Author name: Jennifer Moreau

Heidi McDowell Pic

Did you forget something?

Gold Coast Doulas asked Heidi McDowell to guest blog on the topic of preparing your body for childbirth. Heidi is a yoga teacher at Mind, Body, Baby, a doula, a wife, and most importantly, a mama. Her goal is to create a community space for you that feels safe, supportive, and empowering. She holds certifications in Fertility Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Postpartum Yoga, and Children’s Yoga. She is also a certified Postpartum and Infant Care Doula and a Labor Doula. She is one of two Yoga Alliance Certified Registered Prenatal Yoga Teachers in all of West Michigan. This is the highest credential in the field of Prenatal Yoga.

 

You find out you’re expecting and immediately begin to prepare in all of the ways you know how. You make the doctor’s appointment, the registry list, prep the nursery, hire the doula, and sign up for your childbirth education class. Does it feel like you forgot something? That’s because you did. 

What about your body? You’re preparing to run a marathon aka give birth and you haven’t done any intentional body preparation. And I’m not talking about seeing the chiropractor or getting a massage (do that too). But I am talking about intentionally moving, balancing the tissues, practicing positions, and learning tools to ensure you’re empowered and physically ready to run this race. 

As a prenatal yoga instructor, birth doula, and Body Ready Method trainer I get asked a lot of questions about how to prepare for delivery. As an expecting mom and yoga teacher I thought I had done all of the work during my pregnancy. After 52 hours of labor I was left wondering what I had missed. I never want someone else to feel like they could have done more to feel empowered and physically ready. That’s why my best tips always involve prenatal body preparation. 

Have you heard of your psoas? It’s a big muscle that connects the top of our bodies to the bottom. Did you know it runs over the top of your pelvic inlet on both sides? It is between your baby and your birth canal. In order for spontaneous labor to occur and progress these muscles need to be out of the way of your baby. Sitting, biking, running, lifestyle habits, sports can all contribute to imbalance and excessive tightness of these muscles. An easy way to release this muscle is to stand on a yoga block with one foot and allow the other leg to pendulum swing freely front to back.

How about your sacrum? That triangle-shaped bone in the center back of your pelvis. It’s this amazing trap door that can either get in the way or out of the way when baby is at different levels of the pelvis. If your muscles are restricted in the glutes and low back this bone is likely stuck and unable to move. My favorite release is called a hip hinge. From standing begin to “hinge” at the hips like a broomstick was glued to your spine. Feel the release throughout the entire posterior body.

Tissue takes time to change. You should begin to move your body in intentional ways throughout pregnancy. This will allow your body the ability to open and release your baby when the time comes. Consider preparing your body with low-impact prenatal yoga classes. When practiced with a Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher classes should be so much more than just yoga modified for a belly. There’s a reason why it is the number one most prescribed form of prenatal movement by doctors and midwives. 

Gold Coast Doulas 2023 Reflections Infographic

2023 Reflections

Our word of the year for 2023 was STRENGTHENED!

We strengthened our relationships with the community, our clients, and our team of subcontracted doulas and educators. We focused on creating strong systems to better serve families in the community.

Here are the Gold Coast stats for 2023:

  • Number of group and private classes taught: 39
  • Number of students (couple or individual counted same): 128
  • Number of birth clients that were delivered in 2023: 101
  • Birth clients supported during pregnancy in 2023 with 2024 due dates: 23
  • Average Continuing Education training per doula: 5.5
  • Sleep Consultations: 32 clients served
  • Day and Overnight Postpartum Doula support hours: 6,178
  • Multiples: 12 families served
  • Our entire team had a 2-hour virtual training on supporting Plus Size Births with Jen McLellan of Plus Size Birth
  • New subcontractors added to our team: 7 doulas, 1 sleep consultant
  • Advanced certifications achieved: 8
  • Katie Bertsch celebrated 5 years with Gold Coast
  • We had our 8-year anniversary in October
  • Kristin Revere spoke at DoulaCon in Parker, Colorado, and the Nasdaq Milestones Circles Spring Summit in San Francisco, California
  • Ask the Doulas Podcast – We ended the year with 218 episodes total, Goodpods ranked Ask the Doulas in the top 100 Kids & Family All Time Podcasts coming in at 81 and #12 in the Top 100 Indie Kids & Family. Listen Notes ranked Ask the Doulas as one of the top 5% most popular shows out of 3,261,989 globally. We launched our podcast in 2017 and are still growing strong thanks to our fantastic guests and listener support.
  • We offered 2 pro-bono spots in the Becoming A Mother course to low-income women
  • We held our holiday party at Pursuit of Happiness in Eastown. We love supporting, local, women-owned businesses.
  • We became a Diverse Business Enterprises Certified Women-Owned Business through the Grand Rapids Chamber
  • Kristen Revere completed the Up Next Fellowship through St. Mary’s Foundation
  • Kristen Revere became a certified Gift Registry Expert through Be Her Village and launched our Baby Registry Planning Services
  • Media – We were interviewed in Parents Magazine, Business Insider, US News, Well + Good, Oprah Daily, and more.
  • We continued as a Climate Leader with Aclymate since 2020
  • Gold Coast was recertified as a B Corporation in August. Our score improved from 80.7 to 112.1. The minimum score is 80 points.

