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The Importance of Support in the Pre and Postpartum Period with Kristin Revere The MyBaby Craniosacral Podcast

The Importance of Support in the Pre and Postpartum Period with Kristin Revere

Kristin Revere and Meaghan Beames chat about support in the pre and postpartum period  Meaghan is the host of The MyBaby Craniosacral Podcast.

“It’s all about knowing options and building your own dream team of professionals based on however you choose to birth your baby and parent your baby.”

Kristin Revere, owner of Gold Coast Doulas, discusses the importance of having a comprehensive support system during the pre and postpartum period. She highlights the various services offered by Gold Coast Doulas, including birth and postpartum doula support, lactation consulting, and sleep consulting. She also discusses the need for accessible resources and expert referrals to help parents navigate the challenges of pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood. Kristin’s new book, Supported: Your Guide to Birth and Baby, provides a wealth of information and options for parents, as well as valuable insights for birth and baby professionals.

Episode Timestamps:
•The locations and services provided by Gold Coast Doulas {01:00}
•Kristin’s motivation for writing the book “Supported” {04:35}
•Becoming A Mother course {08:00}
•The challenges of finding support and overcoming resistance to alternative therapies {10:35}
•Postnatal recovery and the importance of a support team {12:30}
•Importance of knowing your referrals very well {16:40}
•The need for affordable or pro bono services {20:40}
•Understanding that you can’t do everything on your own; taking a team approach {24:00}

Welcome to the MyBaby Craniosacral Podcast, where I share stories of the babies I’ve treated, tips for professionals and parents, and demystify this amazing healing modality.  I’m Meaghan Beames, your baby body work mentor.  I’m obsessed with all things babies, birth, healing, and plain old being a human.  Join me while I sink deep into craniosacral therapy.  Now let’s get into the episode.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the My Baby Craniosacral Podcast.  I am your host, Meghan Beames, and on today’s episode, we have Kristin Revere, and she is the owner of an all-things medical and pre- and postpartum period mom and baby services, really, in West Michigan.  I would love, Kristin, for you to share with our audience a bit about yourself and your business.

We are a full service doula agency.  My agency is Gold Coast Doulas.  So we support families with judgment-free support from conception through the first year, but if you look at our sleep consulting services, we really work with toddlers, so up to age five.  And we do offer everything from classes to lactation with our IBCLCs to birth doulas as well as day and overnight postpartum support.  Our core focus is helping families get sleep, so most of our postpartum doulas are working overnight with families.  We work with NICU babies, twins, triplets, and cover a large area, not only West Michigan for postpartum but also northern and southwest Michigan Lakeshore communities.

Do you have a home base, or is this all mobile services?

Our office is in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  We, of course, support our clients wherever they have their babies, so we work in hospitals, support home births, birth centers.  And then for the postpartum support, we are going to the clients’ homes and helping them in person.  Sleep consulting is a virtual service most of the time unless families bring us in to do some in-person work on getting their nursery to be more appropriate for sleep.

It sounds like you have a lot of people working for you.

Yes, we have 26 subcontractors.  They all own their own businesses and work through Gold Coast.  Some of them are registered nurses and work in the hospital.  I have a speech pathologist on the team.  Others work as nannies part time, and then some doulas take work primarily through Gold Coast.  Outside of the IBCLCs on our team, the nurses do not take a medical role.  They are acting as postpartum doulas and within that scope, so overall, our agency is nonmedical support for families.

I love that.  It’s almost like you have medical support without it being medicalized.  That’s beautiful.  For some people, it provides a sense of safety because sometimes being in the medical system feels unsafe for some people.

Right.  Certainly, there’s a lot of fear surrounding childbirth, especially after the pandemic, so families do like that continuous care, and there is so much evidence that doulas reduce interventions and increase satisfaction regardless of the outcome.  Certainly, our postpartum doulas can help process the birth, show feeding support.  All of us are trained to support basic lactation and refer out if our clients are having trouble to other therapists to be able to help make more of a successful transition, regardless of how they choose to feed their baby or choose to parent.

