40 for 40!

40 Things to do in Ottawa When You’re 40 Weeks Pregnant

You are so done.

You want your baby to be healthy and come in his or her own time but this has been the longest 40 weeks of your life, and you're ready to meet your baby!

So, you could keep testing old wives tales and hoping labour begins, or you could try a few of our forty favourite activities that Ottawa parents can do when they've reached their due date.








1.     Take a nap! For some, it seems counter intuitive to get more rest when they could be walking and lunging and stimulating labour, but we often find rest is just as useful for getting labour going if your body is ready.

2.     Play board games at the Loft Lounge

3.     Get a prenatal massage.

4.     Test your problem-solving skills at Escape Manor. You are locked in a room and have to solve a series of clues to escape!

5.     Tentatively schedule your newborn photography session.

6.     July through September visit Northern Lights, the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill . A nightly event, the show documents prominent figures and events throughout Candian history.

7.     Write a letter to your baby.

8.     Buy a baby book so you can document all your baby’s milestones.

9.     Have a sunset picnic at Westboro Beach.  

10. Install your baby’s car seat.

11. Finish up the nursery with a trip to Snuggle Bugz.      

12. Stock up on nutricious snacks to fuel your postpartum recovery.       

13. Fondue Monday’s at Absinthe.

14. Prepare to breastfeed with a private consultation from an Ottawa IBCLC.

15. Beat those hot flashes with gelato at Montovani.          

16. Prepare slow cooker freezer meals for easy to make dinners after you baby comes.

17. Visit the National Gallery of Canada.

18. Go to a movie.

19. Visit your chiropractor to ensure everything is lined up for your baby’s birth.

20. See an acupuncturist. They know a few things about getting labour started.

21. On Wednesdays, head over to Yoga on Parliament Hill. Modify any poses for comfort.

22. Picnic at Andrew Hayden Park and visit the lighthouse for fabulous views.

23. Indulge in a pedicure.

24. Buy yourself flowers at Lansdowne Farmer’s Market.    

25. Spend an afternoon at ByWard Market.

26. Indulge in a sweet treat and amp up your Instagram game at The Cupcake Lounge, or SuzyQ Doughtnuts.  

27. Go window shopping in Westboro Village.

28. Paint some pottery at Mud Oven.

29. Buy a baby carrier.

30. Go for a Capital Country Drive.

31. Feed the animals at Omega Park.

32. Make labor-aide!

33. Play with Pinterest! Create some new boards for your parenting adventures with pins for making baby food, nursery rhymes, baby activities, etc.

34. Visit UC Baby Ottawa for 3D/4D ultrasound. Late pregnancy ultrasounds can be a little tricky when it comes to visibility but it’s a great way to feel connected before your baby’s birth. The heartbeat bears make a great gift for grandparents-to-be!

35. Sign up for a baby registry and make it easy for your baby shower attendees to pick the perfect gift. If you’ve already prepared your baby gift registry, go over it and make sure your needs haven’t changed.

36. Hire a birth doula! It’s never too late, unless your baby has already been born. In that case you should…

37. Hire a postpartum doula.

38. Shop for nursing tops and dresses.

39. Write a postpartum plan! We’d love to help!

40. Get some serious rest and relaxation. Whethers its just a quiet noght in, a long soak in the tub, or an afternoon of Netflix, your body has been working very hard for the past nine months. Put your feet up!

Do I Need To Break Up With My Latte?

You love your coffee! A latte a day keeps the… Oh, who are you kidding! One?

Coffee is delicious. It’s also addictive, and we tend to have routines and rituals around coffee at work and in our personal lives. Maybe you have a coffee with your breakfast every day, enjoy a 10:30 run to the coffee shop on work days or just like to relax with your friends over a hot cup of Joe. A quick look at the trending hashtags on Instagram and you can't deny that many people are passionate about their #coffeecoffeecoffee!

As parents, we want to do the best for our children. Most parents make significant changes to their diets when planning for pregnancy or when they become pregnant. Suddenly, sashimi is out, no more rare steak, and you find yourself lying awake at night Googling whether it’s safe to each shrimp when you’re pregnant.

