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

 

 

Why I Teach The Hypnobirthing Australia Program

I have been teaching hypnobirthing for a few years now and originally trained in 2009; however I have now chosen to teach the Hypnobirthing Australia program as I was really impressed by the extensive, professional practitioner training that I received earlier this year, which I found lacking when I originally did my hypnobirthing training.

Hypnobirthing-Logo

This program is Australian, modern, up to date, and has high quality class resources including the comprehensive folder that is given to the birthing couple for easy reference to class content and hypnobirthing techniques, beautiful visualisations that are professionally drawn by a graphic artist, along with clear and easy to understand birth prompts for the birth partner.

In our Hypnobirthing Australia classes, the professional powerpoint presentation highlights the conditioning of the sub-conscious mind while participants are enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the class.  We show recent birth DVD’s of Australian and NZ women hypnobirthing exclusive to Hypnobirthing Australia that are not accessible on social media, the internet or YouTube.

More importantly for me I now find that the classes just “flow” and simply make so much more sense.  When I am sharing this information with birthing couples, I see that light bulb moment for the mums of understanding and knowing, and I see the partners really take on board all the information about the mind, the body, the hormones and the emotions and what they can do to make it a more positive experience.

In my classes, I also provide many extra tools to help with the visualisation, conditioning, relaxation and hypnosis triggers to help you along your hypnobirthing journey.

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With the Hypnobirthing Australia course references are also made to world-renowned childbirth and hypnosis experts such as Dr Michel Odent, Dr Sarah Buckley, Dr Grantly Dick-Read, Dr Milton Erickson, Dave Elman and Ina May Gaskin – to name just a few!  It does not focus on just one individuals’ ideals and views on what is the “right way” of pregnancy, labour, birth and parenting and it certainly doesn’t set you up for any unrealistic expectations of having a pain free birth or that by doing hypnobirthing you will be guaranteed a natural birth, however what it does do is provide you with the tools and knowledge to support you in having a positive, calm birth.

Another bonus to being a part of Hypnobirthing Australia is the cohesiveness of an amazing group of women all across Australia who run their own hypnobirthing businesses, but are part of a wonderful team who meet daily on social media and through webinars to receive ongoing training, support, encouragement, knowledge, experience, research and to share positive, amazing birth stories.

This is all coordinated by the Director of Hypnobirthing Australia – Melissa Spilsted, who is undeniably one of the most dynamic, intelligent, charismatic, professional and proactive women I have met in birthing circles.  She is such a positive and calm person, who strives to ensure that Hypnobirthing Australia is seen as a positive childbirth education program working independently of all other programs but in no way discrediting or making false statements that could damage the reputation of any other program.

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In my mind that shows someone with integrity and professionalism – something so many others could learn from in business.  She provides all the Hypnobirthing Australia practitioners with a safe environment to share our thoughts, ideas, suggestions and experiences and is constantly finding ways of value adding to the course and providing the best hypnobirthing program in Australia.

Hypnobirthing Australia was developed in Australia (Queensland) for Australian practitioners who undertake extensive training taught directly by Melissa, to provide quality assurance and who then must continue with ongoing professional development to remain certified.

Hypnobirthing Australia practitioners regularly have webinars for training purposes and we interact with one another in such a positive and productive way daily.  We are a positive and supportive team, not just individuals, and we share our achievements, our concerns, our exciting birth stories and brainstorm on a regular basis and this is invaluable as a practitioner and a fantastic resource.

The team is fortunate to have so many diverse professionals who generally come from a health or birth background such as midwives, counsellors, birth attendants (doulas), massage therapists, naturopaths, nutritionists, clinical hypnotherapists and so on to share their expertise and provide a platform for growth.  Melissa is constantly reviewing Australian birth practices and procedures and updating our course materials on a regular basis so the information that we provide to couples is the best possible information currently available.  We also provide additional links and resources to credible information and studies for couples to further their own research (rather than Google) to enable them to make confident choices to include in their birth preferences.

IMG_0426

There are many differences and similarities between all the hypnobirthing programs and my suggestion to you if you are looking for hypnobirthing classes is to do your research, find out what the differences are between the programs, talk to the practitioners offering classes and find the one that suits you best.

Melissa Spilsted has also written on the Hypnobirthing Australia website some of the differences between our program and some others in the market today.

http://www.hypnobirthingaustralia.com.au/what-is-the-difference-between-hypnobirthing-australia-hypnobirthing-the-mongan-method-calmbirth/

All Hypnobirthing Australia practitioners are passionate about their work and we love sharing this amazing transformation from fear based birthing to positive, confident birthing no matter how your baby decides to be born.

We know we are changing lives not only during an exciting yet sometimes challenging time for couples as they work their way through the unknown, but for the rest of their lives as well, as all the tools and techniques we teach can be used in so many different circumstances in everyday life.

Even dogs love being a part of the hypnobirthing classes!

Even dogs love being a part of the hypnobirthing classes!

