Everything You Need To Know About Doulas

Everything You Need To Know About Doulas

“If doulas were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it”- Dr. John H. Kennel

A doula provides non-medical continuous physical, emotional and informational support during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period to you and your partner to help you achieve the most satisfying experience possible.

What does a doula do?

It varies from doula to doula based on their experience and other qualifications. Some are only “birth doulas”, that is, they offer prenatal care, attend births and may provide support up to 6 weeks post birth. Whereas “postpartum doulas” offer support for the first year after birth.

Birth Doulas Support:

A birth doula provides the continuity of care that most hospitals are unable to provide. They usually meet with you several times before your baby’s estimated due date to build rapport and establish trust. These meetings are an opportunity to discuss your birth wishes, previous births, fears, ask questions and receive guidance on writing your Birth Preferences.

Physical Support

A birth doulas is usually on- call 24 hours a day for 2 weeks before and for 2 weeks after your baby’s estimated due date. 

When you go into labour, they’ll help you decide whether or not you’re in established labour and if it’s best to stay home or go to the hospital.

Your birth doula won’t usually arrive in your home or at the hospital until you’re in established labour.

Whether you’re having a homebirth or hospital birth with a midwife or an obstetrician, a doula will be a constant presence during your labour and birth. She’ll ensure that you feel private, safe and unobserved so that your body produces endorphins- Nature’s pain relief.

She may offer natural pain management techniques, remind you to rest between surges to avoid exhaustion and offer suggestions for positioning to make you more comfortable and to help your labour progress.

If you and your partner have done Hypnobirthing, she may prompt your partner to read you affirmations and visualisations, read self- hypnosis scripts to help you relax, use anchor touch or light touch massage or remind him to use acupressure points.

After you deliver your baby, she’ll encourage you to have skin to skin with your baby, sit upright and breastfeed to deliver your placenta naturally (without syntocinon).

If for any reason you can’t have skin to skin with your baby after birth, she’ll support your birth partner in doing so.

Emotional Support

Doulas provide emotional support to you and your partner during labour and birth. They’ll offer reassurance and encourage you to help you feel safe and empowered.

Birth Advocate

Doulas will act as your advocate by communicating your Birth Preferences to your Care Providers and may translate medical terminology for you. If a situation arises where you need to make a decision, she may speak with your Care Providers on your behalf (so you can stay calm and relaxed) and ask for more time or what your options are (if you and your baby aren’t in danger) so you can make informed decisions and have your birthing preferences honoured.

Postnatal/ Postpartum Doula Support:

After birth your doula will usually leave you and your partner to spend time getting to know your baby. She’ll usually come and visit you within a week after birth to debrief your birth and answer any questions. This may be the only postnatal visit for a birth doula.

Much like birth doula’s, the services that Postnatal Doula’s provide depends on their experience and background and other qualifications.

Prior to your baby’s arrival, your postnatal doula may meet with you and your partner prior to birth to help you:

  • Create Your Postpartum Vision: your postnatal doula will help you prepare for a positive postpartum. She may help you clarify what a positive postpartum means to you, identify your fears and help you to release them.
  • Build Your Village: your postnatal doula may help you build your village by helping you identify where you can get physical and emotional support, help you find free support or where you may need to pay for support.
  • Create Your Sanctuary: your postnatal doula may help you to decide where in your house it will be best to bunker down with your baby in the first 6 weeks after birth, how to make it comfortable and practical for you and your baby.
  • Prepare To Eat Good Food: your postnatal doula may help you meal plan, stock your pantry, fill your freezer and set up a meal train to ensure you nourish and heal yourself with good food in the first 6 weeks after birth.

After your baby arrives, they may provide support for the first 6 weeks up to the first year after birth and support may include face to face visits, phone and text support or zoom calls.

Emotional Support

Your postnatal doula will bridge the gaps and become anything you need… whether it be your confidant, your best friend or your cheerleader. They’ll offer an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on as you talk about the joys and challenges of mamahood.

