• My Wife And I Are (Both) Pregnant >>
  • Nine Beauty Ingredients To Avoid In Pregnancy >>
  • Consumer Reports’ New Ratings Help Consumers Choose the Right Hospital and May Lower C-Section Rates >>
  • Your Complete Guide To Prenatal Testing >>
  • Pregnant Women's Medical Care Too Often Affected By Race >>
  • Midwives Not Medicine Rule Pregnancy In Sweden With Enduring Success >>
  • The Brutal Truth About Being a Pregnant Worker in 2016: It's Pretty Awful >>
  • The Secret Sadness Of Pregnancy With Depression >>
  • Pelvic Floor Health >>
  • What Every Pregnant Woman Needs To Know About Cesarian Birth >>
  • Having A Baby: Help with managing your money before, during and after the birth of your baby. UK  >>
  • How do pregnant women use quality measures when choosing their obstetric provider? >>
  • Pregnant & Disputing The Doctor >>
  • Preparing for the biggest change in your life: How preventive couples counseling can protect your relationship after baby >>


  • New York County Hospitals Maternity Information >>

  • Giving Birth In Different Worlds >>
  • What is the Evidence For Perineal Massage During Pregnancy To Prevent Tearing >>
  • Midwife Explains The Spiritual Side Of Birth >>
  • Why I Had My Babies With a Midwife Instead of a Doctor >>
  • Labor Induction: The Low Down On Natural Approaches From A Midwife-MD >>
  • How To Have A Positive Caesarian Birth >>
  • Protecting Your Perineum - Birthful Podcast >>
  • C-Sections Are Best With A Little Bit Of Labor >>
  • When A Baby Isn't So Big >>
  • Every Pregnant Woman Should Have A Doula >>
  • Five Things You Didn't Know About Giving Birth In A Hospital >>
  • Why Women Who Fear Birth Spend More Time In Labor >>
  • Avoid Giving Birth On Your Back And Follow Your Body's Urges To Push >>
  • 10 Reasons Why More Parents Are Choosing to Have A Natural Birth (Without An Epidural) >>
  • Most Healthy Women Would Benefit From A Light Meal During Labor >>
  • Why Are Due Dates Usually So Wrong? >>
  • I Never Thought I'd Hire A Doula, But I'm So Glad I Did >>
  • Your Biggest C-Section Risk May Be Your Hospital >>
  • New York County Hospital Maternity Information >>
  • Doulas From The Dads Perspective >>
  • Why Are Medical Professional Who Deliver Babies In Hospitals Choosing To Have Their Own Babies At Home >>
  • What To Reject When You're Expecting >>
  • How to Cut Your Odds of Having a C-Section When You Don't Really Need One >>
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  • Birth in the United States: an overview of trends past and present >>
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  • From A Dad's Point Of View: Feeling Helpless During A Difficult Birth >>


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  • Why Every New Mom Needs Physical Therapy >>
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  • The Dos And Don'ts Of Diastasis Recti >>
  • When It All Comes Together, Diastasis Recti Healed >>
  • Inside The Painful, Lonely Experience Of Birth Trauma >>
  • Women More Afraid Of Childbirth Than Previously Thought >>
  • Millions of Women Are Injured During Childbirth. Why Aren't Doctors Diagnosing Them? >>
  • A Tale Of Two Births: How The U.S. Fails To Deliver Adequate Postpartum Health Care >>
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  • Are Hospitals The Wrong Place To Give Birth? >>
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  • The Birth Of A Mother >>


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By shopping small, we support local businesses and small ventures. We build relationships with our neighbors. And we keep our neighborhoods, communities, and cities healthy and vibrant. Additionally, when we shop small, we make an active choice not to support large corporations that all too often are responsible for deepening economic inequalityevading taxesdriving down wages, engaging in monopolistic behavior, and ravaging the environment.

There is a high economic, social, and ecological price to pay for the low cost of mass-produced goods, and we can help build a better world by being more conscious consumers. Paying a few dollars extra might make a minimal difference to you, but when we collectively make conscious choices about our spending, those choices can have significant positive impacts on our communities and beyond.


All too often, the cost of low-priced, mass-manufactured goods is human suffering. In today’s global economy, most manufacturing is done in factories remote from end consumers with little transparency regarding processes, sourcing, worker wages and conditions, and environmental impact.

