Midwives and doulas

Many women chose to have a midwife for their prenatal care, labour and delivery of their baby. Depending upon the certification and the types of care offered by individual midwives, the service they provide can include: prenatal education, counselling, and prenatal care, assistance during labour and birth, as well as postnatal support. Midwifery care generally involves fewer technological interventions.

There are several midwifery centres in Brussels, including the following:
The Maison de la Naissance (www.maisondelanaissance.be) offers midwifery services for: pregnancy massage, hypnobirthing, birth classes, home births, hospital births (at Erasme and St Elisabeth hospitals), and support for after the birth.
Vlaamse Organisatie van Vroedvrouwen is the Flemish Organisation of Midwives (www.vlov.be).
There is another group of Brussels-based midwives, called Amala. The website is in English and can be found at http://naissance-amala.be/uk

Another source of support for pregnant women is a doula. There are two types of doulas – those that are trained to support a woman (physically, emotionally and with information) during labour and immediately after the birth, and those who are trained to care for the family after the birth of the baby (household help, breastfeeding advice, newborn care and emotional support).
The French speaking association of doulas in Belgium (Association Francophone des Doulas de Belgique) can be found at www.doulas.be
There is also a Dutch speaking doula website, which serves the Netherlands plus Belgium. The address is www.doula.nl

Pregnancy podcasts

If you are interested in listening to podcasts and on-line radio shows that cover various pregnancy topics, here are two that have been recommended by one of our prenatal yoga attendees!

Pea in the Podcast


Nutrition in pregnancy

During pregnancy, women tend to be more aware of how they nourish themselves. What you eat in pregnancy goes right to the baby – this is a real responsibility!
One of the big concerns for many women is how to get enough protein in their diet. Here are a few tips for vegetarian sources of protein:

  • Protein shakes: blend protein powder, nuts, fruit, and soy/rice/almond milk. Add wheat germ for extra iron. Add almond oil for your stretching skin.
  • Top salads with: nuts, wheat germ, tofu, olives, avocado, coconut, bean sprouts, sunflower seeds, broccoli, ground sesame seeds.
  • Sandwich ideas: Tahini/sprouts/tomato/avocado, mashed cooked beans/lettuce/bell pepper/pitted olives, tofu/pesto, baked tofu/sprouts/tomato/nut butter, nut butter/jam.
  • Snack ideas: vegetable sticks with hummous, apple slices with nut butter or tahini.

For further information about a vegetarian diet in pregnancy, try ‘Your Vegetarian Pregnancy: A month-by-month guide to health and nutrition’ by Dr Holly Roberts (Board-Certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist).

Check out www.reason2.be for a wonderful organic fruit and vegetable delivery service. They even do a ‘Baby Bio’ option for when your baby is eating solid foods.

Recommended reading for pregnancy

Recommended reading:

Beautiful, Bountiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation (by Gurmukh)
I can’t recommend this book enough – it is by my teacher, Gurmukh, and each time I re-read it, I find more inspiration.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (by Ina May Gaskin)
Written by the well-known American midwife, the case studies of various births make this a compelling read. Also useful for details about what happens to your body during labour and birth.

Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives: A holistic guide to pregnancy (by Deepak Chopra)
This beautiful book provides a spiritual view of pregnancy. Also included are excellent meditations, exercises and advice.

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering (by Sarah Buckley)
Written by a medical doctor, this book so informative – it is a fascinating presentation of natural childbirth and parenting decisions.

Birthing from Within (by Pam England and Bob Horowitz)
A new perspective on childbirth education, definitely worth a read.

Birth and Breastfeeding: Rediscovering the needs of women during pregnancy and childbirth (by Michel Odent)

The Secret Life of the Unborn Child: A remarkable and controversial look at life before birth (by Thomas Verny and John Kelly)

Breastfeeding info

Did you know…?
  • After the birth, breastfeeding encourages normal contractions that help to return the mother’s uterus to its pre-pregnant state.
  • Formula has between 25 and 45 ingredients, while breastmilk has over 200 ingredients.
  • Breastmilk is a living food, full of immune-benefitting components. At one year of age, when babies are exploring their environment more, breastmilk has more immune boosting components.
  • Breastfed babies only eat as much as they need.
  • Breastmilk is sterile: it can be used for treating pink-eye, diaper rash, cradle cap, and minor cuts.  Rub it onto your nipples if they are cracked and sore.
  • Breastfeeding triggers the release of oxytocin, which creates a heightened feeling of relaxation in the mother and the baby.


Visualisation practice

Before your baby is born, try a visualisation technique for successful breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding Support

Keep in mind that breastfeeding is a skill that needs to be learned –  if you need some support, there is help available in Brussels:

The La Leche League has a branch in Belgium. The site is www.lllbelgique.org

Breastfeeding (and bottle feeding) support can also be found through volunteers at the Brussels Childbirth Trust (www.bctbelgium.com)