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ParentFest 2019 – Friday May 31, 2-8pm

Family walking by the sea

ParentFest 2019 is our NEW annual Parent-Celebrating Event. On Friday May 31,  the day before the United Nations Global Day of Parents (June 1), Mothering Touch will be honouring and celebrating and pampering parents of all genders.

The Global Day of Parents “… was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2012… and honours parents throughout the world. The Global Day provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents in all parts of the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.”

Mothering Touch wants to join in this expression of appreciation, And so from 2-8 pm on Friday May 31, we will be having a party!

All day long, in our big activity room, all divided up into booths and dimly lit, practitioners of various modalities (massage therapists, acupuncturists, reflexologists, a yoga therapist, a photographer) will be offering their services for little 15 minute mini-treatments for $5 each. In the Nest, there will be delicious snacks and tea. We will have friendly doulas here to help host our guests, and to hold babies while parents have treatments. In the shop there will be a 20% off sale (on almost everything), live music, and free workshops!

In the afternoon, from 2-5pm, we want to focus on families with older babies and toddlers. Alyssa Klazek will be here with her guitar, playing for all of us, but also leading some sing-alongs. Because we want the whole family to come along to this event, we wanted to provide some activities for the older babies and toddlers too. So there will be bubble making equipment outside – next to the Valet Stroller Parking. And indoors, the two treatment rooms will be handed over to the babies – one to play in, and one to do some simple crafts – play dough and crayons.

In the evening, from 5-8pm, we would like to focus on expectant and pregnant parents, and very new families with tiny babies. Local doulas will be here to chat, and hold babies while parents get a massage, or some acupuncture. And in the centre of the store we are going to run free mini-workshops, hosted by our Mothering Touch practitioners – workshops on massage, reflexology and acupressure for labour, and on how to stay connected as a couple after you have a baby.

We hope parents in Victoria will come and join us to try out some new experiences, and that they will leave feeling pampered and appreciated! Happy Global Day of Parents!

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New Postnatal Yoga Program at Mothering Touch – Classes from Birth to Toddlerhood

Yoga for Toddlers

The Mothering Touch Yoga Teachers had a meeting a couple of weeks ago and decided to offer something brand new: A graded approach to Postnatal Yoga.

We realize that as parents recover from childbirth, as their bodies get stronger, they need more challenge. But they also need classes which accommodate their growing babies. A lovely, quiet, restorative class is great for someone who gave birth 6 weeks ago and has a peaceful new baby. But the more “senior” parent with the 5 month-old who has just learned to shriek, or roll, will feel out of place in that class. And the “advanced” parent, who gave birth almost a year ago now, needs a yoga class to come to where there is no judgement about a baby  who wants to poke the other babies in the eyes!

So we decided to set up a system to provide a Yoga Class for Every Parent!

Our first offering, for parents who are 6-15 weeks postpartum, is called Restorative Yoga for the Fourth Trimestre. It is a soothing, nurturing class, to help you come back into your body, and move with awareness as you recover from childbirth. Your little baby is welcome, and can lie along side, or on top of you, participating in some poses, or just napping.

Once your baby is more than 3 months old, we invite you to move on, to Postnatal Yoga for Strength. This class will focus on building strength, increasing stamina, reducing fatigue and releasing chronic tension in the spine. Babies from 3-9 months will be welcome, and expected, to make more noise, demand more attention, and be more distracting. But they will also be happy to be stimulated by the more active class.

After your baby starts to roll, creep, crawl and maybe even walk (9-15 months), we urge you to try the Postnatal Flow Yoga class. This more challenging class, will lead you through sun salutations, strengthening poses, and some restorative work, to get you in shape to keep up with your new toddler.  The instructor, and the other parents, will fully expect the interruptions created by

the mobile kids. But those interruptions are just the sorts of challenges you need to learn to overcome, if you are to have a regular yoga practice as a parent.

Finally, for parents whose toddlers have gotten big and strong, we have Yoga Despite the Toddlers. In this class the instructor will lead you through a flow, AND entertain the kids. You can get a yoga class in, without having to find childcare!

