My Village

My first pregnancy was a breeze.  It was barely an inconvenience to me.

Many say that it takes a village to raise a child.  But what about the mama?

During my second pregnancy, I learned that it takes a village to care for mamas as well!

I'm grateful for my village, which includes many family members and friends.

Here are the professionals from my village.

Acupuncturist: Katie Beskin at Reproductive Wellness (Mission Valley)

Chiropractor: Dr. Kayla Ambert of Ocean Beach Family Chiropractic (Ocean Beach)

Birth Doula: Kandice Haag of La Serena Birth Services

Placenta Encapsulation: Nova of Womb Service (Yelp Reviews)

Postpartum Doula: Amelia Bachtiar (San Diego)

Massage Therapist: Brenda Goodell of Going Ga-Ga (Bankers Hill)

Massage Therapist: Zara Jeffrey of Urban Light Sanctuary (University Heights)

Yoga Studio: Nature's Whisper (University Heights)

Prenatal Midwifery Care: Midwives at UCSD

Hiring a doula:  Birth & Postpartum

Facebook groups & Websites (Free)

Prenatal Vitamins

It is organic, vegan, odorless, and breaks into pieces for easy swallowing.  Unlikely many other prenatal vitamins, it includes 100% recommended serving of iron as well.  The bottle is made of glass so you feel better for the environment.  The only caveat is that the daily serving is 3 tablets.  Once you get used to taking it with your meals (which you shouldn't be skipping anyway), it is not so bad.

Doesn't the name tell you everything you need to know?  The daily serving size is 2 tablets so you can couple with the regular prenatal vitamins in the morning and night, or two at one of the meals, whatever works for you.

Prenatal Yoga on Demand & on DVD

Do you have any prenatal yoga clips you recommend on YouTube?

I often get asked for YouTube recommendations for prenatal yoga from pregnant mamas, especially those living far from me.  Unfortunately, I haven't found a good resource on YouTube.  (If you do, please let me know.  I'd love to take a look.)

Jane Austin is who I recommend.  Wholeheartedly.  Jane has worked with pregnant women and their families since 1990.  She is a certified yoga teacher and trainer.  Jane is the founder and director of Mama Tree, a prenatal yoga school dedicated to educating yoga teachers, doulas and midwives on how to use the tools of yoga to support pregnant women and new moms in all stages of the childbearing year and beyond.  She weaves her experience as a midwife, doula, childbirth educator and mother into her work.  Jane is the perinatal director of Yoga Tree in San Francisco.

If you are ever in town, please take her class and attend her workshops and retreats.  If you are far away or want immediate access, the second best are her Udemy classes and Jane's Prenatal Yoga DVD (click on the image).  You can visit Jane's website for more information about her and her offerings.  Also, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions as I trained with Jane for prenatal and postnatal yoga (and other motherhood related subjects) while living in the Bay Area.

NEW!  For $10 off, use the following links for Jane's classes on Udemy!

Induction without drugs

Here are some ways to initiate labor without drugs according to Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (and also to help the labor move along once the contractions have begun):

Sexual intercourse. "[H]uman semen is the most concentrated source of prostaglandins, the substance that Cervidil, Prepidil, and Cytotec attempt to mimix, which means that pleasurable intercourse during the last weeks of pregnancy helps the woman's body to go into labor.

Breast stimulation. "Nipple stimulation causes the release of oxytocin into the materal bloodstream, and this oxytocin then stimulates contractions of the uterine muscles."

Castor oil. "Taken orally, castor oil acts as a laxative, and the stimulation of the digestive tract often starts labor at term. ... One tablespoon of castor oil is added to scrambled eggs or is mixed with fruit juice to make it more palatable for the woman. If necessary, she takes one more tablespoon one hour after ingesting the first." I mixed one tablespoon with orange juice (shaken, not stirred) after 14 hours of early labor. My water broke 4 hours later, at which point, my contractions transformed in their frequency and intensity.

Sweeping the membranes. "The practitioner inserts two fingers just inside the cervix and gently separates the bag of waters from the inside of the cervix. Doing this stimulates the production of natural prostaglandins in the cervix."

Other honorable mention goes to the following:

Raspberry Leaf Tea. “Many women claim that red raspberry leaf tea helps shorten labor. The fragarine compound found in red raspberry leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, including the walls of your uterus, which can help make delivery easier.”

Fresh pineapple.

Let me know if you know of any others that would be worth mentioning here. Thanks!

Books On Childbirth & Postpartum

Personal Top 2 List

While this book relates to the postpartum period, you should read it before and set up the postpartum plan (not just the birth plan).

Other Great Books

Breast Pumps


Phyllis Klaus, LMFT, LMSW, is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist and Social Worker. She is also a Founder of DONA International and Pattch (Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth). She is based in Palo Alto, California.

Suzannah (Tipermas) Neufeld, is a therapist supporting people coping with eating disorders, body image concerns, anxiety, and maternal mental health since 2003. She is also a co-founder of the Rockridge Wellness Center, a counseling and health collective in Oakland.

Breastfeeding Support GroupS (FREE)

Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion (next to Sharp Mary Birch)

  • Mondays @ 3:30-5 pm

  • Wednesdays @ 2-3:30 pm

  • Fridays @ 2-3:30 pm

Sharp Grossmont Hospital - Call (619) 740-4983 with any questions

  • Mondays @ 1-3:30 pm

  • Thursdays @ 9-11:30 am

Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center - Call (619) 502-5848 with any questions

  • Tuesdays @ 1-2:30 pm

  • Wednesdays @ 2-3:30 pm

  • Thursdays @ 4-5:30 pm

Mama Support (FREE)

Did you know?

1 in 7 women will get a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder.  Symptoms can occur in pregnancy or as early as 2 weeks postpartum and anytime within the first year.

Maiden to Mother on Fridays @ 12:45-2 pm @ Nature's Whisper Yoga (4205 Park Boulevard, San Diego CA 92103)

A circle of new motherhood led by a woman of wisdom in a nurturing supportive environment.  Group covers breastfeeding, natural baby health, baby sleep options, baby wearing, cloth and diaper free options & postpartum concerns.

Register at

Free Postpartum Support Groups by Sharp:  Call (858) 939-4133 or (619) 740-3483 with any questions

  • Mondays @ 9-10 am at Sharp Grossmont Women's Center (5555 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa, CA 91942) - Conference Room 3

  • Tuesdays @ 9:30-11 am at Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion (3075 Health Center Dr., San Diego, CA 92123) - Rooms A & B

  • For Couples: Last Wednesdays of each month @ 6-7:30 pm at Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion - Room A

San Diego Postpartum Health Alliance @ (619) 254-0023

Postpartum Support International @ (800) 944-4773

Home Products

These are a few of my favorite things at home.

Do you have any other resources you want to share with me?  Or something you are curious about?  Please let me know!