Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winterbelly Special! Infant Massage training for parents to warm up your baby's bits. Birthtalk! mom's group for you!

We will offer two winter sessions for Infant Massageon Mondays 6-7 pm.

February 28th-March 28th. 

All classes are held at the Birth Rhythms Studio in Oshun House.

Birth Rhythms will give 50% off this class to the first three moms who register before January 20th and include their birth story.

Each Infant Massage class is followed by our 90 minute Birthtalk! session. This group is designed as fun peer support for pregnant and new moms. We discuss a different topic each week and often watch birth and early parenting related videos. It is a drop-in class 7-8:30 pm for only $5. Come whenever you need some adult conversation and support from those who are going through the same phases of life!

I know there are many moms who have expressed an interest in Infant Massage, so I have tracked down an amazing teacher and a course that goes WAY beyond the basics for you. In addition to all the great research about increased mother-baby bonding, infant massage is now proving to be an excellent treatment program for mothers who are suffering from postpartum depression.

This is a hands on class for parents to learn how to safely and therapeutically massage their babies. You may come as a couple or alone with your newborn.

It consists of five 1 hour classes, once a week. Each class has a specific focus and covers a different body routine and concern ie: colic pains, growing pains, teething etc... Sunava will lead the class with a doll, and couples work on their babies.

You will need to bring a small bottle of natural oil( olive, , sunflower, shea butter etc..) If you wouldn't eat it you should not use it on your baby's skin!!

You need a blanket/and a change pad in case baby goes to the bathroom, as they are usually naked from the waist down. A copy of the book Infant Massage, A Handbook for Loving Parents by Vimala Schneider McClure is included in the class price. This is a great book and includes all of the pictures of the routines for the body.

The 5 week class is $150/couple.

Sunava Hintz has been an RMT and Doula in Saskatoon for 18 years.You can click here to read her bio.

To register contact Lisa at 612-3777 or email

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time to Plan Your Winterbelly Fun with Birth Rhythms!

Whether you need a refresher or an immersion into your choices around birth, we have a class for you.

Our Professional and Certified Doulas, Childbirth Educators & Massage Therapists provide:

Current, evidence–based childbirth information.
Useful coping skills & support techniques for all types of birth.
Private Birth Plan Consultations
Breastfeeding Success Strategies!
Compassionate Support Groups for PDD, VBAC and C-section Recovery
Complete doula Services
Fitness classes and more!

Winterbelly 2011 Schedule

Naturally Yours

Comprehensive  Childbirth Education Series

Tuesdays 7:00-9:00, 8 weeks $240/couple

January 18th – March 8th or March 29th – May 17th

Labour Intensive

Birth Support Skills Workshop for Couples

Wednesday 6 -10 pm - One Night Only $130/couple

January 12th, February 9th, March 9th, or April 13th

The BIG Stretch!

Birth focused strengthening, breathing and deep relaxation techniques.

Thursdays 5:45-6:45, $99

January 13th— February 24th or March 10th – April 21st


An electric movement and birth success class rolled into one!

Sundays 7— 8:30pm , $125 (women only)

January 16th– February 27th or March 13th - May 1st

Infant Massage

Mother baby bonding time and massage skills to last a lifetime.

Mondays 6-7pm, $125

January 10-February 7th or February 28th—March 28th

Birth Talk!

Pre & Post Natal Drop-In Night

Mondays 7-8:30pm,$5

January 10th– May 2nd

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Introducing....The Birth Rhythms Team (Day Three)

Carmen Emul CLD, Esthetician

I was inspired to become a doula by my cousin who was an aspiring midwife and gave birth to her three beautiful children at home. As we discussed birth, life, health and medicine, it became clear that our philosophies matched. I saw how beautiful and life changing birth could be. Although I haven’t given birth myself I feel that in the culture of fear we live in, people need to be given options and protection through the incredibly profound experience of childbirth. With my background in massage and aesthetics, it made sense to develop a holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth. Additionally, I’ve always had an interest in fitness and nutrition and think that if pregnant women incorporate these elements into childbirth, we can have healthier children, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

I completed my Birth Doula training through Mother Wellness in 2005. Being a part of a childbirth experience brings humility into my life every single time because I see how beautifully we were created and how wise our bodies are when we allow them to work. While I feel that medical intervention in the birth process has its place, there needs to be additional support and education for women who want to be aware of all of their rights and options and I wanted to be part of that. From my perspective, the ideal birth experience is hands-off, surrendering to the body’s wisdom. With all of the preparation in the world, at the end of nine months, give or take, the body will instinctually complete the whole process. Your body will know what to do. No two births will ever be identical; we all have our own stories. I educate people to trust the process, trust their bodies to do the job they were made to do.