Your postnatal doula may offer a weekly or monthly Mother’s Circle either face to face to virtually to meet other mothers and receive support.

Your postnatal doula may facilitate a private facebook group for you to connect with other mothers, ask questions and receive support.

Physical Support

During a face to face visit, your postnatal doula may cook you a meal or do light housework such as changing your sheets, washing the dishes or folding your laundry. Or they may hold your baby while you shower, enjoy a hot cup of tea, have a nap or go for a walk to get some fresh air.

They may also provide resources on newborn care and breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

Do I need a Doula?

Support is one of the key ingredients for a positive birth and postpartum. This support may be in the form of a birth partner and caregivers that support your preferences. The problem with our current model of care, is that it doesn’t offer continuity of care. For example, if you choose a Public Hospital then you may see a different midwife at every prenatal visit and have a number of different midwives attend your birth. Postnatally, a midwife may visit your home (depending on which model of care you’ve chosen) in the first 6 weeks after birth to provide baby care but this system is not a mother- centric model.

A doula’s main role is to care for the mother.

How Do I Find A Doula?

For Birth Doulas, The Australian Doula College has a Doula Directory. If you have an idea of the kind of doula you’re looking for, give them a call and ask them if they can recommend someone who matches your criteria.

For Postpartum Doulas, Newborn Mothers Directory is a great place to start.

Once you have a shortlist, arrange to meet with them for an informal tea and chat and ask them any questions. The most important thing is that you both feel comfortable with one another and you both think you’re a good fit.

If you’re a tired, pregnant mama, get your free 20 minute Yoga Nidra to take you from exhausted to energised HERE. Fill in your details and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

The Best Prenatal and Postnatal Care Providers in Milton Ulladulla

The Best Prenatal and Postnatal Care Providers in Milton Ulladulla

As a Birth and Postpartum Doula, my job is to help you find the physical, emotional and educational support you need throughout your pregnancy and postpartum. I’ve created an easy- to- use Directory of the best prenatal and postnatal care providers in Milton Ulladulla. I’ve spent the last few months meeting these incredible people and trialling some of their treatments and hand picked the best for you.

The Directory includes acupuncturists, breastfeeding support, childbirth education courses, chiropractors, massage therapists, osteopaths, naturopaths, reflexologists, Womens’ Circles, Playgroups, postpartum doulas and Prenatal Yoga and Mums and Bubs Yoga and Massage classes.

For the best Prenatal and Postnatal Care Providers in Milton Ulladulla, CLICK HERE

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

Here’s The Ultimate Tool to Manifest the Postpartum You Desire

Here’s The Ultimate Tool to Manifest the Postpartum You Desire

Have you spent a lot of time preparing for the birth of your baby… reading books, going to antenatal classes, decorating the nursery and buying cute little baby outfits? Have you given much thought to the first forty days after birth? If you’re a first time mama, probably not. But you’re having a baby not a birth and you’ll be a mama for the rest of your life. So I’m here to help you visualise it so you can manifest it.

Visualisation is the most powerful mind exercise you can do. It’s been shown in neuroscience developments that imagining to almost the same extent as if the process was occurring in real time, creates the same neural pathways in the brain as when the process actually occurs. (The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge M.D.) 

It’s understandable that it’s hard to imagine what life your baby will look like. You can read all the books and listen to all the stories but every birth and baby are different. But giving some thought to how you’d like your life to look like after you bring your baby home will prepare you for this time of uncertainty.

In many cultures around the world, the first 30- 40 days after birth is a time of rest, nourishing food, relief from household chores and support. It reflects the concept of ‘40 days for 40 years’ and the belief that the right care, support, food and rest can have a life- long impact on a mother’s health and vitality.

First Forty Days

Using a vision board is a useful tool to visualise your first forty days after birth. It’s a visual representation of your goals, hopes and dreams for this time. It consists of images, affirmations and quotes to help you visualise the postpartum you desire.

Traditionally vision boards were a physical board with pictures cut out from magazines and hung up in your house but since Pinterest has 100 billion images to choose from and pin, it’s easier to create a digital vision board.

