Tag Archive | "antenatal classes"

Your Relationship Plus a New Baby: See Allison’s advice on Sassy mama

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Your Relationship Plus a New Baby: See Allison’s advice on Sassy mama

Posted on 04 May 2015 by Kristrun

SassyRelationsihpallisonYour Relationship Plus a New Baby: What to expect and how to support your partner

 ”A baby neither makes nor breaks a marriage; a baby can, however, highlight the weaknesses and strengths of a marriage and will inevitably change it. How a couple chooses to respond to this change can set the tone for years to come — for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

What changes after the baby arrives:

Labour arrives and so too does the baby. The initial moments and months can be an intoxicating, maddening mixture of delight and frustration. Who is this soul, and how do we care for him/her? How do we care for ourselves? And, what happens to the marriage?”.

To read the full article on Sassy Mama - click here

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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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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Testimonial from Regina

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Testimonial from Regina

Posted on 18 September 2013 by Kristrun

I just wanted to let you know how supportive the staff at Annerley have been during my pregnancy & now in caring for my daughter. When I moved to Hong Kong, I was 12 weeks pregnant. It was a bit daunting to be pregnant in a foreign country where I wasn’t familiar with the medical system and had limited social support. From the start, through Belly to Belly Workshops and antenatal classes, the staff at Annerley provided me with opportunities to learn about the maternity system in Hong Kong, gave me the tools hlep me to advocate for myself within the system, and provided me with all the information I needed for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. In working with Sofie during Belly to Belly workshops, one to one meetings, and the positioning class, I had a very fast labor and was able to have the non medicalized, drug-free birth I wanted. Given my history as brain tumor survivor, it would have been easy for the highly medicalized physicians in Hong Kong to convince me that I needed a scheduled c-section. However, the staff at Annerley taught me what questions to ask the physicians, how to express my wishes, and how I would know if and when medical interventions would be necessary. It was very useful when Sofie taught me about the importance of posture during pregnancy to help with the baby’s position. I was thrilled with my labor and birth, being able to labor in the different positions Sofie taught and even deliver standing up.
The midwife visits after returning home from the hospital with my daughter helped my husband and me feel more comfortable caring for our daughter and more confident in our parenting. The night we arrived home, my daughter was having some difficulty eating and it was very comforting to know that Rowena would be visiting the next morning to help sort us out. During those early weeks, having Rowena and Conchita visit helped us get through difficult days and nights. Breastfeeding was difficult for me due to my medical history and without the support of Annerley and the visiting midwives, I would not have been able to breastfeed at all. With proper planning before my daughter’s birth and support afterwards, I was able to provide breast milk to my daughter for 10 weeks. While that might seem like a short time for many mothers, for me, it was a major accomplishment. During those 10 weeks, when things got difficult & I wasn’t sure I could continue, support from Conchita helped very much. Her family centered and strengths based approach helped me to think through what the goal was for me, my baby and my family and what was going to make for a happy mom and happy baby, without any pressure to continue breastfeeding. Since giving birth, I have come to clinic, had home visits, and one to one meetings with Conchita. I appreciate that I can ask any parenting, childcare or medical question, no matter how big or small. And unlike visits with pediatricians, Conchita focuses on our entire family’s wellness and happiness, not just our baby’s. It is very comforting to know that Conchita and the staff at Annerley are available through all the stages of my daughters development. I am looking forward to discussing the next milestone with Conchita, starting solids. Conchita has been able to provide the medical support and emotional support that all new parents need.
My helper took Conchita’s course, “Caring for 0-12 month old babies” in the spring. My helper has over 20 years raising Western children but my husband and I felt strongly that she take a course from the same professionals who were teaching our antenatal and childcare classes. When my helper came home from the course each day, she was energized and shared with me the different things that she learned. It was fantastic that Conchita taught her new things and sent her home with “homework assignments”. It encouraged her to have conversations with me about what she was learning. Some of the highlights for both of us included baby proofing the house, how to encourage language development, and starting solids. It was wonderful that Conchita could make this information exciting to such a seasoned child care provider. Additionally, Conchita stressed to helpers in the class the importance of communication with employers. This ended up being a helpful reinforcement for both my helper and myself when after the baby arrived we realized we needed to communicate differently than we had before. I would highly recommend the course to all helpers who will be working with infants regardless of how much experience they have.
The services at Annerley fill the gap many of us feel without local family and give new parents the opportunity to get support on childcare and parenting, which is something the medical system does not routinely provide.
Thank you for all that you do,

Regina Karchner September 2013

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Preparing for birth in a public hospital in Hong Kong

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Preparing for birth in a public hospital in Hong Kong

Posted on 21 August 2013 by hulda

PREPARING FOR BIRTH IN A PUBLIC HOSPITAL IN HONG KONGBy Hulda Thorey –  Published in SassyMama – 20 September 2013

In Hong Kong, every person with a Hong Kong ID card has the right to use the government hospital maternity services at a minimal cost. The maternal health clinics generally provide adequate services, staff, equipment, and resources to ensure your safety. The facilities are up to standard and the delivery rooms are big and very well equipped. It can be a great experience to give birth in a public hospital but we highly recommend parents educate themselves so they know the politics, preferences and the procedures within each hospital.

