POST BIRTH NUTRITION

POST BIRTH NUTRITION

Pregnancy and childbirth are perhaps the toughest challenges the female body goes through.  Many of us are guilty of wanting to quickly get back into pre-pregnancy clothes and embark on diets to support this, but, is this approach right?

Nutrition needs for mum after birth are equally or arguably more important than in pregnancy.  Nutrition in the early days post birth may help support the healing process and replenish lost nutrients.  It may help with energy levels and is also important in those wishing to breastfeed (this uses hundreds of calories of energy each day)…..and eating well might even help shift a few pounds naturally!

There are 3 main macro nutrients that we need after birth and these should make up the bulk of our meals.  These are carbohydrate, protein and fat:

  • Complex Carbohydrates are essential for energy. Good sources of carbohydrate rich foods include root vegetables and wholegrains (oats, rice, wholemeal pasta etc). These should make up around 25% of each of your meals
  • Protein is essential for healing and repair and is vital to help your body to produce breast milk. Good sources of protein rich foods include lean meats, fish, beans, pulses, eggs, quinoa and dairy products.  These should also make up around 25% of each of your meals
  • Good Fats are essential to health. They are important in brain health, for hormone regulation and are a vital component in breast milk.  Good sources include oily fish, cold pressed unheated olive oil, avocado and nuts and seeds.  A small amount of these daily is plenty – around 25g of nuts is a portion!

The rest of your diet should be made up from fruits and vegetables.  These provide you with essential quantities of fibre to help keep your digestive system working well and to provide you with all the vitamins and minerals that are needed for the body to work optimally such as iron, magnesium, vitamin C, B vitamins etc.  You are aiming for 5 different coloured vegetables and 2 different fruits every day.

The foods that are best avoided are the processed foods that don’t give us nutrients.  These are foods like crisps, biscuits, cakes, chocolates and sweets.  They are likely to make you feel more tired.

Drink plenty of water.  Breastfeeding can be dehydrating but even if you aren’t feeding, hydration may help boost energy levels and help the digestive system.

Lastly, don’t under estimate the important of sleep  –  you’ll be tired and sleep deprivation negatively impacts our appetite hormones…go grab a powernap instead of that coffee and cake!

Janet Padfield

info@applestozinc.co.uk

www.applestozinc.co.uk

Abi Moore wins bronze and silver awards in the Guild of Photographer’s monthly image competition

From all of us at The Maternity Network, we couldn’t be more proud of our Team!

Photography by Abi Moore

Today, I am over the moon to have learned that I have won two bronze awards and a silver award in the Guild of Photographer’s monthly image competition. The silver award and one of the bronzes were for this gorgeous little one that I photographed last month – just six days old!

At the beginning of the year, I set myself some goals, and one was to win a silver – it’s such a challenging competition that I am delighted to have heard this news today!!

Go and see the imagesPhotography by Abi Moore @photographybyabimoore

or on her websitewww.photographybyabimoore.com

The cranisacral effect on babies

The CranioSacral Effect on Birth Trauma

How would you, as an adult, respond to a stressful event?

Your heart might race, your breathing may become shallow and rapid, your blood might drain from various parts of your body, you could feel tense and agitated, and there may be effects on your digestive system, from butterflies in the tummy, to nausea, vomiting or worse.  Not pleasant!

Some babies find the experience of birth a stressful event, and will react in the same way – with a racing heart, breathing changes, a tight diaphragm, muscular contraction, digestive shutdown and agitation.  Luckily babies are very resilient, but some remain in this state of shock, and go on to display symptoms such as colic, poor sleep, restlessness, distress, and an inability to “switch off”.  Once the system is in shock, it makes coping with life difficult, making everything in life more of a struggle.

So what can help?  CranioSacral therapy is a very gentle hands-on treatment which is particularly valuable for treating babies. The aim of treatment in these babies is to settle the system, to allow the baby to calm down and to experience the feeling of being relaxed.  This can have a profound effect – many parents have commented that they have never seen their baby so calm and peaceful.  Once a baby is relaxed, it can feed more easily, its digestive system is able to function more efficiently, and it can settle into sleep.

