One of the most common questions I get when I have tables at events is "What is Reiki?" Many people have heard of it, or know someone who gets Reiki treatments, but they don't really know anything about it. Today, I want to share a little bit more about what Reiki is and what it can do.
Basically, Reiki is a form of energy therapy. The Reiki practitioner helps to facilitate your healing by affecting you energy and energy centers rather than manipulating muscles and tissue like in a massage therapy session. Reiki originated in Japan, and has since spread all over the world. Reiki is pronounced like "ray-kee", and comes from the Japanese Rei- meaning spiritual and Ki- meaning energy. The kanji pictured at left are how the Japanese write the word Reiki.
One of the services that I offer as part of my doula packages is help in writing a birth plan. Some people may have providers who encourage them to make a birth plan, or encourage them not to. Others may feel like they don't need one because they are flexible. In today's post I want to clear up some common misconceptions about birth plans so that you can decide if it is something that you would like to do.
When I initially made this blog post, I was advertising a local showing of the Safe Motherhood Quilt. When I switched website hosts and had to redo my site, I eliminated a lot of the blog posts about promotions, but I wanted to keep an altered version of this post because it is such an important topic, and has some really good information and statistics. The maternal mortality rates in our country are inexcusable, and yet so few people know what a problem it is. The more people who know, the more people will question, and that is what we need in order to make a change.
In a previous blog post, I talked about medical inductions. As a follow up, I would like to talk a little about natural induction methods. It is very common for care providers to give a mother a date and say if she hasn't gone into labor by then they will induce. This is a great time to start some natural induction techniques. The majority of natural techniques will not cause harm to mom or baby even if they don't work.
The thing about any induction is this; whether natural or medical, if that baby isn't ready to be born, it won't work. Babies come when they are ready. If you and your baby are almost ready, an induction can be a great way to kickstart a labor. If baby and mom aren't ready, an induction won't take. Many people think that being induced in a hospital puts you into labor. This just isn't true. Every day Cesareans are performed for failed inductions.
So, what are some natural methods that you can use to try and kickstart your labor? The first thing you should do before trying any of these methods is to get the all clear from your primary care provider. If they have a medical reason why you should not try any or all of these techniques, don't do it.
Almost anyone who has ever been pregnant will tell you that at a certain point you get tired of being pregnant, and just want the baby out. If you go to your appointment and your doctor or midwife says something along the lines of "You know, we can induce and get the baby out today..." or "How would you like to meet your baby today?" it is so tempting to agree just to stop being pregnant, and the incentive of getting to hold your new baby for the first time is very enticing.
Legally, hospitals are required to talk about the risks along with the benefits of any medical procedure, this includes inductions. Unfortunately, there are far to many moms who aren't given a break-down of what to expect, or are made to focus only on the good things. It is important to go into any medical procedure knowing what to expect, both good and bad.
So, what exactly is an induction? There are a couple of things that hospitals may try to induce your labor.
Recently, I have been noticing more people hopping on the squatting bandwagon. The idea is that even though we have been encouraged to do kegels for generations, they actually aren't good for us. The idea is that squatting actually does what kegels only claim to do. So which is actually better? Squats or kegels?
The reason we do pelvic floor exercises is to strengthen our pelvic floor muscles and hopefully prevent incontinence later on. They are also encouraged for pregnant women to tone the pelvic floor for birth. Let's look at what each exercise does and how it affects the pelvic floor.
I will occasionally have people ask me if I use one of those special pregnancy massage tables with the hole in it for the belly. Sometimes it is someone who has been on one before, sometimes it is someone who has just heard of them. I think it is not only important to state that I don't use one, but to also explain why.
What is a Birth Doula?
Although doulas are becoming more mainstream in our society, there are still many people who are unsure as to what a doula is. So what exactly is a doula and what does she do?
Basically, a birth doula is a trained birth assistant. We receive training about how to help moms through the labor and childbirth process. The role of a doula is really up to the mother. We are at her beck and call for anything that she needs while in labor, excluding anything medical. This may mean giving her a massage, helping her change positions, assisting her with relaxation, going to get food, entertaining older children, advocating with her to the medical staff in a hospital birth, or communicating with her about any interventions that may be necessary. We also provide physical and emotional support for mom and her partner.
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.