Archive | June, 2014

The importance of birth planning

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The importance of birth planning

Posted on 26 June 2014 by Kristrun

babyleaningonarmsAfter years of working with families to prepare for birth, we have long ago learned that the term ‘birth plan’ is probably not a good description, and by that I mean to hand out a piece of paper that states BIRTH PLAN at the top.  This indicates that there is “a” plan, and that the parents expect things to go a certain way.  This can sometimes be hard, because if there is a change in the beginning, for example if you need to be induced, sometimes the whole “plan” is then changed or not valid anymore.  Similarly, sometimes these plans are quite unrealistic and come from someone else that perhaps had different reasons for choosing what they did.

Without ditching the term “birth plan”  we go around this in a slightly different way when we assist parents in their preparation. We suggest that you view the birth similar to an adventure trip that has certain planned checkpoints beforehand, but the whole journey is unknown.  It is much better to be well prepared for it, with the right people/hospital to support you, and some parts of it need to be planned.

In the period leading up to the birth, the term ‘birth planning’ will be used many times and you will likely be asked at the hospital if you have a birth plan.  Your birth plan will always be restricted to certain hospital guidelines, but there is usually some flexibility in both public and private settings.  To ensure a realistic and tailor-made birth plan that suits your needs, we therefore suggest two types of planning/preparation: short and long term.  The long term planning involves choosing the right hospital and doctor, with direct answers about what practices and rules there may be for women who are in labour.  Statistics and details are needed when this is done.  The short term planning involves more detailed information about your own choices during the labour and birth and may include information about your care and preferences regardless what type of labour / journey you embark on.

Attending antenatal courses and/or private consultation about typical scenarios during childbirth, and what interventions are available, is normally the first step in your birth planning. This is the part where you figure out what will be important to you on the day when you go into labour. It´s also about working out if you as a couple are hoping for the same type of experience, as labour is not the right time to figure these things out.

Birth planning becomes even more important when you are seeking care in a private doctor and hospital environment. Educate yourself so you know what you prefer, rather than have the “system” make these decisions on your behalf. Are there any financial gains underlying your care? Be in charge.

In the public system in Hong Kong, you will not have many choices. The long term birth planning will be you educating yourself on what types of choices you think will be important for you and your partner and how to make the most of it. First step will be your antenatal education. From there you make your choices within a reasonable birth plan which you present and make clear to your caregivers at the hospital.

The short term birth planning is when you create the final document and submit to your caregiver. It is very important to create a birth plan that is in line with what is available in each hospital, and a plan that meets your needs even in the event of different birth circumstances than were originally planned.  This is important both to make sure you get the best birth possible, but also to ensure your emotional health and to avoid any feelings of failure after the birth. We advise against ‘copy-paste birth plans’ from the internet where individual needs are not taken into account.  Creating a birth plan is a very personal and important part of your birth preparation.

Birth planning is a big part of the support we offer. Through our classes, consultation and routine checkups we have created a detailed educational program that goes perfectly well with the public and private systems in Hong Kong. For the best results, join our ‘Best of Both’ for public hospital births and ‘Private package’ for giving birth in a private hospital in Hong Kong. Equip yourself with the tools you need to navigate the system in which you are giving birth.

The Annerley midwives

Book a private birth planning session with a midwife > let us know how we can help

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A quick guide to exercise and sex while pregnant

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A quick guide to exercise and sex while pregnant

Posted on 26 June 2014 by Kristrun

shutterstock_78585802Informed choice during pregnancy and childbirth is something that all parents should be able to make.  Unfortunately, it seems like many parents are being advised to change their lifestyle drastically when they get pregnant, for example in regards to exercise and sex.  Normal, healthy women who become pregnant can usually continue their lifestyle in a similar way as before as long as they feel good and their body sends no message otherwise.  We have written many articles about this and research done on this supports the same as stated above.  This is a very quick guide for pregnant moms and dads to be:

  • Sex is safe at all stages of pregnancy for a normal, healthy pregnant woman. Enjoy it.
  • If you have any complications such as low lying placenta, vaginal bleeding, sexual diseases – consult your midwife or a doctor.
  • Many women and men feel insecure and stressed about sex while pregnant. They are afraid their baby will be harmed in some way, but this is not the case as the baby is very well protected within the womb, with amniotic fluid, the membranes and cervix for protection.
  • If a woman is considered high risk for premature labour, it is better to avoid sexual intercourse.
  • After giving birth many women will enjoy sex even more than before.
  • Most forms of exercise are fine to continue, as long as you are careful and don’t overdo it.
  • Pre-natal yoga and pilates are wonderful ways to increase flexibility, strength and stamina – just the things you need when preparing for birth.  We advise you go to classes where the instructor has experience and is properly trained to deal with  pregnant women as some exercises can be non-appropriate at certain stages of pregnancy and after birth.
  • You should always talk with your doctor if you have a pre-existing condition such as asthma or diabetes, or any structural problems.
  • Exercise may also not be advisable if you have a pregnancy-related condition such as a low placenta, recurrent miscarriage, history of early labour or an incompetent cervix.

Listen to your body and make sensible choices. When you are pregnant it’s not the best time to start kickboxing or wakeboarding. Continue doing what you are used to be doing if you feel like it. Don’t overdo it and remember there is a little person growing inside of you. You may need more rest than before and be sure to keep a close eye on any unusual changes.  The relaxin hormone that assists you to stretch more and have an easier birth sometimes makes all ligaments and some body parts more relaxed during pregnancy too, so running on uneven surfaces, jumping etc. is not a good idea, plus your pelvic floor is likely not going to get any stronger with these types of exercises.  The baby itself will not be harmed, but this is to ensure that your own body recovers well after birth and to prevent any damages that otherwise may occur.

Two very useful and more detailed articles about the sex when women ask themselves, what is sizegenetics? And when women ask themselves how to exercise while pregnant:

http://www.annerley.com.hk/blog/exercise-during-pregnancy/

http://www.annerley.com.hk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Playtimes.-November-Lets-get-physical.pdf

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Guilt free travels for moms

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Guilt free travels for moms

Posted on 24 June 2014 by Kristrun

It is great to have children, to watch them grow and to be with them every step of the way. But I have to admit I sometimes miss the mental freedom. I´m only speaking for myself, but I sometimes keep myself in a mental cage where I think my children are only safe and happy if I´m actually there. I forget that I need to water my own garden and do things for myself in order to be a better mom. So I booked a trip, a trip I have been dreaming about for the last 22 years.10333564_799366336741256_3113558867122887700_o

I was, many years ago, an au-pair in San Francisco and I wanted to see it again and meet friends and the family I stayed with. And I did it. I returned last week from a fantastic trip – I got in touch with old friends, met the children I used to take care (no longer children!) and I even managed to combine business with pleasure.

Yet during the weeks leading up to the trip I was beating myself with negative thoughts about how the kids could be injured, hurt, sad and lonely while I was away. Worrying about their schedule, about their wellbeing and so on. Knowing that their dad would be there for the most of the time, and then a wonderful granddad and his girlfriend – all of whom are qualified to raise and rescue any normal child.

My medicine was to verbalise my concerns: I told my husband, my wonderful colleagues  and myself what I was worried about. I did not ignore my fears. At the same time I told myself I would be a better, happier mom when I returned and that I would enjoy every minute of the adventure. And it helped, just by saying it out loud made it just sound silly – I´m a brave woman, why should I fear so much?

When I got on the plane I was fine, I certainly did enjoy the whole trip and I did not allow myself to be consumed with missing them whilst I was away. I Skyped them every day, kept it short and sweet and then closed my computer and went back to my self-indulgent enjoyment. I relished eating my meals without standing up, drinking very hot coffee, shopping for hours without a toilet trip and losing myself in long chats with old friends. I did not miss them a bit – I allowed myself to enjoy.

I’m back from my fabulous trip, everyone is safe and sound and I’m a better mom. To all moms who imprison themselves mentally: set yourself free every now and then. It really is worth it.

Safe travels

x

Kristrun

Consultation with the midwives or consultants, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Tummy Time

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Tummy Time

Posted on 06 June 2014 by Kristrun

“Tummy time” is a relatively new phrase and will not be one your own parents used when you were a baby. It wasn’t until the early ‘90’s when the “Back to Sleep” or “Safe to Sleep” campaign was launched that parents were being encouraged to put babies to sleep on their backs, as the link between this sleeping supine position and the reduced risk of SIDS was established.

