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What everyone should know about Caesarean birth

The following is written by Dr. Sinéad Dufour, PT PhD, our a pelvic health physiotherapist at The WOMB and professor at McMaster University. She is also the proud mom of twins and gave birth by Caesarean birth under the advisement of her obstetrician. Since then, Dr. Sinéad has come to understand the health implications of caesarean birth and has an important message to share with women: one that she wishes she had known 5 years ago when she gave birth to her twins.

I first met my Obstetrician when I was 15 weeks pregnant. Since I was pregnant with twins it was suggested that my perinatal care be provided by the “high risk” OB in town. In this first (very brief) meeting, I was reassured that so far things looked good, but given I had not yet had children it would be in my babies’ best interest, particularly that of baby B, to be delivered via Caesarean section.

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At this time in my life, I was over half way through my PhD, so my inquisitive mind needed to know, “what is the evidence to substantiate a C- section? Is it in the BEST interest of baby B”? 

In response, I was given a somewhat detailed answer pertaining to a recent five-year research trial that determined consistently poor outcomes for baby B when delivered vaginally. I accepted this, agreed to the recommendation and as I left my appointment, I was given a card with my scheduled Caesarean section date indicated. In a way, it was a bit of a relief. My trust in our health care system at the time translated to me not giving much thought to the type of birth I would have.

However, I am most grateful (especially now!) that my naturopathic doctor did. In addition to helping me conceive, she ensured that “despite my impending Caesarean section”, I would be armed with the best possible health strategies for my future children.

What did she mean? She was talking about the microbiome. Birth through the vaginal canal is the time when a baby ingests some of the first bacteria that will colonise its gut. But babies born by caesarean birth miss out on this process, and end up with a different set of bugs – including some from the hospital environment.

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Tons of studies have found evidence that this C-section microbiome could make the child more vulnerable to problems later in life, such as asthma, food allergies and even obesity. We are finally coming to understand how important the collection of bacteria in our guts is for our health.

It is only now that I understand how important certain aspects of her plan were – probiotics!! My children are now five years old and it’s only in the last two years that I’ve given more thought to how they were brought into the world, and how I was duped by the very care system in which I work. In retrospect, I was not given accurate information on what was in my babies’ best interest. Rather, I was offered a recommendation based on a biased perspective, one that medicalizes birth, disrupting our precious evolutionary fabric in the process.

My increasing knowledge and understanding of the microbiome has stemmed from one of the many hats I wear – a professor of pathophysiology at McMaster University. Simply put, the scientific evidence is now very clear: a well-functioning microbiome is the key to health – it represents the foundation and the evolutionary matrix that allows us to exist. This important new research SHOULD be transforming our health care approach, especially as it relates to perinatal care. Almost one third of babies born in North America are now birthed by caesarean. These babies can still receive the microbes they’re missing — and hopefully some of the health benefits —

explaining how the microbiome is the future of medicine. Colonization of the intestine with important bacteria begins at birth, mainly due to transfer of bacteria from the mother, but also from the environment – to which the influences are many. Mode of birth, place of birth, breastfeeding and antibiotic use have been clearly demonstrated to influence the composition of the microbiota.

So, what exactly are the implications regarding Cesarean birth? We still don’t have all the answers. What we do know, is that when your baby’s gut is colonized by the micro-organisms in the hospital operating room rather than from you, it doesn’t bode well for the long term health of your child. More disturbing is the fact that this is now understood to have a multi-generational effect.

So, what can we do with all of this information? Our conventional practices that medicalize birth require a major upheaval. It is not to say we never need medicalization – of course there are times when medical intervention saves lives. This is where our current systems approach shines. However, the pattern of routine unnecessary intervention is a big issue and frankly the health of our population is suffering as a result.

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Regardless of where you fit in the perinatal care process, you need to be informed. Beyond being informed, you need to be supported and empowered to make the best decisions. Thankfully our bodies are designed to adapt towards a state of wellness. We do however need the correct guidance on how to get there in a world of conventional practices that are hazardous to our health. I am so grateful to now be working with an incredible team in a one of a kind centre called The World of my Baby (the WOMB), who can provide this much needed help.

