Exercise During Pregnancy

When & What? Advice from a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist

A common question I get as a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist is: “What kind of exercises are safe to do during pregnancy?”. The short answer is that most forms of exercise are safe and advocated. Maintaining fitness, preventing health issues such as gestational diabetes and preparing the body for an optimal birth and recovery are a few of the reasons why regular exercise is important. Of the different types of exercises, “core exercise” is often a hot topic for pregnant women. Although your deep core muscles do assist in breathing and pushing efforts during birth, your uterus does most of the work so you don’t need abs of steel to to have a smooth birth (another blog to come on this topic). Engaging in different types of exercise will keep you well in pregnancy and beyond.

pregnancy pool

Safety: When shouldn’t I exercise during pregnancy?
In rare circumstances there may be reasons to more drastically modify standard exercise recommendations or avoid exercise all together. If there is an underlying condition involving the uterus, placenta or your overall state of health, your primary care provider will typically indicate when this is the case. Refer to this link for more information.

What kind of exercise should I be doing?
General exercise guidelines still apply during pregnancy – cardio for lung and heart health 30 minutes, 5 times a week; muscle strengthening 3 times a week; and stretching daily. There is also a lot of new research outlining the importance of daily mindfulness to counteract the chemical stress response that most of us have in our busy lives. Try a 15 minute guided body scan (lots on YouTube), meditation, prayer or gratitude journaling.

Some women find during the first trimester symptoms of morning sickness limit them from doing strenuous activity. Be patient with yourself and give your body some time. Starting with a gentle walk for 15 mins 2x/day just to get the blood pumping and muscles moving is still beneficial. The same principles apply if you are new to exercise – start slow and gentle and progress as you are able.

What about Kegels?
A “kegel” is a sustained and repeated pelvic floor activation named after the OBGYN who started advocating for them in the 1940s (Dr. Arnold Kegel). Yes, we want our pelvic floor muscles to be strong but we also need them to be flexible; they need to be able to relax, and to be coordinated with our muscles. As a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, I can help you set up an inner core program incorporating pelvic floor muscle training that will support you through your pregnancy, during exercise, throughout labour and into your recovery post partum. 

What about Yoga?
Prenatal yoga can help with flexibility and relaxation during pregnancy and also has the added benefit of meeting other Moms-to-be for you to connect with during pregnancy and into motherhood. Yoga is a great compliment to your strength and cardio program. Note that hot yoga is not recommended during pregnancy as the increases in core temperature can impact fetal development.

prenatal yoga

High Impact Exercise: What about Running? Crossfit? HIIT? Power Lifting?
In the media there tends to be an all-or-nothing approach to pregnancy – either all you do is yoga or you continue to power lift until the day you birth your baby. If you were performing high intensity or high impact exercises before pregnancy it is typically safe to continue these, but the intensity will taper down during pregnancy. Here are some things to remember:

You must acknowledge that your body will change during pregnancy and it is wise to honour these changes. There are a number of physical adjustments that affect your posture, breathing and your muscles' ability to generate power as the length of muscles change and the relationship of structures adjusts. Good form when executing high-impact exercise is always very important and simply put is more difficult to do when pregnant. Unfortunately, most trainers do not have the adequate knowledge to guide women through these high impact exercises in a safe and appropriate manner. Sit ups, curl ups, toes to bar, V sits, boat pose, Russia twists and double leg lowers are examples of traditional core exercises that increase abdominal pressure and overrecruit our external core which can contribute to rectus diastasis or “Mummy Tummy”. To prevent pelvic floor issues and abdominal wall issues, you are best to touch base with a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist who can appropriately guide you through the exercise program you desire.

pregnant running

Don’t forget that pregnancy is a time for maintaining your strength and endurance then tapering the intensity as your needs change. The goal is not to develop fitness at this time through max lifts or personal bests, so an adjustment in your approach to exercise and fitness is important. During pregnancy you should be able to talk throughout your workout, recover quickly and modify your movements easily.

I hear I am supposed to listen to my body – what am I listening for!?

  • Pain – of any kind, especially in the back or pelvis.
  • A feeling pressure or heaviness in the pelvis
  • Loss of control of urine – leaking with lifting, running, coughing, sneezing, laughing
  • A “tenting” or “coning” through the front of the abdomen with any movement
  • A tendency to to hold your breath to perform a movement
  • Development of hemorrhoids or varicose veins

These events signal there is a muscle and pressure imbalance through the body that needs to be addressed. Again, as a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist I can help you connect with these imbalances and educate you as to how to manage them going forward.

