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Acupuncture for Cervical Ripening – Guest Post by Malakai Button R. Ac.

Malakai Button, Acupuncturist

The last few weeks of pregnancy is a very exciting time. It is a time of “in between,” a time when you are preparing and waiting for your world to change in an instant. The days seem to drag on forever and the messages from friends and family start rolling in…”has your water broken yet?”…”any baby news?”…”I heard that if you stand on your head while chugging hot sauce the baby will just pop out.” No. Not helpful.

What about acupuncture for cervical ripening?

Cervical ripening is the process which occurs at the end of pregnancy as the cervix begins to soften, thin and dilate to prepare for the birth of your baby. Acupuncture treatments focus on the entire pregnant person, and can facilitate cervical effacement and dilation, assist the baby in achieving an optimal position, relieve aches and pains and help to calm anxieties and fears around birth. Birth preparation treatments are typically given weekly from 37 weeks until labour commences.

There are many studies documenting the benefits of receiving acupuncture in the final weeks of pregnancy. Pre-birth acupuncture has been shown to be a safe option for supporting cervical ripening and shortening the the time interval between due date and actual time of delivery. (1) Studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce the duration of labour, particularly the first stage of labour (2,3). A study published in 2006 observed 169 women receiving pre-birth acupuncture. (4) In comparison to those who did not receive acupuncture, the women who received pre-birth treatments had a:

  • 35% reduction in medical inductions (43% if it was the woman’s first baby)
  • 31% reduction in epidurals
  • 32% reduction in emergency c-sections

Acupuncture in the late stages of pregnancy is a safe and relaxing option for those looking to prepare their body and mind for labour. IN order to make these advantages available conveniently, I offer cervical ripening acupuncture packages from 37 weeks which include a complimentary in home postpartum visit in the weeks/months following the birth of your baby. I enjoy accompanying you at the beginning of the journey into labour, and then I love getting to see the beautiful baby afterwards!

Malakai Button is a Registered Acupuncturist in good standing with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia. Passionate about helping women struggling with hormonal and reproductive issues, she focuses on helping women achieve hormonal balance and healthy pregnancies. She offers her acupuncture studio in Victoria, BC as a place for you to cultivate wellness and reconnect with your body’s innate healing capacity. You can find Malakai at Mothering Touch on Saturday mornings or book with her at www.malakaibutton.com

References:

1 Kubista E Kucera H. Geburtshilfe Perinatol. 1974; 178 224-9

2 Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P. Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a randomised controlled trail. Wien Klin Wochenschr 2001; 113 (23-24): 942-6

3 ​Tempfer C, Zeisler H, Mayerhofe Kr, Barrada M Husslein P. Influence of acupuncture on duration of labour Gynecol Obstet Invest 1998; 46:22-5

4 Betts D, Lennox S. Acupuncture for prebirth treatment: An observational study of its use in midwifery practice. Medical acupuncture 2006 May; 17(3):17-20

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Why do I Doula?

Have you ever considered becoming a Postpartum Doula? AJ Hadfield, our friend, Postpartum Doula and Doula Trainer has written a guest blog post explaining her love for her job. We have a Postpartum Doula Training happening here at Mothering Touch with AJ in June.

 

My name is AJ Hadfield and I am a postpartum doula.  I have been fortunate enough to do this work for the past 13 years.  When I first started, I had a vague idea of helping mothers and snuggling babies.  I didn’t understand how much my clients would teach me and how being a postpartum doula would shape and define the second half of my life.  Why do I doula?

  • Because I understand now that good support at the right time can make all the difference for a new family
  • Because helping couples adjust to parenthood is important, valuable work
  • Because being around new babies all the time is the best!
  • Because watching people become parents is about the best thing in the world
  • Because I am constantly humbled by the power and strength of new mothers
  • Because I recognize the value in giving a parent permission to take a breather
  • Because I get to watch a big brother meet his baby sister for the first time
  • Because I recognize that guiding a new mother on her breastfeeding journey is never the same experience twice
  • Because being part of a family’s postpartum journey is a privilege
  • Because sometimes a mother needs someone by her side to say it’s OK when she’s making the hard choices
  • Because sometimes a new dad needs someone he can cry with, who won’t be sitting across from him at Thanksgiving.
  • Because sometimes, in my small way, I know I have made a difference
  • Because it always makes me smile to get a text with a picture of a poopy diaper and the question ‘is this normal’?
  • Because I know helping to normalize what is overwhelming to new families is important and,
  • Because I know that celebrating what is trivial to most people is also important
  • Because watching a baby latch on and suckle for the first time never gets old
  • Because I know that sometimes, my training and observant eye can help a mama get the support she needs when she needs it most
  • Because helping a parent figure out the intricacies of their baby wrap is always fun
  • Because even on the hard days, when I question whether I’ve supported in the best way I can, I still can’t wait for tomorrow and the chance to do it all over again, and
  • Because I love getting the email two years later, asking what I’m doing in 9 months and knowing I get to be with this family all over again

I am a postpartum doula – I love what I do.

