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Prenatal Nutrition Facts

Nutrient and energy requirements differ during pregnancy from woman to woman.


  • Approximately 20-30% of women are deficient in a vitamin during pregnancy.
  • Vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, magnesium and zinc, are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and their deficiencies are associated with impaired fetal growth and development
  • Vegetarian diets often provide insufficient levels of vitamin B12, which may result in impaired red blood cell formation. 
  • Maternal iron levels affect iron stores in the developing fetus, and are necessary for the production of hemoglobin;  Prenatal vitamns help to prevent iron deficiency anemia.
  • Calcium demands also increase during pregnancy, leading to enhanced calcium absorption from the intestine and mobilization from bones.
  • Vitamin D helps absorb and use calcium and phosphorus for normal bone mineralization.  Deficiency of vitamin D during pregnancy may lead to impaired fetal bone development or osteomalacia, although 600 IU of vitamin D daily helps maximize bone health in pregnant adults.
  • Daily supplementation with 800 mcg of folic acid in the first trimester may help reduce the risk of neural tube defects by nearly 70%.
  • Sue MacGregor

Vera's New Bag - Consolidating Your Equipment

Please note: this is our second entry on bag reviews. You can see the first one here. 

The following bag is also included with more photos (with less stuff for clearer picture taking) in the above link.

Vera is a friend and local midwife. Having been to a planned home birth with her as a doula, I have seen first hand how she would practically move in with all her gear. She felt it was time to re-consolidate her home birth equipment into one bag that was very functional and easy to manage in all home birth circumstances. Here is how she did it:

First off, she started carrying less stuff (good first step). Before, she was carrying multiple sets of disposable supplies with her to each birth. Now, she has a home-birth box that clients can pick up at 38 weeks and keep at home for the "big day". Here is what it contains (all supplied by Midwifery Supplies Canada, by the way):

Labour Supplies 

20 non-sterile gloves

5 pairs of sterile gloves

5 packets of lubricant21+

1 In/out catheter

1 amniohook

2 amnisticks

10 blue pads

10 alcohol swabs

1 10ml vial of sterile water

1 1cc syringe/needle

 Delivery Supplies 

1 Cord Clamp

1 RH Blood Tube

6 sterile gauze

2 3cc syringes with needle

2 alcohol swabs

 Suturing Supplies  

1 lap sponge pack (contains 5 sponges)

1 sterile underpad

3 sutures (2-0, 3-0, 4-0 vicryl on a small needle)

1 10cc Syringe

1 18Gx 1.5” needle

Newborn Supplies 

1 1cc Syringe and needle

1 alcohol swab

1 packet of sterile gauze (2 per pack)

2 Neatnick heel lancets

1 bandaid

1 cord clamp cutter

 PP Hemorrhage Supplies  

1 Foley Urinary Catheter

1 Urinary Drainage Bag

3 1000ml NaCl

1 IV Kit (see website)

1 Wire hanger

 Lactation Supplies

1 Foley Cup Feeder

1 10cc Syringe

1 5fr feeding tube

 Personal Supplies and Container 

10 blue underpads

1 peri bottle

1 60ml bottle of peroxide

12 hospital maxi pads

2 mesh panties

1 waterproof sheet for the bed

Before, Vera was carrying multiple sets of this stuff with her all the time. Now she carries one set of labour and emergency supplies for quick, unplanned home births, and all planned home births have the supplies there already. The box gets inspected and re-stocked before going out to a new mom, so nothing is expired (have you checked your expiration dates recently)?

Here is the new bag Vera chose to carry her equipment: the Ferno Airway Management/Oxygen Bag

She wanted wheels for her bag, so she went out to the local suitcase store and purchased a set of wheels and bungie cord for $30 (she feels she could use one more bungie cord). 

She also wanted a back-pack for those times when dragging wheels up the front stairs wasn't practical (and potentially harmful to the equipment inside). This bag is also a well-designed backpack. 

The straps can also be put away for ease of transport when you don't want to use it as a backpack or want to use it as a shoulder or carry bag (they do tuck away completely, but Vera wanted them to be reasonably accessible in a pinch):

Here is how she fits everything (other than her spare O2 tank) into a single bag:

That bag of disposable supplies is pulling out from a zippered compartment that is hard to illustrate in these pictures (excuse my crude iphone photography!). This is one of the side compartments of the bag.

 further deconstruction of the same compartment reveals all the stuff that fit into that pocket.

The main compartment of the bag. The top stuff is in the lid. The blue-rimmed clear plastic compartments come with the bag, and velcro out. If she needs the supplies in that top left section there, she can just rip it off the bag and take it where she needs to.

