The First Forty Days~ Practice Stillness

Rediscover who you are in the postpartum stillness

We are constantly on the move. Solving problems, meeting challenges, reaching goals, perhaps even running a small business and shouting the mantra #hustleharder! When you are in those first few weeks there is no greater struggle I see as a postpartum doula than the shift of mindset from constant movement in the mind, heart, and body to the slow living the 4th trimester deserves. Your whole being was poured out in the birthing of your little one. To quote a very common phrase, you can’t pour from an empty cup. To make the mind shift, it will take practice and pregnancy is the best time to practice stilling your mind.

If you’d like to learn more about postpartum support and how I can help you transition into motherhood, please email me at Dee@ebbandflowbirth.com.

If you’re not in the area but are looking for support I have a beta online cohort if you will that will take you through postpartum challenges and holistic practices to heal your best. The program is called Nourished Mother Collective. Live weekly group calls and exclusive membership for 12-months. Feel free to email if you’d like to learn more.

Online postpartum education and virtual postpartum support circle

The First Forty Days ~ Feed & Be Fed

Plan for your postpartum

When we look at a portrait of postpartum and what the ideal is, it is simple. Yet it is hard. Feeding your baby does not always come naturally, breastfeeding is not always desired and you may face challenges with bottle feeding, tongue ties, lip ties, or premature birth pose challenges. Being fed well as a new mother sounds easy enough but we don’t always have family near by to help, or your new to the area you birthed in. The last thing you should be doing is cooking three meals a day and washing dishes etc. What can you do to meet the challenges as they arise? Plan, gather support, local professionals and resources,and learn all you can about the challenges before your baby arrives. If you’d like help in your 4th trimester email me for more information. dee@ebbandflowbirth.com #planyourpostpartum #postpartummatters #nourishedmotherscollective #postpartumeducation #firstfortydays #newbornmother #findyourhelpers

Stress – Does It Affect Your Pregnancy?

 

Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure).

 

Pregnancy can be a cause for a great mixture of emotions. Whether it is planned or unplanned, doubts may creep in whether your are able to care for a baby be it physically, financially, or emotionally. Fear of lack of support to help you care for the baby.  Physical changes that you are not looking forward to. Concerns about your career. Or how will this new person in your life affect your relationship you your partner. Fatigue, morning sickness, headaches, aches body, lack of sleep, and perhaps other physical illnesses during pregnancy can lead to stress.

 

Physical Affects of Stress

When we are stressed the body creates more blood catecholamines.  These are stress hormones. In pregnancy if you have elevated levels, you are at risk of developing trouble sleeping, fatigue, high blood pressure, lowered immune system, anxiety, etc.  These hormones can slow labor down. It can decrease circulation to the placenta decreasing baby’s ability to be nourished in utero. The effects of postpartum stressors can be a decrease in oxytocin production which is important in mother baby bonding and is helpful in mothers ability to heal, and increases the risk for postpartum mental health problems.  The effects of stress on baby’s health are lower birth weights, premature delivery. There have even been studies down that have correlated low birth weights with high blood pressure in adults.

 

How to De-stress For a Healthier Pregnancy and Postpartum

First on my list of course is massage therapy!  So many studies have been done proving over and over massages ability to soothe and restore the nervous system.  It helps the body to know what needs correction and helps it to reach a balanced state. The Touch Research Institute has done some amazing research on the effects of massage therapy and pregnancy.  Here is one case study showing the enormous benefits of massage in pregnancy.

 

“Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain. Cortisol levels decreased and, in turn, excessive fetal activity decreased, and the rate of prematurity was lower in the massage group. In a study of labor pain, women who received massage therapy experienced significantly less pain, and their labors were on average 3 h shorter with less need for medication. An underlying mechanism we have been exploring is that these effects are mediated by increased vagal activity.”

Field, T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage therapy. Expert Review of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5, 177-181.

In essence, massage works!  It is well worth it to put massage therapy in your plan of care during pregnancy.  You will feel the benefits now and see them well into labor and your baby will too.  As for postpartum, I will discuss that another time. What are some other stress reducers you can implement in between you massage appointments?

 

  • Swimming
  • Prenatal Pilates or yoga
  • Prenatal dance (Dance For Birth®)
  • Gentle exercise (I recommend Essentrics ® as an apprentice instructor)
  • Daily walks
  • Talking with someone such as a trusted friend or a licensed professional

 

So if you are feeling stressed or anxious, know that it is okay to take some time for yourself.  It is okay to ask for help. You are not being selfish but you are caring for the wellbeing of yourself and your unborn baby.  If you have other recommendations that helped you to lower your stress during pregnancy, please share in the comments.

For more information on massage therapy appointment please feel free to contact me at dee@ebbandflowbirth.com or make an appointment online if you are ready to jump on the massage table asap!  

