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.
As baby gets bigger, the issue of how you are going to get the baby out may start to feel more relevant. Many mothers find that they become quite preoccupied with planning and daydreaming and thinking about their impending labour. Talk to your partner or birth helper, meet with your doula. This is a good time to be taking childbirth classes.
How you might feel between thirty-two and thirty-six weeks of pregnancy:
Your growing belly and growing baby are putting more strain on your body. You may start to feel quite weary, especially towards the end of the day. Napping is a useful skill to start cultivating now!
Back pain, caused by the increasing weight of the baby and softening joints, may get worse. Consider seeing a massage therapist, physiotherapist or chiropractor.
Baby is moving a lot. The baby’s movements may keep you up at night, or wake you up even. Baby’s hiccups – a little, slow, pulse-like feeling, deep inside you.
As baby moves, and your back hurts, and you get less exercise during the day, you may start to find it difficult to sleep at night. Try having a high-protein snack before you go to bed. Practice your breathing exercises and isten to soothing music. Think of it as free time to rehearse for labour.
Constipation may become a problem. Remember to eat lots of high-fiber vegetables and whole grains. Make sure you drink enough water too.
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.
Things you may do between thirty-two and thirty-six weeks weeks of pregnancy:
Planning for your baby’s birth. What is really important to you about the experience of giving birth? Where will you give birth?
Consider your preferences and values with regards to your baby’s birth. How would you like things to go? How would you like to cope with labour pain? What interventions would you like to avoid, if possible?
Discuss your birth preferences and values with your partner or birth-helper.
Gather home birth supplies and/or start to pack your hospital birth bag.
Are you having the support of a doula? You will probably meet with her in this month, if you have not already done so.She will want to know about your plans and preferences for your baby’s birth so that she can help you carry out those plans.
Plan for the postpartum period. Who will help with household tasks after you have the baby? Who will visit? How much time will your partner take off?
Between thirty-two and thirty-six weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:
Be seeing you every two-three 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.
Palpate and measure your abdomen.
Listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device.
Review test results.
Check the position of your baby to screen for breech presentation (bum first) or other variations in presentation.
Offer screening for Group B Strep.
Provide you with information about how to reach your care provider when you do go into labour.
Provide information about when yo go to the hospital – if that is where you are having your baby.
Discuss the possibility of a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) if you had a Caesarean at the end of your last pregnancy.
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:
Pay attention to self-care. Take time for a massage or acupuncture session.
A very large amount of calcium is transferred to the baby in the third trimester. Focus on good sources of calcium: dairy, tofu, leafy greens, dried fruit and nuts.
You may want to start doing some perineal massage to increase health of perineal tissues and give you practice relaxing as perineum stretches.
Aquafit classes or swimming really help with swollen feet and legs, and backache.
Starting on January 6, 2014, Monday is going to be Massage and Relaxation Day!
Registered Massage therapist, Sylvie Gilbert, is going to be offering Prenatal Massage in The Nest (our cozy back room) on Mondays between 10am and 5pm. She is going to bring her massage table and her prenatal pillow which allows tired, achey pregnant moms to lie on their tummies. You can book appointments with her (1 hour for $85) through our front desk.
From 11:30 to 12:30, on Mondays, Sylvie will take a break from massaging mommies, to teach Baby Massage to new parents. Babies LOVE massage. The best age to start is sometime after 6 weeks. Babies who get regular massage from 6 weeks or so, will love to be massaged for ever. But babies who have never had massage, may not be interested if you introduce it after they learn to crawl – they are too busy! So our class is best suited for babies from 6 weeks to 8 months.
From 5:15 to 6:30 on Mondays, Sylvie, who is also an experienced HypnoBirth teacher and doula, will be teaching a drop-in Self-Hypnosis and Relaxation for Birth class. Learn how to control relaxation and ease tension and pain through visualization and self-hypnosis for childbirth techniques. Tension, shallow breathing, stress and fear all create chemical reactions in our bodies via the sympathetic nervous system. This creates an unproductive fight or flight response that elevates our perception of pain and decreases our natural sedative endorphins.
Learn easy and simple methods to control stress and tension during childbirth. Reduce the risk of complication and prevent excessive pain while promoting the release of endorphins and oxytocin.
Enjoy guided visualization techniques for a full body relaxation. Each week you will learn to master your own ability to meditate, breathe and relax during childbirth. Become efficient at responding to stress and pain with effective visualization techniques. Take what you learned and practice at home or drop in weekly.
Imagine how chill and relaxed we’re going to be on Mondays from now on!
Pregnancy Happy Hour – our drop-in group for pregnant women on Friday evenings from 5-6:30 – is one of my favourite times of the week. I love sitting with the moms-to-be and chatting about how they are feeling, how their lives are changing through the pregnancy. I love hearing their questions and helping them to find answers. I love how the moms bond with each other and form friendships which see them not only through the pregnancy, but on into motherhood. We talk about the joys and challenges of pregnancy, their concerns and plans about labour and birth and their dreams for motherhood.
One of the things I think helps the group work really well, it that it’s just for women. Groups of women often achieve intimacy very quickly, and Pregnancy Happy Hour is no exception. But I am often asked by the women and their partners, if the partners couldn’t be invited along to the group sometimes, as a special event. And I though Valentine’s Day was a good time for that to happen.
So on Friday February 15, we are inviting the partners to come to Pregnancy Happy Hour and we are going to have a special guest. Michele Mork of West Coast Reflexology will be coming to teach us all some fabulous foot massage techniques. And lest you think this is just a sneaky way to get our partners to rub our feet, I assure you, the partners will get their feet rubbed too. After all Valentine’s is about spreading the love to ALL.
Pregnancy Happy Hour costs $2, and we will put out a donation jar for contributions to Michele’s fee. A $5 contribution (per couple) is suggested.