Take Home Message: Exercise is Medicine in Pregnancy and Beyond!
Exercise during pregnancy is safe for most women and should be fun, engaging and rewarding – physically and emotionally! You can start at a low intensity and build your way up, or continue with the work you were already doing and make modifications along the way. At the WOMB we have workshops, fitness classes and our Pelvic Health Physiotherapy team ready to support you through your pregnancy and into motherhood. 

jennytc

 

Jenny Telfer Crum is a Registered Pelvic Health Physiotherapist at The WOMB. She has a special interest in helping women exercise safely during pregnancy, prepare for labour and return to their exercise intensity of choice after birth while honouring their body along the way.

 

Chiropractic and Ear Infections:

What We Offer Makes a Difference

Many parents bring their children into our office asking us to treat their ear infections. My first response is that the purpose of chiropractic care is not the treatment of conditions or diseases; rather, it is the restoration of normal body function.

chirobaby2.1

Chiropractors work with the nervous system via gentle spinal adjustments. We reduce stress related interference to the nervous system, thereby enhancing all overall body function. I further explain that all systems of the body—muscular, glandular, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, eliminatory, hormonal and immunological— depend on the optimal function of the nervous system. With chiropractic, we focus on nerve system function to enhance all the body’s systems.

Because many parents are unaware of the variety of options available for the treatment of ear infections, I continue, “As a parent, you have some choices to make. You can either treat the ear infection, or not—that’s your right as a parent. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a watch-and-wait approach, because the evidence-based research about antibiotics is showing that not only are they ineffective at treating ear infections, but they will actually lead to repeated ear infections in your child.

As a parent, you can choose to treat or not to treat. If you do choose to treat, you again have some options. You can treat the ear infections allopathically (the typical medical/ drug route) or naturally. If you choose to go the usual route to a pediatrician, she may take a watch-and- wait approach.

More likely, she will prescribe an antibiotic. If, however, you would prefer to treat the ear infections more naturally, there are several options for you to consider. A naturopath will explore herbs and nutrition; a homeopath will assess your child for a specific remedy; an acupuncturist will work with specific meridian points for healing.

It is so important that you as a parent realize you have choices, and the right to make these choices for your family.

Regardless of the choices you make, the chiropractic approach will improve your child’s inherent ability to function. Doesn’t it make sense to have your child function at an optimal level for healing no matter how (or if) you choose to treat? We will assess your child’s spine, make the necessary adjustments to improve nerve system function and offer lifestyle suggestions to reduce nerve system stress for your child. We will also support any decision you make in your choice to treat the infection or not. This is your right as a parent, and we stand behind informed choice.

…………………
Modified excerpt from: Chiropractic and Ear Infections: What We Offer Makes a Difference by ICPA Member, Jeanne Ohm, DC. Read the full article in Pathways Issue 23: www.pathwaystofamilywellness.org

The WOMB offers Chiropractic care with paediatric specialists, Dr. Diane Meyer and Dr. Minal Gandhi. To set up an appointment go online or call us today.

What you need to know about Postnatal Doulas

There is a big difference between a Postnatal Doula, and a Night Nurse or a Mother's Helper

The incredible treasure that people don’t know about…and it’s at the WOMB!

Imagine, after a long and tiring process of trying to conceive, finding out you have finally been blessed with what you were praying for…and then some…you are pregnant with twins. As you move through that first trimester you start to process the awesome reality of what is happening to you. As you start to notice some of the difficulties managing your new circumstances with the babies contained within your womb, you wonder how you are going to manage once these two precious humans enter the world? An exciting and daunting prospect!

This was me. Although I was more excited than anything else, I did wonder how I would be able to enjoy those early days of motherhood. How might I manage to cherish the blessings that had been bestowed on me when I felt like I did not know a thing about being a mother, and I was in for double duty?

It was my sister who was the one who educated me on the existence of Postnatal Doulas, upon learning about my pregnancy she unequivocally said, “You need to get one”. At that point I was aware of the existence of a Birth Doula, however, I have never heard of a Postnatal Doula. In my sister’s enthusiastic words, she declared a few descriptors of a Postnatal Doula: “baby expert”; “helps get you on a rhythm as you transition”; “eliminates chaos”; “assist with family sleep”. I did not need to hear more…”sign me up”!

007 DuforFamily HRM 1My Postnatal Doula support did not disappoint!! In fact, my expectations were far exceeded. I can honestly say without a doubt is was the best money I have ever spent in my life. My husband and I used to joke that we had been so lucky to find an incredible treasure that no one knew about…our Postnatal Doula, a real-life Mary Poppins, who just made life better!

