Tag Archives: doula

Birth As a Journey

Hypnosis and Birth

Studies and empirical data show that women who have had hypnosis in preparation for birth have decreased time in labour and are better able to cope with surges or contractions and have less interventions.
We will provide you with one-on-one care to educate you and your partner on:
  • the best forms of support during labour
  • how to achieve the greatest form of relaxation in preparation for birth
  • information on how to do a birth plan
  • an essential birth kits list
  • our top book recommendations
  • advise on the best foods for pregnancy and safe and effective exercises
  • and much more!
3x 1 hr appts (can be booked 1 week apart) for you and partner (billed under either) total = $400 [as of February 2019]

Dr. Kirsten Almon ND

Empowering the birth experience

Many women have different experiences during the birth process--it is always my intention to have my patient's be as prepared as possible during their pregnancies for labour.
Some of the Naturopathic modalities I use are monthly acupuncture visits, handing out tasty recipes to help optimized their nutrition while nourishing their babies as well as herbal and supplement recommendations as needed. Along the way once they are into their 2nd trimester, it is an ideal time to do learn about the birth process - here at our Mississauga health clinic we offer a Hypnobirthing course.
Here is a great video on what a hypnobirth looks like along with information on how relaxation can decrease pain and fear and help with a positive birth experience:

Hypnobirthing Principles

One of the principles behind Hypnobirthing is the "law of psycho-physical response" meaning, for every thought or emotion there is a corresponding chemical and physiological response within the body.
This can look like the following if someone is perceiving fear:
When a labouring mother perceives fear, this will cause adrenaline to surge and oxytocin to drop-->the problem with this is that it will cause labour to not only slow down or stop altogether, but it can also increase sensation of pain.
When a mother feels calm, it will change from fear to this:
The goal of Hypnobirthing is to facilitate a sensation of calm and confidence in the mother.
Some amazing examples of evidence-based Hypnobirthing outcomes:
*  fewer cases of pre-eclampsia
*  decreased use of oxytocin
*  decreased need for C-section
*  shorter first and second phase of labour
*  lessened or eliminated need for analgesia
*  babies with higher than average APGAR scores
Contact us today to sign up for inquire about how Naturopathic Medicine can help with your pregnancy!
By Kirsten Almon ND

Preparing for the Big Day--BIRTH!

Today one of my appointments is meeting with a couple to discuss how they can best prepare for labour. I LOVE these appointments. This is such a major event, and not one to "wing". Preparing for labour takes time and practice: Practicing relaxation is one of the best ways to get ready for birth.
Since we teach and are certified in Hypnobirthing, this is also something that I really encourage women and their partners to experience. Having done this is my own labours, I feel like it was the best fit for me as it really helped with anxiety leading up to the due date.
Breathing is another excellent coping strategy during labour. Making sure to take long slow breaths through the nose can actually help diminish the sensations as the surge or contraction comes and goes.
I'm looking forward to highlighting these topics as well as leading mom and partner through a relaxation script.
If you are pregnant or looking to get pregnant, we are more than happy to help you in your journey! We have very experience Naturopaths who have worked with enhancing fertility and pregnancy for years!
-Dr. Kirsten Almon - Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor at Erin Mills Optimum Health

Keep Calm and Hypnobirth!

flowers in vase to represent calmness during birth
All to often, women are exposed to birth as a fearful and painful experience. It does not have to be this way! This information will teach how to do self-hypnosis and promote relaxation that you will be able to do during labour.
A recent study titled Hypnosis for childbirth: a retrospective comparative analysis of outcomes in one obstetrician's practice highlights benefits of hypnosis during birth as follows:
  • significantly less use of sedatives, analgesia, and regional anesthesia during labor
  • higher 1-minute neonatal Apgar scores
Contact our Mississauga natural health clinic to for more information.
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mongan method

Hypnobirthing Offered at Erin Mills Optimum Health

Benefits of Hypnobirthing Prenatal Course in Mississauga

Hypnobirthing is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques. Self-hypnosis and deep relaxation are very effective techniques, which allow women to use their natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birth.

Studies have found that women using hypnosis in labour experience:

  • less discomfort
  • shorter labours
  • fewer medical interventions & less postpartum depression.

Hypnobirthing also helps to take the fear component out of labour so that women can feel empowered and do what millions have done before them – have safe births with healthy babies!

This  course is suitable for all expectant parents and their support persons, whether they plan to birth with a doctor or midwife, at home or in the hospital. The education focuses on the following:

–  Learn how to guide and support your partner during the birth process with: breathing, relaxation and visualization techniques.

Our Mississauga Naturopathic Doctors greatly enjoy their family practices while pursuing greater training in fertility, pregnancy, birth, postpartum and pediatric care.

Our instructors are also Naturopathic Doulas. As Doulas, they have attended births and provided physical, emotional, and informational support for birthing mothers and their partners before, during and after labour.

Contact Erin Mills Optimum Health today to find out more about our Prenatal course in Mississauga today!

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How to Write a Birth Plan

How to write a birth plan

Some couples get stumped when trying to figure out how to write down their birth preferences or birth plan. They just don’t know where to start!

This is a great exercise for mom’s to picture what they ideally during labour. It is also helpful for their birth partners and OBs or midwives to look over during the latter stages of pregnancy and to review at their birth place.

Here is a great link to get mom’s started on their birth plans:

How to Write a Birth Plan that Actually Works

It’s from one of my favourite magazines, pathways to family wellness.

Here at Erin Mills Optimum Health, we have birth doulas who are also Naturopathic Doctors.

Dr. Tiffany Wyse is one of our Naturopathic Doulas. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience supporting mom’s and their partners.  Dr. Wyse is offering complimentary 15 minute consultations if you would like to meet her and learn how else she can help you!

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Men and Birth

Men and Birth

Did you know that men only started to be present in the labour room in the 1960s?

Partners or husbands of the birthing mother can offer a lot of support that can help the labour progress smoothly and calmly.

Unfortunately, there are some birth classes and health care practitioners that don’t share enough knowledge with the male partner on how they can contribute most positively to the process.


Let’s talk about what happens when mom/dad to be are relaxed:

When a women is relaxed during labour, the hormone oxytocin surges. This is considered to be the ‘hormone of love’ and very helpful to support babies descent and birth.

When a man is relaxed during labour, his testosterone soars. How is this is enabled is if he feels like he is contributing and participating in supporting his partner.

On the other hand, if the male partner is present but not participating, this boost in testosterone does not occur. Men have reported post-partum feeling, “leftout, emasculated and powerless”. These feelings lead to the drop in testosterone and increase in adrenaline.

How does this affect the labouring women?
The famous midwife Ina May Gaskin has explained that all indigenous people know that when a woman is in labour, she can pick up on fear in a room, that fear and adrenaline is “contagious”.

So–for the male partners out there—learning about massage, hot/cold water during birth can be very helpful for the labouring mama. When he feels empowered, she will feel relaxed.

There are also some wonderful birth classes and Naturopathic Doctor doulas — right here at Erin Mills Optimum Health that can help you best prepare for the big day. Contact us today.

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New Mom after delivery with help from the Naturopathic Doulas at Erin Mills Optimum Health

Naturopathic Doula Helped Throughout Pregnancy

Naturopathic Doula Helped Throughout Pregnancy

When we found out I was pregnant my husband and I both agreed that we wanted to use a natural health approach with the pregnancy. The medical system in our country is great but my husband and I knew we wanted to go as natural and holistic as possible for the pregnancy and birth of our child.

The day after finding out I was pregnant I came in to work and received a B12 shot from Dr. Lanigan.  I was already taking a prenatal vitamin but I wanted to give my body and baby a folic acid boost.

From that first visit I booked in with the Naturopathic Doctors for wellness visits, I maintained a happy and relatively healthy pregnancy. Sure there were some bumps along the way (heartburn and back pain) but taking the holistic approach with our Naturopathic Doctors was amazing and really worked for me.

Erin Mills Optimum Health offers The Mongan Method of HypnoBirthing®. My husband and I attended these classes at the clinic which helped us prepare for birth with great relaxation methods as well as many other suggestions.

We had Dr. Lanigan attend the birth of our son as our Naturopathic Doula and I loved being able to have acupuncture and other relaxation remedies available throughout the delivery to have the natural, unmedicated birth I had envisioned.

It was great having a Naturopathic Doula who knew our birth plan and helped to execute it as my husband and I wanted. Dr. Lanigan knew all the right questions to ask and was able to help explain and clarify anything we had questions about during the delivery.

Yvonne, new Mom and part of the Front Desk Staff

“Find A Midwife And Book My Doula”

Congratulations! You’ve just found out you’re pregnant! If you’re like most expectant Mom’s your next thought is probably something along the lines of:

“what do I do next?”

From working at a holistic health centre in Mississauga, I knew that my answer was “Find a Midwife, and book my Doula!”

We have two Naturopathic Doula’s at Erin Mills Optimum Health who I saw throughout my entire pregnancy, labour, and after birth.

A Naturopathic Doula’s scope of practice is that of a Naturopathic Doctor as well as a trained Doula.  During my pregnancy I was able to receive B12 shots to make sure that my folic acid levels were good for my growing baby, along with acupuncture to help maintain a healthy pregnancy.  I also was able to consult on the supplements I was taking for my overall well-being.