If you’ve never used Pinterest, prepare to get hooked. It allows you to create a digital board, search for images and quotes and then add them to your board.

Following are instructions on how to create a digital vision board for your first forty days after birth:

Step 1: Make it sacred 

Gather all the tools you’ll need including your journal, a pen and your laptop or ipad.

Grab yourself a cup of tea and a snack

Limit distractions by closing all your other tabs on your laptop or ipad and put your phone on silent.

Set the mood. Turn off the TV, turn on your favourite music, light a candle or diffuse Young Living essential oils. A diffuser blend for focus is: 4 drops peppermint, 5 drops Wild Orange and 2 drops of frankincense.

Step 2: Visualise your first forty days using your senses

Sitting comfortably with your eyes softly closed. Take a deep breath in and a long breath out. Take a moment to visualise your fourth trimester by engaging all five senses.

Sight: See your perfectly healthy baby and your strong and powerful body. What do you see around you? Who is there with you? Are they helpful and supportive of you resting? Do you have a Sanctuary set up for you and your baby? Where is it in your house? Is there natural light? How much time do you spend at home? Do you like to go for walks with your baby? Do you have any or many visitors? 

Hearing: Is the Sanctuary you’ve created for you and your baby peaceful and quiet? Or is there a door so you can shut yourself away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house?

Smell: Are you diffusing essential oils in your room? Or are you using them on your body to support you physically and emotionally? Are there aromatic smells coming from the kitchen where someone you love is making you a meal? 

Touch: Are you wearing comfortable pyjamas? Are they made of silk, satin or organic cotton and do they feel nice on your skin? Is your baby latched easily onto your breast? Do you wear her in a sling or carrier around the house?

Taste: Do you eat warm and nourishing home cooked meals? Are you nourishing yourself with meals from your freezer that you made in batches before your baby arrived? Do your visitors come bearing home cooked meals? Or do they or your partner cook your favourite meals from scratch? Do you have a stash of nourishing treats you can satiate your hunger with while you’re breastfeeding?

Take a deep breath in and a long breath out. Then blink your eyes open. 

Write in your journal what you saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted. Also write down how you want to feel during the first forty days after birth.

Step 3: Create Your Pinterest Vision Board

  1. Create a Pinterest account
  2. Select the tab with your name
  3. Click on the “+” symbol above your name
  4. Select, “Create Board”
  5. Choose a name for the board that describes how you’d like to feel during the first forty days after birth
  6. Use the description of your board to set an intention or further describe that the board is about. 
  7. To keep your board private, “check” the “Visibility” box
  8. Select, “Create”
  9. Close the pop up window, “Save Some Pins To Your New Board”.

Step 4: Gather Images for your Pinterest Vision Board

1. Find images, quotes, affirmations, recipes or blog posts that resonate with your intention for your first 40 days after birth.

2. When searching on Pinterest, choose:

  • Images that represent how you want to feel, not just things you want
  • Positive and inspirational quotes
  • Affirmations that you can use as mantras
  • Recipes for nourishing food
  • Essential oil blends to support you physically and emotionally

3. Enter a topic like, “breastfeeding mother image” into the “Search” field and the search results will appear

4. Hover over the image you’d like to add to your board, select your board name from the drop down menu and “save”

5. Repeat until you’ve completed your board

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Pinterest, you can save images from the web or your personal images to Pinterest. On your board, select the “+” symbol above your board name. Select “Create Pin”. Drag and drop your image and add a title.

Step 5: Print Your Vision Board and put it where you can see it

Once you’ve created your Vision Board, print it out. To Print, scroll to the bottom of the Pinterest Vision Board so all the images appear and then select, File from your main menu and “Print”.

Hang it up where you’ll see if often to create a visual reminder of your hopes and dreams for the first forty days after birth. Each time you see it, you’re doing a mini visualisation and strengthening the neural pathways in your brain.