As I read over what I have just written, I notice my heart is just bursting with love, emotion and pride to be a part of such an awesome group and I know that this love, emotion and pride shines through in my hypnobirthing classes when I teach.

And so it is……

If you would like more information about the Hypnobirthing Australia program in Perth, please contact me on 0488 030 006 or email info@hypnobirthingcentrewa.com.au

Happy Hypnobirthing!

Vicki Hobbs
Certified Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner

 

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)

Hypnobirthing Story of Lachlan – born 15th April 2014

HBLogo3

On the morning of the 15th April 2014, I went into natural labour with my first baby at 5 days past his guess date.  At 5.00am I woke to go to the loo, and had my show.  I knew this could happen days before labour so tried not to get too excited!  However at 7.00am my waters broke and it was as in the movies… a big rush!  I knew that I had to get labour going within 24 hours to avoid being induced, so I hopped in the shower, got dressed and hubby Jarret and I took the dogs for a walk.  I was getting Braxton Hicks quite regularly, but they were nothing more than a light tightening sensation.

KerryLee & Jarret1

Once home, I got onto my fit ball and started doing hip rotations.  At 10.00am I started to feel light surges and by 10.30am I knew I was officially in labour!  The surges started at 4 minutes apart and quickly got closer and closer together.  They were not painful at all… in fact it is hard to describe the feeling. It was more like intensity and a tightening in my lower tummy.  I practiced my surge breathing and listened to my hypnobirthing music and Surge of the Sea relaxation and visualisation CD, which I really felt worked well for me!

My whole body remained loose and limp… it looked like I was fast asleep most of the time.  I decided to hop into the bath to relax, listening to my affirmations, which kept me very relaxed and calm.

My husband timed the surges, and by 12 noon they were 2 minutes apart.  He suggested we get ready to go into the Birth Centre, however I was unsure as I was expecting things to get far more intense before having to go in.  I wanted to avoid being sent back home, and they were so completely manageable that I really didn’t believe I was ready to go.

The midwife told us we needed to come in ASAP, so we packed our things and got to the Centre at 1.00pm.  I continued listening to the affirmations in the car to avoid slowing my labour with a change of environment and this seemed to work well!

KerryLee & Jarret2

Once at the Birth Centre, I agreed to be examined.  I was already 8cm dilated!  I could not believe it!  I hopped into the bath around 1.30 pm, and relaxed to my hypnobirthing music, practicing my breathing and sipping on water.  At around 3.15 pm I felt I was ready to bear down, and my body started doing this automatically without me even trying.  I told the midwives and they encouraged me to work with my body.  As he moved down the birth canal, the midwives kept asking me if I felt a burning sensation but I didn’t feel a thing.  About 45 minutes later, at 3.56 pm, our baby boy Lachlan was born.

KerryLee & Jarret3

I pulled him out myself which was incredibly empowering.  Apart from being checked when I first arrived, I had no one touch me my entire labour.  It was amazing!

When I pulled Lachlan out of the water, his heart rate dropped and they had to cut the cord straight away.  He gave out a little squeak, but he was not breathing so they had to take him away to give him oxygen.  I hopped out of the bath and started hemorrhaging and lost 850mls of blood in a very short space of time.  I was so in my ‘hypnobirthing zone’ that I was completely unphased by what was happening.

KerryLee & Jarret5

I felt for my poor hubby who was in a state as he did not know who to go with!  I was so calm and relaxed that I told him to go with Lachlan.  He began breathing fine, but they needed to monitor him for a couple of hours to make sure he was all ok.  My bleeding stopped on its own (they think I had a burst vessel from the placenta coming away from my uterus), but I also needed a couple of stitches.

Once baby and I had both been sorted out, they brought him to me and placed him on my chest and he started breastfeeding straight away!  He was very alert from the get go, and is a very relaxed and calm baby.  He feeds like a little champion too!

My labour was such a breeze, and such a wonderful experience.  I used to be so fearful of labour, but hypnobirthing really enabled me to work with my body and have a wonderful pain free experience!  Many people do not believe me when I tell them that it was so wonderful, and I didn’t even need so much as a Panadol.

KerryLee & Jarret4

I cannot recommend hypnobirthing enough!  I will also say that part of it was due to very healthy eating before and during pregnancy, as well as me being very fit before falling pregnant and keeping up with exercise throughout my pregnancy.  I don’t think my labour would have been nearly as quick and easy if I was not fit and healthy.

Thank you to my hypnobirthing practitioner Vicki Hobbs from Hypnobirthing Centre WA for being such a great support and resource!

To see a short video of me during my surges and leading up to Lachlan being born, please click on the video link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giYkYTaTYeM&feature=youtu.be

Kerry-lee & Jarret
Tapping, WA

Hypnobirthing Story of Aryan – born 5th March 2014

HBLogo3

First of all I would like to thank Vicki Hobbs from the Hypnobirthing Centre WA for helping me release my fear of birthing and to also help me think positive all the way about everything – my pregnancy, my labour, the surges I would experience and moving my baby down.  I was one person who was so scared of just thinking about the due day, every time I thought of it I’d get goose bumps and all sorts of questions would arise in my mind such as “will I be able to do it”, if I can’t tolerate my eye brows being threaded how will I tolerate pain of birth?