Your body knows what to do.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Introducing ....The Birth Rhythms Team (day two)

Jude Hutchinson CBE, CLD

I feel in many ways that birth work found me, and not the other way around! After my first baby, I lucked out when a friend of mine was not able to get in to childbirth classes and so allowed me, with all my, ahem, sagacity, to teach her everything I knew. Surprise! She had a 24 hour, posterior baby labour (not fun), but loved it. I was hooked. Shortly after, I discovered a radical group right here in Saskatoon that was training people interested in providing an alternative to the city’s prenatal classes, and instantly I knew it was for me. I had my first doula experience (with a mom having baby number four) shortly after. (I think she coached me through!) Thirty years have flown by since then, along with countless hours of childbirth preparation and doula work. I still have to pinch myself as I witness the birth of a family, and the sacred journey of a new person to the planet. It never, ever, ever gets old.

As a mother of four and grandmother of two, I am passionate about families and birthing, and believe birth is one of the most rewarding and significant experiences of a woman’s life. To sum it up, I am a teacher, CAPPA certified Childbirth Educator and Birth Rhythms Certified Labour Doula who has been providing support services for the women of Saskatoon for 30 years.

“My goal is for the woman and her partner to feel that they received the knowledge, skills, attention, care, love, and support to empower them through the phenomenal process of birth. What a privilege to be part of it! ”

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Introducing.....The Birth Rhythms Team

I am so excited to officially welcome some amazing new members to Birth Rhythms! Each day this week I will post the bio of one of our new doulas.  I am just SO excited about what each woman brings to this practice and to the families we can reach together. I am humbled by the gentle, loving spirits of these women. If you are looking for a doula, perhaps, you will find her here.

Sunava Hintz RMT, CLD

As far back as I can recall I have wanted to work and live in community with women and babies. My early childhood was filled with such experiences. I grew up a child of the ‘70s and this entitled me to a new and juicy take on women’s rights, especially the right to birth in her own way. It was a time of rediscovering the tried and true methods of birthing, and empowering women throughout their pregnancy and birth. This was the foundation for my beliefs around birth and it led me to this doorstep I stand upon today.

My professional training as a massage therapist began in 1990, and continues to this day. I have training in a variety of soft tissue therapies such as Swedish and Thai massage, myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, hydrotherapy and passive joint mobility. I am trained in homeopathy which I see as a great benefit during pregnancy and labour, and therapeutic and quantum touch which are gentle energy healing techniques, as well as extensive yoga training. I have worked in a variety of settings including clinical and home based, and have instructed at a private massage college for 10 years before retiring to start my own family. I have been attending births since 1988, and studied with Gloria Lemay of Wise Woman’s Way of Birth doula training in 2000. I am currently enrolled as a student midwife with the Ancient Art Midwifery school....this is a lifetime process unfolding!!!

My motto in birth is that you can do anything you set your mind to given the right balance of support, trust and surrendering, one beautiful breath at a time!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Special Guest Blogger today!

As everyone starts to look toward fall and the civic year gets under way, we can all have a tendancy to over commit ourselves. Refreshed from the tempo of summer, we want to hang on to that vitality as autumn approaches.  New families and those expecting an additional child often find themselves trying to sqeeze in so many projects & purchases they forgo  planning  for the actual arrival of this new little person. Making time for yourselves to enjoy the pregnancy, and protect this special time really sets the tone for your early months of parenting. The Saskatoon Leisure Guide comes out today. It is chalk full of prenatal classes and childbirth education opitons for you.  Birth Rhythms has some new surprises for you.

Before you sign up, please check out the fabulous Kirsty Snowsell, and her new mom friendly blog.  Saskatoon moms have much to look forward to from her and her mompreneur spirit!

 A 'Working' Mother. Is There Any Other Kind?

Everyday I am grateful for the freedom to have a job I am passionate about, and while the dancing is AWESOME and the families are FUN, what I love most is being able to empathize and encourage everyone who crosses the studio threshold. Often I find myself saying to people, “...and on my ‘to-do-list’ of a million items I’d like to add this...” and then I have to go home and assess where “that” fits into my schedule. That being said, this post is for all you women out there striving to find balance in your professional and personal lives. I lose track of how many times a woman has bared her soul about how overwhelming the task of juggling life and raising a child can be...AGREED!  more...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birth Talk

So, you are pregnant or perhaps a new mom and you want to meet other women who are sharing the experience of parenting? Come out to our free pre and post natal mom's group!

Every Monday night we meet to watch videos and discuss important topics around birth and early parenting.

August 2nd: no group

August 9th: DVD: Birth Into Being

August 16: Diaper talk

August 23: DVD: Man in Labour...what if they had to do it? How can we advocate for change?

August 30: Open floor discussion night, bring a snack to share.

Birth Rhythms is located in Oshun House
202-912 Idywyld Drive

Parking in the rear. Enter by North door and go to second floor!

This will be a casual night. Great for a bit of a Birth Rhythms Reunion for those who have finished the classes in past years and would like to share their stories or just connect to some other moms! . Tea and treats provided, just drop a few loonies in the jar. Invite your friends!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Planning for the fall is underway!!

Some of you may know that last December my friend and doula partner of 7 years, Kari Hollingsworth left Birth Rhythms. It has been such a big transition from being a team to having to hold the deep vision by myself.  I have been moving forward in some exciting and big ways, but some days they serve to exaggerate that loneliness I feel. I miss her.