So, what did the support look like for us? Well, we started with having support 3 nights a week (for approximately 7 hours at a time) and this pared down to twice a week and then once a week until we were all managing really nicely on our own. At this point I changed my support to 1 day a week, (for approximately 4 hours) to assist me as we adjusted to other transitions as our children developed.

Now, I do want to clarify that there is a pretty big difference between a Postnatal Doula and a night nurse or a mommy’s helper. It is the role of the Postnatal Doula in particular that is golden, so let me elaborate.

A Postnatal Doula is an expert in postnatal family support and baby care. She understands the transitions parents and siblings make when adding a new baby or babies to the family. Here are some common supports our WOMB Postpartum Doulas provide:

Mei 1

• Teach you how to soothe baby
• Provide assistance with food and hydration so you can care for baby
• Support your breastfeeding/feeding efforts and help you problem solve
• Help you and baby to sleep better at night
• Allow you time to nap by taking care of the daily household chores
• Help you keep the house organized so that you feel less stress
• Teach you about your amazing newborn and stand by you as you learn, reminding you that you are doing a great job!
• Help you look after your other children so that they feel engaged and can adjust to their new sibling AND so you have time to bond with your baby

I know what you’re thinking. “This really exists? There are people who can do this?” Yes, it does. Wonderful right? Here at the WOMB we have these amazing treasures and their goal is to support you through empowerment, so you have the tools and skills to be on your own and be the best mother possible.

I continue to be surprised, six years after my own experience with Postnatal Doulas, that people still do not know about this incredible resource. As one of the Pelvic Health Physiotherapists on the WOMB team I have an opportunity to see the value of all our Doulas have in our clients lives. There are many instances when my feeling is that a client of mine would benefit more from Postnatal Doula support than from the pelvic floor intervention that have sought me for. More people need to know about Postnatal Doula support. We are talking about an incredible treasure that should not be hidden…spread the word!

Sinéad Dufour PT PhD

Surviving Daylight Savings

Tips for an easier transition for your toddler/infant

Sunday, November 6, 2016: You're preparing for the End of Daylight Savings Time. It's time to move your clocks back one hour. For parents of young children, we may worry about the end result - early waking or a disrupted schedule.

Here are some tips to smooth the transition. Use one or a combination of these methods and your child’s sleep schedule should be back on track in just a few days to a week.

motherandbabysleepingNo matter what you decide to do, it will be much easier for you to adjust if you go to bed early on Saturday, November 5th.

Tip 1 – Cold Turkey: When the time changes, switch to the new time right away. Also switch meals, activities, and naps to the new time. Wake up times may be a bit off for a few days but they will adjust. If your child is fairly easy going, adjustment should be quick and painless with this method.

Tip 2 – Work Up To It: This is helpful for children that may be more sensitive to being overtired, to changes in schedules, or who tend to wake up early. Start 4 days before the time change by moving bedtime and wake up time 15 minutes later each day. You can take an even slower approach if you want to. At the new wake up time, make a big deal about morning, turning the lights on and exposing your child to the out-door light as much as possible.

Tip 3 – Fix It After: Wait until the day of the time change and adjust the child’s schedule over the following days. This method is good for children that tend to get overtired; however it can make for some early mornings and can take longer. Most children will naturally adjust to the new time within a week.
In the short term, the time change can cause us to feel a little off but most people adjust within 5 days on their own based on exposure to light in the daytime and dark at night.

AndreaAndrea Strang, is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant and Gentle Sleep Coach with The WOMB. Andrea provides personalized, custom sleep consultations and packages to parents who need guidance, love and support through the sleep challenges with their children. 

Top 5 Tips for Sleep Survival after Halloween

Halloween is a fun and exciting holiday for children, but the late night trick-or-treating, massive amounts of sugar, and excitement can throw a wrench into even the best sleeper’s patterns.

Not to mention that we have the fall daylight savings time change on the very same night!

For new parents, you may be surprised at how busy the evening is around your neighbourhood and how hard it is to maintain bedtime with dogs and doorbells.

If your children are older, managing the excitement, the candy and encouraging sleep all in the same night can be challenging but there is hope.

No matter how old your child is, these tips can help you and your child survive Halloween highs and hopefully avoid early morning struggles.

TrickOrTreat2

1. Be Prepared
Try to avoid letting your child become over-tired or overstimulated before bedtime on Halloween night. This is especially true if you have small children. The sights and sounds of Halloween are new and exciting, so consider starting your Halloween rituals early. If you are on good terms with your neighbors, consider pre-arranging an early time for your child’s Halloween experience. This ensures that they can show off their cool costumes before dark (what a great way to be seen!).

