About me

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

Ina May Gaskin

I’m Gaia Picciolini, 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 brother, 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. Furthermore 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 doubt. The extra help I needed the first time wasn’t a failure nor a sign of weakness.

I also really learned what I now try to teach all of my clients: that it is not (or it should not be) about the birth you get. What matters is to go through it fully informed, standing in your power, feeling in charge of your story, respected and supported in every choice you make.

There aren’t many moments in life able to show us how strong and powerful we are: birth is one of them. It leads us deep within ourselves to re-emerge changed, renewed, and enriched with a new awareness of ourselves.

My job is to hold the space for you so that your experience can be just as magical.

What is 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, “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 support laboring women by:

  • Providing continuous emotional and physical support
  • Helping find resources to make informed 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) as far as allowed in the place of birth
  • Encouraging the mother to communicate with her doctor about any procedures and interventions (a doula does NOT give medical advice or interfere with the doctor/mother relationship)
  • Helping the birth partner by suggesting ways that he can support the laboring mom, feeling useful and helpful. (A doula never replaces the very important role of the birth partner!)

What Does a Doula NOT Do?

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

A doula will 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.

Doula services

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.

Standard package
950 euro

Intake appointment
2 prenatal meetings
Coming along to a midwife appointment
Unlimited support by phone and email until 14 days postpartum
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 a couple of hours afterwards
1 postpartum visit within a week of your birth

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

Intake appointment
1 prenatal meeting if possible
Unlimited support by phone and email until 14 days postpartum
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
1 postpartum visit within a week of your birth

Virtual package
815 euro

Virtual intake appointment
2 prenatal sessions over video call
Phone, text, or video support during your labor and birth
24/7 on-call support after 37 weeks
Unlimited text and phone support until 14 days postpartum
1 virtual postpartum visit

Birth Prep Workshop

Are you just looking for a birth preparation workshop or would you like your partner, sister or friend to be your doula?

Book me then for a 3-hours workshop!

In the comfort of your home I’ll teach you and your partner the physiology and stages of birth. You’ll find out which movements and positions might help you the most in each phase, while your partner will learn different massages and doula’s “secrets”.

Feel empowered and prepared!

150 euro

Perinatal Yoga

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 focused 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!

And after birth? Get back into shape safely while enjoying some relaxed & playful time with your baby with postnatal yoga:

– 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
– Learn how to massage 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.

At the moment I’m only teaching private classes (40€ per class). If you and your friends want to create a group class let me know! I’m always happy to discuss new possibilities and define details.

Contact

It’s so important to choose the right doula! If you think we might be a match, feel free to call me or send me an email and we’ll organise an intake appointment free of charge:

0648228604

gaiapic@hotmail.it