Step 6: Visualise the process of achieving your goals

Alongside visualisation take action to manifest the postpartum you desire. For example, ask your partner, family and friends to help, freeze some meals, go to a breastfeeding class and create a sanctuary in your room where you can rest with your baby. These actions will vary for each new mother depending on her own unique vision.

Tell me in the COMMENTS below.….what is your vision for your postpartum?

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

Porridge for the First Forty Days

Porridge for the First Forty Days

According to Yoga’s sister Science, Ayurveda, you lose vast amounts of earth (eg.the baby and the placenta), water (amniotic fluid and tears) and fire (through her blood and sweat) during birth and you need to replace these elements to balance your doshas (constitution). You can do this by eating foods that are sweet, warm, oily, simple and moist.

Porridge is the perfect comfort food, easy to digest and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner in the first forty days after birth when your digestion may be sluggish.

The sweetness of the banana, cinnamon and maple syrup will help boost your oxytocin because of the comforting, nourishing feeling you get when you taste sweet foods. 

Chinese medicine also believe that it’s important for new mums to replace yin and blood which is lost in birth to assist with recovery and to produce good quality breast milk. Adding an egg yolk to your porridge is a good source of nutrients and helps to replace Yin. Add the egg once you’ve turned off the heat on the stove so it doesn’t scramble and stir well. Don’t worry you won’t taste it!

Preparation Time: 5 minutes 

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 1


1/2 cup organic rolled oats 

1 tablespoon of chia seeds 

½- 1 cup of your choice of milk (depending on how creamy you like it)

1 small banana

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ghee

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon of maple syrup

* omit or add any ingredients to suit your taste buds


  1. Soak oats and chia seeds in half a cup of water overnight in the fridge.
  2. Add ½-1 cup of milk, banana and cinnamon
  3. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat when milk has almost absorbed.
  4. Add egg yolk and ghee and stir well
  5. Drizzle maple syrup 
  6. Serve a bowl or a thermos 
  7. Enjoy! 


Cover the oats with water and put in the fridge just before you hop into bed. Cook it on the stove first thing in the morning before your baby wakes and then store in a thermos so you can eat it when you’re hungry. The porridge will stay warm (and you can pop the lid back on if you get interrupted) and it won’t go gluggy (like it would if you re- heated it).

Tell me in the COMMENTS below.….what toppings do you like to add to your porridge? 

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

How To Check If You Have Abdominal Separation

How To Check If You Have Abdominal Separation

If you’ve had a baby you’ve probably heard of abdominal separation-  also known as diastasis recti or “mummy’s tummy”. 

It’s caused by the separation of the outermost abdominal muscles during pregnancy. As your uterus expands the layers of your abdominals muscles and the connective tissue to which they attach stretch to make room for your growing baby. Within 6 weeks after birth, your uterus contracts back to its original size but the surrounding abdominal muscles are still stretched and loose.

If you answer “YES” to any of these, you may have abdominal separation:

  • Lower back pain during or after your pregnancy
  • Pelvic instability 
  • Poor posture 
  • Your ‘innie’ belly button became an ‘outie’ 
  • You have a visibly distended ridge running down the midline of your stomach when you sit up in bed, do a sit- up or when you do a back- bend
  • A ’mummy tummy’ that no amount of diet or exercise will shift 

How do I check if I have abdominal separation?

A diastasis is measured in fingers because that’s the easiest way for you to tell exactly how far your muscles have separated. The more fingers you can fit, the worse it is.

Here’s how to check yourself:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Support your head with 1 hand and put your fingertips of your other hand at your navel (with your knuckles parallel to your knees).
  3. With your abdominal muscles relaxed, gently press your fingertips into your belly button.
  4. Peel your head, neck and shoulders off the floor into a “sit- up,” moving your rib cage towards your pelvis (don’t just lift your head).
  5. As your muscles tense, notice how many fingers fit between the rectus abdominis (on the left and right sides).
  6. If you have a diastasis you will be able to feel the rectus abdominis tightening up on either side of your fingers.
  7. Repeat 3 inches above and below your belly button. If you’re separation is more than 2 fingers wide, you may have abdominal separation.
  8. Now check the connective tissue (where the gap is). Turn your fingers the other direction so all 4 fingers are between the gap. With your tummy soft, press towards your spine. The deeper your fingers go, the weaker the connective tissue.