The point for this episode today is actually about the book that you wrote called Supported.  I would love for you to share with us why you made this book in the first place and just describe what it is.

Our book launches on Mother’s Day.  Supported: Your Guide to Birth and Baby.  I felt like there was nothing like it that really shows families and also birth and baby professionals all of the resources.  We’re very, again, judgment-free support focuses, so it’s not leaning one way.  I feel like a lot of books on the market are either focused on home births or parenting a specific way, and we have no approach.  So these are your options, and build your own dream team of professionals based on however you choose to birth your baby, parent your baby, and be able to have a support system, whether it’s communicating with family members, setting boundaries, or hiring professionals like yourselves.

Yeah, and I love having all of those options all together in one space so that people aren’t just getting lost in the Google rabbit hole and not knowing where to go.  I think one of the biggest things that parents say is that there are so many people giving me advice, and I don’t know which one to choose.  So I think of Amazon where you can have those comparatives at the bottom of the screen where it’s like oh, all of these things.  And your book is kind of like that, where you’ve got all those options.  You can choose – I like to call it choose your own adventure.  I love it.  So Supported comes out on Mother’s Day.  I’m very curious, because I would love to be able to write a book, as well.  But I also think that some of our listeners might have the question, how did you come about writing this?  What was your process like for that?

Yes.  Well, I should say I have a journalism degree.

Oh, that’s helpful.

So I can write.  But I’ve always imagined that I would have a book.  I just never thought it  would be about birth and baby.  I have a career in politics.  I’ve done advertising sales, nonprofit fundraising before having kids and falling in love with this work as a doula and agency owner.

That’s a bit of a 180.

Yeah, for sure.  But I feel like women’s health is the most pressing need, and supporting mothers in whatever they decide to do, whether it’s become a stay at home mom, go back to work, start their own business – there’s just not enough support in that process, whether it’s baby number one or baby number four.  And certainly childcare is a huge issue, and maternal mortality.  I don’t think, even though my kids are now 11 and 13 and 22, that I would be – you know, it’s not just a fad or just something I’m going through while my kids are young.

No, and now that we know too much, it’s hard to go back, right?  Now that we know so much.  Yeah.  So before we got on here, you were talking about how you created this course, and you knew that there was just a book in there.  And also, with your business, you have those courses, those online courses for parents, am I right?

We have some self-paced classes, like our Tired As A Mother sleep class.  There’s a breastfeeding class and newborn survival that are all recorded with live calls.  And then the Becoming A Mother course came out of the pandemic when we had to cancel all of our in-person classes, like Comfort Measures and HypnoBirthing, and pivot to virtual.  So we had this time and decided to be able to impact not only our current clients with a sense of community when they were pregnant and feeling very isolated but wanted to serve more women and mothers.  So the course has a workbook, and it’s all about prepping for birth and baby, and I cover all of the pregnancy and birth planning, and then Alyssa, who co-created the course and co-wrote the book, is a sleep consultant, so she covers all of the newborn aspects and postnatal prep that should be done and focusing on that important time after baby and planning and budgeting and figuring out your childcare options and so on.  We divided the course equally, and the book is also divided equally.

It’s amazing.  So you just took bits and pieces from the online course and created a book with it?

Yes.  And the course is called Becoming A Mother, and in the course, I have 30 expert videos, and one is a CST therapist.

Amazing!

Talking about what craniosacral is.  We wanted to have experts, so a car seat safety technician, a mental health therapist talking about signs of PMAD.  So we already had all of these experts assembled in the course, and then our students have lifetime access.  Some of them are on baby number two since the course launched, and they’re back in the course and they’re going through videos of things that are relevant to them in the moment.  Or they might want to hop on some live calls with us with questions.

That’s amazing.  The word that I was thinking was like, wow, they must feel so supported.

