Birth Matters:  A Naturopathic Approach to Supporting Obstetric Patients During Pregnancy, Labour, and the Post-Partum Period

Rachel Schwartzman, ND
Lecture Type: 
Breakout Session
Lecture Day: 
Day 1
Terasen Theatre


Birth is life altering. From the moment conception is identified parents begin thinking about their birth, organizing a birth team and learning about the labour process. Evidence shows successful birth outcomes are connected to informed patient. Knowing about the birth process, translates to a positive parenting experience, even if the birth does not go as planned. Labour support has been shown to improve outcomes for women and infants, including increased spontaneous vaginal births, shorter duration of labour, decreased caesarean births and use of analgesia, and negative feeling about the birth experience. With the medicalization of birth, and rise of interventions, we see an increase in parent anxieties and post-partum depression. As naturopathic doctors, we have the knowledge and tools to educate and support our patients during pregnancy, labour and beyond, contributing to positive parenthood.

Learning Objectives:

  • To Inform NDs of the current medical birth models, discuss fear and the high rates of medical interventions due to the medical practice of active management.  
  • To understand the cascade of interventions and how to best support patients that need medical interventions.  
  • To understand how to effectively work with a patient with PROM (premature rupture of membranes), and be knowledgeable on the research on active vs expectant management of labour to safely guide patients, including natural medical options.  
  • Prepare patients for birth with the use of homeopathic remedies, botanical medicine, acupuncture, supplements and lifestyle choices.  
  • How to avoid induction, and promote an effective labour pattern with quality contractions.  
  • Learn how to confidently attend a birth and what naturopathic treatments to use during labour when a situation arises; slow to progress, PROM, ineffective contractions, pain management.
  • How to minimize risk of infections during labour, and the evidence on reducing perineal tearing. 
  • Inform patients of labour decisions that need to be made ie. vtm K, eye gel, epidural, cord clamping, so the right decision can be made for the family.  
  • Confidently work with post-date patients, how to support them with naturopathic modalities (lifestyle, body positions, homeopathics, botanicals, acupuncture), limiting inductions. 
  • With Post-partum depression on the rise, it is imperative clinicians know how to diagnose, when to refer, and how to treat using naturopathic medicine. 
  • To increase naturopathic doctors skills in supporting pregnancy with a focus on positive birth outcomes. 
  • Educating clinicians on how birth matters, the importance of positive birth experiences, and how this sets parents up for a lifetime of positive parenthood.  
Rachel Schwartzman, ND
Toronto, Canada

Rachel is a board certified and licensed naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist and birth doula. She graduated from The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, 4-year medical program in 2005 and has maintained a general family practice since then. 

She practices naturopathic family medicine and has a special interest in pediatric medicine and women's health, particularly in the area of hormonal health, fertility, pregnancy and prenatal care. Rachel has been attending births as a doula since 2002 and has attended over 200 births in both home and hospital settings. She is one of the most experienced naturopathic birth doulas and an expert in the field of natural birth, having trained directly with midwives. 

She was fortunate to have had the opportunity to be educated by Ina May Gaskin herself, renowned leader on natural birth.  She is also the co-owner of West End Naturopathic Doulas a service dedicated to providing the best labour support to pregnant women.

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Symposium Location

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515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC