Clary Sage – Can it be used to induce labour?

I love the smell of clary sage, and I know when I am having a bad time during my period this is the oil I will grab to help me out a little. In saying this, I am always cautious when using it because it is very powerful and can be quite overwhelming if used in large quantities.

Clary Sage is a plant native to Italy, Syria and Southern France and grows in dry soil. The essential oil is distilled from the flowers and flowering tips.

Clary Sage flowers

Clary Sage flowers

Clary Sage is such a versatile oil with a high concentration of esters and has many properties such as anticolvulsant, antifungal, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, nerve tonic, sedative, and warming. 

Some users have actually had the sensation of feeling “high” after using clary sage.

This oil is now widely used before and during labour.

Many are told that they can use clary sage to induce labour. Clary sage cannot be used to induce labour unless your body is ready to go into labour. Nothing can induce labour until your body is ready, unless of course you have a medical induction, and even then they are known to fail, causing distress in both mum and baby, which then may lead to other interventions or caesareans.

What clary sage does do is help you to have more effective contractions once you do start having them as it relaxes the mind, body and muscles.  This is what is needed for mums to go into labour in the first place – eliminating catecholamines (adrenaline) and stimulating endorphins and oxytocin. By using the clary sage for relaxing and calming the mind, body and muscles you are more inclined to go into labour spontaneously.

This wonderful essential oil facilitates birth and helps breathing by calming the lower part of the spinal cord and the nervous system. 

It helps labour to progress well when you put a few drops on your labour focus points (see diagram below).  

It can also be used to reduce pain and aid in circulation.

pregnant belly

It is recommended that Clary Sage only be used from 37 weeks onwards just in case your body is in danger of going into premature labour.  It may stimulate the release of oxytocin; therefore it is highly recommended for use during labour to help contractions to intensify and become more effective in pulling up the horizontal uterine muscles to open the cervix and move baby down into the pelvis and into the birth canal.  

The simplest and most common way to use Clary Sage during labour is to put a few drops onto a dry cloth or flannel and mum will inhale the aroma when she needs it to help herself become more calm and relaxed during contractions.  

You can also add a few drops of clary sage to the inner ankle on the labour focus points (Spleen 6 – SP6) to help stimulate the contractions and to ensure that the labour is progressing well.

Spleen 6 (SP6) Labour Focus Point

Spleen 6 (SP6) Labour Focus Point

Another effective way to use Clary Sage essential oil is to put a few drops onto a couple of cotton balls and put them under your pillow.  The aroma will eventually make its way through to your olfactory system and will have many benefits such as relaxation, reducing muscle tension, calming the nerves and increase effectiveness of contractions of the uterus.

Massage with clary sage can also be really calming. Make up a massage oil using 20 drops of Clary Sage oil in 50ml carrier oil and massage gently around the abdomen, hips, lower back and pelvis.  This blend can be rubbed onto the feet and palms of women in labour or if they are waiting to go into labour.  This is a great way of introducing the oil into the body. 

Clary Sage oil can also be added to a bath for a relaxing soak, although not into your birthing water as baby’s skin is very sensitive and most baby’s are born with their eyes open, so I wouldn’t recommend putting any essential oils into your birthing pool.

Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Hypnobirthing Centre WA

When using clary sage essential oils during labour and birth, this can also aid in releasing the placenta, so the mum should continue breathing in clary sage.

Some caution should be taken when using clary sage, and my best advice is to never take clary sage orally as has been suggested recently in some forums I have been on.

Always remember, every woman is different and what works for one, may not work for the next.

Essential oils that form a beautiful synergy for massage during labour and birth are: 

  • Rose is a uterine relaxant and helps the ligaments to soften, enabling the pelvic bones to expand, and also to regain elasticity after the birth. 
  • Neroli works on the nervous system and facilitates easy breathing, especially during labour.  Its calming effect increases the oxygen supply to the blood and brain and helps the woman to avoid hyperventilation. 
  • Lavender helps to stimulate circulation and has a very calming effect on the mother. 
  • Clary Sage is highly regarded as a uterine tonic and used to promote calming while stimulating the uterine muscles and provides pain relief.
Labour Essential Oils by Phoenix Therapies

Labour Essential Oils by Phoenix Therapies

For more information about using essential oils safely during pregnancy, labour and birth, please sign up to our mailing list on the right hand side of our website to receive your free eBook.

My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a pregnancy massage specialist, hypnobirthing doula, aromatherapist, hypnotherapist and childbirth educator at Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Wellness located in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia.

You can contact me on (08) 9303 9111 or email vicki@phoenixtherapies.com.au and my website is www.phoenixtherapies.com.au

 

How does smell play such an important role in bonding with your baby?

 The Unique Connection between mother and child - does it exist? 

Photo source: Pandora - Unique Connection

Photo source: Pandora – Unique Connection

I loved watching the video which has gone viral on social media. It has everyone talking about how clever the children are to find their mums, and it got me thinking about how so many couples don’t understand the importance of that skin-on-skin bonding that occurs immediately after birth, but not only that, the pre-bonding that is being created during pregnancy that brings that beautiful connection to mother, father and baby (and of course siblings as well).

Here is the video showing children being blindfolded and asked to find their mother in a line-up of women.  All the children were able to locate their mother through touch, smell and I believe their unique energy.

The Unique Connection – video created by Pandora

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRoqk_z2Lgg

Today, evidence has shown the importance of smell in the bonding process of newborn mothers and babies.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

One thing that has come to light recently is this whole new procedure of putting hats on newborn babies.  It was thought that it was better to hat babies so they didn’t lose heat through their head, but now it is evident that mothers keep their babies warm and regulate their temperature through that skin-on-skin contact and by not having a hat on baby this allows mums to smell their babies from head to toe taking in their babies pheromones more easily. 

As babies are feeding from the breast it is natural for the mum to lean down and smell the top of her baby’s head, but with a hat on, this is then a wasted opportunity for bonding even deeper.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Back in the “olden days” they didn’t put hats on newborn babies. The baby was born then given immediately to mothers to be held and kept warm and fed. There was that belief that women trusted their body and their own ability to birth then nurture their baby – it all came down to mothers instincts.

This is bonding.

The mother takes in the smell and feel of their baby.

Baby also gets wired to the smell and touch and sounds of the mother.

This bonding also begins before baby is even born.

During pregnancy a baby will become connected to the mother not only in a physical sense though the umbilical cord to the placenta attached to the uterine wall of the mother, but also connected energetically and spiritually.  The baby comes to identify the sounds of mother and father and in fact when they are born they are more inclined to move towards the sound of their mother or fathers voice even when in a room full of people.

It is important to be aware that whatever the mother feels that energy is then transferred through to her baby.

