Doula support in Chicago Suburbs

4 Common Pregnancy Complaints and Holistic Solutions

4 Common Pregnancy Complaints

and Holistic Solutions

We have put together some holistic solutions to some of the most common pregnancy concerns.

Nausea – For some, nausea never comes, and for others, it can last through the entire pregnancy. However, for most, nausea typically comes mid-way through the first trimester and continues until the beginning or middle of the 2nd trimester.

Holistic options to consider:
  • Ginger – be it tea, a ginger chew, or a cookie, consuming ginger has helped many with pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting.
  • Peppermint – Drinking peppermint tea, eating peppermint candy, or even smelling peppermint through a diffuser can be helpful. *Peppermint can adversely impact breastfeeding relationships once the baby is born, however, using during pregnancy is not typically harmful
  • Eating small but frequent meals with protein, like yogurt, nuts, or chocolate milk.
  • Acupuncture – Nausea is one reason of many that having a relationship with an acupuncturist through pregnancy can be helpful.
* Acupuncture: There are well-known pressure points on the body that have been used for centuries (sea sickness wrist bands come to mind). Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that works to help with physical, emotional, and mental ailments. Some reasons pregnant people choose to see an acupuncturist during pregnancy: swelling, headache, stress, breech position, digestion, anxiety


Muscle soreness/cramps– Your body is working hard, and you are probably feeling it. Not only overall fatigue is normal in the first trimester, but muscle soreness and cramping are not uncommon.
Holistic options to consider:
  • Regular stretching in the morning and evening, such as yoga
  • Staying hydrated
  • Taking deep breaths throughout the day to help expel any build up of lactic acid
  • Increase potassium consumption such as bananas, sweet potatoes, or spinach
  • Begin receiving regular prenatal massage
  • Get plenty of rest


Constipation – A common pregnancy complaint is constipation. Changes in hormone levels and slowed digestion, coupled with added pressure on your pelvic floor means you may be experiencing constipation.
Holistic options to consider:
  • Diet rich in fiber
  • Staying hydrated
  • Chiropractic care for alignment support
  • Regular exercises, such as pregnancy yoga or walking
  • Toilet Stool
  • Finding ways to reduce stress


Incontinence and Frequent Urination – It can be frustrating while pregnant because it is possible to experience incontinence AND constipation – they are not mutually exclusive. Incontinence is the lack of control over urination. The changes to organ placement, and the pressure being placed on the pelvic floor makes urinary incontinence a common pregnancy complaint.
While frequent urination may not be entirely relieved until your baby is delivered, there are some things to consider, for both it and incontinence.
Holistic options to consider:
  • Establishing a relationship with a physical therapist with training in pelvic floor health
  • Consider Yoga courses with a focus on pelvic floor
  • Breathing and full relaxation when using the restroom to allow for your bladder to be emptied entirely
  • Schedule and take frequent bathroom breaks
We love to work with our birth doula clients to help them relieve whatever symptoms they have in pregnancy.   Please comment what has worked for you during your pregnancy!  Connect with us on Instagram and Facebook

Self Love This Valentine’s Day

Self Love this Valentine’s Day

While many people are thinking about passion with Valentine’s day arriving soon, perhaps a little compassion will be extended as well. And not generally speaking – but love and compassion for working towards a healthier you.

Looking inward and having a vulnerable personal conversation about what you want, what you need, and how you wish to walk through the world is a gutsy gift to yourself this Valentine’s day. The questions get asked over and over, and how often do we stop and find a real answer to, “What do you want?”

What do you want to give in relationships?

How do you want to be treated?

What impact will you have?

However, before all of that. Before looking outward, the brave first step is to love your whole self and practice radical acceptance. All of your parts – those you are proud of and those you hide because of embarrassment or shame – all of those parts together make up the body, mind, and spirit of the unique you: a person who is deserving of the best and is capable of individual thoughts and feelings and change.

Connecting with ourselves is more than self care practices like an herbal bath or a pedicure (which are important too!). It’s taking an in-depth look into what helps us feel whole, and the things we each need to belong genuinely. For many, there is a need to heal wounds that get inflicted as we assimilate into a culture or society.

Take time for yourself to explore what needs attention.   One way to do this is to tune into Stephi Wagner as she describes the “mother wound” and helps people understand that there is an innate need for healing. More so, that we are all born into a pattern of being a person who is ready to re-connect, but that our parents, and ourselves as parents, are often not supported socially enough to then give to our babies and children.

