feels safe, protected and able to birth in the way she needs to. 
There are several studies out there that encourage the use of a doula. Research shows that having a doula as a member of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of the labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40% and requests for an epidural by 60%.*
*Klaus, M., Kennell, J., Klaus, P. Motheringthe Mother.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1993.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

First-Aid Remedies for Children

As a parent, it's impossible to protect your child from everything. Illnesses come and go, bumps and bruises appear in random places, and accidents are a common occurrence. But, one thing you can do as a parent is to be prepared for most situations.

One way of doing that is stocking your medicine cabinet with natural remedies that will not only aid in healing, but will also help to strengthen your child's immune system. Some of these remedies are homeopathic remedies which are completely non-toxic and gentle enough for newborn babies and children that are sensitive. If you don't know the difference between homeopathic remedies and other natural remedies, read this article.

Chamomilla (homeopathic): This is the #1 remedy to have as a parent. It will console an inconsolable child (I have seen its magic before - It's quite amazing), as long as it is well indicated for your babies symptoms. The homeopathic indications are for pain, including teething and colic in babies. The child will appear to be obviously unhappy and uncomfortable. They are angry, irritable, impatient and inconsolable. They are crying, screaming, and arching their back. They ask for something and then refuse it (by throwing it down, pushing it away with their hands, etc). A keynote in this remedy is one red cheek the other pale (we see this so often in babies!). This is also a very good remedy for earaches when the child is in the "chamomilla state" shown above.

Arnica (homeopathic): This is the #1 remedy for any accident (and is actually the #1 remedy for any first-aid kit). These accidents include falls, breaking of bones, and any other situation where a child is hurt/wounded. Arnica helps with pain relief and also stimulates the body to heal quickly. Parents - carry this remedy in your purse and/or car. Once you have experienced the magic of Arnica, you'll never want to be without it.

Belladonna (homeopathic): Great to have for high fevers where the face is red, hot skin to touch, and glistening eyes. Indicated in complaints that come on suddenly and forcefully. The child could be restless, jumping all around, and aggressive - striking those around him. During fever, children who need this remedy can fly into a temper on being given advise and complain that everything tastes bitter to them. They also ask for things but then refuse it when you give it to them (like Chamomilla). They also cannot stand to be talked to in a nice pacifying voice.

These remedies, of course, are indicated for first-aid situations only. If you child is exhibiting other  more chronic symptoms then you should seek to find a practitioner that can find their constitutional remedy. Constitutional homeopathy not only strengthens the immune system, but it works with the totality of the symptoms. It is a true holistic medicine. Dr. Oz is even a proponent for homeopathy. It is gentle enough to give to babies (with no side-effects) and will give them a solid foundation for lifelong health. Also keep in mind that these are only a couple of the thousands of remedies out there. More to come in the future, but for now this is a great start to a first-aid kit.

Other Remedies:

Probiotics: Probiotics for babies are so important. In this day and age, many babies are exposed to antibiotics right at birth. Their healthy gut flora doesn't have time to develop. Babies then get sick and are prescribed more antibiotics. Any gut flora they had is now gone. Probiotics for babies can be rubbed on mommy's nipple or put in their bottle (if fed from a bottle). Probiotics are great for babies who have colic and other digestive complaints. There are many companies that make probiotics specifically for babies.

Lavender Essential Oil: This oil is considered as the "universal oil". It is great for burns, stings, bites, restless/sleepless children and mommies and daddies who need to calm their nerves. This can be mixed into a carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, etc) and then put directly on the skin (diluted for sensitive skin - doesn't need to be diluted for non-sensitive skin). You should always test a small section of skin first to make sure there are no sensitivities. Lavender essential oil is a gentle anti-bacterial and anti-viral so is great for common cold and flu symptoms too.

Enema Bag: Enemas are a great way to break a fever for a baby or a child. This is a technique our grandparents and great grandparents used. It's a "folk" medicine that has been traded with children's tylenol and motrin (both of which are considered toxic to the liver). Another thing to keep in mind is that fever is actually good (as long as it is under 100.4 for newborns-3 months, 102.2 from 3 months to 3 years old and under 104.5 for everyone else). Fever helps the body to kill any invading bacteria or virus, and you certainly don't want to interrupt this beautiful process. In addition, fever helps to build the immune system. But, if fever goes above the numbers shown above, an enema is a great way to reduce it.

Colloidal Silver: This is a great alternative to antibiotics and is safe and gentle to use for children (a smaller dose is warranted for children vs. adults).

This is a great start to a natural medicine cabinet. You will be surprised at how often you use these remedies for your children (and even yourself too!)

Disclaimer: The above remedies are for acute complaints - not chronic, and certainly not for emergency situations which require medical care. Contact your physician if necessary. 

Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. Her Montreal Natural Fertility site can be found here