If she is stressed and upset she is releasing stress hormones that cross the placenta through to her baby and likewise if mum is experiencing great joy and pleasure that produces endorphins (the feel good healing hormones of the body) which also cross to her baby.

In Dr Sarah Buckley’s book “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering” she writes:

“The experiences that will begin to fire and wire your baby’s brain start in your womb, with the physical sensations that provide the earliest learning. These include being physically supported by the womb and amniotic fluid, being kept warm by your body warmth, being gently rocked as you walk, being exposed to different tastes from your diet via the amniotic fluid, hearing your voice and voices of other family members, and feeling calm and settled when you are calm and settled. Conversely, high levels of stress during pregnancy can fire and wire your baby’s brain for dysfunctions in learning and over-reactivity to stress.” 

Dr. Sarah Buckley

Dr. Sarah Buckley

 A mother and her partner creates this amazing bond with baby in utero by so many every day activities such as humming, singing, reading, relaxing while rubbing belly, talking to baby and visualising what your baby looks like, or playing with baby when they kick by poking them back gently – you will soon discover this becomes “play time” between you and your baby.

A wonderful way to share your pregnancy with your baby as they are growing up is to take photos and videos during your pregnancy, during your play time and at certain milestones of your pregnancy and creating a “Bonding With Baby Book” where you can sit and share these images with your child as they get older.  This is a fantastic way to bond with children or in particular soothe them when they are sad or upset, as it becomes “your time” for reflection and quality time together. 

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

So let’s look at how all this bonding and connection takes place.

The journal “Neurolmage” suggests that we are instinctively wired for bonding with our babies and the sight and smell of newborns triggers a deep seated response to care for that child.

It is interesting to note that scientists have also found that when a woman gives birth, the father actually grows more neuron connections in certain areas of the brain (prefrontal cortex) which is involved in caretaking and bonding.  When they become fathers the receptors for the chemical vasopressin increase, which is related to nurturing and attachment. 

Dads can have just as strong attachment / bonding as mother as a recent study showed oxytocin levels rise equally in both new mum and dad.

It also appears that babies are born with a brain that expects this bond to form in the first place.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

 Another study funded by the National Institute of Health and conducted by the Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation claims that “Infants can learn from their mothers about potential environment threats before their sensory and motor development allows them a comprehensive exploration of the surrounding environment.”  What this means is that the experiences or traumas that a mother has during pregnancy can be passed on to her baby including any stimulus such as smell, which then causes that child to experience distress and anxiety or in some cases post-traumatic stress syndrome, when they smell that smell after birth, without having ever experienced that trauma directly themselves.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

That close physical contact at birth with skin on skin starts the powerful process of bonding between mother and baby. The baby also receives smells from the mums’ nipples, which attracts baby to that area, to instinctively start breastfeeding – creating the beautiful display of the “breast crawl.”

Take a look at this video created by www.breastcrawl.org demonstrating the breast crawl of newborn baby to mother’s breast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3oPb4WdycE#t=15

Babies will recognise the milk from their own mother over the milk from another lactating mother. Skin-on-skin contact helps to imprint all the olfactory stimulus of the mother to the baby and vice versa, providing that security of being able to identify each other when they separated – this is the “imprinting” process which is part of our evolution.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

In one experiment, researchers tested newborns by holding a pad carrying maternal odours 17cm from the baby’s nose. In response, the babies wriggled towards the pad that contains the scent of their own mother.

A recent study also showed that 90% of mothers who were left to bond with their baby uninterrupted for a minimum of one hour were able to identify their baby through smell alone.

My suggestion is rather than baby being brought straight up to mums chest at birth for skin-on-skin contact, baby is placed on mums stomach, so that mum has the opportunity to have time to take in the look, the feel and the smell of her baby.  Baby also gets the opportunity to connect with mum on the outside and will start to smell the breast milk and by using the breast crawl technique will instinctively forage their way to the breast and start suckling, increasing the release of oxytocin for the placenta to be birthed and the mother to embrace her new role as a newborn mother.

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

Photo source: Hypnobirthing Centre WA

So now go and pick up your baby, hold your baby close, skin-to-skin and breathe in slowly to take your fill of pheromones and enjoy that beautiful connection for life.

My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a pregnancy and postnatal massage specialist at Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Wellness. I am also a certified doula and offer hypnobirthing and childbirth education classes. For more details about my services, please call me on (08) 9303 9111 or email vicki@phoenixtherapies.com.au

Thank you to all my beautiful hypnobirthing families who have shared their amazing photos for this article.

Resources:

http://www.livescience.com/19108-baby-love-human-brain.html

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2004.tb00856.x/abstract

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/26/22/5888.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15841774

http://www.newsweek.com/mothers-fears-are-passed-children-through-smell-study-suggests-261754

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20453850

http://www.nature.com/pr/journal/v21/n4s/abs/pr1987171a.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK55973/

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/518

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-brains-of-our-fathers/

http://www.parentingscience.com/newborn-senses.html

http://healthland.time.com/2013/09/26/why-moms-find-that-new-baby-smell-so-delicious/

http://www.breastcrawl.org/introduction.shtml

 

What is that gross stuff on your baby?

Vernix Caseosa (vernix) is the white, cheesy substance found on the skin of a newborn baby, which starts developing from the sebaceous glands around the 11 week mark in the uterus and seems to be unique to humans.  

It is made up 81% water, 9% lipids (fats) and 10% protein.

Photo by Phil Konstantin

Photo by Phil Konstantin

It is known to act as a barrier against the amniotic fluid and promote epidermal growth in utero.  What this means is that it prevents your baby’s skin from becoming all wrinkled and looking like a prune, just like you do after a long bath.

Sometimes parents are grossed out by the appearance of vernix on their newborns body, but if you understand why it is there, then perhaps you would be more inclined to leave it there to do what it is meant to do rather than your midwife rigorously rubbing it off.  One of the couples that I worked with recently said they thought it was a great way to “gross out” their friends and family to prevent them from picking up and cuddling their newborn baby in the first 24 hours of his new life.

vernix

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Some babies are born absolutely covered in vernix, particularly premature babies, covering every space and crevice of the body, while others particularly those after their estimated due date may have very little vernix.  It is thought that vernix helps with lubrication for baby to get through the birth canal more easily and reduce friction, and helps to conserve heat and protect the newborn skin, which is very sensitive. 

Research has shown that when left intact, vernix contributes considerably to functions such as maintaining a barrier to water loss, infection control, immuno surveillance, acid mantle formation (pH levels), antioxidant functions, thermoregulation and protection from ultraviolet light and other chemicals. 