Very powerful physical forces act on a baby during birth.  Fortunately the body’s abilities to recover are also powerful, and for most of us the effects will be relatively minor.  But with a difficult birth, where the baby’s head has been compressed for long periods, distorted due to the position the baby finds itself in, or pulled by forceps or ventouse, the body’s own healing and repair abilities may not be enough.  If the bones of the baby’s skull are not able to release from their compressed or distorted position and return to their optimal arrangement, this can cause problems.  The baby may only be comfortable with its head to one side, which can lead to flattening or moulding of the skull.  Blood supply to the developing brain may be compromised, or nerves may be compressed. The baby may simply have a big headache!  CranioSacral therapy can very gently release any restrictions and distortions and enable a balanced and healthy growth of the skull, and of the developing brain beneath.

The earlier the treatment, the more easily this will occur, and the more complete the recovery.

By Gillian Bowers CranioSacral therapis, Maternity Network member and Mobile therapist

Pregnancy Yoga

How pregnancy yoga can enhance your pregnancy and Birth

Yoga promotes mental and physical wellbeing and balance and is particularly helpful during pregnancy which is a time of great transition and uncertainty. Guidelines recommend doing gentle exercise during pregnancy as a way of coping with the challenges of being pregnant, and as a means of building strength to deal with the rigours of labour.

Pregnancy yoga is appropriate exercise but also offers much more in terms of breath awareness, birthing postures, visualisation, meditation and relaxation which help enhance a woman’s experience of pregnancy, birth and beyond.

Perhaps the most fundamental benefit of practicing pregnancy yoga is learning the ability to really relax. Pregnancy can often be a rollercoaster of emotions and taking time out to relax will make the experience of pregnancy more enjoyable as well as providing an optimal environment for your baby to grow.

Regular relaxation also helps alleviate fatigue before it becomes incapacitating, as the breathing practices central to pregnancy yoga have both an energising and calming effect on the nervous system. Training yourself to relax during pregnancy will make it much easier to take this with you into labour.

Particularly helpful is to use the pauses between each contraction to deeply relax so you can recharge, conserve energy and let go of any tension that may have built up during the contraction. As you move through your labour if you remain relaxed, you will be releasing endorphins which are the body’s natural pain relief, and prevent the release of stress hormones which can slow labour down.

Physically, pregnancy can be a challenging time as the bodies of both mother and baby are constantly changing. Yoga postures can help to ease common pregnancy ailments such heartburn, lower back pain, poor circulation and leg cramps. The pelvic floor is also specifically addressed in a pregnancy yoga class and through deep breathing and exercises it is prepared to become a ‘birthing muscle’, by increasing its elasticity. It is important that as well as having strength it is also able to let go.

Many of the postures and techniques which are practiced during a pregnancy yoga class are helpful to encourage your baby into a good position for a straight-forward birth. By regularly practicing positions which will be helpful during labour, when the time comes to give birth they will be second nature so you will naturally gravitate towards them.

Pregnancy yoga develops breath awareness and teaches techniques which help to maintain a sense of calmness and wellbeing during pregnancy and labour.

The balanced state of mind which yoga creates teaches both focus and surrender, which gives the ability to respond calmly to the demands of the moment. This is essential during a contraction to enable you to breath into it rather than tense up, and run away from it and as a result you won’t become overwhelmed.

Learning to focus during pregnancy is an invaluable skill to take with you into labour and while yoga does not guarantee a quick and easy delivery it does make it easier for you to withdraw internally to an instinctive world which enables you to accept and adapt to whatever happens, and go with the experience calmly.

By Jennie Phenix, mum of two young children.

Pregnancy Yoga & Mummy and Baby Yoga
Relax, boost energy, relieve aches & pain, prepare for birth

Connect with your baby, rebuild core strength safely

Classes in Burnham & Marlow

Private and small group sessions available

www.phenixyoga.com

Jennie Phenix on 07954 578 439 email jen@phenixyoga.com

Benefits of pregnancy yoga by Eleanor Hayes

The Benefits of Pregnancy Yoga

Many women are drawn to yoga during their pregnancy as it offers a safe and gentle way to stay fit and toned in pregnancy, while respecting the restrictions pregnancy places on your body’s ability to cope with the stresses and strains of exercise.

But pregnancy yoga offers so much more than just exercise suitable for pregnancy, and many mums discover they are reaping many more benefits than they imagined they’d gain from their yoga class.

