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Meet the Doulas: Angelique Saavedra

Who are the doulas who volunteer with the Bay Area Doula Project?  They're amazing, diverse people, doing so much great work in the world, it's hard to believe any of them has time to volunteer with us. We've been using this space to introduce you to many of the BADP doulas.  This week, meet Angelique Saavedra.

Angelique is a birth mother who is passionate about reproductive justice. Inspired by her own pregnancy and adoption journey, Angelique is committed to creating a world where all people with experiences across the reproductive spectrum are able to receive non-judgmental and compassionate care. She is currently a volunteer with the Bay Area Doula Project supporting the coordination of monthly events and additionally volunteers as a Post Abortion Talkline counselor. She received a BA in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and studied International Development at the University of Oxford's Exeter College.


Striking down barriers to abortion at the bowl-a-thon!

We are less than a month away from this year's National Abortion Access Bowl-a-thon in support of BADP's partner organization ACCESS. This year BADP volunteers are represented on three different teams: Vagilante Justice, Team Cuterus!, and madame ovary. ACCESS is trying to raise $50,000 through this event, and currently a little over $11,000 has been raised. If you can help with a donation, the links to donate to our teams' fundraising efforts are above.

Click here for more information about the Bay Area Bowl-a-thon, which is April 26 from 6pm-8pm.

Hope to see you there!

Last year's BADP bowling team, the Double Strike Doulas!


March Salon Series: Dancing for Birth Workshop

Join us for an interactive workshop led by Dancing for Birth instructor Jyesha Wren. This event is open to all and will be especially relevant for expectant parents; those who are considering conceiving as well as those who work with people through labor.
“By encouraging a woman to dance during her birth we empower her to actively participate and rejoice in her labor, to embrace her labor’s unique rhythm and unfolding, to love her voluptuous pregnant body, and to trust in her baby’s and her own inner knowledge of how to birth. The ebullience she experiences will spill over to infuse her parenting and her life with joy." - Stephanie Larsen, Founder of Dancing For BirthTM

When: March 10th 7-9pm
Where: In the Dance Studio at 9 Langton St., San Francisco, CA
Cost: FREE! (We will pass a hat and ask for donations to BADP)
Accessibility: The space is not wheelchair accessible (very sorry!). Babes in arms are welcome. Please email salon_fund@bayareadoulaproject [dot] org or send us a note on facebook if you have any questions about accessibility

Dancing For Birth™ prenatal/postpartum classes teach a “language of movement” specially designed for women in any stage of pregnancy or who are planning to conceive and for postpartum women wearing their babies in soft slings or wraps. The movements are inspired by ancient dance forms like Belly dance (created by/for birthing women) and African dance, and combine dance and fitness with rare essential childbirth preparation skills such as optimal maternal and fetal positioning. 

Stephanie Larson DFB, CD(DONA), CBE, BFA, founded Dancing For Birth™ in 2000, when she realized that her lifelong dance experience which had helped her give birth naturally was a benefit to her birth doula and childbirth education clients as well. “The first step to a satisfying birth,” says Larson, “is to listen to your baby via your body—and move accordingly. For many women this means laboring and birthing actively, in a forward-leaning vertical position, out of bed.” By moving instinctively, using gravity and positioning to their advantage, women can temporarily enlarge the dimensions of their pelvis for the baby's passage, help their babies rotate and descend, help reduce unnecessary interventions and enjoy natural pain relief. 

Dancing For Birth™ workshops came to the attention of the widely respected organizations DONA International and Lamaze International, which invited Larson to give presentations to childbirth professionals from around the world at their international conferences. In 2007, Larson began holding Dancing For Birth ™ Instructor Training workshops. DFB instructors come from varied backgrounds, such as birth and postpartum doulas, midwives, nurses, and childbirth educators; dance, yoga and fitness teachers; massage therapists; moms and birth enthusiasts. 

Presenter Bio:
Jyesha Wren is currently a Nurse Midwifery student at the University of California, San Francisco, and a long time dancer with a passion for empowering women to have positive birthing experiences. Her dance background includes a variety of Afro-Latin styles, primarily the energetic and joyful Brazilian Samba. In 2011 she completed Stephanie Larsen's Dancing for Birth instructor training program.