Ways we might experience the mother wound, from Stephi Wagner:
  • Feeling like we are “not enough”
  • Feeling like we are “too much”
  • Being tone policed by others for our authentic feelings
  • Feeling shame about our authentic feelings
  • Struggling to make and maintain boundaries
  • Shame storms: “I AM a bad mistake” (shame) rather than “I made a bad mistake” (guilt)
  • Feeling responsible for other people’s feelings
  • Accepting poor treatment from other people
  • Self-sabotaging by backing away on the brink of a success
  • Attenuation: trying to stay small in body, mind, impact,
Does anything stand out in this list? A significant first step could be writing about your reactions to these points and exploring where your memories and feelings take you. If conversations come from your writing, find ways to be gentle with yourself as you involve others in your healing process. Also, if necessary, consider the professional guidance of a therapist.
Learning to love ourselves and make changes necessary to reflect the support we need is part of the process of self-healing.
So this Valentine’s Day, while giving love, and showing gratitude to others in our communities with treats and decorations is a beautiful tradition, consider your deeper needs, and investing time is something that could have a lasting positive impact on you.

Do you have any thoughts you would like to share about your healing journey?  Please post below and join us on our Facebook Page.


Surviving Winter Pregnancy

Surviving Winter Pregnancy

Being pregnant during winter months brings unique challenges to the forefront, and we’re not talking about trying to find a jacket that fits comfortably around your torso. No, winter months are simply a lot of work for pregnant people, on top of other difficulties that can come from pregnancy.

If you are pregnant this winter, we hope it is an experience filled with cozy fires and relaxation in your home, and not red-noses and shuffling down the sidewalk on the lookout for icy patches.

A few common complaints about being a winter pregnancy have to do with the weather and soreness and muscle pain. The cold weather can make anyone’s muscles tense! If you have hunched shoulders, back and hip pain, or tight calf or shin pain from taking shorter steps in the cold, take a big deep breath…

…and take a bath.

I know, I know! They say to avoid baths with super hot temperatures. We are not advocating for you to raise your body temperature so significantly that you are sweating while bathing. What we are saying, is that in the winter, finding a way to be completely surrounded by a warmth that promotes a certain distance from the world is hard to find. Being in the water is one way to have some of that distance.

For sore muscles, we suggest adding Epsom salts to your water. And don’t be shy. Add a full cup or two. Let the stresses from the day slowly ease out and enjoy some time to be fully in your mind and your body.

If you are concerned about dry winter skin being exacerbated by the bath, add a small amount of body oil to your water. When you are ready to leave the water, take a minute before grabbing a towel, to rub in the thin layer of bath oil into your skin to help keep dryness at bay.

After getting warm and relaxed, take a few moments to really stretch. If possible and desired, have your partner give a gentle massage on the places you feel most sore. Here is a great guided video.

Another common complaint during a winter pregnancy is treating sickness or keeping it at bay. Many over the counter medicines are not recommended during pregnancy, as well as many other medications.

So what can you do to keep a cold at bay?

Bone Broth – Essentially long-simmered stock to allow as much of the bone collagen to seep into the fluid of the broth. Some choose to roast the bones in the oven before starting their Bone Broth to help with flavor and for a deep brown color. It is not the same as any stock you find in the store, and it is recommended by home remedy purists to make your own or have it come from a loving friend, especially if your friend is a kitchen witch.  It is  great for your hair, nails, and skin, but also promotes strong gut health.

Elderberry syrup – With vitamins A, B, and C stimulating the immune system, and the berries seem to be able to “disarm the enzyme virus’s use to penetrate healthy cells.” It can be hand-made, but is also readily available as a syrup or gummy. Cote has some delicious syrup in stock in her Our Healing Roots Etsy store.  This syrup been help to stave off sickness in our families for many cold and flu seasons!

Wash your hands with soap. Often. Bacteria and viruses have extended living time on surfaces and can be easily transferred through touch and the air. Some viruses live longer in the cold weather, and that paired with the closer contact of us all staying inside more often in colder months can increase the likelihood of spread illness.

If you are interested in learning more about a medication you would like to take or are currently taking, MotherToBaby has an extensive fact sheet database you can search.