Yes!  And we couldn’t use Becoming because Michelle Obama has an amazing book called Becoming.

But that’s what your book is about; about feeling supported and making sure that you are supported in all of the ranges of this parenthood realm.  We are not taught how to make sure that we have that village.  We’re just told you should have a village.  But we have to make it.

Exactly . And I don’t feel like our friends prepare us enough.  Things are so different than when our parents had us.  Everything from safe sleep to feeding; it’s all changed, which is why I have a Grandparents class to help educate them.

I would love to have a grandparents class for craniosacral to be like, you might be extremely judgmental of your kids right now, taking their baby to a craniosacral appointment, but let me tell you something: you need to hold your judgment because this is going to help everyone involved.

Your industry is similar to, say, seeing a pediatric chiropractor and resistance there, or anything that might not be considered mainstream.  Even pelvic floor physical therapy has some resistance from family members or friends.

I’m a massage therapist as well, and our parents or even our grandparents, they were just told to ignore things that were happening in their body.  It will just go away.  Don’t worry about it.  But our generation is like, no, I can’t just ignore it.  I realize that this is keeping me from doing things, and I would like to actually enjoy life, rather than repress and suppress everything.  So I’m happy with the shift!

And not be in pain feeding your baby.  All of the things!  Dealing with colic.

Yeah, I’m going to listen to my baby.  If they’re scream crying, I’m going to listen to them, and I’m going to try to help them.  I’m not going to just tell them that they’re being manipulative.

Right.  Exactly.

Well, I love that you have this book coming out.  I think it will be really helpful.  And you were mentioning that it’s for people who are planning that pre- and postpartum period, but you also said before we got in here that it’s also great for health professionals.  So there’s one section of the book that talks about having a list of health professionals for that postpartum – actually, probably for the prenatal, as well.  But having a list of professionals and what their importance is – can you talk a bit more about that section of the book?

Yes.  That postnatal planning is often not as focused as taking childbirth classes, prepping for a baby shower, and even prepping for the birth.  So we get into all of the experts, not only in preparing for birth and supporting during pregnancy, but also in that postnatal recovery time and caring for newborn to toddler and all of the experts that can be brought in outside of your regular pediatrician, OB-GYN, or midwife, depending on who you’re working with.  And so we get into lactation, craniosacral therapists, pelvic floor physical therapy, and just the importance of budgeting for these experts and figuring out what your benefits are and what might work with health savings, flex spending, and then really getting the potential, no matter if it’s an easy birth and baby sleeps well, to have this team supporting you.  Oftentimes, to many of these appointments, you’re able to bring baby with you, so you don’t have to navigate childcare.  And obviously, with CST, the baby is getting treatment, but I know there are some massage therapists in my area that you can bring your baby to your massage appointment after giving birth.

That’s amazing.  Yeah, we do that too.  We do a parent and baby package.  So you bring your baby.  We’ll give them a CST treatment, and usually, they just fall asleep right after their treatment, so they sleep for an hour beside you or on a sleep mat on the floor, something like that.  And then you get your massage or your CST treatment.  It’s beautiful.  I love doing those ones.

It definitely is all about knowing options.  I do feel like certainly doulas – this would be a helpful resource for doulas, but other professionals with the resource section and different helpful apps would find that it would be beneficial.  Some people don’t even know much – they may know what a birth doula is, but they may not know how a referral to a day or overnight postpartum doula can make a difference in the mental health and even in a couple’s relationship and their stability.  If they’re not getting sleep, they’re going to fight more.

Absolutely.  So it breaks down the importance of each of these health professionals?

Yeah.  Exactly.

That’s wonderful.

And when and how they should be used, when to reach out, how to pay for them, all of it.

Amazing.  I wish that there was more of an emphasis on planning on the postpartum period.  I hear a lot of parents being like, nobody told me.  I didn’t know that my baby was going to possibly have reflux.  I didn’t even know.  And they’re scrambling after the baby comes, but they felt so prepared for the birth.