 

If you have questions or are interested in registering for the Postpartum Doula Training happening June 1st to June 4th, 2018 go here or give us a call!

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Baby Art Class for Mother’s Day

Start the tradition of creating art with your Baby for Mother’s Day! Join Emily Grav, Artist and Owner and Director of The Paintbox School of Art to create some artistic memories with your baby.

Emily has selected a project that involves a few simple steps that will be done at different stations and then assembled into one piece for you to take home.

This class is intended for babies age 4 months to around 18 months. Each baby will leave with one completed piece of art. Please dress your baby in clothes that can get mucky or be willing to strip them down to their diapers – things may get messy!

The class is on Friday, May 4 at either 2:30pm or 4pm and it will take about an hour to complete the project – we are keeping short attention spans in mind!

The cost is $24 per baby and space is limited so register early! Cost is per baby, 1 or 2 parents are welcome!

Register online for the 2:30pm class here  or here for the 4:00pm class. You can give us a call at 250-595-4905!

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Supporting the family – body and mind

At Mothering Touch, we try to support families throughout pregnancy and the first years of parenting on all levels, in all dimensions. As part of that quest, we have two practitioners working in our new Treatment Room, listening to and counselling families, helping keep healthy minds in healthy bodies.

Jenny Jackson, Registered Dietitian, has a particular interest in nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, as well as in helping to introduce solids to babies in the middle of the first year. She is smart, compassionate and funny! A joy to listen to. She came and gave a talk to the Doulas of Victoria last week – the conversation flowed for over two hours as we shared our passion for caring for childbearing families.

Theresa Gulliver, Therapeutic Counsellor, has a particular interest in mothers and step-mothers. She runs our Motherhood Circle here at Mothering Touch, and does a great occasional workshop called “Find your Joy as a Mother”. In private sessions, she is available to help parents find their way through this new identity and role.

You can book an appointment with Jenny or with Theresa through our on-line booking page.

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Perinatal Care for Gender Diverse Families

Families come in many forms. It is a responsibility of perinatal care providers to adapt to meet the needs of all parents-to-be in dignified and affirming ways. While many people from diverse backgrounds and life experiences will share hopes and worries about pregnancy and parenting, transgender and queer parents may have some needs and desires that are unique to their gender and sexual identities.

Join Katie McNiven Gladman (Registered Midwife, IBCLC) and Kingsley Strudwick (founder of Ambit Gender Diversity Consulting) for an evening of education and skill-building to better support transgender and queer people as they embark into parenthood.

Date: Friday, May 25 from 7pm to 9pm at Mothering Touch, 975 Fort St

Cost: $35 per person

Book online here or call Mothering Touch at 250-595-4905 to register.

 

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Find Your Joy as a Mother – Practical Tools to help you Thrive

Free Interactive Workshop by Therapeutic Counsellor: Theresa Gulliver

Motherhood is a challenging life transition.
It is nearly impossible to prepare for how much it changes your entire life.

Do you ever feel like you love your child(ren) but you hate your life right now?

You are not alone!
Yes, it will change

But, what do you do in the meantime?

In this 60 min interactive workshop, Theresa Gulliver, Mother, Step Mother and Registered Therapeutic Counsellor, shares useful information and effective tools to help you find your joy as a mother.

Why?

Because, you deserve it!

When your well being is a priority your entire family benefits.
Find more peace with the challenges that are beyond your control & feel empowered to start making a shift where you can.

Your relationship to your challenges can be your greatest motivator.

Theresa’s goal is for you to seize every opportunity to heal and grow and be the best mother you can be – for yourself and for your family!

Sunday, April 8 from 6pm to 7pm.

Call Mothering Touch at 250-595-4905 to register for this free workshop. Or register online.

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Valentine’s Day Art Class with Baby

 

Start the tradition of creating art with your Baby for Valentine’s Day! Join Emily Grav, Artist and Owner and Director of The Paintbox School of Art to create some artistic memories with your baby.

Emily has chosen three projects for you and your baby to make together and they will make perfect gifts or keepsakes. You will make a clay foot print heart, a clay hand print picture frame and a finger painted print in your baby’s choice of colour!

This class is intended for babies age 4 months to around 18 months. Each baby will leave with 3 pieces of art. Please dress your baby in clothes that can get mucky or be willing to strip them down to their diapers – things may get messy!