What if I have abdominal separation?

Separated muscles are weak muscles so they can’t support your back and organs. For a strong core, you need to lessen this gap. Strengthening these muscles means better sex, less or no urine leakage when laughing, sneezing or coughing and prevention of a prolapse.

These may make your abdominal separation worse:

  1. Fitness Exercises like sit-ups/ crunches and obliques sit- ups/crunches and push-ups, impact exercises and resistance training which causes intra-abdominal “force” on the connective tissue.
  2. Pilates Exercises like plank, chest lift, criss- cross, seated roll up or any exercises which involve upper body flexion or double leg extension.
  3. Upper Extremity Weight Bearing exercises such as full Plank and Push- Ups on the toes as the connective tissue is weakened by the gravitational force of the organs upon it.
  4. Yoga poses that include extension of the thoracic and lumbar spine: Upward facing dog, wheel, bow and camel to name a few.
  5. Rocking up to sitting from a lying position or sitting straight up in bed.
  6. Wearing a front loading baby carrier.

What can I do to fix it?

Before you return to the gym or running, start with Postnatal or Mama and Baby Pilates which is tailored to women with abdominal exercises. It’ll help strengthen your transverse abdominals (the deepest layer of your abdominals) rather than the superficial ones (your six pack) and give you a flatter stomach.

How long will it take to get better?

It all depends on how often you do your transverse abdominis (deep core) exercises and if you do any exercises/ activities that can make it worse.

What else can I do?

Go and see a Women’s Health Physio and get it checked. They’ll advise you what exercises to avoid or modify.

Tell me in the COMMENTS below.….did you check if you have abdominal separation? And did you find these instructions helpful?


Here’s a Quick Way to Fill Your Freezer

Here’s a Quick Way to Fill Your Freezer

Do you remember being ravenous when breastfeeding your first born? But you were so exhausted the last thing you felt like doing was cooking. And besides, cooking one- handed is a learned skill. So until you waited for your hubbie to come home from work, you devoured a pack of Tim Tams.

Make it easier on yourself this time and as the Girl Guides say, “Be Prepared”. You’ve probably already got everything under the sun for your new baby so instead of having a Baby Shower, why not have a “Fill Your Freezer Party”?

It’s similar to baby shower in that you invite your closest family and friends but instead of giving you gifts for your baby, they gift you their time. And rather than playing the same old games, you’ll cook a bunch of meals together for you to store in your freezer to eat once your hubbie has gone back to work and your visitors have disappeared.

In her book, “the first forty days, Heng Ou says, “women have gathered in circles around the kitchen table to “put up” provisions in the larder for the season ahead.”

It’s the perfect way to gather your tribe before your baby arrives and enlist their support. As the guest of honour, ask your mama, sister or best friend to help you plan ahead and on the day.

Follow these steps to organise your “Fill Your Freezer Party” so you can enjoy the planning process and the party.


1. Set a date
Any time between 32- 38 weeks is a good time to start preparing food for your postpartum.

2. Choose the venue
If your kitchen is too small, ask family or friends to host it.

3. Create a guest list
Include family and friends that don’t enjoy cooking. They can help out by labelling the containers, washing up or stacking the dishwasher or keeping an eye on things in the stove or the oven.

4. Organise food for your guests
You don’t need to do it all. Ask your tribe to bring a plate of food to share or a bottle of wine or Seedlip (a non- alcoholic spirit that you can enjoy too). Make a list of the food and drink you’d like to serve and add it to your So Kind Registry. Your family and friends can choose what they’d like to bring from your list and ensure you don’t end up with only cheese and crackers.