Why You Might Want to Try Acupuncture During Pregnancy

By Dr. Amy Dobbie, Naturopath

acupuncture and pregnancyWith all the testing, poking and prodding, therapies and preparation, it seems like there are so many things "to do" or try in pregnancy. What about acupuncture? Clients have experienced the most amazing results just from those wee needles we use! Here are the most common questions I am asked in my practice as a naturopathic doctor.

“I’ve heard acupuncture helps in pregnancy – is this true? Is it safe?” 

My answer is always YES! Acupuncture is completely safe during pregnancy, and is proven to be extremely beneficial and effective. In the first trimester it helps to maintain a pregnancy, nourish the body and alleviates early symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and heartburn. Later, the aches, pains, constipation and swelling that go along with pregnancy can be greatly alleviated by acupuncture treatment as well.

One of the most important times to have acupuncture during pregnancy is the third trimester, to help prepare the body for labour. Routinely, I recommend a set of pre-birth acupuncture points, and add in specific points based on individual needs.

How does it work?

Pre-birth acupuncture prepares a woman’s body for labour by tonifying and nourishing the body. The acupuncture points help to relax and soften uterine ligaments and bring blood flow to the pelvis. This encourages the baby to descend into the birth canal in the proper position, while preparing the cervix to soften and dilate and the uterine muscles to effectively contract when needed.

What are the benefits?

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o Increased likelihood of spontaneous labour around due date, meaning reduced likelihood of induction
o Reduced risk of medical intervention (C-section, forceps, epidural, etc.)
o Faster, easier birth (on average, 1.5 hours shorter)
o When acupuncture has been done routinely, there is an increased effectiveness of natural “induction” acupuncture.

When should a woman begin pre-birth acupuncture?

She should start weekly 30 minute treatments, beginning at 36 weeks, and continuing until her due date.

If I am overdue, will acupuncture help induce me?

Yes, additional acupuncture points can be added if you are past your due date to: help your baby engage into the birth canal, gently promote cervical softening and dilation, and strengthen birth sensations (contractions). These treatments can be done more frequently (every 1-3 days) until labour begins.

Acupuncture also helps to build energy and calm anxieties and frustrations, which often arise when a woman is past her due date.

Does acupuncture help with turning breech babies?

Yes. Often I will combine acupuncture with moxa (herbs heated over specific acupuncture points) to encourage babies to move to the proper position.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Typically no. Most people find acupuncture relaxing, and often fall asleep during the treatment. It is normal to feel some heaviness or warmth around points, but generally acupuncture is quite painless.

Does acupuncture cause pre-term labour?

No. Specific points are avoided until your due date, as they are known to promote labour. The points used for pre-birth acupuncture will not bring on early labour.

Why should I see a Naturopathic Doctor for this treatment?

Aside from acupuncture, I help women prepare for labour using other therapies such as homeopathics, herbs, supplements, hydrotherapy and hands on techniques. I always teach women how to apply acupressure at home and how to use these points as comfort measures during labour. Diet and lifestyle will also be discussed to ensure you are healthy throughout the remainder of your pregnancy and the post-partum period.

The other major benefit of seeing a Naturopathic Doctor is all of my treatment plans are tailored to your specific needs. We will discuss your questions about labour and birth, post-partum, breastfeeding, vaccinations, etc. and review your family history to make sure that your baby has the best possible start to life! I can even become your baby's primary health care provider!

Dr. Amy Dobbie is the Naturopathic Doctor at The WOMB - The World of My Baby. Dr. Amy works with all members of the family but holds pregnancy, women's health and paediatrics close to her heart.

Visual Development in Infants

What can my baby really see?

Parents often ask "What can my baby see?". The truth is, we are not born with eagle eyes. In fact, we are all born with our eyes slightly out of focus. Through a process called emmetropization, our eyes strive to become perfectly focussed over the first few years of life (of course, this process often goes astray and even infants and toddlers can end up needing glasses!). Babies also need to learn how to coordinate their eyes together and how to interpret visual cues from the wonderful and interesting world around them.

babyglasses2Here is a brief guide on what you can expect from your child's visual system in the first year of life!