Kari and I were 'born' as doulas together. We attended our first births in the same year, 4 years before we ever met.  We both volunteered as doulas and held similar jobs talking to teens in the high schools and then landed in the same doula training course in 2003..  Just as I have seen women bond and go on to practice together in the course I now teach, Kari and I saw eachother's spirit.  Spirit sisters she calls it.  We served women separately in birth, came in as a back up when needed, and dreamed together of ways we could make doula care and better prenatal education available to women in Saskatoon. We loved the women so much we held classes that we never made a dime on. Why?  To make sure they had a chance to own their births.  To share with them the joys of childbirth, and tell them about the secret paths, the untold obstacles and that every birth where the woman is in control, is a victory and a miracle.

We did it. We loved the women together for seven years and things started to change. We needed more women to hold the vision, and to serve as doulas, but as the vision expanded life shifts for both Kari and I meant the end of a partnership.  Is it the end of that vision? No, surely not.  Is it the end of Kari and I serving women in birth, no again.  We are just called to do it differently now.

Kari continues to work as a doula privately in Saskatoon. We are dear friends.

Birth Rhythms has expanded its offerings to mothers and families to include comprehensive childbirth education, two fitness/labour prep classes and various pre and post natal support groups. Are we going to make a pile of money? No.  Are we going to be a part of the revolution to give birth back to women. YES!

I also have a new focus on expanding  access to doula services as we train new doulas more effectively and mentor them through an apprenticeship system so that they can establish their own work and reach more women with their unique gifts. There is nothing else like it in Canada. It is exciting to tell you that six women will be a part of this program this fall!  I will be posting about them and introducing you to them over the next two weeks.

August 15th our new website will be live and we are all looking forward to meeting you at our grand opening celebrations on September 19th.  I will post more on that next month but mark your calendars!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Doulas Play Key Role.- Star Phoenix Article!!!!

After more than 30 hours of labour to give birth to her first child, Brooke Graham was convinced she'd never have another.

During the birth she took every medication offered and later suffered severe postpartum anxiety.

Four years after her daughter's difficult birth, Graham became pregnant again. She was terrified. A counsellor suggested she hire a doula.

She'd never heard the term. "I thought, 'Whatever, we'll give it a try. It can't hurt,' " Graham said.

Now, after the birth of her son -- the "most empowering experience" of her life -- she's training to become a registered doula.

"It's the greatest secret ever kept," Graham said.

The term doula means "caregiver" or "woman of service." The loose translation Graham is most fond of is "mother of mothers."

Doulas provide non-clinical support or care before, during and after birth for the woman and her partner.

Lisa Wass began working as a doula before she knew what they were. In 1998 Wass left teaching and began working in mental health services. Her first client was pregnant. Three weeks later, she supported the young woman in labour.

"I realized that day that . . . every birth at our hospital was very much a part of the big birth machine," said Wass. "I wanted to advocate for women so they understood that they had choices."

A few years later she was in the library doing research when she met Debbi Mbofu, the province's first registered midwife.

"She said 'Oh, you're a doula.' I said, 'a do-what?' " said Wass.

Misconceptions about doulas abound.

"When I first started meeting clients and I'd come in and have a conversation they'd say, 'This is cool. You didn't come in waving incense and crystals,' " Wass said.

Doula work is anything but hocus pocus. Wass details the different angles used in child birth, how a position change could mean the difference between delivering the baby in a yoga position or relying on vacuum suction.

Though they can provide suggestions, doulas are not midwives. They cannot prescribe medications, do medical interventions or conduct clinical examinations.

A doula responds to the wishes of the expecting mother, whether that means an all-natural, at-home water birth, or a planned caesarean section.

"We provide resources so that they can make informed decisions," said Wass.

"Somehow I would love to dispel the myth that doulas are all hippies," Graham said.

Both doulas say they support the concept of a doula for every woman who wants one. For that to happen, more women must become doulas.

"We need a lot of different women. Variety is very important," said Wass.

Though diversity is desired, it's difficult to come by. The work is demanding -- once the doula arrives, there are no shift changes. Labour lasts on average between 12 and 20 hours. The maximum caseload is one to two births per month, and that means being on call 24 hours a day. It's too much for many doulas, which means turnover is high.

From 1998 until 2007 there were about five or six doulas taking clients in Saskatoon at one time.

Wass has since trained 45 doulas from Saskatoon and area. She's worked to expand services into northern Saskatchewan, and is one of a few doulas who travel around the province. She has also spearheaded the Prairie Birth Collective, an organization of doulas, hypnotherapists, birth educators and massage therapists.

Evidence shows that doulas' efforts work. Intervention rates drop drastically and epidural requests are reduced. Caesarean sections also drop by 30 or 40 per cent when a doula is involved, says Wass. Studies show a woman's birth experience directly relates to her experience mothering, and women have fewer instances of postpartum depression and problems breast feeding.

It equates to a cost saving for the health-care system, but it's up to the mother to seek out.