By shopping ethically-made and sourced, we leverage our power as consumers to demand accountability from producers. Especially when it comes to goods and services related to pregnancy, birth, and parenthood, it is incumbent upon us to hold ourselves and others to a higher ethical standard. After all, what we model in our choices will shape our children and the future they inhabit.


Speaking of our – and everyone’s – children, we face an unprecedented global climatic and ecological crisis. For our own sake, and for the sake of future generations, we absolutely must take rapid action to slow and reverse the damage that has been done to the Earth. Shopping reusable and eco-friendly is one simple, if modest, way that we can all help reduce our ecological footprints as we fight to slow global warming and prevent climate breakdown, and each small step we take to keep material out of landfills and reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gasses is a step in the right direction.


Sadly, major corporations have a long history of negligence and contempt when it comes to our collective health. Although significant strides have been made in consumer protection, far too many everyday products still contain endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.

By shopping non-toxic, we do our small part to protect ourselves and others from the toxins which are now alarmingly plentiful in our day-to-day environments. None of us should be exposed to harmful substances without our knowledge, but it is especially important to protect children from toxic substances as they grow and develop. By shopping non-toxic, we signal with our dollars that a healthy and safe environment is a priority, now, and for the future.


A recent study found that the choice to have a child has a far greater climate impact, on average, than choices we make about diet, transportation, and travel. Given that parents are major consumers – even if that consumption is driven by love and concern – it is essential that we seek to minimize the impact of our consumption.

By shopping minimalist, we can reduce our ecological and carbon footprints while helping to maintain and restore a healthy Earth that will nourish humans and others for generations to come. Additionally, we might just find that, by consuming less, we enjoy our lives more, and find more time for the things – and most importantly, the people – who really matter.



  • Maternity Pants
  • Sleeping Pillow
  • New Bras (preferably nursing bras so you don't have to get more)
  • Yoga Ball
  • Coconut Oil
  • Services to Set Up: Birth & Postpartum doula services, Set up placenta encapsulation, Explore and set up Cloth diaper service, Order breast pump from insurance, Set up lactation support, Set up Meal Train & Housekeeping Help for after birth.
  • Try on baby carrier with a doll before baby arrives. 


  •  Sticky socks
  • Hair tie/Head band
  • Chapstick
  • Heating pad
  • Water Bottle  
  • Snacks
  • Panty Liners
  • Immediately After Birth - Maternity pads, High Waisted Underwear, Nipple Cream, Nursing Bra, Nursing Pads, Nursing Clothes, Newborn Outfit, Car Seat.


  • Lidocaine Spray
  • Tucks Pads
  • Stool Softener
  • A place for baby to sleep (co-sleep / bassinet) 
  • Cloth Diapers
  • Cloth Diaper Bin
  • Reusable wipes
  • Newborn Salve/Diaper Cream
  • A place to change baby's diapers (changing pad and/or table) 
  • Swaddles
  • Newborn Outfit (tshirt / loose kimono onesie / long sleeves with mittens) 
  • Wrap Infant Baby Carrier (learn how to use the wrap before birth) 
  • Baby Nail File
  • Wash cloths for burping, spit up and towel bath
  • Manual breast pump
  • Sound Machine.
  • For cold weather Humidifier, Maternity Coat Extender, Baby Snow Suit, Stroller Muff, Gloves & Cover.
  • Services: Meal Train, Lactation Consultant on call, Postpartum Doula on Call.

4 - 12 WEEKS

  • Breast Pump
  • Baby Bottle with preemie/infant nipple
  • Pacifier
  • Baby Bath
  • Towel
  • Baby Soap & Shampoo
  • Baby Oil / Coconut Oil

3 - 6 MONTHS

  • Crib
  • Bibs for drool
  • Organic teether
  • wooden rings (don't bother with toys - they'll play with anything) 
  • Soft Structured baby carrier
  • Baby monitor
  • Baby pajamas without footies so that baby wearing is more comfortable. 

6 - 12 MONTHS

  • Food Bib
  • Puree Maker
  • Fabric or board book
  • Loose comfortable clothes to help movement
  • Back carrier so you can start wearing baby on your back or hip

Evidence Based Pregnancy and Parenting Blogs

Spinning Babies: For all things related to baby's position in utero. 

