Tag Archive | "healthy"

Raising a Good Eater

Tags: , , , , ,

Raising a Good Eater

Posted on 28 February 2014 by Kristrun

stimulating-baby-indoorsMy children eat fruit and vegetables. They eat salad and sushi, spinach and seaweed. They eat curry and cabbage, kimchi and cauliflower. They eat pretty much anything. What’s more, they enjoy it. OK, some things more than others, but there is very little they will point blank refuse.

I’m not taking all the credit for this. I think I’ve been pretty lucky in so much as they genuinely enjoy food. I know this is not the case for many others. I would also like to point out that picky eating due to a disorder, such as that resulting from a child on the autistic spectrum, bears no resemblance to regular fussiness, and any healthy eating guidelines are not applicable in these cases.

I would like to share with you some things I have learned with my three children. Take what you fancy, and ignore what you don’t. What you are reading is based purely on my experience, nothing more. No research involved at all.

Make it tasty

Toddlers and children enjoy tasty food just as we do. I remember when my eldest was small and I was feeding her cold baby food from a jar. She was fussing and spluttering and spitting it out. I was staying with my sister in the UK at the time (jetlag and fussy eating – oh the joy) and she said to me “have you tried that stuff, Ailish? it’s revolting”. And so it was. My sister mushed up some vegetable stew with mashed potato, warmed it nicely and my daughter lapped it up. It simply had not occurred to me that a baby would have any preference when it came to how food tastes. How strange that seems now!

Don’t be afraid to cook with vegetable or chicken stock. Use a little butter. Add herbs, spices, garlic, ginger, a splash of soy sauce, a touch of chilli or curry powder. These are not adult flavours, they are just flavours. Go slow and easy and gently build up your child’s repertoire.

This may have worked a little too well for my youngest, who at age 9, adds tabasco to a worrying number of savoury dishes. What will he do for a chilli kick aged 20……?

Involve your child

The sooner you do this, the better. A baby can sit in a high chair or on the floor playing with a carrot, whilst the carrots are being chopped. Give a pan and a wooden spoon. Let them see, smell and touch whilst the food is being prepared. Before long, they can help to stir a pot or add the seasoning. A child who has had an active part in preparing a meal is far more likely to eat it. When they are old enough to appreciate it, take them to the market where they can see the food before it reaches our kitchen and allow them to make some choices. Shall we have chicken or fish? Potatoes or pasta? This involvement really does work and rather than presenting a finished meal out of nowhere with which the child feels no connection and therefore has little interest in, give them some insight, some input and a little control.

 

Use your fingers

Finger food is always a winner. I’m not one for terribly fussy food, and those images on the internet of children’s food as works of art on a plate give me hives. But various different foods, chopped smallish, always worked for us for a quick meal. Grapes cut in half, small cubes of cheese, carrot sticks….. this kind of thing generally appeals to most children. They can use their fingers to eat which is very important so that they learn about the different textures, and it is fun. Let your toddler make their own sandwich – give the bread, and the filling, and let them get on with it. A bit messy, but worth it. I used to also give my toddlers a blunt knife, a small tub of hummous or cream cheese and let them spread it onto crackers. An activity in itself! Filled a whole hour! Touching, feeling and dare I say it, playing with food, is very important to children so they learn it is nothing to fear. They are going to put it inside their mouths, which is a very personal thing, and they need to learn to trust. So let them explore it as much as possible.

Eat together

We all know this works. Children ultimately copy adults and eating is naturally a social time. Eating on your own is no fun, especially while feeling pressure to perform! Commonly in Hong Kong, Daddy is returning home late from work and Mummy would much rather eat a civilised dinner with him at 8.30pm, than feeding-time-at-the-zoo at 5.00pm (I don’t wish to generalise, but I know this to be true for a lot of families). This is perfectly understandable, who wouldn’t? But it is still important to sit down at the table with the children at meal times, maybe eat a few vegetables at the same time, talk and listen – make it comfortable and a time when they know they have your attention. A time to look forward to. It may be worth thinking about having your full meal at this earlier time once or twice during the week, and make a point of doing it all together at the weekend. And if it is impossible for either parent to be there, have your helper have dinner with the kids, rather than her only ‘feed’ the kids.

