Am I walking too much?

“If I walk too much, will I give birth to a premature baby?”
“Am I having backaches and pelvic pain because I walked too much?”

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Walking with the family is a great way to de-stress

Someone told me she was worried about giving birth prematurely if she walked too much. I asked if she has had issues in her pregnancy so far, and she said no. Then I said, in that case walking is good for you and baby, so please walk more!

These questions are valid concerns and I’m glad these mums-to-be asked me for clarification rather than prescribing themselves more bed rest. Bed rest means less physical activity and less physical activity means more potential problems during labour. So less time on the bed/sofa and more time on your feet is one tip to help ease your labour.

Why is walking good for you? Here are 5 reasons:

  1. More opportunities of being outdoors with fresh air and vitamin D from the sun. Walking produces endorphins, or good feelings from your happy hormones.
  2. Walking is one of the best cardiovascular exercises during pregnancy. It is gentle and does not require equipment other than a good pair of shoes (no heels please!). It keeps your heart pumping and lifts your mood at the same time.
  3. You make your muscles, especially the psoas and the piriformis, work and condition them for labour.
  4. Being upright (gravity) helps get baby deeper down into the birth canal.
  5. It’s free!

So do I have to worry about a premature birth?

Unless you have other underlying medical issues, there is nothing to worry about, InshaAllah! You see, many factors come into play before labour can start. Firstly, baby must be in a good position, and is low or close enough to the cervix. Secondly, baby himself must be ready, and their lungs will secrete a protein to signal onset of labour. Thirdly, the cervix must be effaced (soft and thin) and dilated (open) to allow baby to pass through the birth canal. Fourthly (but not lastly), mum herself has to be in a ready state of mind. So don’t worry about giving birth too soon before baby or mum is ready, walk lots to have a smoother labour when it eventually starts at its own time.

But I feel that walking too much will cause me to have backaches…how?

Walking won’t cause you to have backaches, in fact mobility actually helps to alleviate aches and pains. If you’re feeling like walking causes you to have more pain, check:

  • if footwear is causing the problem (please invest in good footwear!)
  • if posture is good (chest out, belly out, shoulders not hunching and tuck your tailbone in)
  • are you drinking enough? Dehydration could be a major cause for muscle aches
  • do you have symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)? (If yes, then there are strategies to help give relief)

Many degrees of walking

Of course, what kind of walking is best? Window shopping constitutes walking too, but is that helpful for labour? (Ans: Yes, but not much). The most helpful kinds of walks are those that encourage the pelvis to really move and open. Power walking is one example. Walking uphill or on a terrain is also good. And how much walking should be done?  Ideally you should walk as much as you sit. So if you spend 8 hours sitting in the office chair, it is good if you can also cover 8 hours of walking, though this sounds unlikely achievable.  But that is a rough measure of how much walking should be incorporated daily.

At the end of the day, you should be happy with the things that you hope to do. Start with a positive and open mind. Never do things feeling resentful which will end with you in tears and stress. Pregnancy should be a happy and worry-free period! Take a break and tune in to your body if you ever start feeling out of touch. Listen to what your body needs.

May you always be in Allah’s care!

-Hanani

Sharing by Ustazah Fatimah Syarha

In the midst of feeling internally turbulent, partly because of a certain viral birth/death-related Facebook post, Allah sent me a gentle nudge to remind me of my duties as a gentle birth advocate. A dear sis Nor Ida, a former Yaqyn Birther, tagged me in a Malaysian Ustazah’s video post sharing spiritual tips on her gentle birth experience, and said that she was reminded of the tips I shared 4 years ago. 4 years ago! MashaAllah. :’)

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Facebook screenshot

What are the tips? Here are the tips shared by Ustazah Fatimah Syarha in her video which I have transcribed in full below [in MALAY]:

Assalamualaikum wr wb

Salam sebarkan bahagia buat semua.
Semoga semua hari ini bahagia dan bersyukur dengan nikmat Allah swt.

Alhamdulillah hari ini sepatutnya saya membuat fb live bersama kalian semua untuk pelancaran buku Solitude, tapi Allah izin baby nak keluar awal. Alhamdulillah syukur.

Tak sangka ramai yang tanya kepada saya tip nak lahirkan anak dengan mudah.
Tak koyak, tak jahit, tak gunting, tak ambik apa-apa alat penahan sakit.

Ya Allah, saya bukanlah insan terbaik untuk share tips dan amalan untuk mudah bersalin tapi apa yang mampu saya kongsikan sikit untuk manfaat semua muslimah di luar sana. InshaAllah saya akan kongsikan beberapa tip yang saya petik daripada buku Solitude dan memang buku ini menjadi teman baik saya sepanjang proses kelahiran ini.

Semua yang saya sayangi,
pertama kita nak jelas bahawa kita ada Allah dalam hidup jadi kita nak sangka baik dgn Allah swt dulu. Dalam buku solitude saya ada selitkan satu hadith yang sangat membakar semangat saya untuk bersangka baik dgn Allah swt.

Nabi saw ada menyebut firman Allah dalam satu hadis Qursi riwayat Tirmizi, sahih di sisi Tirmizi. Juga riwayat Ibnu Majah dan sahih di sisi Ibnu Majah. Allah swt berfirman:

Ana ‘inda zhanni ‘ abdi bi (Aku berada dalam sangkaan hambaku terhadapku)

Jadi sebelum bersalin, kita nak sangka yang Allah akan tolong, Allah dekat, Allah bersama. Kena banyak ingat Allah. Allahlah kekuatan sebenar-benar kekuatan . Tak sangka yang Allah akan mampukan saya bersalin dengan senyuman, dengan ceria, boleh sapa doctor, boleh sapa org2 yg ada disekeliling itu buat mereka bahagia. Kesian mereka, stress kan nak buat kerja-kerja sebegini. Jadi kita yang berniat memberi kebahagiaan kepada mereka walaupun kita tengah sakit . Niat itu main peranan untuk menjaga emosi dan ketenangan diri sepanjang proses nak lahirkan anak.