That is why it is recommended that you only bath your baby in plain water once the vernix has dissolved to avoid irritating their sensitive skin.

vernix_caseosa

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

One study showed that vernix has antioxidant properties Vitamin E and Melanin, and contains an antibacterial effect by forming a barrier preventing bacteria from entering through the skin.  Vernix also contains antimicrobial proteins that are active against Group B Streptococcus and E.Coli.  The authors of this study also noted that the immune proteins found in vernix and amniotic fluid is similar to those found in breast milk.

It is believed that the vernix serves to moisturise and protect the skin and some cosmetic companies have researched its properties trying to emulate it in their skincare ranges.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also recommended that vernix not be wiped off newborn babies at birth for at least 6 hours.

So it is okay to leave that vernix on your baby for as long as it is there and just let it naturally be absorbed or dissolve away.  When my daughter Holly was born she had a lot of vernix and we didn’t bath her for the first 4 days of her life.  My eldest daughter who was 15 at the time thought that was the grossest thing she had ever seen but we are glad that we left it.

Photo by Vicki Hobbs

Photo by Vicki Hobbs

My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a pregnancy and postnatal massage specialist at Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Wellness. I am also a certified doula and offer hypnobirthing and childbirth education classes. For more details about my services, please visit my website www.phoenixtherapies.com.au  

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15592296

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763724/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595247/

http://community.babycenter.com/post/a22969357/vernix

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=12538777&dopt=Abstract

http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/519767

http://www.wpro.who.int/immunization/documents/newborncare_final.pdf

 

 

I’m pregnant – why does it hurt so much?

Preparing for birth is like preparing for a marathon.

You need to condition both your mind and your body.

You need to release fear, which creates tension, producing more pain, creating more fear, which starts a whole vicious cycle in the mind and body as described by Obstetrician and leading advocate of natural birth, Dr Grantly Dick-Read in his book ‘Childbirth Without Fear’.

However, let’s look at an area of the physical side of pregnancy.  One of the important physical aspects of the body during pregnancy is the pelvis.  Your pelvis is not one fixed bone, it is made up of the sacrum, coccyx and the two sacroiliac joints, one on the left and one on the right, which are joined at the front by the pubis symphysis, a fibrous cartilage.

Surrounding the pelvis are really important muscles which help to stabilise the pelvis, but let’s really just focus on the psoas muscles (pronounced so-as), which also works to send messages back to the central nervous system.

The psoas major muscles are quite large muscles and are the only muscles that connect your spine to your leg on either side of the spine.  The psoas connects from the last four vertebrae of the spine between the pelvis and the ribs and then wrap around to the front of the pelvis and drop down to attach at the lower end to the top of the thigh bone.

psoas muscle

The iliopsoas is a hip flexor and externally rotates the hip and the psoas (major) part of the muscle assists in lumbar extension and moves the ribs forward into a thrust, lifting the chest.  When these muscles contract they will shorten, when the muscles relax they will lengthen and release tension.  The psoas is shortened more so during pregnancy due to the anterior pelvic tilt, as your uterus expands, baby grows and you are carrying more weight.

During pregnancy, the psoas contributes to pain through the lower back, groin, adductors and can even cause weakness due to the extra pressure from the weight of the uterus.  Being in a sitting position for long periods of time can shorten the psoas muscle causing pain and tension in the pelvic floor, the hips and the spine.

It can also affect the space in the abdomen, affect the alignment of the skeletal system and limit the range of motion in the spine, pelvis and legs, which in turn will limit the functionality of birthing positions such as squatting.

The psoas plays a significant role in Optimal Foetal Positioning (OFP) and can be a reason a baby stays in the breech position, as it can prevent the hips from extending and restrict the opening of the pelvis.  It can cause the disks in the spinal cord to compress and also shorten the hamstrings and calf muscles.  Pregnant women should learn to relax, release and lengthen the psoas muscles on a daily basis so that baby will find an easy transition into the birth canal.

Optimal Foetal Position

Medical Illustration – Nucleus Medical Media

 

Childbirth Educator and Physical Therapist Penny Simkin writes:  “It is less important to know the foetal position than it is important to respond to the needs of the birth.  The muscles, ligaments and bones may need accommodation regardless of foetal position.  In other words, tension in the psoas pair of muscles or pelvic floor can delay an anterior baby and a posterior baby.  Extension of the anterior foetus’ head can prevent engagement in some pelvises.  The main point is that we can, when needed, promote progress regardless of foetal position.”

It is also important to be aware that the hormone ‘relaxin’ does not reduce muscle tension.  It softens the abdominal muscles to cope with the growing size of your belly and relaxes the pelvic floor muscles.  Relaxin promotes the rupture of the membranes, the opening and softening of the cervix and vagina, relaxes the pelvic ligaments and joints, the intrauterine ligaments and the pubis symphysis to help with the smooth transition of baby from womb to world, however pregnant women need to do more of their own work to stretch out and release stress and tension in the muscles (particularly the psoas) as the hormones will not do this for you.

Liz Koch from Core Awareness is an advisor for the well-known Spinning Babies organisation and recommends this simple gravity technique to help release the psoas muscles during pregnancy and to also encourage Optimal Foetal Positioning while relieving stress and anxiety.

Liz Koch - Core Awareness

  1. Lie on your back and use pillows to create a diagonal support from your sit bones to your head (if you’re not pregnant, you can just lie on your back).
  2. Bend your knees, with your heels about 12 – 16 inches away from the buttocks.
  3. Keep your feet about a hip width apart and parallel with each other.
  4. Place your hands on your belly or at the sides of your body and simply rest in this position for 10 – 20 minutes.

Well known Physical Therapist Susan McLaughlin demonstrates how to release the psoas and relax the pelvic floor muscles, which can also be incorporated during pregnancy.

Susan McLaughlin - psoas release

  1. Place the bolster near the bottom of the shoulder blades.
  2. Make sure that the ribs remain relaxed and flush with your abdominal wall.
  3. Extend the legs.
  4. Make sure that the back of your thighs fully touch the floor.
  5. If they don’t you need to bolster up higher.
  6. Relax like this for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Allow your legs and torso to relax.
  8. Practice breathing.
  9. Focus on allowing the pelvic floor muscles to relax on the inhale.
  10. Tension in the pelvic floor can pull on the sacrum, limiting sacral mobility that is necessary to widen the pelvic outlet.

Regular massage will certainly release tension and stress in the pregnant body encouraging the feel good hormones endorphins, aid in increasing circulation and reducing oedema.  A qualified pregnancy massage specialist will be able release the psoas muscles as well as teach a pregnant woman how to stretch and relax the psoas on a daily basis to ensure her body is ready for labour and birth, and assist in Optimal Foetal Positioning.