Doula care can cost on average between $300 and $1,000. In British Columbia, where demand is very high, people pay thousands of dollars. Because of the demand, and the results of a task force study that show the rates of intervention drop dramatically if a doula is present, B.C. has begun incorporating doulas into public-health programming.

Right now there are no plans to incorporate doula care into the health-care system in Saskatoon, where the focus is expansion of the year-old midwifery program, says Sheila Achilles, director of primary health services for the Saskatoon Health Region.

"We don't have the capacity to pursue bringing them on as employees," Achilles said. "We certainly are supportive of any mom who chooses to have a doula with her."

After more than a decade serving mothers and their partners, Wass says the medical community is finally responding positively.

"It's a huge shift in Saskatoon," said Wass. "We used to come into the hospital and they'd say 'You're a what? Your name's Abdula?'

"For a little while there was a lot of hostility, because there was that needing to define roles. But now, there's such a great understanding of what a doula brings to the birthing woman and how we can work as a team," she said.

Read more:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dads and Doulas

I am a 35 year old father of two beautiful, naturally birthed boys (4 years and 3 months). Our first child was born naturally in a hospital setting with the help of a doula. The experience completely validated our decision to include a doula in the process of pregnancy and birth. Especially for first time parents committed to learning about the natural birthing process, a doula is an absolute must. Our first experience gave us the confidence to have a home birth for our second child.

In preparation for our second child we needed a refresher on the natural birthing process and the many natural tools and techniques that can be employed to joyfully support the arrival of a new human into the world.

We came to Birth Rhythm for the Labour Intensive – Embracing the Beauty in Birth – hands on workshop for the refresher. WOW! It was exactly what we needed to re-engage with the tools and techniques we already knew of and to learn some new ones too! The most valuable thing we learned from the class was the distinction between the typical birthing process and the natural birthing process. The workshop was many things… hands on, educational, eye opening (especially for first timers), casual, friendly, respectful, and fun! The whole experience was extremely valuable to us.

My wife and I have a deep appreciation and respect for doulas. Our doula and the Birth Rhthym doulas have given us the key to the empowerment necessary to have a normal, natural and healthy birth experience.

For anyone who has never engaged with a doula, this workshop is a brilliant way to learn first hand how a doula empowers the birthing couple.

The experience was worth every penny.

I have the utmost appreciation, respect and gratitude for the Birth Rhythm team.

Aaron Chubb

-Saskatoon, SK

For more info read: 5 Reasons Dads Should Demand a Doula!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Doulas!

Congratulations to Jodi, Allison, Sarah, Ravenne and Kelsey for completing the Birth Rhythms Labour Doula training series tonite! It was over 40 hours of class time in the past 12 weeks but it seemed like it passed so quickly! Just short of having a baby, it is such a satifying feeling to see these women enter the Saskatoon Birth Support Community. They will serve women well with their diverse talents.

Look these gals up on Facebook! They call themselves the Birth Ninjas!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Schedule is Now Out!

Sorry I can't make it bigger. Click on the photo to read it, or print it off our facebook page!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Robbie's Birth Story

Robbie's birth story doesn't begin with a contraction, nor does it begin with his conception, it began several years ago when I became pregnant with our first baby. It was the summer of 2005. Dave and I were SO EXCITED to be expecting our first child. I had the usual first trimester nausea and fatigue, until one Sunday evening I went to the washroom and discovered I had started spotting. The following week was a blur of doctor's appointments, ultrasounds and tears. We heard the news we never, ever expected to hear...we had lost the baby. At 2:30am September 19th, 2005 I woke up in the guest bedroom on my inlaws house with intense cramping (we weren't living in Saskatoon at that point, but were there for work stuff). I ran to the washroom where I birthed my angel baby ('passing the pregnancy' sounds like such an awful term to me). I sat there for a few minutes, holding my baby in my hands. I sobbed until I had nothing left in me. I felt empty, I felt numb, I felt broken.

After the miscarriage Dave and I tried and tried and tried to conceive again. After seven painstaking months, we conceived again, a couple of weeks after our angel baby's due date. This time, we were terrified. I was OBSESSED with having a healthy pregnancy. I read, and worried and did everything I thought I should do in order to carry a healthy baby to term. We knew that Dave was not a 'medical' kind of guy, so hired a doula half way through my pregnancy. We prepared for the birth, but throughout that entire time, I carried this major fear that I was unable to carry a healthy baby to term. I didn't believe or trust in my body. I went to term, in fact I went over due. When I was a week overdue, I went in to labour. It wasn't the labour I had expected. I didn't trust my body, I didn't trust the process. After 3 days of labour and an epidural I finally gave birth to our beautiful boy, James. He was 10lbs 4 oz and 22 inches long and he was a very healthy baby :)

