What’s the Deal with Amniotic Fluid

A0172EBA-606E-4C02-8A75-2B502DCCE9D8

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

0B92B2F5-0BCD-47B7-8852-DA6483127FFB

 

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!

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!

Book an Appointment

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

 

 

New Holistic Postpartum Care Offering!

IMG_2516

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.

IMG_2520.PNG

 

Tend Your Garden Well

img_2042

I love this quote from Ina May Gaskin. It is a subject that can be missed in the prenatal care. But as the quote says you need a nutrient rich soil to grow healthy plants. Why should this be less important when it comes to nutrition and babies.  What do you know about nutrition?  What are your nutritional needs in pregnancy?

Nutritional Needs of Pregnant Woman

With the growth of baby your stomach has been pushed up further and not much room for a big meal. This means that every bite counts. Eating small meals throughout the day instead of three larger meals.

Non-pregnant vs. Pregnant

Calories
1500-2000 to 2300-3200

Fiber
8-15 g to 10-15 g

Protein
45-65 g to 75-90 g.

Calcium

Your needs are greater in the second half. Insufficient calcium will lead to your body pulling it from your bones to nourish the growing fetus. Baby’s teeth, bones are forming and calcium helps with muscle and heart function, blood clotting and nerve transmission. Sources of calcium include milk, yogurts, cheese, if vegan then make sure you take in extra soy products and nuts and dark leafy greens.

850-1200 mg. to 1200-1600 mg.

Iron

You need 30 mg to 60 mg of iron when pregnant. Iron builds blood cells in mother and fetus. Anemia is when your blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells. Anemia also can occur if your red blood cells don’t contain enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that gives blood its red color. This protein helps red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. If you have anemia, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. As a result, you may feel tired or weak. You also may have other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, or headaches.

Because iron is not absorbed efficiently, more is needed to make it more available. So most women are usually prescribed an iron supplement. Not all can tolerate this. The supplement I recommend that is non-constipating and won’t make you nauseous is Floradix (a plant-based iron supplement) (I am not affiliated with).  It can actually help with constipation.

Nutrient-rich foods to prevent deficiencies:
Eggs
Fish
Poultry
Organ meats (organically raised; these foods are really more like medicines)
Milk products
Red meats
Nuts and seeds
Whole grains
Wheat germ
Yeast
Molasses
Seaweeds
Leafy green vegetables
Other nourishing choices to consider is the use of herbs. The #1 choice for nourishing women’s health in general and especially in pregnancy is red raspberry leaf tea. This has been shown to tonify the uterus and it is said if drunk daily in pregnancy will assure a healthy labor. Stinging nettles is another great choice. You can make a tea with this or use it as a green in soups. This is high in vitamins A, C, K, calcium, potassium and iron. Stinging nettle is used in many pregnancy teas (and women’s health teas in general) because it is a great all-around pregnancy tonic. Rosehips are another great choice because it is high in vitamin C which is key for absorbing iron well

Fiber

Fiber is important because the digestive system slows down. So to avoid or relieve constipation drink plenty of water besides milk and herbal teas and eat high-fiber foods like whole grains(Ezekiel 4:9 bread) (not affiliated with this brand), fruits, and vegetables.

Morning Sickness 
Another challenge to staying nourished in your pregnancy is morning sickness.  Though it’s name implies it only occurs in the morning, this can last throughout the days. If you find you can’t keep down water or food then speak with your care provider immediately because you could be dealing with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)       Hyperemesis gravidarum is a more serious condition that will require the care of a physician.  Morning sickness is actually helped with good nutrition choices.  Vitamin B6, C, E and extra magnesium and potassium can lessen or relieve morning sickness.  Red raspberry, peach leaf, tea, peppermint, and ginger root teas can help with nausea.  Avoid fatty foods, junk food, and obviously  alcohol. Upon awakening eating dry toast and crackers has been shown to stave off nausea. Snacking on carbs or protein throughout the day.

Nourishing yourself with the goal of giving  baby the best start is possible. It’s a delicious and fun adventure when you explore your choices armed with nutritional knowledge. If your still unsure seek out the assistance of a nutritionist  knowledgeable in the needs of pregnant women. Speak to your care provider or midwife. Your friendly neighborhood doula (hi there) will have some insights as well. If unsure ASK!  We are all to eager to help you have the best pregnancy you can.  I hope you have a happy and nourished pregnancy.  Have suggestions for eating well in pregnancy?  Please share in the comments.

