Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘Leighton Buzzard’ Category

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/

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Where to start?  Every day is different, so I’m going to give you a flavour of the sort of things I get up to.

Of course I have antenatal appointments; from the first tentative telephone enquiry I then arrange to meet up with a potential client (usually for an hour or so) so that we can discuss their past experiences, their hopes for this pregnancy, their concerns and most importantly so that they can get a “feel” as to whether they actually like and trust me.  Once a couple have decided to book me as their midwife I then usually give all their antenatal care in their own home (although I have done antenatal visits in The Bank of England medical room!).  The format of visits is that I carry out all the usual blood tests, urine and blood pressure checks, but also leave a lot of time for discussion so that over the course of the pregnancy we cover issues such as waterbirth, Vitamin K, when to call me and so on.

My clients come from a wide area – I am happy to take clients who live within approximately an hour’s radius of my home in Leighton Buzzard – so I do spend a fair bit of time driving, as well as liaising with G.P.’s and hospitals where necessary.

Four times a year I jointly organise an Antenatal Exhibition, this is an opportunity for pregnant couples to gather information about breastfeeding, pregnancy yoga, cloth nappies and the like.  We also organise Birth Preparation Workshops and am often to be found at the Community Desk in Central Milton Keynes on hand to speak to expectant parents and also regularly attend Study Day’s and midwifery meetings to ensure that I keep myself up-to-date with current research.

Obviously I spend much of my time being “on-call” for births.  My own family are now pretty much grown-up and the commitment isn’t as big as one might imagine as I rarely have more than two births during a month – it is important that I don’t over-commit myself as the whole point of what I do is that I guarantee to be there for the birth.  Babies don’t always read the text books though!  I have had three births in one week, as of course some babies do come early and some come late!  As you will appreciate, the birth is the big event, and it can on occasion go on for some time.

Baby being here doesn’t mean that my job ends!  In fact, postnatal visiting is often one of the busiest times as the family may need quite a lot of support in the early days.  The majority of my clients choose to give birth at home; however some either need to, or choose to give birth in hospital.

I visit my clients for up to four weeks postnatally and it is a joy to see the baby thriving and although discharging clients is always tinged with sadness it is also great to know that I have played a part in helping the family on to the next stage of their life.  (I do usually keep in touch, perhaps not as often as I would like, but I often get e-mails and photographs and usually pop in when I’m passing!).

So, in summary I guess the main differences between me and an NHS midwife are that you are buying my time; antenatal visits usually take around an hour and a half (instead of perhaps 10 – 15 minutes at your local surgery), are arranged more frequently and take place at a time and place to suit you. Most importantly you will receive full continuity of care – I will see you at each visit to build our relationship and plan your care and you will know that (barring exceptional circumstances) I will be with you in labour and available 24/7 for urgent help.

I am always happy to discuss anything that you are concerned about; please do feel free to call.

Written by Valerie Gommon, BA (Hons), RM, Independent Midwife

www.3shiresmidwife.co.uk 01525 385153

What is a Labyrinth?

A labyrinth is a single path or unicursal tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. Labyrinths are thought to enhance right brain activity. Birth is a right brained activity too as its intuitive and emotional.

The oldest positively dated labyrinth is from 1230 BCE.   It comes from King Nestor’s Palace in Phylos, Greece.  There are evidence of Labyrinths all over the world and it is argued that the labyrinth’s connection with the Earth Mother goes much further back into prehistory.

These single-path magical mazes are found around the globe from China to Arizona, USA, from Peru to Sweden.

 Birth Labyrinths 

 

I first read about birth labyrinths on Pam England’s website ‘Birthing From Within’. She describes tracing the labyrinth with a finger as invoking a sensation of turning inward,  then outward, which may remind us of our first journey from our mother’s body into the world.

A woman’s psychic and physical journey from maidenhood-to-motherhood during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum, can be related to a labyrinth in this way as it is an unknown journey which twists and turns and is unique to every woman.  

Mothers experience labour as a labyrinth. With the very first contraction, or when the water breaks, they are catapulted across an invisible, but felt, threshold (entering the Labyrinth). Once in labour  (in the labyrinth), steady progress is made by taking one step at a time until the centre is reached. The very centre is meant to represent the birth of the child, mother and the family.

She explains that even if you were blindfolded you could still reach the centre by feeling your way through the path. The path does not need to be studied before it is entered, it just unfolds on its own and in its own time. Therefore there is no need for time limits, or birthplans…just surrendering to the reality that every birth has its own journey that will unfold in its own unique way.

A maze is totally different, having many twists and turns, many entrances and exits, and the possibility that you can lose your way! There are many choices to be made in a maze and many dead ends meaning that planning is needed when in the maze or you will get lost.  Prehaps it could be said that this is similar to the medical model of birth?

Using a Labyrinth

It can be quite a liberating and spiritual experience to simply trace the labyrinth with your finger on paper.  A clay model can also be made allowing your finger to trace its path in and out with your eyes closed.  How do you feel as you step over the threshold and enter the Labyrinth?

This can be a powerful visualisation in labour…imagining the many twists and turns that labour brings but remembering the labyrinth and trusting that the end is in sight, just taking one turn at a time, knowing that each step is one step closer to the middle (birth itself).

Studies show that walking or finger-tracing a labyrinth slows down and balances brain waves, calms the body and mind, and helps access intuitive knowing. During pregnancy, labyrinth meditations help the mother focus on her emotional and spiritual preparation for birth and mothering.   In labour, the labyrinth helps to calm the mind, steady the breath, and ease pain.

Further Reading

www.thelabyrinthsociety.org

http://www.birthingfromwithin.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labyrinth

Book – Labyrinth of Birth: Creating a Map, Meditations and Rituals for Your Childbearing Year by Pam England

How to Create a Birth Labyrinth:

I am making one out of salt dough…I will let you know how I get on!

 As usual, if anyone is interested in coming along, or indeed sharing experiences with others,

please get in touch either by phone 07947188628,

email phoebusflea@hotmail.co.uk or

via the main Leighton Buzzard & District  facebook group,

or our own LB & D Homebirth Support facebook page.


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