When James turned one, we decided we were ready to try for a second child. This time I knew my body was capable of growing a healthy baby, but I still lacked confidence in my body's ability to birth the way it was designed to do. From the beginning of my pregnancy I began preparing for the birth. We hired our doula again and decided to go with a midwife instead of a doctor. Throughout my pregnancy we had decided that plan 'A' would be a hospital birth, but if all was going well and we were comfortable, we would be open to a home birth. Again, my due date came and went. This baby was COMFY and NOT ready to come out. I knew this baby was going to be big. James was a big boy and there was no doubt that this one was going to be big too. We set up the birthing pool in our kitchen area so we were ready for when labour began. On Sunday, June 28th (11 days over due) I began nesting like a crazy lady! Of course, I didn't realize that I was nesting, I was just SO pissed off that this baby was still inside and needed to clean in order to get the anger out. My doula asked me if there was any doubts I was having and I told her that I didn't believe that I could do this. She told me to be positive for the rest of the day and to watch some home birth videos on YouTube. I watched them and bawled my eyes out. They were beautiful, I realized that I REALLY wanted to see my baby. I went to have my afternoon nap and woke up 2 hours later at 3:30pm feeling very rested and happy.

I got out of bed and felt like I had to go to the bathroom (I had eaten an entire watermelon the day before in an attempt to empty my bowels and stimulate labour...yes, I was DESPERATE!). I went to the bathroom and went downstairs to continue my nesting. All of a sudden I felt like I had to go to the bathroom again. I went, thinking nothing of it. Finally, after the third trip to the bathroom, I said to Dave "I think I'm having false labour again, I'm going in to the tub to see if anything happens". I grabbed a glass of water and my watch. As I sat in the bath I realized the contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes, lasting about 30-ish seconds, they weren't going away. At that point, I called my doula, she agreed that it sounded like labour and to call her when I needed her. I decided to give my midwife a call and while on the phone with her, I had a few contractions. She decided to come over immediately. Soon after talking to her, I called my doula and asked her to come over. During all of this, Dave was trying to fill the birthing pool and locate my mother-in-law to come get James (she was on the golf course, having an amazing game WITHOUT her cell phone).

My doula arrived and she helped me through a few contractions. It was obvious I was in active labour and was having a lot of trouble getting comfortable in the tub. We decided to move to the bedroom where I laboured on my hands and knees on my exercise ball. Once I moved in to the bedroom I did what I had been preparing so long for...I surrendered. I allowed my body to take over, I simply allowed it all to happen, I didn't fight it, I didn't analyze it, I just was. It was very primal, very raw, very real. It was amazing. My midwife arrived and checked the baby's heart rate, my blood pressure and checked my cervix. I was 6-7 cms with membranes bulging. She said everything was going really well, but this was the point at which we needed to decide whether to stay or go. We called Dave in (who was still trying to fill the birthing pool...he had managed to locate his mom, who had taken James to her house). After a quick discussion between contractions, we decided to stay at home. I felt SO confident in that decision. After our discussion, I went back into myself, simply allowing myself to surrender to the process. I remember at one point looking at our bedroom clock and it said "5:30pm", I thought to myself "I am going to have this baby in the next hour". At 6pm, my midwife checked me again because I had begun to bear down at the peak of my contractions. I was at 10cms with my membranes still bulging. My doula and midwife suggested that I move to the toilet to see if my membranes would rupture while I sat on the toilet. Sure enough, first contraction on the toilet, they ruptured, nice and clear! At that point I felt the ring of fire! Yup, that head was definitely there! I didn't freak out, I didn't think much about it, just continued to follow my body. I tried pushing on the floor, but felt I wasn't able to get my knees wide enough. So I climbed up on the bed and pushed while I laid on my side. At that point the secondary midwife had arrived and they were getting set up for the birth. As I was pushing I had my doula to my right, holding one leg, my primary midwife at the end of the bed, supporting my perineum and the secondary midwife cheering me on. I felt like something was missing. I said "I need Dave" (still filling the birthing pool....) so the three of them all screamed "DAVE!" and he raced in to sit on my left hand side. I recall that time stood still, an out of body experience. After 30 minutes of pushing, Robbie was born. His cord had been wrapped around his neck twice, but the midwife calmly removed it. He was placed immediately on my chest and we hung out and snuggled together. We let the cord finish pulsating and then I cut it. After delivering the placenta the midwives checked me over and told me that I had one small 'scratch' inside my vagina, no actual tears. After some bonding, they did the newborn exam. Robbie was perfect :) When they weighed him, we were all shocked. He weighed 11lbs 14oz and 23 inches long!!! The biggest baby that both midwives had ever delivered at home.

I had done it. Woke up in active labour and gave birth 3 hours later to an almost 12lb baby! I had my birth the way I had wanted it, the way I had NEEDED it. It completely changed me. It gave me confidence in myself that I never knew I had. Now I know who I am. Now I know what I'm capable of. I no longer doubt myself. I believe.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Promoting Midwifery Care for All Saskatchewan Women

May 5th is the International Day of the Midwife, a day that is recognized around the world as an opportunity to celebrate midwifery and to promote awareness of the care that midwives provide. On March 14, 2008, midwifery became a regulated profession in Saskatchewan, joining 7 other provinces and territories to offer a safe alternative to traditional physician care. Two years later, many people still do not understand the role of a Midwife and are not aware that midwifery care is an available option for some women.