Birth to 3 months
Your baby can only focus about 8-10 inches from their face. So don't go making googly eyes at your baby from across the room! High contrast objects are the most interesting at this stage so be sure to your show baby objects with lots of contrasting colours and shapes. Your baby may be especially drawn to stripes!
Your baby is still figuring out how to coordinate their two eyes together so don't be surprised if once in a while they look cross eyed. This should correct itself within the first few months after birth. However, if your baby's eyes look misaligned constantly or very frequently, a visit to your eye doctor is warranted.

3 to 6 months
Hand-eye coordination is starting to develop. By 3 months, your baby should be able to follow a moving object and reach for an interesting toy. By 5 months, it is believed that infants have developed colour vision similar to an adult. Visual acuity is rapidly developing and by six months your baby should be better at seeing objects and faces from a distance. Six months is also the perfect time for your baby to have their first eye exam! Don't worry, the optometrist will not be asking your baby "Which is better '1' or '2'?". The doctor will check to make sure your baby's eyes are aligned properly, that there are no significant refractive errors and that the eyes are healthy. A problem with any of the above could prevent your baby's visual system from developing normally.

7 to 12 months
Your baby is becoming mobile which further helps to develop hand-eye-body coordination. Depth perception is developed and your baby is becoming better at judging distances. Your baby can also firmly grasp and throw objects. Another important milestone is the pincer grasp which involves fine motor control and careful hand-eye coordination. Give your baby some cheerios to practice!

Your baby's visual system undergoes rapid developments and changes in the first year; much like your baby is quickly learning, growing and changing. Cherish every moment you have staring into your baby's big, beautiful eyes, even if it's in the middle of the night.

Dr. Kelly Gallagher, OD
Optometry On Bronte

Feeling Angry At Your Baby?

You are not alone!

“He’s fast asleep after rocking & wakes up when I put him down. The process can literally last hours…rock, sleep, move to bed, wake…and most often when I have a list of 100 things to do before I go to bed”

angrybabyWhen I had my first baby, I thought I would never be “one of those moms who got angry”. It didn’t take long before I was startled by the intense frustration that comes from trying to be a mom to an unpredictable, often difficult to understand, little human. I felt guilty & embarrassed. How could I be angry? This isn’t the mom I thought I would be!

Most people are told to expect to feel tired, maybe a little lost, even frustrated, but there seems to be a taboo around admitting that sometimes, moms feel downright angry towards their babies! Yes, we all know that it’s not “logical” and baby isn’t doing it on purpose, but the reality remains that sometimes moms are pushed to their limits, and they feel angry!

I compiled this list from previous clients and moms from my Emerging Mothers group to help other moms, feel less isolated. I asked moms, “ Which situations make you well up with anger and frustration?” Here it is, in their words !

“Mama needs 30 seconds to pee, talking to you the whole time, calm the heck down”

“I am angry when baby is angry with a “not-so-obvious-reason”. For ex 45 minutes after sleep, scream and kick…holding her or rocking is no use… Makes me angry but two angry people usually make the situation worse… Trying to stay calm”

“Very early morning wake ups and short naps!

“Throwing food on the floor (repeatedly)”

“Poopy diaper just as we are heading out the door”

“Pooping the second his butt hits the mattress after being nursed/rocked to sleep for what is supposed to be a long nap, after a long (long) night of sleep training, when mama was going to try to sleep.”

“When he falls asleep on your shoulder after 20 min of rocking and as soon as you put him down in crib he wakes up and is smiling”

“When he’s extremely tired but just fights going to sleep even though he’s yawning and rubbing eyes tons”

“When things start improving in a certain area (whatever it may be) and then all of a sudden, bam, it’s back to being craptastic. Mmhmm. Yep. False hope/ teasers make me an angry mama.”