The chicken nugget trap

Try not to think in terms of kids’ food versus adult food. It’s all just food. Your kids are more likely to eat if you’re all eating the same thing and this is very possible once your child reaches the 12 month mark. You may need to adapt your child’s portion in some way (adding yoghurt to curry, taking a small portion out before adding chilli etc) but starting young with regular food will avoid them getting addicted to bland “kiddy” food and developing anxiety towards anything novel or with a strong flavour.

Back off

Nobody likes to be scrutinised while performing a task. Try taking the pressure off your little muncher. Offer the food, give a mouthful, and then take the focus off. Look to your own food, or chat to another child. You may just find they eat that broccoli when you are not watching them like a hawk. Especially if you are eating broccoli too!

Stay calm

Children pick up so easily on our mood. If you feel the tension rising as meal time is approaching, then so will they. Stay light hearted and strive towards making dinner time a time to enjoy. If they eat almost nothing, keep calm, smile, clear it away and try again tomorrow.

Firm but fair

I love food, and good food is important to me. So it was important that my children learned to love food too. Now, all children are naturally picky. I know some are pickier than others, but all children like to stick to what they know. This is normal. Encouraging new foods is a slow and gradual process, and it starts very early. My kids know they have to try something quite a few times before they are allowed not to like it. There are many things they have proclaimed they hated (no. 3 child is the best at this) and have ended up loving. Spinach fried in garlic. Roasted sweet potato. Beetroot. I could go on. So, don’t give up at the first hurdle. Offer tiny amounts of new things to try. However, I do respect them if they really cannot bear something after a valiant attempt. Child no. 1 doesn’t like celery. Child no. 2 doesn’t like pumpkin. Child no. 3 doesn’t like cream. And none of them will touch a mushroom.

For very small toddler munchkins, reasoning is not really an option, and so then I can see the value of “hiding” vegetables in food and there are many fabulous ways of doing this. But as they get older, this is, well…. quite boring, and I think they should have an idea of what they are eating.

Give some control

At meal times, in our house, there are certain things the children have little control over. They must come to the table at dinner time and they must try anything new. But, they can choose how much they eat. Taking this pressure off is sometimes enough to stop the battles.

Eating away from home

I cannot tell you the number of times I have had other people’s children at my house to eat and their Mums have been aghast when I tell them what we had for dinner. “Oh, but Johnny wouldn’t eat that.” Well, he did. Quite happily.

Children do all kinds of things differently when they are in different environments, away from familiar triggers and routines. So, don’t reject the restaurant, or the neighbour’s place for fear that your fussy eater will create a scene. They just might not.

Start small

A huge dish of food is a very intimidating thing to a small child. Offer small portions which they won’t feel threatened by. Better still, once they are old enough, let them serve themselves or choose how many carrots they want. This way, they are far more likely to be able finish it and you won’t be left with the “don’t waste food” argument. Personally, I never make my kids finish their food, but ask them to stop when their tummies feel full. Quite frankly, forcing food into a child does not seem better to me than putting it in the bin or feeding it to the dog. We just got our dog its preferred by dogs.

If they finish and ask for more, then great!

Eat local when travelling

I’m passionate about this. My children were born in Asia, and like most expat families, we have been fortunate to travel quite a bit. Travelling and food for our family go hand in hand. Memories of different places become entwined with the fabulous food we ate there. Pho in Vietnam. Nasi lemak in Malyasia. Chicken rice in Singapore. Hoppers and curry in Sri Lanka. Seafood in Australia. Pies in New Zealand (!!). Having good eaters really comes into its own when travelling. To be able to eat anywhere and try anything is such a joy in a foreign land. To have to trawl in search of spaghetti bolognese wherever one goes is tedious. And expensive.

Educate

Most kids like to eat junk. If we are being honest, most of us like to eat junk. In a few short years, you will have no control over what your child chooses to eat. All we can do is educate them about making healthy choices and why that is a good thing. My biggest bug-bear is sugary drinks, and it worries me when my children tell me how many cartons of iced tea, or cans of soda their school friends drink on any given day. If my kids choose not to do this, I will be happy.