Science and Sensibility: Evidence based information on Prenatal tests and Birth Interventions

Evidence Based Birth: Evidence based information on Prenatal tests and Birth Interventions

Birthful Podcast: A podcast of Birth stories and other resources. 

Kelly Mom: For all things nursing and breastfeeding

The Longest Shortest Time: A podcast on Modern Parenting. We especially recommend the 'touched out' episode on intimacy after baby. 

All about Diastasis Recti

We all have a separation between our 6 pack rectus abdominal muscles. If the separation is more than 2.7cm, then it is considered to be ‘diastasis recti’. It can occur in pregnancy, but also in men who lift weights without engaging their core and in newborns. It’s measured in finger widths. A 1 - 2 finger separation is pretty common and 3 - 4 finger separation is considered ‘big’.

There is no way to know how much your separation is/will be until after you give birth. It’s very very common in pregnancy, we see it all the time, it’s not painful and definitely not something to worry about for the moment. We resolve any diastasis issues in postnatal workouts!

It can happen for many reasons. For some people who have a really strong core, they’ve only focused on building strength in their abdominals but haven’t focused on flexibility. Our abs, just like our hamstrings ideally are strong and flexible. In pregnancy, ab muscles have to stretch to accommodate baby and if they’re not flexible, the cartilage between them begins to separate instead. For others it occurs just as the belly grows bigger, or not being careful enough about turning over to one side and getting up form laying down. But you could be really careful and still have diastasis! 

There are many good reasons to try to minimize the separation - it weakens abs, can cause low back pain, it affects baby’s position and causes the little pooch that many people have after kids. But if you do have it, it should clear up on it’s own 6 weeks postpartum. Your doc will let you know at your post-birth check up if you have it. If it you do have it, then we would start to make modifications in postnatal exercise.

While you’re pregnant, exercises to avoid are any ab work that causes your belly to bulge and cone - sit ups, crunches, boat pose. But the biggest culprit is lurching straight up from laying down rather than turning on your side. The best thing you can do to prevent a separation, a separation from worsening or to heal the separation is the ab exercise we do in class - belly pulls on all fours, and the breathing exercise - nose throat chest belly. 

Make sure your core (diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abs and multifidus muscles) are working together in sync. That means, hands to belly, as you inhale, feel belly expand, lengthen and release pelvic floor. As you exhale, feel transverse abs (the ones that go all the way around your waist) engage and draw in and feel slight lift of pelvic floor. If you're pregnant, you can do this exercise on all fours. If you're postnatal, on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. 

The Many Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

By Neelu Shruti



The benefits of yoga are far-reaching. In an hour of downward facing dogs, sun salutations, and other poses, we can exercise while releasing stress and becoming more mindful. While we can all find benefits in the practice of yoga, there are exceptional benefits to the practice for pregnant women.

Prenatal Yoga is designed to build strength and flexibility in your body to help you carry your growing belly more efficiently, so you can feel your best — preventing low back pain, hip pain and round ligament pain and other common pregnancy aches and issues. Yoga while pregnant is safe in all stages of pregnancy and is recommended as long as you avoid deep twists, deep backbends, any abdominal exercises that compresses the uterus and laying flat on your your belly or back.

More significantly, prenatal yoga targets the muscles you will use in labor and birth helping you build strength, flexibility and stamina where you’ll need it the most and offers tools to aid in labor and birth. Whether you have a vaginal or a cesarian birth, practicing yoga while pregnant will significantly aid in your postpartum recovery.

A few of the benefits of prenatal yoga are:

Get a good workout: Exercise is great for you and your baby! Whether you’re a regular runner, spin cyclist, or yogi, keeping up your active lifestyle can be more challenging when you’re pregnant. For starters, your tendons and ligaments become a lot more flexible during pregnancy due to the influx of relaxin in your body, and you’ll want to build muscular strength to prevent injuries from hyper-flexibility. Prenatal yoga offers all of the benefits of maintaining your exercise routine (including helping to reduce stress, control weight, improve health and well-being, maintain a positive mood, boost energy, and get better sleep) while being safe for you and your baby. And if you’re not an exercise junkie, or have let your routine slip a little, now is a great time to start because the healthier you are and the better shape you’re in, the better it is for your baby! There’s even evidence, according to recent studies, that exercising regularly when you’re pregnant can boost your baby’s brain function!

