Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the beginning of an amazing life changing journey. Physically your body is supporting two, so your health and vitality are paramount. Good health for your baby starts in the womb. When your body is healthy and well balanced it supports optimum functioning for you and your growing baby. Tiredness can be caused by stress, insufficient rest and relaxation, poor nutrition, or suppressed emotions. We can help you feel better throughout your pregnancy with:-

  • Prenatal yoga
  • Pregnancy massage
  • Nutritional support
  • Herbal medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Relaxation and meditation skills
  • Hypnotherapy and counselling

Nutrition

Women naturally have an increased absorption of nutrients during pregnancy. Maternal nutrition is paramount for both the development of the baby and the prevention of problems and deficiencies in the mother.
Recent research has shown that a deficiency in any of the following nutrients; folate (folic acid), essential fatty acids, iron and iodine, may have detrimental effects on a developing foetus. Other minerals may also be required in higher amounts during pregnancy.

When a well-balanced diet and nutritional imbalances have been corrected before becoming pregnant, only few changes will need to be made to meet the nutritional needs of pregnancy.

Optimum nutrition is important and may be useful in the prevention of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, miscarriage, low thyroid function and birth defects.

Herbal Medicine

There are many herbs that a herbalist or naturopath would never prescribe during pregnancy, however, there are other herbs that can safely be prescribed either in low doses or for a short time in certain instances.

A few herbal remedies can be used safely in the first trimester of pregnancy. These can be taken as teas to help tone and strengthen the uterus and cervix throughout the pregnancy for an easy delivery. Herbal remedies taken later in the pregnancy can provide effective general support for symptoms such as nausea, constipation, threatened miscarriage, infections, fluid retention, gestational diabetes, anxiety and insomnia.

Many Herbalists prescribe a partus preparaetor tonic to be taken at 34 weeks until after delivery for preparing the uterus, aiding labour and rapid recovery for the new mum.

Always consult an Herbalist or Naturopath before taking herbs at any stage of pregnancy.
Linda Krick is a Nutritional Herbalist working at the Lotus Centre. Click here to view Linda's profile.

Acupuncture

Information on Acupuncture in pregnancy coming soon..

Yoga

Yoga Asana

Prenatal Yoga

At the Lotus Centre Saturdays - 10.30am, Tuesdays 7.00pm

For private & group Yoga classes on Sydney's Northern Beaches
call Heather on 02 8007 6380 or 0405 821 880

Private classes & groups $75 / hour (plus $5 per additional person)

Yoga is perfect for pregnancy and preparing for childbirth, and to aid recovery afterwards. Prenatal yoga allows you to take time out for yourself, to focus on your baby, your health and well-being. It assists in returning your body back to its previous shape, and helps you cope mentally with the strain of being a new mum. You will help to prepare for birth by strengthening the body, opening the pelvis, developing ease of movement. You will learn breathing techniques, how to focus the mind and go within, to discover your inner power and adapt to changes in body and mind.

Yoga will empower you to flow with the changes of pregnancy and progress with ease towards the birth process. Giving you confidence and essential preparation for birthing and motherhood. Afterwards, yoga helps keep you fit, both physically and mentally. Assisting with sleep, stress management, providing total well being.

Please use caution when attempting these yoga postures. Ensure you have your doctors permission before you practice the exercises below.

Pelvic Tilts (for abdominal muscles):
The pelvic tilt can be performed while lying on your back (if under 20 weeks), or standing against the wall (if over 20 weeks). Ensure your back is against the floor or wall with knees bent, feet resting on the floor. Place your hand in the small of your back, to find a space between your back and the floor or wall. Inhale and try to flatten the lower part of the spine against the floor, or wall. The buttocks should be relaxed in order to isolate the abdominal's. Exhale to release back to neutral spine.

Yoga pose on hands & knees

Cat pose (for spinal flexibility):
Start on hands and knees with a neutral spine. As you breathe in tilt the tail bone towards the ceiling and open the front of your chest as you look up. On the exhale reverse this curve. Push the hands into the floor to arch your back upwards, tucking tailbone under. Keep moving the whole spine a fully as possible in both directions in time with your breath.