Yes.  Again, there’s a lot that happens before that six week appointment after giving birth, and oftentimes, you’re isolated.  Your partner is going back to work.  You might have a little bit of family support, but then you’re left to figure it out on your own if you don’t have a postpartum doula.  So really having that knowledge and access to trusted resources in your community are key.  And then other health professionals knowing how we can all work together and refer our clients and patients, depending on the provider, to be able to better holistically care for mothers in this vulnerable time.  And for babies.

For me, when I’m training people in this, in CST, something that I emphasize is getting to know these people you’re going to be referring out to.  So not just understanding what they do and what their name is, but actually getting to know them on a personal level so that you know who you are referring out to, as well.

It’s huge.  Absolutely.

There have been times where there was a team that I was referring to, and then the feedback I got from parents was like, I didn’t really like my experience there.  And I was like, well, thank you very much.  I will not be referring to them anymore.

Sometimes it’s personality.  It’s not even that they weren’t an expert in their field.  They may have done everything right, but if they don’t connect emotionally during such an emotional time, it may be a good resource for a different patient or student.  But not necessarily for that individual.  And we try to go on personality as well as the experience that our clients are looking for.  Again, knowing your resources.  I know that everyone’s got different approaches, different specialties within their field.  So there are so many different reasons for knowing your referrals well.

Yes.  I mean, you wouldn’t send someone who you know has really high anxiety to somebody who doesn’t have a great bedside manner.

Exactly.

But you wouldn’t know that unless you got to know that health professional.  But if you had someone who was a straight shooter who needed all the information and was fine with it, you would absolutely send them there.

Yeah.  It’s like if you look at the DISC, for example, the personality assessment.  Not everyone is going to get along with a D or they may not want an I who will talk their ear off.  They may want someone who’s very sensitive and more of the S and the caretaker.  So we find that when I match doulas with families and really trying to find the ideal personality based not only on the mother but also the partner.

Yeah.  Because it’s not just a dyad, right, especially if there are two parents.  It is a triad or maybe even more because of other kids involved.  So keeping in mind that there are multiple personalities and dynamics. 

So you said you’ve got CST in there, physiotherapy.  What other health professions do you have that you like to have a list of?

So certainly different specialties within chiropractic care.  If you’re looking for a Webster certified chiro or a pediatric.  Dieticians, pediatric dentists are big parts of it.  All of the different mental health experts, whether it’s a relationship struggle or PMADs or posttraumatic stress after a traumatic birth.  Whatever our clients are going through.  And then for me, car seat safety is a big issue, and then just looking at even navigating where you can deliver your baby, who can deliver your baby.  Explaining all of the options, like what is maternal fetal if you are high risk, and OB, certified nurse midwife, who works in the hospital, or a certified professional midwife who attends births at home.  Really, all of the options that you would have for support.  And then looking at fitness classes and prenatal yoga and some of the classes you can take with baby after healing.  Things like, of course, pelvic floor physical therapy and getting physical therapy during pregnancy and those types of options.

All of these things are so incredibly important.  I understand that not everyone is going to be able to afford or have resources or money to pay for these things, but my desire with CST and training as many CST practitioners as possible is that when there are a multitude of them, there are also more who can give out either free services every once in a while or work on a pro bono or work on a sliding scale.  And I think that more and more people are joining this postpartum career in the postpartum field, and it’s wonderful.  It’s wonderful that we do have this list of health professionals.

Yes.  And then hopefully maternity benefits and paternity benefits keep expanding.  Some self-funded insurance plans cover doulas, and then there’s Carrot Fertility and Progyny.  Yes.  So things are starting to shift, and I know that there’s support for adoption in some benefits and fertility.  Hopefully, things can expand even more to include CST.