Vicki helped me release this fear through the classes and gave me one on one attention when I really needed it, which I am so grateful to her for.  After the hypnobirthing classes, which I completed when I was 38 weeks everything was still fresh and I prepared my own birthing plan.  Jag and I compiled songs that we both loved and reminded us of the special memories we shared and holidays that we went to.  I printed my maternity photo shoot which had my birthing colours to help me calm down and focus.  Along with these songs I also had my positive affirmations, Surge of the Sea and Rainbow Mist CD’s, which were very helpful.

Dhruti & Jag

On Tuesday midnight I woke up with slight surges that lasted for a few seconds and then went away – they were about 15 minutes apart and not very regular.  I fell asleep and woke up around 8am as my friends were coming over to catch up before the bub arrives.  I went to the loo and saw my mucous plug had released, I thought to myself “this is it, oh my god its happening, what shall I do.”  I was panicking and told my mum, but then I gathered myself and thought I might still be days away and even if it happens it’s going to be okay and I will use my tools, stay calm and birth my baby.

I text my friends that I wasn’t well and if we could postpone the catch up, but then I thought to myself that if I was to be alone I’d be thinking all sorts of things so I’d rather catch up with them, which will be relaxing and divert my mind.  I text Jag and informed him, he was so excited that he couldn’t work and decided to come home and sleep for the big night as he was so sure that it was going to happen that evening.

I decided not to tell my friends about my surges and just go with the flow.  Mum and I made lunch, my friends came over and the day was going as normal, but I did have surges in between that sometimes lasted a minute or so, I would just stay calm and breathe through the surges.  At one point my friend did ask me “are you ok? Why are you so quiet?”

The day passed by quickly and in the evening my surges increased and Jag started timing them, and I was just breathing through them while listening to the affirmations.  I kept watching the YouTube video of the lotus opening as the music in the video helped to calm me down. It was around 11pm that the surges started getting closer and more intense.  Jag would stroke me with the light touch massage and help me stay calm.

16. Birth Colours - Dhruti Varsani

After a few hours we decided to call the hospital and inform them about the situation.  Jag and I decided that we’d go to the hospital when the surges were 5-7 minutes apart. By 1am the surges were more intense and we decided it was time.

We reached the hospital and informed the midwife we were a hypnobirthing couple and that all the communications to be kept to a minimum and with Jag.  First we were in the assessment room so that midwife could check my progress, monitor bubs heart beat and do a few tests.  I noticed that the surges were now 10-15 minutes apart, which I was aware that would probably happen because of the environment change and the transition between home and hospital.  I calmed down, Jag was so supportive and gave me the light touch massage again, talked to me softly and I also kept listening to the affirmations.

I must say hypnobirthing helped Jag understand me so much more.  He always had the fear of coming to the hospital and having to see me in so much pain, but he was so different and positive and very supportive.  After about an hour my obstetrician came and they decided to check how many centimetres dilated I was.  This was very uncomfortable for some reason.  I just had my eyes covered and kept listening to my music.  I didn’t want to know how many centimetres I was so they informed Jag.  Earlier in the week I went for my check up with my obstetrician and she had informed me that the baby’s head was down but he was in a lateral position.  The midwife checked and informed me that the position was now head down and no longer lateral, which gave me confidence that everything was going well.

Aryan4 - Dhruti & Jag

After a while we were taken to the birth suite and the moment I walked in I felt some comfort.  I knew this was now “my space.”  Jag set up the room with candle lights, dimmed the room lights, set the music up and got me a birthing ball.  This was around 4am on Wednesday morning and the surges were constant and about 7-9 minutes apart.  We listened to our songs that we had compiled, I had my arms across his shoulders and we just enjoying the music and I continued to breathe through the surges.  Time was distorted to me, just like I was taught in hypnobirthing classes, as then the next thing I realised it was around 9pm and I was getting tired as I hadn’t slept.  I had another check up with the obstetrician and she said that I was still quite far off and asked if I wanted to be induced as the baby was head down but quite high and in a lateral position again.  We weren’t sure and decided to wait for a while, but after about two hours I agreed to be induced.

Being vocal was the best thing that helped me as I could release the intensity I was feeling through my voice.  Jag stroked my head with the head massager and light touch massage while the music in the background was on as well.  All these tools were so very helpful.  My obstetrician came for another check-up and asked if I wanted an epidural.  I said no, but I was so exhausted as I hadn’t slept for 2 days.  Jag and I then talked about it and he said it would relax me and I could get some sleep as the baby’s position was still lateral and he was still very high.