Notes from the Salon: The Power of Nutrition During Pregnancy

By: Vanessa Norton, BADP Volunteer


"The most significant prenatal care a woman can get is the care she gives herself."

-Ashley Spivak

On February 18, about 25 people settled into couches, chairs and floor-spaces in the brightly painted living room of BADP volunteer Christine Litas. It was the night of our Salon, and Ash Spivak, a certified food educator and nutrient-dense recipe developer visiting from New York, shared her wisdom, science-based knowledge, and passion for nutrition. I know I am not the only person who left this 2-hour Salon equipped with new tools to support my Mama-clients and apply to my own eating habits.

Ash began the evening with a stress-reducing exercise, where each participate was asked to close their eyes and feel where our bodies touched a surface, to take deep breaths, then to bring awareness to our senses: touch, taste, sound, and smell. Not only was this a relaxing erxercise, but it led into the fact that we experience a lot of stress, and stress effects digestion, among other areas of our health. When we experience stress, our liver creates glucose (sugar) so we have the energy to escape dangerous situations. Because we experience so much stress in our culture, Americans typically have bodies overloaded with sugar that we don't burn off, because the nature of the stress is no longer running from wild animals, but experiencing traffic or job stress. So, de-stressing every day is key for healthy Mamas and for everyone. Even for a few minutes.

But rather than feel overwhelmed by any of this, I felt empowered because Ash shared very accessible tools to help combate negative influences in our health. 

Rather than measuring foods or following a plan, Ash introduced an interesting and more creative approach: think about what you eat in terms of color. For example, processed foods like potato chips (even organic ones) are gray, kale would be green; raw, it's bright green. We each drew a picture (with crayons) of what we'd eaten that day, not actually physical representations of the foods, but color representations. Some people drew landscapes, other looked like Rothko-esque blocks. Pictures with a variety of bright colors are the ones we're most attracted to, the ones that represent the healthiest foods.

Another point I loved was Ash's focus on creating nutrient-dense meals. “It's not about eliminating pizza, but throw some arugula on it,” Ash said. “If you're having a burger, add an avocado. Avocado supplies Omega 3 fatty acids, arugula is loaded with antioxidants.”

In the same vein, if you have use sugar, choose one that also benefits you. For example, honey contains minerals that white sugar does not. Better yet, blackstrap molasses contains iron, magnesium, and Vitamin B6.

In terms of pregnancy or fertility-specific eating, Ash posited that if a person is considering getting pregnant, they want to create a nutrient reservoir, since many people don't know they're pregnant for quite a while. 

As doulas know, in pregnancy a person's protein requirements double. So, it's optimal to eat protein with every meal. But there are complete and incomplete proteins. Incomplete proteins need to be combined with other incomplete proteins, such as brown rice and beans and/or nuts. News to me: Spirulina, buckwheat, and quinoa are complete proteins, equal to animal meat.

For morning sickness, try keep something in the stomach at all times. “Keep an orange next to the bed,” Ash suggested. “Don't eat meals, but graze all day.”

Ash closed the evening by distributing two different varieties of chocolate as well as roasted almonds. We were instructed to slowly chew each piece and think about the flavor, the way one would taste wine. What an amazing evening!

Check out Ashley Spivak's work at and


Meet the Doulas: Jenny McKenzie

Who are the doulas who volunteer with the Bay Area Doula Project?  They're amazing, diverse people, doing so much great work in the world, it's hard to believe any of them has time to volunteer with us. We've been using this space to introduce you to many of the BADP doulas.  This week, meet Jenny McKenzie.

Jenny McKenzie has a bachelors degree in Anthropology and Spanish from Willamette University and is a domestic violence advocate at the Riley Center of St. Vincent de Paul Society in San Francisco.  Prior to that she was an advocate at Volunteers of America Home Free in Portland, Oregon and spent a year researching international productions of the Vagina Monologues.
Volunteering with Planned Parenthood as an abortion patient advocate taught her not only about the importance and joy in providing support, but what wonderful people are drawn to do this work. Passionate about feminism, anti-violence work and reproductive rights, she is also a firm believer in healthfully doing trauma work, and practices self-care with photography, popcorn and hot sauce, Pt. Isabel trips with the fur-ball, hiking in the hills of Berkeley, soul-friends & dancing it out. Her photography can be found at Laughing Lens Photography (also on Facebook).