By now, your child has attended a lot of yoga classes. It’s time for them to get their own class. So as soon as they can follow some simple instructions – maybe by 18 months or so – you might like to try Yoga for Toddlers. This class is for the kids. The grownups can do the poses too, but it’s all aimed at helping the children develop a love of movement.

What will all these classes have in common? At that Mothering Touch Yoga Teachers meeting, we spent some time discussing the Mothering Touch Yoga culture. We all agreed, that we want our classes to be inclusive – so we make use of props to accommodate everyone regardless of their skill, level, ability, size. We want our teachers to be able to meet individual needs – so all classes start with a check-in. We want our classes to promote community – so they all in the round – participants can all see each other – there is no front or back row. We want parents to be able to feel comfortable in their bodies and feel supported in their search for balance and wellness as parents – so we make our classes as welcoming as possible to their children.

We hope you will come and join us in this unique new way to tell tell the story of your child’s first years through yoga.

(The New Graded Postnatal Yoga Program begins Monday April 29!)

 

 

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The Power of Community Acupuncture for Birth and Beyond

The first time I experienced Community Acupuncture was when I was living in South Korea. As a public school English teacher I received health benefits that included Chinese Medicine for a mere $5. After a friend’s recommendation I went to see her Doctor. I walked into a beautiful office and was lead into a large treatment room with beds and chairs all around, some with curtains for privacy and others open to the room. I was led to a bed and made comfortable. The doctor did my intake and the needles were carefully inserted. Meanwhile all around I could hear, see, and feel the other patients. The room was abuzz with all the healing patients were experiencing. It was such a unique experience for me at the time, having always seen a doctor in a private room. Here healing was not a private thing to be endured alone, but was a communal experience. Family members could be with their loved ones, and in their common desire to heal each patient offered a smile and nod to each other.

When I returned home it was several years before the first community acupuncture clinics began popping up in Vancouver. Though this model was slightly different, the decor was more western, no family members were around, and there were no curtains, the energy was still the same: the energy of people coming together to heal in community for an affordable price. It is important for us to be reminded that we are not alone on our journeys, that others also have difficulties and challenges. This can build our resilience. This is most crucial throughout the journey of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. This is a time when we need to find our inner strength and be supported by those who have walked the path before us and those who are walking it with us. Gathering together and sharing the experience of pregnancy; the joys, the worries, the aches and pains, the nausea, the flickering of fetuses, can make our experiences much richer and more bearable.

In the final weeks of pregnancy, as we prepare for birth we look to our sisters, mothers, friends, aunties and peers for support and reassurance. At this time community acupuncture can help your body prepare for birth. Cervical ripening, sometimes called pre-birth acupuncture, begins at 36-37 weeks gestation. It consists of a series of treatments given once a week, based on your unique experience. Specific points are chosen on the hands, arms, legs and feet to help support the body’s natural process of preparing for birth while balancing any discomforts that you may be experiencing with your pregnancy.

 

Some of the benefits of pre-birth acupuncture include:

  • Cervical softening/ripening/dilation
  • Increasing blood flow to the Uterus
  • Supporting, regulating hormonal levels leading up to labour, including enhancing oxytocin release
  • Calming the mind and balancing emotions – fear & anxiety prior to childbirth, post-partum depression
  • Encouraging optimal fetal positioning and/or addressing breech/posterior positioning
  • Potentially decreasing pain and exhaustion during labour
  • Enhancing efficiency of labour, and shortening active labour
  • Reducing the rates of medical interventions
  • Addressing ongoing issues throughout pregnancy such as musculo-skeletal pain, gestational diabetes, edema, anemia, etc.
  • Potentially a faster recovery, less complications following childbirth
  • Promoting lactation, supporting breastfeeding

Throughout my own pregnancy I received acupuncture for a variety of discomforts but it was the cervical ripening treatments in community acupuncture that allowed me to take the time and space to settle into my body, to be reminded of all the women who went before me and connect into all the support that existed in my own community. Research has shown that cervical ripening acupuncture can create a more effective and shorter labour with a reduced rate of medical interventions. My experience as a mother, doula and treating women in clinic supports these findings.

