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!
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.
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.
It is no secret that I hate the "due date". This arbitrary date that is thrown out to tell women when their babies will be born. More and more, it seems like I hear women saying things like "I will have my baby on..." or "My baby's birthday will be...", when really, your baby may be born anytime within the weeks leading up to or following that date.
The problem with the due date is that it sounds like there will be consequences if something doesn't happen by then. Everything else with a due date comes with some sort of penalty if we fail to deliver the required materials on time. If you don't return your library books by the due date, you will have to pay a fine. If you don't pay your bills by the due date, there is a late fee, or if it goes long enough, you risk losing the service. If you don't turn in your homework by the due date, you lose credit. If your baby isn't born by the due date... What then?
For some reason, in our society, pregnant women are often treated like children. Not only do many care providers begin stripping them of control over their own bodies and actions unnecessarily, but friends, loved ones, and even random strangers feel that it is alright to say and do things that would be considered inappropriate for any other adult. While some women don't mind having their bellies rubbed, being told what they are and aren't allowed to do, and answering personal questions, many women are very bothered by it. Anytime you see a pregnant woman, before saying anything, ask yourself how you would feel if someone said it to you. If you wouldn't like it, don't say it. The following is a list of some of the common words and actions that can be just downright rude.
There are so many books out there about pregnancy and childbirth, that going to the bookstore can often feel very overwhelming. You can't read them all, so which ones do you choose? There are a lot of very good books, and a lot of equally bad books. In this post, we will look at a few books that I recommend and why. Of course, there are a lot of great books out there that aren't on this list. Feel free to recommend your favorites in the comments at the bottom of the page.
For the next installment in the Benefits of Massage Therapy series, I am going to talk a little bit about massage therapy for people who have been placed on bed rest.
There are many reasons that a person may be placed on bed rest. Usually it is for a medical condition which may be exacerbated by activity, an injury that shouldn't be moved too much at first, or when someone is under observation for a possible condition. Some people are put on full bed rest and aren't allowed to get up, while others are placed on a less strict bed rest where they are to restrict their movements and not get up too much. Some people are required to stay in a hospital or medical facility, while others may remain at home. Regardless of the reason for and amount of bed rest, or where it takes place, some form of touch therapy is a good idea for anyone who has to restrict their movement.
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.