Everything in moderation

I don’t believe in banning any foods; rather teach that some foods are for every day, and some are for special occasions. Party food is to be enjoyed at parties and life is too short not to eat chocolate and ice-cream.

 

I am well aware that some children have no interest in food and just view it as fuel, just as some adults do. I have a very dear brother-in-law who would be happy to see out the end of his days eating only cornflakes and chocolate. I am also willing to accept that I just struck lucky – both my husband and I enjoy good food, and therefore it may seem reasonable to assume that our children would be interested too. Be that as it may, but I am going to give myself a smidgen of credit; I put in the effort. My children are now 13, 11 and 9. My work is almost done. Start early and be confident.

Ailish Cotton

Mum of 3

Comments Off

Raising a happy child

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Raising a happy child

Posted on 13 February 2012 by hulda

It’s never too soon to help your child develop an inner strength to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life. Hulda Thorey, founder of Annerley Maternity and Early Childhood Professionals, midwife and mother of four provides some tips:

  • Put baby on its tummy as early and as often as you can from birth onwards.  The child will see the world from a different angle and learn to reach out to get what he / she wants instead of always finding that everything comes automatically, for example dangling toys and ready-made play solutions.
  • Be moderate, not extreme, in your communications.
  • Praise when appropriate, and give as little attention as possible to less positive behavior.
  • Give very clear messages. Do what you say you will do (both treats and threats) –  and expect the same of the child.
  • Remember that the baby copies you.  It will not be told to behave in one way and then see you do things differently.
  • Don’t constantly try to make the baby follow rules.  Confidence and creativity can be killed if you force your child to stick to the usual rules.  For example, why do they have to colour inside the box on a pre-drawn picture?
  • Encourage interaction with people of a broad age.  Grandparents offer a very different perspective on life, and alternative ways in which to do things.  This usually provides a healthy addition to parenting.

 

Comments (0)

A Mother’s Touch

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A Mother’s Touch

Posted on 13 February 2012 by hulda

The endless benefits for you and your baby with Infant Massage

“To touch is to love,” enlightens Donna Watt, mother of two with over 25 years of experience in early childhood development and a certified infant massage course instructor, who better to take advice from?

Infant massage is by no means a new fad, it has been a part of a mother and infants daily routine for centuries around the world, and we can understand why. That first touch between mother and child is one of the most magical moments a mother will experience, it is the most significant foundation upon which you create that bond with your child.

Donna has seen the struggle of dealing with the after effects of a cesarean and the trauma of giving birth to a premature baby. It can destroy a mother’s confidence and her assurance in her abilities in motherhood. It is a painful obstacle to overcome on top of the everyday worries and fears motherhood brings. But there is hope and Donna believes it is Infant Massage that can bring about the most radical and positive changes to a mother’s outlook and confidence.

A massage is an enjoyable experience you won’t hear anyone turning down and it is no different a fact for our babies. Though what makes an infant massage so special is the fact that it is not just something done to our baby but done WITH our baby. It can improve that crucial bond and relationship with your infant like no other methods out there. Infant massage opens up the doors of communication between mother and child. The techniques you learn are guaranteed to teach you how to engage and relax your child, facilitating your already budding parenting skills.

Infant Massages won’t just benefit your baby, but you yourself as well. In terms of psychosocial advantages for your baby, massages will amplify your child’s sense of love and trust, promoting attachments to you as a parent. And in return you will improve your ability to read your baby’s cues and encourage synchrony connecting you together, which is what we all want with our infants.

Proven benefits infant massage encourages:

  • Relaxation in our babies (which inevitably mean a more relaxed mummy!)
  • Improvements to the babies’ skin with the encouragement of blood circulation through the body.
  • Digestive benefits, babies who receive massages prove to suffer less from colic and constipation.
  • Respiratory developments minimize coughs, colds, and both ear and nasal infections.

Course Structure:

Infant massage is held over a period of 5 sessions, the last of which is deliberately held on a Saturday morning so that the fathers can also learn about the techniques.