Aryan2 - Dhruti & Jag

I decided to take the epidural and slept for a while.  I could still feel the surges but not as intense as before.  After an hour our midwife checked how far I had dilated.  I was so happy and excited as I was 10cms dilated and it was time to bear down.  I started to bear down and was told to push whenever I had a surge.  I could slightly feel them and with the help of my midwife and obstetrician I started to push.

I kept talking to my baby loudly (I didn’t care about anyone listening to me), I kept telling him “come on we can do this, please come to mummy it’s now time for mummy to see you.”  I kept touching my belly and talking out loudly and I felt it helped me connect with my baby.  My obstetrician and Jag then decided to use the vacuum, which I was fine with as the baby was getting uncomfortable inside as well.

We started again, using the vacuum but it still did not work, the baby was now more uncomfortable and my obstetrician suggested we use forceps.  I have no idea why I said no but something in me just didn’t want this type of intervention to be used.  So I was taken to theatre for a caesarean.

Aryan1 - Dhruti & Jag

While transferring me to the theatre room I was very positive and kept singing to myself.  I talked to the nurses and doctors who came to explain all the procedures that were going to happen.  After about 35 hours it was finally time to see our baby.  Our baby boy Aryan was born at 5.15pm – the most beautiful and amazing moment of our lives.

My obstetrician later thanked me and told me that she was glad I said no to using the forceps as it would have been very hard for both bub and me had we used them as he was still so high up because of the position of my pelvis so he would not have been able to move down into the birth canal and the caesarean had been the best decision in this instance.

Though I had a few complications after the birth, after a month when I do recall my birthing story I have a smile on my face and always tell myself it was the most wonderful experience I have ever had.  It is so true that people make labour and birthing of babies these days very complicated, painful and scary but there is also another way to look at it and enjoy it, the hypnobirthing way.

Aryan3 - Dhruti & Jag

I have no regret with what I went through, even though it was a long labour, but it was still full of fun and beautiful memories that I will cherish forever.  I got to experience labour, the sensations of my uterus surging and the feel of my baby during this time while producing the birthing hormones that helped to establish good breastfeeding and bonding, and I had no fear at all.  This whole experience has brought my husband and I so much closer, and he was able to support me in a way that he wouldn’t have felt confident doing before the classes. I am so proud to share my hypnobirthing story with all pregnant women and once again would like to thank Vicki for sharing her knowledge with us.  Without hypnobirthing my birthing story and experience would definitely have been very different.

Dhruti & Jag
Madeley, WA

Hypnobirthing Story of Avery

I had a very good pregnancy and stayed very healthy and fit throughout it. I listened to my affirmations on a daily basis and focused on having a positive birth. When people asked me if I was nervous or dreading it, I could say with honesty that I wasn’t. Instead, I felt positive that I was going to be able to have a good birth and was looking forward to meeting our baby and finding out if it was a boy or girl.

2013-08-03 Jon & Sherilynn2

All or our doctor’s visits went well, but as we approached our estimated due date our doctor discussed induction with us. He wanted to induce on our due date, however we asked him for more time. Due to an overseas trip, the last day that he was going to be around was 5 days after our due date. We considered against having an induction at all, but normally they do not let you go past 7 days at the hospital we were going to and I did want my obstetrician there for the delivery as he was familiar with our preferences and we had discussed our birth plan with him.

2013-08-03 Jon & Sherilynn1

So after many questions and persuading him to wait as long as possible we penciled the induction date. I did do my best to get things rolling naturally – acupuncture, massage, pressure points, eating pineapple and sex, bouncing on a fit ball, raspberry leaf tea and walking, walking and more walking. I asked for an internal about a week before during our last appointment and there was no sign that baby was coming. A couple of days before the induction date I did have some pretty intense contractions, but I had been having Braxton Hicks on and off so I attributed them to that. Jon said that we would just skip the induction if I didn’t feel ready. However we had a very nice relaxing weekend and I felt very mentally prepared and ready to meet our baby so we decided to embrace it.

Jon & Sherilynn3

On the night of the 14th, we went into the hospital to get checked. I was already 2 cm dilated, so we decided to forego the gels and went home and rested. The next morning we had a good healthy breakfast and drove to the hospital for 7 am. I was surprised at how calm and quiet we were on the way to the hospital. Jon was reciting some of our favorite affirmations on the way to the hospital. Once we arrived we set up our room and made it ours. We made all of the midwives aware that we were a hypnobirthing family and wanted to do everything as natural as possible. We were lucky to have a student midwife (Kylee) with us that day in the delivery room. She had accompanied me on most of my later prenatal doctor visits in the delivery room that day. I believe she was very integral in making our birth our success.

Our doctor came in first thing and released the membranes. They then started me on the drip about an hour later. As there was meconium in the water fluid, they wanted to put me on monitors the whole time. I told them that I wanted to be mobile and be able to move around so they found a mobile unit for me. The surges started pretty fast, although they were not very intense and it was easy to focus and complete my breathing for the first few hours. For the initial stage, I just went into my own world. Jon had put up my picture of “into these hands” on the wall in front of me and I just stared at that and breathed. He also had the Loosey Limp teddy on had that Vicki had given us and he would show me that whenever I tensed up.

