Sunday, April 26, 2015

Summer Class

With spring semester almost finished (one week until finals!) I am gearing up for my summer series of Bradley classes. This series will begin on June 2 and run for 12 weeks, on Tuesdays at Turo Family Chiropractic in the North Hills. Please send me an email for more details on how to register. Space is limited, and only a couple spots remain open. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Birth. Plan. In some ways it's very interesting that those two words are used in the same sentence, much less the same phrase. Birth is such an organic, all encompassing, life changing event. The very idea that we could somehow "plan" it reduces the almost mystical quality of the experience. However, unlike planning a vacation or career path, planning for a birth is much more dynamic. After the actual decision making process of choosing a care provider, place to give birth, what tests you will take, how to eat, exercise and basically live your life with this little being growing inside of's actually a matter of choosing how you want to be treated in labor.

As you can see, the process of creating a birth plan starts long before you sit down at the computer with your pile of birth books and windows open with birth plan templates. It begins when you select a provider. His/her birth philosophy will be the one that drives the whole process at some level. If you choose one whose philosophy aligns well with yours, then you're in a good place. If not, then all the planning in the world will not change their minds.

When you take responsibility to educate yourself on prenatal nutrition and exercise, and then follow through, you are in a sense "planning" to either be in optimal health (as much as is in your power) or not.

Only then are you really ready to begin the process of creating a birth plan. Here are three basic essentials to help you get started.

I. Keep it simple. Your provider is more likely to read a 1-2 page birth plan and really give it attention, than a longer winded 4 page document. Bullet points are great. Short, concise phrases get the point across.

II. Organize it according to your style. One way is to break it up into first, second, third stage (including baby care in the third stage.) Another option is to create four simple paragraphs that state your general philosophy. Yet another style could be bullet points listed in order of importance to you.

III. Include a short sentence or two about how much you appreciate their support and care and that you anticipate being able to discuss any deviations from this in case of an emergency. Trust and dialogue are both important aspects of a really good birth team.

One way to really be able to work with your birth plan is to take a childbirth class that teaches you the mechanics of birth, including coaching, and comfort measures that are non invasive.

Your baby's birth will be a day like no other. It will be a day you remember for the rest of your life. Plan for how you wish to be treated, entrust your care only to someone who honors those wishes and then continue on enjoying this beautiful time of growth and change as you await your child's birth day.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Post Partum For The Rest Of Us

So, you planned ahead and have a freezer stocked with prepped chicken cutlets and chopped veggies. Your baby' room looks like a set for the baby edition of Pottery Barn, and your nursing corner in the front room has a basket filled with baby essentials (just in case), a breastfeeding manual, tissues and a place for your water bottle tucked into the corner. Or maybe not. Perhaps all those good intentions got buried under the mountain of little details that go into living.

Not to worry. While a little planning can go a long way in reducing your stress after the baby is born, there is no need to worry if you are coming home to a lived in house, with a crib still in the packing carton and a freezer full of half empty bags of veggies and a some pizzas that were on sale last week. It's ok. Do. Not. Panic.

At the end of the day, what your baby needs can be boiled down to four things:

  1. Food
  2. Warmth
  3. Security
  4. Sleep
And you, on the other hand have the ability to provide him with that, with nothing but your own self. You can snuggle down on the end of the sofa, with just you and the baby (with or without a fancy breastfeeding pillow) and bring your baby to your breast and fill his tummy with warm milk, while you fill his soul with security and love. Wrapped in the circle of your arms, he has everything he needs at that moment. (Until, of course, the diaper leaks!) 

You, on the other hand, need a few things too:
  1. Food
  2. Warmth
  3. Security
  4. Sleep
Basic, simple needs that can be lovingly filled by your partner, family and closest friends. Eat well, rest often, drink pure water and fresh juices and bask in the newness of the newborn days. Your rest and nutrition go a long ways in ensuring your recovery. While your uterus is getting smaller, your hormones are going up and down and your muscles are tired from 9 months of weight lifting, it may feel a bit overwhelming. Rest, nutrition, and support are the bare bone essentials. 

And, when mama is happy and rested, it affects everyone else. I saw a bumper sticker once that said the best thing a man could do for his children is love their mother. Even if that moniker doesn't fit you or feels a bit old fashioned, there is wisdom in those words. When a woman is taken care of by her community/partner/family in the post partum days, she can more readily heal and ease into her new role as a mother. 

Relax, new mama. You've got this. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Control Freak

A wise woman once told me to take responsibility for the things I can control in life, and learn to manage well those I can't. For instance, I can choose how I spend my money, what I eat and how often I exercise. The results of those choices are evident in my bank account and whether or not my jeans are getting a bit too tight. I must choose wisely to reap the rewards. And take responsibility for the times when my choices lead to less desirable results. Back to the treadmill I go!

However, there are some things I can't control. My genes, for instance. I didn't ask for a big nose or a longer than average second toe. (Sorry, you didn't want to know that, did you?) I have no control over the air quality when I leave my home or if the water in the water cooler is purified or not. Those are things I just have to learn to manage as best I can, like bring my own water bottle.