• Midwives are specialists in normal birth, providing primary care for women and babies throughout pregnancy, labour, childbirth, and first 6 weeks postpartum.

• Midwives are able to do deliveries in hospitals or at home, and they are trained to provide immediate emergency care to the mother and newborn.

• Midwives provide women with information and options regarding their care, encouraging informed consent, and follow guidelines that determine whether a medical condition or complication indicates a need for physician consult or transfer of care.

• Midwives are able to order diagnostic tests and assessments, prescribe and administer many drugs commonly used in pregnancy, childbirth, and immediate postpartum period.

• Midwifery care reduces the rates of intervention including cesarean section, result in shorter hospital stays, increased success rates of breastfeeding, and reduce health care costs.

There are currently over 800 Registered Midwives throughout Canada, with over half of those in Ontario alone. Despite having the most Registered Midwives in Canada, the demand for midwifery services is so great that more than 40% of women seeking midwifery care in Ontario are turned away due to a full case load. Across Canada, almost all other provinces are experiencing the same difficulties with meeting the demand for midwifery services.

Despite the goal of Saskatchewan Health to make midwifery care accessible to all women in the province, full scope of midwifery services is only available to women who live within the Saskatoon city limits. The Saskatoon health region has only five Registered Midwives and due to the demand for services, these midwives are not able to accept clients outside of Saskatoon which leaves women in other communities and rural areas without access to midwifery care. Regina Qu’Appelle and Cypress health regions are in the process of recruiting midwives but services will be limited until more midwives are hired. Until the Saskatchewan Government provides funding for independent midwifery services, rural women will continue to have insufficient access to midwifery care.

In order for midwifery care be accessible to all women in Saskatchewan, funded Independent Practice is an option that must be considered. Although independent midwifery practice is a legal option in Saskatchewan, the midwife must first obtain liability insurance in order to be eligible for registration (legally allowing her to practice). Liability insurance costs $25,000 - 50,000 each year, in addition to all other business expenses such as emergency training courses, supplies, and equipment; a prohibitive amount of money for a midwife in independent practice. As well, until the Saskatchewan government provides funding for independent practice, clients must pay the midwife “out of pocket” for independent midwifery services, a service that is free for Saskatoon (urban) women. Midwifery service fees range from $2500 - $3100 per course of care. For those health regions that employ midwives, expenses such as liability insurance, supplies, equipment, emergency training courses, and office and clinic space are all paid for by the health region. These health regions also pay the midwives’ salaries so midwifery care is “free” to women in that area.

Obstacles to having midwifery care accessible to all women in Saskatchewan:

• Only four provinces in Canada offer university midwifery education programs, and Saskatchewan does not have one.

• A full range of midwifery care is only available to women within the city limits of Saskatoon at this time.

• Two other health regions are in the process of hiring midwives who will be limited in the care they can provide, such as providing care only to women who choose to birth in a hospital.

• Home birth with a Registered Midwife is not an option for women outside of Saskatoon.

• Rural women in Saskatchewan have no access to midwifery care and most women have to travel long distances to receive prenatal care and give birth in hospitals.

• The costs required for midwives to set up independent practice are prohibitive.

• Although Saskatchewan Health has provided funding for midwifery services, it is not known when ten of the 13 regional health authorities in Saskatchewan (including Saskatoon District Health Region) are planning to implement further midwifery care.

• Saskatoon’s midwifery program automatically discriminates against women who live rurally, but within the health district, by disqualifying based on their address. Thus more than half of the SDHR families who chose midwifery in 2008, before regulation went into effect, now have no access to this important form of maternity care. The SDHR has placed a hiring freeze in 2010 its midwifery program, even though the demand is high and waiting lists are long. There can be no waiting lists in maternity care. This makes it imperative to provide access to independent midwifery services now.

Submitted by Midwifery For All, a consumer group for the advancement of midwifery services in Saskatchewan. For more information contact Amy at or

Monday, April 26, 2010

Celebrating Birth Trust

May is the International Month of the Doula!

May 5th is International Day of the Midwife!

Birth Rhythms has trained 46 new doulas for Saskatoon and area to meet the demand for outstanding birth support.

We are joining a Birth Matters! celebration on International Day of the Midwife.

Where: Saskatoon
            Kiwanis Park Band Stand, by the  Bessborough Hotel
When:  1-3pm
           May 5th, 2010

How: Casual Picnic with face painting and belly painting done by volunteers.

Why: To show our Support to those women who get up in the night and come to our sides as we usher in new life.

We have invited all our past and current clients and would love to see everyone who is interested in Doula and Midwifery Care come out and show your support. Birth work is by its nature a very isolating profession. Woman with Woman one birth at a time. It would be so wonderful to see you all at the same time!

We would love to see lots of people and hopefully the event will be covered by the media.

Many Birth Rhythm Trained Doulas and other Members of the Prairie Birth Collective will be in attendance to answer your questions.

All are welcome!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Surgical Birth; been there, done that, now what?