As a pregnancy yoga and birth preparation teacher I am often asked what the benefits of pregnancy yoga are, and my eyes glaze over wondering which benefits to start with!

Here is an overview of the 5 key benefits of pregnancy yoga, particularly from a class that includes elements of birth preparation, as Birthzang’s pregnancy yoga class does each week.

  1. Helps the mum’s body

A universal benefit of yoga whether it is in pregnancy or not is that it gently stretches and tones muscles. The beauty of the slow and focussed yoga postures help to increases flexibility in the body while also generating great strength. This also helps calm the body’s nervous system and improves circulation.

Practising yoga weekly, or ideally daily, in pregnancy can also help to reduce back pain experienced by many women in the later months of pregnancy, and is also really beneficial in aiding the treatment and  of and ways to cope with Pelvic Girdle Pain – sadly a very common problem in pregnancy caused by the pelvic ligaments and muscles not being able to properly support the torso.

There are also a wide variety of other pregnancy-related symptoms that can be eased and improved through regular yoga practice, such as sciatica, restless legs, fatigue, indigestion and heartburn, carpel tunnel syndrome, headaches, cramp and constipation and swollen ankles.

The combination of yoga postures, deep breathing and relaxation in a pregnancy yoga class can help foster better quality sleep, and reduce insomnia – both things often experienced by women forwards the end of their pregnancies.

Perhaps the greatest benefit is to help bring balance to the body, allowing it to return to a more neutral, stress-free state.

  1. Helps the mum’s mind

Yoga practice brings strength through the combination of breathing and focus. ironically this focus on the moment, on the now, actually allows the mind to become more flexible, opening to new ideas, not least coming to terms with the changes that are happening in a pregnant women’s body, but also the changes that will happen in their life once their baby is born.

There is also some scientific evidence that regular yoga practice in pregnancy can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, through relieving tension and stress in the muscles. Postnatal depression is a common concept but many mums suffer severe anxiety in pregnancy and can feel isolated and depressed, particularly if they are suffering a lot of pregnancy symptoms and they are not enjoying the experience.

  1. Helps mum & baby bonding

Pregnant women, particularly in the first 4 months, can sometimes find it hard to register that they have a baby growing inside them. If their bump is quite small, or if they have not started feeling any movements, it can be difficult to feel a sense of connection with the unborn baby. Yoga starts this conversation with their baby through bringing awareness of their body, and allowing their focus to be directed in towards their baby.

Babies also love many breathing exercises or relaxation and respond by moving around or kicking more, helping women to realise their baby is experiencing what they are experiencing.

A weekly pregnancy yoga class also offers mums a safe place to send their focus inwards with no distractions, creating a special mum and baby bonding time – something that can be hard to do in your own home as part of your busy life.

The reduction in anxiety mentioned above also has been shown to have a positive impact on the baby as well. As well as this if a mother has a good bond with her baby before birth, then the chances are it will be easier to bond after birth, reducing the possibility of postnatal depression.

  1. Helps mums prepare for labour

In labour women need to be able to connect with their body, to listen to it and to allow it to guide them into making intuitive movement and positions. In our modern society, very few people are able to listen to their bodies and connect with what it is telling them and so when it comes to labour, often women simply don’t know how to do this.

Yoga encourages this dialogue with the body through focussing on a posture, through breathing into it, and finding stillness there. This opens up a wonderful conversation between the mind and body, allowing women to make friends with their subconscious, and helping them recognise the way their body is talking to them. This conversation is carried through into labour where mums bodies will often encourage them to adopt certain positions or movements that will help their baby be born based on their unique circumstances – such as baby’s position, size, etc.

Practising yoga-based birth preparation techniques – such as dynamic positions for birth that combine movement and yoga postures – helps to create intuitive muscle memory so that during labour, a mum doesn’t have to think about what position might be comfortable or how she might move, her body already has that knowledge to draw upon. This helps her to keep her rational mind at bay during labour, enabling the primitive brain to take centre stage and this has a very positive impact on birth hormones.

Pregnancy yoga also tends to be all about opening the body and so a regular practice encourages the mothers hips and pelvis to be ready to open for labour.

The breathing techniques practised in yoga help to teach mums how to breathe not just for labour, but also for life. Specific breathing techniques can be very beneficial in labour to help cope with contractions and stay focussed and grounded, but these techniques can be applied in many every day situations, helping us to find balance and peace when everything around us seems chaotic and hard to cope with.