2. Keep The Bedtime Routine
Once your children are done examining their spoils, you need to start the bedtime routine. Make sure that you turn off all the lights in the front of your house, cover your doorbell with a note saying “children sleeping, please do not ring bell,” and you may even want to put a bowl of candy out for the later trick-or-treaters. This will ensure that any kids out after dark can help themselves without disturbing your sleep routine.

3. Limit Sugar
If you are concerned about the amount of sugar that your child may consume, consider providing your neighbors with a fun healthier snack or even a small toy, so that the holiday is not all about candy. Make sure that you start your Hallowed Eve with an early meal before all the excitement starts. Focus on balanced choices so that your children have enough “fuel” to make it through the night.

halloween candy
4. Control the Chaos
If your child is interested in raiding their loot when they get home from trick or treating, here are two options that may help:
• Allow them to have all they want once you arrive home. Some parents find that keeping the treats from their children will only make them want it more. You can encourage them to eat some less sweet treats, such as chips and gum if it was offered.
• Try to save the sugary snacks and chocolate treats for the next day, and perhaps allow a set number of pieces on Halloween night.
• If you are opposed to your child consuming all of their candy, have some toys or special healthier treats on hand for them to ‘trade in’ their candy for something even better. In some areas, local dentist offices also do a “candy buy” and provide children with a special reward in exchange for their loot.
In the spirit of the holiday, you can even do your bedtime routine by flashlight, which would be fun and a little different for your children. Additionally, turning the overhead lights off in the house will encourage the release of melatonin in your children, which will help them to feel sleepy.

AndreaAndrea Strang is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula with over 14 years of sleep consulting experience working with adults, babies, and children up to 6 years of age.

Hey Birth Partner! Why you don't need to be a Superhero...

So I’d like to get right to the point….Birth Partner, you are important!

Often times with all the excitement and preparation for labour and birth, the role of the birth partner is taken for granted. Society has placed unrealistic expectations on partners to be the hero for the day but without enough sleep, food and some simple items, it’s hard for partners to hold it together for the birth let alone help mom. But the birthing mom will notice if you aren’t meeting your own needs and this can make her more anxious. The more anxious she is the more pain she feels. So by looking after your own basic needs, mom can relax without worrying that you’re ok. You are not a superhero but a human being about to share in one of the most exhilarating yet exhausting times of your life. Here are some things that a birth partner can do to prepare and feel ready for the big day.

birthpartner1

Pack a bag – for a hospital birth bring a change of clothing, sweater, flip flops, bathing suit, mints, phone charger, lip balm for mom, and your toiletries. You’ll be staying more than 24 hours and you’ll want to freshen up too! Having fresh breath is so important when your face to face for so long! You’ll definitely feel like a hero if you casually pull lip balm out of your pocket when mom complains that her lips are dry.

Pillow for mom and a pillow for you – hospitals usually aren’t generous with pillows, so if you do get a chance to rest, it’ll be so much better with a pillow.

Eat and stay hydrated – I can’t count the number of times as a doula that I’ve looked over at a partner and begged them to take a break and eat something. I think that there can be some guilt when they can’t take discomfort away from mom so sacrificing eating can alleviate that feeling of guilt. However, this is the one discomfort that has purpose and that needs to be there for baby to be born, so feed yourselves!! Energy bars are a great item to bring and are easy to bring in any bag, so you’re not away from mom for a long amount of time. Every time mom has some water, so should you! Dehydration symptoms are pretty harsh and you need to be on your game. Hospitals are notoriously dry and coffee is also dehydrating so be good to yourself and balance everything with some H20.
and last but definitely not least….

birthpartner2

Emotions – you will be going through some crazy emotions that may take you by surprise. It’s ok, your feelings count too. Let yourself feel them and share them with your partner. Watching your partner birth your baby and then meeting your baby for the first time is an amazing, life changing experience – enjoy it… feel it… live it.

Sincerely,
The Doula

For more information on Doulas attend one of our Ask A Doula Nights or contact the WOMB at 905-842-2434…

DanielaSimone

Daniela Simone is a guest blogger and Certified Childbirth Doula and Postpartum Doula.  Daniela’s goal is to help women find their labour style, find strength in their choices and appreciate the amazing experience of giving birth in awareness. She loves being a wife to her supportive husband and mother to her two wonderful children.Setting up a FREE Consultation easy! Connect with us Today!