Before using the services at a public hospital you will need a referral letter to confirm your pregnancy, so the first step is to visit a doctor or obstetrician to get that letter. The antenatal checkups at the public hospitals are free of charge and they will let you know how often you need checkups, roughly every month initially, then every two weeks. The checkups can take a bit of time, so allow at least 3 hours, but if you are lucky it will take less time. Many of our clients supplement the public system with a private midwife or doctor, which saves time and gives them a chance to get answers to their questions.

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Natural birthing in Hong Kong

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Natural birthing in Hong Kong

Posted on 21 August 2013 by hulda

By Hulda Thorey –  Published in Geobaby – 30 May 2013

What’s to stop you from getting a natural birth in Hong Kong? According to Hulda Thorey, founder and head midwife at Annerley, it can be many things but not a lot if you know how to ask for it.

Natural birthing in Hong Kong

The first thing a mother-to-be should know is that having a natural birth experience in Hong Kong is not necessarily a matter of finance and being able to pay for what you want. Whether you go public or private, it’s more about having the knowledge and the confidence to work with the doctors or the system, and being able to ask for the right things at the right time.

A simple way to put it is that doctors and hospitals are programmed to use their medical skills and technology to get patients through procedures following the route of minimal risk, least pain and in the quickest timeframe.

On first investigation, natural birth doesn’t appear to match these criteria. With the best intentions and without your consent, doctors usually follow the path they feel most comfortable with.

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Antenatal care in Hong Kong

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Antenatal care in Hong Kong

Posted on 14 August 2013 by hulda

By Oláfia Aradottir – Published on Geobaby.com – 25 July, 2013

In Hong Kong, as in much of the rest of the westernised world, when you learn you are pregnant, you take it for granted that you will follow a programme of antenatal visits. After the initial excitement it can feel that the checkups are a bit tedious and over-fussy, especially when all that the healthcare practitioner seems to do is check your weight, urine and blood pressure, but it is exactly these checks that provide the first indicators of a problem.

Why antenatal care is so important?

Much research has shown how important antenatal care is for improving mother and baby survival rates, and a World Health Organization study published this year shows that even skimping on visits can have scary results, even for low-risk mothers.

Antenatal visits are important because in most cases, the indicators for some of the rare but serious conditions that cause death for mother and/or baby can easily be detected in the early stages, and this means that the condition can be treated or managed safely to reduce risk and prevent the condition escalating and causing further complications.

Who provides your antenatal care depends on where you live. In Europe midwives are generally the prime carer for low-risk pregnancies, even doing most deliveries, whereas in the US, care is more obstetric-led.

Antenatal care in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong’s private hospitals care is obstetrician led, but midwives take care of the women throughout labour with the obstetricians making all major decisions and then delivering the baby. However, in government hospitals, midwives usually deliver the babies having taken care of the mother throughout labour.

This involvement of midwives is important because for a vast majority of women, pregnancy is not a medical condition, but is an important life transition. A famous piece of research (Cochrane) has shown that, compared with women who were cared for under other models of care, women who received midwife-led models of care were less likely to be admitted to hospital during pregnancy, less likely to receive regional analgesics during labour and childbirth, and to have an episiotomy. In addition, women who received midwife-led models of care were also more likely to have spontaneous vaginal birth, to feel in control during labour and childbirth, and to initiate breastfeeding. And if that wasn’t enough: babies born to women who received midwife-led care were less likely to die before 24 weeks of pregnancy and were more likely to have a shorter length of hospital stay.

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Annerley Midwives’ Best Tips For Mothers-To-Be!

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Annerley Midwives’ Best Tips For Mothers-To-Be!

Posted on 27 May 2013 by hulda

Best Tips For Mothers-To-Be!