Allah janji: Wa ana ma’ahu hiina yazkuruni. Fain zakarani fi nafsihi , zakartuhu fi nafsi

(Jika dia menyebutKu dalam dirinya, Aku pun akan menyebutnya dalam diriKu . Jika dia menyebutKu di suatu tempat , maka Aku akan menyebutnya di dalam tempat yg lebih baik darinya)

Jadi syarat kita nak dpt kekuatan daripada hadith ini, ada 9 syarat. Ah, 9 syarat, 9 syarat… apa dia?

Pertama syaratnya: Yakin
Kedua: Yakin
Ketiga : Sangat yakin
Keempat: Kena tetapkan keyakinan
Kelima: Bertambah yakin
Keenam: Yakin dan terus yakin
Ketujuh: Yakin yakin yakin
Kelapan: Tetap yakin
dan kesembilan: Keyakinan itu perlu dibuktikan dgn tindakan

…dan Ya Allah Ra Rabbi, syukur sangat sebab dalam buku ini bukan satu hadith ni saja bagi kekuatan, banyak lagi ayat-ayat al-Quran yang lain hadith2 sahih yang lain yang bila kita baca tu kita rasa this is the best motivation yg kita perlukan dalam hidup bersama keyakinan bersama jiwa yg ada Allah. InshaAllah hidup kita kuat walaupun dalam hidup ini kita terpaksa lalui banyak detik-detik kesakitan, kesakitan ujian, kesakitan fizikal dan sebagainya, tapi dengan ada yang Maha Kuat, kesakitan itu boleh diatasi dgn ketenangan. Benar sungguh, benar sungguh janji Allah dalam Al-Quran. Orang yang banyak ingat Allah itu hatinya tenang dan dengan ketenangan itu adalah kekuatan untuk kita dapat kebaikan-kebaikan yg besar dalam kehidupan. Ini tip paling penting untuk kita pegang sebagai satu keyakinan dalam hidup kita.

InshaAllah kalian semua mampu, mampu buat lebih baik daripada saya . Kita nak sama-sama doa mendoakan, kuat menguatkan saling lengkapkan, saling memotivasikan untuk hidup dgn penuh keyakinan bahawa hanya hidup bersama Allah hidup akan bahagia.

Salam sayang, salam sebarkan bahagia daripada saya Fatimah Syarha sekeluarga. Terima kasih atas doa-doa semua. Sayang semuanya kerana Allah. Assalamualaikum waramatullah.

In a gist, she shares about how our basis in life starts with INTENTION (niat) and then followed by CERTAINTY, CERTAINTY, CERTAINTY (Yakin, Yakin, Yakin) that Allah is always with us. When our life is guided by such principles, peace will follow. Alhamdulillah, the name of my birth company YAQYN is based along these same principles, and that whatever we do, we must be certain that Allah is with us, Allah will help and guide us, and whatever outcome Allah chooses for us in the end, we must be certain that it is the best for us. This is husnuz zhon (good assumption), and we must always make good assumption with Allah, for He Knows Best.

Wallahu a’lam (He Knows Best).

That said, I’m just so happy I am being remembered for my good tips even if it has been many years ago, and I pray that it will always be so, InshaAllah! May Allah continue to guide us in everything that we do. Yakin! 😀
-Hanani

How to make a hot sock

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Did you know that using heat therapy is one of the most effective natural pain relief available?

One of the best ways to cope during active labour is to use heat therapy. I usually recommend my clients to have a hot shower at this stage and see if they would feel comfortable enough in the shower to last through a few intense contractions.

Another great tip would be the simple hot sock. When surges intensify, women usually speak of pain throughout the hips and buttocks area. Applying the hot sock would help give some relief.

How to make a hot sock?

  1. Take one piece of sock. You can use a brand new piece of sock, or an old one. 100% cotton or wool sock would be best as it heats up evenly. When using socks with nylon or other synthetic fibres, take great care after heating as it might burn you.
  2. Scoop in 3-5 cups of rice into the sock, depending on how soft you want it to be. I usually prefer a taut sock because the sock can stretch. Make sure to leave enough sock space at the top (to tie a knot).
  3. Tie a knot at the top to seal the sock.

Congratulations! You have made a hot rice sock.

How to use it?

Microwave it for 30-60 secs (depending on heat of microwave). The idea is to get a reasonably warm sock that can last at least 20-30mins of usage.

If it is not hot, simply microwave it for a longer duration. If it is too hot, you can either wait for it to cool, or wrap a towel around it before applying on skin.

Tips:

  1. Did you know that you can request the EmmaCare midwives in NUH to heat up your hot socks? They have a microwave available somewhere in the labour ward.
  2. In between contractions, daddies can use the hot sock over their aching shoulders!
  3. Kids love it too. My daughter enjoys playing with the sock (unheated) like a squishy stress ball. If your children are old enough, they can use the hot sock to get involved with your labour and help give you some relief. It is nice when children understand that labour is not a scary episode. When they learn to use simple tools for pain relief, they will grow up to be more confident of labour and birth, InshaAllah!

Have fun with your hot sock! Just do be extra careful when handling it fresh from the microwave~

-Hanani