Summer Safety For Pregnant Folk!

Pregnancy, swimming while pregnant, doula tips, hot summer in Buffalo, NY

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With the hot months upon us, it’s good to go over some tips to stay cool and safe while pregnant.  It’s no joke to be heavily pregnant in the summer.  While you have the awesome benefits of  a having great array of fresh veg and fruits in the summer, the heat can be so oppressive it can distract from the pros of having a summer baby.  So what’s a hot pregnant person to do!?

 

  1. Stay covered:  Despite the urge to strip it all off in the middle of the playground, keeping covered will protect you from the rays of the sun.  Keep the clothing light in color and stick to natural fabrics like cotton or linen.  Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn!  28BDB7B9-B201-4D57-851F-CC5DA3933FCBWear a hat for added protection.  Straw or cotton is great, so again, keep it natural in material and light in color.  Dark colors attract the heat.  If you are at the beach or pool, have an umbrella to stay under so you are not constantly in the sun.
  2. Schedule outside time right:  The peak hours for the sun is 11 am to 3 pm.  So try to get your fun or errands done early in the day or wait for the sun to be setting to enjoy the outdoors.  Save the midday activities for the air-conditioned  places.
  3. Hit the pool:  Swimming is great for cooling you off.  We are also blessed in Buffalo to have splash pads in most parts of the city.  They were opened today so check out if there is one close by.
  4. Guzzle the water:  It’s important to stay hydrated when pregnant to begin with, so when you add heat to the mix you’ve got to really keep track.  Always have a bottle with you.  If you are not a natural water drinker, try adding fruits, veggies, and herbs.  Strawberry  and lemon perhaps or watermelon mint and cucumber.  So many options that you could play with.  You could even add a few drops of red raspberry tincture.
  5. Block the sun:  Get a good sunblock.  The higher the SPF the better.  If you go swimming you should reapply.  Most last a few hours.  If you have a favorite please comment below. I’m in the market for a new one.
  6. Adventurer look:  Wet a bandana with cool water and wrap it around your neck to keep cool.

 

So if we have a hot summer, there is no need to hide indoors.  You can have fun and stay safe while pregnant.  Have more tips please share with the class.  You can come in and get a massage with cold stones as well.  Very chill experience.  Enjoy your summer and stay safe!

June Treaments

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Try out this cool dream of an add-on for the hot months ahead.  If this week is anything to go by, we are in for some hot days.  Enjoy this fresh aloe vera and cucumber mask for the back to help you have a cool experience.  Cold marble massage stones deepen the cooling experience.  Perfect to soothe a sun-kissed back.  If you are experiencing hot-flashes from menopause this is a nice break.  Enjoy a green tea and fruit infused water to take with you on the go.  Schedule your 60/90/120 minute massage session and add-on this treatment to give yourself a cool treat!

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What is this round ligament pain about?

CI8A0405Once you hit your second trimester, perhaps some of the early symptoms of pregnancy have abated.  You’ve got more energy.  You are eating well.  Feeling good.  In your second trimester, some will get a sharp pain in on the sides.

What is happening ?

So there is this hormone called relaxin and this lets connective tissues relax.  Sudden movements or stretching with normal movement can cause this sharp pain on your side or even both sides.  The uterus is growing and is heavy and big enough to stretch the ligaments, but not quite big enough to sit on the pelvis bones to give some relief.

 

What’s a pregnant person to do?

First, be aware of your movements.  Use those abdominal muscles to help support your movements and not put those ligaments under strain.  Try to avoid sudden movement and changes of position.  If you work in an office setting, be careful about going from sitting to standing suddenly.  At bedtime, you are probably are all ready doing this, but laying on your side at bed time can help the round ligaments get some relief from all their hard work.   You can do leg lifts.  Start with the side that is in pain.  Holding on to a chair or table, you use your abdominal muscles to lift the leg up a couple inches off the floor and hold for 10 seconds.  Repeat 10 times.  Now do the same rep on the opposite leg.