I hope so.  I really do, because the body work aspect is, I think, undervalued.  You know, people think that babies come out a clean slate, and that is – that couldn’t be further from the truth.  That’s partly why we do need this list of health professionals is because this baby has stored trauma in their body and it’s coming out as symptoms and distress, right?  And I wonder – not that I want to put other professions out, but I wonder how many parents would not have such a difficult time if they knew all of the resources that they had available to them.

Exactly.  That’s why I’m hoping the book is a starting point, and then people will have more access.  Not everyone can afford to join my Becoming course, but most everyone can buy a book or borrow.  This will be on Kindle.  There’s a hardcover, a paperback, and then in mid-June, it will be out on audiobook.  So if you have an Audible account, you can listen.

Amazing.  Well, I do, so I’ll probably listen.

Awesome.

That’s the thing, that it needs to be accessible.  This information should be accessible.

Exactly.  And just knowing national support groups and parenting groups and all of the options and resources and what I consider would be evidence-based information.  This is only my personal experience as a doula, as a business owner, and a mother.  So I’m not speaking in a clinical perspective.  But I feel like, again, after lots of work trying to refer books for my clients, there’s nothing like it.  The closest thing would be What To Expect When You’re Expecting, which was written by a mom, and isn’t really covering all of the things that we cover in this book.  Not so much about assembling the experts.

Right.  That is so incredibly important.  We were speaking earlier before we came on here, and I did my doula training when I was – oh, how old was I?  I was 30.  And they focused strongly on having that referral source, your list of referral sources, before you start taking clients, because these parents are going to be struggling and they are going to need the help, and you need to know who you’re sending your people to.  You need to have that ready for parents because you can’t do everything yourself.  And we’re not supposed to do everything ourselves.  It’s better to have this team approach.

Yes.  And birth doulas, we follow up and have a postnatal appointment with our clients within two weeks of when they deliver.  So again, a great time to give resources and support in that way.  And then postpartum doulas are supporting right when they get home, as long as they need.  For us, since we work through the first year, sometimes we don’t even begin work until parents are going back to work from their leave and want to get rest and support.  They may have had a lot of family support initially, or their partner may have some leave time.  So we’re not always there early, but there’s still a lot we can do as far as giving resources and referrals.

Yeah, that’s amazing.  Well, thank you so much for speaking with me today.  I know that your book is needed, is necessary, and whoever is listening, Mother’s Day, Supported comes out, so keep your eyes open.  I believe this episode will go live right around that time, so hopefully we can get more sales driven to you, some more clicks on your link.  We will share all of the information for you, Kristin, in the show notes so that people can find you.  Other than that, where do you think people would be able to look for your information?

So the book will be on Amazon, so you’ll be able to find it.  There’s a preorder for the ebook right now, but the actual print book will not be up and live until Mother’s Day.  The Gold Coast Doulas website, which is www.goldcoastdoulas.com, does have a page for the Supported book, and also the Becoming A Mother course if anyone is interested in that.  And I’m on social media, so Instagram, Facebook, @goldcoastdoulas.  And then of course, I have the Ask the Doulas podcast, where I’ll be having you on soon.

I know!  I’m so excited!  I can’t wait to share more about CST!

The podcast is all about interviewing experts like yourself in the birth and baby space.

Amazing.  Well, I feel grateful that I’m able to be seen as that expert.

Definitely!  Thank you so much, Meghan.  It was great to talk with you!

IMPORTANT LINKS

Listen to the podcast

Birth and postpartum support from Gold Coast Doulas

Supported: Your Guide to Birth and Baby

The Importance of Support in the Pre and Postpartum Period with Kristin Revere Read More »

Jessie Jaskulsky holding a baby

5 Things to Know About Surrogacy – Guest Blog by Jessie Jaskulsky

Gold Coast Doulas asked Jessie Jaskulsky to guest blog on the topic of Surrogacy since March is Surrogacy Awareness Month. Jessie is the mom of Lily and Luna. It is through her first-hand experience with surrogacy that she is passionate about simplifying the process for others. Having gone through this beautiful but wildly complicated process twice, Jessie is motivated to help others create the family of their dreams.