As a coach for new moms, I talk to lots of moms who feel angry. Moms want help coping with frustration in ways that help them feel more in control. I help moms find ways to cope, that they might not have thought of! Sometimes, it’s hard to find that gentle acceptance or to think clearly about a particular situation. Having someone to talk though your feelings with, and coming up with a plan, can make all the difference. If you are tired of feeling like you are often at the end of your rope, let’s connect! We will find ways for you to feel more self-compassion, and gain insight into why you are feeling this way. Book a time or call me, Nelia. No judgment here – I promise 

Nelia DeAmaral, CLD, HBsc, YNC., has been a Personal Coach, Yoga/Mindfulness teacher & Certified Doula for over 20 years. Her approach is a creative and personalized blend of mindfulness practices, mind-body awareness, and concrete solution-focused coaching.

Nelia is a Certified member of CAPPA Canada and a published author (Bearing Witness, Joyful Birth, Lamaze: Giving Birth With Confidence& Sage Magazine). She has a degree in Psychology and specialized training in solution-focused counseling, perinatal depression, anxiety, birth trauma healing, and perinatal bereavement. She is also a trainer offering professional development locally & internationally on utilizing mindfulness-based strategies to help facilitate change. Book a session with Nelia by booking online or calling The WOMB at 905.842.2434. 

Choosing the Right Prenatal Vitamin

vitamins during pregnancyPregnancy is an exciting, but often overwhelming time for new moms like you. There is so much to learn about your changing body, growing baby, birth and labour, not to mention preparing for parenthood. It is also a time where moms are more conscious about making healthy food choices to be strong and healthy to support the new life growing within. One of the most crucial parts of having a healthy baby and body during pregnancy is making sure you are getting the most out of your prenatal multivitamin.

When choosing your prenatal look for the following 3 criteria:
1. Adequate Nutrient Levels: AKA how much of each nutrient is found in the daily dose.
2. Excellent Absorbability: Different forms of vitamins are better absorbed than others. This is especially important for moms with digestive issues or food sensitivities, who may have difficulty breaking down and absorbing nutrients. Read below for which forms are best.
3. Few Fillers & Additives: Found under “non-medicinal ingredients”. Choose a prenatal with as few additives as possible to prevent passing on these harmful ingredients to baby.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A is important for the immune system, skin health and development of vision, however, high levels of vitamin A (over 10, 000IU) are known to be harmful during pregnancy. Choose a multi with low or moderate amounts of Vitamin A. Synthetic vitamin A is very poorly absorbed, so look for animal (retinol) or vegetable (beta-carotene) based sources. If you were or are a smoker, beta carotene supplements are best avoided entirely as they can increase a smoker’s risk for lung cancer.

Folic Acid vs. Activated Folate
Folic acid/folate is one of the most important parts of a prenatal multi to prevent neural tube defects (NTD). Since adding this to all prenatal vitamins, there has been a large decline in NTDs. However, over 50% of our population has a defect, ranging from mild to severe, in the MTHFR gene, which is responsible for activating folic acid into it useable form of methylfolate. When this gene isn’t working at its best, folic acid cannot be activated and used by the body. Methylfolate is essential for methylation – a process used to promote detoxification, produce neurotransmitters and hormones, create energy, repair cells, etc. MTFHR defects are common in women with recurrent miscarriages and infertility and are linked to mood disorders, pre-eclampsia, Autism, Down Syndrome, heavy metal toxicity and cardiovascular disease. Testing for the MTFHR gene is an option, but another great choice is to always opt for activated folate (5-methyltetrahydrofolate) when choosing a prenatal.

B Vitamins
Our B-vitamins are essential in methylation, much like methylfolate, and assist in development of baby’s nervous system while supporting your own energy and stress levels during pregnancy. Choosing activated forms of B12 (methylcobalamin) and B6 (pyridoxal-5’-phosphate) ensures your body absorbs and uses these B vitamins effectively.

Vitamin D
D3 (cholecalciferol) is your best-absorbed form of vitamin D and is an important part of a prenatal multi for Canadian women. It is difficult to get enough of this important nutrient through the sun during Canadian winters, so ensuring your prenatal has at least 1000 IU will protect you and baby. Building adequate vitamin D stores before breastfeeding is also important, as we know breast milk is commonly deficient.

