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Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an amazing and incredible journey for a mama-to-be and her partner. A healthy pregnancy is often associated with feelings of energy, vitality and strength. Learn here how to have the healthiest pregnancy for you and your baby!

Pregnancy

Q&A: Should I get a Midwife or a Doula?

Q. I’m pregnant with my first baby and a friend of mine suggested I hire a doula for labour and delivery. What exactly is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

A.  Although a midwife and a doula may seem very similar in their approach toward childbirth, their roles differ quite significantly.

In Canada, midwives are trained and licensed medical professionals providing care to women during pregnancy, labour and delivery.

Doulas are not health care providers, but instead offer guidance as well as physical and emotional support to the mother and her partner during the pre and post-natal periods as well as during childbirth. She provides physical support to the labouring mother including gentle massage, guided breathing and positional support. A doula often provides education and information to the couple so that they can make informed choices in their birthing experience.

Here are few things your midwife will do:

  • Run prenatal tests and monitor your health and the baby’s health during pregnancy, birth and post-partum period
  • Prescribe maternal health related supplements or medications
  • Perform physical examinations
  • Consult with an obstetrician (OB) if a medical complication comes up which is out of the midwifery scope
  • Do their best to help you experience a comfortable birth

Here are a few things your doula will do:

  • Give you information about medical examinations and procedures (but cannot perform these procedures)
  • Establish a pre-natal relationship with you and help you figure out your “birth plan”
  • Help keep you and your partner feeling calm and supported during labour
  • Use a variety of tools and techniques to help you manage the intense physical sensations of labour and birth
  • Ensure you feel comfortable and confident communicating your needs to your health care provider
  • Provide any post-partum help and support

Although doulas do not provide medical care, research has shown that having a doula present throughout birth decreases the likelihood of using medical interventions such as instrument-assisted births (forceps, vacuum extraction) and c-section births. Furthermore, women who use doulas report having more positive feelings about their childbirth experience.

Research shows that having a doula present throughout birth decreases the likelihood of using medical interventions.

Many women often choose to have a midwife and a doula supporting them through labour and childbirth providing a perfect complement of knowledge, care and comfort for the mama-to-be.

Recently I became a Doula after taking the DONA International Doula Course at The Toronto Yoga Mamas.  A few weeks ago, I attended my first birth and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!  If you have any questions about doulas or my role as a doula, please feel free to send me a message at hello@draliya.ca.

Find my Q&A expert column and other great mama and baby advice & resources at babypost.com.

(Original post at babypost.com)

(Photo by babypost.com)

 

 

Pregnancy

3 Awesome Exercises for Pregnancy!

A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the lovely Joy McCarthy of Joyous Health at her office in Toronto.   Joy is a holistic nutritionist and author of Joyous Health: Eat & Live Well without Dieting {her book is amazing}!  She’s also a glowing mama-to-be and an awesome patient of mine.

We put together a video for her blog of three amazing pregnancy exercises mamas can do at home. Performing these exercises daily will help maintain mobility and strength in your spine and pelvis during pregnancy and help prepare your body for labour and delivery {in addition to seeing a chiropractor, of course!}.

So grab a fitness ball and watch our video here!  Also check out Joy’s website at joyoushealth.com for loads of other amazing recipes and neat health and wellness tips!

 

{image by joyoushealth.com}

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babies + Kids, Pregnancy

Chiropractic care now at Toronto Yoga Mamas

Great news Mamas and Mamas-to-be!  There’s now one more place to find me in Leslieville!

In addition to my regular hours at Restore Integrative Health, I will now be offering chiropractic care to all of the lovely and wonderful mamas at Toronto Yoga Mamas studio in Leslieville.  I am so thrilled to be a part of this amazing team and community.

The Toronto Yoga Mamas (TYM) was founded by the amazing Jamie Kalynuik, yoga instructor and doula extraordinaire!  She has created a studio full of warmth and love where mothers and soon-to-be mothers can connect with their babies and with each other.  Not only do they offer a huge variety of classes (prenatal and baby yoga to pilates) but the studio also serves as a meeting place for women to share stories and experiences in their weekly Mama Group (every Tuesday).  Workshops, such as Baby Massage and Reflexology, Infant CPR and Baby Sleep are also offered and are super popular.

Recently, Jamie has added Wellness Services to her growing studio and I am thrilled and excited to be a part of their team.  Offering Massage Therapy and Acupuncture, Chiropractic Care fits nicely within the studio’s Wellness Centre and their new space is beautiful!  Come find me at the Toronto Yoga Mamas studio in Leslieville on Wednesday mornings!

xo

 

 

 

Babies + Kids, Pregnancy

Baby and Beyond: Learning by Trial & Error

As a chiropractor working with pregnant women and babies for years, I’m your girl when it comes to labour prep, solutions for colic, dealing with gas, breastfeeding, morning sickness and the like. I’m ready and willing to share!

