Toronto Practitioners  -   In the News


Toronto Practitioners:

Amanda Spakowski
(Birth Doula and Prenatal Educator)

amanda spakowski owner birth doulaAmanda Spakowski was selected by the Organized Wisdom Medical Review Board as an Expert in her field!

Amanda is the founder of The Nesting Place: Prenatal Classes & Doula Care. She is a birth doula and a Birthing From Within educator. Her background in human biology (BSc), peer counseling, crisis intervention and assisting in home daycares has allowed her to bring an experienced and unique perspective to her classes and care.

Amanda's passion for supporting each person's unique transition to parenthood is evident as she brings a thoughtful and compassionate facilitating style to all of her classes. Additionally, her commitment to inclusive space allows parents from all walks of life to have a safe and nurturing environment learn more about themselves as they prepare for childbirth.

In addition to prenatal classes, Amanda also offers birth art workshops for parents and workshops for birth professionals who want to deepen their relationship with clients. She is a contributor to the publication "Bearing Witness: Childbirth stories told by doulas" and is regularly invited to give talks and lectures on doula care and birth support for the Ryerson Midwifery Program and the Humber College Nursing Program. Her articles are currently included in course readings for the Toronto Naturopathic School of Medine and she's been featured as a birth expert on CBC radio, Today's Parent Magazine, Canadian Parent and

Her blog, regularly publishes articles and information about pregnancy, birth and parenting topics that consider the range of experiences and emotions that arise during the transition to parenthood, and she can BRING IT at karaoke in her off call time if you care to challenge her :)




Dina Khorasanee
(Birth Doula and Infant Massage Practitioner)

dina birth doula infant massageDina is a labour doula and infant massage educator that works in both English and Spanish. Her own pregnancy and empowering birthing experience are what inspired her to work with women and their partners to create a loving, safe and nurturing birthing environment so that women can have the opportunity to experience birth as a unique and transformative event. Her commitment and dedication throughout the birthing process is shown continuously through the warm, compassionate and calming care that she provides.

In addition, Dina's extensive background in mentorship, crisis management, and community development, both in Canada and overseas, allows her to understand the unique circumstances surrounding each woman's birth. It also allows her to bring practical skills and a diversity of knowledge to the families she supports.

Carla Murphy
(Birth and Postpartum Doula)

CARLA MURPHY was inspired to become a doula by the personal and empowering care she received during her own births. She sees her role as providing caring, compassionate and nonjudgmental emotional, physical and educational support to women and their families during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

She strongly believes that there is no right or wrong way to birth or parent, just what is right for each woman, her partner and their baby. Drawing on her own experiences as a mom, as well as her professional training, Carla helps parents explore their options to find the path that feels right to them.

While studying childbirth education, Carla was fortunate to have Leslie Chandler, child birth educator and doula, as a teacher and mentor. Leslie guided all her students to a deeper understanding of how the personal history of each person involved – parents, health care providers and doulas - informed ho
they think about and respond to birth and parenting.

Carla offers labour and postpartum support and is a certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner. She has taken courses in breastfeeding support, acupressure for doulas, HypnoBirthing Support Techniques for Doulas and adult education.

Kristi Clements
(Birth Doula)

As a Mother of two beautiful children, Kristi recognizes how wonderful pregnancy and birth truly is. She feels that it is an experience that, while sometimes difficult, can be both wonderful and miraculous. Being a Registered Massage Therapist and a Doula Kristi is pleased to offer a unique combination of services to her clients.

In 2002 she graduated from the Massage Therapy program at Kikkawa College in Toronto and while there, focused her studies on Pregnancy Massage as well as other Labour Support Classes.

Courses she has taken include: 

  • The RMT as a Labor Support Provider, 
  • Hypnobirthing 
  • DONA Certifcation course 
  • The RMT as an Infant Massage Instructor, 
  • Pre and Perinatal Massage Therapy,
  • Infant Massage Therapy,
  • Pregnancy Massage, 
  • Labour Support Workshop,
  • Pregnancy Labor and Birth. 

Over the past eight years Krist have been present at over 195 births that have ranged from hospital to home, c-sections, VBAC's, and twins.  These experiences have helped to shape her into a more compassionate and confident doula who will be a reassuring aide as you welcome your little one to the world

Mary Dirmeitis
(Birth and Postpartum Doula)

Mary Direitis Birth and Postpartum DoulaMary is a birth and postpartum doula who upholds the idea that the power of someone simply believing in you is immense. She feels privileged to support women and families and is inspired everyday by their stories of joy, challenge and strength.

Being born into a large family taught her the importance of unconditional support. Her close relationship with her four sisters, as well as an education in women's studies and community development, has instilled in her a deep love of women and a passion for transformational moments in our lives.

Providing care in English and Spanish, Mary uses her training and intuition to provide custom support to the diverse clientele that she serves. Her calm and caring demeanor, regardless of the unpredictable circumstances that can surround birth, facilitates a positive environment for families to experience their own unique journey.