Skills Every Child Should Know.

Hi! I’m Breanne.

Being a mommy is the most rewarding job ever, but it’s also one of the most challenging. Since becoming a mom I’ve learned that if I’m not intentional about taking time for myself, it just doesn’t happen. 

breanne sm

In order to be the best moms we can be, I’m a strong believer that we need to carve out time to prioritize our well being. My blog is full of real life stories and realities to encourage moms who are in the thick of it. I spend lots of time encouraging moms to prioritize self-care. When our cup runs over, we have more to give the people we love the most.

In addition to my blog, I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@bkallonen) and on Facebook (Breanne Kallonen Naturopathic Intern).

Life skills have recently been lost in exchange for iPads, computers and social media. In a culture that is always on the go and never has enough time, being able to do simple life skills is advantageous. Providing your children with these abilities will allow them the independence of doing things on their own. In addition they will have skills that over time could save them money by not having to hire out help. Empowering your children with this knowledge creates memories and traditions that have the potential to be passed down through generations. Most importantly, your children will express pride and a sense of accomplishment that they are able to do and create things on their own.

1) Cooking:
food

 

 

 

 

Helping out in the kitchen can be modified to get a child of any age involved. This is an amazing opportunity to educate your family on the importance of consuming a healthy diet. Get things started in the grocery store by allowing your kids to choose what fruits, vegetables, or protein source they want for the meal. Having them involved in this step also makes them more likely to actually eat it. Don't worry too much if you have a unique looking fruit in your cart, the Internet is a great resource for explaining how to cut pretty much anything!

As they grow, they should learn how to follow a basic recipe. It is quite simple to create your own ingredients list and step-by-step instructions. If you add photos to each of those steps it will make it even easier. Here is an opportunity to learn about following instructions, numbers, fractions, and much more.
Lastly, kitchen safety should also be discussed. Talk about how to safely use kitchen equipment and what you would do if there were a fire.

2) Foraging:
foraging

 

 

 

 

Just playing in Mother Nature, going barefoot, and breathing in fresh air are habits we ought to start teaching our children. Children spend so much time indoors these days that they are forgetting how to play, discover and be deal with being bored. We are surrounded by free, healthy foods in our forests and possibly backyards and yet the art of wildcrafting botanicals has been lost. Why not learn as a family how to take advantage of the wild edibles. Some of the wild foods around Ontario are:
● Wild leeks, Fiddleheads, Dandelion, Wild Asparagus, Wild Ginger, Wild Mint
● Fruits; Crab Apples, Blackberries, Mulberries, Raspberries, Elderberries
Mushrooms: seek professional guidance as some safe varieties are easily confused with the similarly appearing poisonous species.
● Medicinals: Plantain leaf, Nettles, Joe Pye Weed, Burdock
Check out your local library or an online resource to help discover the plants. Involve the entire family in seasonal harvesting for items that can be found in your area. Always be safe rather than sorry and never eat anything you cannot properly identify.

3) Gardening:

gardening

 

 

 

 

 

Gardening skills show how caring for something living and watching it grow from seeds can be rewarding for children. This is an opportunity to provide your family with local and the absolute freshest food possible. It also exposes your family to important soil microbes that are found locally in your unique environment. Plants that will easily start from seeds indoors include; peas, beans, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots.

As kids grow they can take on more responsibilities such as watering, compost, pulling weeds, raking and using the lawn mower. The more your children grow, the more you can pass along information such as natural pest control, fertilizing, watering times, seed starting, plant protection, and harvesting times.

4) Preserving & Fermenting:
preserving

 

 

 

 

Even young kids can help prepare food for storage. Allow children to help wash, cut, and learn about the importance of sterilization techniques in preserving foods. Educate them about the various ways to preserve foods such as drying, canning, and freezing. You can teach them about reducing waste by freezing unconsumed foods before they go bad. Not only does this open the conversation about sustainable living, it also teaches them about being kind to the environment. By preserving foods, you teach your children to rely less on our precious environmental resources.

The research supporting the health benefits of consuming fermented foods is growing. Kombucha, Kefir, Sauerkraut, and Ginger Bugs are all fun home projects that kids can enjoy with the added health benefits. Take a class in your community, research reputable online resources, or ask family and friends to teach you so you can learn these skills if you don't know them already.

5) Sewing & Carpentry:
sewing

 

 

 

 

 


Everyone should know the basics of sewing. I cannot believe the number of items that are 50% off just because they are missing a button. All kids should know how to thread a needle, sew on a button, mend a tear and use a sewing machine. Knowing how to shorten clothing items can save time and money. Learning these skills may open a window of opportunity for children who take a special interest in it.

