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Birth without fear: the benefits of hypnobirthing

hypnobirthing

There is a plethora of information offered to pregnant women regarding birthing a baby. Friends, family, even strangers feel the need to tell women about their birthing stories. Some of them are unpleasant stories, but many are about strength, peace, support and the hardest but most wonderful event of a woman’s life. No woman ever forgets her birth story.

One increasingly popular way of giving birth is hypnobirthing, a method that focuses on eliminating fear in the birthing process. Fear causes tension, which stops the body from performing a normal physiologic function. When a woman is overwhelmed by fear during childbirth, stress hormones increase the heart rate and force blood to the arms and legs in the “fight or flight” response. With blood concentrated in the arms and legs, less blood circulates to the uterus, causing uterine pain and hindering the natural labor process.

For those interested in hypnobirthing, Barb Krohn, RN, currently teaches a five-class series at Mercy Medical Center. These two-and-half-hour classes teach special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Parents-to-be are provided with a CD to teach them self-hypnosis and positive affirmations. Participants in the class also receive a book that outlines the theory of hypnobirthing, suggestions for comfort during labor and special circumstances, and frequently asked questions and answers.

In my years of practice as a certified nurse midwife, I have worked with women who attended hypnobirthing classes, and I have seen these women and their partners focus hard to relax and work with their bodies to birth their baby. The hypnobirthing philosophy and education offered at Mercy Medical Center has been an excellent addition for pregnant women to guide them through their unforgettable birth story.

Register online here.

How occupational therapy helps manage chronic pain

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Chronic or persistent pain as defined by the American Chronic Pain Association, can be ongoing or recurrent pain lasting beyond the usual course of acute illness or injury or more than 3 to 6 months, and which adversely affects the individual’s well being. A simpler definition for chronic or persistent pain is pain that continues when it should not. Chronic pain can interfere with a person’s ability to engage in meaningful activities each day. Pain can decrease a person’s strength, coordination, endurance and independence in addition to causing stress.

With the help of occupational therapy, people with chronic pain can learn to manage the physical and psychological effects and lead active and productive lives. Many people with chronic pain already have received treatment with medication, surgery, heat, cold, nerve stimulation and massage. Management of daily activities and lifestyle can contribute to a successful, long-term strategy to cope with chronic pain. Continue Reading »

Know your spots: recognizing measles

measles

Once a common childhood infection, the measles virus is now almost entirely preventable with a vaccine. There is now an average of about 60 cases of measles per year in the United States, and while most of those cases originate outside of the country, it’s still important to know the signs and symptoms of this illness, especially for young children or travelers.

In 2014 there were 644 cases of measles in the U.S., with the majority being imported from abroad. As of March 13, 2015, there have been 176 reported cases centered around four outbreaks, and with cases present in 17 states, the majority have been linked to a California amusement park. The majority of these cases are predominantly young, unvaccinated children, who are too young to have completed the MMR course.

Risk factors for measles include being unvaccinated, traveling internationally in areas where vaccinations are uncommon and having a vitamin A deficiency. Most common in children under five years old (the same age that the second MMR vaccine is administered), symptoms of measles appear 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus and include:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever of up to 104°F
  • Conjunctivitis (inflamed eyes)
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Koplik’s spots—tiny white and bluish spots inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek
  • Flat, red skin rashes

Continue Reading »

How to choose a pediatrician

pediatrician

Choosing a pediatrician can be overwhelming, no matter if it’s your first or fourth child. Thankfully, Affinity Health System has a whole team of experts to guide moms-to-be.

At around 20-24 weeks of your pregnancy, your doctor, midwife or a nurse educator may ask you if you’ve selected a pediatrician. This is a great time to start thinking about what you would want in a pediatrician for your new bundle of joy.

When I was at 22 weeks, I too needed to start thinking about choosing a pediatrician for my son. This is a great time to think through any preferences you may request in a pediatrician.  A connection specialist, like myself, will be able to match your family with a pediatrician. Some of the questions I will ask you include:

  • In what city do you prefer to have a pediatrician?
  • Are there certain specialties that you would request of your pediatrician?
  • Would you like to meet the pediatrician prior to your first appointment?

Continue Reading »

10 non-meat foods that are protein-rich

Whether you eat meat or not, protein is a vital part of our diets. Below are just a few of the foods that will help you reach your protein intake for the day.

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Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.