Class Theme for the Week: BURPEE

During each of my classes last week I started with the question: What is a tool you plan to bring into your birth?

I had some incredible answers.  Including ‘Focusing on Myself’, ‘Not having any expectations’, and ‘Living in the Moment’.  Each were encouraging for myself and all the other mamas in the room!

The inspiration for this question and overall theme came about while I was going over my old prenatal yoga teacher training notes.  I was thankful to come across this acronym that we learned to provide us with tools and tips during birth.  I decided to craft my classes last week around sharing this acronym and all it’s wisdom.

The acronym is BURPEE and it stands for:

B – Breathe. To bring your body into a parasympathetic nervous system response (where birth happens), we can work to make our exhales longer relative to our inhales.  This will keep us relaxed and able to mentally focus on the work of labour.  Breath is also our anchor.  No matter what happens as our families, bodies, and homes change during birth, our breath remains the same.

U – Urinate.  Creating space for baby by clearing the bladder often is useful in labour.  This also tells us that we should be drinking water during labour to keep ourselves hydrated.  Also, the ‘birth cave’ or bathroom can feel like a safe, contained place to labour.  Sitting on the toilet can be a helpful position to encourage the hips to open!

R – Rest/Relax.  Remaining in the ‘Rest and Digest’ response of the nervous system (parasympathetic) will make it easier for us to effectively rest and relax between surges.  Living in the moment and enjoying this natural break in work instead of worrying about the next surge will help us to labour effectively.  Between surges you may find it helpful to be in child’s pose (or some variation), a forward fold, sitting, or draped over a birthing ball.

P – Positions. Knowing that you can vary your positions throughout birth (and varying them as needed) is important.  Although we don’t know what position(s) our bodies will crave until the moment comes, we can be prepared with various positions in mind ahead of time.  Squatting, All Fours, Child’s Pose, the Birthing Stool, Sitting or Hugging a Birthing Ball are just a few.  Penny Simkin’s The Birth Partner has a huge spread of useful positions you can use.

E – Environment.  There is a lot we can do to control our birthing environment.  Whether you birth at home, the Birth Centre, or the hospital, it is wise to do what you can to make your space comfortable, relaxing, and peaceful.  Make sure you are surrounded by people you can be vulnerable with – you can invite/uninvite whoever you want to your birth!  It is your choice alone as to who is there.  Also, having supportive things around you such as your favourite tea, music, essential oils for smell, or even your favourite foods.  Comfort is key to keeping yourself in that parasympathetic, safe birthing state.

E – Encouragement.  Make your birth team a team of cheerleaders!  Your partner, best friend, sister, mother, father, doula – if they’re not on your team and rooting for your best interests, perhaps they don’t need to be there.  Don’t be afraid to speak to your team about your desires for an encouraging, supportive environment – if you’re up front about this ahead of time you will thank yourself.

Wishing you all the best in your birth preparations.  May you take any of these tools that can be useful for you and leave the rest aside.  And remember, truly, the only thing you need to birth is right on  your yoga mat.  You.

Love and Peace,



J’s Learning Tower

‘Up Mommy, Up!!!!!!!!!!’

That used to be the anthem of my son, along with ‘carry’ or ‘see’.  Now all I say is, “Go get your learning tower and climb up!”

I heard about this learning tower business a while ago from a friend of mine.  You can buy them outright or do an Ikea Hack which is more work, but cheaper overall.  We went for the Ikea Hack.

I bought the stool from Ikea, and then my super handy Brother-In-Law designed and constructed this beautiful tower for my son for Christmas last year.  It has turned out to be one of our most loved and well-used posessions!  Thanks a million Jeff!

And so now, my son participates in my daily home life with me: We love preparing and cooking meals, doing the dishes, making snacks, watering the plants behind the sink, emptying the dishwasher, getting stuff out of the freezer, looking at recipes, etc – we do it all together!!!  Sometimes he will bring over a book or we’ll set up some painting or drawing at the kitchen counter so he can be close to me if he wants.  It works so beautifully.  I feel like I can get a lot done and he feels involved in our home life.

