Pregnancy and birth are perhaps two of the most significant times in a woman’s life. No matter what the circumstances are surrounding a birth, it will be imprinted on memory for ever, as vivid as it happened yesterday. My grandmother, now in her nineties describes the shade of green the room was and how happy she was when she discovered the baby in her arms was a daughter. Women remember birth. Women remember their pregnancies and women most certainly remember the early new-born days.
As a midwife, I am privileged to walk with women as they journey to motherhood from the pre conception sparkle in the eye to antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care. I’m in awe every time I attend a birth and witness the strength, trust and courage women display as they bring their baby into the world and welcome them. It’s simply awesome.
Whether the pregnancy is low or high risk, a key aspect which benefits all eventualities is the mother-to-be’s ability to relax. It’s from this space where deep bonding with their growing baby occurs and the prime connection is formed which I encourage women to develop in my clinics. Rest and relaxation facilitates bonding, a unique process for each woman. There are many reasons for Mother Nature’s beautifully designed forty weeks of pregnancy, one of them is time to tune in and get to know each other’s rhythm.
Relaxation is a skill we need to practice and luckily there are tools to help, perfection is not necessary. I ask women what self-care techniques they use for relaxation and many don’t know how to answer this question. So we do some homework- we are curious about ourselves and in so doing, we find out what works. Maybe a bubbly bath with candles, maybe a swim, meditation, yoga, painting or a walk in the woods. These are aspects that can be given to ourselves daily, they are medicine. I believe, an intrinsic part of the walk to motherhood.
Massage, shiatsu (acupressure) and reflexology (pressure points on the feet) have many physical benefits: from relieving back pain, soothing stretching and pelvic pain to stimulating oxytocin (the birth hormone). In my holistic clinic I work with massage, reflexology, shiatsu, reiki, yoga and aromatherapy all of which have specific uses at different stages of your journey, including ivf and fertility difficulties. These treatments are run in one to one and a half hour appointments. In later pregnancy and closer to term shiatsu, aromatherapy and reflexology points encourage softening of the cervix, encouraging good positioning, and a gentle induction only if the body and baby are ready. Treatments are non- intrusive and absolutely safe. I also work with birth partners and I run baby massage classes teaching parents how to massage their babies.
For specific and /or high risk conditions such as high blood pressure, cholestasis, gestational diabetes and twins during pregnancy please contact me to discuss which treatment is suitable for you. Each session is tailor made to the overall picture at the time you come but for obstetric led maternity care a telephone discussion is necessary prior to proceeding.
Where-ever you are in your pregnancy journey – the learning curve is steep and learning to filter through the barrage of helpful opinions of others ‘who have gone before’ is a new art to be learnt. Holistic support for yourself supports you as a whole person; body, mind and spirit – wonderfully empowering for mothers and families, tools for a lifetime to pass onto the next generation.
As a last note of caution- I write this as a midwife and an experienced massage therapist who has worked with pregnant ladies for many years. If you are looking for a therapist close by to you, check they are trained specifically for pregnancy- some therapists may not be confident to work with you in pregnancy, for others with more experience and understanding of the anatomy they will be comfortable. It is your body and baby and when going for massage (as well as any maternity care), it is important to feel well cared for.
I wish you much joy as you ease into the outbreath of relaxation and sink into the wonder of your pregnancy and the growing baby inside of you.
Midwife and owner of Forty Weeks, established 2002.