Strengthen your abdominal pushing muscles and learn to relax your pelvic floor: Another incredible benefit to prenatal yoga is that incorporated into the sequence are targeted exercises to help strengthen, and improve flexibility in key muscle groups. Doing crunches and plank is neither very comfortable, nor recommended when you’re pregnant, and prenatal yoga offers an excellent alternatives to tone your transverse abs (your deep corset pushing muscles) in a safe manner. Additionally, prenatal yoga targets the key muscle group known as the pelvic floor. The importance of both strength and flexibility in the muscles of the pelvic floor cannot be overstated. The pelvic floor muscles are muscles in the bowl of your pelvis. It is essential that they are strong enough to allow the baby’s head to rotate when descending, and to prevent pelvic organ prolapse, but also that they are flexible enough to open and release to allow the baby through. Labor involves the unique combination of flexing and pushing with your abs while relaxing your pelvis which can be tricky, and prenatal yoga incorporates ab work, pelvic floor exercises, and breathing exercises, all of which can help accomplish this challenging balance during birth. Not only are you learning how to target those areas, you’re learning how to synchronize them, while building strength and flexibility where you’ll need them most.

Learn to deal with discomfort: The therapeutic benefits of yoga are far-reaching. Prenatal yoga can help prevent and address common issues such a lumbar lordosis (lower back pain), sacro-iliac pain, sciatica and piriformis pain. The poses can also create space in the torso for better breathing, and include movements that can help to alleviate carpal-tunnel syndrome and charley horses, as well as demonstrate positions for better sleep. By working through discomfort with breathing techniques and a focus on mindfulness, you are able to alleviate discomfort, and the practice of challenging yourself and building muscle strength builds your tolerance to pain. In prenatal yoga, the poses are designed to challenge, but not strain your body. Learning to breathe and maintain calm in an intense stretch teaches your body how to react to and manage a stress, so you’ll be better-equipped to handle stressful situations during your pregnancy, and of course, more prepared for labor.

Get baby in the optimal position: Compared to the benefits of other forms of exercise, the really exceptional benefit of prenatal yoga, is that poses like down dog, cat/cow, and puppy pose gently guide your baby’s head down, facing your spine, the ideal position for birth. That’s right, the more cat/cows you do, the more you’re encouraging your baby’s head down toward optimal fetal position! Prenatal yoga counteracts the long periods of laying back on your couch or sitting at a desk — which have the exact opposite effect and can encourage breech or posterior (sunny-side-up) babies and result in longer births times and sometimes lead to medical interventions — and helps have you and your baby exactly where you need to be when the time comes.

Breathe: Often, we don’t pay attention to our breath which tends to be shallow as we go about our day-to-day activities. In yoga, we begin to pay attention to our breath, and to teach ourselves to focus on maintaining deep, full breathing. The benefit of the yogic breath is that we become aware of our diaphragm’s movements and begin to use our lungs to a greater extent, engaging their full capacity and allowing a larger intake of oxygen. This focused method of deep breathing calms our mind and allows us to relax and use our muscles more efficiently. Breathing and active relaxation exercises taught during a prenatal yoga class help reduce stress for overall better physical and mental health for you and for your baby.

Bond with baby: Recent studies have shown that the practice of mindfulness allows parents to recognize, appreciate, and connect with their babies. Embracing a few minutes of quiet time where the distractions of the day fade away allows you to focus all of her attention inward and on the baby, and can help you to zoom out, see the big picture, and be less bogged down by the day-to-day frustrations. It also allows you to notice changes in the growing baby and in your own body. The practice of mindfulness and building a bond with baby prenatally can aid in preventing postpartum depression.

Build confidence: When dealing with a growing belly, hormonal changes, back pain, swollen feet, and constantly having to pee, it’s easy to get frustrated with the constant physical changes in your body. It’s important to remember that your body (even with all the discomfort you feel) is strong, healthy, and capable. Practicing yoga — whether it’s finishing your regular sequence, or doing a particularly challenging pose when you’re pregnant — can give you great feeling of accomplishment, and build your confidence and trust in your body and its innate ability to labor and give birth.