If you are looking for herbal remedies, there is still reason to do your research. Luckily we have a trained herbalist here on staff, Cote Garceau, who is skilled in discussing the purpose and methods for using natural medicine that can support you. You can find Cote’s herbal work here or you can search locally to find an herbalist near you. Here are is a great blog on the use of herbs during pregnancy by the amazing Aviva Romm.

surviving winter pregnancy

elderberry syrup, homemade, local, immune booster

Kane County Happenings

Winter Break Family Fun In The Western Suburbs

The days between Christmas and going back to school can be hard to navigate! Maybe you just need a little break, or a fun activity to break up the day. Or perhaps you want to start a new family tradition! Whatever your reason there are great options in Kane County and Chicago’s Western Suburbs! With just a short drive, you have the following events and locations at your fingertips!

We hope you enjoy the last days of 2018 and find a peaceful and harmonious beginning to the new year!

St Charles

St. Charles, IL
Family Fun Fest Pheasant Run Dec 28-30
Fun for the whole family with indoor activities for all ages.    


Geneva, IL
Ice Skating Rink at Geneva Commons
Shoe rental available Open until January 13th    

Mooseheart, IL
Holiday Lights at Mooseheart
One of Chicagolands’s largest displays running 5:00PM-9:00PM nightly through Monday, December 31st.
$10 per car    


Naperville, IL
Family Fun New Years Eve
Dupage Children’s Museum
This annual year-end celebration, now in its 17th year, has become a holiday tradition for families and is an important fundraiser for the Museum.  


Warrenville, IL
Star Wars Fun and Games
Ages 3 and up Dec 28th, noon to 3 pm at Stream Tutoring
You can drop your child at this event or participate together!

Theatre Arts for Kids
Ages 6 and up at Stream Tutoring Jan 3rd, 9am-12
Full events page for Stream Tutoring…

Aurora, IL
Family New Year’s Eve Bash
December 31, 11am-1pm
Vaughan Athletic Center  


Wheaton, IL
Cosley Zoo
Zoo Lights
Through December 30th Lights come on at 3pm, closes at 9pm

Elgin, IL
Lil’ Kickers open house
Jan 5th, 9am-12, games, and activities for age 18 months to 8 years.

Elgin Public Museum
Story Hour
Jan 5th, 11am-Noon Free

Western Suburbs, Lisle

Lisle, IL
Tree lights at Morton Arboretum
Until Jan 1st, 430-9:30pm

Darien, IL
Mighty MidKid Family Gaming – For kids grades 1-6 and their family.
Wii Mario Kart, Playstation games and family favorites or try a new board game. Snacks will be served. No registration needed.
Dec 28th, 2-4:30pm

Other locations to explore
Story Times at your local library
The Lego Discovery Center in Schaumburg
Chicago Botanic Garden in Winter
Carol Stream Ice Rink

What is a Holistic Doula, and other FAQs

What is a Holistic Doula, and Other FAQs

Holistic Family Doulas is a team of committed professionals who view birth as a sacred space that will be remembered for the rest of your life. We believe fully in our role as a birth keeper, where we witness your choices enacted into unique experiences that have never come before, and will never be repeated. We honor each journey and hold space, share wisdom, and offer support with knowledge, experience, and intuition. Here are some common questions about doula support.

Q: What is a holistic doula?
A: Holistic doula care addresses the mind, body, and spirit through a variety of tools and products picked up from holistic doula training certifications and intuitive healing practices.

Q: What types of tools and practices do you use in your holistic doula care?
A: We use meditation, exercises, positions, organic products, reiki, and intuition to help you understand your beliefs about birth, increase awareness of your body’s energy, and explore your fears as part of preparing for birth and parenting.

Q: How are doulas and midwives different?
A: Your midwife or doctor is the person who is responsible for medical decisions while attending to your prenatal care and labor. They care and appreciate the process of birth, but they are not present as connected support to you and your birth like a doula.

When you hire a doula, you are opting to bring a person into your space who is aware of you at all times in labor and birth. Your doula is with you, for you, and supporting you when you are learning, processing, choosing, working, and rejoicing your birth. Also, in situations where there is a disappointment, unmet goals, and delicate outcomes, your doula is still there, aware of the vast emotional landscape, offering options, a calm respite, and solidarity through your experiences.

Q: Does a doula replace the father or partner at the birth?
A: Absolutely not. As a holistic doula team, we understand the vital work your relationship has undergone to reach this point. We hope to celebrate with all the people you want in attendance at your birth, support them as they participate in your delivery as they are able, and suggest ways to bring you and your partner together in the adrenaline-rich stunned-wonder that can freeze even the most prepared couple.

