I got this post from Megan Davidson , one of our Blog Experts, in my email box this week. I am thrilled that she wanted to share her favorite resources. Megan is one of those people who stockpile information and resources. Whenever she goes to a birth with a new OB, she updates me with her thoughts. I have learned that she has great judgment. Without further ado: here his her list. (Megan has her own Expert Page with her advice- as do all the Blog Experts).
Favorite Local Resources For Pregnancy
by Megan Davidson
As a labor doula I often work with women how are also seeking other forms emotional and physical support for the common concerns that often arise during pregnancy. While the list of fabulous resources available for new moms and new-moms-to-be in Brooklyn is enormously long, I want to highlight a few of my favorite people and places to send clients to. Each of the women highlighted here have worked with several people I know (or even with me) and are very trusted practitioners.
In early pregnancy, the most common concern I encounter is mothers suffering from morning sickness. In addition to recommending being mindful of their diet (increase protein and increased frequency of meals can help with this), I find that many women get great results from accupuncture. My favorite acupuncturist to refer to both for morning sickeness and later for turning a breech baby or inducing labor, is Laurel Axen Carroll from Ancient Current. Laurel is a native New Yorker, a mother of two beautiful little girls (ages 3 and 1) and a resident of Brooklyn. She has two offices (one in Ditmas Park on Avenue H and one in DUMBO at the Wellness Lounge on Water Street) and treats pregnant women for nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, breech presentation and labor induction (including a pre-labor protocol with treatments from the end of the 37th week until labor begins). Her pre-labor protocol treatments target core areas and any specific issues a woman is facing in late pregnancy and is useful for helping a baby to baby drop into position, and also to relax the mother’s muscles and calm her mind. With so many women facing medical inductions at the hospital, this treatment (which Laurel stated she has about a 90% success rate with mothers beginning labor by her estimated date of delivery) can help reduce the rate of interventions for moms. Laurel also works with dietary changes, herbal treatments, and yoga breathing techniques to help facilitate lasting changes for her clients.
As pregnancy progresses, a really common referral that I make is for birth counseling – for mothers needing help processing their feelings about their upcoming birth (perhaps because of a previous birth experience, a history of abuse, or other stressors in her life). Both of the women I refer clients to for counseling are also childbirth educators who teach classes in Brooklyn for expecting parents. Natashia Fuksman of With Woman NYC is a local mother, doula trainer, birth counselor, and she also teaches childbirth education classes specifically for parents planning homebirths. Natashia has been assisting pregnant and laboring women for over 10 years and she has a wealth of information about pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum months to assist families who are planning for a homebirth or who are needed a safe space to process their feelings about their pregnancy or birth. She is compassionate and thoughtful, a wonderful listener, and I highly recommend both her childbirth education classes and her counseling services.
Another fabulous local childbirth educator and birth counselor is Ellen Chuse. Ellen is a Brooklynite and mother of two daughters who offers classes in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. She has done counseling work with several of my clients and receives rave reviews for her insight and understanding. Ellen teaches childbirth education for people planning births in all settings and she offers both a wealth of information about pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding, and newborn care and also a variety of strategies for coping with the challenges of labor. She is now facilitating a new mom’s group for women with babies under 9 months old as well as Cesarean Birth Healing Circle, both at Bend and Bloom Yoga Studios. Ellen is also a visual artist and spends days working in her studio when not helping new families.
In addition to (or sometimes in lieu of) I often suggest yoga for my pregnant clients not only because I find that many women really enjoy the time spent connecting with their bodies and releasing stress or tension that might be building up, but also because I find yoga breathing techniques, body positions, and relaxation practices are very useful for many women during their labor. For yoga, their are prenatal classes available in most yoga studios throughout Brooklyn. In my own neighborhood, I hear good things about the classes offered at Lucky Lotus – a yoga studio on DeKalb Avenue by Fort Greene Park that is owned by a local mom.
There is also a wonderful option for couples to explore yoga together offered at Golden Bridge Yoga NYC by one of my favorite local yoga teachers and massage therapists, Elise Constantine . Elise is a prenatal and postnatal massage therapist who offers in home massage within Brooklyn and also has a practice on 5th Avenue by Union Square. She has been licensed with the state of NY since 1999 and has certifications for prenatal, postnatal and labor massage as well as yoga teacher certifications. Along with Kate Lynch ,she teaches a fabulous “Partner Yoga and Massage for a Beautiful Birth & Beyond” workshop that offers couples the opportunity to practice yoga and massage together in preparation for their birth. Elise is dedicated to serving the special needs of mothers as they make the transition to parenthood and all my clients who have had massages from her have raved about how skilled she is with the pregnant and postnatal body. Elise lives in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn, and when she is not working with new mothers, she enjoys Middle Eastern Dance. Prior to becoming a massage therapist, Elise earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Women’s Studies from Penn State. Like me, Elise has a history of working with sexual assault and domestic violence survivors as well as working in the field of reproductive rights. This background informs her work with pregnant/postpartum women, and her dedication to reproductive rights, including the right to choose how and where we birth.
Homeopathy is a healing modality that knows no bounds really and it is often useful both for the women I work with during their pregnancies and also in helping to treat the whole family postpartum. Many of my clients have worked with a local homeopath and mother of two, Rebekah Azzarelli to treat breastfeeding troubles (such as thrush or mastitis), to help with a fussy or sick baby, and to more generally treat the family with what is called a constitutional remedy (a homeopathic treatment tailored to an individuals specific needs/personality/experiences that is used to help both in treating acute illnesses like a cold or the flu but also for more generally helping people to feel better by boosting overall health). Homeopathy is often a great first choice for pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, and small babies because not only does it do no harm (it is considered an entirely safe and harmless treatment option) but it can often help you to avoid having to seek treatments that have more known side effects such as antibiotics. Rebekah Azzarelli is a practicing classical homeopath who works in Brooklyn, offering both housecalls and appointments at her office in Fort Greene. She graduated in 2006 from the School of Homeopathy, New York. She’s had the good fortune of working with midwives through her schooling and beyond and has helped pregnant mothers and their families with homeopathy many, many times. Rebekah is happy to offer homeopathy as a holistic, safe and gentle option for help with common complaints of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. As a mother of two children in the Brooklyn community and friend and practitioner for many mothers, she’s had the opportunity to help with physical, mental and emotional difficulties that can arise within growing families. I can attest to her skills both from the feedback I have received from clients who I have recommended see her but also, more personally, as a women who has, for example, had Rebekah successfully heal a bad case of mastitis in myself!
The final resource I want to suggest, is Stephanie Watson-Campbell, a local doula, childbirth educator and lactation counselor. Stephanie owned the former Williamsburg parenting store, Stork Store, on Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg. Stephanie has amazing energy, knowledge, and compassion for new moms in Brooklyn.
If you have questions about any of these providers or other services available for pregnant, laboring, and postpartum women and their babies, please feel free to ask via email or put a comment on this post- I am always happy to help in any way that I can or to direct you to some of the amazing resources above or elsewhere as needed. Brooklynites are so fortunate to have so many wonderful service providers available for us – I know I am thankful for the supportive community that exists here.
Megan Davidson, PhD, is a professionally trained labor and postpartum doula who works with new parents through pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and the early days of newborn care. She teaches babywearing and cloth diapering classes at several Brooklyn stores, as well as in-home consults, and has a passion for helping new parents master these practical parenting skills. Megan lives in Clinton Hill with her husband, Shawn Onsgard, a local piano teacher and composer, and their two children.