Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘complementary therapies’ Category

Guest blog written by Joanne Marie who is a qualified reflexology practitioner trained in maternity and baby reflexology.

Baby reflexology is a simple soothing treatment loved by parents and babies too. This relaxing fuss free treatment can be used anywhere and when combined with massage it is a real baby treat!

Reflexology is a natural complimentary therapy using finger and thumb pressure on points on the feet and hands that correspond to all parts of the body. The treatment is relaxing and calming for adults and babies alike, so if you love massage yourself or want to learn a simple, effective skill then take a look at Baby reflexology. This technique is a specially modified form of reflexology designed especially for babies, infants and toddlers.

Baby reflexology is a simple and enjoyable skill to help you and your baby manage day to day difficulties and common problems. It does not diagnose or treat illness and is not a replacement for medical care. Always consult your babies G.P. or your health visitor if you are concerned about their health.

Reflexology for babies and children was developed by a physiotherapist after 15 years of research into the effects of reflexology on children with asthma. They found that children were more relaxed and slept better and this helped them to better manage the problems associated with their asthma.

If you prefer using natural remedies for yourself and your family then reflexology for babies gives you a natural fuss free option. You just need to be able to touch your baby’s feet. You can use it at any time and in any place. In a restaurant, out shopping, visiting friends for a cuppa and a chat, at 4 a.m. in the morning!  Just about any time you need to help soothe and calm your baby.

Baby and infant reflexology and massage are beneficial for you and your baby in so many ways. Being a new mum can sometimes seem like a never ending cycle of feeding and dirty nappies. Massaging your baby gives you a time when you can relax and be together. Baby reflexology can help you to feel more confident caring for your baby and promote a sense of security and understanding for you both.  Baby reflexology is a lovely way to bond with your baby.  It’s not just for mums, I find that dads love learning baby reflexology and it’s a wonderful way to help them feel positive about their ability to soothe their baby.

It is never too early to start baby reflexology but beware your baby’s feet may be sensitive after their heel prick test at around 5 days old.  It can be enjoyed at almost any time but after their immunisations please wait 48 hours before doing reflexology.

A basic routine lasts only a few minutes and can be easily fitted into your day. It is best to practise at a time when you and your baby are feeling calm. You don’t need to lie your baby down, you just need to be able to comfortably hold and massage their feet.  I recommend using a solid balm for baby reflexology and massage as it’s much easier than risking spilling liquid oils. Bee balm works well, but if you are out and about you can still do reflexology with no oil or balm.

Here is a very basic routine to get you started.  You can learn specific techniques to meet your baby’s needs from a qualified instructor.

1: Hold both feet gently but steadily. Speak to your baby about what you are doing; this helps them to become familiar with the routine as they will learn to associate the word reflexology with the experience.  It also later allows your baby to refuse if they do not want reflexology at that time.

2: Rub the feet all over.  Long sweeping strokes work well, but you will find your own preferred method.

3: Glide your thumb or finger gently but firmly up the base of the foot from the heel to the base of each toe. These lines are the five zones of each foot.

 

4: Massage the tops of the feet from the toes to the ankles by rotating your thumb in circles moving across the foot. With smaller babies you may prefer to use the pad of your finger rather than your thumb.

5: Massage each toe in turn, circling the base of the toes and gliding down the front.

6: Massage the base of each foot using thumb circles. Move from the heel up to the toes until the whole foot area has been massaged.

7: Finish with a lovely rub all over the feet.

Your baby may want to kick their legs during the routine. This is fine; you don’t need to hold into their feet all the time and it’s better to let them kick. As they become familiar with the reflexology and how it feels they will start to remain a little stiller.

A few minutes of reflexology can be enough to be effective so please don’t worry if you baby only lets you do one or two techniques.  Gentle pressure is all you need, similar to wiping your baby’s skin clean.  Find a hold or cuddle that suits you and your baby, relax and enjoy.

Video showing baby reflexology techniques can be viewed here:

http://www.breathetherapy.co.uk/reflexology-for-babies/

Joanne Marie is a qualified reflexology practitioner trained in maternity and baby reflexology.  She manages and works as a therapist at Breathe Holistic Therapy Kidderminster.  DY115LB.  Joanne has a ten year old son who can regularly be heard asking his mum for reflexology!

www.breathetherapy.co.uk

 

 

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A guest blog written by Moira D’Arcy, Women’s Health Physiotherapist at St Judes Clinic, Leighton Buzzard.