If you’re wondering about the safety bar, it’s on a swivel so it swings around and hooks on the right side (in the picture).

Leave a comment if you’re interested in this tower concept or have any questions.

Much love, light, and safe toddler participation in all the daily tasks of life!



Managing Morning Sickness

Good Morning!

Well a lot has been going on over here in the last week.  My son has quit breastfeeding at 23 months, only goes poop and pee on the big-boy toilet, has taken to sleeping for a total of 15 or more hours a day, and I’m back to feeling more like my energetic self with a willingness to exercise and cook!

And at the same time, I have some things I’d like to share about morning sickness in a long over-due post.

Morning Sickness – do you know what it’s triggers are?  Since I didn’t have to deal with it in my first pregnancy, I feel like so much light has been shed on it this time around.  (Please note that all my suggestions below are merely suggestions and things that worked well for me, nothing more.)

Did you know lack of sleep makes morning sickness worse?  This was a shocker for me for some reason!  And the general consensus for second-time moms is their baseline of tiredness during their second pregnancy is slightly higher – I wonder why!  Perhaps it’s that toddler running around constantly from sun up to sun down. 😉

Also, did you know morning sickness is brought on by a blood-sugar dip?  When we get hungry this is a sign of our blood-sugar dipping. This is why new moms are recommended to eat many small meals throughout the day, sometimes as often as every 1.5-2 hours apart.  The trick is to never get hungry!  If you can prevent a blood-sugar dip, you can prevent the nausea and lack of appetite that follows (what a nasty spiral).  I confess, sometimes I feel like I NEVER stop snacking!  It can be hard to keep up with this while caring for a toddler as you can imagine.  However, it’s important to keep your fridge and pantry filled with healthy, quick snacks that you can grab on the go. I recommend simple things like cutting up all your vegetables for the week ahead of time and keeping them spritzed in a sectional container in the fridge so you can grab and go.  Also, do your best to save your energy: stick close to home when you can, and take time through the day when your child is around to prepare food and cook.  It is important for our kids to handle healthy food and watch us cooking at an early age so they associate this as a daily habit and regular occurrence.  My crafty brother-in-law made a learning tower for my son for Christmas last year which is incredibly handy in the kitchen.  I will post on that soon.

Did you know combining proteins and fats can curb morning sickness?  Protein is the building blocks for your new baby and fats are what keeps your hunger at bay.  The average woman needs 15 grams of protein a day, but the average pregnant woman needs 70 grams!  That’s a HUGE difference!  So be sure to keep your protein stocked in the fridge.  I always have hemp hearts, nuts and seeds, nut butter, cottage cheese, avocado (fats), and hard boiled eggs on hand.  A hard boiled egg is a wonderful combination of protein and fats that can help any pregnant woman get through the next couple hours.

If you wake up hungry and already feel ‘gross’ before you open your eyes, a good strategy is to prepare something the night before and have it ready in the fridge or right on your bedside table.  My midwife suggests having a glass jar of nuts (I also always have ginger chews by my bed) at the bedside for those hard mornings, most likely when you didn’t sleep well through the night.  My husband also graciously would get up right away to bring me some overnight oats or a protein-packed smoothie before getting out of bed.  This helps a LOT!

Another strategy in case you are easily disgusted by EVERYTHING, is to eat the thing you want to eat (a bun or piece of toast for example) that you know won’t satiate you (doesn’t contain significant protein or fats) to get the hunger away and then right away use that energy to prepare something that is healthier and will better satiate you.  This strategy works well to stave off the hunger and give you a minute to think about your best or quickest healthy option.

And my last suggestion if all these are still not helping and you still feel a baseline of grossness, cancel as many of your plans as you can and sleep a LOT and then go out to get Ginger Gravol.  Yes, Gravol makes an anti-nausea pill that is natural, PURE concentrated ginger!  It is safe and effective when taken over time.  One of the only things I’ll buy at the drugstore!

And as always, I suggest considering the above (or other) natural options before taking any heavier meds!

Much love, patience, and happy food-preparing in your pregnancies!