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Article: A Cuppa with Naturopath Renee D'Arcy

A Cuppa with Naturopath Renee D'Arcy

Hi Reneé, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in naturopathy?

Hello, I am a mother of 3 - Zephyr, Blue and Veia. We are based on the Northern Rivers of NSW just outside a cute country town called Murwillumbah. The last few years my husbands been busy building us a tiny home in the middle of the rainforest. We love spending our days by the water and eating delicious home cooked meals. I am passionate about women’s and children’s natural health and have a deep calling to the traditional healing modalities of Naturopathy such as iridology, flower essences and herbal medicine.


As a naturopath and doula, what drew you to these fields? How do you find they complement each other?

I always knew I wanted to work in the healing modality. I started seeing a Naturopath as a 10 year old with gut issues and it was always at the back of my mind as a career to pursue but didn’t land with me until I traveled India as a 19 year old. Doula work came to me as a young mother navigating the overwhelm of pregnancy and birth preparation with no community. I knew I wanted to give my future clients the guidance and support I wish I had in that first experience of motherhood. 

Doula and naturopathy work blend together so beautifully. It means I can support my clients on their journey to conceiving a baby, make sure their health needs are being met throughout pregnancy, prepare them for birth, physically and emotionally support them in the birth space and care for them in the postpartum recovery. I don’t know about you but I couldn’t imagine anything better than that.


What is a common misconception about naturopathy and doula support in pregnancy and birth?

That you ‘have’ to give birth naturally. Birth can look so many different ways and the only important part of it is that the mother felt safe, loved and supported and made the right choices for her and her baby.


How do you approach preparing expectant mothers for birth as a naturopath and doula?

As a naturopath birth preparation looks different for each client but in general increasing iron rich foods and herbs to accommodate the increase in blood volume and also in preparation for blood loss in birth, Nettle is a beautiful herb for this. Dates for cervical ripening, probiotics and prebiotics for a healthy vaginal microbiome and Raspberry Leaf as a uterine tonic to target the smooth muscles of the uterus in preparation for the birth. 

As a doula, birth preparation is mostly about supporting the mother to unpack any fears surrounding birth / motherhood, guiding them to deeply trust their intuition and speak it and teaching the basics of birth physiology and education so they are feeling confident in their body and have an idea of what to expect on the day.


Can you share any tips or strategies for creating a calm and comfortable birthing environment?

I could go on and on about this but i’ll keep it succinct, first and foremost you need to birth where you feel the safest, for some this is as home and others this is at the hospital, the two others I would recommend are:

Low lighting: In labour the dark releases melatonin which works with oxytocin (your main birth hormone). This is why so many women go into labour in the middle of the night. Keep lights off / dim. Think candles or salt lamps.

Music: You need to play music and burn incense / diffuse oils that bring you a sense of calm and comfort. I always recommend to my clients to make a playlist they want for the birth early on in their pregnancy and to play it in those happy, relaxed moments throughout pregnancy - it might be a sunday morning making pancakes at home. You are still in your pajamas, everyone is relaxed, there is nowhere to be and this playlist is playing in the background, you can smell the oil diffuser on. When you bring these sounds and smells into the birth environment our olfactory system connects us to the memory of being at home, happy and cooking pancakes and we naturally feel more relaxed and calm.


How does postpartum care differ with the involvement of a naturopath and doula compared to traditional care?

Long gone are the days of the ‘bounce back’ culture and thank goodness for that. It can look so different depending on what type of naturopath or doula you hire but I think the main thing we all have in common is that our focus is on caring for the mother, so she can care for her baby to the best of her ability. In the standard model of care once the baby is born all emphasis goes to them. We need this to change because we can’t have healthy thriving babies without healthy thriving mothers. 

My five keys to postpartum are mother and baby bonding, rest, nourishment, hydration and support.


What are the potential benefits of incorporating naturopathy and doula support into a standard prenatal care plan?

The standard prenatal care provider’s in Australia are doctors, midwives or obstetricians and whilst they are professionals in their field they don’t have the expertise a Naturopath does in all things diet, supplements, herbal medicine and overall well-being to support women in having the healthiest pregnancy they can. 

A doula is an additional member of the team that works entirely for you. In such an overwhelming time, with so much information (and so many different perspectives) having someone there to support you and only you is so important. 

A doula is for:

  • First time parents that would like to journey through pregnancy and prepare for birth with an experienced holistic doula and naturopath that provides non- judgemental, evidence- based support
  • Parents that have experienced childbirth before but are looking for a different experience this time around and are unsure on where to start in building a birth support team that values their wants and needs
  • Parents who have chosen to birth in a hospital setting but have anxiety about their values and wishes not being heard and want someone on their team that will advocate for them
  • Pregnant mothers with ‘high risk’ labels that are wanting to experience childbirth with little to no intervention as is safely possible but need assistance in evidence - based research and someone to advocate for them on the birthing day
  • Parents looking for all round support for their family centered home birth


Is there a moment in your career that you would like to share that reaffirmed why you love supporting women through pregnancy and birth?

I love supporting all women as they journey to be a mother but I will always hold a special place in my heart for the women who have experienced a traumatic birth experience and find the courage, strength and determination to have a different experience the next time around. I can’t tell you how incredible it is to see the look on a mothers face when she’s birthed her baby, with a room full of love and support but most importantly on her own terms. I wish all women could experience that. 


What is Mayde Tea product are you currently loving?

I am in such a busy season of motherhood so all the nervous system support and calming herbs are needed. Serenity is my answer to this. I brew a cup every night when the kids go to sleep.


What are you currently...

Listening to: Kurt Vile, Khruangbin and The Diary of a CEO

Reading: Modern Iridology by Sarah Donoghue

Watching: Love on the Spectrum

Eating: Papaya with lime whipped cream and coconut sugar


If you can find more about Reneé at here or on Instagram.

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