CPR Classes

Classes are short, personal, and will provide parents with the skills, knowledge and understanding that they would need to be able to save their children’s lives.

Birthing With Courage

Lindsey

There is a movement happening that encourages women to birth without fear—to trust their bodies, their instincts, and their babies. The positivity that comes from this is incredible, uniting, and extremely empowering…but, is it entirely realistic? For me, I found that it was not. I found myself frustrated that I could not completely do away with my fears surrounding birth, particularly when hoping for a successful VBAC.

Here is why. Every woman enters her labor (whether at home or in a hospital) with a past, with a story, with a unique set of circumstances, opinions, and experiences. We live in a world where bad things happen. Things don’t always go the way we planned and we may feel our bodies fail us. I think there is good reason to be fearful. I also think we need to embrace those fears, talk about those fears, and figure out how to trust our bodies, our instincts, and our babies in the midst of those fears. When we deny our fears, we deny ourselves the opportunity to be courageous. And, isn’t that what our children need more than our ability to squelch our fears? To start their lives seeing their parents exemplify courage?

I am not sure that fear can ever be completely dismissed. I also am not sure that birthing without fear should be our goal. Being courageous is defined by fear. According to all-knowing Google, it is “the ability to do something that frightens one // strength in the face of pain or grief”. It is doing what I have been created to do EVEN THOUGH I am fearful. I cannot be courageous without first being fearful. I want to be a woman who births courageously.

While fear is a natural response, it should not be used as an excuse to be poorly educated about our bodies and the process of bearing children. It should not be something we are given over to or allow to rule our thoughts and decisions.

So how do we fight for ourselves and our bodies when we cannot eliminate fear? We strengthen ourselves; we train ourselves to fight our fears. We educate ourselves with evidence-based data and we make sure that fear is not driving our decisions about our bodies and our babies.

So let’s be women who birth with courage, instead of women who birth without fear.
Why don’t we turn the negative into a positive? Let’s acknowledge our fears—that birth (although natural) can in fact be a very scary thing—and become women who give birth courageously. Not to prove a point, but to acknowledge the beautiful and intricate way we have been created. I say we have the courage to birth despite our fears and put forth every effort to love, support, and draw out courage from every mama with child.

Yours,

Lindsey Hughes

Labor Doula~ Athens, GA

hughes.lindsey2010@gmail.com

Whoa Mama Support Group…Parenting Is Hard

postpartumflower

I was a hot mess after my first son was born. I had been around kids and babies my whole life, so I’d expected to take parenting all in stride. But it was more complicated than that. He was a high needs baby, breastfeeding wasn’t working, he wasn’t gaining weight, and I was depressed. Being a therapist, I knew right away what the depression was, and I worked with my midwife and my therapist on treating it. But I didn’t do one thing I should have: get support from other mamas going through the same thing. Once I was feeling better I talked to my friends about that feeling, and many of them said they’d been there too. I wish I’d felt comfortable talking about it at the time so I could hear those strong voices when I was in the midst of the fog.

That’s why Monira Silk and I created the Whoa Mama Support Group. Monira felt she could have benefitted from something like our group after both her kids were born, and she talks to mamas in her shop, reBlossom, who struggle with these same feelings. The worst part is that we isolate ourselves, not knowing others are going through it, or we feel too ashamed to speak up. We fear that the feelings of depression, anxiety, or even acknowledging that parenting is hard brings judgement from other parents. It is our hope that our monthly Whoa Mama Support Group embraces mamas in all their messes and creates an environment where it feels normal to say that things are hard, or that we may feel anxious or depressed.

We meet on third Thursdays at 12:30 at reBlossom, and the group is free. We begin with a topic each month, but then the conversation goes where it wants. Each month is different but usually there is some combination of fussing babies, talking, and laughing. No RSVP needed, no diagnosis warranted, there is no dress code, and crying babies (and mamas) are welcome. If you ever think parenting can be hard, you are welcome to come celebrate and commiserate with us. We think it’s easier to hear through the fog when we put our voices together.

Leigh Ellen Watts Magness, LCSW, R-PT

Post by Leigh Ellen Watts Magness

Leigh Ellen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and the only Registered Play Therapist (R-PT) in Athens. She works out of the Athens Center for Counseling and Play Therapy, providing resources to children, families, and individuals in a meaningful and playful way.  Find out more about Leigh Ellen’s services here…

Placenta Encapsulation – How Can It Help Postpartum Mothers?

placenta

The placenta is an amazing feat of biological engineering.

The only organ that is grown as an adult, the placenta is responsible for transferring oxygenated blood and nutrients to the baby, as well as filtering some toxins and bacteria. It even produces opioids and several hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Notably, the stimulus for breastmilk production after birth is the separation of the placenta from the uterine wall.

Although placentas all serve the same functions and are of similar size (most placentas weigh, on average, 1/6th of the weight of the babies they support), each is different. Some have multiple lobes. Others sport umbilical cords that are long, short, knotted, or attached to their placentas in interesting ways. Placentas vary in shape, thickness, and color. For those who have the opportunity to inspect them on a regular basis, it’s amazing to see the variations that occur.  

It’s no wonder then that we humans have developed a multitude of placenta traditions, including burial, preservation, and, increasingly, consumption. Placentophagy, or the consumption of the placenta, is common to mammals- including primates such as chimpanzees.