Calcium & Magnesium
These minerals are important for bone, teeth, musle and nervous system development. Citrate, malate and glycinate forms are better absorbed than carbonates, sulphates or oxides.

Constipation is a common complaint in pregnancy, and iron supplementation can make constipation worse. If this is true for you, choosing an iron glycinate or heme iron tends to cause less digestive upset and is better absorbed.

Still feeling overwhelmed about choosing your multi? Use this easy chart to compare common brands, or consult with one of the Naturopathic Doctors at The WOMB to help choose which is best for you and your baby.

Prenatal Comparison Chart

What the heck is the hype about Kombucha?

Kombucha 72981pp w751 h494Kombucha is a fermented tea with its origins in Asia over 2000 years ago. It is only recently gaining popularity in North America. Kombucha is made by adding black tea and sugar to a SCOBY or "Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Fission Yeast." The SCOBY is similar to the Mother found in vinegar. The SCOBY proceeds to ferment the caffeine and sugar into a fermented beverage rich in B vitamins, probiotics, and glucaric acid, a compound which has been shown to have anti-cancer activity; as well as other beneficial compounds like antioxidants. 
Kombucha contains glucosamines, which increase hyalaouronic acid production in our joints. This leads to the building of more cartilage and as a result, people with arthritis have anecdotally noticed improved joint symptoms. 
Because of the probiotics and beneficial yeast present in kombucha, it leads to improved digestion, protecting against candida (a harmful yeast one excess), mental clarity and mood stability. Probiotics also support the immune system, and along with other antioxidant compounds found in kombucha, this beverage is believed to be very immune-supportive.
Kombucha is fairly simple to make and each batch causes a doubling of the SCOBY, so if you have a friend that makes kombucha, they likely have a SCOBY they can give you. The initial batch of tea takes roughly 10 days to brew based on moisture and heat conditions in your home, and some people choose to then do a second ferment where they bottle the kombucha with fruits or herbs to add a flavour to it. The second fermentation also results in carbonation similar to pop, making it an appealing beverage to children. 
Your local health or grocery store likely contains several kombucha flavours worth trying; or get adventurous and attend a kombucha workshop to learn how to make your own. (Coming up November 28th, 2015! Call us to reserve your spot!)
By Erica Robinson, Naturopathic Doctor at The WOMB

The Passage of Time After a Loss

My experience of loss and love

Day 1.

A woman screams. Not from the physical ache of birth but from the emotional pain of being told that her baby has died. And I am so, so, sorry for her pain. The tears begin to spring from my eyes and I realize that the woman I am looking down upon is me.

I lay upon a hospital triage bed while my midwife and nurses try to find my baby’s heart beat with what I falsely believe is faulty equipment. My hopes rise as the OB asks Troy, my husband and partner to come stand behind the ultrasound screen to watch. But then she asks if I’ve been drinking alcohol or taking street drugs. I am nervous at what this line of questioning is getting to. Of course I haven’t been doing either! But regardless of my squeaky clean record, the ultrasound machine declares “fetal demise”.

I beg to be put out under general anaesthetic so that the baby can be taken from me and I can pretend that this has never happened. Wouldn’t it be easier if I could erase the last eight months?! But…but…The wise, kind women who surround and support me, begin to bring life to images of my child that I will give birth to. They remind me that my baby will be stillborn but my baby will still be born

In that moment, I feel hope. Who is this little one that stirred inside me? What will we name him or her? Will my baby look like me or Troy or both of us? Love, love, love grows and grows and grows inside me until I feel like I will explode.

babyfeet bwAt 7:50pm on a Monday evening, I meet my little girl for the first time and I am so in awe of her. We name her Kierin Alexis and hold her, dress her and take photos so we can remember every single fleeting moment. Family comes and shares tears and smiles with us. And time passes until we have to let her go and say goodbye.

1 year.

I’ve missed a year of your life. I have imagined you in my dreams, the beautiful little girl you would be. No longer an infant but a toddler – standing, walking, giggling. It breaks my heart over and over to know I’ve missed these things. A woman once said to me, “At least you didn’t have to hear her laugh or see her smile and lose all that.” And my response, if I had had the strength, would have been, “At least you got to hear her laugh and see her smile and experience all that.” Is there a good time for loss? No. It hurts at 6 weeks gestation, it hurts at 32 weeks gestation and it hurts at 5 months old.