She also loves to get artistic with her doula work through writing personal birth stories and bellycasting.

Sheryl Jesin
(Postpartum Doula)

Sheryl Jesin Postpartum DoulaSheryl's journey to becoming a post partum doula began in 2008 with the birth of her first son.  She was sleep-deprived and overwhelmed and found it nearly impossible to keep up with the demands of a newborn baby.  She learned that it is essential to not only have doula support during the birth, but also during the post partum period.

As a post partum doula, Sheryl strives to "mother the mother" and assist the entire family in adjusting to life with a baby.  She believes that every mom knows her own baby best, and she provides support in a non-judgemental manner.  Her goal is for new moms to feel empowered and confident and to enjoy the post partum period as much as possible.

As an accredited La Leche League leader, Sheryl has the tools and information necessary to assist moms in meeting their own breastfeeding goals.

Alexandra Weinberger
(Birth/Postpartum/overnight Doula and Birthing From Within Educator)

Alex Weinberger Toronto DoulaAlexandra is a birth, postpartum and overnight doula through DONA and is currently completing her CBE with Lamaze International and Birthing From Within. Her varied background includes working as a Nanny, managing a Toronto-based Midwifery Clinic, Political Advocate and Personal Assistant for a woman with quadriplegia. All of which, have heavily informed her attentiveness to her doula clients and her ability to faciliate meaningful discussion with their health care team.

From a very young age Alexandra loved working with families of newborns. Her experience with both single babies and multiples deepened her awareness of the challenges that parents have when adjusting to a new baby but, it wasn’t until later in life, having watched good friends blossom into parenthood, that Alexandra’s eyes were opened to the world of doulas and childbirth and she was inspired to begin her career in doula work.

Alexandra’s 3 years as a Personal Assistant might be the most significant experience that informs her doula work. Much like the role of a doula, she provided physical support and emotional guidance for her client and facilitated medical discussions to ensure that her client felt listened to and involved in every decision about her care. The importance of non-judgemental support was as pertinent here as it is in doula work or any profession where one is involved in such personal life events.

As a doula, Alexandra has learned how important it is for new and expectant parents to have a knowledgeable support person who is familiar with birth with whom they can share their fears, worries, and anxieties about their upcoming birth and their life as parents. The encouragement and guidance Alexandra provides her clients allows them to feel supported and listened to while giving them the confidence to birth and parent in their own way, and enjoy this special time with fewer worries and concerns.

Jayne Collins
(Birth/Postpartum Doula and Birthing From Within Educator)

Jayne Collins Doula and Prenatal Class EducatorJayne Collins is a Mentor and Doula through Birthing From Within, and a Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula through DONA International. She is passionate about supporting parents and families through the kind of birth and postpartum experience that is right for them. Through her warm and compassionate care, Jayne eases the process of childbirth and transition to parenting, encouraging each parent to connect to their own innate strength and wisdom.

Originally from Newfoundland, Jayne comes from a long line of nurses. Growing up surrounded by this profession taught her many invaluable skills and instilled a deep love and respect for caregiving.

Throughout her life Jayne has encountered many people who have been profoundly affected by their birth experiences. As a doula she has deepened her understanding of this life-altering transition. Jayne has seen firsthand how listening to the voices of parents and supporting them towards informed choice positively impacts their birth and postpartum experience.

Jayne’s commitment to serving parents and families extends to her community, where she is thrilled to volunteer with Jessie’s – The June Callwood Centre, Humewood House, Doula C.A.R.E., and the VON Good Beginnings Program.


In the News

CTV (July 22 2013) Amanda Spakowski was interviewed on CTV's morning news with Dan Matheson. Discussed the labour and delivery of Prince George while Duchess Kate Middleton was in early labour. One of the most exciting interviews of my life as I am a big fan of the Duchess of Cambridge. What an honour!! (Sept 2012) The Real Deal Behind the Colic Issue. In this short review, we'll go over how colic has been diagnosed, what new research tells us about this condition and soothing methods that have been shown to make a difference to your crying baby. (May 2012) Infant Massage Nourishes Your Child Just as a Healthy Diet Does. Studies have shown that massaging your infant not only deepens the bond with your child, it also contributes to their emotional growth. The Nesting Place, a Toronto prenatal class and doula care
company, holds infant and baby massage classes regularly and has seen firsthand the benefits that both parents and their children experience through massage. (Aug 2011) Prenatal Classes Expanded in Peterborough. The Nesting Place, a Toronto based company offering prenatal classes and doula care is expanding their services to Peterborough.

Having a (July 2011) The Role of a Doula: An interview with Toronto doula Amanda Spakowski. I recently had the opportunity to interview Toronto doula Amanda Spakowski of The Nesting Place. We talked about the role of a doula and the importance of maternity care professionals working collaboratively as opposed to competitively. What follows are Amanda's comments.