You've probably heard that you shouldn't drink coffee. Maybe you've had a "helpful" person or two feel the need to fill you in on the effects of coffee during pregnancy while waiting in line at Starbucks. Still, you also probably know many people who never missed an Americano and still had a healthy pregnancy.

So what’s the answer? Can pregnant people safely drink coffee?

There are many studies available on how caffeine consumption affects pregnancy. Officially, doctors recommend against excessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy. Studies suggest there may be a higher incidence of growth issues. Increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight can result from excessive caffeine consumption (more than 3 cups of coffee per day) during pregnancy. Caffeine crosses the placental barrier and increases the baby's heart rate. It may also stay in the baby’s bloodstream longer and at higher levels.

Not only can caffeine have adverse effects on your baby's health, but it can also be harmful to you. When you're pregnant, your body breaks down caffeine at a slower rate than normal causing it to build up in your system. Further, caffeine has a diuretic effect which could make you have to pee more often (think night waking to use the bathroom and dehydration). Caffeine inhibits iron absorption, too.

It’s also important to mention that some studies have shown drinking coffee regularly to have no adverse effects during pregnancy. 

Health Canada (http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-gs/know-savoir/caffeine-eng.php) suggests pregnant people cap their caffeine intake at 300mg per day, about 3 cups of regular coffee. Speciality coffees can be a bit trickier. For example, your Venti Flat White has about 195 mg of caffeine in it.

What is a coffee lover to do?

First of all, if you're concerned about eliminating coffee from your life for the duration of your pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife. They can help you decide what's best for you. 

If coffee or other caffeinated beverages were a big part of your life before pregnancy, there are a few things you can do to cut back.

1.     Try having smaller cups. Instead of a Venti, order a Tall and grab a bottle of water to keep hydrated.

2.     Switch to decaf. Decaffeinated coffee might do the trick for you.

3.     Cut back slowly. Try cutting out one of your regular cups of coffee at a time to ease the transition.

4.     Enjoy other hot beverages instead. Sip caffeine-free herbal teas or hot apple cider!

And finally, pregnancy should not be a nine-months long exercise in self-denial. You can safely enjoy a latte each day. Let that cranky lady behind you in line “Tsk! Tsk!” to their hearts content while you enjoy your morning cup. And feel free to enjoy that sugary treat, just to really get their blood boiling!




New Parents Need Naps Too

No matter how smooth your pregnancy and birth go, your body had undergone some intense changes. You have been working very hard growing your new little person. In many traditional cultures, new mothers are cared for and given a month or more to recover. North American culture tends to forget new parents need for rest, trading the peaceful "lying in" tradition with numerous visitors, expectations to get your body back, and pressure to take your new baby out and about.

Postpartum expectations, both internal (the expectations you have for yourself and your experience) and external expectations (the expectations that come from society, family and friends) can wreak havoc on your need to recover from pregnancy and birth. You have so many demands put upon you, on top of learning to care for a baby, keep yourself nourished, sneak in an occasional shower and get the sleep you need. Let's face it, "Sleep when the baby sleeps." just isn't very realistic for most new parents.

At the very least, do your best to take it easy when your baby is sleeping. It may take some adjustment mentally to accept that you have a need for more rest that you are used to. Being unable to do it all is okay. Your need for recuperation is far more important than texting, phone calls, tweets, and even housekeeping.

As a new mother, you should feel confident letting others know you need a nap. Take your baby with you, or have someone else care for the baby while you get some quiet time or a nap in, any time you need.

Napping is harder for some people than others. You may not be used to sleeping during the day. If you're having trouble adjusting to short periods of sleep during the day you can try:

Lay down.

Take every opportunity to lay down in the early weeks and months. As a new parent, don't stand if you can sit, don't sit if you can lie down. Caring for a newborn is very draining and just laying down for a little while can go a long ways towards your sleep debt.

Enlist support.

Clear your mind by having someone else help with that mile long to do list. Family and friends who come to visit are happy to help with tasks around the house. If you don't want to ask for favours, you can hire assistance with the care of older children, housekeeping and laundry, and order takeout to save on meal prep time.