I am delighted to be offering community acupuncture at Mothering Touch on Friday afternoons from 2:00-5pm. I invite you to come and be apart of this affordable community healing experience.

 

Marika Reid Hall BA HDP RAc

 

References:

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

Rabl M, et al. (2001) Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a  randomised controlled trail. Wien Klin Wochenschr; 113 (23-24): 942-6

Tempfer C, et al. (1998) Influence of acupuncture on duration of labour Gynecol Obstet Invest; 46:22-5

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

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Put on your OWN oxygen mask!             

It’s become a well-worn cliche to say that you have to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others. But that doesn’t make it any less true. And it is the hardest lesson to learn when you become a parent. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your kids.

During pregnancy, parents are often quite good about self-care, going to exercise or yoga classes, acupuncture or massage. It’s easy to justify because caring for the pregnant parent means caring for the baby too. But once the baby is a separate person, moms often feel that spending time away from the baby and spending money on care for themselves is “selfish.”

My memory of those early years, is that when I went away and exercised or sang, or had coffee with a friend, or had a massage, I came back a kinder, more patient parent. I gave myself more generously for having been selfish for a couple of hours.

In order to encourage self-care among the parents in the Mothering Touch community, we have created a couple of treatment rooms, and we are offering various complementary therapies, provided by skilled and certified practitioners. Jenny Jackson, Registered Dietitian, is offering Nutritional Counselling. Jill Moran, Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Doctor is offering Acupuncture. Theresa Gulliver, Therapeutic Counsellor is offering Counselling Sessions. And  Dr. Shannon Dodson (who teaches our Prenatal Fitness Class) is offering Chiropractic for pregnancy, the postpartum, and for babies. In the next few months, we will add massage and reflexology to our roster.

You can book online from our website. Or you can call us and we will help you over the phone. and if you aren’t ready yet for your baby to be too far away from you, you could have your partner/sister/best-friend/mother-in-law sit in our lounge (we call it The Nest) and cuddle the baby while you have your special time in the lovely, peaceful, quiet, treatment room.

    ~ Eva

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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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Twenty to Twenty Four Weeks Pregnant

Twenty to Twenty-Four Weeks Pregnant

You are perhaps still enjoying the glowing middle months of pregnancy. Your little bump is growing bigger and your hair is thicker and you don’t feel sick anymore.

How you might feel between twenty weeks and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy:

  • As your baby and your uterus grow, they may take up some of the space your lungs are used to enjoying. This can contribute to a feeling of breathlessness. Let your care provider know if it happens a lot.
  • For some women, lying on their back as their uterus gets bigger is very uncomfortable and causes nausea or unease because it makes their blood pressure drop. This is why women are told to sleep on their side. For other women, sleeping on their side is difficult because they are not used to it, or they cannot make it comfortable. There is no evidence that it is necessary to avoid sleeping on your back. For a reassuring post on this click here.
  • You may experience changes in skin pigmentation. Your nipples and areolas may become darker. You may develop dark patches on the skin of your face and a dark stripe down your tummy. These are made darker by exposure to the sun. They will fade again after your baby is born.

Things you may do between twenty weeks and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy:

  • You might want to start thinking about baby names. This might be a good time to start a list. Baby name books are available in the shops or at the library. And there are lots of resources on-line. BC Vital Statistics provides a fun gadget here.
  • Your baby can hear now. Talk to her! Sing to him! Read stories out loud. Beat little rhythms on your belly. See if you can tell what kind of music or stories your baby likes best. You don’t have to sing lullabies or read kids stories, unless you want to. You baby is just as likely to enjoy opera or jazz or heavy metal. And if you or your baby’s other parent read the newspaper or a text book or a novel out loud, you will find that you can tell from your baby’s movements that he or she is listening.
  • Some women worry about their weight gain. In this middle trimester, you do tend to gain weight faster than in the first three months. About 0.2-0.5kg per week (1/2 a pound to a pound.) Remember, healthy eating is what you should focus on, not controlling your weight.
  • You might want to start finding places to have naps. The library? Your car? On the floor in your office? Sleeping for 15-20 minutes after lunch is wonderfully refreshing. Lie down, set an alarm and practice deep, slow breathing.