  • Consisting of four, 1.5-hour sessions
  • 45 minutes of information and Q&A
  • 45 minutes of actual practice.

Annerley will teach you first hand, the benefits of baby massage, concentrating on specific strokes used for different part of your baby’s body. It will give you the confidence and techniques you can take home with you to improve not just your infant’s development and body system but more importantly the strengthening of your bond with your precious baby.

Price: 1600 HKD

For more info: http://www.annerley.com.hk/index.php/Product/556/Infant-Massage-Classes-5×1-5h-.html 

Testimonials:

  1. “Maxim and I loved attending Annerley’s baby massage classes. We learned how to give and receive a gentle full body massage and we came to understand the physical and emotional benefits baby massage can bring.” Kirsten Oates
  1. 2.      “Infant massage proved to be really useful in helping to calm down our very active and energetic baby. The course gave practical and useful techniques that make massage accessible for all mums and babies.” Sarah Young

Profile: Donna Watts

Donna runs our Infant and Baby Massage courses as well as our mother and baby groups and early development sessions at Annerley, teaching some of the domestic helpers training classes as well.

Donna is a 25 year experienced mothercraft and enrolled nurse. She worked for 17 years in a maternity hospital in Australia specializing in newborn and special care treatment prior to commencing her own baby health clinics throughout Sydney from 2005. Her experience is centered around the 0 – 3 years of age infants with focus on growth and development. She has 3 adult children and enjoys outdoor activities and meeting new people.

Comments (0)

Helping Helpers: Domestic Helper’s Course

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Helping Helpers: Domestic Helper’s Course

Posted on 13 February 2012 by hulda

Give you and your helper confidence in caring for your baby plus weekly playgroups.

Cultural differences between helpers and ourselves can leave a gap in communication, a gap that Annerley tries to bridge. Donna Watts, mothercraft and registered nurse explains: “In the Philippines and Indonesia It is customary to hold and rock a baby to sleep. But recent studies and research show that it is actually more beneficial to the baby if we teach them to fall asleep on their own. We show helpers how to establish a routine and signals that indicate when it’s time for baby to go to sleep.”

Many of us simply couldn’t manage without our domestic helpers, our domestic helpers at https://www.nlzcleaninglongisland.com/ can multi-task with ease, running errands, cooking and cleaning our homes. Not all of them are prepared for the huge responsibilities that come with childcare. And when it’s your baby, you want to make sure that you can give your helper all the help and knowledge she needs to look after your precious babe.

“By teaching the domestic helper’s the latest in childcare studies, mums can feel more confident that they are leaving their baby’s at home with the best care possible,” says Watts. “It’s hands on as only in that way can we see the problems. For example, some helpers misunderstand what we mean by lie a baby on its back, placing the baby on its stomach with its back up.”

The course extensively covers all the major topics concerning baby care, including:

  • Hygiene and minor ailments,
  • How to ensure babies sleep well and learn self settling techniques
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Use of infant formula and introducing solid foods
  • Developmental milestones and appropriate play for different stages
  • Infant CPR, first aid and safety.

Course materials are provided and Annerley will also provide feedback to you and your domestic helper about their progress at the end of the course.

Price: 2650 HKD

For more info: http://www.annerley.com.hk/index.php/Product/554/Domestic-Helper-s-Course.html

Maid and Baby Playgroup:

Maid and Baby happen every Wednesday morning from 10 to 12. Maids bring babies and interact with the children in a playgroup setting. Donna Watts supervises the group discussing different topics as they come up. Donna gives maids hands on instructions on how to deal with each baby. It is a great opportunity for a casual evaluation and our observations of how baby and helper interact mean we can raise any ‘red flag’ areas that parents can look out for at home. This program’s success has been written about and posted on sites like https://www.maidcomplete.com/house-cleaning-dallas.php with great reviews and comments. Anyone interested should give it a glance.

  • It’s open to all maids and babies under the age one 1 year old.
  • There’s no need to register, just drop in!
  • We also offer coffee, tea and other light refreshments.