Sometimes I feel like a yo-yo going up and down, side to side, and all around with emotions. It’s September again, your birth month, and all those desperate emotions I had in the beginning have come flooding back. I can feel it in the air – the news, the television premieres, the Indian summer and the way the sun sets. It is an all too painful reminder of our loss and a reminder that this pain will never go away. And that is okay because then I will never forget you.

A year ago when I eulogized you, I was in shock. I should be grateful for that because I could not allow myself to feel that depth of sorrow all at once. Over time, the Universe, God, has given me a little more and a little more to handle. Sometimes, like at 6 months, that little bit seemed too much though. Life didn’t exist without you in my every waking thought. There wasn’t a day that didn’t go by without tears. The ifs, the whys, the hows!!! And then slowly over the next six months again, I began to discern some of these - even sometimes realizing that there really is no reason at all.

Time went by and before I knew it, I really could smile and laugh again. I could remember you, my daughter and not cry at the very mention of your name. I could delight in your memory – the tons of hair adorning your head, the big hands that proved to us somehow that you wouldn’t always be so little, and most of all, the immense love you brought us.

“The mention of my child’s name may bring tears to my eyes,
But it never fails to bring music to my ears,
If you are really my friend,
Let me hear the beautiful music of her name,
It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul.”– author unknown

2 years.

There is another baby growing in my tummy! I can’t help but compare every little thing about this pregnancy with my pregnancy with you. How much nausea I feel, how tight my pants fit right from the beginning, how much my breasts have grown. I asked your daddy the other day, “Are we going really going to get a baby out of this?” He could only reply, “I don’t know.”

I have dreams of blood and miscarriage and forgetting to take care of my baby. No one helps me when I scream for help. At first I was on cloud 9 and so happy to be out of the “trying to conceive” hell that I forgot everything else – I even “forgot” about you. I want to cry and scream at myself for the neglect I feel for you not being in my every thought but people tell me that you are happy for me, that my little angel is giving me a big hug and exclaiming, “Yay Mommy!” Twenty three weeks to go. This is going to take forever.

We knew right from the beginning that this was going to be your brother. The ultrasound technician confirmed it for me though because I need to bond with this little one before he is born. You know, “just in case”.

Daddy had often said in our hurry and haste to get pregnant again, “Kierin is looking for the perfect sibling to send us.” Well I am glad that he is on his way! This little boy kicks A LOT and that is the most reassuring feeling in the world. I am going to do this. I am going to have a baby. Just because my belly has dropped at 37 weeks doesn’t mean low amniotic fluid, right? Oh man, I’ve become one neurotic mama! Please God, just keep my son safe.

DadMom bw4800And he was. Born safely and strong early on a Saturday morning – our Roan David Griffin.





14 years.

14. The number of years it has been since I gave birth to you.

14. The number of years I’ve looked at my clock at 9:17 (the month and day of your birth) and said in my head or whispered aloud, “Hi Kierin"

14. The number of years I have never forgotten you, and the number of years I have had to ponder and understand your passing.

I have reached out to wise women, shaman, counsellors and groups. I’ve read articles and studies about loss in detail that could make me a forensic scientist. I’ve talked to you as an angel and as a gravestone and sat in meditation, listening to my deep intuition. All to get answers to the whys. But the one consistent message that I keep getting is that you stayed with me as long as you could. There was an agreement between our souls. Maybe it was in order for me to go on and have 4 other children in my life. Maybe there was no fucking reason at all.

But it is not just me and Daddy now remembering you. Your 3 brothers and 1 sister talk about you all the time, as if you are here – because you ARE a part of our family. From the moment they were each born, they knew about you and we celebrate your birthday every year with cupcakes and a family picture at the place you are laid to rest. Your siblings also often ponder what it would be like to have their older sister here on earth. The boys say that you would be an annoying teenager that only wants to talk to her friends and play on her iPad. Your sister says that you would play dress up and barbies with her. I think they are all right.