5. Send out the invites
Send out the invites 4- 6 weeks in advance to give guests time to find a babysitter. I’m a huge fan of evite which enables you to send free invites via text, email or a shareable link, track RSVPs and send messages to your guests. Make it clear on the invite that instead of bringing a gift you’d love them to help you fill your freezer and bring a plate or something to drink. Include the link to your So Kind Registry.


6. Make a list of your favourite freezer friendly meals and snacks
Meals you enjoy boost oxytocin which improves digestion, increases nutritional uptake and balances your appetite- all of which will help with your postpartum recovery. Foods like broths, soups, stews, casseroles are very healing and nourishing and perfect for freezing. Having nutritious snacks on hand will keep you satisfied and stop you reaching for packets of biscuits laden with sugar and guilt. Bliss balls, muffins, slices and banana bread are all good options.

7. Find recipes, print and laminate them
One pot meals are the easiest. Some of my favourite websites for recipes are: Low Tox Life, Well Nourished, The Healthy Chef, Honest to Goodness, Brenda Janschek, Star Anise Organic and Wholefoods Simply

8. Make a list of the ingredients to buy
Make a double batch of all your meals so double the ingredients. Create a list on the Wunderlist App and add all the ingredients for the recipes you’ve chosen. Share it with your mama, sister or best friend. When they buy any of the ingredients they can “tick it” off the list so all Users will know what has and hasn’t been bought yet. Don’t forget to add labels to your list.

9. Check the host has enough cooking equipment, tables and chairs
Look at the recipes to see what equipment you’ll need to cook them. If you don’t have enough space on your kitchen island and dining table to prepare meals, borrow cooking equipment, tables and chairs from family and friends.

10. Prepare your freezer
If you don’t have a big enough freezer, hire a deep freezer from Radio Rentals, loan one from a friend or ask your friends and family to store some of the meals in their freezers. If you’re cooking at a friend’s house, bring an esky or cooler bag or two to bring your meals home in. Ask your friends to load into your car and have your hubbie empty the car when you get home.


11. Gather your glass jars or containers to store meals
Save money and the environment by reusing your glass jars to store and freeze your soups and broths. For casseroles and stews, store them in glass containers. Or ask your guests to bring one with them.

12. Create a plan
Create a rough idea of how you’d like the day to pan out. For example, allow 15- 20 minutes for guests to arrive, time for getting to know one another, cooking, packing, cleaning and socialising. Decide in advance how many cooking teams you’ll need and how many guests you’ll put in each team.


13. Ask your mama, sister or best friend to go shopping for the ingredients
You can buy them from Coles, Woolworths or Aldi or have them home delivered. If you’d prefer organic ingredients, buy them from your local farmers market or wholefoods store.


14. Set up workstations
Allocate space for workstations, then allocate a recipe to each station. Put laminated recipe, ingredients, cooking equipment, storage containers and labels and a pen on appropriate station.

15. Set up a “food and drink station”
Set aside an area for the plates of food and drink your guests will bring and set up drinking glasses, crockery and cutlery.

16. When guests arrive
Ask guests to put their food or drink on the food and drink station and to help themselves. Before you begin cooking, put guests into teams and allocate them a station. Explain what to do and how to do it. You may like to start with a game or an ice- breaker.

17. Divide portions into storage containers or jars and label them
Once a meal is cooked, have guests divide portions into storage containers or jars and label them. (The size and number of portions will depend on the size of your family). Once cool, put into your freezer.

18. Clean Up
If you have a non- cooking guest, you can have them cleaning as the day progresses or you can take turns washing and drying or packing the dishwasher.

19. Celebrate
Once everyone is finished cooking, kick back and relax, play a game or ask your guests to send a wish to the pregnant mama.

Not convinced a Freezer Party could work for you?

1. Double Batch: From 32 weeks, start making double batches of your evening meals. Eat one and freeze the other.

2. Pot- Luck Dinner: Invite your family and friends to a “pot- luck” dinner where they prepare the meal at home, store it in a container, bring it to your ‘baby shower’ and you can store it in your freezer.

Tell me in the COMMENTS below.….what’s your favourite freezer meal?

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.