After the first couple hours, the surges got more intense and I decided I wanted to move around more. I alternated between standing and sitting on the fit ball leaning my head and arms against the bed. The midwives kept bringing me heat pads for my stomach and back. I did not feel like eating (Jon did enough of that for both of us) but instead had some lollies and lemonade and lots and lots of water. As the surges got more intense I was finding it very difficult to breathe through them, but Jon and Kylee were at my side talking me through. We also had our Surge of the Sea playing and affirmations and some other relaxation music I had listened to during pregnancy playing in the background for awhile.

Towards the last hour I was finding it very difficult and panicked a little bit and told Jon that I think I wanted an epidural. We had agreed before that he would tell me to try and wait half and hour and then we would see. In that time the doctor came in and we asked to get checked. When he checked I was already 9 cm dilated and there was no time for any pain relief! About 10 minutes later I was 10 cm dilated and ready to have Avery.

Once I could feel her moving down I actually found it easier to focus and breathe. I tried to picture the birth breathing as I was doing it, although I must admit I did find that hard. One of the most helpful things was one of the midwives was wiping my face with a cold cloth in between surges and just talking me through them. I tried a few positions, but in the end found it most comfortable to deliver while lying on my side on the bed.

It took about 45 minutes to birth Avery, she was born at 15:05 on the 15 October 2013 and was 3.13kgs and 50 cm long. Once she came they put her straight on my chest and it was the most wonderful moment in the whole world. That night I was on a huge adrenaline high and was just so so happy that the birth went so well. I felt so empowered that I was able to get through it without pain relief. It was amazing that I was able to feel her moving down and I could direct my energy to her.

Jon & Sherilynn4

Thank you so much Vicki for guiding us through the hypnobirthing course. You provided us with so much information which helped us make decisions before and during the birth that enabled us to have the birth that we wanted. I think that the tools that Jon learnt in the course helped him to play such an important role in the birth.

I was also very happy with our Obstetrician and the care received by all of the staff at our hospital and must say that I am happy that we went through the private system. When he started to talk about induction, initially I wasn’t very happy, however I think once we decided to embrace it and we made it clear to him that we still wanted to do it without pain relief or further intervention it set us up for success.

Avery2 - Sherilynn & Jon

Both Kylee and the main midwife who was with me during the delivery said that they were so happy that I did it without the epidural, they said that at one point when they could see me wavering they knew they just had to get me through it. There were two hypnobirth babies born at our hospital that day and all of the midwives thought that was great.

Avery3 - Sherilynn & Jon

I hope that we have a similar story with our next baby. I am looking forward to having more, it was such a good experience.

Warm Regards,

Sheri-lynn, Jon and Avery
Currambine, Western Australia

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

Massage Therapists – what makes an exceptional one?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOOD MASSAGE THERAPIST AND AN EXCEPTIONAL MASSAGE THERAPIST?
Written by Vicki Hobbs, 
Owner / Operator of Phoenix Therapies Wellness & Pregnancy Centre 

I believe that I am an exceptional massage therapist!

The difference between me and a good massage therapist is hands on experience, ongoing training and the understanding that you will never know everything and that is why it is important to constantly seek out more knowledge, more experience and more understanding.

From the moment I meet my client, I watch the way they stand, sit and walk. I look at their posture and the way they hold their neck and shoulders. I look at how their feet are positioned as they walk and when they are lying on the table. Before I have even spoken to them I already have an idea of the muscles that need work based on my observations. I look at what they have written on their client history form, checking what they do for a job, any past or present conditions that might be affecting muscles, what type of exercise they do, how much water they drink and what are their stress triggers and my mind is ticking over all these important clues of how I can perform my clients treatment. When my client is in the treatment room I ask questions and I listen to the answers, all the while formulating my treatment strategy. Once they are on the table I look at their alignment and the tell tale signs of tense muscles.

For me the best massage a person can give you is one in silence. A therapist who is constantly talking is not thinking about the treatment they are giving you or the muscles that they are working on, no matter how good they are. Yes they may still give a good massage, but not an exceptional massage and you as the client deserve value for money – you deserve the best! phoenix-43 - Copy

During the treatment as I run my hands over my clients body initially in the warm up phase of the massage I just “feel”. Massage is all about touch and feeling for areas of dysfunction. I can instinctively pick the areas that are causing you problems immediately just through that initial touch.

During my remedial training, one of my awesome lecturers made us close our eyes and feel each muscle while we worked. To this day, I still close my eyes from time to time while working on a client and in my mind I visualise every muscle I am working on, visualise the attachment points, visualise the tension being worked out of each muscle and the muscles lengthening, I visualise the stress, anxiety and discomfort being released from my clients body, and as I work I notice the calm and peacefulness coming over them.