Next time you are setting up any type of furniture get the kids involved. Call the tools by their proper names and model how to use them. Verbally explain what you are doing and why. As they grow, provide them with building materials and tools and give them the task of building something.

6) Sustainable Living:

In a materialistic, economically unstable world one of the more important life lessons is how to live creatively on less money. There are so many free community activities out there that kids should be encouraged to take advantage of. Model to your children how to value what you have and take care of your items to ensure they last. Focus on purchasing quality over quantity. Purchase used when appropriate, fix things yourself, live within your means, budget and practice sustainable energy and environment conservation (recycle/compost, use a clothes line, carpool or bike on short errands).

7) Housekeeping & Chores:
housekeeping

 

 

 

 


Kids need to understand how to clean and care for themselves. Knowing these skills will set them up for success in the future. Children are often capable of more than we give them credit for and should be allowed to learn through their mistakes.
These are skills children can easily learn;
● Laundry
● Dishes (by hand + dishwasher)
● Organization
● Vacuuming
● Cleaning Windows
● Create your own cleaning products using basic vinegar & baking soda
● Cleaning surfaces; table, sinks, mirrors etc.

8) First Aid:
ginger

 

 

 

 

Kids should be equipped with the basic skills of caring for wounds, and treating common ailments with natural remedies. Young kids can learn the importance of cleaning a wound and learn the acronym R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compress & elevate). Teach your kids about natural anti-microbials such as garlic, clove, elderberries, and honey. Herbal teas (such as ginger for nausea and chamomile for anxiety) are natural as well as budget friendly.

If you have mastered foraging show your kids how to make a plantain poultice for bug bites and wounds. Other easy at-home first aid includes proper hand washing, hydration and herbal baths (oatmeal for rashes, mustard for colds/flus, lavender to promote rest).

As they grow, empower them to take charge of their health, ask questions about the medical advice they are receiving and request second opinions. They should understand the concept of informed consent and know they are in control of their bodies.

9) Basic Automotive:
Everyone should learn the basics of how to maintain cars and machines. How to open the hood, check fluid levels, change windshield wipers and tires are all important basic skills. By getting to know machines children are able to discover an understanding of how things work. It is good to know how to troubleshoot and when/who to call if you need assistance. If this is an area you'd like some brushing up on check out Youtube or WikiHow.com for tutorials.

10) Relaxing & Nature:
In a world where “busyness” is valued more than presence, children are losing the ability to relax and unplug. Children need to be bored as boredom fosters creativity and complex thought. Children should be encouraged to fantasize, daydream and sit with their thoughts and emotions. I relax with my children because it makes them feel calm and it gives them my undivided attention.
In order for children to grow they need input and feedback from their environments. We are doing them a disservice by not allowing them to experience the natural beauty of our world. When children are encouraged to relax in a natural setting they are more aware of their environment.

Feeling Inspired? Reconnect with your family's wellness by booking an appointment at The WOMB with Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Amy Dobbie, and Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Wellness Coach, Anne Pichora.

What everyone should know about Caesarean birth

The following is written by Dr. Sinéad Dufour, PT PhD, our a pelvic health physiotherapist at The WOMB and professor at McMaster University. She is also the proud mom of twins and gave birth by Caesarean birth under the advisement of her obstetrician. Since then, Dr. Sinéad has come to understand the health implications of caesarean birth and has an important message to share with women: one that she wishes she had known 5 years ago when she gave birth to her twins.

I first met my Obstetrician when I was 15 weeks pregnant. Since I was pregnant with twins it was suggested that my perinatal care be provided by the “high risk” OB in town. In this first (very brief) meeting, I was reassured that so far things looked good, but given I had not yet had children it would be in my babies’ best interest, particularly that of baby B, to be delivered via Caesarean section.

pregnancy twins multiples

At this time in my life, I was over half way through my PhD, so my inquisitive mind needed to know, “what is the evidence to substantiate a C- section? Is it in the BEST interest of baby B”? 

In response, I was given a somewhat detailed answer pertaining to a recent five-year research trial that determined consistently poor outcomes for baby B when delivered vaginally. I accepted this, agreed to the recommendation and as I left my appointment, I was given a card with my scheduled Caesarean section date indicated. In a way, it was a bit of a relief. My trust in our health care system at the time translated to me not giving much thought to the type of birth I would have.

