Finding out you are expecting a baby is one of the most exciting times in your life, but it can also become one of the most overwhelming times. Having a professional to guide you through this next chapter in your life is invaluable. From the moment you find out you are pregnant a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) can help answer your questions and get you started on a prenatal plan. As a mother of two and Naturopathic Doctor I have listed the top 5 reasons to include an ND in your prenatal care team.

1. Immediate Care
Most women do no see their Obstetrician or Midwife before approximately 10 weeks of pregnancy. During the first 10 weeks, moms and partners have a lot of questions. Some of these questions are related to food, exercise, sleep, morning sickness, fatigue, etc. Naturopathic Doctors are there for you from week 1 and can answer all of your questions. Not only is it important have these questions to get answered, there are also critical nutrients and factors to consider for healthy baby development in the first trimester (weeks 1-13).

2. Discuss nutrition, healthy weight gain and additional supplement support 
Understanding what to eat, what you can eat and what foods, if any, you should be avoiding can be confusing especially if you are experiencing nausea! It is important to ensure you are getting enough carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats as well as ensuring you are getting your micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). With your ND, you will discuss: plate proportions, foods to limit or avoid, foods you should include in your diet and healthy weight gain during each trimester.
When taking supplements and prenatal vitamins, it is important to understand what you are taking. There are 3 things to be mindful of when it comes to your supplements:

  1. The forms of the vitamins/minerals that are in the product, as some forms are easier absorbed and are better tolerated by the body, which will ensure your body is using what you are taking.
  2. The doses of the vitamins/minerals/herbs in the product. Each vitamin/mineral/herb will have a therapeutic dose and some products do not contain enough of each ingredient to provide a therapeutic value.
  3. The product does not contain fillers and chemicals. It is surprising, but some of the products on the market contain added fillers and chemicals that you do not want to be putting into your body, especially when pregnant. This is why it is so important to seek professional advice when choosing supplements.

3. Pregnancy Expectations and Common Pregnancy Related Complaints/Conditions
Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but there are symptoms that may arise especially as the woman nears the end of her third trimester. Even though these symptoms/conditions are common, they can cause quite a bit of stress for mom. But do not worry! There is support. Naturopathic Doctors can help prevent as well as guide you through the treatment options when it comes to conditions of pregnancy. These conditions can include: Heartburn, Urinary Tract Infections, Morning Sickness, Insomnia, Constipation, Headaches, Restless Legs, Gestational Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Group B Strep and Stretch Marks.

4. Birth Preparation 
Birth preparation is very important and patients tend to not know that they need to train their muscles for birth much like they would if they were running a marathon. Starting around 36 weeks, Naturopathic Doctors will shift their treatment plan to support the birth. This will include supplement changes, acupuncture and some herbal preparations to help ripen the cervix and strengthen the uterus in preparation for delivery. Research shows that pre-birth acupuncture can shorten the second stage of labour (pushing).

5. Optimal Postpartum Care 
The postpartum period, often called the 4th trimester, is a joyous time as well as a busy time. It is so vital that mom’s needs do not get forgotten, as everyone is excited over the new arrival. Postpartum care is very important in helping prevent and support postpartum blues, postpartum depression, milk supply, iron and nutrient levels, stress management and thyroid health. Booking a follow up with your Naturopathic Doctor around 6 weeks postpartum is recommended. As the body can take a full year to recover from pregnancy and birth, Naturopathic Doctors will see you and you baby beyond 6 weeks postpartum and continue care for you, your baby and your family as needed.

Welcoming a new member into the family is such a special time. The greatest gift you can give your baby is a healthy start as well as a healthy mom! If you want to learn more about Naturopathic Medicine, please visit the Services section of our website. We look forward to meeting you and your growing family.

Dr. Denise Handscomb, ND


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Abaton Integrative Medicine
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Oakville, ON, L6J 1P5

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There are so many reasons why yoga is beneficial for not only expectant moms and moms who have recently given birth, but it’s also helpful for babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages. Yoga in each of these stages of life plays a role in overall health and wellness in many different ways.


Right about now, you may be thinking: my baby can literally suck on his/her own toes. They’re flexible enough! But, as we’ll cover in upcoming articles, yoga isn’t just about increasing your flexibility! Rooted in Sanskrit, the term yoga can be translated as “to unite.” Yoga with your baby continues to strengthen the bond between you and your wee one. It also helps to stretch your wee one’s muscles and help with circulation and strength building – after all, nine months curled up in a snug womb calls for some gentle and natural stretching to become acquainted with this big wide world!


Little ones becoming self-aware and filled with so much energy can really benefit from learning ways to channel their liveliness and learn from a young age how movement can help them express themselves and even help them reach a state of calm. At this early-in-life stage, socialization with both adults and other toddlers is important and can help your young one learn how to interact with others, as well as learn how to respect others’ need for space. At this age too, little ones love to copy the movements of adults so yoga is a fantastic way to bond and play with mom and/or dad!


Why do kids need yoga in their lives? For so many reasons! Kids these days experience so much pressure. Pressure to conform to what’s “normal” and fit in, pressure to look and act a certain way, pressure to perform and be the best on the soccer team, pressure to be the best in school and get awe-inspiring grades. It’s estimated that roughly 13% of children suffer from anxiety, and many speculate that this percentage is on the rise. Yoga helps kids in so many, many ways: it gives kids a safe space to be themselves, helps with learning how to quiet their minds from the busy and noisy world around them. It teaches them about their bodies and how they can become more in-tune with them, while also guiding them in self-care, teaching them to care for their bodies and minds. All of these things can help with improved self-esteem and can help provide valuable coping mechanisms when life becomes busy and stressful.


If you’re a parent of to a kid with special needs, you know that stability and routine can be incredibly important in their lives. We teach private sessions specifically for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) because we know that, specifically with kiddos with special needs such as these, slowing down to concentrate on the present and learning breathing exercises and movements that ground them can be so incredibly beneficial to their overall well-being and can provide them with exercises that they can use, even on their own, when life gets busy and hectic.


What an exciting time pregnancy can be! So much excitement and love for someone you have not even met yet! There’s planning and showers and time spent with family and friends eager to help you along in your child-bearing journey. But along with all of that loveliness comes change – in your life, in your body, in your energy levels! Some women report that their regular workouts can be difficult or even painful as their bellies grow and they begin to support more weight than they’re used to. Even regular yoga poses can be more difficult than usual, but that doesn’t mean that you give up on your health and wellness! There are prenatal and postnatal tailored yoga poses and classes that can cater to your changing body (and life!) both before and after your little bundle of joy enters the world. Keeping your body and mind strong is beneficial and healthy for both you and your baby, so don’t neglect your health under the semblance that you’re prioritizing your babies’ or family’s health and wellness. One of my favourite sayings is: “you cannot pour from an empty cup.” You must take care of yourself! While this may be a time of great joy and love, let’s also be honest, it can also be a stressful time. Yoga before and after childbirth can help stabilize your mind and body. It gives you back some “me time” and helps you focus on yourself, so you can have the energy to focus on your growing family too, with a renewed self.

Check out all of our classes (for moms and babies, toddlers, and kids) and programs! We host fun themed classes that include storytelling, song and dance, and arts and crafts. During our classes, we include mindfulness, self-regulation, and stress management. At Once upon a Mat, our Kids Yoga Classes focus on allowing kids to move, be engaged through storytelling and discover ways to relax with breathing techniques. Our Kids Yoga Classes provide an educational journey. Kids learn about yoga, the body and mind. We foster creativity, play and awareness through our yoga and wellness programs!

By: Andrea Harris, Bodhi & Be Marketing