Saskatoon has a wonderful ICAN chapter that supports women who have had a surgical birth and teaches others how to avoid one. With a local C-Section rate of 26%  in Saskatoon so many women are looking to connect with others who understand how surgical birth affects the mother, chid and family long term. 

Our local Chapter leader , Nicole Eramian , has had two Cesarean Births and holds monthly meetings to encourage others who are recovering and those who are planning a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean).You can find her in the ICAN database link below, or through her own website:
Inner Strength Doula Services. 

I have attached the ICAN April newsletter below for you to peruse below. 

Dear friend of ICAN,

Thank you for your continued support of ICAN's mission! In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month, I invite you to do something concrete to show your commitment to moms and babies everywhere. I encourage you to become an ICAN subscriber or renew your subscription by visiting the ICAN Bookstore or contacting your local chapter today.

Cesarean Awareness Month is the perfect time to subscribe to ICAN. In addition to reduced subscription rates, we will be offering three fantastic webinars, all of which are free to ICAN subscribers:

Cesarean Scar Care in the Post-Partum Period: Sunday, April 11 at 7 pm EDT.

ICAN Birth Class: Cesarean Prevention: Tuesday, April 20 at 9 pm EDT

ICAN Birth Class: Journey to VBAC, date TBA

We also encourage you to join us for an ICAN meeting live, online on Thursday, April 15 at 9 pm EDT.

As always, ICAN subscribers also receive the Clarion, ICAN's quarterly print newsletter and discounts to the ICAN Bookstore and the ICAN Conference. Professional subscribers enjoy a free listing on ICAN's Professional Subscriber Network, and Childbearing Years and Lifetime subscribers will receive a special mention in the next Clarion. Subscribers who participate in our online forums also receive public recognition by means of special ribbons every time they post.

ICAN is an all-volunteer organization working tirelessly to improve maternal-child health. Through the financial support of our subscribers, we have been able to:Provide support through over 130 chapters in the US, Canada and around the world, through our 1-800 number and through our online forums

Provide evidence-based information through our website

Increase awareness of cesarean and VBAC issues through our blog and social networking sites.

Offer live, interactive online webinars to educate health care consumers and professionals

Send ICAN representatives to our nation's capital to bring light to insurance discrimination due to cesarean as a "pre-existing condition"

Send ICAN representatives to conferences around the US to raise awareness of cesarean and VBAC issues

Thank you again for your support. Please let us know how you will be honoring Cesarean Awareness Month by sending an email to


Desirre Andrews

ICAN President

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Plan E: A Birth Story

Hi Lisa!

We have a beautiful baby girl named Cecilia Anne!! She is a pipsqueak and weighed just 6 lbs 4 oz. She was born on March 12, three days before my scheduled c-section.

Here's my story (the longish version) :

I went into labor at 1:30 am on March 12th. My water broke, but just in a tiny trickle (I went up to go to the washroom and was so tired that I wasn't sure if I was imaging things or not - seriously, there was just the tiniest trickle). I was having some contractions which were irregular, and felt like the cramps I used to get as a teenager. Uncomfortable but somewhat painful, but nothing crazy, I called Ros and talked to her. I was pretty sure I was pushing the panic button so I tried to go back to sleep or at least rest, in case I was in early labor. Contractions were still irregular, but I had a couple of batches that were quite close together and my water continued to break in small trickles. Mike took me to the hospital at 4:30. I was already 4 cm - oops! Guess I was in labor after all :).

The OB on call was Dr. Stewart, who does not do breech deliveries, but did train with Dr. Martel. She suggested that we wait for shift change and then Dr. Martel could do the delivery. However, she contacted Dr. Martel and unfortunately she couldn't come in due to personal reasons (she was supposed to be available). The resident did an ultrasound and the OB consulted with Martel, but baby was still not in a favourable position. So, I had a c-secction and baby arrived at 7:27 am. Boy things sure move fast at RUH. It makes your head spin. Fortunately Ros was able to join us in time for the section and was able to stay with us in recovery until she was off to see another one of her ladies who was having contractions!

We weren't able to keep much from our birth plan (basically, Mike was able to tell me the she was a girl). No to skin to skin (the OB said it's a sterile environment, so nope, and NICU said it was too cold in the OR). Ros unfurled her from her swaddle as soon as I was across the hall in recovery.

I wanted to thank you so much for your excellent classes. Mike and I both learned so much and your classes got us talking a lot about issues we never considered. We were able to prepare for our plan B (or E by my estimation), even though it was not an option we would have chosen for bringing Cecilia into the world. Not to say that I haven't had a few weepy moments about what we weren't able to do, but at the end of the day I really am okay with how things unfolded and was not traumatized by having a c-section ( as I am quite sure I would have been if it wasn't for your classes). It was also a lot less traumatic since Cecilia got to pick her birthday! It was very exciting to know that I was in labor and Cecilia was on her way to meet us. I know that a scheduled section would have been a lot more difficult for me to cope with.

Thanks again Lisa! If you ever need any testimonials for your website, please let us know!

I hope you had a good trip to the U.S. !