Be part of a community: The first few minutes of a prenatal class usually consist of introductions where you’ll be able to discuss issues, discomforts, and concerns with others. As the conversation goes around the room, you’ll hear how others are dealing with the same issues that you’re facing. This creates a space for sharing and learning from each other, and also allows the instructor to customize each class to fit your needs. Most of all, you’ll meet other parents who are experiencing the same challenging, wonderful changes as you, while pursuing a practice that helps ensure the safest, healthiest, and most joyful outcome for you and your baby.

Birth Centers: The Best of Both Worlds

If your pregnancy is categorized as low risk and you are hoping to give birth with minimal interventions, but still have access to emergency hospital services, a birth center is a fantastic option.

Why choose a Birth Center?

  • Birth Centers offer more pain relief options such as a jacuzzi and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) which is very common in Europe and U.K. but not offered in many NYC hospitals. 
  • Birth Center environments tend to be a bit more homey with lighting options, bigger beds and friendly furnishings. All their medical equipment is usually hidden in closets rather than displayed. 
  • Birth Center cesarian section rates tend to be much lower and they perform fewer interventions. 
  • Birth Centers allow for intermittent fetal monitoring or will conduct monitoring with a hand held doppler which means that your movement isn’t restricted. 
  • Birth Centers allow for a variety of pushing positions - squatting or all fours for example which tend to cause less tearing. Often in hospitals you are required to push laying down on your back or on your side. 
  • Birth Centers allow partners to stay overnight after birth. (This is not always the case with shared rooms in postpartum but is allowed with private rooms at hospitals)  
  • Birth Centers within a hospital still offer all the expertise and options a hospital would provide such as and epidural or NICU facility. Free standing birth centers are located a short distance from their partner hospitals. 

What’s the rush?

Birth Centers are in high demand and many care providers who have privileges at a birth center don't take clients after the first trimester. Some will take clients up to 20-22 weeks. 

Are you a good candidate for a Birth Center?

Ask yourself - 

  • Are you low risk?
  • Are you comfortable with trying alternate pain management techniques either in liu of or before an epidural?
  • Birth centers require that you are at least a few centimeters dilated before being admitted so you’ll have plan to labor at home for a bit until you’re in active labor before being admitted. 
  • Birth centers will dismiss you after 24 hours after birth which might be too soon for some, but can be a relief to others. 

How do I know if I’m low risk?

  • Singleton, term, vertex pregnancies, and the absence of any other medical or surgical conditions is defined as a low risk pregnancy.
  • If any conditions present in the course of pregnancy and is classified as ‘high risk’ appropriate steps will be taken by care providers to recommend or transfer care. For example, if baby turns breech close to term, midwives will often transfer care to OBs they have a relationship with and may also be present at time of birth. 

Are Birth Centers equipped to handle emergencies?

  • Yes
  • Your care providers will continue to monitor you closely but if any predictable issues occur, (pre-term labor, gestational diabetes), you may be required to give up the birth center option and give birth in L&D instead, with your same providers. 
  • When you check in to a Birth Center when in labor, if any of the tests are non-reassuring (high blood pressure, presence of meconium, fetal heart rate irregularity) your care provider will determine whether you’ll be able to give birth in the birth center or whether to transfer you to L&D. 
  • In case of an emergency (emergency c-section, postpartum hemorrhage or if baby needs NICU) during birth, you will be transferred to the L&D floors, again with your care provider. 

What if I change my mind and want an epidural?

  • You’ll be transferred to L&D and be able to get one. 

Where can I find a Birth Center?

There are many different kinds of birth centers - free standing Birth Centers and Birth Centers located within a hospital, right next to labor & delivery units.

Which care providers have privileges at Birth Centers?

If you’d like to give birth at a birth center, you have to work with a care provider who has access. Not all care providers are designated for the birth center, so please be sure to check with yours. 