But nothing could have prepared me for going through this process myself.   There is so much more to pregnancy, labour, childbirth and parenting than I could have imagined. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 14 months, it’s that every pregnancy, mama, baby is different. What worked for many of my friends, or even my patients did not work for me.   Unfortunately, there isn’t one way to conquer all that comes with pregnancy and having (and raising) a baby. What I’m slowly learning is that parenting is basically trial and error. As an analytical person, I like to follow rules, steps, flowcharts; motherhood doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Every baby is different and we are all doing our best to figure it out. You might get the hang of certain things – you’re good, you’ve got it under control… And then the phase changes. Sleep patterns are out the window, your toddler stops eating and you have something new to master. It’s a learning curve, and at times it can be frustrating but it’s also so gosh darn amazing!

So if you’ve tried everything under the moon to help soothe your teething, fussy baby (or your morning sickness won’t ease no matter how many tips you’ve tried), my advice to you is: Don’t Give Up! Just because your best friend’s way to burp a baby didn’t work for you, doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. You’ll settle into your groove and find a way that works best for you.

Chin up Mama – you’re doing great!

Pregnancy

Reflexology helps during pregnancy!

Recently, our clinic office manager, Aislinn completed her certification in Reflexology. In the past, I’ve often thought of Reflexology as an adjunctive technique to massage therapy. However, it’s so much more than that and is an amazing source of relaxation during pregnancy!

Thanks to Ais, here are some reflexology basics!

Q. What is reflexology?  How does it work?

Reflexology is an ancient holistic healing art that naturally stimulates every gland and organ in the body. By applying pressure to reflexes in the feet, tension is released, circulation is improved, and the body is assisted in regaining its state of harmony and balance.  It is theorized that it works because applying acupressure to the skin and peripheral nerve endings sends calming signals to the central nervous system, which in turn reduces tension in the body and engages the parasympathetic (rest and relaxation) response. When the body is relaxed, all body systems can function more optimally.

Q. What conditions can reflexology treat?

While reflexology does not claim to cure any specific illnesses or conditions, it can be used in conjunction with other health therapies as part of a holistic approach to wellness. Reflexology itself is a holistic therapy and as such all the body systems are treated in a reflexology session. Energy blockages throughout the body are addressed – areas that are tender or have significant uric acid crystal build up can be paid extra attention. Having said that, reflexology is a hugely beneficial therapy for a multitude of conditions from fibromyalgia to anxiety disorders. Studies have shown that relaxed states promote natural pain management – reflexology aids in achieving a state of relaxation and in turn this supports the body in self-healing and the release of tension and pain. Because reflexology increases blood and lymph circulation in the body it can also be useful treating acute and chronic conditions such as sinus congestion and digestion issues. It is also used frequently by women struggling with infertility.

Q. Is it safe during pregnancy?  How does it help mamas-to-be?

Yes, reflexology treatments are considered safe during pregnancy. Adjustments are made in the treatment for pregnant women. They include the use of lighter pressure and modified body positioning during the treatment, especially late in pregnancy, to promote comfort and safety. Reflexology can be a welcome experience for moms-to-be as it encourages them to relax and connect with themselves thereby inducing a feeling of overall wellness.

Q. Can babies receive reflexology treatments?  What conditions does it help treat for little ones?

Yes! Babies can receive reflexology. Reduced pressure and shorter treatment lengths are best for tiny feet. Because reflexology is a soothing treatment it can be used for a variety of situations, such as; teething, colic, and constipation, to name a few. It can also be incorporated into the nap and bedtime routines of babies and toddlers as a natural means to aid in their relaxation.

Q. What can I expect during a treatment?

Clients report feelings of deep relaxation and contentment during and after the treatment. Many drift in and out of sleep while their feet are being worked on and end the treatment feeling refreshed and renewed. I have also been told that this relaxation carries on throughout the day and that sleeping patterns are improved after receiving a treatment. Reflexology should not be painful or uncomfortable, even though there may be tender areas in the foot  – these areas are addressed with gentle pressure within the clients comfort zone. The practitioner may suggest a treatment schedule and/or may recommend other complimentary therapies based on findings from the initial treatment.

 

For specifics on what you can expect from one of Aislinn’s treatments or to book a treatment, please visit www.solesmith.ca

 

 

 

Pregnancy

Your baby bump – a new way of sleeping?

“Sleep now, because you won’t have a chance when the baby comes!”

Ever heard that line from a friend or relative? I know many soon to be mamas want those restful 8 or more hours of zzz’s but can’t seem to get comfortable! Who knew that your tiny baby could cause such big sleeping problems?