I take my job very seriously. I am passionate about massage and how much it will benefit a person not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Massage is not about a quick rub down of the body. Massage is about incorporating many different techniques such as trigger point release, deep tissue, relaxation and positional release of muscles.

My centre is not a day spa where most therapists are trained to certificate level in swedish massage, which is for relaxation and they definitely do create a beautiful experience for someone who needs pampering. When you come for a remedial massage at Phoenix Therapies, it is our job to work on your problem areas, however I guarantee you will leave feeling relaxed and calm as well, rejuvenated and re-energised because we make it our mission to work on all levels of the mind, the body and the emotions.

Testimonial by Alison of Edgewater
I have been attending Phoenix Therapies on a regular basis for over 2 years now. Initially I visited Vicki for relaxation massages. When I moved back to Perth I sought Vicki out when I hurt my back. The time she took to assess my personal situation and then create a remedial plan ensured that my injury healed completely. I now see Sarah every month for continued massage therapy. These regular visits are a part of my personal management plan to ensure my physical and mental well-being are looked after. I have always found Vicki and her team to be very caring. Vicki as a business leader is keen to take on any feedback – positive or negative. She has the courage to act on this feedback and then make the changes necessary to improve her business. I know when she was looking to expand she spent a lot of time finding the right personnel for Phoenix Therapies. People who would not only be able to do the job but also to fit in with the ethos and principles of the business. Vicki’s holistic approach to massage is the key to her success. I have no issues recommending Phoenix Therapies to friends and colleagues.

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The same goes with pregnancy massage. Massage therapy during pregnancy is a necessity, not just a luxury to assist in reducing stress, anxiety and to promote relaxation, but not only that it helps to prepare muscles and joints for childbirth along with so many other benefits. As a mother of two (born 15 years apart), I have experienced two very different pregnancies and my second pregnancy was made all the more rewarding and manageable by having regular pregnancy massage incorporating remedial techniques.

Again, when I work on a pregnant woman I visualise and “feel” all the problem areas that need attention and I utilise all the right techniques to ensure that when that pregnant mum leaves my centre she not only feels those sore spots have been managed or eliminated, she also feels the calming sensatons and relaxation of the mind and body.

My training in pregnancy massage and maternity care has been extensive and I just can’t get enough in terms of soaking up like a sponge new information, therapies and remedies to ease pregnancy related discomfort. I am a certified Doula / Birthing Assistant and Childbirth Educator and I love sharing my knowledge with pregnant mums and giving them support and natural alternatives to the medical model of pregnancy care.

Working with pregnant women gives me the opportunity to share ways that you can ease your discomfort at home with really simple stretches, positioning and handy tools. I can provide you with information that will be of benefit to you during your pregnancy, labour and birth. If I don’t know something then I will definitely find out for you as I belong to a wonderful network of like-minded Doula’s, Midwives and Natural Therapists. I want you to feel empowered as a woman and about your birthing choices.

I feel so honoured when a first time mum who has visited our centre and felt their care with us was so exceptional that they return after baby is born for postnatal massages and then for subsequent pregnancies. Our pregnancy massage club is rapidly growing with all the beautiful little cherubs we helped to bring calm and peace while they were still growing inside. It’s fantastic when the husbands or partners visit as they too benefit from deep tissue remedial massage incorporating relaxation techniques, as let’s face it, our men can get pretty stressed out from time to time and they feel that with tense muscles, headaches, lower back pain and shoulder and neck pain too.

Testimonial by Mel of Hamersley
I was given a gift of some money to have a massage to pamper myself during my pregnancy, and my Obstetrician’s team suggested trying Phoenix Therapies and I am just so happy that I decided to try it. I had been experiencing a lot of back pain and the general discomfort of pregnancy, and was not expecting more than a few moments of relief. But not only did I completely relax during my session, I had the most blissful nights sleep that night and following nights! Staff took the time to find out about my specific needs, made me so comfortable both physically and emotionally, and even took the time to show me some ongoing exercises that I could do at home to keep my back pain at bay. I really appreciated the holistic way you cared for me and created a really special memory for me during my pregnancy, as well as providing much needed practical physical relief.

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All our therapists who work at Phoenix Therapies have all been chosen for their excellent training opportunities and their beliefs about massage, the body and the mind and for their ability to perform an exceptional massage. Keep in mind that what works for one person may not necessarily work for the next and that is why we suggest alternative treatments to clients so they can find what works best for them.

Similarly, you may not like the technique of one therapist so try one of the others to find who suits you best because at the end of the day I want you to leave my premises feeling you got value for money and an exceptional massage experience so that you keep coming back and recommending our services to your friends, family members and colleagues.