Protecting Your Back During Pregnancy

During pregnancy changes in your body can affect your back and your posture.  As the weeks pass your weight is no longer centred in the middle of your pelvis but moves forward with the weight of the growing baby.  For most women their posture adapts to compensate for this shift and you may find yourself either slumping forward and flattening out the curve in your low back, or counter balancing the weight by leaning back, at your upper body, which leads to a greater curve and a shift of your weight on to your heels.  The muscles of your back, lower abdomen and your pelvic floor are designed to move and stabilise the joints in your back and pelvis but as your baby grows they are put under more potential strain.  This, along with the adaptations you may make to your changing shape, combined with hormonal (hormones are chemicals that carry messages around your body) changes that loosen the ligaments around the pelvis, can result in low back pain, upper back pain, pubic bone discomfort and general postural strain.

What can you do to reduce those risks?

Stand Tall – imagine that someone is making you feel taller by pulling a string attached at the back and top of your head at the same time as you tightening your tummy muscles and pelvic floor as much as you are able.

Sit Correctly
– make sure your back is well supported. You may prefer a dining chair to a soft chair or sofa.  Placing a small rolled up towel in the hollow of your back may help if you are finding your back is adopting a flattened posture.

Avoid Heavy Lifting
– Your loosened ligaments make them vulnerable so ask for help whenever possible.  If you do have to lift, make sure you hold the object close to your body, and bend your knees rather than your back.  If you are shopping divide your goods into equal loads for each hand.

Wear Comfortable Shoes
– Generally, if you are finding the curve in your low back increasing, flat shoes may be more comfortable as heels will accentuate the curve.

Adapt The Way You Carry Out Your Chores
– eg when vacuuming stand in a walking position, with the Hoover in front of you, then move your feet to the next area and Hoover in front of you again.  Don’t be tempted to push it so far away from your body that you end up bending and twisting your back.

Exercise Regularly
– but unfamiliar routines may damage the joints that loosen during pregnancy so it is wise to seek advice if you are unsure of the suitability of your exercise regime. The most appropriate forms of exercise include swimming, walking, aqua natal classes, Pilates and yoga.  It is important that the instructor is qualified or experienced in teaching pregnant women.  If you are experiencing pelvic girdle pain, or symphysis pubic dysfunction, then always seek advice from a Chartered Physiotherapist prior to beginning any exercise.

You can reduce the risks to your pelvic area and pubic joint by:

 

  1. Standing evenly on both feet.
  2. Sitting on both buttocks and not crossing your legs.
  3. If you have other small children don’t carry them on one hip.
  4. Avoid movements where you are swinging your leg sideways, for example when you get in and out of bed, or a car, turn your hips, pelvis and back in the same direction, while keeping your back straight, so you are moving as a whole and not twisting.

Once your baby is born there is a period of time, while your hormones re-adjust and you resume your usual tasks, when your spine remains susceptible to damage.  This may even be increased by a busy, unfamiliar schedule involving lifting and carrying car seats and prams, combined with feeding postures, picking baby up from their crib and carrying them. It is important to protect your back in the same way you did when you were pregnant.

If you find you cannot resolve your discomfort with this simple advice seek the help of a Chartered Physiotherapist who will be able to identify your specific problems and aggravating activities.  They can then provide you with a tailored programme that will fit in with your schedule.  They can also advise and provide you with supports to relieve/reduce low back pain and pelvic girdle discomfort. 

This information is provided by St Judes Clinic and is intended as general advice during and after pregnancy.  For more detailed advice please book an assessment with us or seek further medical advice from your GP.

Moira D’Arcy  Grad Dip Phys MCSP AACP APPI

Practice Principal

St Judes Clinic

26 Lake Street

Leighton Buzzard

LU7 1RX

Tel: 01525 377751

E-mail: enquiries@stjudesclinic.com

http://www.stjudesclinic.com/health/pregnancy/

Guest blog by Susan Quayle

I became interested in reflexology about fifteen years ago when I bought Laura Norman’s book, The Reflexology Handbook: A Complete Guide. At the time my sister-in-law was pregnant and had morning sickness so badly that she was bed ridden and under threat of hospitalisation. I got my book out and looked up morning sickness in the back and worked the reflexes it showed – having no real idea of what I was doing – and the result was instantaneous. She felt much better than she had for weeks.