Profile: Donna Watts

Donna runs our Infant and Baby Massage courses as well as our mother and baby groups and early development sessions at Annerley, teaching some of the domestic helpers training classes as well.

Donna is a 25 year experienced mothercraft and enrolled nurse. She worked for 17 years in a maternity hospital in Australia specializing in newborn and special care treatment prior to commencing her own baby health clinics throughout Sydney from 2005. Her experience is centred around the 0 – 3 years of age infants with focus on growth and development. She has 3 adult children and enjoys outdoor activities and meeting new people.

Comments (0)

A very simple game idea for a 7 – 12 months old

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A very simple game idea for a 7 – 12 months old

Posted on 03 February 2012 by Annerley

…all you need is space and a small ball…

…helps with balance, co-ordination, creativity, autonomy… and so much more…

Give it a try.  And stay away.  Let the little one discover this on his/her own.

Comments (0)

Seasonal greetings to all of our Annerley families

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Seasonal greetings to all of our Annerley families

Posted on 31 January 2012 by Annerley

This time of year reminds us even more than usual how important having a family is.  Recently we have had 2 new additions in our own team, – congratulations Sarah and Eugenie!  And Tamara is waiting to have her little one but expects it any day now.

We at Annerley wish you all a lovely family time and happy holidays.  We look forward to see you after Christmas.

Hulda, Kristrun, Tamara, Sarah, Eugenie, Donna, Mandy, Ines, Fiona and Kathryn.

Comments (0)

…some common baby q&a

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

…some common baby q&a

Posted on 20 December 2011 by Annerley

Is it true that newborn babies only see black and white, and no colors?

To a certain extend this is correct.  The eyes of newborn babies are not fully developed and for a while after they are born they can not fully see colors.  They also cannot focus far away so only things around 10 – 30 cm away from their eyes are clearly visible.

My baby has got a bit of hair and it is growing fast, but there are some bold areas on the back of his head.  Is this normal?

Yes, and try not to worry about this.  This happens mainly because babies lie on their backs most of the time and the friction between the head and the surface underneath usually causes some of the hair to fall off.  Because of increased risk of cot-death when babies sleep on their front, sleeping on the back is the preferred position so most parents see bold spots on their babies’ heads after a while.  The good thing is that after the hair grows a bit thicker, this bold spot disappears and you never see any signs it was there in the first place.

When is the right time to give solid foods to babies?

The need for solid food differs quite between babies.  They also tolerate new types of food in a different way, so therefore it is important not to start too early and start really slowly.  We recommend parents to take the baby to a baby clinic and get advice from midwives or doctors on what is suitable for each child.  General guidelines from the WHO in 2005 are to wait until the baby is 6 months old and ideally to feed only breast milk until then.

How often do we have to change nappies?

As a rule of thumb, it is good to change nappies every time you feed the baby, ideally in the end of the feed since most babies will urinate/pass stools during the fees or right after.   If your child develops nappy rash, you must change more frequently than this and try and ensure some time every day without the nappy to dry the area.  You do not have to change the nappy every time the baby does a little pee unless the baby seems really sensitive to this.

Is it good or bad to warm up milk in the microwave?

BAD!!  Microwave ovens are designed in the way that temperature of fluids that have been heated can be extremely uneven.  Then when you touch the milk on the outside of the bottle it might seem the right temperature, but inside it might be a lot warmer, causing serious damage to the baby’s mouth and stomach.  Another reason is also that some of the ingredients of the Breast milk can be damaged with microwaves.

If you wish to warm up milk, we suggest to put hot water (30 – 40 degrees) in a small bowl and then to put the bottle in there for a few minutes.  The milk will warm up quickly without any risk to the baby.  Make sure to test the milk before feeding it, by putting a drop on the inside of your arm/wrist.  It should not feel hot.

Colic – what to do?

Babies often get the occasional colicky period, without developing“every day” colic.  Best way to deal with it is to try different advice and see what seems to suit your child.  You might want to try and have the baby lie flat on the stomach on your forearm and walk around like this.  Also you can make chamomile tea and cool it down until around room temperature, and then give around 2 teaspoons.  This often soothes the stomach and lasts for a few hours.  If the baby does not seem to be calmed in any way, call a midwife or a doctor to get advice.  Another treatment that has proven both very popular and useful is to have osteopathic treatment.  At Annerley, Ines De Beer is our in-house osteopath.