Hamstring stretches:
Stay on hands and knees. Inhale to extend your leg backwards so the toes touch the floor. Gently press your heel towards the ground and hold the pose for a count of ten. Breath easily throughout the stretch.

Hip circles (for pelvis and lower back):
Stay on hands and knees, or stand up to perform pelvic rotations. Circle your pelvis in all directions.

Arm and Leg Raises (for back muscles and buttock):
Continue on your hands and knees with a straight spine. Lift your right arm forwards and relax the shoulders. Lift the leg backwards to form a straight line with your spine. Pause in this position and breath. Ensure your pelvis is tucked under to stabilise the spine. Slowly release and lower your arm and leg. Alternate lifting using the opposite arm and leg. If you have difficulty keeping your balance in this position, modify the exercise by performing only the leg and arm raises separately.

Kegels (for pelvic floor muscles):
To exercise the pelvic floor muscles, try to imagine you are stopping yourself from urinating mid flow. Pulling the muscles of the vaginal area upwards and inwards. You should not feel your buttocks, or thighs, tightening or moving as you do this. Try squeezing and releasing quick for a count of ten. Then try squeezing in and holding as you breath in and out for a count of ten.

Yoga pose on hands & knees

Frog pose (for back and hip stretch):
Start on your hands and knees, with your knees wide apart and toes touching. Place your hands forward just a little in front of your head. Place a firm pillow under your buttocks to give support if needed. Sit back on your legs, buttocks to heels and stretch your arms forward to feel a stretch along the spine. Breathe and hold for a count of ten or more throughout the stretch.

Wall Squats I (for abdominal muscles, buttock muscles and thigh muscles):
Stand with your head, shoulders, and back against a wall with your feet about 1 to 2 feet away from the wall. Press your lower back into the wall and squat as if you were going to sit down, with the knees approaching a 90-degree angle. Come back up slowly, keeping your back and buttocks in contact with the wall.

Wall Squats II (for pelvic stability):
Stand against the wall as for previous pose. Take a firm pillow or block between your knees and squeeze. Do not hold your breath or clench your teeth. Hold for a count of ten.

Seated twists (for lower back):
Sit on a chair sideways. Inhale as you lengthen your spine. Exhale and turn to the side taking hold of the back of the chair. Breathe and hold for a count of ten. Repeat on other side.

Massage

What is prenatal massage?

Prenatal Massage is specially designed to support and nurture pregnant women and their changing bodies. Prenatal Massage will ease aches and pains, relax muscles, improve circulation, reduce swelling in hands and feet, and relieve fatigue.

How do you lie on the table?

Women lie on their back or front supported with pillows if during the early stages of pregnancy. When this becomes uncomfortable women can either use the belly bag lying on their stomach with the belly supported in a large cushion, or semi reclined for face up work and on their side supported by pillows for deep relaxing massage.

How can prenatal massage help me?

Pregnancy causes changes your posture and centre of gravity. This puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Pregnancy also relaxes your ligaments, so that your pelvic joints are less stable, and your pelvis may shift and forward. The extra weight you're carrying plus postural shifts often cause aching lower back, neck and shoulders. As trained prenatal massage therapist Heather knows where a pregnant woman's sore spots are likely to be. Prenatal massage treatment is also deeply relaxing and calms the body and mind. Acupressure massage can also help to induce labour when women are full term.

picture massaging Shoulders

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage include:

  • Relaxation and stress reduction
  • Improve sleep (insomnia)
  • Relief from muscle cramps, spasms, and myofascial pain, especially in the lower back, neck, hips, and legs
  • Increase in blood and lymph circulation, which can reduce swelling
  • Reduces stress on weight-bearing joints
  • Improve digestion
  • Improves outcome of labour and eases labour pain
  • Enhances the pliability of skin and underlying tissues to reduce stretch marks and scar tissue
  • Stabilize hormones and providing support for the new mother with physical and emotional strains of pregnancy