What to Expect (Childbirth)
How our very own Fiona chose to navigate her care options within a system that treats pregnancy, birth and parenthood as a medical concern first, and a life event second.
Explored in this episode
- The potential to experience pain – and love – during pregnancy
- The importance of social connections during and after childbirth
- The individual nature of birth plans
- The different approaches to health available during pregnancy and childbirth
- The perspective of birth not as an ailment, but as a natural process
- The prevalence of secondary problems like body dysmorphia in pregnant women
Voices in the conversation
Saje Wellness Educator and Well Now Producer
When people react to your choice of birth plan, how you eat, when you sleep... all those mini-judgements pile up on you.
An enthusiast of wellness education, personal growth, and creative living, Fiona took a seat in front of the microphone to share her experience with pregnancy. In her last trimester at the time of recording, Fiona and her partner, Haitham have now welcomed their little girl.
Her professional expertise covers such ground as social innovation, community engagement, marketing and natural wellness, and has taken her from Vancouver to Dubai and back again. All of her work stems from a love of working with others to create meaningful experiences that serve an individual, humanitarian or environmental purpose. Strategic, innovative and intentional, Fiona brings a similar energy to one of her latest endeavours: motherhood.
Dr. Alana Shaw
Naturopathic Doctor and fertility specialist
We know that what mom and dad do even prior to conceiving will have an impact on future generations.
Based out of Vancouver’s Boda Health Clinic, Dr. Shaw’s practice focuses on women’s health, fertility, pregnancy, thyroid imbalance and menopause. Most recently, she has taken a special interest in the treatment of vulvodynia and other forms of pelvic pain.
While pursuing her lifelong passion for human health through medical school, Dr. Shaw’s initial focus on sports medicine shifted to the complex topic of hormones, and then to pregnancy and childbirth.
Although the majority of her current patients are female, she is a passionate advocate for ensuring the overall health of both partners when becoming pregnant. Her patients are encouraged to trust their bodies and engage with childbirth and pregnancy as a natural process. The philosophy Dr. Shaw bases her practice on is ‘shared, informed decision-making’, so that patients feel they have the information they need to make the best choice for their own health.
Prenatal yoga is a particular style of yoga instruction, geared towards expecting mothers. The focus is on postures that can be comfortably achieved while pregnant, as well as postures that will support the body during pregnancy and childbirth. Practitioners can expect to gain a greater understanding ability to identify the pelvic floor and other body structures that are called upon when carrying a child.
“You learn so much about the feminine and the female body that I didn’t know before.” – Fiona Hepher
Often referred to in clinical terms as ‘body dysmorphic disorder (BDD’,) body dysmorphia is diagnosed when a person is preoccupied with an imagined physical defect or a minor defect that others often cannot see. Dr. Shaw mentions the prevalence of body dysmorphia, sometimes leading to eating disorders, in pregnant patients of her clinic.
“There’s a lot to be said for embracing change, and accepting the beauty within that.” – Dr. Alana Shaw
Managing Editor at Saje Natural Wellness, Meghann Shantz brings her personal story of healing and a love of storytelling to Well Now – a podcast born out of a desire to help us all discover the hidden side of health and how to achieve wellness. She draws from her experiences navigating western and alternative medicine to heal her anxiety and physical injury to connect with guests about their own stories of overcoming physical and emotional challenges.
Naturally curious and on a quest for meaning, Meghann holds space for the raw expression and authentic stories of her podcast guests, believing that our world would be better if we chose to honour other people’s journeys and processes without judgement – and believing in the power of telling your story.