Volunteer Hours: 242.5 hours

  • Charitable Donations: $1,153.35 to charities supporting low-income women and children
  • Organizations donated funds to include Mama Glow Foundation and Corewell Health Foundation
  • We donated a new Kaya birth stool and a Spinning Babies Quick Reference Guide to St. Mary’s Foundation
  • Diapers Collected for our 8th Annual Diaper Drive for Nestlings Diaper Bank:
    • 13,372 disposable diapers
    • 67 packs of wipes
    • 196 cloth supplies

Many thanks to our partners: Rise Wellness Chiropractic, Fit4Mom Grand Rapids, Mind Body Baby, Mindful Counseling, Advent Physical Therapy, Hopscotch Children’s Store, EcoBuns Baby + Co, Brann’s, The Insurance Group, Lucas Scott. Co, and Howard Miller Library, and Lake Michigan Credit Union in Holland.

We are so thankful for our clients, partners, podcast listeners, and students.

Diapers and wipes boxes for Gold Coast Doulas 8th Annual Diaper Drive 2023

8th Annual Diaper Drive Results Are In!

The final numbers are in for the Gold Coast Doulas LLC diaper drive for Nestlings | Diaper Bank of West Michigan and Great Start Parent Coalition.

We collected 13,372 disposable diapers and 67 packs of wipes. These diapers are packed in groups of ten to impact families in need.

We are thankful to all our clients and community members who donated from September 1st to October 2nd during our 8th annual month-long diaper drive and the 8th anniversary of Gold Coast. Thank you to all the individuals who donated to the drive.

Fox17 and Gold Coast Doulas Diaper Drive

Photo: Kristin Revere, Gold Coast Doulas; Emily Tobin, Hopscotch Children’s Store; Lauren Edwards, Fox 17 reporter

One in two U.S. families with young children struggle to afford diapers and no government programs currently provide them. This rate increased from one in three in past years. Food, shelter, and utilities are the only items covered by assistance. Diapers are expensive and many families make tough choices between paying rent and utilities or buying diapers. Research shows that 48% of parents delay changing diapers and 32% report reusing diapers to make supplies last longer.

Gold Coast takes sustainability seriously as a Certified B Corporation. Clean diapers make a significant impact on the health of new families and our giving focus is on supporting low-income women and children.

Steve Sucher and Annie Bishop of Rise Wellness Chiropractic - Gold Coast Doulas Diaper DriveWe appreciate the generous used and new cloth diaper donations we received:

  • 136 covers
  • 38 inserts
  • 11 pads
  • 5 snaps
  • 6 wet bags

    

Photo: Steve Sucher, Nestlings board member; Annie Bishop, Rise Wellness Chiropractic; Kristin Revere, Gold Coast Doulas

 

 

 

Thanks to our partnered drop-off locations for all the support over the years.

In Zeeland:
Howard Miller Library: 14 S. Church Street

Lake Michigan Credit Union: 8630 E. Main St

In Holland:
Brann’s 12234 James Street

EcoBuns Baby + Co.: 11975 E. Lakewood Blvd Suite 6

The Insurance Group: 593 Heritage Court

Lucas Scott. Co.: 650 Riley St.