Postpartum Doulas are a tired parent's secret weapon. Families who choose doula support get more rest and feel better prepared to care for their growing family. At nap time (your nap time) a Postpartum Doula can care for your baby and older children, tidy up, and tackle on tasks on your to-do list. When you're awake, you can save your energy by actually utilising the unique role of your Doula by having her help with whatever it is you feel like you need. No one knows just how exhausting having a baby is like a Postpartum Doula.


You deserve to get proper rest.


You cannot genuinely care for others if you're not caring for yourself. You'll be happier and healthier if you make rest and recovery a priority during the postpartum period.

May Fun in Ottawa

Spring is in full swing here in Ottawa, and it's time to start putting away the rain gear and enjoy a little sun. We know you’ve been restless and waiting for warmer weather to get the kids out and about and now is your chance. Ottawa has so many fun activities for your family to do this month! We hope to see you at some of them!


Meet The Doulas | May 6, 2017

Come join us at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre from 10-3. Meet our doulas, check out our packages, and get some great deals while you are there! We can't wait to meet you in person.

Ottawa Children’s Festival | May 10-14, 2017

The list of fun activities to do with your children at Ottawa’s annual Children’s Festival at LeBreton Flats is too long for one little blog post! Facepainting, the Long and McQuade Instrument Petting Zoo where children can explore musical instruments with professional guidance, and the Africa Land Circus are just a few of the activities you can take in with your kids. We’re looking forward to the Puppets Up! Workshop where little ones can make their very own finger puppets!

Canadian Tulip Festival | May 12-22, 2017

You know what they say, April showers bring May flowers. In Ottawa, that means it's time for the Canadian Tulip Festival! What better way is there to welcome spring than painting wooden tulips with the children or eating tulip cookies at the Tulip Julip Tulip Café at Aberdeen Pavillion in Landsdowne Park? With a variety of children's entertainers, millions of tulips, and special events like Yoga in the Tulips, there's something for all ages at the Tulip Festival.

65th Annual Tulipmania Fireworks | May 21, 2017

Celebrate Victoria Day long weekend with a big bang at the Tulipmania Fireworks show!2017 marks the 65th years of the Tulipmania Fireworks in celebration of Queen Victoria. Don’t miss the show at TD Place at Lansdowne (1015 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON). The music and fireworks show promise to be some of the best you'll see! Bring your lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy the pre-fireworks show entertainment CTV’s Sarah Freemark. Admission starts at 7:30 PM.

Ottawa Welcomes the World | Ongoing in 2017

Since March, our city has been celebrating Canada’s diversity with Ottawa Celebrates the World. Embassies and high commissions from around the globe have been marking their country’s national celebrations at Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building. Each unique event encourages attendees to enjoy a variety of cultural food, music, art, performances and more! May 2017 brings celebrations from Poland, Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, Guyana, Serbia and Ethiopia. 

We know that checking things out when you are pregnant or have a brand new baby can seem overwhelming. When getting your shoes requires help, heading out for festivals and activities can see as challenging as getting to Mars. But getting out, especially with your new baby, can help you to reconnect with your community, meet other new parents, and even find some playdate friends. And remember, there is no rule that says you can't spend most of the time sipping a latte on a patio!

What You Need to Know About Your High-Risk Pregnancy


Having your pregnancy labelled as high risk can be very scary. You may have questions such as “Does being high risk mean I must give birth by c-section?” or “How will my experience as high risk be different than normal?”

What Is a High-Risk Pregnancy?

A pregnancy will be labelled high risk if the health of the mother and/or the baby is thought to have an increased chance of complications. While these two little words can induce some anxiety, “high risk” is just a way for a primary care provider to ensure their patient gets the special attention and care they need to have a safe pregnancy and birth experience.

Having your pregnancy labelled high risk does not always mean that you will have problems, only that you are at an increased risk of developing complications.



Why Would My Pregnancy Be Considered High Risk?