When can I give my child normal cow’s milk?

In the first year, if the baby is not given the breast milk, formula powder is the second best option.  When the child has been given food from all food groups and has gotten used to those, he/she can have cows milk.  This is usually around 12 months of age.  We recommend delaying giving other types of dairy, such as cheese and yogurt until 9 – 11 months, or at least give them sparingly.

How can I prevent nappy rash?

  • Most babies get nappy rash sometime in their early months.  Here are some tips about how to prevent it:
  • Clean the bottom carefully with only cotton wool and water and dry well with a cloth.
  • Leave the baby with no diaper on for a while every day, or even every time when you change a nappy.
  • Change nappies as soon as they get dirty.

If none of this works, a nappy rash cream might be helpful, especially the ones with zinc oxide in.

Comments (0)

Massage with mother

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Massage with mother

Posted on 16 December 2011 by hulda

The endless benefits for you and your baby with infant massage.

 

Infant massage is by no means a new fad, it has been a part of a mother and infants daily routine for centuries right across cultures around the world, and we can understand why.

That first touch between mother and child is one of the most magical moments a mother will experience, it is the most significant foundation upon which you create that bond with your child.

“To touch is to love,” enlightens Donna Watt. With 25 years of experience in early childhood development and a certified mothercraft nurse who teaches an infant massage course at Annerley in Hong Kong. As well as mother of two herself, who better to take advice from?

Donna has seen the struggle of dealing with the after effects of a cesarean or the trauma of giving birth to a premature baby can have on a mothers confidence and in her abilities in motherhood. It is a painful obstacle to overcome on top of the everyday worries and fears motherhood brings. But there is hope and Donna believes its Infant Massage that can bring about the most radical and positive changes to a mother’s outlook and confidence.

A massage is an enjoyable experience you won’t hear anyone turning down and it is no different a fact for our babies. Though what makes an infant massage so special is the fact that it is not just something done to our baby but done with our baby. It can improve that crucial bond and relationship with your infant like no other methods out there. Infant massage opens up the doors of communication between mother and child. The techniques you learn are guaranteed to teach you how to engage and relax your child, facilitating your already budding parenting skills.

Infant Massages won’t just benefit your baby, but you yourself as well. In terms of psychosocial advantages for your baby, massages will amplify your child’s sense of love and trust, promoting attachments to you as a parent. And in return you will improve your ability to read your baby’s cues and encourage synchrony connecting you together, which is what we all want with our infants.

The major physical benefits everyone is raving about is the fact that infant massage has been proven to encourage:

  • Relaxation in our babies (which inevitably mean a more relaxed mummy!)
  • Improvements to the babies’ skin with the encouragement of blood circulation through the body.
  • Digestive benefits, babies who receive massages prove to suffer less from colic and constipation.
  • Respiratory developments minimize coughs, colds, and both ear and nasal infections.

Countless studies have reiterated these listed advantages of infant massage. Studied effects on premature babies show that the effects of stroking and massaging premature newborns for as little as 15minutes, three times a day over a period of just ten days saw a massive 47% weight gain than the average premature baby that wasn’t massaged. (T. Field & F. Scafidi)

Annerley provides an excellent Infant Massage course consisting of four, 1.5hour sessions which will teach you first hand the benefits of baby massage, concentrating on specific strokes used for different part of your baby’s body. It will give you the confidence and techniques you can take home with you to improve not just your infant’s development and body system but more importantly the strengthening of your bond with your precious baby.

 

Comments (0)

Antenatal preparation in Hong Kong

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Antenatal preparation in Hong Kong

Posted on 16 November 2011 by Annerley

“I am 7 weeks pregnant and I have just moved to Hong Kong.  How does the system work; where do I register and where is it best to give birth?“  Calls or emails of this sort are not uncommon in our practice and every time I wish there was a concrete answers for all the parents in this situation.  There is no such answer though, and each couple finds different reasons for doing different things to prepare for the arrival of their child.