I am a Pregnancy Massage Specialist with a Diploma in Pregnancy Massage and Maternity Care from both Well Mother and Pregnancy Massage Australia.  My business is Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Wellness  located in the northern suburbs of Perth and I have been operating since 2004.  I work with women during pre-conception, pregnancy and the postnatal period as well as after caesarean section to promote rapid healing both physically and mentally.

I am also a certified Doula, Hypnotherapist and Heal Your Life Facilitator while running another business as a Hypnobirthing Practitioner at the Hypnobirthing Centre WA and a Member of Hypnobirthing Australia.

To book your pregnancy or postnatal massage or just to get more information please call me on (08) 9303 9111 or email vicki@phoenixtherapies.com.au

 

 

Stretch Marks During Pregnancy – is there a miracle cure?

Around 70% of pregnant women develop stretch marks during pregnancy and this is due to scarring that develops in the deeper layers of the skin.  When there is a lot of stress, stretching and strain on the collagen fibres in the skin, and repetitive stress and tension in the deeper fibres (dermis) this causes the fibres to break, which then creates the marks on the surface of the skin that we know as stretch marks.

stretch marks5

Being pregnant creates that type of stress and strain on the skin, and depending on what type of collagen, elastin and skin type you have will determine whether you are more likely to get stretch marks.

Unfortunately there is no way you can prevent stretch marks, as research shows that stretch marks are hereditary, so if your mother had stretch marks during pregnancy, then the likelihood is that you will probably get stretch marks too due to your genetic makeup.

stretch marks4

However, for those who are likely to get stretch marks you can reduce the severity of them with your diet and how much weight you put on or how rapidly you put the weight on.  Stretch marks over time will eventually fade, but the texture of the marks will be permanent.

stretch marks2

Many companies out there are claiming to “cure stretch marks” and you need to be wary of spending thousands of dollars to undergo treatment that you hope will cure your stretch marks.  You may reduce the appearance of them and so maybe in these circumstances many women can regain some confidence in their body image, which is obviously a good thing, however on the other hand many women have found that it did nothing for them – my old saying “we are all individuals, what works for one person may not work for the next.”

stretch marks3

There is no miracle cure for stretch marks – no cream, lotion, potion or machine that can do that so don’t be fooled by clever marketing.  A recent study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment identified that laser treatment that was trialled on 17 women with stretch marks, over six treatments performed weekly, seemed to be effective in improving the texture and appearance of the stretch marks, however again it did not remove them completely.

Laser_Stretch_Mark_Removal

We recommend that you keep your skin hydrated by using a rich, thick cream, which will also help to stop the itchiness of the stretching skin with your growing belly or a lotion such as the well-known brand Bio-Oil, which has active ingredients to help improve the look and tone of stretch marks, however even they highlight on their website:  “Stretch marks are permanent in nature, and although Bio-Oil is formulated to help improve their appearance, it can never remove them.”

boi-oil

When you are applying cream or oil to your belly we recommend you massage it in a clockwise direction – the direction of your digestion.

phoenix-16

Drinking plenty of water will also be helpful in hydrating your body and your skin.

Now it’s time to think of your stretch marks as your “Creator Stripes” as you remind yourself and everyone else who sees them that you have earned these stripes – you are now a mother, a creator, a life long energetic connection to another human being who was created and who grew inside you, and that makes you another amazing, awesome woman of the world.

women are strong

Thank you for nurturing your babies in your bodies and bringing them into the world. What an amazing achievement!

 

Vicki Hobbs
Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Centre
Hypnobirthing Centre WA

 

(Disclaimer – I do not own some of the images on this page)

Pregnancy Massage – Is It Safe?

The popularity and education of prenatal massage has increased significantly over the past few decades.

In tribal cultures, prenatal and labour support massage was common.  Anthropologist George Engelmann documented these techniques in the mid 1880’s; however the first documentation of labour massage was in 15th century England.  It was common practice for midwives to use massage while the mother was in labour to make her more comfortable and to relieve pain.

tribal women

The elder women of the Nama Hottentot tribe of South Africa give massage treatments to the pregnant women of the tribe several times a week to prepare for the upcoming childbirth.  In Uganda, pregnant mothers receive massage daily in an effort to make their muscles and joints supple for an easier labour and delivery.

Women in tribal societies resume their normal everyday activities almost immediately after giving birth.  Among the natural methods used to restore strength and decrease post-partum depression in the new mum, the most important and widely accepted tradition is massage.

tribal massage

In our medically advanced society, massage can often be over-looked as an important part of pregnancy health care.  However, this tried and tested tradition is one of the oldest forms of the healing arts and has been used for thousands of years in almost every culture.

Every pregnant woman deserves some pampering and massage is a wonderful way to reduce stress and promote general wellbeing.  Massage can be received during all three trimesters of your pregnancy for both normal and high risk pregnancies.

With the exciting news that you are pregnant, your body is about to undergo stress-producing changes.  Some of the consequences of these changes can leave a woman feeling sore, tired and uncomfortable.  Massage is therefore a great way to relieve this discomfort through the positive effects of soft tissue manipulation.

pregnant woman1

Pregnancy Massage therapy helps the body adjust to accommodate the life growing within.  It can assist in reducing stress, encourage relaxation and prepare muscles and joints for childbirth.  Not only can this be a treat for you, but a much needed therapy to ease some of the aches and pains experienced during pregnancy.

It has been claimed that during the first trimester, pregnant women should not have massage as it may cause miscarriage, however if the pregnant woman is healthy and proper guidelines for working with pregnant women are followed, then there is absolutely no medical evidence to support that a massage could harm the pregnancy or cause miscarriage.  Most times this myth is circulated by the very ones who should not be doing pregnancy massage as they are not qualified to do so.

Just recently the Australian Association of Massage Therapists (AAMT) has announced after completing their own research that pregnancy massage during the first trimester is considered safe “if undertaken by a trained pregnancy massage specialist.”

Here is a recent article about this breakthrough in pregnancy massage during the first trimester:

http://pregnancymassageaustralia.com.au/break-understanding-first-trimester-massage/

Probably the main reason for not getting massage in the first three months is more about comfort as it may trigger dizziness or increase your morning sickness – on the other hand it may eliminate these symptoms.  You won’t know until you try it and then you can let your therapist know if you start to feel uncomfortable and adjustments can be made or you can just stop the treatment.

Remember, there is no danger, just the potential to be uncomfortable.

sick-woman-420x0

The most important thing to consider with pregnancy massage is using a qualified Remedial Massage Therapist who has had specialised training in pregnancy massage and knows the anatomy and physiology of a pregnant woman.  Just being a massage therapist doesn’t mean that they are qualified to give massage to pregnant and postpartum women.  Be cautious that just because a brochure offers pregnancy massage, it doesn’t always mean that they are qualified to do so.