This too shall pass!

You can expect some relief once you hit the third trimester usually.  Pregnancy massage to the abdomen and myofascial abdominal stretches with a pregnancy massage specialist can really help as well.  Did you or are you experiencing round ligament pain?  What tricks or tips do you have for other moms?

 

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Postpartum Massage – A Returning to Self

New Awareness

You look in the mirror and see a new person.  Welcome mother.  Welcome to motherhood.  Do you recognize her?  Can you believe how much a little person has changed life?  What now?

Enjoy the ever changing and evolving life of motherhood.  It can feel like standing at a precipice.  Whether you have waited a long time to get here or happened upon this path of mothering, you may feel overwhelm at the responsibility and uncertainty before you.  Who am I now?  How can I remain me and embrace this  new sense of self?

Reconnection

Massage is a beautiful way to increase self awareness.  As your body is massaged, you become aware of how each part of the body feels.  Done regularly, massage can help you get to know your body well.  This is so important because our body talks to us.  It tells us the real story of what is going on in our lives.  Tension in the shoulders, is it anxiety, am I slouching because of feeling sadness, am I aware of my posture when nursing my baby?  Making a plan for massage as a part of your life is worth it.  It has been found in research to decrease anxiety and depression in new mothers.  Done regularly during the immediate postpartum phase and into that first year of postpartum can make a world of difference to a mother.  It is not just six weeks to recovery.  Postpartum affects our bodies and minds for years to come. Physically, the body is jumbled up so to speak from our growing baby being inside and postpartum abdominal massage can help to reorganize things.  You have just run a marathon of birth and need to address areas of tension that have built up during labor.  You carried a growing baby for 9 months and you will have postural changes.  If you have had a Cesarean birth, this still applies to you momma.  You will have scar tissue to be addressed and you need no less self-care than a woman who gave vaginal birth.  With a plan of massage mother to baby interaction is more positive and helps baby grow well, have better social interactions, and just generally happier.  Self-massage routine can be taught to mom so that in between her massage appointments she can still reap benefits.  Plus she will know her body well, having a better awareness, and positive body view.CI8A0367

Committing to Yourself

Planning for postpartum massage should be a necessity for new moms.  It is a normal part of cultures worldwide.  Mothers are given massage daily in some cultures as well as baby.  It is not stressed enough to take care of mother in our culture.  This conversation needs to be heard more.  That is my goal.  The better cared for the mother is the better cared for the baby.  We really all benefit when mom’s are cared for.   Make it your commitment to be well, be cared for and thrive in your 4th trimester.   Mom’s make the world go round!

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Deidre’s massage studio is at Buffalo Midwifery Services 289 Summer St. Buffalo, NY 14222 (716)292-6113.

 

 

Postpartum Depression – My Story

My postpartum story with FarrahI love my children!  I loved my births and the birthing. Each was different and beautiful in it’s own way.  My second birth was a beautiful home birth with a midwife who made me feel supported.  However, after the birth, I felt different.  At first I just thought I’m tired.  Yet the feeling persisted.  I looked down at my new baby and felt, nothingness.  I cared for her and fed her.  I found my joy was muted.  Like the picture above felt like I was under water and heard sounds but they were muted and unclear.   I feared what feelings welled up when she screamed relentlessly night after night.  I had to sleep in a chair with her in my arms.  I could not put her down.  She would not be satisfied.  I felt like I was running out of air.  I could see the surface above but could not quite reach it.  Just helplessly watching the bubbles of my decreasing oxygen escape.  I cried, I was angry, I was back to work 3 weeks earlier than I wanted to be.  Mind you I worked from home which would seem like a God send, but no.  I was here with my attention constantly drawn from work to my screaming little person.  I had also a 2 year old who was waiting in the wings.  I was, drowning.  My husband did not understand what was wrong.  Women had done this years before me (to be fair to my husband this is not an uncommon thought).  I sank a bit more.  People came, cuddled, and went.  I sank deeper into the depths.  My mind raced about options out.  This was not how it is supposed to be.  I followed up with my midwife and lied.  I said I was fine.  Everything was wonderful.  I could not bring myself to say I was so incredibly sad.