The class is on Friday, February 9 and it will take about an hour to complete the projects – we are keeping short attention spans in mind!

The cost is $24 per baby and space is limited so register early! Cost is per baby, 1 or 2 parents are welcome!

Register online for the 1pm class here  or here for the 2:30pm class you can give us a call at 250-595-4905! (1pm class is full but there is still space in the 2:30pm class!)

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Sing! Sing! Sing!

These days, with the Christmas season approaching, it feels that all I do all day is singing and babies, babies and singing. Of course, babies and families are my work-work, but singing is my play-work and it takes over my life at this time of year. I sing in a choir and I am cast in a musical, and I will be singing for a few church services.

I sing because I love it, but also because I must. I must sing for my mental health, for my creative spirit, but also for my physical well-being. And I believe that singing to your babies is good for their mental health, their creative spirit and their physical well-being. And for yours too.

When you sing to your babies, you tell them that there is nothing to worry about (or why would you waste energy on song?). You master and regulate your breath and this relaxes your body and theirs. You share your feelings with them, joy or sadness.

When you sing to your babies, you expose them to long, often rhyming, rhythmic segments of language. This is such valuable input to someone who is trying to learn to speak! And the abstract words are combined with musical information about the emotions associated with those words. We know about the value of talking to your babies, but when that one-sided conversation starts to be difficult to maintain, sing!

When you sing to your babies, you give them information about their day. In the morning you sing getting-up-and-washing-your-face songs. When it’s time to go out you sing getting-into-your-car-seat songs. At changing times you sing diaper-changing-songs. And at bedtime you sing lullabies. Those musical snippets (Wagner called them leitmotifs) announce change, activities, moods, useful information for a baby who has no control over their day. It’s so much easier for them to go along with what you planned if you give them a little advance warning!

When you sing to your babies, don’t worry about how well you sing. Your enjoyment of and emotional commitment to the song is much more important that your vocal technique. Don’t pass a fear of singing on to your babies. As the days get shorter, and the winter cold keeps us indoors, pull out some old songbooks or cd’s from your childhood. Remind yourself of the lyrics you love and pass on a love of song!

~Eva

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Santa Claus is coming to Mothering Touch!

Mothering Touch is very lucky to be on Santa’s list of places to visit! He will be here on Friday, November 24 from 2 until 6pm and Saturday, November 25 from 2 until 5pm.

We are also lucky to have the fabulous photographer Amanda Haddow this year to photograph all those adorable little ones with Ol’ Saint Nick!

This event raises money for the Young Parents Support Network. So we ask for a donation of $5 which goes directly to them and you get your picture taken with Santa.

About a week after the event, Amanda will post on her website a gallery of all the photos.  You can find yours from this and download one for free. FOR AN EXTRA COST you will be able to purchase high resolution photos suitable for printing directly from AmandaHaddowPhotography.com

On these two days we also have a Christmas Shopping Sale. Almost everything in the store is 20% off, so get some shopping done while you are here!

Don’t call us to try and pre-register. You can only sign-up ON THE DAY. But Santa and Amanda are very quick and no one has to wait very long!

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Navigating Motherhood Gracefully ~Practical Tools to help you Thrive~

Free Workshop for Mothers
Free Interactive Workshop by Therapeutic Counsellor: Theresa Gulliver

Motherhood is challenging and children bring out our best and our worst.

Do you ever wonder:

– How to thrive as a mother and still take care of the needs of your child(ren)

– How to handle your emotions when they are high

– How you can be the best mom possible

What if motherhood was an opportunity to address some of your own personal challenges so they don’t surface in unhealthy ways and negatively impact your family?

 

In this 60 min interactive seminar, Theresa Gulliver, Mother, Step Mother and Registered Therapeutic Counsellor, shares useful information and helpful tools to help you navigate motherhood gracefully.

You will have an opportunity to learn and practise:

– Increased self awareness, self compassion and self love (which can thenbe naturally extended to those around you)
– Tools for effective communication
– The importance of authentic connection
– Positive personal coping mechanisms

 

Theresa’s goal is for you to seize every opportunity to heal and grow and be the best mother you can be – for yourself and for your family!

