community, family, health, pregnancy, prenatal yoga

Yoga and Birth Doula

julie and babesABOUT JULIE RYAN

Julie is a 200-hour certified yoga instructor, with additional certification in Pre-natal Yoga. She is qualified to work as a Birth Doula, as she continues her training to become certified. She is located in Campbellcroft and works throughout the Northumberland area of Ontario.

WEBSITE: Port Hope Cobourg Yoga

CONTACT: 905.396.0823  EMAIL:

This feature is written by Julie Ryan.


A labour and birth doula provides support to pregnant and birthing women as well as their families.  She educates regarding birth practices, gives information about medical and natural pain relief during labour, provides physical and emotional support during labour and the immediate post partum period and provides reassurance through advocacy.

I am very passionate about women helping women.  I’ve always had an unexplainable desire to help expecting moms by encouraging them to move, relax and eat healthy.  When my sister was expecting her 1st son, I signed us up for aqua fit and when my best friend was expecting, we walked together almost everyday.  When I was expecting, I was fascinated with every aspect of the experience.  What most women might consider unpleasant, I was curious and would research.

I read Hypno-Birthing: The Mongan Method by Marie F. Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy.  I had been practicing yoga with Jenni Burke for 5 years and found a lot of similarities between the two.  I started incorporating some of the hypno-birthing breathing, visualization, and relaxation techniques into my yoga practice.  My plan for labour was to stay as relaxed as possible using these techniques and I practiced this everyday.  Of course, I had never given birth before and believed I could maintain a state of total relaxation on my own without any help.  That was a mistake.

Labour with my 1st daughter was going incredibly well until the car ride to the hospital.  My husband, Mike stopped at a red light for what seemed like hours, no traffic in sight.  This irritated me. That small amount of stress was all it took for me to lose my focus and that is when my labour got intense.  I realized then that I should have educated Mike on all my techniques because I was never able bring myself back to a state of relaxation.   I decided to take pain meds a couple of hours after arriving at the hospital.  A few hours later my daughter was born.  It was a positive experience and my daughter was healthy and beautiful, but I was already thinking about what I would do differently the next time.

A year after my 1st daughter was born I received my yoga teaching certificate through Crescent Moon Healing Arts “The Gentle Way of Hatha”. When expecting my 2nd daughter, I practiced hypno-birthing techniques incorporated with my yoga practice again, only this time I educated Mike.  I also planned to play my favourite calming music for the car ride to the hospital, but I never made it to the car.

We met labour with yoga, candle light, breath, relaxation, and light massage.  Mike knew all the key words to keep me in a state of total relaxation between surges. We did not even make it to the hospital: The labour happened so fast Mike and I delivered our baby girl by our selves on the bathroom floor of our home.  This was the most spectacular moment of my life, and it has inspired me to become an advocate for pregnant women and their birthing support.

A couple of months after giving birth to my 2nd daughter, I received my certificate for teaching pre-post natal yoga so that I could help others to have similar positive birthing experiences.  I am currently certifying with Doula Training Canada to become a labour and birthing doula.  I have attended an in-class workshop and completed the mid-term.

A doula does not replace a birthing partner.  I’ve had a few women tell me how mad they got at their partner because while she was experiencing a labour surge, he was on his phone.  This of course creates stress. I believe the partner truly wants to help but is nervous and may not know what to do so they go to their comfort zone, their phone. A doula likely has more knowledge of a birth than the partner and can direct and coordinate the efforts of the mother so they can work together as a team.   She may run errands for the partner, make suggestions for comfort measure, offer words of reassurance and give the partner brief breaks.

Several studies have found that when doulas are involved in labour and delivery, mothers have had fewer caesarean births, shorter labour, fewer requests for pain medication and anesthesia, less need for Oxycontin to stimulate labour, and less need for forceps to assist birth.

I am now qualified to work as a doula while I continue my training.  To complete my certification, I am required to provide support to 2 families.  My service provides relaxation techniques, helping with a birth plan, making myself available by phone to address any concerns about birth, continuous physical and emotional support during labour for mother and partner, and help with communication between mom, partner, and medical staff.

Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to meet to discuss how I might be able to assist you and your family, through your pregnancy and birth.

julie studio

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