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September

Mothers and Babies siting on the floor

Happy September!

Such a great times of new beginnings – school, work, fall harvests, Jewish New Year…

Here at Mothering Touch, we have a refreshed and renewed Calendar of Pre and Postnatal Yoga and Fitness for you and your babies and toddlers. Drop-in Classes are $16 – but if you buy a punch card of 10 classes, they are only $13 each!

Come and try out Prenatal Yoga – a great way to get in touch with your body and stay moving as your pregnancy progresses. Our Postnatal Yoga classes all welcome babies – and we have graded them, so that they become more challenging and strengthening as your baby gets older. And if you want something more up-beat, try our new Postnatal Strength and Stretch with Renee on Tuesdays! As your babies become toddlers, come and try out Yoga DESPITE the Toddlers (where the teacher guides the parents through poses, while distracting and amusing the kids), or Yoga FOR Toddlers (where the kids learn yoga too!).

Our Drop-In Baby Groups are starting up again too. For the first time in 15 years, we are raising the price on those – to a whole $3! It’s totally worth it, though, to sit with other parents whose babies are the same age as yours, and to hear their worries, their questions, and get their opinions and support with your concerns. It’s a great place to make new friends for this new chapter in your life.

Pregnancy Happy Hour is also a great place to make new friends. Friday evenings, from 5-6:30 (Don’t worry if work makes you arrive a little late – doesn’t bother us!) Pregnant people get together to chat about pregnancy and its highs and lows, along with an experience childbirth educator/doula who can answer questions and help find resources. We laugh a lot!

Motherhood Circle is starting up again too. This weekly, registered therapeutic group is for women who want to explore their experiences as new mothers and build community in a supported and nurturing environment. Theresa Gulliver, a therapeutic counsellor, runs the groups with sensitivity and skill. And if your baby is now over a year, join Theresa for Motherhood Circle 2.0 and explore the challenges and joys of the toddler years.

At the end of the week, on Fridays from 2-5pm, our acupuncturist, Marika Hall, runs a Community Acupuncture clinic. It’s a great place to get some TLC after a long week of work! The discomforts of pregnancy and of the postpartum body can be alleviated in the comfy zero-gravity chairs. If your pregnancy is coming to its end, cervical ripening acupuncture can help labour start in good time, or help a scheduled induction work more smoothly. If your baby has been born, bring them along. Marika is happy to work around your baby as you hold, cuddle or nurse.

September – so many riches – so much to try. Come and join us, and experience the support of the Mothering Touch!

 

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August

A beach near a lake, in the summer.

We are in the lazy, hazy days of summer.

The store is a quieter place. Many of our clients and our instructors are away on holidays, visiting family. So we cancel some classes. Right now, Monday Baby Massage, Monday Afternoon Postpartum Restorative Yoga, Wednesday Morning Postpartum Yoga, Motherhood Circle and Community Acupuncture are all on hiatus.

Our Baby Groups have been running until this week, but will be cancelled for the last two weeks of August. Pregnancy Happy Hour has been cancelled all summer, but will be back in the fall.

I’ve been travelling more than usual too. I was away at Music camp for a week last month, and later this month I have some trips planned to Toronto and Montreal to visit my kids, and other family. While I am away, Linda is planning to hold our annual “The Boss is Away Sale.” All sorts of cool things, baby carriers, diaper bags will be discounted, so that we can clear them out and make way for new Fall products.

But eventually, the summer will be all used up. The evenings will shorten again, Labour Day will come, kids will head back to school, and we will follow suit.

As of September 2nd, we will start up our new Fall Drop-In Schedule. All Groups will be back up and running. And from September 8-13 we are going to run a special “Bring a Friend for Free” promotion. All drop-in yoga and activity classes and all drop-in groups will welcome your AND a friend for the price of one! So start thinking now of all the friends you want to bring to Mothering Touch that week.

But for now, enjoy the rest of the easy living of summertime. Don’t rush the fall. It will come in its own time…

 

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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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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

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We have a new floor!

2015-10-31 18.12.27

On the morning of October 31, Victoria had a record-breaking rainfall. More rain feel within a six-hour period than has ever been recorded since we started recording such things. And some of that rain leaked through the roof of our building at 975 Fort Street and seeped down the inside of the wall and flooded the floor of our Activity Room and The Nest at the back of Mothering Touch.