  1. Helps mums prepare for parenthood

Attending a regular pregnancy yoga class provides a safe and non-judgemental place for mums to share their experiences of pregnancy. Whether it is delighting in news of a baby’s gender or sharing scan pictures, or being able to moan about swollen feet and indigestion, ha

ving a place to vent fear, anger, anxiety and happiness is an incredibly important way for pregnant women to be able to enjoy

and cope with pregnancy.

More often than not, when someone shares something, the others will nod in agreement and they realise as a group that they are not alone, and there is support for them by people who are going through exactly the same experience. I witness the power of this support every week in my classes and it delights me to see women exchanging numbers and making friends.

This support network they are creating tends to be local to them, with mums who will have babies around the same age, and lifelong friendships can be made in class.

It goes beyond the classroom

So although I have mentioned “just” 5 benefits of pregnancy yoga, the benefits stretch well outside of the classroom and into the daily bodies and minds of the mums who come.

You are never too stiff, or too inflexible, or too heavy, or too inexperienced to enjoy all of the benefits that pregnancy yoga can bring. So what is stopping you finding a class?

Eleanor Hayes at Birthzang runs weekly pregnancy yoga classes on Wednesdays 6.45-8.15pm at Hamilton Road Children’s Centre, East Reading. If you’d like to try Birthzang’s Pregnancy Yoga class for FREE, just contact me and let me know when you’d like to come. For more information go to www.birthzang.co.uk/pregnnacy-yoga or email Eleanor@birthzang.co.uk

References

http://www.fitpregnancy.com/exercise/prenatal-workouts/10-benefits-prenatal-yoga

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/parenting-motherhood/labor-love/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/prenatal-yoga_n_3038138.html

http://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/pre-natal-yoga/

http://www.digitaljournal.com/science/mother-s-can-pass-on-stress-to-infants/article/418018?hc_location=ufi

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007559.pub2/abstract

https://news.brown.edu/articles/2015/03/pregnant

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009514/abstract?hc_location=ufi

Massage your baby better

Developmental Baby Massage and Movement

People have been massaging babies for centuries, it’s only now that the western world has realised that something as simple as massaging your baby from birth can give you both a unique range of benefits!

Research tells us that ‘touch’ is a primal need, and the first important mode of communication between a mother and her new baby. This is why of skin-to-skin at birth is important and why, when you’re baby cries you are compelled to pick him up and comfort him.

Baby massage encourages a good relationship between parent and baby. It provides quality time to be together, not changing nappies, making dinner, shopping or sterilizing bottles. By giving baby massage parents find it relaxing, peaceful and calming.

Massaging baby is also ideal for Dads to become involved and in touch with their babies. Fathers can be wonderful at baby massage and it can give them positive interaction and a special bond with their baby at a time when he can easily feel left out.

Additional to the obvious benefits of bonding, the one-on-one interaction of baby massage is a tool for maintaining your child’s health and well-being. It:

  • encourages motor development, structural fitness, muscular coordination and flexibility
  • deepens breathing rhythm, inducing relaxation which supports better quality sleep
  • improves circulation which strengthens immunity.
  • stimulates digestion which relieves pain from wind, constipation and colic.

Colic, Constipation and Reflux

Those three little words can strike fear into the hearts of new parents. Endless hours of crying, sleepless nights and emotional exhaustion for all of you.

For those coping with a very windy or colicky baby, help is at hand. Massage techniques can ease pain and discomfort and help baby to relax. Massage can help to disperse wind, ease muscle spasm, tone the digestive system and help it to work efficiently. It is not a miracle cure and can take a few days to ease, but in my experience it can be more effective than simply waiting for them to grow out of it or using every pharmaceutical remedy available.

You can learn techniques through a book or video, but the most effective way is to attend a class run by a local teacher of baby massage.

Louise Prince, devlopmental baby massage instructor, maidenhead, berkshire.
I am a qualified Nursery Nurse and Developmental Baby Massage Instructor among other pre and postnatal therapies. visit www.mindbodyandbump.co.uk

Welcome to The Maternity Network!

Welcome to our first blog and new website! We all volunteer to support the network and use various skills picked up along the way..including web design! Here’s my first attempt at wordpress!
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