 

March is Surrogacy Awareness Month and the perfect time to learn more about the beautiful gift of surrogacy. Whether you or someone you know are experiencing infertility, here are five things you need about this beautiful pathway to parenthood. 

The Difference Between Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy

Gestational Surrogacy is when the surrogate undergoes an embryo transfer and carries the baby for the Intended Parents. The embryo is created by combining the egg from one person (typically the Intended Mother or egg donor) with the sperm (typically the Intended Father or sperm donor) in a lab (fertility clinic). The gestational carrier does not have any biological connection to the baby. Traditional Surrogacy, on the other hand, is when the surrogate has a biological connection to the baby. In most circumstances, the egg is from the surrogate and the sperm is from either the Intended Father or donor sperm. It is important to note that traditional surrogacy is banned in several states whereas gestational surrogacy is legal in 47 out of 50 states (Michigan being one of the states where it is illegal). 

 

Where to Find a Surrogate 

Matching with a surrogate can be done in a variety of ways. Intended Parents can find a surrogate with the help of a surrogacy agency, a surrogacy consultant, or independently. An independent journey is when an agency or consultant is not used and the Intended Parents manage the entire process by themselves. In these instances, the surrogate is either someone the Intended Parents know or met through social media. The length of time it takes to match with a surrogate can vary greatly depending on the method you choose. Even within one of these options, there is still significant variability in the time to be matched with a surrogate.

You Follow the Law Where the Baby is Born 

Regardless if your surrogate is known (i.e., friend or family member) or someone met through an agency, you will need a legal contract. Since Michigan is a state where surrogacy is not (yet) legal, you would need to find a surrogate living in a “surrogacy-friendly” state. Your legal representation is typically in the state where the baby will be born (i.e., where the surrogate lives). There are some exceptions to this rule, for example, in states where the laws for surrogacy are written favorably, some will try to argue jurisdiction for the state where the embryo transfer occurred. 

The Cost of Surrogacy 

The cost of surrogacy can range from $125,000 to $175,000 based on a variety of factors. Examples include surrogate compensation, whether your surrogate has “surrogate-friendly” health insurance (otherwise the Intended Parents need to purchase her a supplemental policy), type of journey you pursue (independent vs. using a surrogacy agency). There are grants available (pro tip- check out Resolve to find available ones in your state) and financing options to help with the high cost of surrogacy.

Surrogates are Evaluated Physically & Psychologically 

Once you’ve matched with a surrogate, the surrogate will also be evaluated by a psychologist or social worker who is trained in ART.  The exact assessment may vary based on the fertility clinic you are working with and their specific requirements. Most surrogates can expect an assessment that has two components; a session with the psychologist and completing a questionnaire that is part of a more formal measure such as the MMPI (Minnesota Multi-phasic Personality Inventory). 


The Intended Parents’ fertility clinic will review the surrogate’s medical records and schedule a time for her to come to the office for an evaluation. At the evaluation, they will test her and her partner for infectious diseases and undergo a urine drug test. They will also meet with the Reproductive Endocrinologist to review the surrogate’s medical history and discuss the surrogacy process. Lastly, they will evaluate the surrogate’s uterus by either ultrasound or HSG hysterosalpingogram) to visualize the uterus and fallopian tubes.

If you are thinking about beginning a surrogacy journey, we’d love to meet you and learn about your unique circumstances. You can schedule a complimentary consultation here. Not ready to meet but interested in learning more? Download our free surrogacy e-book here.

5 Things to Know About Surrogacy – Guest Blog by Jessie Jaskulsky Read More »

Heidi McDowell headshot

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. 

Did you forget something? Read More »

Gold Coast Doulas 2023 Reflections

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.

2023 Reflections Read More »

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

Meet our new Postpartum and Infant Care Doula, Aubri Read More »

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

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