I think your intention was love. People are often puzzled when I say that the day you were born was the worst and the best day of my life. It was as if I gave birth to my heart that day. You were my past, my present and my future and in the beginning I felt like I lost them all. But I realize now that I didn’t lose any part of them – they were all a part of me. They wrote my story - one so rich in love and hope that it inspired a career change in me to become a doula. One that inspired a friend who previously didn’t want children to open her heart and feel it grow so enormously that she birthed two beautiful children at home. One that inspired me to support other women experiencing loss. One that inspired me to look into my own spirit and embrace my own weaknesses.

Kierin taught me love. She taught me life. She taught me family. She taught me forgiveness

I didn’t just experience loss. I experienced love.

Angie Stenback, is the mother to Kierin, Roan, Gavin, Kale and Neive. She is also a birth doula, childbirth educator, fitness trainer and co-founder of The WOMB.

Beasts of Burden

Dangers of Improper Backpack Use

backpackThose last few days of summer are quickly coming to an end and school is about to begin which means that families are gearing up for busy schedules, homework, after school activities and the hectic pace of our second millennium lifestyles.  To insure that your child has a healthy and successful year, it will be important for them to have their back aligned and balanced and on track. Here is some information that will help you. 

Every activity affects the spine.  Contact sports, playing an instrument, sitting down and studying, and paying attention in class are all important for a successful school year and they all require a healthy spine and nerve system.  We take for granted that when our child is sitting in class listening to a teacher that they listen through their ears, process the information in their brain, while a signal is sent down through their spine through their fingers so that they can write, add or draw. If a child is playing an instrument, we often hear the instructor or conductor tell them to sit up straight. This requires a healthy spine with good alignment, clear nerve supply and strong muscles.

When we watch our kids participating in sports we often cringe at the intense beating that their spines take when they are hit by another person or twisted through their activities. Keeping their spine aligned and balanced is crucial for them to be able for them to enjoy a healthy and successful year and have a healthy spine for a lifetime. 

• Children make 775,000 visits to the emergency room each year because of sports-related injuries.  • Every 2 ½ minutes a child is injured on a playground.  150,000 kids are treated in the emergency room for football injuries. Many of these injuries are accompanied by trauma and damage to the child’s developing spine and nerve system.

• More than 40 Million students carry school backpacks.  Backpacks that are too heavy or worn incorrectly can injure your child’s back, neck and shoulders, which can lead to other health problems. • Heavy backpacks, playground and sports injuries can cause non-structural or functional scoliosis, an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine that typically appears in early adolescence. This type of scoliosis is not caused by a structural spine abnormality, but develops as a result of misalignment and pressure on the spine and nerve system. Functional scoliosis often can be corrected by addressing the underlying condition.

Millions of other kids injure their spine and remain symptom free until later on in life when the damage becomes more permanent. This can be avoided with regular chiropractic care.

British medical researchers have found through MRI technology that nearly 10% of children show signs of disc degeneration (arthritis) before reaching puberty.  Disc degeneration is a condition in which a damaged spinal disc wears down unevenly causing pressure on the nerves which can limit activity levels, stamina, and quality of life as we age. We tend to think of this disc degeneration as a sign that we are getting older but this is not the case. It is a sign that the spine has been injured which can happen at any age.

A simple examination can determine if your child’s spine is on track or off track.  Chiropractic care can keep your child’s spine and nerve system healthy and insure your best school year ever.

DianePassionate for babies and belly bumps, Dr. Diane Meyer is a sought after expert in Chiropractic care amongst Mothers to be and their babies. Mom to four fabulous and holistically raised children, Dr. Diane lives the Chiropractic principle that health comes from the inside out.  Dr Diane is the head chiropractor at The WOMB and has been in practice for 20 years.

The Rebirth of Cool:

Barber shops are back, baby!