Harbor Health & Massage: 444 Washington Ave

Lake Michigan Credit Union: 677 E 8th St.  and 3494 West Shore Dr

 

In Greater Grand Rapids:
Rise Wellness Chiropractic PLC: 1005 Lake Dr SE

Hopscotch Children’s Store: 909 Cherry St SE

Mind Body Baby: 1501 Lake Dr SE

Advent Physical Therapy: Four locations

  • Cherry St: 245 Cherry St. SE, Suite 102
  • Byron Center: 2373 64th St SW Suite 2100
  • Alpine: 933 3 Mile NW #204
  • Caledonia: 10047 Crossroads Ct Suite 150

Mindful Counseling GR: Three locations

  • 985 Parchment Dr SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546
  • 3351 Claystone St SE Suite G 32
  • 113 Lake Michigan Drive NW, Standale

Fit4Mom Grand Rapids: Various locations

Gold Coast Doulas: 1430 Robinson Road SE, Suite 204

Shelley Irwin with Kristin Revere from Gold Coast Doulas Diaper Drive

Photo: Dr. Rachel Babbitt; Kristin Revere, Gold Coast Doulas; Dr. Annie Bishop; Shelley Irwin, WGVU

We received more online donations than ever before with the Nestling’s Amazon Wish List.  Thanks for choosing that option to support families in need.
Thank you to Shelley Irwin with The Shelley Irwin Show and Fox 17 for supporting our drive over the years. This awareness and exposure helped us to exceed our goal of collecting 10,000 diapers.

 

Aubri Duvall, Bed Rest Doula and Postpartum Doula, of Gold Coast Doula poses in a black and white polka dotted blouse with a purple background

Meet our new Postpartum and Infant Care Doula, Aubri

Meet our newest postpartum doula, Aubri. She resides in Grand Rapids. We love to share interesting facts about our team.

What inspired you to become a doula?
I ended up researching the profession after talking with Kristin Morter from the Gold Coast team. Kristin encouraged me to look into it, talked with me about her experience with what she does. I ended up talking with a few people I go to church with who all just encouraged me to try it. I have always loved being around babies. I like supporting people and being helpful, and I believe being a doula will help me do just that for others.

Tell us about your family.
I live with my older brother, and my parents, a dog and a cat. I am the youngest of three kids. My eldest brother has two daughters which makes me a very proud aunt. I am also a very proud cousin! Two of my cousins that I grew up with had babies in the last two years.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 
I can’t say I have a favorite, but with the few vacations I have taken in the last few years it is always spending time with the people I go with that makes it enjoyable and is often the reason I want to go back.

Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.

  • Crowder- his music is really powerful and upbeat. He gives so much depth in his music.
  • Restless Road- This is a country band that has such amazing songs, and they can also pull off an incredible concert.
  • Phil Wickham- I enjoy his voice and tone and the way he sings. His songs are of worship and praise and they always hit home for me.
  • Ben Fuller- Honestly his songs ‘Who I am, He found Me, But the Cross” I have been playing on repeat. I find his songs can be raw, relatable, and honestly such good storytelling.
  • Anne Wilson- I love how her songs tell a story. Her tone, and her singing, is just soothing to me.

What is the best advice you have given to new families?
Let me help in whatever way I can. It’s okay to need help. I am here.

What do you consider your doula/consultant superpower to be?
How much I care and want to be of use.

What is your favorite food?
It’s a tie between spaghetti and pepperoni pizza

What is your favorite place on West Michigan’s Gold Coast?
I love going to Grand Haven’s pier.

What are you reading now?
I have finished reading Postpartum and infant care textbook from Pro-Doula. I am looking forward to finding more books dealing with post-partum: depression, OCD, anxiety, and more on birth aspects and care.

Who are your role models?
I have always looked up to a lot to the women in my life; my mom, people I go to church with, and some of my old high school teachers.  And that is still true,  but I will also add in one high school psychology teacher (he always emphasized taking care of yourself), and Job and Jesus from the Bible. Job never let his circumstances define him. And Jesus showed me constantly how to love those around me.

See Aubri’s Bio

The NDBN Diaper Check 2023 Diaper Statistics for Gold Coast Doula's 8th Annual Diaper Drive

8th annual Diaper Drive

Gold Coast Doulas is holding our 8th annual Diaper Drive from September 1st to October 1st, 2023. Giving back is an important foundation of our business as a Certified B Corporation; clean diapers make a significant impact on the health of new families and our giving focus is on supporting low-income women and children.