Special Gift for Buffalo Mom Squad Members!

Hi all. If you’re a member of the Buffalo Mom Squad Facebook group, head on over to see your exclusive deal for massage services. If you’re not a member, I highly suggest you join this fabulous group. Meet with likeminded moms for fun meetups, recommendations for local businesses and special walks just for their members.

Having mom friends is so important. Buffalo mom and real estate agent Ashley Tundo created the group so that moms could meet in Western New York for mon dates, play dates and to find a sisterhood in motherhood. It’s a non-judgements space for moms to support and uplift one another.

We are fortunate to have a dedicated online space and someone who organizes fun events for moms with local businesses.

#buffalove #momsquad

Hydration Factor

Water being poured into a glass.


Water.  Why is it such a struggle for many of us to keep up with our water intake?  It is so easy to reach for a latte, juice or soda. But what we all need more of is good old-fashioned H20. So for motivation let’s look at some benefits of increasing your water drinking habit.

  • Less aches and pain – Our body needs water to lubricate our joints so the more we drink, the less pain you may have in your joints.
  • Dry eyes and dry mouth fix – Good hydration will help your body make sufficient saliva and mucus in the body and this can help reduce irritation from dry eyes and mouths.  This is especially important in the dry winter months.
  • Wrinkles stay away – To have a glowing complexion and stave off premature wrinkles chug your H20
  • Maintains good blood pressure – The blood is 70% water so to keep things flowing smoothly and helping the body work less to pump blood through the body, keep up your intake.
  • Weight loss – Helps things to keep moving like improved bowel function.  When you are dehydrated you have a tendency to snack more.

So how much should you drink?  A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces.  So if you weigh 150 lbs, then drink at least 75 ounces a day. If you are doing physical activities or its a hot day, then obviously drink a bit more than that. So drink up your water and you’ll feel and look your best!  

What’s the Deal with Amniotic Fluid

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Amni-what now?

Amniotic fluid is the liquid that is within the amnion or the membrane that holds the baby.  Also known as waters.  So when you hear the term her water broke, that is amniotic fluids.  It serves as a cushioning to protect baby from external movements for shock absorbtion.  This fluid also does a lot more.  It also a source of nutrients, water, and biochemicals from mom to baby.  As the baby grows, the fluid allows free movement allowing baby to do those acrobatic acts they like to do in utero.  This helps their muscles and bones to develop.  Also, when baby swallows this assists in the baby’s gastrointestinal development.  It also helps keep baby’s body temperature just right.

 

What’s it made of?

It’s made mostly of water and electrolytes early in pregnancy.  Later on it also contains, proteins, carbs, lipids, phospholipids, and urea.  These “ingredients” help your baby in its development.  So your body is making baby Gatorade of sorts.  Plus it that’s where the baby’s urine comes from along with meconium (black sticky first poo after birth).  Yes there is pee in there.  It’s totally fine.  How much is in there? Well, it increases with the growth of baby.  It peaks at about 800 ml and decreases to 400 ml by week 42.

Where does it all come from?

It comes from moms plasma and later in the pregnancy baby contributes by urinating.  This is why staying hydrated is key in pregnancy.  You should drink at least 8 cups a day.  You have an increase blood volume and are producing amniotic fluid.  By the time of the birth you will have about 1 liter of water gushing out.  Little known fact, the majority of births don’t see the waters break until baby is actually emerging.  It is not as common to have a giant gush of waters and then baby.  It happens, just not as often as people (the media) thinks it does.

Did you know that amniotic fluid can tell us a story.  It is used to test for diseases and genetic anomalies.  The amount excess or shortage can signal problems with baby or signal maternal issues.  In labor, the color will signal whether baby has had a bowel movement which may or may not signal fetal distress.

To Break or Not to Break

Breaking of the water as mentioned before can be spontaneous in active labor or at the birth of baby.  Sometimes a labor has gone on for a while with no “progress” and the provider may suggest rupturing your membranes.  They may use a amnihook or amnicot.  The amniohook kind of looks like a crochet hook.  It is inserted and used to break the waters.  The finger cot is the same except its a little finger cot with a bit of a hook on it.  It does not hurt and mom may feel relief at the breaking of the waters.  Some providers feel that this potentially will speed up progress.  There is no real proof it actually does.  It can potentially make it harder to cope with the labor pains since now instead of a cushion of water on the cervix, the baby’s head is not directly on the cervix, leading to the need for pain medication.  It can be helpful if labor has been long and the provider wants to make sure there is no meconium is in the fluids.  All in all though, it seems like it’s best to leave things alone if possible.

So that is it.  That is a brief run down on amniotic fluids.  Have a fun fact you’d like to share please comment.  Did your water break before the baby came, leak during labor, or gush right at baby’s arrival?

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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