However, I am most grateful (especially now!) that my naturopathic doctor did. In addition to helping me conceive, she ensured that “despite my impending Caesarean section”, I would be armed with the best possible health strategies for my future children.

What did she mean? She was talking about the microbiome. Birth through the vaginal canal is the time when a baby ingests some of the first bacteria that will colonise its gut. But babies born by caesarean birth miss out on this process, and end up with a different set of bugs – including some from the hospital environment.

microbiome e1457387275268 397x272

Tons of studies have found evidence that this C-section microbiome could make the child more vulnerable to problems later in life, such as asthma, food allergies and even obesity. We are finally coming to understand how important the collection of bacteria in our guts is for our health.

It is only now that I understand how important certain aspects of her plan were – probiotics!! My children are now five years old and it’s only in the last two years that I’ve given more thought to how they were brought into the world, and how I was duped by the very care system in which I work. In retrospect, I was not given accurate information on what was in my babies’ best interest. Rather, I was offered a recommendation based on a biased perspective, one that medicalizes birth, disrupting our precious evolutionary fabric in the process.

My increasing knowledge and understanding of the microbiome has stemmed from one of the many hats I wear – a professor of pathophysiology at McMaster University. Simply put, the scientific evidence is now very clear: a well-functioning microbiome is the key to health – it represents the foundation and the evolutionary matrix that allows us to exist. This important new research SHOULD be transforming our health care approach, especially as it relates to perinatal care. Almost one third of babies born in North America are now birthed by caesarean. These babies can still receive the microbes they’re missing — and hopefully some of the health benefits — by being swabbed with their mother’s vaginal fluid shortly after birth.

The microbiome (gut microbiota of humans – formerly known as gut flora) represents a diverse set of bacterial species (approximately 1000-1150). These micro-organisms control our immune system as well as metabolism – they are everything! Here’s a video explaining how the microbiome is the future of medicine. Colonization of the intestine with important bacteria begins at birth, mainly due to transfer of bacteria from the mother, but also from the environment – to which the influences are many. Mode of birth, place of birth, breastfeeding and antibiotic use have been clearly demonstrated to influence the composition of the microbiota.

So, what exactly are the implications regarding Cesarean birth? We still don’t have all the answers. What we do know, is that when your baby’s gut is colonized by the micro-organisms in the hospital operating room rather than from you, it doesn’t bode well for the long term health of your child. More disturbing is the fact that this is now understood to have a multi-generational effect.

So, what can we do with all of this information? Our conventional practices that medicalize birth require a major upheaval. It is not to say we never need medicalization – of course there are times when medical intervention saves lives. This is where our current systems approach shines. However, the pattern of routine unnecessary intervention is a big issue and frankly the health of our population is suffering as a result.

007 DuforFamily HRM 1
Regardless of where you fit in the perinatal care process, you need to be informed. Beyond being informed, you need to be supported and empowered to make the best decisions. Thankfully our bodies are designed to adapt towards a state of wellness. We do however need the correct guidance on how to get there in a world of conventional practices that are hazardous to our health. I am so grateful to now be working with an incredible team in a one of a kind centre called The World of my Baby (the WOMB), who can provide this much needed help.

Why You Might Want to Try Acupuncture During Pregnancy

By Dr. Amy Dobbie, Naturopath

acupuncture and pregnancyWith all the testing, poking and prodding, therapies and preparation, it seems like there are so many things "to do" or try in pregnancy. What about acupuncture? Clients have experienced the most amazing results just from those wee needles we use! Here are the most common questions I am asked in my practice as a naturopathic doctor.

“I’ve heard acupuncture helps in pregnancy – is this true? Is it safe?” 

My answer is always YES! Acupuncture is completely safe during pregnancy, and is proven to be extremely beneficial and effective. In the first trimester it helps to maintain a pregnancy, nourish the body and alleviates early symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and heartburn. Later, the aches, pains, constipation and swelling that go along with pregnancy can be greatly alleviated by acupuncture treatment as well.

One of the most important times to have acupuncture during pregnancy is the third trimester, to help prepare the body for labour. Routinely, I recommend a set of pre-birth acupuncture points, and add in specific points based on individual needs.

How does it work?

Pre-birth acupuncture prepares a woman’s body for labour by tonifying and nourishing the body. The acupuncture points help to relax and soften uterine ligaments and bring blood flow to the pelvis. This encourages the baby to descend into the birth canal in the proper position, while preparing the cervix to soften and dilate and the uterine muscles to effectively contract when needed.

What are the benefits?