The general advice found on many pregnancy blogs and websites suggests that lying on your stomach or back is not recommended and that lying on your left side is an ideal sleep position. Armed with this information and the fear of harming baby, many women restrict their sleeping to their left side only. No wonder they are uncomfortable and struggle to find restful sleep!

After researching both the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – neither suggest any pattern or position for sleep. The general recommendation of many obstetricians is that sleep position in your first trimester has no impact on your health or your baby’s.

Later in pregnancy (2nd and 3rd trimesters), the cause for concern stems from the weight of the uterus and the size of the growing baby. This growth in the size and weight of the uterus can place pressure on the inferior vena cava (a large vein that returns blood from your lower body to your heart) when lying on your back for an extended period of time. The pressure on the inferior vena cava could interfere with the flow of blood and nutrients going to the placenta and thus to the baby. Lying on your left side may optimize blood flow.

Start off lying on your left side going to sleep, but if you wake up and catch yourself on your back or your right side, don’t worry. You can and should switch positions from time to time for your own comfort! Your body has a way of telling you when things aren’t quite right and when it’s time to change position. If you are feeling faint or light headed sleeping on your back during pregnancy, consult with your family doctor, midwife or ob/gyn.

Of course, there may be other reasons why the sleep you crave is constantly out of reach. Things like frequent trips to the bathroom, weird vivid dreams or discomforts like heartburn.

Here are a few tips I give mama’s that may help:

  • Cut back on caffeine
  • Nap during the day if you have a moment
  • Avoid heavy meals and limit liquids before bed
  • Do something relaxing before lights out (warm baths, a good book)
  • Enjoy some light exercise (walk around the block, yoga, quiet meditation)
  • Use pillows (between your knees and/or under your belly)

If you are still not able to get comfortable, get up and do a quiet activity for awhile and try again. Almost there Mama!

References
Farine, D, Seaward G. When it comes to Pregnant Women Sleeping, Is Left Right?. JOGC October 2007.

Pregnancy

Prenatal Chiropractic Care: The FAQs

I’m often asked by mamas in Toronto if chiropractic work can help during pregnancy and if so, how. The simple answer is YES! Find out how below.

Q. How can chiropractic help during pregnancy?

Pre-existing but often unnoticed imbalances in the spine become stressed during pregnancy.  In addition, the weight of a growing uterus has a tendency to change a woman’s biomechanics, shifting the center of gravity and putting pressure on joints of the hips, pelvis and lower back.

Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the common discomforts experienced in pregnancy.  Specific adjustments (such as the Webster technique) eliminate the causes of stress in the spine.

Q. Is chiropractic safe during any stage of pregnancy? 

Chiropractic care is absolutely safe through all trimesters of pregnancy as early as the first month and does not harm the growing fetus in any way.

Using the Webster Technique of specific gentle chiropractic analysis and adjustments, we can help rebalance the pelvis reducing any nerve irritation to the spine and generally help the body feel more at ease overall.

Chiropractic care has been proven to reduce labor times and has been shown to reduce the need for pain medication and medical intervention during childbirth.

Q. What exactly is the Webster Technique?

The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic adjustment designed to help ease the symptoms of an unbalanced pelvis and misaligned spine.  The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation and SI Joint dysfunction.  In so doing, the biomechanical function of the pelvis is improved.

Q. Can chiropractic help baby positioning?  (eg. Breech presentation)

As a baby develops, a woman’s uterus enlarges to accommodate the rapid growth.  When the pelvis is in a balanced state, the ligaments connected to the uterus (specifically the round ligaments) maintain an equalized, supportive suspension for the uterus.

If the pelvis is out of balance or misaligned, these ligaments become twisted, causing a condition called “intrauterine constraint”.  This constraint limits the space available for the developing baby to move.

If there is intrauterine constraint as birth approaches, the baby is prevented from getting into the best possible position for birth.  Even if the baby is in the desirable head down position, often intrauterine constraint prevents the baby’s head from moving into the ideal presentation for delivery.  This may slow labor and add distress and pain to both mother and baby.

Using the Webster Technique, a chiropractor gently opens up the pelvis, allowing baby space or room to move into proper positioning. If the baby is in correct position, the technique also helps to maintain that ideal positioning leading up to delivery.

Reference

The Webster technique has been found to have an 82% success rate in clinical studies for breech babies. (JMPT July-Aug 2002)

In my practice….
More and more mamas are realizing the health benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy. Mothers that receive care during pregnancy report improvements in overall health and general wellness throughout and even after their pregnancies. Many second or third time mamas that had not received care for their first delivery report an easier and faster birth under chiropractic care.