Q: Will a doula be helpful if I’m planning to have an epidural?
A: An epidural is a tool that can offer pain relief in labor. However, labor is not merely about pain management. Having a doula for your birth allows for support through decisions in early labor, help to unpack your comfort and questions with possible interventions, and give you physical and emotional care once you have had your epidural placed.

Working through labor with an epidural still requires nuance and care. A doula encourages your pelvis to remain dynamic when you are not able to leave a bed and helps you stay connected to your experience.

Q: When should I hire a doula?
A: With Holistic Family Doulas, we recommend you look into doula care and make your decisions between 26-32 weeks, if not before!  The earlier the better as we are full of knowledge about providers, and have a ton of referrals when you need something else like a recommended massage therapist or chiropractor.   We like to allow time for two prenatal meetings and to build a relationship. However, we have been able to accommodate clients after 32 weeks gestation-up until the birth! Your choice to hire a doula reflects your style and preference, and we respect that your timeline is individual.

Preparing for Life after Birth

Holistic Family Doulas is thrilled to host this popular postpartum workshop with our friends at My Mindful Birth in their new beautiful space. Join us for a fun evening while empowering yourself to navigate the often forgotten fourth trimester. Surrounded by other pregnant or new moms, you will gain knowledge and tips and create your own products to ease your transition into motherhood.
Workshop includes:
– Education about benefits and uses of herbs that can be used during pregnancy and postpartum
– How to create a healthy self care practice during postpartum. This includes tips for sleep, feeding yourself and baby, dealing with visitors, recognizing postpartum depression, etc.
– Creating your own herbal blend that can be used as a healing bath after birth. (Retail $20)
– Create and take home your own soothing witch hazel and aloe pads (Retail $15)
– Belly binding demonstration. Belly Binding provides increased physical support and helps in the recovery process.

Purchase Tickets:

Price: $45

Minumin of 5 people registered to run event.

Review from a past participant:
“I took a class with Lara and Cote on preparing for postpartum. I was very happy for the experience! I loved that the class was hands on and individualized to our group. I even got some goodies to take home. This class really helped me think about the postpartum period and what my needs might be. The ladies are very professional but down to earth and easy to relate to. I felt very comfortable talking about childbirth. I would recommend any of their services.”
– Angel H.

Preparing for Life after Birth

Join Holistic Family Doulas for a workshop to educate and empower yourself to navigate the often forgotten fourth trimester. Surrounded by other pregnant or new moms, you will gain knowledge and tips and create your own products to ease your transition into motherhood.

Workshop includes:
– Education about benefits and uses of herbs that can be used during pregnancy and postpartum
– How to create a healthy self care practice during postpartum. This includes tips for sleep, feeding yourself and baby, dealing with visitors, recognizing postpartum depression, etc.
– Creating your own herbal blend that can be used as a healing bath after birth. (Retail $20)
– Create and take home your own soothing witch hazel and aloe pads (Retail $25)
– Belly binding demonstration. Belly Binding provides increased physical support and helps in the recovery process.
Early Bird by June. 7th- $50
On-line sales June 7th to June 22nd- $60
$65 at door
Purchase tickets here: Here

Join Holistic Family Doulas for a workshop to educate and empower yourself to navigate the often forgotten fourth trimester. Surrounded by other pregnant or new moms, you will gain knowledge and tips and create your own products to ease your transition into motherhood.

Workshop includes:

– Education about benefits and uses of herbs that can be used during pregnancy and postpartum

– How to create a healthy self care practice during postpartum. This includes tips for sleep, feeding yourself and baby, dealing with visitors, recognizing postpartum depression, etc.

– Creating your own herbal blend that can be used as a healing bath after birth.

– Create and take home your own soothing witch hazel and aloe pads

– Belly binding demonstration. Belly Binding provides increased physical support and helps in the recovery process.


Early Bird by Feb. 7th- $45

By Feburary 20th- $50

At Door- $55

Get your tickets here:

Life after birth

* Forgive my grammar. English is my second language 🙂

This is a personal post.  I want to share my experience and thoughts about postpartum.

First of all, I am Cote Garceau. I am Chilean. I am also a Doula, herbalist and mother of 3. With my partner we decided to have a child pretty young! I got pregnant when I was 23 and had my first child when I was just 24 yrs old. At the time, we were also living kind of  off the grid, in the Andes Mountains in Chile, in a house we built by ourselves with mud and rocks from the hills. Life made so much sense to me, but of course,  having kids young and living far away came with many challenges, but thankfully our families were always there for us.