  • You can work with an OB Practice, an OB & Midwifery Practice, a group of Midwives or a single OB. 
  • Below are a list of care providers who offer services at Birth Centers:

Dr. Katrina Bradley, Dr. Nabizadeh & Dr. Shulina at Mt. Sinai Birth Center & Hospital

Dr. Anna Rhee at Mt. Sinai Birth Center & Hospital

Dr. Gae Rodke, Mt. Sinai Birth Center & Hospital (doesn’t take insurance) 

Dr. Paka, Mt. Sinai Birth Center & Hospital

Village Maternity, Metropolitan Hospital (Birth Center) (backed by Village OB)

CBS Midwifery, Mt. Sinai Birth Center

Central Park Midwifery, Mt. Sinai Birth Center

Community Midwifery Care, Mt. Sinai Birth Center

Risa Klein Midwifery, Mt. Sinai Birth Center

Sarah Jensen, CNM, Mt. Sinai Birth Center

Sabine Jeudy, CNM Mt. Sinai Birth Center

Midwives at NYP Downtown Birth Center

Dr. Hanna, NYP Downtown Birth Center 

How to find an LGBTQ+ competent birth team in NYC

PRIDE brings rainbow-filtered Facebook profiles, multicolored corporate messaging, and some of NYC’s best summer celebrations. And I must say, I think this is a fabulous development. The fact that everyone wants to be included in PRIDE is beautiful. But when it comes to healthcare, rainbow swag in the waiting room doesn’t necessarily equate with LGBTQ+ competent providers. During pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, it can be especially challenging to feel fully supported as an LGBTQ+ parent.  

The birth world is so steeped in hetero- and cis- assumptions, that it can be hard to imagine what an LGBTQ+ inclusive birth team would even look like. So let’s begin by talking about what makes an LGBTQ+ competent provider:

  1. Inclusive language: At the most basic level, a practitioner should have the vocabulary to discuss your health. Fluency in relevant terminology shows a commitment to making sure LGBTQ+ people don’t feel like an inconvenient anomaly in the birth world

  2. Asking the right questions: An intake form allows clients to share their basic medical history but, only if the right questions are being asked. A competent provider recognizes that a person’s identity as LGBTQ+ is relevant to their health preferences, needs, and expectations.

  3. Relevant resources and referrals: Clients count on their birth team for all sorts of referrals and resources during pregnancy and postpartum. An LGBTQ+ friendly provider may not realize that the majority of books and facts sheets are heteronormative and don’t reflect their LGBTQ+ families. But a competent provider will consider the extra financial hurdles that parents may have gone through just to become pregnant, and will take into account the impact this may have on options for services during the pregnancy.  

  4. Commitment to continuing education: LGBTQ+ competency, like any type of expertise or specialization, takes training and ongoing education. The resources, legal rights, and medical research for the LGBTQ+ community is constantly growing and changing. To offer full support to LGBTQ+ people during pregnancy, birth and postpartum, providers need to be committed to ongoing education.

 Now that we have this picture of an ideal provider, where do we find them? How can we pull together this queer competent birth team? Here are some ways to begin building a list of options: 

1. Ask other LGBTQ+ parents.

Families who have been through the birth process are an amazing resources.  Queer parent groups are a great way to hear about people’s experiences first hand. They’ll be able to tell you who was the all-star on their birth team, and who you might want think twice about working with. Personally, I can recommend the groups at Brooklyn Acupuncture Project and here at Love Child Yoga.

2. Ask the hospital or birthing center for a list.

If you’re doing a tour of a hospital or birthing center, ask for a list of LGBTQ+ competent providers. Not all institutions will have this, but it’s a good reflection of how much effort they’ve put into making sure that all birthing people and families are supported in their space. You may also want to ask for clarification on whether the list differentiates between “friendly” and “competent” providers. 

3. Going to a LGBTQ+ inclusive childbirth education class.

A childbirth education class is a great place to start asking questions and collecting referrals for all your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum needs.  An LGBTQ+ inclusive course will be designed to meet the needs of a broad range of expectant people.  Some that I would recommend are Bilen Bernahu, (Love Child Yoga), Morgane Richardson (Juniper), and the educators at Manhattan Birth.

 4. Contact LGBTQ+ competency trainers

There are a handful of people who offer trainings to health care providers in LGBTQ+ cultural competency. They’ll know who's done the work and who is just offering rainbow colored swag. Morgane Richardson trains OB’s, midwives, nurses, and doulas around the US; and the Birthing Beyond the Binary team looks like an amazing initiative as well.

If you have other tips about how to find your LGBTQ+ competent birth team, please do send them in! We would love to hear about your ideas and advice so that we can include them here.  