2015-10-31 18.12.38

The laminate flooring had to be ripped up and discarded, and big fans had to be brought in to dry up the walls and the concrete floor. The Saturday Childbirth Class still ran, on a slightly soppy floor. The Sunday and Monday classes ran at alternate locations (our house and that of my parents-in-law – Thank You Murray and Eleanor!) By Tuesday we had the foamy floor we use for the Baby Fair set up in the Activity Room, and we brought some of the large rugs from our house to make the room seem a little less cavernous. Childbirth Preparation Classes and Parenting the Newborn kept running, but Yoga and other activities and the Baby Groups could not run in the room as it was.

2015-11-13 16.28.32

Yesterday and today, a new vinyl-plank floor was installed. We still have to do some work on the walls and the baseboards, but the Activity Room and The Nest are functional again! I am so grateful for insurance and for restoration professionals, and for our lovely landlord who is being very supportive. I am grateful also to our customers and clients who have been understanding and patient with us as we went through this ordeal.

I look forward to seeing you all at Baby Groups next week. Yoga classes will begin again on Sunday morning. Dads’ Group is back on too. Life will be so much more fun and animated around here!

Have a good weekend! ~ Eva

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Twenty-Four to Twenty-Eight Weeks Pregnant

Twenty-Four to Twenty-Eight Weeks PregnantTwenty-Four to Twenty-Eight Weeks Pregnant

You are coming to the end of the Second Trimester. Almost two-thirds of the way through your pregnancy!

How you might feel between Twenty-Four and Twenty-Eight Weeks of pregnancy:

  • The hormones of pregnancy soften everything up, your ligaments as well as your emotions. You may find that you are much more tender-hearted. You may feel weepier and more sensitive to negative events in your life. But you may also find that you feel much more loving and attached to your partner and your baby.
  • The softness in your joints may lead to increasing clumsiness. You may find yourself bumping into things as your tummy grows, and your extra weight shift you off balance.
  • Loosening ligaments may also cause you to experience a sharp pain in the middle of your pubic bone when you get in or out of bed, or the car, or when you are walking or rolling over.  This may be Pelvic Girdle Pain or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. Mention it to your care-provider. Keep your knees together when rolling over or getting out of bed or the car. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs. Things that may help: warm bath. ice pack on pubis, acupuncture, physiotherapy.

Things you may do between Twenty-Four and Twenty-Eight Weeks of pregnancy:

 Between Twenty-Four and Twenty-Eight 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 urine for protein and infection
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • offer you RhoGAM at 28 weeks if your blood is rhesus negative
  • offer screening for gestational diabetes

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:

  • Rub your tummy with coconut oil or a lovely-smelling lotion to relieve the itchiness caused the the stretching of your skin. Lotions of oils can feel nice, but they will not prevent stretch marks. Some kinds of skin just get them. It’s a genetic tendency. There are no miracle cures. Gaining weight more slowly and gradually may help lessen the effect. Remember, the marks start out purplish, but will fade with time to be much less noticeable.
  • Take care of your legs before bedtime to prevent cramps in your calves at night.  Stay hydrated, warm legs up before bed with a bath or heating pad, do stretches and ankle circles, massage calf muscles. If you get a cramp anyway, flex your foot in response, breathe out, stand up and walk around. Ask your care-provider about taking extra calcium and magnesium. If your leg is swollen, please tell your care-provider. It could be a blood clot.
  • Focus on sources of iron in your diet: red meat, eggs, leafy greens, legumes, beans and nuts. Remember that combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C helps absorption.
  • Keep up with regular physical activity. Prenatal yoga or exercise classes will take the needs of your growing and changing body into account. And they are a great place to meet other pregnant women.

Resources:

Rhesus Negative: Healthy Families BC and HealthLink BC

Pelvic Girdle Pain: HealthLink BC,  BC Women’s Hospital, www.nhs.uk

Leg Cramps: HealthLink BC

Symptoms in Third Trimester: Health Families BC

Stretch Marks: www.nhs.uk

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Yoga for Labour and Birth

 

exp-yoga

Come and try out our Monday night Drop-In Class taught by Yoga Teacher and Therapist and DONA-trained Birth Doula, Ann-Kathrin Martins.

