I had a tough month of March. It was a true test to my work as a doula, but at the same time it was also a gift. Alhamdulillah I am now fully recovered.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I attended a very useful workshop conducted by Gail Tully of Spininngbabies.com fame at Liverpool Women’s Hospital. In our doula community, we rely heavily on her website to help us in our work. Her website helps pregnant mothers deal with a misaligned/disproportioned reproductive system that may be causing pain or discomfort during pregnancy and birth. Pregnancy shouldn’t be uncomfortable and shouldn’t cause pain, numbness or soreness. If it does, then there is a good reason why the body is shouting for help. You will need to do something about it… and quickly too, or else it might have a possible unwanted outcome on how your labour works out later. Ideally, a good labour would mean gradual progress from less intense to more intense in a systematic manner. However, too many times do we hear of labours that stop halfway, or that the intensity doesn’t progress, etc. Her works also include useful positioning/exercises to help mothers have an easier and more comfortable labour/birth with help on how to get stalled labours going or how to help turn babies in a bad position back to a good one (which is what is causing labours to stall or be painful in the first place).
My main take away from this workshop is that I must understand and accept that mothers in the future will face a lot more challenges in their pregnancy and labour, and it is not their fault. Why is this so? It is due to the way we live our lives now. You’ve all probably heard of the saying “orang dulu-dulu senang je nak beranak” (“our ancestors birthed without problems”), and this is true, but it doesn’t mean that just because they had it easy, we would too. Now, we don’t work on our hands and knees, we seldom sit on the floor anymore, we slouch a lot, we sit in a motor vehicle to get us around, etc. There are so many other examples of how modern technology reduces our mobility and the need to stay upright and balanced (the 3 main recipes for an easier pregnancy and birth). All these habits may displace the optimal foetal positioning that would be ideal for a comfortable pregnancy & birth. Human beings are meant to be upright, mobile and balanced. Not sitting down on an office chair all day, only to go home sitting slouchily on bus or car seat. So what do we need to do? We need to do extra help for ourselves… from the start.. or even before we get pregnant! Thankfully, spinningbabies.com has all sorts of information that will suit everyone.
So the 3 principles of spinningbabies.com are:
What do we balance? Not only the joints of the pelvis, but also the muscles, fascia and ligaments of the entire reproductive system. If your body is balanced, you should not feel pain/sore/numbness in one side. Make your daily actions (eg: sitting, walking, using computer, sleeping, washing etc) as balanced as possible. If you tend to use more of your right muscles for instance, now is the time to work those left muscles too.
Imagine an egg balanced on two elastic bands as in this picture. That egg is your uterus and the two elastic bands are your uterine muscles. Gail says in her website: “Sometimes the uterine ligaments are not equal on each side of the body. If one side has shortened ligaments the entire lower uterine segment can have a twist in it. This effect is not uncommon among women who twist to do their work (massage therapists, nurses, chiropractors, etc.) or who hold a child on one hip frequently. A twist in the cervical ligaments can put the lower uterine segment into a slight twist which reduces the room for the baby to have a good head-down position. The baby may remain breech, posterior, or come down asynclitic.”
Activities to help increase balance: Rebozo technique and the Forward-leaning inversion
When we have balance, having gravity and movement will now greatly help in foetal positioning or for labour progress. Gail mentions that exercises like yoga, walking, swimming, stretches, dancing, pelvic tilts will only work better after doing the balancing activities mentioned above.
If you are a pregnant mum or hoping to get pregnant in the future, I really urge you to have a look at the superb website spinningbabies.com. It will give you an insight on how babies spin/rotate and the mechanisms that take place in doing so. MasyaAllah how grand is Allah’s design!
Gail Tully also provides useful tips on how to help a breech baby turn head down, how to engage baby in labour, and lots more! It is so amazing what she has done all these years to help mothers have an easier pregnancy and birth. Alhamdulillah I am so blessed to have met her!
Gail Tully & Doula Hanani
If you have any questions to ask me about this workshop, you can send me a message over at my Yaqyn Birth page. 🙂