After removing the electric heating pad from on top, we reveal layer two of the main compartment stuff. The blue pads are useful for birth, but also offer some extra padding for her Laerdal compact suction below, as she opted not to use the carry case. Pictured on the right is her manual resuscitator. Next to that are some more of those blue-rimmed clear-topped removable segments that come with the bag.

 As you can see, these removable compartments are great for things like dopplers, IV supplies, medications, etc.

Here we see her suction unit (bright yellow), and her oxygen tank, which is buckled in. It's hard to see, but there is a padded black divider in the middle of the bag, so the suction and the oxygen tank are not knocking up against each other. This divider is velcroed in and removable if you just want one large compartment. Vera also has all the tubing, etc for the suction in this compartment.

This oxygen carry bag comes included with the bag. It has a drawstring at the top, and a sturdy handle. Pictured here is a D-tank. Vera has since purchased a c-tank so she can have even more room in her bag, and has a D-tank as her spare that she keeps in the car. (This picture was upright in my photo program!)

So there you have it - a one bag system that can be worn on your back, over your shoulder, or put on wheels. It's versatile, functional, and compartmentalized for easy access. 

  • Jill and Paul Colpitts

Singing the Praises of Accel Wipes



People ask me all the time what I carry in my doula bag. I usually list off the typical stuff - massage oil, rebozo, LED tealights, etc. However, one of my favourite and most-used items is my Accel TB wipes (I always carry a little pouch of 10). Here's why:

- It's accelerated hydrogen peroxide, so it's great at removing blood stains. Just wipe the carpet or couch, and voila! (individual results may vary, but I have had incredible success). 

- I can wipe down my TENS machine, reflexology ball, or anything else that might have bodily fluids (including sweat) on it. I can quickly make sure everything is clean BEFORE it goes into my doula bag, and then I know it's ready to go for the next birth. 

- It's gentle enough to wipe down a birth pool without corroding the material. In fact, it's so gentle that the MSDS sheet states it doesn't even require gloves to be worn. It's incredibly convenient and quick to disinfect the birth pool. After I drain the pool and take off the liner I wipe the pool down, I let it sit for 20 min or so, and then pack it up so it's ready to go for next time. No need to re-inflate it at home in between births!

- It doesn't have a noxious fume to it, so you can use it right there at the birth place without it bothering anyone (including yourself). 

- Because it's medical grade, I can use it to wipe the faces of my baby dolls before an infant CPR class. This is especially wonderful when I am teaching more than one class in a day, and therefore can't go home and bleach everything.

- The little 10 pack is no larger than a packet of facial tissue, so I don't have to make much room for it in a full bag.

So there you have it - a doula and midwife bag essential!

  • Jill and Paul Colpitts

Bag Reviews

This past Wednesday I had three newly graduated midwives come over and give their opinion on some of my new Ferno bags. It was so helpful to me to see the bags filled, and get some professional input!

Bag #1 - Green Rucksack

Here is the bag filled with Amy's equipment (everything except her oxygen).

The entire inside of both sides of the rucksack is velcro, and it comes with a bunch of colour-coded clear mini bags that can be arranged any way you want with the velcro. It's great for compartmentalizing all the gear. For example, you have all your meds in one bag, all your IV stuff in one bag, all your intubation equipment in another, etc. Because they're colour coded, in an emergency you can yell to someone "get the red one!". Amy thought the colour coding was a great feature. While it did not have room for an oxygen tank, it did have room for everything else, with quite a bit of space to spare. You can see that her doppler, suction unit, resuscitator, and everything else are highly visible and fit with ease.

This picture shows the front pocket on the rucksack. It's quite ample. Here it contains an IV kit and an intubation kit that are both packed full. 

Here's Amy wearing the rucksack (though we didn't really make an effort to fit it to her properly). She found the weight to be very manageable. The straps on this one are not as comfortable as a couple of the other backpack models we tested. It would be great for just taking it from the car to the house. It would not be comfortable to trek with. Amy appreciated the versatility of this bag, however a midwife would also require a second bag with her oxygen equipment if this was her bag of choice.

Bag #2 - Ferno Airway Management/Oxygen Bag

This was Amy and Rachel's pick!

Here is the bag opened to the main compartment. This bag came with 3 different sized see-through bags that were detachable with velcro for compartmentalizing equipment. Amy also liked that she could fit her oxygen in here. This bag came with a blue fabric casing for an oxygen tank, and it also had a durable handle on it. You can't see Amy's tank because it is a C- tank and it's fully enveloped in the blue fabric. A D-tank would stick out a bit (the bag is designed for a D or jumbo D, so a C fits really easily). Amy was able to fit all of her equipment in here, so a second bag would not be necessary. It's also well padded, making oxygen transport safer.

