Dads and Doulas; A Radio Interview

On March 9th, 2012, I was interviewed by Kareen Burns of Hunters Bay Radio.  Here’s a clip  in which a former client, Ryan Harris, describes supporting his partner in labour with my assistance.


Helping Hands: A Free Class on a Doula’s Care

Helping Hands is a free 1 hour in home class on the medical and emotional benefits of having a doula attend your birth.  Using research based statistics, videos and participation in 2 person support scenarios, Amber Morrill discusses how a trained labour support person can make your birth experience more relaxed and empowering for the entire family.

email: to book your free in-home class.

The Midwifery Option

Muskoka offers many choices of medical care during pregnancy, birth and beyond.  Families can choose from Obstetricians, General Practitioners and Midwives. Six years ago the Midwives of Muskoka “opened clinic” in Muskoka and by doing so, expanded the pregnancy and birth options available to our area.  It is important to carefully choose which medical caregiver(s) you want attending your birth, it is going to be one of the most important days of your life.  Here are some options available through midwifery:

1. Choice of birth place.  The Midwives of Muskoka have privileges at Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital, South Muskoka Memorial Hospital and Huntsville District Memorial Hospital.  Healthy mothers who are having a  low risk pregnancy have the option of birthing in their homes, attended by two midwives.

2. An informed choice model of care.  Midwifery clinic visits last between 45 minutes to an hour each.  The reason for this is that not only does the mother receive a regular prenatal check-up, but she is given information about prenatal test options, birth place options and options about medical care of the newborn infant.  The family is encouraged by the midwife to ask questions.  Midwives provide the family with the most recent scientific research on the subject then asks the family to take some time to consider what will work best for them.  The midwife then supports the family in whichever choice the mother makes.

3. Home visits.  As the birth draws closer, the midwives will often do an in-home visit with the mother to be.  Midwives also do home visits for families with newborn babies as well.  A mother who required a cesarean section will receive home visits for the first few weeks postpartum so that she does not have to travel for postnatal care while recovering from surgery.

These are just a few of the options made available by the introduction of midwives to Muskoka.  If you would like to learn more please visit the Friends of Muskoka Midwives site.

La Leche League

“Mother to Mother support” is how Kailey Richter LLL leader describes La Leche League’s approach to assisting new families in breastfeeding success.  La Leche League meets monthly to discuss breastfeeding topics and personal experiences.  Pregnant mothers are also encouraged to come to the meetings to learn from experienced mothers as well as make connections with other new families.

For Gravenhurst LLL info:

For Huntsville:

For Port Sydney:

Doulas of Muskoka

Your birth is going to be one of the most important days of your life.  Choosing who will be by your side during this momentous event is extremely important.  This is because women often feel very vulnerable during labour they are sensitive to the reactions of those around them.  A nervous or pushy birth partner can negatively affect the mother’s view on her ability to birth her baby, causing anxiety.

Stress hormones released when a woman feels anxiety about her surroundings have been proven to slow labour progress and increase her perception of pain.  This is why birth partners should be people the mother feels comfortable with, people with whom she feels no judgement from.  For example, do you feel when you are around this potential birth partner that you are being criticized? That you feel you must live up to a certain expectations?  These feelings can be magnified in a birthing situation. Making what should be a joyous occasion into one full of frustration and doubt.

Talk to your potential birth partners, examine how you feel around them.  In the case of doulas, interview more than one.  Talk to them on the phone and meet them in person before making a decision.  Try not to let lack of birth experience detour you from choosing a specific doula if you really like her, connection is more important than experience.

Here is a link to local doulas covering Muskoka, Parry Sound, and Perry up to Sundridge.

For more info on a birth partner’s effect on labour check out Penny Simkin’s The Birth Partner.  An excellent book for mothers and birth partners alike as well as required reading in doula training programs.

Getting Ready For Baby Classes

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit offers classes for parents to be.  This class discusses the challenges that new parents face and tips to help along the way, including car seat installment and safety.  Click on this link for more info:

Prenatal Massage As Preventative Care

In our society, massage therapy is often thought either as a luxury or as a treatment to a current ailment.  However the use of it prenatally could actually be viewed as a preventative treatment.  According to studies done at The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami as well as The Touch Institute also located in the University of Miami, pregnant women who received massage therapy reported their backache was reduced and their sleep improved.

The studies went on to report that the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine were lower in the massage therapy group. Also, the positive hormones, serotonin and dopamine, were increased. These hormonal changes have been linked to better neonatal outcomes such as a decreased  incidence of low birth weight and  prematurity.

Prenatal massage in essence improves not only your quality of life when you are pregnant, but could also improve your newborn’s health as well.  Unfortunately, not all of us have health insurance to cover the cost of prenatal massage.  For those who do not have the financial means to cover the cost of this beneficial treatment you may want to consider listing Massage Therapy sessions on a baby shower registry. In doing so you may be asking for the best gift a new mother and baby could have: the gift of health.

here’s a link to the research abstracts:

Some Local RMT s who specialize in prenatal massage:

Alanna Cork RMT 705 789 4224

Jill Watts-Mann 705 789 4224

Steven Wilder

Another great resource was listed in the comments section by Crystal-

“It might be a bit of a drive for some, but depending on where you live, at Georgian college Barrie campus they have a pregnancy massage outreach that runs wednesday afternoons. You can get a pregnancy, postnatal, or infant massage for $25 with the time slots being 1pm or 2:30pm.  these are 3rd year massage therapy students and is a great and affordable experience if you can make it there!”

Thanks Crystal!

Doula Services

Our birth doula services include, but are not limited to:

-2-3 pre-natal visits to discuss your wishes and concerns about the birth

-a meet and greet with a back-up doula

-2 free childbirth classes

-access to a lending library of over 20 pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding books

-meeting you at your home before you go to the hospital or before your midwife’s arrival

-continuous labour support from early labour to two hours after the birth

-use of pain reducing techniques such as, breathing, massage, submersion, visualization and position changes

-demonstrating to partner support techniques then assisting the partner in participating at his/her own comfort level

-postpartum visits to discuss the birth and offer breastfeeding support

-3 weeks of over the phone at any time (yes, even 3am) breastfeeding support

You can contact us at or