Keep in touch!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

5 myths about Homebirth

My Best Birth .com has a great post.  Click here to read it.

Much like the topic of homeschooling, when I am asked why would anyone have a homebirth, I turn the question around. "Why would anyone have a hosptal birth?"

For those of you who don't know me, I like to question the norms.  Let's pull on a string and see what unravels shall we?

Believing in Birth,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Childbirth Education Classes!!!!

Click on the image to read it:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We can create our birth experience

Oh boy, having just returned from attending a birth I have a hundred things going through my mind! But what I want to share is that over and over again I see the same thing in birth. What you bring in is what you get. Let me explain.

Every birth is so individual, so special in its own right. We have the power as women to decide what the first day and moments of life for our new family will be like. What I am learning in my work with birth is that the experience is actually determined long before you feel those first twinges and tightenings. Time after time I have seen strong women prepare themselves both mentally and physically for the birth experience they dersire and then I have the pleasure of witnesssing as they achieve those goals. There seems to be at least 2 factors involved. One, these women want to own their birth experience. They are not ready to just let it happen to them, they want to see the map, check out altenate routes to the destination and even pick up some tools and skills that will make the journey easier. Secondly, they act on their desires! They ask questions, face their fears, seek out other sources of information and truly desire to do what is best for them and the child to come.

This pre- determination of your birth experience occurs whether or not you invest yourself in the process. We all carry our preconceived notions of birth, pain, and parenting, We all drag our baggage along with us. We have those terrible or joyous birth stories that we have been told by other mothers swirling through our heads. We have our own issues around self confidence and trusting that our bodies can actually do this thing it was created to do.

Regardless of how you plan, intentionally or by default, your experience will bear that out in the end. Now, I am not saying that every women can plan herself a quick, painless, effortless birth. I am also not saying that things will always go the way you have planned. What I am saying is that when you plan you can handle whatever curve balls birth might throw at you with confidence.

A huge chunk of our birth experience depends on how we mentally process the things that are happening through us and around us. Any competitive athelte will tell you, physical preparation is vitally important, but the mental stamina to complete the challenge is just as important!

The first step is finding out what you don't know about birth that could influence how you prepare and the choices you will make for your child. Start by questioning the obvious. Challenge notions that have been accepted as truth. For example: Why do we feel 'pain' in birth? Sounds like a stupid question doesn't it? But, could our experience be a reflection of our expectations? I have seen the full spectrum of responses to the work a woman's body does during birth. They have ranged from intense pleasure to out of control writhing. The factors affecting these births all seemed to lay within the mother's mind. Her responses to the work. Her ability to flow with and relax into the experience all aided the coping with 'pain'. When we are prepared for the work ahead, when we realize that the work is really coming through us. Women seem to be able to tap into an amazingly deep well of strength and focus.

I am going to be posting some birth stories and reflections from women I have worked with at some point either prenatally or during their their births as a Doula. They are filled with wisdom. I hope they will help you to start asking yourself how you need to prepare. What do you really want from your birth ? What can you do? What is within your power to control and what is not?

Welcome to the journey.

Believing in Birth,

Lisa Wass

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Other Side of the Glass -- the trailer

The YouTube version of the fund raiser trailer is finished!! It is a very full ten minutes.

The other side of the glass

SO MUCH is in that ten minutes and so much yet to say! I actually am doing an 18 minute trailer that will be more inclusive, and will even be a stand-alone to just get the basic premises out there -- babies are conscious, fathers are also disempowered, it's not about where or with you give birth, but that they know that the baby is feeling and remembering the experience, so fathers must be re-trained to be protectors in the hospital.

It will be the first 18 minutes of the full film .... which will have the interviews of a wider spectrum of professionals and fathers, and will include a third birth, at home, where the caregivers do a necessary intervention, suctioning, while being conscious of the baby.

The 18 minute video is going to be available soon for a minimum donation of $15.

It is designed for women and men to present to their caregiver -- midwife, nurse, or doctor; and for childbirth educators, midwives and doctors to show to expectant men and women. It will provide the basic information men and women need to have to make birth safer -- wherever they give birth.

This final version will include the science needed to advocated for delayed cord clamping, and the science that shows when a baby needs to be suctioned and addresses other interventions. Experts in conscious parenting will teach how to be present with a sentient newborn in a conscious, gentle way -- especially when administering life-saving techniques.

The goal is to keep the baby in the mother's arms so that the baby gets all of his or her placental blood and to avoid unnecessary, violating, and abusive touch and interactions. When we do that, whether at home or hospital, with doctor or midwife, the birth is safe for the father. The "trick" for birthing men and women is how to make it happen in the hospital.

With the information in the film, a father can defend this critical need of his baby's without any doubts.

Finally, and very importantly, most of us were born surrounded by people who had no clue about how aware and feeling we were. This trailer triggers a lot of emotions for people if they have not considered the baby's needs and were not considered as a baby. The final film will include detailed and profound information about the science-based, cutting-edge therapies for healing birth trauma.

Monday, January 04, 2010

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