IMG 5987 1

o Increased likelihood of spontaneous labour around due date, meaning reduced likelihood of induction
o Reduced risk of medical intervention (C-section, forceps, epidural, etc.)
o Faster, easier birth (on average, 1.5 hours shorter)
o When acupuncture has been done routinely, there is an increased effectiveness of natural “induction” acupuncture.

When should a woman begin pre-birth acupuncture?

She should start weekly 30 minute treatments, beginning at 36 weeks, and continuing until her due date.

If I am overdue, will acupuncture help induce me?

Yes, additional acupuncture points can be added if you are past your due date to: help your baby engage into the birth canal, gently promote cervical softening and dilation, and strengthen birth sensations (contractions). These treatments can be done more frequently (every 1-3 days) until labour begins.

Acupuncture also helps to build energy and calm anxieties and frustrations, which often arise when a woman is past her due date.

Does acupuncture help with turning breech babies?

Yes. Often I will combine acupuncture with moxa (herbs heated over specific acupuncture points) to encourage babies to move to the proper position.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Typically no. Most people find acupuncture relaxing, and often fall asleep during the treatment. It is normal to feel some heaviness or warmth around points, but generally acupuncture is quite painless.

Does acupuncture cause pre-term labour?

No. Specific points are avoided until your due date, as they are known to promote labour. The points used for pre-birth acupuncture will not bring on early labour.

Why should I see a Naturopathic Doctor for this treatment?

Aside from acupuncture, I help women prepare for labour using other therapies such as homeopathics, herbs, supplements, hydrotherapy and hands on techniques. I always teach women how to apply acupressure at home and how to use these points as comfort measures during labour. Diet and lifestyle will also be discussed to ensure you are healthy throughout the remainder of your pregnancy and the post-partum period.

The other major benefit of seeing a Naturopathic Doctor is all of my treatment plans are tailored to your specific needs. We will discuss your questions about labour and birth, post-partum, breastfeeding, vaccinations, etc. and review your family history to make sure that your baby has the best possible start to life! I can even become your baby's primary health care provider!

Dr. Amy Dobbie is the Naturopathic Doctor at The WOMB - The World of My Baby. Dr. Amy works with all members of the family but holds pregnancy, women's health and paediatrics close to her heart.

Visual Development in Infants

What can my baby really see?

Parents often ask "What can my baby see?". The truth is, we are not born with eagle eyes. In fact, we are all born with our eyes slightly out of focus. Through a process called emmetropization, our eyes strive to become perfectly focussed over the first few years of life (of course, this process often goes astray and even infants and toddlers can end up needing glasses!). Babies also need to learn how to coordinate their eyes together and how to interpret visual cues from the wonderful and interesting world around them.

babyglasses2Here is a brief guide on what you can expect from your child's visual system in the first year of life!

Birth to 3 months
Your baby can only focus about 8-10 inches from their face. So don't go making googly eyes at your baby from across the room! High contrast objects are the most interesting at this stage so be sure to your show baby objects with lots of contrasting colours and shapes. Your baby may be especially drawn to stripes!
Your baby is still figuring out how to coordinate their two eyes together so don't be surprised if once in a while they look cross eyed. This should correct itself within the first few months after birth. However, if your baby's eyes look misaligned constantly or very frequently, a visit to your eye doctor is warranted.

3 to 6 months
Hand-eye coordination is starting to develop. By 3 months, your baby should be able to follow a moving object and reach for an interesting toy. By 5 months, it is believed that infants have developed colour vision similar to an adult. Visual acuity is rapidly developing and by six months your baby should be better at seeing objects and faces from a distance. Six months is also the perfect time for your baby to have their first eye exam! Don't worry, the optometrist will not be asking your baby "Which is better '1' or '2'?". The doctor will check to make sure your baby's eyes are aligned properly, that there are no significant refractive errors and that the eyes are healthy. A problem with any of the above could prevent your baby's visual system from developing normally.

7 to 12 months
Your baby is becoming mobile which further helps to develop hand-eye-body coordination. Depth perception is developed and your baby is becoming better at judging distances. Your baby can also firmly grasp and throw objects. Another important milestone is the pincer grasp which involves fine motor control and careful hand-eye coordination. Give your baby some cheerios to practice!

Your baby's visual system undergoes rapid developments and changes in the first year; much like your baby is quickly learning, growing and changing. Cherish every moment you have staring into your baby's big, beautiful eyes, even if it's in the middle of the night.

Dr. Kelly Gallagher, OD
Optometry On Bronte
www.miltonvision.ca


Get in touch! Give us a call at 905.842.2434, or click here to send us an email. 

Review our Cancellation Policy