From then on, babies spent far less time on their tummies than before and it is in this prone position that many of the early developmental milestones are initiated – lifting and turning the head, rolling, pushing up, crawling etc. Tummy time helps strengthen little necks, backs and arms, and helps prevent flat spots from developing on the back of the head (“positional plagiocephaly”). It also gives them a different view of the world.

So tummy time is a good thing for your baby. But as any new parent knows, babies don’t always like it! Many parents get quite stressed knowing that they should be encouraging this ‘activity’ but feeling conflicted as their baby lies prone on a mat screaming in rage. But if you think about it, when your baby is very tiny, it is actually quite natural to have them in this position – most of us will hold and carry our babies over one shoulder (great for burping and soothing) or have them napping and lying face down on our chest or across our lap. Most bubs will love to be close to you and these positions will still encourage lifting and moving of the head.

Use different “props” if baby really hates to be flat on the floor. Use a bean bag, cushion or large exercise ball (of course safely). Before long he will also love to be held up in the air looking down at your face, or against your shins and lifted as you straighten your legs. These are still prone positions but with your interaction, baby will love the play factor as well as automatically lifting her chin and moving her head and neck.

As your little one does progress to being down on the floor, add interesting objects to be reached for, and different textures to lie on to increase the sensory experience. Before you know it, bubs will be pushing up on his hands and making moves to be on the move!

In short, don’t worry if your baby does not enjoy “tummy time” instantly. Start gently and incorporate it into your normal everyday routine such as during bath-time, massage or nappy changes. It certainly need not be stressful and there are plenty of helpful hints to be found on YouTube such as this one.

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Planning your baby’s first trip to the pool

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Planning your baby’s first trip to the pool

Posted on 04 June 2014 by Kristrun

Summers can be steaming hot in Hong Kong and so one of the most popular ways to entertain babies and children is to use water – at babyinpool-1home, in a pool in your complex or by taking advantage one of the many public swimming pools. If you are having a swimming pool built and having a hard time deciding what to do with your patio to give it that oasis feeling then ask should I use rubber pavers on my patio?

Here are a few useful tips for anyone bringing a baby to the pool for the first time.

The timing of your first ever pool swim will depend on you and your baby, but please consult your midwife or health visitor if you are not sure. Test things out, spend some time at the poolside to begin with and make sure your baby is interested before taking them into the water. It´s a good idea to splash some pool water on baby’s arms and legs and guage how they react to it before taking the plunge. The pool water can irritate sensitive young skin so just a play at the pool-side with a few splashes can be a good start.

Planning your first trip.

  • Plan the trip carefully around your baby’s routine. Make sure he is well fed, well rested and ready to be out and about for a while.
  • Put swim-wear on at home – both yours and baby’s! This makes things much easier on arrival. Use swim diapers and make sure to bring a spare one.
  • Don´t forget to bring a full new set of clothes for your little one.
  • Bring a capsule where you can strap the baby in and leave her on the floor while you are changing or using the bathrooom.
  • Bring the baby in the capsule to the pool. Pool sides are very slippery and you want to protect your baby. The staff will let you through the side door to bypass the entrance/exit shower.
  • Make sure baby has a hat and is protected from the sun. If possible, go at a time when you know the baby pool is in the shade.
  • Try to choose sunscreen that doesn’t run when it gets wet and is age appropriate. Zinc based ones are often good.
  • Start slowly and introduce the water by keeping baby close to your body whilst gradually moving into the water – this will make your baby feel safe. Smile and be calm.
  • For the first few times, try to go when you know it will be quiet. A lot of shrieking and splashing may frighten your little one and put them off the experience.
  • Avoid using any safety gear to begin with, just hold your baby and never leave her unattended anywhere in or near the water unless strapped in the capsule.
  • Spend only a short time in the pool to begin with – it will be a very stimulating new experience and even a few minutes may be enough. Leave before your baby becomes too tired – you still need to get changed and home!
  • You will probably want to give baby a proper bath at home, but it is recommended to at least rinse off the pool water before leaving. Again, the skin can be very sensitive to the pool water. You can always give baby a rinse while he is in the capsule –  it will dry quickly in the sun even if it does get a bit wet. If you’re alone you can even bring the capsule into the shower so the baby is under your care the whole time.

Have fun and enjoy the water. If your baby does not enjoy going swimming, just give him a bit of time and then try again.

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

Related service I have recently discovered: Lake Management Inc.

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