About the author:

Dr. Alexandra Garcia is a doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine working with the Love Child team to support new and expectant parents and their children. She also provides acupuncture and acupressure to laboring people at NYU Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn where she serves on the hospital’s LGBT+ Advisory Board. She is working toward becoming an LGBTQ+ competent provider; She gives great thanks to her wife Morgane V. Richardson who has encouraged her to constantly challenge her own assumptions about the world of birth.

Preparing for the biggest change in your life: How preventive couples counseling can protect your relationship after baby

By Avi Klein

In my psychotherapy practice and many others, it’s become commonplace to receive calls from couples who want to work out the issues in their relationship before they get married. They want to better understand themselves and their partners before they hit the kinds of big road blocks that are inevitable in any long term relationship. I always applaud and encourage those couples because I think they have insight into something that is at the heart of relationships: the true measure of a good relationship isn’t about how good it is at any moment, it’s about how flexible it is. Couples counseling cultivates that flexibility by creating more intimacy and knowledge about yourself and your partner.  But, if I had to suggest one time when preventive couples counseling could really be needed, it's when you're about to grow from a couple into a family. It’s no coincidence that studies show that many couples become dissatisfied with their relationships when they become parents. Not much really changes when you get married, but for many couples, everything changes when you have kids. Every parent wants to give their child everything in the world. I would encourage every expectant parent to consider the advice of renowned couples expert John Gottman: "The greatest gift you can give your baby is a happy and strong relationship between the two of you."

A few common questions people ask about couples counseling:

1. How can I tell if it’s a good time to go?

There is no bad time to go, but don't make the mistake of waiting until it's unbearable. It's much easier to work on your problems when you can still appreciate and enjoy your partner. Some couples seek therapy as a last ditch effort before divorce, which is obviously much harder to fix since months or years of hostility and hurt feelings need to be dealt with first. For soon-to-be parents, it's also worthwhile to ask when you'll have time and energy after your baby arrives.

2. Does couples counseling mean we have a bad relationship?

Not at all! Going to couple counseling means you love your partner and value your relationship. You're spending time and money to make it better for you and your kids. That's something to be proud of. The truth is, everyone knows that relationships take work and effort. It's more efficient to do that work with an expert. Is your relationship something you really want to improve through trial and error?

3. What if my partner doesn’t want to go?

In about 75% of the couples I see, couples therapy is initiated by one partner not mutually agreed on. It’s normal for someone not to want to go to couples therapy. They might think that it means their relationship is worse than they thought or that their partner is saving couples therapy to surprise them with a list of complaints. Two helpful things to try when your partner is on the fence: 1. Reassure them that this is to make things even better, not that things are in a bad way. 2. Suggest that you go once or just speak to the therapist on the phone together for a brief consultation - giving it a test drive is a good way to get over any apprehension. 3. If your partner is on the fence, it’s worthwhile to find a therapist that you think they’ll get along with.

4. How do I find the right therapist?

There are a lot of therapists out there, so it can help to add a personal connection to find the right fit. If you know someone that had a positive experience in couples therapy or you’ve seen a therapist individually, that’s a great place to start. Consider asking on a community message board. Your MD or midwife may also know some good therapists as well. Consider speaking with more than one therapist to make sure you’ve found a good fit for both you and your partner. When you speak with them, what kind of information is important? While qualifications or geographical convenience matter, the most important thing is to trust your gut: you’ll be able to tell immediately if you feel comfortable with them, if you’re open to trusting them, etc. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask them directly how they think they can help you. Therapy shouldn’t be an endless process - they should be able to explain the steps that you will take in your work to make a meaningful difference in your relationship.

5. How long will it take?

Every couple is different, so it’s impossible to say. It’s better to measure it week by week and to check-in with yourself and your partner: is this making a difference? Can you feel the difference and point to incremental changes that are happening? Couples therapy is different than individual therapy - it has always been intended to be short-term and to have the couple take what their learning from therapy out into the rest of their lives.  When I speak with a couple that is on the fence about committing to therapy, I usually ask for a commitment of several weeks to give a good faith effort to see if it’s helpful. Four weeks should be enough time to notice a shift and twelve weeks should feel like you’ve done a good amount of work. Everyone has their own timeline, so this isn’t intended to apply to all cases but just to serve as a general benchmark. And remember: it’s always okay to check-in with your therapist and partner about your progress. Discussing why things aren’t changing is often a very productive conversation.

