So you're pregnant and have been researching ways to facilitate a healthy pregnancy and potentially lead to an easier birth experience? If you are reading this post, you have likely come across a lot of the information about how beneficial prenatal massage is, but if you haven't here is the link to my post about it. Unfortunately, what many of those posts don't tell you is that not all massage therapists doing prenatal massage are actually qualified to offer it. Many establishments that offer prenatal massage are so worried about letting your money walk out the door, that they will assign you to a therapist who is not qualified rather than having you wait for someone who is. It happened to me all the time when I was working in day spas fresh out of massage school and had very little instruction in working with pregnant people. So, before you schedule that prenatal massage there are some questions that you may want to ask your massage therapist to find out if they are actually qualified to perform your massage. Here are my 5 signs that your massage therapist should not be performing prenatal massage:
Whenever I prepare to go on-call for my doula clients, I like to go through my birth bag to make sure that everything is there and see if there is anything that needs to be replenished. As I gear up for a couple of upcoming births, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to shoot a video of what I bring in my birth bag!
Today we are going to talk about douching. The word "douche" is the French verb for "to clean". In the United States and many other parts of the world, douching is the act of flushing out the vagina with water, vinegar, "feminine washes", or other liquids. Douching is still relatively common with 1 in 4 women between the ages of 15 and 44 regularly practicing it in the US. Women of color are more likely to douche than their Caucasian counterparts, and teenagers of all races commonly do it1. With so many people engaging in the practice of douching, it is important to take a look at the impact that douching can have on your health and wellness, and the reasons why people started doing it in the first place.
There are a lot of names out there that people use to describe their reproductive organs. I have heard women talk about their "lady bits", "hooha", "cookie", "vajayjay", "vajean", "bajingo", "beaver", "fanny", "bathing suit area", "private parts", "box", "snatch", "junk" and more. The closest we usually come to hearing correct terminology is the use of the word "vagina", but interestingly enough, it is most commonly misused. I have posted a few blogs about menstruation that explain a little bit about the our reproductive organs, but as I was working on another post today, I realized that with so much uncertainty about what is going on in our reproductive systems, some terms may be a bit confusing. So today, we are going to look at the female reproductive system, learn the names for each organ and structure, and what they do. We will start from the outside and work our way in.
If you are a woman young or old who has been of the age of menstruation, you have undoubtedly heard the term PMS. It is a term that gets thrown around a lot, often in ways which show little understanding of what it is. Many of us have been accused of having PMS if we are irritable, if we feel and speak passionately about something, cry for any reason, or sometimes even if we merely disagree with someone. Some women have even been told that PMS isn't really a thing, it is just a figment of their imaginations. This is very untrue. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is an actual phenomenon linked to our menstrual cycles. A term that is not thrown around a lot is Dysmenorrhea. It is so uncommon to hear about, that both the term and abbreviation for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) are easily accepted by auto correct, but I am told that Dysmenorrhea is not even a word. Like Premenstrual Syndrome, Dysmenorrhea is a collection of symptoms linked to our menstrual cycles. So today in our quest for more knowledge about the menstrual cycle, we are going to talk about those two terms, what they mean, and how to treat them.
Having a period is a very normal, natural thing for women to experience. It is shocking to me that so many people are still afraid to talk about it, and that so few people even know what a period is. In my last post, I gave an introduction to menstruation that went over all of the phases of your menstrual cycle, and what is happening during each one. In this installment, we will talk about your options when it comes to feminine hygiene products. Most of us are aware of our disposable options (pads and tampons), and we will go over those very briefly, but for many the world of reusable feminine hygiene products is still a bit of a mystery. For those of you who are looking for safer options to replace the disposables, looking for something greener, or looking to save some money in the long run, read on to learn about some of your options.
Ah, the period. We have been taught that it is something to be ashamed of, to hide away, perhaps even to fear. For many young women, the time leading up to her first period is full of excitement and anticipation as she awaits the arrival of "womanhood". After that (perhaps not so) glorious event, she is very quickly taught that you don't talk about your period and it is best to try and avoid anyone finding out you have it. Today, we are going to break the taboo surrounding periods. (Did you know that the word taboo is actually derived from the word tapua which literally means menstruation?) Today we are going to talk about it.
I have found that far too many women do not know anything about their periods or their menstrual cycles. Even the words seem to be a jumble as many are not sure which terms mean which things. (Is the egg what comes out when we have a period? Is ovulation the same as menstruation? What are all of those anatomy terms?) Instead we cover it up with innuendo and (not so) cute nicknames like Aunt Flow, the curse, or "that time of the month". So, instead of perpetuating the mystery of menstruation, lets talk about the basics. What is your period?
When it comes to birth, there are 2 ways that your baby can come out; vaginally or via Cesarean. The best outcomes for mother and baby tend to come with a vaginal delivery, and because of this, Cesareans can sometimes get a bad reputation. This is unfortunate because sometimes there is a bit of a stigma placed on women who have a Cesarean delivery. Sometimes it is placed on them by other people (especially with a planned Cesarean), and sometimes women place that stigma on themselves (particularly with an unplanned Cesarean). As with most interventions, Cesareans are there for a good reason, however like other interventions they are also very overused. I have heard some very good reasons and some not so good reasons for surgical birth, but regardless of the reason, there are a few things you should know about Cesareans before going into your birth.
Have you ever been doing research or had a question, so you did a Google search and wound up reading posts on a forum? With my line of work, I have spent some time looking at anecdotes on forums for pregnancy and fertility. I always look for more reliable sources to back them up, but sometimes it is good to look at what people have experienced to gain a different kind of insight. One thing I have noticed is that most of the people who use those forums use their own jargon to the point where it can be indecipherable to someone who doesn't know it. If you have ever been on those sites, you may have seen posts that said something like "Having some cramping and bleeding 6dpo. Only 1/2 wk before I can use frpt to hopefully get bfp." or "DH says that I smell pregnant like I did with DD and DS. Took a pt and got a bfn, but still no af 15dpo." If you just looked at that like it was a foreign language, you are certainly not alone. In this post I will create a glossary of sorts so that those of you who are trying to decipher what you are reading can have all of these definitions in one place.
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to furthering women's health through bodywork and education, and helping women to have healthier lives and positive birth experiences.