  • IMG_8870Be an active participant in your own pregnancy and birth. Respond to signals you get as you know your body best, not the doctor or the midwife.
  • Do a tour of the maternity ward where you wish to give birth. Ask what your options are regarding your partner, positions for birth, pain relief etc. Listen to the response and prepare accordingly.
  • Attend antenatal classes for preparation for the childbirth. Whether you are  aiming for a natural birth, or planning a C-section consider doing extra classes that cover these areas.
  • When breastfeeding your baby, expect it to take between 4 – 6 weeks for it to feel established.
  • Remember that every pregnancy is different, advice from friends and relatives is kindly meant, but often doesn’t apply in your case!
  • Pregnancy is a time to start preparing for a baby – get used to multitasking, cat-napping and unplanned events.
  • The expert in the labour room is you.
  • Your baby does not have to rule your life, but it will change it. Find ways to adjust and enjoy the change, rather than control it all.
  • newbornThe more often you breastfeed your baby, the more milk you will have. You cannot save up milk by feeding less often.
  • After birth, it takes about 6 weeks for the body to achieve much of its healing. Even after that, understand that it will still take time before you feel totally healed.
  • A normal healthy baby will cry to express its feelings. Use the first days to learn to know what different types of cry mean.
  • An unsettled baby will often relax when lying on its front. Even though this is not a recommended position for sleep, it is fine to try this to settle the baby, and while you are around the baby.
  • A bath is an excellent way to soothe a baby. Fill the tub well and make sure the water and the room are nice and warm. A hungry baby will cry in the bathtub, so a small feed beforehand is a good idea.
  • Big breasts or small breasts, it makes no difference when it comes to making milk.
  • Bad habits are defined by you, not your mother or a book.
  • Enjoy the moment and worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Perhaps your worries just died during the nighttime.
  • Eat protein rich, high fibre and iron rich food in the first days after birth. Drink at least three litres of water and take vitamin C supplements.Two women friends chatting over coffee at home
  • Sex after childbirth might feel a bit different but you are safe to have intercourse anytime after four weeks, or when you both are ready. You might need KY gel because of hormones involved in lactation can leave things a little dry.
  • Pain is usually there for a reason. If you can’t identify that reason, get help.
  • As soon as you are able after the birth, make sure you leave the flat at least once a day. Take a walk or meet a friend – just change your environment a little.

On line education, support and consultation available. Wide range of services in our clinic for Hong Kong residents.

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Maternity leave in Thailand – Antenatal classes at Annerley

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Maternity leave in Thailand – Antenatal classes at Annerley

Posted on 23 March 2012 by hulda

In between being the laziest person on earth, I like action.  So kickbox has been my type of sport for the last 12 years . I have tried, various times to take on something different and somehow everything else has been so boring.  Especially normal gyms.  I did take a yoga class with Nealy Fisher at Pure while I was pregnant and that was actually good, much more action than I thought, and obviously did me good, but partly I think the fact that it was Nealy who I know, made the class fun too. 

So here I am in Thailand, on this yoga and health resort, VERY BASIC one!  All we do is to meditate, do yoga and drink some liquid fruit and vegetable leftovers that apparently will make us healthy.  And don’t forget, I am also on maternity leave, and doing some work for Kristrun, my crazy boss. 

Every morning starts with the yoga practice.  INCREDIBLY funny!  Never before, have I felt like I was in the “loosers” class as much as now.  What I mean is that we are all very obviously NOT yoga people.  And the poor instructor tries very hard to be very professional, – well he is very professional, but I can only imagine how he must be holding his laughter.  Half of the class are at least 20 kg overweight, the rest so skinny that they are falling apart.  Half of them have so much sunburn that it must be very uncomfortable just to move.  And tattoos, my lord, all over!  Most of them have just finished their last cigarette around 2 minutes before practicing and three people have such bad cough that they can hardly do any exercise.  There are three ladies that are Muslims and are fully covered in fabric, but they are actually doing really well in keeping up, despite the fact they must be SO hot! 

And then there is me, who usually falls down in every pose, with lots of noise and taking forever to find the pose again, most of the time to discover that they have long gone to the next pose.  But slowly and steadily I have managed to learn most of the routine, and now I can do my shoulder stand straight and every now and again my forehead can touch my knees. 

The thing is, as so often before, I started the sessions feeling like, O my G how booooring can this be.  So slow and all that.  Then, remembering that I have actually often meditated and felt good, I added the breathing into the practice.  Then I thought, well whatever I am here, I may as well do it.  And ta ra:  This is just like the antenatal classes! 

How incredibly boring they must sometimes be for parents to come to.  They come as they want to learn about these things, and they need to learn certain breathing etc.  but sitting there for two hours at the end of a day, of course you are tired and want to go home.  And I always keep telling them during the meditation training:  Just do it, like Nike says.  You just have to go ahead and after several times of doing it, all of a sudden you are good and you see the benefits.  But to begin with it does not feel like that. 

So this is what I did in my Yoga training here.  Now I have had 12 hours of Yoga and I just do it!  Not that I am good, and for sure I would not like to be under any evaluation, but at least this routine is now clear to me, I feel much better and I totally can understand how practice really makes perfect! 

So that is all I wanted to say in this long blog:  Please please, antenatal class people:  start your breathing practice now, it will work if you just do it again and again!

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