This picture shows how there is a flap on the front of the bag that opens up so that you can access the oxygen without taking it out of the bag. You had to dig a bit with the C tank, but with a D tank the regulator would be right at the top there for easy access. There is also a little pouch on the inside of the flap for airways or oxygen masks.

Here Amy shows the backpack straps. This backpack has well-built, padded straps, as well as a sternum strap. You could actually trek with this on! 

Bag #3- Ferno Trauma/Airway Management Bag II

The perk about this bag was the flip top that allowed for very quick and easy access to the O2 without taking it out of the bag.

The bag also had lots of little compartments that you could change around with velcro, and was also a well designed backpack.

(As you can see, at this point my 2 year old came home from the park, so that was the end of our morning bag testing session with Amy).

Bag #4 - Ferno Saver Duffel O2 Kit

This bag was quite long and skinny. I was well padded, and had a buckle for safe oxygen transport.

Here you see the long, versatile pockets.


On one end there is an ample end pocket. On the other side there is a wide elastic strap.

Bag #5 - Ferno Saver ALS Bag

This coupled with an oxygen carry bag was Jasmine's pick. Between the two bags it contained all of her equipment, including a De Vilbiss suction (the larger one).

This bag was not as compartmentalized as some of the more expensive Ferno bags, and it does not convert into a backpack. It also is a bit smaller in size. However, Jasmine found it to be a perfect match for the amount of equipment she carried. 

Our Economical Classics - 

The benefit of the high end Ferno bags is that they are made with top quality material and have lifetime warranties. Their Saver liner is also good quality, but doesn't carry the same warranty. Also, unlike the top-quality bags, you can't unzip the padding for proper cleaning.

But what if you're not looking to spend $100-$300 on a bag? We have some other great options for you as well!

These bags can be purchased separately or as a set. They all come in red and blue, however, not all bags are always in stock in both colours.

Our prenatal bag is affordable and versatile. The inside dividers can be removed or rearranged with velcro, and more items can be zippered into the inner lid.

The "Midwife" duffel bag is a run-of-the-mill duffel bag with extra inner pockets in the front for organizing little things, as shown. It's well constructed, and has ample end pockets.

Our entire new registrant kit fits into the duffel bag and the oxygen carry bag. This includes a De Vilbiss suction, but it can be a bit tight. With a Laerdal suction there would be plenty of space.

Mini Bags-

Ferno IV Bag

This handy little organizer is great for storing your IV supplies.

This kit contains an entire antibiotics IV kit (except the 1000mL fluid), as well as some extra butterfly needles and a saline lock.

I also used the Ferno Intubation Bag for the same purpose, shown below:

  • Jill and Paul Colpitts

Choosing a Birth Pool


Whether you're actually planning to give birth at home in the water or just want to labour in the water a bit, birth pools can offer some incredible pain relief. There are several choices on the market. Here is a guide to help you decide which one to get. (Please note that all prices are Canadian).

The Aquarium Pool

This is the cheapest way to go. One of these will set you back about $30.00 from most big box stores.



-Holds less water, so less taxing on the hot water tank.


-Many women find them too shallow. Deeper pools allow for more buoyancy, and this allows for greater pain relief.

-They are not phthalate or cadmium free. Keep in mind, you are filling this pool with hot water. When the plastic is heated it can leech these chemicals which have been shown to be unhealthy.

-Some of these pools have drain plugs on the bottom. This is a good feature if you're playing in the back yard. It's a really bad feature if the pool is set up in your living room and you accidentally kick the plug open in labour.

-The quality of material on these is variable. They also do not come with liners, which can act as an extra barrier against leaks and prevent punctures while in use.

-These can be difficult to find in the winter, as they are a seasonal product.

La Bassine (Made in Water) Birth Pool $195


-Designed for birth and use inside the home

-2 handles on the inside of the pool for extra support

-Holds less water than other birth pools, so less taxing on a hot water tank, and faster fill time.

-Takes up less space than a larger birth pool


-Darker blue colour (or purple for the pro model) do not allow for the same visibility as a white bottomed pool

-Not height adjustable

-Some taller women may not get full immersion of their belly (or will have to fill it too full to do so and risk water tipping over the edge).

-Depending on size, sometime there is not enough room for the partner to get in.

-No top or outside handles

-No lid option available for keeping the heat in

-Liners are sold separately (it's worth the extra $$ to buy a liner though. That's another blog post in and of itself).

The Aquaborn Eco Birth Pool - $199

Okay, I'll admit, I'm not completely impartial. Even though I sell all three birth pools, I am the Canadian distributor for Aquaborn. However, I wouldn't be the distributor if I didn't think these pools were the Bees Knees. I also definitely plan to give birth to my next child in one of these.