I happened to have a follow-up with my primary doctor.  He  went through basic questions.  I was tired and that was why I was there.  He gave me a list of questions to tick off.  I stared at it and tears welled up.  I can’t remember the exact questions today, but they were in effect, are you sad, are you depressed, do you feel suicidal?  I was scared but tired of being under water and took a chance.  I answered honestly.  He went over the questions with me and said, I would like you to see a therapist.  A what now?

Now I was not okay with this idea, but thought, what the heck.  I called a couple therapists met with both and stuck with the one that had more experience in postpartum depression.  She was a breath of fresh air.  I talked.  I said what was on my mind without fear of judgment and I was given homework.  Things to work on?  Say no more!  I have a baby to care for others can wait!  I felt freer to acknowledge my feelings.  I felt okay saying no and letting people work out there own feelings on how they feel when being told no.  I could focus on myself and not be selfish.  I started exercising regularly getting outside to walk in fresh air (I love being outdoors).  I ate better.   I took a shower daily.  I got better.  I am grateful for that doctors perceptiveness.  I know my story is not always the norm when a mom tells her true story postpartum.  Armed with this knowledge and experience, I knew what to look out for the next pregnancy and was able to be proactive.  I had more support.  My hubby made sure I had healthy snacks on hand.  I said no when I needed and yes when I wanted.  I took off the time from work.  I rested and when I could started getting outdoors.  I had a doula for my birth.  I practiced self massage.  I had planned out a better postpartum experience through support, forethought, self-care plan and being honest with myself and others.  My feelings are my feelings and I acknowledge them, honor them, and will not be shamed by them.  I will ask for help before the calamity arises and if it arises.

This was my experience.  This is the catalyst for my work.  I love postpartum moms so much.  I have walked in the same path and want to support you so that you do not find yourself lost in the depths of dark waters.  I want to be there to guide you to the resources you need to get help.  I want to provide nourishing touch through massage therapy that is so missing in our culture here in the States.  I want to prepare a meal for you so that you have the energy to heal.  I want to teach you self-care not because you have no one else to do it, but because you love yourself and want to care for you.  If this resonated with you in any way please feel free to leave your experience in the comments for others.  The more women who tell their story, the more chance another mom struggling will feel less inhibited to tell her true story and get support.

Much love to you momma!  You can and will thrive and I am willing and ready to support you!

Move It!

Move

As a massage therapist, I know that massage absolutely works. Massage therapy has been well-established through studies. It has been found to help with sleep, reduce inflammation, decrease pain, speed recovery from muscular injuries, reduce injury and depression, relieve side effects of cancer treatments, help with fertility issues, help premature babies gain weight faster, etc., etc., etc. So what would help you to kick it up a notch. Simply put, movement!!

I know massage gives my clients results, but I also know that their results would be last longer with adding some type of movement in their life as much as possible. Whatever your choice of movement, make it a regular ocurrance a minimum of three times a week to daily at 30-60 minutes a session. Movement and massage make a dynamic duo in your health strategy. You can change it up or focus on a particulary practice. Personally, I love hiking, Pilates, Essentrics, and Aeriel silks. I think it definitely helps to choose something that excites you and you really look forward to doing. Yoga, running, swimming, walking, rowing, skiing, dancing, whatever! Just move it. You really can keep the variety, but just make it a definite part of your self-care routine.

When you keep your body moving, it helps me as your massage therapist to work on warmed up muscles that are being cared for. Whatever work I do on the table will last that much longer. You might consider doing your exercise of choice and then have your massage. The results will not disappoint. So whether your goal is to improve flexibility, increase positive body image, lose weight, gain muscles, get faster or stronger, move it! Move it regulary! Show your body some love!  Move it and get a massage!