Just pregnant – public and private maternity services

In Hong Kong, every person with an ID card has the right to use the government hospital maternity services and the cost will be minimal.  The maternal health clinics generally give really good service, although sometimes English is not perfect and communication aims more for being efficient and medical than “consumer friendly”. However, in terms of staff, equipment, safety and resources, clinics and hospitals are perfectly up to standards and Hong Kong is one has one of the lowest morbidity and mortality rates in the world.

When people have insurance cover or simply chose to pay for private maternity services, there is a variety of hospitals to choose from and most of them offer all basic care, emergency cover for operation theatre and paediatric backup.  Choosing this, you will often have more choices in terms of the birth itself; less policies to worry about and can decide more who is with you during the labour.  You will also both be pampered more and given more privacy than public hospitals can offer.  I found the entire procedure very simple as I had Health Insurance In Maryland. I also find that after the birth, women that have stayed in some of the private hospitals will have more success with breastfeeding, mostly because the staff seems to have more time to help with initial challenges.

Private hospitals are usually also well equipped but it is important to know that they not be able to take care of seriously ill newborn and premature babies before week 34 of pregnancy are taken to a public hospital for intensive care.

Maternity checkups

In the beginning, you are advised to see a midwife or doctor around every 4 weeks for routine checkups and screening of risks/abnormalities.  Luckily most women come away from those without complications but depending on circumstances, some women would be recommended or offered the following screening tests and scans:

  • 6 – 10 weeks:  Early ultrasound scan to confirm pregnancy and possible due date.
  • 11 – 14 weeks:  Nuchal Translucency Scan.  This is a risk assessment to screen for Downs syndrome.  The test is often combined with a blood test to give more accuracy and if the result indicates a high risk, you might be offered amniocentesis, which then would be done around week 15-18.
  • 18 – 20 weeks:  Ultrasound to confirm due date and to check with accuracy for any physical abnormalities with the baby.  Also to check the lying of the placenta and to confirm singleton/twin pregnancy.
  • 24 – 28 weeks:  Glucose tolerance test to exclude diabetes during pregnancy.  Usually good to check iron levels at the same time (Hb and/or Ferritin).
  • 34 – 36 weeks:  A scan to confirm that baby is growing and developing well.

When the pregnancy progresses, you will see the doctor/midwife more frequently, or around every 2 – 3 weeks.  The visits are routine health checkups for you and the baby, but you can try and use the time to get to know your caregiver and introduce to her/him the ideas you might have about the birth itself.  That way you will slowly find a way to try to fulfil the wishes you have and minimize fears that sometimes arise when communication is not good.

Preparing for the birth 

When it comes to preparing for the actual birth, in some ways it can be best to not have any set ideas about how you want it to be, to avoid a complete shock or disappointment if it does not turn out the way you had planned it to.  There is, however, a great difference between preparing and detailed planning.

The birth is a journey

It is in a way similar to prepare for a marathon hike that you don’t know how long is, or where it is taking place.  You gather general information, try and think about different scenarios and how you think you would respond to those.  Other than that, the preparation is mostly about staying fit, feeling psychologically well, eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and making sure you get plenty of rest.  This sounds familiar, since, this is what all pregnant women are advised to do anyway.

Sometimes, when planning for the birth, people tend to think that all of a sudden some new powers start to work on the body to change the way it functions, and therefore they need to learn a totally new technique to deal with this.  In my experience as a midwife, this is not the case; there are surely physical challenges that are new, but mostly you rely on already established methods that you just don’t know that you have!

What do I need to know?

To help yourself to feel more in control when you are in labour, it is useful to gather some information about the process and what to expect from the hospital staff.  Reading, talking to friends and family and discussing with your doctor or midwife is all a part of this.  If you want to go one step further, antenatal classes might be an option.  In Hong Kong, the Queen Mary hospital offers English speaking classes for parents that plan to give birth there, as well as a tour of the labour ward.  Some private hospitals also offer this, and in most cases you will find them to be specially aimed for presenting each hospitals ideology and protocols, often involving the staff of the actual labour ward – which is useful.