It is essential to ask any questions or raise any concerns you may have to your therapist at any time during the treatment.  A professional pregnancy massage will always start with a minimum fifteen minute consultation prior to actually having a massage each and every time you attend.  You should be asked specific questions about the progress of your pregnancy, your current condition, your antenatal appointments and specific areas of discomfort and range of motion checks.

A trained pregnancy massage therapist will safely and effectively answer any questions you may have about having a massage during any stage of your pregnancy.  We also do not recommend the tables with the hole where the belly hangs down, as this puts so much more pressure on the sacrum, lower back and can strain the ligaments around the uterus and pelvis, not to mention your growing breasts which may be tender or uncomfortable.  Just imagine all that weight of your baby in your womb, just hanging down with the force of gravity – while your therapist is also then creating more pressure during the massage with the massage techniques (or not effectively working through this area so they don’t put more pressure there), so then your glute (bum) muscles are tensing trying to overcompensate for the pressure created in your back.  The best position during pregnancy massage is in a side-lying position, with your top leg at a 90 degree angle supported by a bolster under your leg and knees stabilising the hip joint, along with your top foot also being supported, not just hanging down at the edge of the bolster. Support cushions will also be used to stabilise your body to prevent you from rocking or rolling from side to side.

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Vicki Hobbs of Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Centre is a qualified Remedial Massage Therapist specialising in pregnancy, induction, labour and postnatal massage.

Vicki is a highly trained pregnancy massage specialist having completed the Diploma in Pregnancy Massage course in 2013 with Pregnancy Massage Australia.  This training is an advanced level of training for pregnancy massage, but also specialising in working with high risk pregnancy clients such as those with pre-eclampsia and other conditions such as pubis symphysis separation, pelvic girdle pain, lower back and hip pain, injuries and other pregnancy related dysfunctions.

She also holds a Diploma in Pregnancy Massage & Maternity Care after training in 2008 with Suzanne Yates, who is a well-known author, shiatsu practitioner, midwife and the Director of the Well Mother Centre in the UK. www.wellmother.org

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Vicki has expert knowledge and training of the anatomy and physiology of the pregnant body, stretching during pregnancy, labour position techniques and massage instruction for your partner.  She is also a Certified Birthing Assistant (Doula) and Childbirth Educator and conducts regular “Essential Birthing Journey” workshops for pregnant women.  Vicki is passionate about sharing her knowledge as a Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner having been trained in this method earlier this year and also in the Mongan Method (originally in November 2009 and then completed a refresher in November 2012).

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In addition to this, my insurance company specifically covers me for pregnancy massage, not just remedial massage, which further ensures that all strict training criteria and guidelines have been met for your own peace of mind.

As with most therapies, there are always precautions involved with receiving treatment during pregnancy, however pregnancy massage (when performed by a trained and experienced therapist) is a safe procedure with benefits far outweighing the risks.

For your own peace of mind, you can even discuss with your medical practitioner or obstetrician of your intention to have a pregnancy massage, and they will advise you if they feel that you should not do so for whatever reason.

BENEFITS OF PREGNANCY MASSAGE

The benefits of massage in general are numerous, however more specifically for pregnancy they include:

  • Relief from muscle cramps, tension, spasms;
  • Relief from pain especially in the lower back, neck, hips and legs;
  • Reduction of stress on weight bearing joints;
  • Improvement of muscle tone;
  • Dilate the blood vessels, therefore improving blood circulation including the placenta, which brings greater nutrition to the tissues of the body and enhances waste removal;
  • The lymphatic system circulates faster and more efficiently which results in more energy and less fatigue and helps to reduce swelling;
  • May help with the reduction of varicose veins;
  • Stimulates glandular secretions which will stabilise your hormonal levels and reduce their side effects;
  • Enhancement of elasticity and pliability of skin and connective tissue (ligaments and tendons);
  • Helping with sleeplessness or insomnia;
  • Increased range of flexibility and movement and become less prone to injury;
  • Helps to calm the nerves and reduce anxiety, which is also transferred to your baby to help them feel more relaxed and soothed;
  • Prepares the muscles and tissues used during labour and birth.

Many of the problems that arise during pregnancy are due to muscle strain, weakness and poor posture.  Proper exercise and appropriate stretching will increase your energy, strengthen the muscles most strained during pregnancy and labour, stimulate circulation and increase flexibility in the joints.

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Here is a great testimonial from one of our regular pregnancy massage clients:

“I would recommend Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Centre to anybody.  I first heard about them in an advertisement in the local magazine Offspring.  I was 24 weeks pregnant, working 25-35 hours a week in a busy café and was starting to feel a little tense in my lower back.  I decided to treat myself to a massage but I was a little nervous about having a massage while pregnant so I did some reading on the internet and Facebook which helped me to make a decision.

Vicki and Sarah are very professional and welcoming and I felt comfortable in their abilities almost instantly.  The bodyCushion that they use is so comfortable and supportive.  Pregnancy massage was such a great way for me to relax (body and mind) before the arrival of my baby. I continued to work right up to 36 weeks (3 weeks before baby was born) having a massage every 2 weeks or so definitely helped me stay very active during my pregnancy especially towards the end. I look forward to going back for a massage without my big belly!

Thank you Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Centre”
Laura

MORE INFORMATION

For more information or to book a pregnancy massage contact Vicki Hobbs of Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Centre, which is now located from my lovely home in Landsdale (the northern suburbs of Perth).

My details are (08) 9303 9111 or check the website www.phoenixtherapies.com.au

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Pregnancy Massage and PreEclampsia

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Nearly 75 of pregnant women experience swelling during the last trimester of their pregnancy and most of the time it is relieved by good posture, massage, staying cool, elevation of legs and rest.  However, when something like pre-eclampsia develops, severe swelling or ”pitting oedema” is merely one symptom of sometimes a more serious condition known as pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia affects 2 in every 100 pregnant women.  This is a severe type of high blood pressure, where the only known cure is to deliver the baby. Until now, the only way to diagnose pre-eclampsia has been to check for high blood pressure and to measure the level of protein in the urine but both tests can be unreliable, meaning the condition can be both missed or misdiagnosed with babies being delivered prematurely for no reason.  Until now doctors have also had no way of telling how severe the condition was for each individual woman.