In Chile and many other countries in South America, there is this beautiful way of thinking about postpartum. After you give birth, someone has to help that mother for about a month, they called it “cuarentena”, or “el puerperio”.  It’s about 40 days when the new mother needs support and she needs to be taken care of. In my case, I had my amazing mother in law and my mother giving me the support I needed. At that time, that support looked like, coming to visit, cooking for us, helping to clean the house, help with the baby, guidance, etc. I was lucky my husband was not working at the time, so we were TOGETHER learning how to become parents, how to deal with our birth trauma, mastitis, dealing with a brand new baby while not having city water, etc. I can’t even think about my experience if I didn’t have all that support. I felt love and support all around me, even when I was so tired, felt broken after my traumatic hospital birth, and my body hurt all over, my emotions were strong. I can’t believe how lucky I was…



Then when we came to live in the US, life changed and we were alone here, my best friends and family were living in Chile. But thankfully, when I had my second child, my parents came to visit and stayed for about 3 months,  (that was amazing!) and when I had my third child, my mother in law came and stayed with us for about 3 months too. When I look back, I was lonely without good friends here, but I had incredible support. I was able to be in bed with my new baby, knowing that my other two kids were taken care of,  a nourishing food was going to be ready for all of us and the house was not falling apart. What a blessing! (seriously). I can see how different my whole perspective of birth would have been if I didn’t have that support.

Working as a doula and helping women during postpartum it has opened my eyes to another whole different reality, women are ALONE, scared and with the high expectation of being “like before” mentally and physically.  Some are lucky to have some friends or family members come to visit for a couple of days or a week, bring food, etc.  But after all that excitement fades away, they wake up to a lonely house,  a new born to take care of and the silent expectations from their partners and even themselves. We have this belief that we can do it all. That after giving birth to a human being, life should jump back to where it was before. Partner should go back to work right away and the postpartum mother, should stay home “taking some time off” for a couple of weeks and then also jump back into life as it was before, almost like nothing happened!


Helping  women during postpartum has been life changing to me,  I mean, for real… Birth is intense and wild and I love to be there as support, but I think postpartum is where I see women at their most vulnerable state ever. Recovering from natural birth or C-sections, in pain, bleeding, exhausted , nervous, sleep deprived, emotional, RAW. Everything hurts and some times there is nobody around to help, to guide. Postpartum is also a messy and raw state of emotions. Some of us can’t process all of it fast enough and some of us get hormonal imbalances that lead to depression or anxiety. Some women have to jump back to work right away, with the stress of leaving their kids with strangers…But survival mode kicks in, and we make it happen no matter what. Women are POWERFUL, we are amazing and have incredible strength. But still… I keep hearing and seeing how much women are hurting. This culture has normalized what giving birth is, taking away the importance of such a powerful moment. Our lives change forever and we should be able to honor that change, take time to process and to reconnect with our partners as parents.

Because I see how lucky I was and how much support I had, (even when I was living in a different country), is why  when we started this doula business with my partner Lara, we talked long hours about postpartum care. I didn’t know my story was SO different to the stories of other women. We always share our births stories, but I think we should start sharing our postpartum experiences too, because most of them are harder than birth itself. And this is why working as postpartum doula is one of my missions now…I want to be there to help other women, to support them, to help them feel empowered by the experience,  to hold space for them and provide that same sense of peace I had.

Life will be ok, you don’t have to be alone….

Here are the pictures of my saviors, my heroes… My mother in law and my mom.





Pregnant Mama Make and Take

Join Holistic Family Doulas for a fun pregnant mama event!

We will be making sitz bath and soorthing pads for after your birth.
Take time to prepare for healing after the baby now, while you still have time!

A sitz bath is a blend of soothing herbs used to help heal the tender area around the perineum or the area of incision following vaginal or cesarean birth. It can be used as a healing bath. We will also make healing cotton pads with witch hazel to reduce swelling.

You will leave with pads soaked in a blend for your refrigerator and a mix of herbs and salts for baths.

We will also be doing a belly binding demonstration and have them available for purchase. Belly binding provides increased physical support (it feels like a warm soft hug!) and helps in the recovery process. more here:


All pregnant and new moms welcome!
Held on December 3rd   3 to 4:30 PM at

Kryssage Wellness
201 Cedar Avenue
St. Charles, IL 60174

Buy your tickets here