-Green colour with a white bottom allows for maximum visibility (actually I find the difference quite remarkable).

-Height adjustable

-Designed so the midwife/support people will not strain their backs

-Comes with a lid and liner included

-Thickest padded floor

-6 handles for maximum versatility

-Opaque sides allow for privacy

-Large enough to accommodate both partners with room to move

-The deepest birth pool on the market

-The thickest eco-vinyl available for durability (all birth pools and their liners are phthalate and cadmium free).


-Larger, deeper pool, so may be taxing on a small hot water tank and take a bit longer to fill

-No seat (though submersible spa seats can be bought separately for about $25 if this is important).

Birth Pool in a Box -$295 + $65 for lid


-Egg shape make some women feel more cocooned.

-Has a seat (regular model only)

-Mini option available for smaller spaces/hot water tanks (but these have no seat)

-Comes with a liner included

-White bottom

-Height adjustable

-Regular model is large enough for both partners


-More expensive

-Regular model has larger water volume, so takes longer to fill and drain than La Bassine and Aquaborn

-Lid is sold separately.

Aqua Doula - Usually available just for rental. A purchase would set you back about $1200.00

I rented one of these for the birth of my daughter.


-Heater. You should NEVER use a heater with an inflatable pool, so if you really want a heater, this is the way to go.

-Very sturdy and large, allowing for good movement and buoyancy.

-A rental usually will come with a lid and all the accessories.


-Not as cushy as inflatables. Many women prefer inflatables for the comfort factor.

-Much harder to set up and take down, particularly if you have never done it before.

-No handles

-Can be taxing on smaller hot water tanks

The Inflatable Birth Pool Comparison Chart

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Birth Pool in a Box Regular - $295

La Bassine - $195

Aquaborn Regular $199.99

Material Thickness




Internal maximum dimensions

142cm x 114cm

125 cm x 95cm

130 x 105 cm

Internal Depth




Internal Handles




Side Handles




Top Handles




Inflated Floor Thickness





Yes (Regular size only)



Liner included




Filling Time

40+ minutes

25 minutes

35+ minutes

Weight when filled

650 kg

520 kg

560 kg

Heat Retaining Lid

Extra- $65



White Bottom (best visibility)




Professional Option Available

Yes - $500

1 liner incl.

Yes - $280

no liner incl.

Yes - $410.00

3 liners incl.

  • Jill and Paul Colpitts

Perineal Healing Tips

I don't know about you, but I needed a few stitches when my daughter was born (she decided to shoot out like Superwoman with one fist charging our straight in front of her head). Perineal healing herbs were an invaluable asset to have handy. When you're sore like that, you want to have some arrows in your quiver.



Here are some ideas for using our Perineal Healing Herbs:

NOTE: These herbs are not to be taken internally - It is for topical use only.

Brew a tea (for a sitz bath, not to drink!)
Begin by making a strong infusion of your herbs:
Bring two cups of water to a boil then remove from heat. Pour the water over two heaping
teaspoons of herbs and cover. A wide mouth jar or teapot is useful. Allow the mixture to
steep for at least half an hour (overnight is best) then strain well. Keep any unused mixture
in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Sitz Bath 

A sitz bath is a basin that fits over a toilet, allowing you to soak your perineal area without
having to take a full bath each time.
Fill your sitz bath with two cups of your brewed herbal tea and 6 to 10 cups of warm water. You
may use cold water if there is inflammation or swelling. Sit and soak for 10-20 minutes, 1-3
times daily (can alternate between a sitz bath and a bath). You may also add in 1/4-1/3 cup
Epsom Salts.

Regular Bath
Add the full two cups of Perineal wash tea to your bath water, or try our Perineal Wash
Bath Bags
, which you can simply toss in your bath and steep. You may choose to add 1
cup of Epsom Salts.

A favorite! Peri Bottles are plastic squirt bottles that allow you to squirt water out as you go
to the bathroom or for cleaning (instead of wiping -especially if you are still feeling sore or
sensitive) when you are finished. It can greatly reduce stinging during urination. The tea
may be used undiluted or add some hot water to make it warm. It is handy to have a bottle
ready in your bathroom at all times. The bottle is also useful for people with hemorrhoids
and during menstruation - just add water or other useful herbs for the different situations.

Soak a washcloth in the cooled mixture and apply to the sore area. You may soak a
maternity pad and wear it for continuous healing. Many women find great relief when the
soaked pads have been cooled in the refrigerator. You may wear an additional dry pad or
folded blue underpad inside disposable mesh panties to keep your seats dry.

  • Jill and Paul Colpitts