 Between twenty weeks and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every month at this stage
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • offer you a detailed ultrasound around 18 weeks to check for baby’s growth and development

Your care provider is one of your best sources of information.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • You may start to feel a lot hungrier. Make sure that you choose healthy, nutrient-dense snacks. It’s a good idea to carry a little package of raw almonds, or some whole-grain crackers and cheese to help get through the day.
  • Wear your seatbelt. The lap belt should be under your belly, low on your hips. The shoulder belt should go between your breasts. Your seatbelt will keep you and your baby safe in the case of an accident.
  • Keep up with regular physical activity. Prenatal yoga classes will take the needs of your growing and changing body into account. And they are a great place to meet other pregnant women.
  • If you have not yet joined the Pregnancy Happy Hour on Fridays evenings at the Mothering Touch Centre come and try it out!

Resources:

Healthy Eating: www.healthlinkbc.ca
Prenatal Yoga: www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week
Songs and Rhymes for Baby: www.wordsforlife.org.uk

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Is a Prenatal Class about Childbirth or about Babies?

Prenatal Childbirth Preparation for Doctors' Patients

This term we use – Prenatal Class – is confusing, isn’t it?

Some parents-to-be are fascinated by, or worried about labour and birth and are wanting to spend a lot of time talking about it. They come to our 12-hour, six-week Childbirth Preparation classes and are happy to spend most of the time on labour and birth, and practicing comfort measures and coping skills, and find that it’s great that we also spend two entire hours talking about babies and breastfeeding.

Other parents, who are more worried about how they are going to cope with the baby once it is out, feel they would like to spend more time talking about babies and breastfeeding.

It’s for this second group of parents that we have designed the Parenting the Newborn series. It’s a three-week, six-hour series in which a postpartum doula and breastfeeding educator takes you though two hours on baby care and two hours on breastfeeding, and then a First Aid Instructor comes and teaches two hours of Infant First Aid and CPR.

Many of our parents take both sets of classes. And we encourage this by giving parents a $15 discount if they sign up for both classes at the same time. (We also acknowledge that there will be a little overlap between the classes.) Some parents take only one, or only the other.

I would say, that if you take only one, the Childbirth Preparation Class is the one to take. Experiencing childbirth in a healthy and satisfying way takes knowledge and preparation. Labour and Birth happen all at once, in a big storm. There is little time to consider, or problem solve during labour. The learning and considering and deciding needs to happen before labour starts – even though you may change your mind during labour itself – in fact you probably will.

You can learn baby care and breastfeeding over several week and months. Babies are very patient with fumbly parents, and every parent figures out their own way through the challenges of of the first weeks. In fact, the hormones you make (yes, parents of all genders make hormones when they are around babies) will help you be more attentive and respond more sensitively to your baby.

At Mothering Touch, we believe in people’s basic ability to give birth and care for their babies. We want parents to feel well-prepared and well-supported, to feel satisfied with their birth experience and to be able to enjoy the first weeks with their baby. That is the goal of all our classes and groups.

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Sixteen to Twenty Weeks Pregnant

 

Sixteen Weeks to Twenty Weeks Pregnant

This is the best part of pregnancy for most women. The nausea and fatigue of the First Trimester are over. You may have gotten used to the idea that a baby is growing inside. You’ve made a few – maybe a very few – lifestyle changes and you feel good about that. You may have told others about the pregnancy and this helps you to adjust to this new identity.

How you might feel between sixteen weeks and twenty weeks of pregnancy:

  • You may be “showing” now. A little baby “bump” may be a source of pride. Some women feel it says “I’m pregnant – I’m not just gaining weight.” Other women feel shy about the pregnancy becoming obvious.
  • Most women start to feel the baby moving sometime in this period. At first you may just wonder if those are bubbles in your gut. Soon, you will recognize those flutters are the movements of your baby.
  • Some women may feel short of breath at this time. Your lungs are increasing in capacity, but your baby is also growing and taking up space. Shortness of breath and dizziness may also be caused by low blood pressure. These are a normal part of pregnancy, but if they distress you or prevent you from functioning well, do talk to you care provider about them.