Gold Coast Doulas is holding our 8th annual Diaper Drive

One in two U.S. families with young children struggle to afford diapers and no government programs currently provide them. This rate increased from one in three in past years. Food, shelter, and utilities are the only items covered by assistance. Diapers are expensive and many families make tough choices between paying rent and utilities or buying diapers. Research shows that 48% of parents delay changing diapers and 32% report re-using diapers to make supplies last longer.

The Gold Coast Doulas diaper drive coincides with National Diaper Need Awareness Week, September 18th – Sept 24th. Diaper Need Awareness Week is an initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN), created to make a difference in the lives of the nearly 5.2 million babies in the United States aged three or younger who live in poor or low-income families.

Our annual diaper drive benefits Nestlings Diaper Bank of West Michigan and Great Start Parent Coalition of Kent County. Holland-based Nestlings has distributed over 2 million diapers and helped over 50,000 families since 2011. Nestlings Diaper Bank also works with 31 partner agencies to distribute the diapers to the families in need.

Our goal is to collect 10,000 diapers to support families in need in Kent, Ottawa, and Allegan counties to celebrate our 8th anniversary. We collect opened and unopened boxes and packages of new disposable diapers, used cloth diapers and cloth supplies, new cloth diapers, and new boxes or packages of wipes. We need your help to make this happen.

Diaper donations will be accepted from September 1 to October 1st at the following partnered drop-off locations:

In Zeeland:
Howard Miller Library: 14 S. Church Street

Lake Michigan Credit Union: 8630 E. Main St

In Holland:
Brann’s 12234 James Street

EcoBuns Baby + Co.: 11975 E. Lakewood Blvd Suite 6

The Insurance Group: 593 Heritage Court

Lucas Scott. Co.: 650 Riley St.

Harbor Health & Massage: 444 Washington Ave

Lake Michigan Credit Union: 677 E 8th St.  and 3494 West Shore Dr

 

In Greater Grand Rapids:
Rise Wellness Chiropractic PLC: 1005 Lake Dr SE

Hopscotch Children’s Store:909 Cherry St SE

Mind Body Baby: 1501 Lake Dr SE

Advent Physical Therapy: Four locations

  • Cherry St: 245 Cherry St. SE, Suite 102
  • Byron Center: 2373 64th St SW Suite 2100
  • Alpine: 933 3 Mile NW #204
  • Caledonia: 10047 Crossroads Ct Suite 150

Mindful Counseling GR: Three locations

  • 985 Parchment Dr SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546
  • 3351 Claystone St SE Suite G 32
  • 113 Lake Michigan Drive NW, Standale

Fit4Mom Grand Rapids: Donations accepted at classes.

Gold Coast Doulas: Donations are accepted at classes or left outside the door of our office.

We appreciate your support! You can donate directly to fill Nestling’s Amazon Wish List or through their website via Paypal at: http://nestlings.org/how-to-help/.

Contact us at info@goldcoastdoulas.com with questions.

Bebcare - There Beyond Touch. Picture of a mom smiling and looking at her baby that's laying down in a bassinet and holding her hand.

How to Create a Low Emissions Nursery for Your Baby

If you are expecting a baby or have a newborn at home, you may be wondering how to create a safe and healthy environment for them. One of the aspects that you may not have considered is the level of emissions in your baby’s nursery. Emissions are the invisible waves of energy that are emitted by various devices and appliances, such as wireless routers, cell phones, microwaves, and baby monitors. Some of these emissions are known as electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation, which can have negative effects on your baby’s health and development.

Why are emissions harmful for your baby?

According to research, EMF radiation can cause various health problems, such as:

  • Impacts on brain development
  • Sleep cycle disruption
  • Behavioral changes
  • Immune system weakening
  • DNA damage
  • Increased risk of cancer

Babies are especially vulnerable to EMF radiation because their skulls are thinner, their brains are developing rapidly, and their cells are dividing faster than adults. Therefore, it is important to reduce your baby’s exposure to EMF radiation as much as possible.

Gold Coast Doulas Low Emissions Nursery for Your Baby's Brain Development

 

How can you create a low emissions nursery?