Having a trained Naturopathic Doula was an amazing experience. When I was diagnosed with Gestational Hypertension (High Blood Pressure from pregnancy) at 30 weeks and the OB was considering induction, I was able to consult with Dr. Aisling Lanigan, my Doula, as well as Dr. Kirsten Almon and between the three of us we were able to use acupuncture, supplements, diet and exercise to help my pregnancy to go to term (I delivered my son at 39 weeks, 1 day before my scheduled induction).

Along with full support during my pregnancy the Naturopathic Doulas at Erin Mills Optimum Health are also trained in HypnoBirthing® – The Mongan Method. I have always wanted to have a 100% natural delivery so my husband and I signed up for the course to help us learn different birthing positions as well as relaxation techniques that we used while I was in labour. When I was at 39weeks my OB was adiment that she wanted to induce labour as she felt it was only a matter of time before things started to go wrong.

I remained stubborn and went in to the clinic to see one of our massage therapists as well as Dr. Almon for acupuncture in the hopes to induce my labour and contractions naturally before needing medical assistance in starting them. I was at the clinic on a Tuesday afternoon and that night I started having contractions. By the time I woke up Wednesday morning my contractions were becoming more frequent and throughout the day they began to increase in intensity.

As soon as I was sure I was having regular contractions I contacted Dr. Lanigan who was able to coach me over the phone which allowed me to labour in the comfort of my home as long as possiable. I finally went to the hospital with my husband closer to dinner time to see how my labour was progressing. After being checked by an OB I was admitted and my husband got on the phone and called Dr. Lanigan. She came to the hospital right away and walked the halls with my husband and I, and also helped to remind us of all the positions and techniques that we had learned in our birthing classes.

My contractions ended up not increasing so I was put on an IV drip.  With having a Doula by my side I was able to labour and deliver my son 100% naturally with no other interventions, which was my original plan. After delivery there were some minor issues for me that needed to be addressed.

My husband and I had such peace of mind because Dr. Lanigan stayed in the room with my husband and our son and the Midwife stayed with me. Knowing that we had an advocate in the room with us throughout the whole experience was so reassuring and something neither of us will ever forget.

Yvonne, New Mom and part of the Front Desk Staff at Erin Mills Optimum Health
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Natural Flower

Waterbabies – A gentle Transition From Womb to World By Our Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

Waterbabies….. a gentle transition from Womb to World by our Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor


What are the benefits of waterbirth and water labour?


  • Encourages an easier birth for mother and a gentler welcome for baby
  • Speeds up labour
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Gives mother more feelings of control
  • Provides significant pain relief
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Enables the mother to assume any position which is comfortable for labor and birth
  • Conserves her energy
  • Reduces the need for drugs and interventions
  • Gives mother a private protected space
  • Reduces perineal trauma and eliminates episiotomies
  • Reduces cesarean section rates
  • Is highly rated by mothers – typically stating they would consider giving birth in water again
  • Is highly rated by experienced providers



Placing a pool of water in a birth room changes the atmosphere immediately.  Voices get softer, the mother stays calmer and everyone becomes less stressed.  Water has a naturally calming effect.


The buoyancy that deep water immersion creates allows spontaneous movement of the mother.  No one has to help the mother get into a new position. She moves as her body and the position of the baby dictate.  Movement helps open the pelvis, allowing the baby to descend.


This state can also reduce the sensory stimulation to mom and her body is less likely to secrete stress-related hormones. This allows her body to produce the pain inhibitors, called endorphins, that complement labour.  A labouring woman who is able to relax physically, is able to relax mentally as well. Many women, midwives, and doctors acknowledge the analgesic effect of water.


Some Influential Advocates for Waterbirth

  • Igor Charkovsky (Russia, 1963) had the idea to place laboring women in the water when he was looking for ways to relieve a baby’s brain from the shock of gravity. He considered this the main reason why the human brain is not fully available for our use. He states that whales and dolphins have a much better use of their brains, on levels unreachable for humans, because they are not exposed to gravity shock at birth.
  • Frederick Leboyer, a French obstetrician, best known for his 1975 book Birth Without Violence, which popularized the practice of water birthing.
  • Michel Odent has been instrumental in influencing the history of childbirth and health research. As a practitioner he developed the maternity unit at Pithiviers Hospital in France in the 1960s and ’70s. He is familiarly known as the obstetrician who introduced the concept of birthing pools and home-like birthing rooms.
  • Barbara Harper, author of Gentle Birth Choices and producer of the movie, Birth Into Being: The Russian Waterbirth Experience, is a modern day Waterbirth advocate.  Her goal is to make waterbirth an available option for all birthing women in home and hospital settings.


Please see one of our naturopathic doulas to discuss more about pregnancy or birth! We are here to assist you and your waterbaby!


Kirsten Almon – Naturopathic Doctor and Birthing Doula in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health