Birth Song

The birthing process is intense. It’s no secret that it takes every ounce of a woman’s power in your life into the world. And one of those powers is the voice. Most Birth workers are comfortable with the range of sounds birthing women make but you still run into those who are not. When woman is silenced in the birthing room and told to not scream, don’t make noise, or calm down, they’re taking one of those powers away from her. Sound can be a pain reliever, a rhythm for the mother to cope, a distraction. It also can let others know she’s not coping well. The voice in the birthing process is important. We know how healing it is to express ourselves through our voice whether in singing or spoken word.

When a woman sings her birth song, she is opening her vocal chords and is releasing tension. When tension is released in the upper body, this leads to opening and release in the pelvis area. Why would you take this power away from her? Everything  we do in the birthing room is to assist opening in releasing. So mothers, partners, birth workers, let her voice be heard!

Moan, grunt, sing, breath as loud as you want. Roar!  Roar your baby out!

Body Image Risk and Reward in Massage

img_1920

Body image. Almost everybody has something about their body that they don’t like. For many people it’s a minor issue, no big deal. But some people have a major issue with their body image. It affects how they live and their happiness.
When I tell some people that I’m a massage therapist it can cause a strong reaction. They tell me, whether verbally or through their reaction and body language, that massage is not for them. Their body image is such an issue that they don’t think anybody else can accept them.

The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. In massage school we were all nervous about taking off our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. It didn’t take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies and become much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel. Something unexpected happened – when our bodies felt better we felt better about our bodies.

I think there are three options to consider. Let’s look at the risk versus reward for them.

1. Don’t get a massage.

This is the easiest because it involves doing nothing. The risk is low since you are not letting another person see or touch you at all.

The reward is zero. You didn’t get a massage so your body doesn’t feel any better, and you still have the stress you had before.

2. You get a massage, but the massage therapist either makes note of how you look, as if it matters.

If this has happened to you, I’m sorry. You got a crappy massage therapist. That’s a bummer, and I’m really sorry. You took a risk, and even if the rest of the massage was decent, got very little reward.

This is not going to happen if you come to me. Never. No way. I can’t say this strongly enough. It goes against the very nature of who I am, how I treat people, and what I believe.

3. You get a massage. A great massage. And the therapist does nothing to make you feel uncomfortable about your body. In fact, you feel pretty good about your body after the massage.

In this option your risk is low. I don’t care how your body looks. That’s none of my business. I just want to help it feel better. Your reward is high. Again your body will feel better from the massage and you can start feeling better about it.

I have no idea how your body got to be in the condition that it’s in. You may be dealing with something that you can’t control, such as a medical condition or an injury or accident. You may be in a lot of pain or are limited in what you can do physically. Since I don’t know what caused your body to be like it is now I can’t make any judgments about you.

I’ve worked on hundreds – maybe thousands – of people. Each body is interesting and I’ve yet to come across one that I could not help.
If you have been avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, let’s find an option that works for you. You don’t even have to explain anything to me. Leave your clothes on. Stay sitting up or face down or lying on your side or however you want. It’s up to you.

It’s my job to help you feel better. That’s it. Together let’s find a way to help you relieve your pain and stress. Don’t let your body image keep you from feeling good.

Meet the Doula Event October 16, 2016

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Meet The Doula Event in Buffalo, NY was a beautiful event organized by Shannon Johns of Calming Nature Doula Services.  Thank you Shannon.  So many great services for pregnant women in Buffalo. Moms were pampered with samples of massage, and facials. There were presentations all day regarding pregnancy-related subjects such as placenta encapsulation, what a Doula does, rebozo,  midwifery, chiropractic, and of course a presentation on pregnancy massage benefits and myths by yours truly.  The Postpartum Resource Center of New York’s Western New York Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Task Force was there to educate our community to really ask moms how they are doing and to be aware of signs mom is having a hard time and how to get her help. https://postpartumny.org/wny/

It was fun and informative.  We really are fortunate in Buffalo New York to have so many supportive services for families and mothers.  If you ever have any questions about pregnancy massage or how I do look and help you in your birth, please shoot me an email and we can chat.