Your pregnancy may be considered high risk if you:

  • Have pre-existing or newly-diagnosed health problems, such as:Diabetes, Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Kidney Disease, Epilepsy, HIV, Hepatitis C, Rubella, Toxoplasmosis, Syphilis, etc.
  • Other health problems such as Heart Conditions, Asthma, Lupus, or Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Smoke, or use alcohol or drugs
  •  Are under the age of 18
  • Are over the age of 35
  • Are pregnant with twins, triplets, or high order multiples
  • Have a history of multiple miscarriages
  • Are carrying a baby who has a medical condition or syndrome
  • Experienced complications during a previous pregnancy, such as Preterm labour, Pre-eclampsia, Eclampsia
  • Birth of a previous baby with genetic problems
  • Are taking medications that may have adverse effects on you or your baby during gestation


Your doctor will use a formula to determine if your pregnancy should be considered high risk, using the information they have about your health and pregnancy.

How Will My Prenatal Care Be Different If My Pregnancy Is Considered High Risk?


If you have been seeing a family doctor or midwife, you may be transferred to an obstetrician to ensure you receive the specialized care you need. You may need extra ultrasounds and testing, and more frequent visits to your obstetrician. Additional genetic testing may also be offered. Depending on the reason your pregnancy has been labelled high risk, you may be asked to reduce your activity levels, change your diet, or make other adjustments to your lifestyle.

You may need to give birth in a specific hospital that offers the care you need. You should talk to your primary care provider about how your plans for birth may change.

What Can I Do to Have a Healthy High-Risk Pregnancy?

One way you can contribute to a healthy pregnancy is by improving the health of you and your baby.  This may be achieved by:

·       Attending the recommended appointments and tests

·       Eating a healthy diet

·       Taking all medication and supplements your doctor recommends

·       Following your doctor’s suggestions for activity and/or bedrest

·       Avoiding both first and second-hand cigarette smoke

·       Abstaining from alcohol and illegal drugs

A high-risk pregnancy doesn’t have to be scary. Always ask your questions as they arise. Get clarification from your primary care provider on anything you do not understand. Sometimes, the difference between feeling fearful and feeling safe is having more information.

Hiring a doula from Family Doulas of Ottawa is also great way to ensure you have someone to call with your questions and concerns throughout your high-risk pregnancy. Doulas provide that extra layer of support and guidance, including being in attendance during labour and birth, so that you never have to feel alone.  With the right network behind you, you can go through your high-risk pregnancy feeling informed and empowered.


Get More Sleep Tonight



Although you were warned that pregnancy is exhausting, you probably weren’t prepared for just how tired you were going to be. Your body is working hard, making an entire, intricate human being.


During the first trimester, your body is making changes to prepare you to provide nourishment to your baby for many months to come. Your breast tissue changes as your body prepares to breastfeed your baby. Your blood volume begins increasing as soon as you become pregnant and will increase by 50% over the course of pregnancy. The hormone progesterone will signal your body to lower carbon dioxide in the blood, changing the way you breathe. Morning sickness can wreak havoc on your nutrition, making it harder for your body to meet demand.

The many changes your body is making deplete you of energy. Hormonal changes and the physical demands of pregnancy add to fatigue. Then there’s first-trimester insomnia! You may have difficulty sleeping even though you are more tired than you have ever been before!

So how does a pregnant person get more sleep and avoid fatigue, moodiness, lowered immunity, and other health concerns related to pregnancy sleep deprivation?

1.       Start by creating a routine. Individuals who go to bed and wake up at the same time each day feel more rested. Set a regular time and ensure you'll be in bed at least 8 hours.

2.      Reduce your evening screen time. Even with the advent of iPhone's "Night Shift," late-night screen time can discourage melatonin production and in turn sleep. If staying off your phone or other devices for the two hours leading up to bedtime is not realistic for you, be sure you're using Night Shift or some other filter, choose devices with smaller screens and turn down your screen's brightness. 

3.      Have a relaxing ritual. As an extension of your routine, adding in some relaxation techniques can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. A hot bath each night, scheduling some quiet time for yourself, reading a book, and having a small snack, can help you sleep better if added to your bedtime routine. 

4.      Exercise and physical activity have been shown to improve the quality of one’s sleep. Take some time to get a little exercise each day.

5.      Work with your health care professionals to relieve any pregnancy related discomforts you’re experiencing to make it easier to sleep. You may find adding a chiropractor, acupuncturist, or massage therapist to your prenatal care team helpful. Your Ottawa Family Doula can provide carefully vetted resources for practitioners in the Ottawa area.

Follow these tips for blissful slumber. Sweet dreams!