Register by phone at Mothering Touch
for this Free 60 min Workshop

Sunday, October 15 from 7:30 to 8:30 pm

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Bras Across The Pacific

 

I was recently reminded of a story about a grandmother-to-be…

Sheila (not her real name) came into Mothering Touch looking for a gift for her grandchild-to-be.  She was very excited at the prospect of becoming a grandmother.  As she wandered around the store, cooing over the cute baby clothes, she noticed our extensive collection of nursing bras.  She wondered if she could buy a nursing bra for her daughter Catherine who was 8 months pregnant.  We asked her if she could bring her daughter in to be fitted.  “No,” said Sheila, “she lives in Japan.”  We started to think about how to help her find a nursing bra in Japan, but Sheila said that Catherine is 5 feet 10 inches tall and needs a very large cup size, and is unlikely to find anything to fit her in Japan.  Sheila was going to visit Catherine in a week or so and would stay until after the baby came, and she would love to be able to bring Catherine a pretty and comfortable bra that fit properly.

So we got Catherine on the phone.  In Japan it was already the morning of the next day!  She was delighted to hear her mother’s voice and so happy to hear about the nursing bras.  She had been looking online, but had no idea what to choose or how to measure herself.  We explained how to do it. Catherine hung up and went off to measure herself and called us back a few minutes later.

From her measurements, and from Sheila’s description of her body type, we made a guess as to what size might work for her.  We told her about the different styles and she chose three different bras and a tank top which she wanted to try.  Sheila bought them and walked out the store proud as Punch about solving this problem for her daughter.

Six weeks later, Sheila was back from Japan with beautiful pictures of her cute little grandson.  She was so proud of him, but prouder still of her daughter who was breastfeeding.  “She’s such a wonderful mother!” Sheila had experienced one of those high points of parenthood: when you witness your child moving competently on into the next stage of life.

Of the bras Sheila had taken to Japan, two fit Catherine perfectly.  She brought the other two back and exchanged them for ones that would fit well.  Then she said: “Can you help me to choose cloth diapers for them?  Catherine would love to stop using disposables.”  We were happy to help.

We are always happy to help people become parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles. We love that our job involves helping families to welcome new babies, all around the world!

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Can One Man do the Work of Eight Women?

Imagine if you lived in the sort of small community most people lived in until 200 years ago. Imagine if you lived within a few meters of where you were born and your parents and your in-laws, your grandparents and aunts and uncles and siblings and cousins all lived nearby. (Imagine also – for the sake of argument – that they are all nice, kind people and you get along with all of them. That would make life a lot easier, but I know it doesn’t always happen.)

Now imagine that you have a baby. Even if your culture cuts your available help in half by limiting child-care to women and girls, you still have an amazing number of people to help you out. Your mother and mother-in-law and aunts are there to give you the benefit of their experience. (And in those days, child-care practices didn’t change like fashions with every new book some kook published!) Your sisters and cousins might also be having babies, and might be able to nurse your baby for you if you didn’t have enough milk, or had sore nipples, or just needed to sleep. There would always be someone around to chat with, someone to make supper, someone to hold the baby while you go to the toilet.

And the men, while they might not have washed the clothes or cooked the meals, would probably have helped by sitting around in the evenings and holding the baby. There would probably have been an old grandfather who couldn’t walk anymore who sat by the fire all day and was really good at patting babies to sleep. And as the babies got older, the younger men working nearby would have been fascinating for the toddlers to watch and imitate. (I remember when trades-people came to our house to repair something, how my kids would follow them around, gazing in awe and asking questions. Sure gave me a break!)

Nowadays, in Canada, we live in little boxes, little nuclear families, far away from the family and place of our birth. I often meet couples who are about to have a baby and have just moved to Victoria. I always feel for these isolated young things. I was like that once. My husband Randy and I moved to Edinburgh just two months before our second son Simon was due. We knew no-one. It was a very lonely experience. It was very hard on our relationship, and hard on Daniel, our toddler. Luckily, my mother came to stay, for a month around Simon’s birth, to do the work of many, cooking and cleaning and doing laundry and providing comic relief.

But even for new parents who are not living in such a completely new place, even if they have parents or siblings or other family living nearby, the expectation in our current society is that they are supposed to do this business of having a baby on their own. Our culture values independence and privacy and boundaries. It forgets to value support, companionship, belonging. And it makes for very lonely, depressed and anxious new parents.

I work with new mothers every day. I identify with them strongly and feel a lot of compassion for how difficult their job is. But I actually feel even sorrier for the new dads. (In the case of a LGBTQ couple, the non-stay-at-home, non-childbearing parent often has very similar challenges.) The Dad, without any experience of birth, babies or breastfeeding, has to do the work that used to be done by a mother, a mother-in-law, an aunt, three cousins and two sisters, not to mention the old grandfather and the fun young uncles. Not to mention the work that he has always done, contributing to the home and the family. No wonder he feels overwhelmed! And no wonder so many new mothers are dis-satisfied with the contributions their partners make to the work of a new baby. There is just no way he can do it all. One man cannot do the work of eight women.