To be clear, peer-reviewed studies showing the specific chemical and hormonal benefits of consuming the placenta are somewhat lacking- not due to lack of evidence, but to lack of study. It’s believed that the hormones contained in the organ can help to mitigate the changes that occur postpartum, as a result of the hormonal shift; gradually replacing the hormones lost is thought to smooth the transition to motherhood. This is of particular interest to mothers who have a history of postpartum depression, or even general depression before they had children. Anecdotes describing increased energy, greater breastmilk production, and improved overall vitality abound. Hormones aside, the placenta is rich is the same nutrients as our other organs: vitamin B-12, protein, and iron. Iron is particularly important in replacing blood loss during childbirth.

Clearly the placenta has much value to the new mother. How, then, to reap those benefits? There are three basic techniques typically used today.

In the first method, the placenta is eaten directly, without much preparation besides cleaning. Some mothers choose to take their placentas in the form of smoothies; a small piece of placenta blended with, for example, strawberries, ice, and greens is hardly noticeable. Others may stir-fry small pieces of placenta with vegetables, as is traditional in cultures that feel new mothers are vulnerable to cold and should only be provided with warming foods.

Dehydration is a second method of placenta preparation. The placenta is cleaned, cut into strips, and dried. Once most of the water has been removed, the strips are ground into powder. Most often, the powder is encapsulated; nourishing herbs are sometimes added at this point as well. This is currently the most popular technique in the US. The powder can also be used in novelties such as chocolate truffles.  

The third method is tincturing. To create a placenta tincture, a small piece of the placenta, either steamed or raw, is placed in strong alcohol. After a number of weeks, the mixture is strained and bottled. Placenta tincturing can be completed in compliment to encapsulation, with the remainder of the placenta being dried and put into capsules.

Regardless of the method of preparation, placentophagy is fast becoming an increasingly popular choice for new mothers. For more information about both placentophagy and the placenta in general, check out the references and resources listed below.

Warmly,

Emily

Post by Emily Nolan

Emily Nolan is a labor and postpartum doula, lactation educator, and placenta encapsulator who provides services through her own business, Now What? in Athens, GA. Find out more about Emily’s services here…

References/Resources:

“The Placenta: A Guide to Examination” by Patricia Edmonds.

Placenta Benefits: www.placentabenefits.info

Placenta Encapsulation from Turning Tides Midwifery: http://www.turningtidesmidwifery.com/placentaencapsulation.php

In Search of Human Placentophagy: A Cross-Cultural Survey of Human Placenta Consumption, Disposal Practices, and Cultural Beliefs: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03670244.2010.524106

Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond

spine

At first glance, most people don’t see the connection between chiropractic care and pregnancy. However, having a nervous system in optimal working condition and structural support help both mother and child during the pregnancy, birth process, and postpartum period.

Being born is a natural process. With every pregnancy comes hormonal changes, a shift in body weight, and a laxity of connective tissues. New stresses are experienced by the lower back and pelvis. Regular chiropractic care during pregnancy helps maintain balance, alignment and flexibility, which benefits both mother and baby. When the baby is comfortable, he or she can assume the optimal birthing position. Many women report that their pregnancies were easier and their delivery times were shorter when they received chiropractic care on a regular basis.

Pregnancy

Chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy can help alleviate the common discomforts and pains associated with pregnancy. Backaches, sciatica, PSD (pubic symphysis dysfunction), round ligament pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, as well as neck and midback pain are often reduced with proper spinal alignment.  

Labor and Birth

Mothers who get adjusted often report requiring needing few, if any, interventions during their labors. In fact, most of those women report shorter, less traumatic births, overall. Proper spinal and pelvic alignment increases the probability that baby will be in the optimal position to get labor started and continue with more ease and less intervention. In addition, with proper nerve supply, well-timed contractions help move the baby more easily through the birth canal, which makes the birth process and recovery easier for both mother and baby.

Postpartum

Becoming a parent is a full-time job. This new occupation consists of holding and feeding the little one a majority of the time, for the first couple months of baby’s life. These new positions can be very taxing on the parents’ bodies during the postpartum period. Proper positioning and support while holding baby is essential. Often times, spinal realignment reduces the stress on the body of both parents and baby.  

Benefits for Baby

Baby positioning in utero and the birth process can stress a baby’s spine. Breastfeeding problems can arise if the baby is unable to comfortably turn her head. We use a light touch and cranial work to make our adjustments safe, comfortable and effective for newborns.

Without the language to explain, many newborns experience colic, an unexplained crying, lack of appetite, frequent ear infections, or other signals of poor health. If indicated, a gentle, life-affirming adjustment is given. With no more pressure than you’d use to test the ripeness of a tomato misalignments can be reduced. Almost miraculously, many parents see instant improvements in the well-being of their child.

As time passes, regular chiropractic checkups are helpful to monitor spinal development as infants sit upright, support their heads, learn to crawl and take their first brave steps.

A common concern among parents is that the child will receive adjustments like the ones they receive, themselves. Adjustment techniques are modified for each person’s size and unique spinal problem, and an infant’s spine rarely has the longstanding muscle tightness seen in adults. This makes the child’s chiropractic adjustment gentle, comfortable and effective.  

I understand trusting the safety of your body and your child’s body can bring up questions or concerns. My door is always open for questions to help make sure chiropractic care is the right fit for you and your family.  
Allison Kennamer, D.C.

Post by Allison Kennamer

Allison Kennamer is a D.C. who provides chiropractic services through Thrive Integrative Medicine in Athens, GA. Find out more about Allison’s services here…