It would be a further twelve years before I would work on feet again but this time it would be to train as a reflexologist. About a year after I’d qualified I received an email asking if I would be interested in attending a course in Maternity Reflexology. By this time I’d had two children and was the bearer of double C-section scars so was very interested in what maternity reflexology could offer the pregnant woman. I went along to the course expecting something amazing but not  really prepared for the actuality of how utterly brilliant reflexology is for pregnancy and labour. I came away thinking that Maternity Units were crazy not to have maternity reflexologists working alongside midwives or midwives trained as maternity reflexologists.

Reflexology is fabulous for for everyone but is utterly perfect for pregnancy and labour. They really go together like, like….mother and baby!

Apart from the very serious conditions that are potentially life threatening to mother and/or baby there isn’t a pregnancy related condition that can’t be alleviated and, more impressively, prevented with reflexology. Because pregnancy isn’t an illness but a temporary condition the usual parameters relating to conditions such as oedema, constipation and other digestive related problems, even gestational diabetes, are different from at any other time and if caught in time respond extremely well to reflexology. I say caught in time because some conditions such as oedema need to be treated early as they worsen on a daily basis.

During a treatment mums drift off into deep relaxation, babies squirm excitedly before relaxing with mum into a blissful baby/mummy zone of bonding. During this relaxation blood pressure reduces, energy is restored and reserved, anxiety levels drop and a sense of self and safety permeates the body. Reflexes are worked to balance the internal organs and systems of the body and allow the free flow of blood and energy to every cell of their being. I am always amazed at how early in pregnancy it is possible to feel the subtle changes that take place in the mother’s body – usually the liver and spleen reflexes as the volume of blood increases to produce the growing baby’s blood supply.

I have had many successes with morning sickness, heartburn and fatigue, SPD, constipation, reducing blood pressure, oedema, early onset labour (this treatment was to stop labour at 33 weeks), re-starting labour 5 hours after it had stopped, lack of sleep, discomfort, positive mental attitude toward the growing baby and also toward the mother’s own body image. Regular treatments can also result in a faster labour with less need for pain relief – studies have been done to back up these claims. Women I have treated with regular treatments feel very in touch with their babies and their pregnancies, they tend to say that their labour was easier than previous ones and that they felt more relaxed about the whole experience. They also say that their babies are very relaxed and laid back and that both mother and baby have found breast feeding much easier than in previous births. Reflexology promotes healthy pregnancies, healthy mothers, faster births often with less need for pain relief, happy mothers and happy babies.

I often feel great sadness that I didn’t know about maternity reflexology when I was pregnant as both my birth experiences were over-medicalised and with the use of reflexology might not have been. So this is the message that needs to get out there to all pregnant women – there is help out there to complement and work alongside normal medical practices. You are not ill – you are pregnant and you are doing what your body was made to do. Reflexology can help you to have a happy, healthy pregnancy and baby.

Susan Quayle is a Complementary Therapist based at the Exeter Natural Health Centre in Devon. She is a founder member of Maternity Reflexology South West who work tirelessly to promote maternity reflexology. She lives with her husband, two children, cat and chickens.

To find out more about her visit her website at http://www.lovereflexology.co.uk

Introduction to Homoeopathy – Ursula Kraus-Harper

Thursday 17th June 8 – 9.30 pm

Talk at NCT event Medbourne Community Sports Pavilion, Pascale Drive, Medbourne

Milton Keynes Antenatal Exhibition

Sunday 20th June,

2-4.30 pm FREE entry,

Christ the Cornerstone Church, CMK opp M&S bit.ly/dBsLmL 300 Saxon Gate West, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 2ES.

FREE entry, refreshment and goody bags. An opportunity for expectant parents to gather information on all aspects of pregnancy, birth and early parenting. Exhibitors include: midwives, breastfeeding, waterbirth, cloth nappies, complementary therapies, ultrasound scan, baby massage, aquanatal and much more!

Please contact me info@3shiresmidwife.co.uk for more details.

Pregnancy sickness is awful and can occur at any time of the day, although early morning is a common time; it may help to remember that feeling sick is actually a good sign that your pregnancy hormone levels are high.

Sickness can start before you miss your first period, but it’s typical to feel much better after three months however a few unlucky women feel sick throughout the whole of their pregnancy.