When it comes to preparing for birth, it is no different. Many times a woman feels like she is at the mercy of prenatal hormones, her doctors orders or her body's changing shape. She may feel as if she has no control. And, it while it is true that many things are up to genetics, hormonal changes and general changes that occur while growing a baby, there are things she can do to improve her overall health and feelings of well being, even while pregnant. There are also choices that she needs to make while pregnant in order to take responsibility for her own birth experience and to be prepared for postpartum and breastfeeding.


  • Healthcare provider (Doctor or midwife)
  • Place for birth (Hospital, home or birth center)
  • Diet (are you getting enough protein?)
  • Exercise (remember, birth is much like running a marathon)
  • Information and Education
  • Birth classes and preparation
  • What she takes in from the media concerning her body and birth, in general
  • The choice to breastfeed or not
  • Create a Birth Plan that reflects your preferences
  • Choice of birth partners/doula/supportive birth team
 The other things you just have to manage:

  • Gravity (in labor, that means harnessing it to work FOR you)
  • Genetics 
  • The unexpected (sometimes that means an unplanned Cesarean)
  • The unsolicited opinions of friends and family (turn a deaf ear)
  • If your healthy prenatal diet causes a weight gain you are uncomfortable with, eliminate the junk food, while continuing to munch your way through veggies, fruits, lean protein and high fiber foods. 
No one makes perfect choices 100% of the time, so don't beat yourself up over that double chocolate muffin you called breakfast. Just make a healthier choice at lunch (or sooner, if possible). Take charge of the things you can, and manage well or simply relax about the things that are out of your control. I have learned that simple principle has helped steer me well when it comes to making choices and accepting those things I can do nothing about. Besides, I think a longer second toe makes for sexy-sandal-wearing feet.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Big Announcement!

Big announcement!

With the change of the calendar comes a change for Birth Joy Childbirth Classes. Dr. Dan Turo, of Turo Family Chiropractic has graciously offered teaching space for my Bradley classes. Dan and his wife Erin were students in my class summer class a year ago. Then I had the privilege of being the doula for the birth of their sweet little boy, Ethan. Dan and Erin are committed to natural health care beginning with prenatal care, infancy, childhood illnesses and on up to elder care. Their positive attitude and enthusiasm for empowering people to take control of their own health is contagious! Dr. Dan is also my chiropractor and I heartily recommend his services to anyone seeking chiropractic care.

 Find out more at:

I am eager to begin this next series of classes (beginning January 15) and can't wait to see what the new year brings! To register for classes, please contact me at 724-513-3507 or

Yours for better health, empowered births and healthier moms and babies!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Meeting Penny

It was no difficult decision on whether or not to drive across town to meet one of my all time childbirth idols, Penny Simkin. It was a small gathering, organized by another childbirth educator in our area. Even though we got a late start, with me making more than one wrong turn, somehow I managed to get myself, Bethany and our friend Michele there just in time. We were, in fact, some of the first people to show up.

Penny was even more wonderful in person than I imagined she would be. Her warmth and compassion for women in birth was evident in the way she spoke. She was candid about how to help women as they birth in a less than ideal hospital environment. She expressed concern for the plight of underprivileged women, immigrants, non English speaking clients. She wants to see birth workers empower women with realistic choices while educating them in how to work with their labor. It was no secret that she "knows" a lot. She started as a physcial therapist in the late 60's, then trained as a childbirth educator. She expanded that knowlege to include doula work and helped found DONA, an organization to train doula's. I knew that she is smart, educated and experienced.

But I was touched most by her compassion. The expression on her face as she heard the stories of women who felt disempowered or unheard. For the women who felt violated, misunderstood or condescended to, she was all compassion. Concern and warmth lined the edges of her face as she listened to doula's expressing the displeasure at feeling unable to advocate for their client's rights.

And that knowlege, combined with compassion creates a fire and zeal to continue to educate anyone who will listen. She inspired me to be that kind of birthworker. I want compassion for women and families to be the fire that kindles my desire to teach and promote real birth.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Thrush is an overgrowth of Candida (yeast ) that naturally occurs in the intestines, vagina and gut. When it overproduces, it causes painful, white pathes on the inside of baby's mouth. They look a little like cottage cheese, and cannot be wiped off. It can also appear as an angry red diaper rash, so baby may have it at both ends.

A suppressed immune system caused by the use of steroids, antibiotics or illness can precede a thrush invasion.

Simple home rememdies include:

  1. Gentian Violet, swabbed in baby's mouth and applied externally to mom's nipples. This is a bit messy, so simply put an  oil based barrier (coconut oil or olive oil) on babys lips first.
  2. Washing the breasts with a solution of diluted white vinegar and warm water.
  3. Avoid  nursing pads that contain plastic, as it will encourage the overgrowth of yeast.
  4. Wash all clothing items that come in contact with baby and with mom's breasts in hot water with bleach. Drying garments in the sun can help kill the yeast, as well.

If you and your baby do not respond well to these home remedies, your doctor can prescribe medications:

  1. Nystatin is an antifungal liquid that can be applied safely in the baby's mouth.
  2. Diflucan is an oral antifungal medication used to treat thrush.
Some symptoms mom may experience as well, include:
  1. Sore nipples
  2. Cracked skin on nipples.
  3. Shooting pain in breasts.
Seek the advice of a medical professional to get a clear diagnosis and treatment plan that is best for you and your baby.