6. How can we get the most out of going?

A few suggestions: 1. Take care of yourself and your issues: Work to better understand yourself, your reactions to things and how your partner experiences them. Much of couples therapy is about helping each partner understand things from the other’s experience. Learn to walk in their shoes. 2. Make it something enjoyable both during and after: make every effort to be open and kind and honest in your therapy sessions and then do something nice together afterwards. Many couples that I see often go on a date after their session with me. It’s a nice ritual and will leave you feeling closer after working hard together in therapy. 3. Try and make a conscious effort to take something from each session and bring it into the rest of the week. If your partner feels ignored or under-appreciated, make an effort to give them that attention their craving. If you’ve learned that your feelings are hurt when your partner makes plans without you, take a risk and share that experience with them the next time it happens.

The best part of a relationship is the feeling of being connected with someone - of sharing important moments, having new perspectives and being exposed to new things with someone you deeply care about. But the worst part? It's when those different perspectives don't easily align with yours, when new interests or attitudes not only don't feel supportive, they feel invalidating or leave you feeling neglected. One of the times of greatest strain on a couple is that transition into parenthood and it’s easy for many new experiences to pull you apart. If you’re worried that this could happen to you, talk to your partner about discussing these worries together with a therapist. Those conversations will bring you closer and more connected at exactly the time when you and your new family need it most.

Avi Klein is a psychotherapist, father of two and native New Yorker practicing in Union Square. Avi has been working with individuals and couples since 2009. He is trained in AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy) and EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy), two forms of therapy that emphasize the power of emotion, healing & transformation in relationships. He has a special interest in supporting new families and is currently working on a workshop to support new and expectant parents. If you are interested in upcoming workshops focused on preparing your relationship for postpartum, sign up here.Inquiries can be directed at or at his website If you are interested in upcoming workshops focused on preparing your relationship for postpartum, sign up for updates here:


What Is Diastasis Recti? Everything You Need To Know Prenatally & Postpartum.

Diastasis recti is the separation of your 6 pack abdominal muscles. It often occurs in pregnancy but can also occur in men from improper lifting and workout techniques. If the 6 pack abdominal muscles aren't able to expand as the baby grows, the small cartilage connecting the two sides can separate. It is measured in centimeters or fingers. It’s usually painless and can be fairly common occurring in ‘cross fit moms’. It’s why we don’t recommend crushes and sit ups in pregnancy. It’s also why we always recommend that you turn to one side and use your hands to help you sit up rather than lurching forward from laying back.

You can check if you have diastasis by laying down, lifting your head and shoulders to engage abs and feeling along the line of your 6 pack abs. 

If you have a separation, wearing a belly band and doing the belly pull exercises can help reduce the separation. It’s important to do so because the separation weakens your core and can cause low back pain and hip pain but also potentially a malpositioned asynclitic baby that could make labor more challenging. 

Separation is treated postpartum with targeted exercises to knit the abdominal muscles back together. Make sure to get the help of a specialized PT before you start your regular workout because you again want to make sure to avoid sit ups and crunches until the dialysis has healed.

Is It Okay To Sleep On My Right Side When I'm Pregnant?

The reason why pregnant people are asked only to lay on their left side is because of a condition that can occur called vena cava syndrome. Your vena cava, the vein that takes blood back to your heart is on the right side of your body and pressure from the uterus and baby when you’re laying back or on your right can sometimes constrict this vein causing breathlessness and nausea for you. Some people find it extremely uncomfortable to sleep on their back and others are okay. For the most part, being on your back or on the right side for a short amount of time is usually okay and fine to do.

Many people tell me they wake up in the middle of the night panicking that they’ve been on their back. If everything feels okay, you’re probably okay. Usually we wake up for a reason, it could be our body telling us to turn over or to go to the bathroom :) Listen and trust your body and your intuition and do what feels right for you. 

For stomach sleepers, it’s not safe to lay flat on your stomach however, you can fashion your snoogle into a circle around your belly and lay on top of it. You can also use half inflated pool floats or a maternity raft under your belly. Place a pillow under your ankles to ease any strain on your legs and low back.