Nausea & vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) is very common, on average it affects 70% of pregnant women to a greater or lesser extent.  About 45% of pregnant women suffer from nausea with vomiting while an additional 25% suffer with nausea only.

85% of women have two episodes of nausea per day and 55% have three or more episodes per day.  Frequent eating reduces the nausea of NVP in 50% of women.

30% of pregnant women in paid employment need time off work due to NVP and one in 150 pregnant women will need to be admitted to hospital because they have “hyperemesis gravidarum” (severe pregnancy sickness).

However, there are lots of things that you can do to minimise the symptoms:

  • Small, frequent snacks can help alleviate the symptoms. Avoid large meals, especially those high in fat, as they will put a greater strain on your digestive system.
  • Don’t let your stomach remain empty for more than a couple of hours. Have a dry crispbread, cracker or piece of plain toast to keep your system ticking over.
  • Keep dry crackers by your bed and eat one or two before getting up in the morning. If you wake in the night, have a small snack to help prevent sickness in the morning.
  • Get someone else to cook for you – avoid cooking smells.
  • Fruit or savoury foods seem to be better at preventing nausea than sweeter snacks.
  • Go with any cravings you have (within reason).
  • Ginger has been shown to help relieve sickness. It’s safe to use in pregnancy and you can take it in several forms – ginger tea, ginger ale or ginger biscuits.
  • Acupressure bands may help.
  • Try complementary therapies such as acupuncture or homoeopathy
  • www.morningsicknesshelp.com/preggiepop.html
  • www.threelollies.com

Keeping a daily diary of your symptoms will enable you to be prepared to eat at those nausea-free times. The worse the NVP the shorter are these nausea-free intervals so it is important to be ready for them.  If you cannot face a meal keep nibbling your favourite food, especially when nausea threatens. Stop eating as soon as your stomach feels full.

Rest, preferably lying down is a really important way to help the symptoms of NVP.  Pregnancy sickness is like motion sickness in this respect, even small movements of the head, as in brushing your teeth, can make NVP worse.

Certain risk factors may make NVP more common:

  • If you are having a female baby.
  • If this is your first pregnancy.
  • If you or your mother or sister have had nausea and vomiting in previous pregnancies.
  • If you are having twins or another multiple pregnancy.
  • If you have a history of motion sickness.
  • If you have a history of migraines.
  • If you have experienced nausea when taking the combined oral contraceptive pill.
  • If you are stressed or anxious about something.
  • If you are obese.
  • If you are a younger woman.

Remember pregnancy sickness won’t threaten your baby’s well-being as long as you’re able to keep some food down, and drink plenty of fluids but do let your midwife know that you are experiencing NVP.

If you are taking a folic acid supplement try to take it at the time of day when you’re most likely to keep it down.

Note: Generally, you should not use over-the-counter remedies for sickness and vomiting whilst you are pregnant. This is because their safety and effectiveness for sickness and vomiting in pregnancy is uncertain.

More information can be found at: www.pregnancysicknesssupport.co.uk

This article has been written for me by Kelly Holman, a lovely reflexologist.  Kelly’s contact details are shown below.

Reflexology is a popular therapy for Mums-to-be.    A strong advocate for its role during pregnancy is Dr Gowri  Motha, an obstetrician and founder of the ‘Gentle Birth Method’.   Her book of the same name is well worth reading.    In it she says “my inclusion of reflexology .., was accidental, yet it is now one of the most powerful tools in my programme.”    She goes on to say that it is “instrumental in helping 45.5 per cent of (her) mothers give birth at the optimum gestation of 40 weeks”.     Anecdotal evidence also suggests reflexology can help keep blood pressure normal, relieve pelvic girdle pain (also known as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) and generally help with common ailments.  Personally I believe you cannot underestimate the benefit of reflexology’s deep relaxation as you prepare for the birth of your baby.

I have been practising reflexology for almost ten years and am now studying for a Certificate in Maternity Reflexology with one of the world’s leading experts, Suzanne Enzer.

I am looking for case studies.  Interested?    You need to commit to five treatments (you can have more) and in return for your help I am offering a half price package (£80 for five treatments).    Please get in touch for more information.

Tel: 01908 542664  Kelly@thesunflowerhouse.co.uk

www.thesunflowerhouse.co.uk


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