MORE TESTIMONIALS

After a recommendation from a friend, I started attending Phoenix Therapies Wellness Centre, and have maintained a monthly visit for a therapeutic massage for over 3½ years, and more recently the services of the on-site Chiropractor. I personally, have found the difference between this centre compared to other massage places vastly different, not only due to the professional attitude of the staff, but also their friendliness, knowledge of their work and the general ambience of the Centre. The atmosphere of the Centre is one of absolute peace and calmness, which to me, is what the whole experience of massage and the related services are all about. I plan to experience some of the other services on offer in the near future, and have no doubt at all to recommend others to the Centre for their own personal experience, whether it may be therapeutic or just ‘feel good’.
Sue of Marangaroo

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Having been a happy client of Phoenix Therapies for the past 4 years, I am more than willing to state that the level of service and professionalism with which I am treated on every occasion that I visit is absolutely second to none. I was impressed from my very
first contact with Vicki and her team of attentive therapists. Having enjoyed the specialised Pregnancy Massage service whilst expecting my first child, I was eager to return for the same indulgent and remedial magic again, now that my second baby is on the way. I find the conscientious attention to detail, during the in-depth pre-treatment interviews very reassuring, and know that my unborn baby and I are in the best of hands. Vicki also regularly sends out relevant and interesting email newsletters about new services available at the practice and also about unique upcoming workshops and courses. These newsletters are never intrusive or trying to sell me something, but more educational and structured to compliment my course of treatment in a holistic way. The staff at Phoenix Therapies are very friendly and courteous, always welcoming me with big smiles as I walk in the door. I also appreciate the reminder text I am sent automatically the day before my appointment, and their ability to keep me on short notice waiting lists for opening appointment times. I certainly feel like one of their valued clientele, and am always telling my family and friends about my great experiences with Phoenix Therapies. Especially anyone who is pregnant, as it is very difficult to find qualified, experienced and trustworthy therapists in this field in the northern suburbs of Perth. I wish Vicki and her team every success with their growing and evolving business, and I consider myself lucky to have access to their invaluable services.
Megan of Wanneroo

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The residents of Darch and surrounding suburbs are lucky to have such a fantastic business like Phoenix Therapies at their local neighbourhood shopping centre. Vicki and her team of happy staff have grown a great business which seems to be adding
to its products and services to experience each time I hear from them via email/Facebook or visiting the centre. From the moment you enter the centre you feel relaxed and calm and while waiting for your therapy to commence there is a wonderful range of products in reception to view and purchase to take home a little piece of the experience. I usually visit the centre for remedial massage and have been lucky enough to meet both Sarah and Kieko who usually look after me with happy and friendly service while delivering an exceptional remedial massage. I can’t speak highly enough of Phoenix Therapies and their wonderful staff.
John of Darch

Hypnobirthing – What is it?

My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a certified Hypnobirthing Childbirth Educator with Hypnobirthing Australia (www.hypnobirthingaustralia.com.au)

Hypnobirthing-Logo
When I chat to women about hypnobirthing some of them have said that they have bought one of the many books on hypnobirthing, but they just didn’t quite get it so hypnobirthing didn’t work for them.

Yes, books are great and really worthwhile as a reference to gain more information and to have on hand as a resource, however attending the Hypnobirthing Australia classes will provide you and your partner with so many more benefits and then allow you to understand everything you need to know and practice.

Why?

Because you have someone who is professionally trained and passionate about hypnobirthing, who is then able to demonstrate with you and your partner or Birth Companion what hypnobirthing is all about.

When you have someone who believes so much in what they are teaching and are passionate about sharing that belief, you can be guaranteed that this positive energy will be transferred to you – you can’t get that energy from a book.

As you are practicing in class the hypnobirthing practitioner can provide feedback and suggestions to you.  Not only that, the hypnobirthing practitioner is then also your motivator, your extra support person who encourages and inspires you to practice what you have learnt and to answer the questions you will inevitably have.  The more you practice, the more you will understand and believe in what you have learnt and then the more wonderful your hypnobirthing experience will be.

Your practitioner will be able to provide you with extra resources and direct you to study papers, examples, visualisations and support groups while maintaining a motivational support role leading up to your birth through emails and phone calls if you need it.  During classes we are continually using language and prompts and visualisations to embed the hypnosis anchors or positive thoughts in your subconscious mind.

Hypnobirthing-Amanda-Shane Hypnobirthing couple Amanda & Shane

As a couple you participate in hypnotherapy sessions during classes and during these sessions we provide the “anchoring” and “deepening” techniques to help you go into that deeply relaxed zone and to be able to get to that zone at any time you need particularly during labour.  We are also able to demonstrate the 3 different breathing techniques – one technique for relaxation, one technique for during surges and the other during birth and explain what each of these breaths are doing physiologically so that you understand the importance of the different breaths.

You just can’t get that from a book!

The 5 Basic Hypnobirthing Australia techniques that we teach you are:

  1. Relaxation
  2. Visualisation
  3. Self-Hypnosis
  4. Breathing
  5. Affirmations

The Hypnobirthing Australia classes are not just about hypnosis and how to slide into that calm, relaxed space.  It is a really comprehensive childbirth education program, which has been developed for pregnancy, birth and beyond but particularly relevant for the Australian model of care and childbirth practices.