Things you may do between sixteen weeks and twenty weeks of pregnancy:

  • Plan for your maternity leave. You will also want to look into Employment Insurance coverage for your maternity and parental leave.
  • Buy some maternity clothes. Your pre-pregnancy clothes may have reached the limit. And you may want something new that says “I’m pregnant.”
  • You may find yourself thinking about what kind of a parent you want to be. This is a good time to talk with your partner (if you have one) and or your friends and family about parenting styles and philosophies. Some good books include: Becoming The Parent You Want To Be: A Sourcebook Of Strategies For The First Five Years, by Laura Davis and Parenting From The Inside Out, by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell.
  • You may find yourself having very vivid (sometime scary) dreams. As your sleep is disrupted by the discomfort caused by your growing belly and your (seemingly) shrinking bladder, you are waking more often in the night and recalling more vividly, dreams which you might otherwise have forgotten. These dreams are common to pregnant women and reflect how seriously we take the changes that are coming in our lives.
  • Mood disorders – depression and anxiety – are just as common in pregnancy as in the postpartum period. Some sadness about the changes in your life, some sense of loss or anxiety about the future, these are normal feelings for this time in your life. If these feelings distress you or prevent you from functioning, do talk to your doctor or midwife about them. It is best to get help and support early.

 Between sixteen weeks and twenty weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every month
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • offer you the option of having an ultrasound scan around 18-20 weeks.
  • In BC, ultrasound technicians are forbidden by law to identify the baby’s sex. If the baby’s genitals were visible, the sex will have been included in the report sent to your doctor or midwife. If you want to know, you can ask your care provider.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • Continue to stay active. As you get bigger, take care of yourself before and during your workout.
  • Eat a small snack about an hour before your workout. The calorie boost will increase your energy.
  • Sip water throughout your workout. It’s especially important to stay hydrated while you’re pregnant.
  • Take extra care with exercises that require balance. Your body is changing rapidly, and you can feel especially off-kilter while running or doing step-aerobics.
  • Continue to experiment with nutritious food. As you become a family, you will find that cooking and eating together is an important part of taking care of the whole family. When you and your partner shop and cook together, you are practicing making a home for your baby.

Resources:

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Twelve to Sixteen Weeks Pregnant

Twelve Weeks to Sixteen Weeks Pregnant

You’ve come to the end of the First Trimester! You are now entering the Second Trimester – this is the time of the legendary glowing, energetic happy pregnant mama. Of course, that does not happen for everyone. For some, nausea and vomiting do not subside, and fatigue persists even after twelve weeks. This is very difficult.

How you might feel between twelve weeks and sixteen weeks of pregnancy:

  • Nausea and vomiting might start to get better.
  • Heartburn might start or get worse
  • Some women find their sex drive gets stronger at this time – estrogen from the placenta contributes to this.
  • Stuffy nose and nosebleeds
  • Sore back
  • Hair growth – all those growth hormones the placenta is making can make hair grow well on your head – and elsewhere.
  • Headaches. Acetaminophen may be ok (ask your care provider to make sure), but ibuprophen and aspirin are not safe for use in pregnancy. Try a cold compress on your forehead, taking a nap, or having a snack.

Things you may do between twelve weeks and sixteen weeks of pregnancy:

  • Because you are now passed the period of highest risk for miscarriage, this may be when you choose to tell friends and family about your pregnancy. This can be an exciting and happy thing. It can also create a lot of attention and make some women feel shy. Take your time, and tell your news at your own pace.
  • Pregnant women tend to spend a lot of time in the Second Trimester thinking about the baby (some call it daydreaming, or processing, or meditating), wondering what s/he will be like and how it will feel to be a parent.  Use that motivation to learn right now about baby care, and infant development. Some good books include, The Baby Book, by William & Martha Sears and Your Amazing Newborn, by Marshall and Phyllis Klaus.
  • This is alo a good time to learn more about breastfeeding. A good book would be Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Nancy Mohrbacher.
  • Consider having a doula at your birth.  A doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides physical, informational and emotional support and helps parents to have an easier and more positive childbirth experience.  You can learn more by clicking here.
  • Register for Prenatal Childbirth Preparation Classes.  It’s best to take these after 28 weeks, but you have to schedule them and register for them now or the class you want may not be available. 