In the UK there is now a blood test which gives an accurate result in just 15 minutes, by measuring the level of Placental Growth Factor (PIGF) in the blood.  Those that show a very low PIGF level have severe pre-eclampsia and will be admitted to hospital for birth, and those with a high level PIGF are unlikely to have a severe form of the condition, regardless of any other symptoms present, and therefore can carry their baby to full term.  Having enquired about this blood test to King Edward Memorial Hospital recently a spokesperson confirmed that this test is not available in WA at the moment, however steps are being taken to be able to perform this blood test in the near future.

Generally speaking, the fluid retention that causes mild swelling the last few weeks in pregnancy is a normal defense mechanism against blood loss during childbirth. Your body will be able to quickly replace lost fluids and begin breastfeeding at the same time, with these fluid stores in place.

Pregnant women experience dilation in the blood vessels, especially in the lower extremities, and “pooling” of blood, which causes oedema (swelling).  The best way to deal with excess fluid is not to restrict it, but to mobilize it. Keep it from staying in areas that cause the most discomfort, such as in the legs, feet, fingers and abdomen. Assisting the kidney function is one way of doing this. Rest and fluids are the two best ways to help the kidneys rid themselves of excess fluid.

So, what are the differences between normal and pitting oedema?

  • Normal Swelling in Pregnancy: Normal swelling is usually limited to the feet, ankles and lower legs but can also affect the wrists, hands and fingers. It generally gets worse after long periods of standing or sitting upright (like driving a long distance or flying).  Normal swelling usually decreases after resting, especially resting with your feet raised and whilst sleeping overnight.  Also, normal swelling will not usually leave a pitting oedema mark in the skin.
  • Pitting Oedema in Pregnancy: A major sign of pitting oedema is when you depress the skin and it does not go back to normal within a few seconds – it stays indented.  This basically means that if pressure is applied to an area of oedema with the finger or thumb for 20-30 seconds and then removed, the area being compressed will have a ‘pit’ or hollow in it which can be both seen and felt easily and does not subside within 30 seconds. Oedema will be obvious both to the sufferer and to those around her.  A very good example of this was when a pregnant woman placed a 20c piece on her lower leg and left it for 30 seconds and when she took it off she was able to see the imprint of the design of the coin on her leg clearly for several minutes.  This is definitely cause for concern and should be checked out immediately.
Notice the difference between normal and pitting oedema - when you depress the area it stays indented.

Notice the difference between normal and pitting oedema – when you depress the area it stays indented.

Severe headaches and visual disturbances (flashes or blurry vision), pain in the upper right abdominal area under the ribcage or right shoulder are also warning signs that you should contact your doctor or midwife immediately.  Another warning symptom of serious swelling during pregnancy is swelling that extends above the feet and legs; particularly if you find your face or arms are swelling contact your health care provider.

If this is the case, then pregnancy massage is highly contraindicated, which means that massage must not be performed until the client has been to her health care provider to be tested for the onset of pre-eclampsia or any other serious condition such as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).  This is why it is so very important for women to go to qualified pregnancy massage therapists who have been specially trained to identify conditions that are contraindicated for massage particularly this one.

I’ve had a real interest in working with women who are diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.  I have had first hand experience of dealing with pre-eclampsia that quickly went on to become eclampsia and toxemia. This was not diagnosed even though during all my prenatal visits I had high levels of protein and high blood pressure, which I had never suffered prior to pregnancy. The swelling in my feet and legs was incredibly noticeable, (I went up two shoes sizes and still they were tight) however I was being told that swelling was normal during pregnancy and I shouldn’t be concerned. It wasn’t until I passed out going up the stairs at the shopping centre that it suddenly became a serious concern. I was rushed to King Edward Memorial Hospital and had an emergency caesarean at 32 weeks. I was then transferred to intensive care and closely monitored with my blood pressure at 160/100 and my baby girl Hannah was taken to the Special Care Nursery.

For 48 hours we were separated – I was just too sick to visit her and all I had was a polaroid photo that one of the midwives had kindly taken for me.

Special Care Nursery - Hannah born at 32 weeks weighing 4lb 8oz

Special Care Nursery – Hannah born at 32 weeks weighing 4lb 8oz

In milder cases of pre-eclampsia pregnancy massage would be beneficial for the woman’s well-being and obviously the baby as well, however the massage is quite different to your usual massage.

Lymphatic massage of arms and legs will reduce oedema by forcing the excess toxins into the excretory system to be eliminated.  However, if the pre-eclampsia is severe, massage would in fact add more strain on the kidneys.  Protein in the urine is already a sign that the kidneys are struggling to process the wastes.

Seeing Hannah for the first time 48 hours after birth. My legs and feet still very swollen and I couldn't walk.

Seeing Hannah for the first time 48 hours after birth. My legs and feet still very swollen and I couldn’t walk.

Recently we had a client who came for pregnancy massage who we referred back to her health care provider before we could do the massage, and it was found that she did in fact have pre-eclampsia bordering on eclampsia.  What this means is that her kidneys are already over functioning to try and remove toxic waste from the body, therefore having massage would have put even more strain on the kidneys and could have had a really negative effect on her wellbeing.

Only a fully qualified pregnancy massage specialist can provide massage to a client with pre-eclampsia, as this is a very specific type of massage and can have huge benefits to the mum if done correctly.

Vicki Hobbs of Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Centre is trained and qualified through Pregnancy Massage Australia to perform this type of massage and can be contacted on (08) 9303 9111.

For more information about the signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia go to the Pre-eclampsia Foundation
http://www.preeclampsia.org/health-information/sign-symptoms

Childbirth Education

CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION

BEING INFORMED – MAKING CHOICES

YOUR CHOICE – NOT MINE  

In this day and age, why is it important to choose a childbirth educator?

Over time women have forgotten that “birth” is a natural and normal physiological process!

Women have become more exposed and accepting of the medical side of pregnancy and birth.  Many women are not given the opportunity to have a natural birth – medical interventions and caesareans are more often given even if there is no medical reason to do so and women accept this because they don’t know any different and are generally with someone they feel they can trust, their medical care provider, their Obstetrician or even their family members who encourage them to do so because they don’t like seeing their loved ones in “pain.”

Women are also bombarded by the horror births shown on television and social media, or stories from their mums, their sisters, their peers and colleagues and women who have had a traumatic birth (or sometimes not) who may share the most fearful, dramatic stories they can.  It is not uncommon for a pregnant woman to be approached in the local supermarket to be subjected to negative comments and stories from a complete stranger.

To this I tell all expectant mums to put up your “mummy barrier” to this kind of negativity and fear-mongering.  Detach yourself from these people and ask them to be respectful of your own birth journey – this is your pregnancy and birth experience not theirs.  Everyone is an individual and therefore every person will always have a different experience and perspective with anything in life particularly childbirth. Let me make it clear, I am in no way trying to trivialise another woman’s traumatic birth experience, I just want to highlight that it is their experience, not yours! There are many support groups for women who have experienced a traumatic birth, and this could be where they share their experience to get counselling and healing.