Yoga for Labour and Birth focuses on preparing, toning and stretching muscles and joints which will be supporting and working for you through labour. We will practice yoga postures for various stages of labour. We will practice relaxation and breathing techniques as well as visualization, affirmations, mantras and helping the mother learn self-healing methods to allow for mind/body/breath connection.

Yoga for Labour & Birth is suitable for mothers at any stage of pregnancy who are ready to think about and prepare for labour and birth.

Monday Evenings : 5:15pm – 6:30pm

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Yoga & Preparing for Childbirth

Yoga is an excellent form of exercise in pregnancy.  While gently stretching and exercising the body it also quiets the mind.  Prenatal Yoga classes are carefully planned to include postures (aasanas) which as safe for the pregnant woman and her baby within.  The principles of yoga include a respect of and compassion for the body and its troubles and limitations.  Through prenatal yoga, a pregnant women learns to listen to her body and treat it gently.  She learns to respect her body’s strength and resilience.  She learns to relax and breather and quiet her mind, important skills for coping with the stress and sleeplessness of pregnancy and parenting.  Although few scientific studies of yoga in pregnancy have been carried out, those that have (like this one from Bangalore, India) show positive effects of yoga on both mother and baby.

For a woman who has been very active and fit before she became pregnant, prenatal yoga may not feel strenuous enough in the first and second trimester.  An active woman with a low-risk pregnancy is encouraged to maintain her usual activities as long as she can through her pregnancy.  But even a very fit woman will find, sometime around her 6th or 7th month, that she is feeling a little heavy and a little slow, and that a more relaxing form of exercise would be welcome.

Besides exercise and relaxation, prenatal yoga provides pregnant women with a place to meet other women who are at the same stage in life.  Meeting and talking to other pregnant women is important in a woman’s development of her identity as a mother-to-be.  It helps her to feel pregnant.  It also helps her to realize that she is not alone in her experience, that other women are having the same sensations and emotions.

Click here to read about the pre and postnatal yoga and fitness options available at The Mothering Touch Centre.

* This article is an update to our post from September 2010.

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My First OFFICIAL Blog Post

Well, of course, I have been blogging for years: writing short essays for my website on topics that I hoped would be useful to my clients and my colleagues.  But now Mothering Touch has an actual Official Blog.  This is a little intimidating.  And yet, so much happens here every day of the week, I should never have trouble finding something to write about.

Right now, in the big activity room, Do Stier, a Doula Trainer for Vancouver, is running our annual DONA-International Post-Partum Doula Training.  Fifteen enthusiastic and caring women are learning how to help mothers and families in the Post-partum period (the first six weeks after birth).  Last week I ran a DONA-International Birth Doula Training and twelve new birth doulas have now joined our birthing community.  One of my trainees, came from as far away as Edmonton!

A couple of moms with their babies, on a stroll downtown, have popped in to nurse on the comfy brown couches in our smaller back room.  That back room – officially called the Resource Room (now "The Nest"!) – is one of my favourite things about this place.  We planned it as a room for breastfeeding consultations and private prenatal classes.  It houses our lending library which contains books and DVD’s on pregnancy, breastfeeding and early parenting.  The room also gets used for meetings of local community organization, like the Doulas of Victoria or Breastfeeding Matters.  And on most days, a few mothers and fathers and babies find their way there for a quiet time and a peaceful breastfeeding moment.

Tonight, when we’ve tidied up from the four-day doula training, there will be a prenatal yoga class in the Activity Room.  Elke will lead the lovely round-bellied moms through invigorating and then relaxing poses.  After that, I will teach the fourth class of six-week Childbirth Preparation Class for Doctors’ Patients.  Having spent the last three weeks learning about childbirth and natural self-help and coping measures for labour, tonight we will examine pain medications and other medical interventions.  I look forward to seeing this group of excited parents-to-be, whose questions and curiosity always make the evening lively.

I hope this this blog can become an extension of our store – a place where new and expectant parents can be sure of a friendly welcome and balanced information.  We hope you’ll visit us often.

– Eva