Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

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This is a guest blog by Helen Potter.

There are several reasons why a woman may have a caesarean section. A planned section may be scheduled because of the position or health of the baby, the mother’s medical history or at her request if she has had a previous, traumatic vaginal birth. An emergency section usually occurs because complications have arisen during natural labour. A ceasarean section is a major operation that requires incisions through the abdomen and uterus and so the significant recovery period is well accepted by medical professionals and society in general. However, the emotional after effects of this type of birth remain less acknowledged and far less discussed. The silence and stigma surrounding mental health after a c-section can be detrimental to new mothers who’ve not only just been through major surgery, but now have a newborn baby to care for too. Here are just a few of the emotional issues that may arise following a c-section.

Shock

It’s extremely common for the body to go into shock immediately after the surgery is carried out. Many women report shaking from head to toe as medication from the epidural and affect the muscles. But further on into the recovery process many women experience delayed shock, especially when the c-section was carried out in emergency circumstances. They spend so long preparing for their labour, writing birth plans and building up expectations so when things don’t go to plan it can be a huge surprise. Using a debriefing service following a c-section can be a good way to come to terms with the experience and understand why it had to happen.

Guilt

A study carried out by Channel Mum found that one in five mothers said that opting for a ceasarean would mean that they’d ‘failed’ and with that sense of failure undoubtedly follows feelings of guilt. Outdated social views can lead to women believing that a drug-free, natural labour is the most honourable way to give birth. Some women even report that having a caesarean has made them to feel like less of a woman and less of a mother. Of course this is untrue and all that really matters in labour is that mother and baby both come through the process safely.

Post natal depression

Although all women who go through childbirth are at risk from postnatal depression, studies show that women who have an emergency caesarean are up to six times more likely to suffer from the condition. The longer recovery period and feelings of guilt, failure and lack of control over their own body are all thought to contribute to this, alongside the hormonal changes that all new mums face. It’ is important to speak to a health visitor or GP if you think you could be suffering from postnatal depression. Self help advice, medication and therapy can all help to alleviate the symptoms.

Trouble bonding

Some women report that they have struggled to bond with their babies following a caesarean section. There are several theories for this. Biologically, research indicates that they miss out on the release of the hormone oxytocin (otherwise known as the love hormone). Immediately after natural childbirth the release of this hormone is higher than ever and missing out it can impair the initial bonding process. In addition to this, skin to skin contact (vital for developing early closeness and bonding) is rarely possible straight after a c-section and in many cases the baby is taken away and checked over while the mother recovers. On a more practical level, the long recovery process can sometimes render a new mum unable to carry out day to day care of the child which can make her feel disengaged from her new baby.

Fear of future pregnancy

Sometimes all of these factors combined, along with the physical pain of a c-section, can make women so fearful of a repeat performance that they choose not to become pregnant again. Of course this can be a devastating choice for a woman who really wants another baby. After a c-section, the probability of a natural birth next time is good – research indicates 60-80% of women can potentially go on to have a vaginal birth after a ceasarean (VBAC). But there are risks and these, alongside the fear of another c-section, can be enough to put some women off for life. If you feel like this but still long to expand your family it is important to talk to your GP or debriefing service to familiarise yourself with all of the facts so that you can make an informed choice.

Citation Section

NHS Choices, Ceasarean section, accessed 25.02.16

Metro, Thousands of women with postnatal depression suffering in silence, accessed 25.02.16

The Royal College of Midwives, What is the purpose of debriefing women in the postnatal period, accessed 25.02.16

The Daily Mail, The women made to feel guilty because they didn’t have a ‘perfect’ drug free birth, accessed 25.02.16

NCBI, Increased risk of postnatal depression after emergency ceasarean section, accessed 25.02.16

Psychguides, Living with postpartum depression, accessed 25.02.16

Mail Online, Women who have ceasarean section ‘less likely to bond,’ accessed 25.02.16

Mayoclinic, Vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC), accessed 25.02.16

Planning a “What is a midwife workshop” on Sunday 28th September aimed at aspiring midwives … learn how to improve your application.

Planning a “What is a midwife workshop” on Sunday 28th September aimed at aspiring midwives … learn how to improve your application.

I’m planning another “What is a midwife” day for those interested in training as a midwife. Saturday 26th April. Message me for more details.

I’m planning another “What is a midwife” day for those interested in training as a midwife. Saturday 26th April. Message me for more details.

I will be hosting workshop for those wishing to train as a midwife on 22th Feb and 26th April – please message me for details.

I am planning to host an IM-UK Workshop for midwives wishing to go into independent practice on 25th Jan and 22nd March please message me for details.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,200 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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

 

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 12,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 20 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


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