Gaia

If a labouring woman doesn’t look like a Goddess,
then someone isn’t treating her right.

Ina May Gaskin

I’m the mother of Luna and Ravi and the partner of Arnoud. I’m Italian, Dutch for love.

Since 2014 I live in Amsterdam, where through my work as a yoga teacher and doula, I support women during the wonderful and challenging months of their pregnancy and along their journey to motherhood.

The births of my children couldn’t have been more different. Both times I had chosen an independent midwife and I had planned a homebirth, but with Ravi in 2017 I had to transfer to the hospital after 24 hours without much progression, meconium and complete exhaustion. There I opted for an epidural, and my son was born after 10 more hours of labour and 2,5 hours of pushing… His birth left me feeling like I had failed, doubting my body and the birthing process. Nevertheless when I got pregnant with Luna I decided to give it another try – and what a great experience that turned out to be!
She was born peacefully at home, under the excited eyes of her bother, after the most loving and intimate 7 hours Arnoud and I ever shared and two mighty pushes.

Her birth taught me a few important lessons: first and foremost it showed me that my body did know what to do, and that the fact that with my boy I had needed extra help didn’t take anything away from that experience. On the other hand! The easy arrival of Luna, made me realise how much more strength and courage it had taken me to bring Ravi earth-side through all the pain and the doubt.

I also really learned what I now try to teach all if my clients: that it is not (or it should not) be about the birth you get, but about going through it standing in your power, being feel fully in charge of your story, respected and supported in your informed choices.

There aren’t many moments in life able to show us how strong and powerful we are, but birth is one of them. It leads us deep within ourselves to emerge on the other side changed, renewed, and enriched with a new awareness of ourselves. My job is to hold the space so that for you as well it can be just as magical.

Doula support

Maybe you have always known that you wanted a doula, maybe you feel like getting as much support as you can get, or maybe you just realised as the date approaches that you want one. Whatever your case is, there is a package that suits your needs.

Basic package (950 euro)

Intake appointment
Two prenatal meetings
Coming along to a midwife appointment or join you in a tour of the hospital or birth centre of your choice
Unlimited support by phone and email
On call 24/7 from week 38 up until the baby is born
Continuous support during your labor and birth, from the moment you want me to be there to maximum a couple of hours afterwards
One post partum meeting within a week of your birth
Possibility of adding extra meetings for a discounted price

Last minute package (700 euro) – if you are already 37 weeks pregnant

One prenatal meeting if possible
Unlimited support by phone and email
On call 24/7 from week 38 up until the baby is born
Continuous support during your labor and birth, from the moment you want me to be there to maximum a couple of hours afterwards
One post partum meeting within a week of your birth

Comprehensive package (1295 euro)

Basic package plus:

One extra prenatal meeting
From week 37 onwards we will meet weekly for a session of an hour to prepare you and your partner for labour. These sessions are focused on relaxation, massage and preparing your body for birth
One extra post partum meeting

Why a doula?

If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it. ~ John H. Kennell, MD

The word “Doula” comes from the Greek word doule, that means “a woman who serves.” That is precisely the role of a doula for a laboring woman: tending to and helping the mom and supporting the relationship of the laboring couple.

Doulas often support laboring women by:

  • Providing continuous emotional and physical support
  • Giving information if asked and helping the mother find resources to research her birth choices (before labor)
  • Using comfort measures like massage, suggesting different positions and helping with relaxation breathing
  • Accommodating the mother’s wishes for the birth environment (low light, soft music, etc) to the extent possible in the place of birth
  • Encouraging the mother to communicate with her doctor and to be informed about any procedures and interventions (a doula does NOT give medical advice or interfere with the doctor/mother relationship)
  • Supporting the father or birth partner in the best way to support the mother. A doula never replaces the very important role of the birth partner! On the other hand she will help the birth partner by suggesting ways that he can support the laboring mom, feeling useful and helpful.

What Does a Doula NOT Do?

Doulas are not medical professionals and do not give medical advice.

A doula will also not perform medical tasks like checking blood pressure, doing cervical exams or monitoring the baby’s heart rate. It is never the place of a doula to judge, condemn or go against a mother’s wishes. Doulas do not take over or come between the mother and her birth partner or doctor.

Unlike nurses and doctors, doulas also do not take shifts or leave during a labor.

Why a Doula?

A Cochrane review published in 2012 found that in labors with the continuous presence of a doula, laboring mothers experience:

  • Reduced use of pitocin
  • Decreased rate of interventions during labor
  • Less need for pain medication and less requests for epidural
  • Higher satisfaction with birth outcomes
  • Lower c-section rate
  • Higher chance of a spontaneous vaginal birth
  • Shorter labors

I cannot promise you’ll have the birth of your dream, but I will definitely do my best to make your wish come true.

Yoga

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Yoga is the most suggested practice during pregnancy, but why is it so? During pregnancy your body is changing very fast, literally transforming to make space for the new life growing inside your belly. This means that you might feel blessed and radiant, but sometimes also tired and achy.

Yoga can be an effective way to keep up with all those changes, help your posture, therefore fighting back and pelvic pain, connect with your unborn baby and pamper your body and mind. Regular practice from 14 weeks of pregnancy till birth, will help your body be fit, ready for the big day and your mind be focus yet relaxed, ready to let go and surrender to the instincts that rule labor.

And in my classes there is always space for a good laughter!

**Due to my own pregnancy the group classes are temporarily suspended. **

postnatal yoga

Our body takes 9 months to slowly change and adapt to the presence of a baby. After birth the changes seem faster but still require time and care. Get back into shape safely while enjoying some relaxed & playful time with your baby and other new mothers in this series of 4 postnatal classes.

– Regain tone in your pelvic floor and core with original practices and micro-movements
– Give a boost to your new mother wellbeing through physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of yoga
– Get ready to go back to your normal practice through adapted asanas and exercises that ensure optimal spinal alignment through the postnatal year, from supine, raised sitting, all fours and prone positions, to classic sitting, kneeling and standing postures
– Learn ‘off the mat’ yoga practices that can be used in your daily life while caring for your baby
– Enjoy some relaxed and playful time with your baby

** All practices are suitable for every mother, even after Caesarean births. You can join from 3 weeks after birth (or 6 in case of C-section) and until 6 months after.

COMING UP NEXT

Due to my own pregnancy the classes are currently suspended. Sorry!

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