Toronto Star (July 2011) Maternity-Care System on Brink of Collapse, Warns Physician. Physician Michael C. Klein has seen the future of childbirth and wants Canadian women to know they have an important role to play. But first, he has some bad news to get out of the way. "The maternity care system is going to collapse in the next 10 years or so," says the researcher and University of British Columbia professor emeritus.

Oh Baby! Magazine (April 2011) The Du-Du Swaddle. Nothing can soothe a baby quite like a swaddle can. But to get the most out of the technique the most important thing to remember is that it must be tight.

Toronto Star (March 2011) - Giving birth? There’s an app for that. The iBirth app isn’t intended to replace childbirth classes or other sources of childbirth information. Hanson and Nowlin — each of whom has three young children and know how crazy-busy life can get — — envisioned it as a refresher course for parents-to-be who had attended childbirth classes but were too busy to go through it all again or the two-out-of three expectant couples who don’t plan to attend childbirth classes but who would welcome a snapshot of what to expect during labour.

Canadian Living (Dec 2010) - The Doula Checklist: Finding the right support for your pregnancy. There is a natural process of what to do when someone is pregnant: Find the obstetrician or midwife, enroll in prenatal classes, start the birthing plan.
But how do pregnant couples find the emotional and psychological support to see them through this anxious time? A doula may be the answer.

Sex Matters (Nov 26th Part 3 and 4) - Sex during pregnancy and postpartum. Nesting Place birth/postpartum doula and Birthing From Within Educator shares her expertise on how sex changes with children and how couples can bring intimacy back into their lives while balancing the challenges of being parents.

Canadian Family (Oct 2010) - Gas Woes: The best ways to relieve your baby's discomfort. Your poor babe. She has a full rumbling belly and she's crying that cry that you know means she's uncomfortable, but otherwise seems well. These are just a few signs that she might be suffering from gas. So what can you do to ease her tummy?

The Star (2010) - The Mother of All Baby Columns: 6 Things You Need to Know about Giving Birth. Have strangers been tormenting you with gruesome tales about foot-long episiotomies and babies with heads the size of cantaloupes? Well, my very pregnant friend, this is your lucky day. There’s some good old-fashioned birthing wisdom coming your way from the contributors to a new anthology, Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas.

The Peterborough Examiner (2010) - Feature Letter to the Editor: We're not expecting this! It was my experience last week at a store in Peterborough, to be referred to as "humungous" by an employee. To be more specific, she looked at my now seven-month pregnant belly and said "Oh my GOD! You're humungous!"In my state of shock, anger and remorse for such a thoughtless and hurtful comment, I was left with no words to tell her just how harmful comments like this can be to women preparing to give birth.

Sweet Spot (March 2010) Empower Yourself. Study session! Prepare your body and mind for one of life’s biggest challenges at these fantastic prenatal programs.

CBC Radio Here and Now (2010) - Interview: Doula Speed DatingTM
It's a big choice for some mothers-to-be --- should they give birth at home, or at the hospital? And if they opt for a midwife, should they hire a doula, too?

Chex TV Business Beat (2010) - The Nesting Place is a Toronto based prenatal and doula care service, but Sheena Howard (pictured right) is bringing the Prenatal classes to Peterborough starting this Wednesday (September 15)...

Parents Canada: Labour and Birth Guide (print edition July 2010) - A Helping Hand The birth of your child can be an exciting, yet scary experience. you may not know what to expect, what you'll feel, what's normal, or what's not normal. It can be reassuring to have a doula help you through the process....

The Star: The Mother of All Parenting Blogs (2010) - "Speed Dating to Find the Right Doula" Up until now, finding the right doula has required a lot of research and even more good luck. But, thanks to the brainchild of Toronto doula Amanda Spakowski, moms-to-be and their partners are now able to make contact with a large number of doulas by attending a single event

SNAP Downtown (2010) - "Doula Speed Dating" The support of a doula increases parents' satisfaction with their birth experience and reduces the likelihood of intervention.

Vitamin Daily (2010) - "Meet the Doula" Your husband almost fainted when you gashed your thumbs on a goldfish bowl—goodness knows what he’ll do in the delivery room.

Globe and Mail (2009) - "Speed Interviewing: On your marks, get set, hire!" Prof. Frost allowed that there could be some benefit to interviewing a slew of doulas face-to-face: Such intimate professions demand chemistry, which often takes only a few minutes to gauge.

CBC Metro Morning (2009) - "Doula Speed Dating" The [speed dating] concept is now being used for pregnant women to pick their doula, or birthing coach. Karen headed out with her microphone to find out how it all works.

Metro Toronto (2009) - "Yes, yes, oh baby, yes"

A Toronto-based birth doula believes that having an orgasm during birth is not that far-fetched.

SNAP Bloor West (2009) - "Celebrating International Doula Month" May was International Doula Month, and what better way to celebrate than a free event for prenatal and postnatal health hosted by trained doulas.

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