However, once you start accepting and visualising the types of negative stories that are forced onto you, then you are more likely to experience this due to the powerful mind/body connection. Ask all of your friends and family (including your mum) to refrain from telling you anything that is negative or fearful about childbirth so that you can experience your birth with an open mind and heart without any stress of fear-based stories.

Shout it from the rooftops, put a sign up on your door “STOP – ONLY POSITIVE BIRTH STORIES HERE” or post it on your Facebook page and twitter account – do what you have to do to get the word out there –

“STOP – ONLY POSITIVE BIRTH STORIES HERE!!”

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Ask people to share with you what they loved about their birth; ask them to share with you the one special moment that is imprinted in their memory about their birth, no matter how traumatic it may have been at the time, what was the best bit – not the worst!

As a Childbirth Educator, I get asked all the time “should we still go to our hospital antenatal classes?” 

Antenatal classes held at the maternity hospitals differ from hospital to hospital and seem to be primarily focused on what could go wrong and the drugs and interventions that are available and what the hospital policies and practices are.  Hospital childbirth education classes do little to eliminate the fear, and in fact can cause increased anxiety and stress to a pregnant woman as she starts to think more on what could go wrong, instead of mentally and physically preparing for a calm, natural birth.  One of my clients told me of her experience – “imagine sitting in your class with several other women and your “childbirth educator” walks in, looks around the room and says “only two of you will have a natural birth, if you’re lucky.”

Already that person has planted the seeds of doubt about your ability to birth naturally and made you fearful of what lies ahead.

Rather than taking the time to teach about natural alternatives of pain relief, these sessions become all-consuming with information about the drugs they offer, the medications and the procedures that will take place based on the hospitals policies and about their lack of birth pools and other facilities that are usually on a “first in, first choice” basis.  Many of the classes that are run at the hospitals are not conducted by a dedicated “childbirth educator.”  The classes may be run by a midwife or physiotherapist on a rotation basis, and sometimes these educators have to do this as part of their ongoing assessments, so they may not really enjoy doing these classes, so educating couples on childbirth may not be what they are passionate about, so their enthusiasm and the gift of empowering couples just is not the same as with an independent childbirth educator – who choose to do this as their livelihood.

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In answer to the question though, I don’t discourage women and their birth companions or partners from going to the hospital antenatal classes as it is beneficial to see things from two different perspectives.  Both can provide information which you need, and like anything you just choose what resonates with you and what you feel will work best for you.  Put all those things into your “birth basket” and discard what you don’t think will serve you well.

However, I do recommend couples to do their childbirth education classes prior to the antenatal classes as you are already prepared, knowledgeable and will be in a better position to ask more questions.  Here is what Rachel had to say about her classes:

Anyone pregnant or thinking about/trying to have a baby please, please consider hypnobirthing!  It is not just weird hippy crap, it’s practical advice on how to manage your pregnancy and labour in the best way for you.  Antenatal classes are good (I’ve just done one with a great midwife) but hypnobirthing has prepared me so much more and given my husband and I so much more info about our options, rights and just what the hell is going on!  Vicki Hobbs at Hypnobirthing Centre WA is who you need to see! I cannot thank her enough for what she has done for us.  Rachel, Tapping WA”

Hypnosis session during Hypnobirthing classes

Hypnosis session during Hypnobirthing classes

I became a Childbirth Educator and “Birth Doula“ (Birth Support) because I wanted to provide all women (pregnant or those contemplating pregnancy) and couples with information and education about birth choices, about natural pregnancy, labour and birth, about achieving the best possible outcome, of trusting in your body, about how the muscles and body work together and about choosing the right caregivers for you, but most of all to help take the fear out of having a baby and being another support person to both mum and dad has numerous benefits, but not only that, it is important for me to teach women and their birth partners that they have choices.

Just because you pay a huge amount of money every year into your private health fund so that you can have the very best maternity cover there is including an Obstetrician, sometimes you do not always get the birth that you have dreamed of.  Did you know that Obstetricians are surgeons – they are highly trained to deliver babies by caesarean?  They are your lifeguards, but all you want them to do is sit in their tower and keep watch.

So, if you are healthy and have no underlying medical conditions, doesn’t it just make sense to go with a midwifery led birthing program? Or if you must have an Obstetrician why not say to them “I want to pay you to do nothing, unless there is a medical emergency.”

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Women have so many choices, and we cover all of these in childbirth education classes.

Have you considered having a doula (birth support)?  A recent review of many studies from around the world has concluded that a doula’s support is more effective than hospital staff, friends or family.  Studies (and reviews of the studies) consistently demonstrate very impressive benefits for the mother, father and baby including: 

  • 50% decrease in caesarean sections
  • 25% decrease in the length of labour
  • 40% decrease in use of forceps
  • 40% decrease in use of oxytocin to speed labour up
  • 60% decrease in use of epidurals
  • 30% decrease in use of pain medications
  • 40% reduction in the use of synthetic oxytocin for inductions or augmentations

I believe that we need to go back to basics.  Birth is about bringing a new person into the world and this should be a celebration and a natural, joyful, calm experience.  I want to share information with you that is designed to inspire you and take the fear and uncertainty out of childbirth and about accepting birth however way it happens as long as it is your choice, not someone else’s.

I also want to support women who have caesareans to feel that this choice is okay.  There are many out there who advocate that “all natural is best” just like “all breastfeeding is best” and yes I do agree that “natural is best” because your body is doing so many physiological wonders all at once to grow your baby then bring your baby into the world and to start the healing process of getting your body back to pre-pregnancy, but sometimes this just is not the case for all women for whatever reason – again we are all different, we can’t all be put into the same basket, we can’t be expected to fit into the same mould.

I want women to feel it is okay to do what is best for them and still feel that whatever way they choose to birth at the time was the right choice for them and their baby, and that a caesarean birth is also a celebration, a sacred time and can be a calm, positive moment of birth.  There are ways that a woman and her birth companion can be present in the moment during a caesarean and achieve that birth euphoria that is experienced during natural birth. 

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I know as I have been in that situation and a few of my class participants have been in that situation too, but the important thing to note is that they all share the same belief that because they knew what was happening, because they asked the right questions, because they delayed the “process” as long as they could to see if anything changed and then embraced the choice they made.  Their unexpected caesarean turned into a calm, memorable and exciting time shared with their birth companion, and their baby was blessed to be born into a quiet, peaceful room without a surgical feel.  Their babies were calm, alert and responsiveness and they were still able to have that skin-on-skin contact and had delayed cord-clamping.  All of this can be achieved and all it takes is a bit of preparation, understanding, knowledge and acceptance.  