Originally I trained and certified in HypnoBirthing – The Mongan Method (which is the American based method) and have been running group classes for several years.  However, now having certified in February 2014 as a Hypnobirthing Australia practitioner I have decided to offer these Australian classes as they are more modern, up to date and relevant for Australian birthing practices and I now feel so much more passionate about sharing this program as it is relevant and always evolving.

I love this program because it is constantly changing with changes to the system and as new studies, research and birthing information comes to hand.  The Hypnobirthing Australia practitioners across Australia all have something to contribute with so many varied qualifications such as midwives, natural therapists, massage therapists, physiotherapists, hypnotherapists and so many with years of experience and skills, and when something in the program needs changing and updating, then you can be certain that Melissa Spilsted who is the Director of Hypnobirthing Australia is onto it promptly and sharing those changes with us all.

Books don’t generally change as new research and studies become available and for me that was one of the frustrating things when I was teaching the other program of hypnobirthing.

Hypnobirthing-Seal

For you to feel confident that you are getting a hypnobirthing practitioner who is trained and certified to teach the Hypnobirthing Australia method of hypnobirthing just look for the original blue Hypnobirthing Australia Certified Practitioner logo.

During the classes we discuss some of the following:

  • What to expect and the reasons why;
  • Your birthing muscles and how they work with professionally created diagrams and visual aids;
  • Relaxation breathing techniques for in between surges (contractions);
  • Breathing techniques during surges;
  • Mother directed breathing or “bearing down” to ease your baby out;
  • Visualisation techniques;
  • Changing the way you think and speak about birth;
  • Positive affirmations;
  • Your care providers and your choices;
  • Natural induction methods;
  • Natural pain relief;
  • Labour and birthing positions;
  • A draft birth plan template that you can change to suit your own individual requirements;
  • Releasing fears, negative thoughts or emotions regarding childbirth and parenting;
  • Bonding with your baby during pregnancy and after birth;
  • Nutrition and preparing your body for healthy birthing.

Hypnobirthing-Krystle-Mitch Hypnobirthing couple Krystle & Mitch

The above points are just the tip of the iceberg of areas covered in classes.  There are so many positive reasons for taking our Hypnobirthing Australia classes, but one of the most valuable and important reasons is that your partner or birth companion are included in this training.  They are your greatest advocates, your pillar of support and protection, the one that you can turn to when you are not quite sure or you just need a bit of encouragement and a soft touch.

They are the ones who have such an integral role in helping you to bring your baby into a calm and peaceful environment.  Long gone are the days where dad sat in the corner with the telly on watching sports or reruns of Dukes of Hazard and continuously checking the clock or trying to find something useful to do.  The Birth Partner / Companion now has a very important and active role to play in this new adventure and it will prepare and empower them on the day, which will be so positive and reassuring for the birthing mum so she can stay connected within.

Many of the dads or birth partners I have taught have said at the conclusion of the classes that initially they really didn’t want to attend the classes, but having done them they really understand now what their partners are going through during their pregnancy, what changes are happening in their partners bodies, how the hormones work and what they can do to ensure the release of birthing hormones, and how they can identify if something needs to be changed so they can be of the utmost support to their partners during labour, birth and beyond.

It is a real eye opener for them – and it really motivates them to participate even more than may have already been doing.

For so many couples they realise that the classes provide that really important bonding time – they are “on the same page” – but in a physical sense rather than a paper sense.

At Hypnobirthing Australia we understand that the family dynamic today is not always comprised of “mum and dad”, there are now same sex couples having babies too and we encourage you to be a part of this modern, self-hypnosis childbirth education program as well.

My belief is that no matter how you birth, whether it is naturally, in a hospital, your home, birthing centre or by caesarean, the Hypnobirthing Australia program can help you feel calm, relaxed and prepared for the arrival of your most precious gift….your baby.  At Hypnobirthing Australia we don’t teach you that you will have a natural, pain-free birth – what we teach you is that your goal is to have a “calm, positive birth experience and to release and let go.”  We don’t set you up for any unrealistic expectations – we prepare you to meet whatever turn your birthing takes, which includes special circumstances.

You cant get that emphasis from a book.

By practicing hypnobirthing it will provide a beautiful birthing space for your baby to enter the world, one where your bonding can then also be a wondrous experience for you, your birthing companion and your baby.

Hypnobirthing-Chester-SmilingHappy Hypnobirthing bub, Chester

For more information about hypnobirthing, please contact Vicki Hobbs at the Hypnobirthing Centre WA on 9303 9111 or email info@hypnobirthingcentrewa.com.au or check our next class dates by clicking on this link – Hypnobirthing classes.

You can also read many positive Hypnobirthing Australia birth stories from mums and dads all over Australia and check out the video collection as well by visiting the main website www.hypnobirthingaustralia.com.au

Happy Hypnobirthing everyone.

Vicki Hobbs x