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Your friendly neighborhood LMT! XO

Anemia + Pregnancy

Anemia

 

By Deidre M. Medina, LMT, CBE

What is anemia?

There are a few kinds of anemia in pregnancy.

Pregnancy-related anemia when your blood has too few red blood cells which in this kind of anemia is due to the increased blood volume during pregnancy.

Iron deficiency is due to mother not having enough red blood cells stores to match the babies use of the mother’s red blood cells for its growth and development.  This is the most common type of anemia in pregnancy.

B-12 deficiency is when there is a low level of B-12 which is important for making red blood cells and protein.  If you are a vegan mom, you may find yourself with this type.  It is found in eggs, milk, poultry, meat.

Folate deficiency can inhibit the production of red blood cells.  It is a B vitamin that is water soluble.  Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate and is not as easily digestible and folate.  You can find folate in dark leafy green vegetables, beets, Brewer’s yeast, liver, etc.  It is a common deficiency because the modern diet of processed foods, though supplemented with folic acid, it is not easily usable as the folate found in fresh unprocessed foods.  Your baby needs this to prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

Using Food as Medicine

Nutrition is most important in pregnancy.  Food can be used to prevent deficiency and to balance any deficiency in mild cases. If you are in need of iron-rich foods, then you can look to dark leafy greens, beets, legumes, beans, kelp, meats, poultry, liver and more.  For iron to be absorbed well, vitamin C rich food should be paired together or supplementing with vitamin C.   Cooking in an iron skillet helps increase the iron in your meal.  A favorite plant based supplement for iron that I took for all three of my pregnancies was Floradix (I am not affiliated with them) or if you are gluten sensitive their Floravital.  It is an herbal iron supplement that is non-constipating.

There are foods and supplements that can inhibit the absorption of food.  The use of antacids or other alkalis will diminish iron absorption.  These are sometimes commonly used in pregnancy if you are affected by heartburn.  Coffee and black tea can inhibit absorption as well.  Calcium can inhibit iron absorption so it is important to try avoid taking a calcium supplement at the time of iron supplement or with your iron-rich meal.  Iron absorption is a slow process and takes about 2-4 hours for the body to absorb iron so you could take iron supplement at separate meal time than your calcium.

Folate-rich foods that can boost your folate spinach, kale, beet greens, beets, chart, organ meats, brewer’s yeast.  Bean sprouts of mung bean, lentils, and soy are really good sources of folate.  B-12 can be supplemented with a sublingual B-12 or shots every three months during pregnancy.

Eat Well, Be Well

So the pattern as you can seen for a well-nourished pregnancy is eat to well-balanced meals.  Make sure your meals are mostly fresh whole ingredients.  Eat less processed foods.  It really pays to understand nutrition and how it affects your pregnancy and your baby’s health.  Learn, have fun with it, ask for help.  Eat well, be well.

Sources:  https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=90&ContentID=P02428  Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M. Haas, M.D.

New Holistic Postpartum Care Offering!

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I am so thrilled to introduce you to the newest Ebb & Flow offering. Let’s get together and see if this plan is right for you. I know it is worth it. It’s  known in many societies the new mother is not valued. We do not teach new mothers to accept that they are valuable and though countless women before us have birthed, every single one is special and is your own experience. What does postpartum support look like for you? What do you wish it was for you? In the post before I talked about the support I provide mom’s immediately after the birth and in the 5 weeks to follow.  Massage in the home using hot stones to warm and pull back the pelvis area and lessons on self-massage that you can practice daily. IMG_2524.PNG

Nourishing meal preparation in the home to encourage your body’s healing.  IMG_2519

When your body is ready, rejuvenating makko ho stretching. This is about mom and helping her replenish, nourish her baby, and be nourished. Let’s talk about how I can help you feel nurtured in the #4thtrimester.

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