 Between twelve weeks and sixteen weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every month at this stage
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • at this stage, you and your care provider will be able to hear the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • if your prenatal screening tests have shown positive results, you may be offered amniocentesis. You can read about that here.

You’re getting to know your care-provider now, and developing a relationship with him or her.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.  It’s so easy to forget.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • As the nausea starts to go away, experiment with new, nutritious foods.  You may feel hungry in a way you have not experienced before.
  • Keep up with regular physical activity.  As you get bigger around the middle, you may feel a little awkward in your regular classes and decide to join a pregnancy yoga, fitness or aquafit class.  Or not!  The best way to get exercise is to do what you love in an environment you feel comfortable with.  Don’t let anyone else tell you where that should be.
  • If you have not yet joined the Pregnancy Happy Hour on Fridays evenings at the Mothering Touch Centre come and try it out!

Resources:

Infant development: https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/babies-physical-development-0-6-months
Breastfeeding videos: https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/feeding
Doulas: http://www.doulasofvictoria.ca/
Doulas: http://doulamatch.net/
Genetic testing: 
http://www.perinatalservicesbc.ca/ScreeningPrograms/PrenatalGeneticScreening/family-resources/default.htm

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Eight to Twelve Weeks Pregnant

 

Eight to Twelve Weeks Pregnant

This business of explaining to people how far along you are in your pregnancy! When you have COMPLETED Eight weeks of pregnancy, you are in your NINTH week, but you are not nine weeks pregnant – yet

How you might feel between eight and twelve weeks of pregnancy:

  • Bloating
  • Nausea, vomiting, food aversions or food cravings
  • Intense fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Mood swings
  • Increased urination
  • Sensitive breasts and nipples
  • Breasts may grow and nipples and areola and sebaceous glands of the areola (little brown or pink bumps)get darker

Things you may do between eight and twelve weeks of pregnancy:

  • If nausea and vomiting are a problem, you may want to read up on remedies. Motherisk is a great resource and even has a forum where you can talk to other moms having trouble with this.
  • Your bra may start to feel tight. It may be time to get bras in a larger cup size. You don’t need a maternity bra – a well-fitted bra of any sort will do. If your bra’s cups still fit but the band it too tight around your ribs, ask for a bra extender.
  • You may feel that your pants are too tight, or that you don’t like anything tight around your middle – even though you are not “showing” a pregnancy bump yet. Bella Bands or other waist band extenders are available for that time before you actually need to buy new, maternity pants.
  • Some women have very few symptoms of pregnancy at this stage. They don’t have nausea, they aren’t showing yet and they sometimes worry: “Am I really pregnant?” This feeling will pass, with time, as your body start to grow to accommodate the baby.
  • Buy a pregnancy book or two. Our favourites include:
    • Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin
    • The New Pregnancy & Childbirth: Choices & Challenges by Sheila Kitzinger
    • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

 Between eight and twelve weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every four weeks at this stage
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • check your blood pressure
  • check your urine for protein and infection
  • discuss nutrition and food safety
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • after 10 or 12 weeks of pregnancy, you and your care provider will be able to hear the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device.
  • discuss work place safety with you
  • discuss genetic screening tests

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health: (Note that all the tasks below are just as important for the non-childbearing parent (the father or other parent) to undertake. The health of a child is affected by the health of the whole family, not just the mother’s.)

  • Talk, talk, talk with your partner about your plans as co-parents. This is a good time to work on your relationship and make it as strong and harmonious as possible.
  • Continue your normal physical activity routine. Unless you have some special risk, there is no need to reduce your activity.
  • Try a prenatal yoga or fitness class – a good place to meet other pregnant women
  • Avoid hot-tubs, steam rooms, saunas and hot yoga. Anything that raises your body temperature above 102°F or 38.9°C may put your baby at risk.
  • If you find yourself worrying about whether the risks of taking medication, or herbs, or  environmental toxins, you should of course, consult your doctor or midwife. But if you need the answer right now, try Motherisk.
  • Join the Pregnancy Happy Hour on Fridays evenings at the Mothering Touch Centre – “You don’t have to be showing to show up!”