Fortunately, there are some simple steps that you can take to create a low-emissions nursery for your baby. Here are some tips:

  • Choose low-emission baby monitors. Baby monitors are essential devices for parents who want to keep an eye and ear on their baby while they are in another room. However, most baby monitors use wireless technologies that emit high levels of EMF radiation, even when they are in standby mode. To avoid this, you should choose a low-emission baby monitor that uses digital safe radio (DSR) technology, which reduces the emission by up to 94%. One of the best low-emission baby monitors on the market is the Bebcare baby monitor, which offers crystal clear audio and video transmission, long battery life, two-way talk, temperature sensor, night vision, lullabies, and more. You can learn more about Bebcare low EMF baby monitors.

Gold Coast Doulas Low Emissions Nursery for Your Baby's Room

  • Keep other wireless devices away from your baby’s crib. Besides baby monitors, other wireless devices such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, smart speakers, and Wi-Fi routers can also emit EMF radiation. You should avoid placing these devices near your baby’s crib or in the nursery. Ideally, you should turn them off or switch them to airplane mode when they are not in use. You can also use wired alternatives whenever possible, such as landline phones, ethernet cables, and CD players.
  • Plant more greenery in and around your nursery. Plants are not only beautiful and soothing, but they can also help create a healthier nursery. Plants can improve the air quality by filtering out pollutants and allergens. Some of the best plants for your nursery are spider plants, snake plants, peace lilies, aloe vera, and bamboo palms. You can also grow some herbs and vegetables in pots or containers outside your nursery window to create a sustainable garden.
  • Use natural and organic materials for your nursery furniture and bedding. Another way to create a low-emissions nursery is to use natural and organic materials for your nursery furniture and bedding. Emissions can also come in the form of volatile organic compounds VOCs. Synthetic materials such as plastic, foam, polyester, and vinyl can emit VOCs, which are harmful chemicals that can cause headaches, nausea, irritation, and respiratory problems. Natural and organic materials such as wood, cotton, wool, bamboo, and hemp are safer and more eco-friendly options that do not emit VOCs or other toxins. They are also more comfortable and breathable for your baby’s skin.

Gold Coast Doulas Low Emissions Nursery for Your Baby's Room

 

Conclusion

Creating a low emissions nursery for your baby is not only good for their health and safety, but also for the environment. By following these tips, you can reduce your baby’s exposure to EMF radiation and other harmful emissions while creating a cozy and beautiful space for them to grow and thrive. Remember to choose a low-emission baby monitor such as a Bebcare baby monitor to keep an eye on your baby without compromising their well-being.

 

Discount for Goldcoast Doulas Readers

You can enjoy an extra 15% discount on Bebcare baby monitors by using the code goldcoastdoulas at checkout on the Bebcare website.

Gold Coast Doulas Low Emissions Nursery for Your Baby - Promo Code

Krista Batdorf, Bed Rest & Postpartum Doula, for Gold Coast Doulas

Meet our new Postpartum and Infant Care Doula, Krista

Meet our Newest Postpartum Doula, Krista. She resides in Grand Rapids.  We love to share interesting facts about our team.

What did you do before you became a doula/consultant?
I was an educator as well as a nanny

What inspired you to become a doula/consultant?
I struggled with postpartum depression with both of my children.  It was a scary time, and I could have used more support.  Once my husband died, in July 2022, I did some soul-searching as to what I wanted to do moving forward.  Becoming a postpartum doula allows me to work with the tiniest of people, but also families.  I want to give support to families during this exciting and sometimes challenging time.

Tell us about your family.
I was married to my college sweetheart for almost 29 years. I have a son who is 28 years old and a daughter who is 26.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? 
I love anywhere in nature. I enjoy hiking, being on the water, and gardening. If a vacation can incorporate any of these things, I’m on board!

Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.

  • Bob Dylan- The first concert I ever attended, and I went with my dad.
  • Stevie Nicks- My all-time favorite singer. I love her raspy voice.
  • Fleetwood Mac- Incorporates my favorite singer.
  • Dixie Chicks- Strong women band
  • Indigo Girls- Another strong older woman group

What is the best advice you have given to new families?
Take it one day at a time. On some days, a moment at a time.

What do you consider your doula/consultant superpower to be?
Full of empathy and a pretty good baby rocker.

What is your favorite food?
Fresh veggies

What is your favorite place on West Michigan’s Gold Coast?
Charlevoix

What are you reading now?
Fiction-The House of Eve and The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama

Who are your role models?
My mom and Mother Teresa

See Krista’s Bio