Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘Heartburn’ Category

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

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I have recently had a client birth her twin girls at home.  To give birth to twins at home is a rare event; it is obviously slightly more risky that a single birth.  My client carefully considered the risks and benefits of homebirth.  She had previously given birth at home and felt that for her home was the right place.  She knew she would feel safe, relaxed and that her labour could not be “interfered” with (for example many women expecting twins are encouraged to have an epidural and to give birth with the help of doctors in theatre).

Her pregnancy progressed well; an ultrasound scan showed that the twins were dichorionic, diamnionic which gives the best possible prognosis as each baby was in it’s own amniotic sack and had it’s own placenta.  My client chose to have growth scans which showed that her babies appeared to be growing well and equally she declined the option to see an obstetrician as she felt this might be undermining.

We were mindful that a woman with a twin pregnancy needs excellent nutrition to grow two babies, and to maintain her health and wellbeing and my client ensured that she ate well, especially iron rich foods, protein and extra salt (as suggested by Dr Tom Brewer).    As she experienced pelvic discomfort, she saw a chiropractor throughout her pregnancy and found this to be beneficial; she also experienced heartburn as might be expected with a twin pregnancy.

During the pregnancy we made extensive plans about how we expected the birth to progress; what we would do in the event of  problems and who we would have present at the birth.  We planned to aim for the most experienced team we could muster.  In the event we had four midwives – not because we felt we needed four, but because the midwives were keen to attend a twin birth, and my client was very happy to have them present.

On scan at 36 weeks we were surprised and pleased to learn that both babies were cephalic (head down).  Previously the second baby had been in a breech position.

My client laboured at 39+ weeks.  Her labour was fast and the first baby was born in the birth pool within two hours.  There was a bit of a delay but her second daughter was safely born in good condition and although initially tired, she has recovered well and is doing really well.

This was a fabulous outcome – I was blessed with clients who were strong, did their research and knew that they wanted to give birth at home.  They did not want a homebirth at all costs and would have transferred to hospital if I felt that there was a clinical need.

Heartburn is one of the unpleasant side-effects of being pregnant; it is caused by the hormone, progesterone, which relaxes the valve at the top of your stomach, causing a small amount of stomach acid, sometimes with partially digested food, to surge upwards into your oesophagus (gullet).

Sometimes sickness in early pregnancy can be worsened by heartburn, or indigestion can make you feel sick. If you are expecting more than one baby or your baby is very large this will make your heartburn worse. If your baby is in a breech position in late pregnancy, his head will press up under your diaphragm and may trigger heartburn. Eating certain foods and smoking will also make things worse.

Eating small meals more frequently will prevent your stomach becoming overfull and pushing up under your diaphragm. Try to eat your main meal of the day at lunchtime if at all possible and eat your evening meal early in the evening, so that your body has time to digest it before you go to bed. Avoid spicy, rich, fatty and fried foods and anything else which triggers the symptoms. Sugar, tea, coffee and certain food additives may also exacerbate heartburn. Don’t drink liquids with your food as this causes your digestive juices to become diluted and therefore less effective, but do drink between meals.

Lying down to relax after a meal is likely to cause regurgitation, so it is a good idea to sit upright for a while; you may also find you have to sleep propped up on two or three pillows at night in later pregnancy if the problem gets worse. It may be worth trying complementary therapies such as homoeopathy, aromatherapy or acupressure, or try the following suggestions:

– peppermint, fennel, chamomile or dandelion tea (do not take dandelion tea in large doses or if taking antihypertensives)
– ginger
– milk
– malt drink
– 3 umeboshi plums (health food shop) boil in a pint of water, keep juice in
fridge. Drink as required. Ask for advice.
– Slippery elm “Thompsons” old fashioned stomach soothing drink (health food shop) – Ask for advice.
– Raw garlic or garlic capsules
– Cardamom seeds – chew!
– Cashew nuts – chew well into a paste before swallowing

– extra strong mints

-antacid from the pharmacy (rennies, gaviscon etc) try to avoid taking in large quantities if possible as they can impair your body’s ability to absorb iron

Today I am going to write about my latest project, www.BirthIndex.co.uk

 

BirthIndex.co.uk is an on-line Listings Directory for all things related to Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.  As a Registered Midwife I saw the need to produce this on-line Directory to give clients and families comprehensive information about what is available in their LOCAL area. 

At the moment we have sites up and running in the Bedford, Milton Keynes and Northampton areas but hope to expand this shortly.

The site contains listings relating to pre-conception or fertility advice; pregnancy and birth; postnatal issues; baby equipment; complimentary therapists; childcare and other services for example photographers, activities to do with your baby/toddler.  We are also building a reference library of useful articles and currently have articles on the following subjects:

A Day In The Life Of An Independent Midwife

Alternatives To Hospital Induction

Blood Tests And Scans

Blood Tests For Your Baby

Breech Birth

Foods Rich In Iron

Heartburn Relief

Homebirth List Of Useful Items

Independent Midwives – Endangered Species

Planning A Baby

So You Are Pregnant!

The Big Day!

Top Tips For Labour

Vitamin K

Local events will happily be promoted on the site, and a periodic newsletter will be produced to keep families up-to-date.

I am inviting all related businesses to take a FREE listing on this site.  Additionally there are also other advertising opportunities available at half price for limited period; for example “Enhanced Listings” or “Box” and “Banner” advertisements.

Please do go and have a look around my new site www.birthindex.co.uk  

 

Valerie Gommon

 

 


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