Resources:

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Eight Weeks Pregnant

 

(There are lots of places online to read about how big your baby is, whether he can hear yet, or how long her fingernails are. Like BabyCentre.ca or Lamaze.org  We thought we would provide you with information on how it might feel for YOU the pregnant parent and a list of to-dos, for each month of pregnancy. Our culture’s convention is that pregnancy is 40 weeks long – which is 10 lunar months or 9 calendar months. Because most women seem to count their pregnancies in weeks, we will count in lunar – 28-day – months.)

Eight Weeks (the First Two Months)

The most confusing thing about being eight weeks pregnant is that you are only SIX weeks pregnant! Your pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last period, which can be confusing since that was probably two weeks before your egg and sperm met! But your doctor or midwife will count from there, so you might as well too.

How you might feel before Eight Weeks Pregnant:

You might think “Wow! It worked!” or “Oh no! What now?” or both. You might have some early symptoms of pregnancy – sore breasts, moodiness, cramping, a little spotting (implantation spotting around day 21-22 of your cycle is normal and nothing to worry about) – or you may have none of these.

Things you may do before Eight Weeks:

  • Tell people you’re pregnant – your partner? Your parents? Your friends? When do you tell them? How? It’s all up to you. There is no right way or right time to do it. Some women wait until the end of the First Trimester because of the small risk of miscarriage during this time.
  • Decide what kind of care-provider you would like – do you want a doctor or a midwife?
  • Find out about the family physicians in Victoria who provide maternity care with the Victoria Medical Society.
  • Find out about the midwives providing care in Victoria from the Midwives in Victoria, or from the BC Midwives Association. 
  • See your chosen care provider. If you can interview a couple or care-providers and decide who you like best, that is ideal. But often, given the demand in Victoria for midwives and maternity care doctors, there is not much choice.
  • If you live on Vancouver Island, you can register with Public Health online.

Before Eight Weeks of Pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • ask about your medical history and get to know you a little
  • examine you and weigh you and measure your height
  • check your blood pressure
  • check your urine for protein and infection
  • provide useful information about your health and safety (and those of your baby) during pregnancy
  • order blood tests to determine your blood type and to screen for a variety of diseases which can harm the baby (STI’s, HIV, rubella, Hepatitis B)
  • offer prenatal screening for genetic abnormalities You can read about this at Perinatal Services BC.
  • Ask your care-provider about getting a Pregnancy Passport to keep track of appointments, tests and results.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health: (Note that all the tasks below are just as important for the non-childbearing parent (the father or other parent) to undertake. The health of a child is affected by the health of the whole family, not just the mother’s.)

  • Start taking a pregnancy vitamin tablet with folic acid – ask your pharmacist for a recommendation.
  • See your dentist for a cleaning and a check-up. Make sure your teeth are healthy, it affects you own general health.
  • Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking recreational drugs – if you do.
  • Evaluate your exposure to environmental toxins in your workplace or your home and reduce it as much as possible
  • Improve your nutrition. Eat nutrient-dense foods, emphasizing whole grains, vegetable and fruit, lean protein and high-quality fats
  • Limit your intake of salt and caffeine
  • Be physically active on a regular basis
  • Start or continue a physical activity you can pursue during your pregnancy (yoga, swimming, hiking)

Resources:

  • Subscribe to the Lamaze International Weekly Pregnancy email for information on healthy birth practices, from nutrition during pregnancy to measures that will help you feel more comfortable during labour.
  • Baby’s Best Chance
  • Healthy Pregnancy BC
  • Motherisk Women and their healthcare practitioners wanting to learn more about the risk or safety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, chemicals, x-rays, chronic disease and infections during pregnancy and while nursing can contact the Motherisk program at SickKids. Motherisk is a clinical, research and teaching program affiliated with the University of Toronto.
  • Ready to quit smoking? Quit Now! 
  • Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy 
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Thirty-Six to Forty Weeks Pregnant

 

Thirty-Six to Forty weeks Pregnant

This is the last full month of your pregnancy. You may be winding up at work, finishing up projects at home. The baby is coming soon!

