PREGNANCY & MAYA ABDOMINAL THERAPY

For nearly a decade, I worked as a birth doula.  I accompanied women on their journeys during this profound rite of passage as a witness, a guide, a companion. After many years of birth work, I longed to work with women earlier, to help them become healthier going into the birth, and more connected with their babies.  To set the stage for their mind, body and spirit to be ready to open into birth, and into motherhood.

This quest led me to Maya Abdominal Therapy to support women during conception, pregnancy and birth.  I am delighted to offer this bodywork to women in the Seattle Area.  I teach each woman I work with how to take care of her growing belly, how to massage it and help it expand as her baby grows.  This bodywork not only increases comfort, it helps encourage the baby to stay in an anterior head-down position, a position that is easiest for both mom and baby during birth.  I teach her partner how to support her as she goes through the great transformation of pregnancy and then the swift and powerful passage of birth.

With Maya Abdominal Therapy, we can build a foundation for more easeful outcomes well in advance of the birth.  And my clients tell me time and time again that it works.

BENEFITS FOR POSTPARTUM MAMAS:

  • cleanse any stagnant lochia flow
  • encourage the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size
  • wrap and close the body and the bones after opening so wide for birth
  • help encourage healing and return of strength and sensation after cesarean
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HELP AFTER LOSS, MISCARRIAGE, ABORTION:

  • clear out any remaining uterine lining
  • bring warmth, flow, and healing back to the tender womb
  • encourage the body to return to regular cycling
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A FEW REPORTED BENEFITS FOR PREGNANCY:

  • help your body grow, adjust, transform
  • ease the strain on your ligaments, and give space to your organs (bladder, stomach and lungs!)
  • improve digestion and relieve constipation
  • increase your body knowledge and connection with your baby
  • scroll down for more details...

 

BENEFITS FOR WOMEN NEARING BIRTH:

  • release tension and soften the muscles to prepare for birth
  • encourage the body to start ripening for a more timely birth
  • encourage optimal fetal positioning for quicker and gentler birth

 

Maya Abdominal Therapy focuses on the belly, back, sacrum and hips, all the areas most affected by pregnancy.  At the beginning of pregnancy the top of the uterus is just above the pubic bone, and nearing 9 months it's tucked just under the ribcage.  This means there is a reorganization of all the organs in the abdomen to make room for the growing uterus.  The uterus itself stretches wildly, and then has to tone and strengthen to become the strongest muscle in the body in time for labor.  In the United States, most women and care providers are very hands-off with the pregnant belly, not wanting to 'disturb' things inside.  In many parts of the world, though, there's a rich culture of abdominal massage, helping women's bodies adjust to the growing pregnancy.  In the Mayan world, this bodywork has a particularly strong history, and belly massage is the centerpiece of prenatal visits with midwives. I am deeply grateful to have studied in this tradition directly from Dr. Rosita Arvigo.

We don't do Maya Abdominal Therapy before 20 weeks, as it is a tender time when the new life is taking root and stabilizing in the womb.  From 20 weeks on, Maya Abdominal Therapy very safe, and is used to promote flow and circulation, to support healthy growth of the baby and uterus.  After 38 weeks, the bodywork can be quite effective in helping to welcome labor before the 'induction deadline.'  The ideal schedule is to come in monthly from 20 weeks to 38 weeks, and then weekly after that point until birth.  In addition to my studies in Maya Abdominal Therapy, I have years of extensive experience with optimal fetal positioning and enjoy sharing the relevant techniques during appointments.  I also attended graduate school to study Chinese medicine, and learned to utilize acupressure and moxibustion during my treatments, both of which create a beautiful synergy of healing.

Feel free to scroll down to read some of my musings about birth.

 

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT BIRTH

Labor is an infinitely mysterious and dynamic, sacred and beautiful rite-of-passage.  Surprisingly, in the face of this intense complexity, there are some simple tools and techniques that can reliably be used to help labor move along as quickly, smoothly, and comfortably as possible.  Below are three elements of childbirth that I find play a key role:

 

POSITIONING

In my experience, when labor isn’t moving along as smoothly as it could be, baby is often a little bit stuck.  Even just the head being slightly cockeyed can stall labor completely, and prevent her from descending into the birth canal.  There are numerous techniques to help baby find her way through the complex pathway of her mama’s pelvis. Counter intuitively, some of them even involve lifting baby up and out of the canal a little to give baby space to move her head and find a better fit. Learn many of these techniques through the Spinning Babies Website, or book a Maya Abdominal Therapy session with me, and we'll incorporate some hands-on learning.

 

CALM RELAXATION

It’s amazing how much of an impact stress can have on your birth experience.  A relaxed emotional and physical state can make all the difference between a gentle quick labor, and a painful slow one. It’s often challenging to be relaxed when labor is so intense and unfamiliar.  It’s easy to get worried, not knowing whether something is wrong.  Midwives and doulas have extensive experience with the signs of a normal labor and can reassure you if all is well, or help you get additional support if needed. Midwives and doulas can also help your physical body relax with techniques such as massage, baths, hot pads, vocalization (deep moaning), and the very technical rebozo ‘jiggling.’  :)

 

RHYTHM & REST

Everything in nature has a rhythm.  The coming and going of night and day, the cycling of the seasons, the ebb and flow of the tides, the waxing and waning of the moon.  For something powerful to happen, it needs to be preceded and followed by a period of rest.  Labor and its surges, or contractions, are no different.  It is essential to rest completely and relax your body fully in between contractions.  That way you can maintain your energy and get maximum impact from each surge you have to work with.