When deciding on preparation classes you might want to ask yourself:

1.     What do you want from the classes?

2.     Who is teaching them and what background do they have?

3.     Do they follow any special philosophy?

4.     Are they mainly giving practical information or is there any training also involved?

5.     How many couples will there be in the classes?

6.     Is there a chance for questions and discussions?

Private midwives, such as here at Annerley offer childbirth preparation classes that usually aim for more independent view, meaning that parents are encouraged to rather follow their own intuition than the hospital protocols.  This sometimes can be a challenge for parents if the staff at the hospital does not have the same ideas about what are reasonable demands and what is too independent.  Luckily though, most of us are being realistic and we help parents to find a way that suits everyone without any dilemmas.  With parents being more demanding, there have been a lot of changes towards more modern attitude in the labour room, including the option of mothers using different positions when giving birth, use of birth ball and less routine use of episiotomy and medical pain relief.

Minimizing interventions

Most antenatal classes have one of their aims to minimize the chances of negative birth experience caused by unexpected events.  A part of this is to encourage the parents to be actively involved in the process of making decisions, and being informed.  To decrease chances of medical interventions, it is also important to find a balance between physical activity and relaxation, and be upright and mobile to speed up the process of contractions.

Sometimes, however, it is necessary to step in the process and use medical interventions, such as emergency C-section, vacuum extraction or forceps.  For parents that are well prepared, this is usually not a desired outcome but it should not have to be too shocking, given that communication channels are kept open and people feel informed at all stages in the process.  This is why it is important in the preparation of the birth to not have a rigid plan, but rather ideas that then get developed when you actually feel what it is like to be in the process.

You just have to go with the flow

When I started doing antenatal classes, I soon found that parents often walked away with too unrealistic image of what might happen during the labour, so I added a private lesson into the antenatal package.  This, I found, helped greatly to clear out misunderstandings or dilemmas that often rise in group lessons and also gave the parents a chance to write down their ideas of the birth with some private guidance.  I find that most midwives and doctors will give you the chance of something similar if you ask for it, and actually value your involvement when it not too unrealistic.  In the end of the day, you just have to go with the flow, trust your instincts and make sure you at all times make your wishes clear to the ones around that are trying to help.

Hulda Thorey 2011

Comments (0)

Acupuncture for pregnant women and new mothers

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Acupuncture for pregnant women and new mothers

Posted on 06 November 2011 by Annerley

Dear all. I am writing these words from Iceland, where I am at the moment, studying acupuncture for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. This has been a very interesting education for me, which started earlier this year and is undoubtedly going to take some time to get advanced in.

So far I have treated quite a number of women and luckily I can say that the feedback has been fantastic – it seems like acupuncture will be a nice addition to other treatments that I have been able to provide.

It is interesting to have to travel around the world, back to the snowy Iceland to study this ancient form of therapy that we all know comes from right where we are in Hong Kong and China – but the reason is that in Iceland but rather, in Scandinavia, this is now a very well established and recognized form of treating women during the pregnancy, birth and postpartum, so much so that it is now offered in most hospitals here before offering any more intense interventions of more western medicine type.

I am lucky that my colleagues here in Iceland, including my aunt who is in charge of the biggest maternity unit in the teaching hospital here, have offered a very good insight into how the acupuncture is used and what has been particularly helpful and giving good results.

Amongst those are treatments for inducing labour, relaxing women, turning breech babies and pain relief during labour. Additionally, back, hip and joint pains, oedema and nausea have very successfully been treated with acupuncture here. Read more here to learn other ways to deal with joint pain.

One might ask why not just go to the acupuncturist for all of this and true, I would very much suggest that women do so, – but it is fantastic for me to be able to also offer this along with other things that I work on and not have to send the women off elsewhere, particularly when it is often in the middle of the night or at some weird hours where acupuncturists are not working.

More to come later, – I trust that my Annerley team members are all working hard in the clinic while I am here and that you are all having a great time in this fantastic season where crispy days with sun and less humidity give you a pleasant feel and positive spirit.

Best,
Hulda midwife-in-constant-training

Comments (0)