Although the baby is getting bigger and is almost ready to be born, it is not full term until 40 weeks. Although it is safe for a baby to be born at 37 week, most first babies are born after 40 weeks. And 40-week babies are bigger and stronger and often breastfeed better. Don’t start expecting the baby too early – it makes for a long wait!

 

How you might feel between thirty-six and forty weeks of pregnancy:

  • Your growing baby is using up almost all your resources. You may be feeling very tired at the end of the day.
  • Back pain, caused by the increasing weight of the baby and softening joints, may slow you down too.
  • Baby’s movements are not just kicks anymore, but feel more like stretches and rolls. Baby’s hiccups – a little, slow, pulse-like feeling, deep inside you – can feel odd.
  • You may find it difficult to sleep through the night, waking frequently to pee or to roll over. Try to take the sleep interruptions lightly. Stay relaxed. Sleep will come again soon.
  • Heartburn becomes (or is still) a problem.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions, also called pregnancy contractions, may start to become more intense. Remember your uterus contracts more if you are dehydated or over-active. Take it easy and have a glass of water if the tightenings start to bother you.
  • Feet and ankles may be swollen by the end of the day, or if the weather is warm.

Things you may do between thirty-six and forty weeks weeks of pregnancy:

  • Getting ready for your baby to come home. Washing clothes, tidying, installing car seat.
  • Cooking and freezing meals for after the baby comes.
  • Enjoy time alone with your partner! Go out for some meals, to the movies.
  • Buy nursing bras around 37-38 weeks. An experienced fitter can help you find a bra that will fit as your breasts get bigger when your milk “come in” around day 3 of your baby’s life.
  • Think about daycare? It sounds ridiculous, but if you are planning to go back to work outside the home after your maternity leave is over, you need to think ahead.
  • Think about the Fourth Trimester  (first three months of baby’s life) … Who will be available for physical support right after the baby is born? Partner? Birth-helper? Family? Friends? Post-partum Doula? All of the above?

 Between thirty-six and forty weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • Be seeing you once a week at this stage.
  • Weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain.
  • Check your blood pressure.
  • Check your urine for protein and infection.
  • Palpate and measure your abdomen.
  • Listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device.
  • Review test results.
  • Discuss breastfeeding, the importance of feeding early and often.
  • Newborn care in the hospital, including eye ointment, Vitamin K and newborn screening tests.
  • Infant sleep and safety
  • Postpartum moods and support
  • Options if pregnancy is prolonged – monitoring and induction.

Your care provider is one of your best sources of information.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • Might be a good time for a pedicure! Very relaxing, and totally justified when you can’t reach your feet!
  • Aquafit classes really help with swollen feet and legs, and backache. Or just go for a gentle evening swim.
  • Be aware of your baby’s movements. Although babies slow down in the last few weeks, they still move a lot! Keep track of times when you expect your baby to move. Note your baby’s daily patterns.
  • Keep working on perineal massage to increase health of perineal tissues and give you practice relaxing as perineum stretches.
  • Learn about Postpartum Mood Disorders.  What might it feel like?  Where can you find help if you need it?  20-40% of women are diagnosed with some mood disorder (anxiety or depression) after giving birth.  We’re pretty sure other women have the same feelings but never seek help.  Support makes it all easier to deal with.
  • Ask friends to throw you a shower where they all bring casseroles for the freezer or tell a friend about MealTrain (I think this is really cool!) and get them to set up a meal rotation for you after the baby comes.

Resources:

Finding a Doula in Victoria, BC: Greater Victoria Doula Directory

What to pack in your hospital bag: Packing for the Hospital.

Home Birth Supplies – an example: Access Midwifery, Victoria

Instructions for Perineal Massage: Perineal Massage in Pregnancy

Organizing friends and family to help with meals: Mealtrain.com

Learning about postpartum emotions: Pacific Postpartum Support Society

Coping with postpartum depression and anxiety: Healthy Families BC