When you are educated about your choices, you can discuss these with your health care provider and they will realise that you have “done your homework.”  The best part that I hear often from couples is that when things started to get “fearful” for the birthing mum, it was her birth companion, husband or partner who came to the rescue.  In childbirth education programs your birth companion is taught to be a “support person” and know what to do in different circumstances. Many of the mums say if it wasn’t for their birth partners, they would have gone off track and not known how to get back to “their birthing space.”

I became a Childbirth Educator to ensure that all women know the difference between natural labour and birth and medically assisted labour and birth, what a caesarean means and how it affects your body and the journey beyond birth, the physical and emotional healing process – where do you go for help and support if you need it once baby is here, how can a postnatal doula be of help to you – how do you bond with your new family, where does your partner fit into this new dynamic, how to identify postnatal depression and breastfeeding versus bottle feeding.

I feel it is the couples’ responsibility to prepare themselves to bring this new life into the world.  It is important for them to know what is happening to their baby as that baby is growing and developing, what is happening to the woman’s body and muscles, what are those uncomfortable pelvic twinges you may experience as your belly grows, how are those muscles going to work to help birth your baby, what are the hormones and how do they affect the mum, why breathing techniques are important and how oxygen (or lack of) can affect your birth, how important bonding is during pregnancy and after birth, sounds and vibration baby experiences in the womb so why it is important to talk and sing to baby, relaxation and visualisation, self-hypnosis techniques, choices of natural pain relief, acupressure and massage, comfortable positions during labour and birth, vocalising and sound during birth (Soundbirth) – how does this help, coping during labour, how does the dad or birthing companion fit in and how can they best support their labouring partner, what is the “purple line” and how can that help you avoid vaginal examinations, there is so much to know and really so little time to find out and practice all this and more.

In Australia, the average couple spends around $30,000 and over 200 hours planning their perfect wedding day.  It amazes me that so many women spend so much time, money and energy on the preparation of one day, albeit an incredibly important day that will be the stepping stone of their new life as a couple then a family, yet many women don’t consider putting that same time and energy preparing to bring a new life, their baby, into the world or attending a childbirth education course (such as Hypnobirthing for example), which is just a small investment of anything from $250 to $1000 depending on the type of classes you take and the number of hours the classes run for.  For example classes can range anywhere from one day, one weekend or 3 or 4 hours weekly for several weeks.

Tangled Ever After - Still 2

I want to help you gain knowledge and skills about your mind, your body, your labour and your birth.  I want you to be free from fear about the birth of your baby.  You only get one chance to birth your baby the way you want to and it is really important that you have as much knowledge and support as possible to guide you into making the right birth choices for you, your partner and your baby.

Seriously, don’t spend thousands of dollars on useless items for your baby that you are most likely never going to use.  With my first baby I was completely uneducated about what to expect, but I had the best of everything, latest model pram, designer basinette, most expensive cot and manchester, several mobiles (as they all look so cute), change tables, clothing, sterilising equipment – majority of the stuff I didn’t even unpack and ended up giving away months later when it was just sitting there gathering dust.  Go with the basics, and put your money to better use by attending childbirth education classes.

My role as a Childbirth Educator (particularly through my hypnobirthing classes) is to assist you to go into the birth experience empowered, well educated and believing in your body – that it can birth without doubt or fear.  This does wonders for creating a powerful and positive birth journey.  Birth Educators should not be trying to convince you that you will have a “painless birth” but rather you will have a “fearless birth” which will lead to reducing (and in some cases) eliminating the “intensity of pain” felt during childbirth.

It is all about “Birth Without Fear.”

Women and their partners who prepare themselves mentally, physically and emotionally for birth can achieve anything.  Our thoughts create our reality so if women are thinking and feeling positively about their labour and birth and visualise the experience they want to have rather than what they don’t want, then it is more likely that they will achieve a shorter labour and natural birth of their baby, they will be more alert and energetic after birth and bond and breastfeed more easily with their newborns.

Because of the mind/body connection, if you have fear, you will create stress and tension, which will cause the muscles of the uterus and pelvis to tighten and create more pain.  The more pain felt, the more fear arises and so this cycle will go on and on.

Birth is one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world and we need to trust and believe that it can be a wonderfully empowering experience that is given the time, respect and sacredness that it deserves.

So the problem is not with birth – it is the lack of preparation and education and the negative imprinting and expectations women are exposed to during pregnancy.

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Furthermore, many women who do not have the opportunity to birth naturally or the way they have planned sometimes feel anger, resentment and guilt and feel they “failed” in some way or say they were made to feel they were a failure because they didn’t birth naturally.  Birth education is also about understanding and being accepting of special circumstances if they do arise, so again to help you feel you had the best birth outcome possible for you and your baby at the time.  It is about knowing what questions to ask, assessing the situation and then making an “informed choice” about what is right for you and your baby.  Attending birth education classes can be highly beneficial in achieving this.  It is important for mum to be able to choose Plan B whatever that may be and feel happy, confident and at ease with doing so, and even in the event of say an emergency or unplanned caesarean, you can still ensure that your birth is calm, positive and memorable.

At Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Centre we offer a one day comprehensive childbirth education class for you and your partner called “Essential Birthing Journey” to learn all aspects of pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond including relaxation and breathing techniques, the role of your partner or birth companion, nutrition and exercise during pregnancy, stretching and massage techniques, birth and labour positions, pain management techniques, bonding and breastfeeding, sound birth techniques and so much more. 

At Hypnobirthing Centre WA we offer a more comprehensive series of weekly hypnobirthing classes for a total of 12 hours with self-hypnosis techniques and childbirth education including pregnancy, labour and birth and beyond, relaxation and visualisation techniques, bonding with baby and partner, the mind / body connection, breathing techniques, releasing limiting beliefs and fears, how your body births your baby, special circumstances, birthing positions, massage and acupressure, nutrition, breastfeeding and so much more. 

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I hope that you will experience the most amazing birth of your baby and your future babies empowered with knowledge, which brings you strength and the ability to trust in your own abilities.  Your mind and your body are your own, you need to feed them, you need to nurture them and you need to enrich them for the best possible outcomes for you.

Many blessings to you, your partner or birth companion and to your baby – a new life, a new adventure and a new perspective on all things amazing.

“Birth is not only about making babies.  Birth is about making mothers – strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.” (Barbara Katz-Rothman)

 

Vicki Hobbs
Owner / Operator

Phoenix Therapies Pregnancy Centre
www.phoenixtherapies.com.au

Hypnobirthing Centre WA
www.hypnobirthingcentrewa.com.au