Cabin Logo Final sm So what’s wrong with a hip, cool, unisex salon? Well, if I’m being honest, nothing, but it’s nowhere as “right” as a traditional men’s barber shop. I’m talking about a men’s sanctuary, a place to check-out, hang-out, clean up, have conversations and be surrounded by like minded guys doing what us guys do, without compromise or apologies. For far too long, we have lost that sense of exclusivity. We were forced to share territory with our lady friends in environments that were less than manly. We lost that place to call our own.

Thankfully, as with most things, we’re on our way to full circle in a trends lifecycle. Men’s grooming shops, traditional barber shops and men’s social clubs are popping up all over the place. Why is this a good thing?

Beyond the obvious, this return to cool helps us guys maintain or improve our appearance, and helps us clean up and stay sharp, which goes far in building confidence, social status and personal presentation. The beauty of this resurgence is we get to do so in our new favourite hang out, our own little secret, a place we can call our own where we can meet up for a coffee, beer or check the game highlights. It’s not a bar or nightclub…it’s local, it’s part of our community and it’s a place to drop in, bring our boys, form friendships and tell lies.

These new shops are not exactly a throwback from the Fifties where you’d be betting the ponies, checking out a Playboy and eating meatball sandwiches. Shops have evolved, environments are typically clad in all things "guy", from the mounted moose head or deer antlers to the retro photos from back in the day…with some fine points of difference. Add in premium grooming products from talcs, lotions, beard oils and razors, to fine lifestyle accessories like socks, ties, cuff links, and in some cases cigars and smoking accessories. If the shop is “all things guy” you could see a line of well curated camping supplies, cool office pieces and even food & beverage products like sauces, marinades, carving knives and scotch tumblers. It’s truly a thing of beauty. Now these are not exclusively men’s clubs. Women are not banned and are welcome to visit, but to be honest not many feel the desire to be part of this guy thing and that’s perfectly fine.

So dads, if you’ve not found your new second home, I suggest you find one, take back the barber shop, stay sharp and keep this tradition alive. You’ll be happy you did. Louie Manzo • Louie Manzo is the marketing director of The WOMB and owns CABIN, a traditional men’s barber and cigar shoppe with its first location opening in September in Port Credit. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit cabinforlife.ca

Birth Without Fear - A Dad’s Perspective

Our first childbirth experience was traumatic. Despite our excitement going into it, my wife and I were also more than a little nervous.

 We attempted to have a natural home birth with just ourselves and our midwife (and no painkillers). As labour got underway, things started to get tense - literally. What started out as slight back labour created fear; was the baby in a bad position? Is this normal? Should we be going to the hospital? Ultimately this level of thinking was the beginning of the end for us in terms of our intentions for a natural home birth. Instead, this only served to create a vicious cycle of fear-pain-tension, more fear-more pain-more tension, and so on. The result was a very slow, painful and stressful labour, and ultimately an unplanned hospital birth with intervention, far from what we had initially envisioned.

The second time around we were fortunate enough to have an opportunity to work with the amazing doulas from The WOMB. In the weeks leading up to labour they helped us to prepare mentally for a calmer birth experience. The plan was to attempt a natural home birth again, but this time with a doula and a midwife. We felt much more prepared and we were confident going into it that things would be smoother this time. However, as soon as labour kicked in, it was game on, and the tension quickly resurfaced. Contractions began to progress rapidly and with great strength, and the back pain began to set in again. Almost immediately my wife’s mental state went right back to the place of fear experienced during our first birth. Within the first hour she was already suggesting that maybe we should just go to the hospital! At that point I also began to become fearful again.

With perfect timing, before these feelings even had a chance to take root, our doula arrived. The instant she entered, the entire mood transformed. Fear was replaced by trust, wisdom, confidence and a sense of calm: trust in each other and in this natural process; wisdom gained from countless birth experiences and knowing that everything would be okay; confidence in knowing this is a natural process and if a mental calmness is maintained, the process can be expansive in every sense of the word and indeed beautiful. Additionally, with our doula present, my wife and I were much more able to focus on just being in the moment and sharing this almost supernatural experience together. Rather than worrying about all of the big and little things, I was able to focus entirely on my wife and working together to make sure she was comfortable and staying in a positive frame of mind. Written by WOMB dad, Evan - dad to two little boys.

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