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  • Is Prenatal Yoga Right for You?

    by Kellie Greene, RYT

    I recently attended a presentation where the speaker said that “infertility treatments are a full-time job”. She went on to elaborate about the doctors appointments, injections, daily lab draws, ultrasounds, testing, and then with integrated holistic care you may also have acupuncture, massage, and nutritional therapy on top of that. You may feel overwhelmed and over-scheduled thinking, “How can I possibly add another thing–and is it really worth it?”

    Whether you have struggled with infertility and loss to get here or found us after getting your positive test, attending a prenatal yoga class can seem like a luxury. Below I will outline 5 ways prenatal yoga can benefit your pregnancy, as well as birth, and outline what you may expect from a class at PDtM.

    1. A sense of community.

    Outside of your care providers office, and maybe a childbirth education class there isn’t a lot of opportunities to meet a room full of pregnant women who are pregnant at the same time. With ObGYN care protocols and products changing so quickly it can feel comforting to be around other women who are pregnant at the same time. Being with other parents who have experienced loss or struggled with fertility concerns can help with what can sometimes be a lonely path feel not so isolating.

    2. Ease physical discomforts of pregnancy.

    Between gaining 15-45 pounds in nine months, your organs being displaced by a rapidly growing uterus, your pelvis widening and expanding, and cartilage in your body softening ( just to name a few pregnancy changes) you are bound to feel some physical discomforts. Prenatal yoga is a gentle and safe way to ease discomfort, and learn strategies that can make your pregnancy more comfortable. Prenatal yoga has been shown to help nausea, decrease pelvic and low back pain, help ease carpal tunnel, headaches, and shortness of breath.

    3. Build the connection to baby.

    Women who have experienced a pregnancy loss, or used fertility treatment often report difficulty feeling connected to the pregnancy/baby. With guided meditation practices, and visualization parents can feel more connected to the baby, and the pregnancy.

    4. Improve sleep

    Disruptions in sleep affect every parent to be at some point in the pregnancy. Finding ways to relax, self soothe, and calm down can help. The Mayo clinic even cites improvement in sleep as one of the benefits to prenatal yoga.

    5. Prepare for birth

    Regardless of your birth choices prenatal yoga can prepare you to labor more comfortably, push more effectively, and recover more easily, and quickly. The breathing techniques, and upright positions can help if you are desiring an unmedicated birth. The strengthening and pelivic floor poses can be beneficial for both a surgical or vaginal birth.

    Regardless of why you are choosing to attend a prenatal yoga class, odds are you will likely leave feeling physically, and mentally better. Please join us for the next drop-in class on Wednesday, May 16th at 6pm and/or the next session of the Prenatal Yoga Series beginning on Saturday, May 19th at 10:30am in Chicago . Questions? Let us help at: 312-321-0004.

  • Acupuncture & Herbs for Prenatal Care

    by Anna Pyne, L.Ac., MSOM, FABORM

    Acupuncture and herbs can help mitigate or completely resolve many signs and symptoms associated with pregnancy during all trimesters. I have treated numerous patients for nausea, vomiting, headaches, any type of pain, skin problems, lung issues, depression, anxiety, miscarriage prevention, placenta previa, swelling, labor preparation, hemorrhoids, and constipation. The frequency and duration of acupuncture treatments will vary depending upon which ailment we are focused on and its severity. Another wonderful attribute to acupuncture therapy is you know that it is a safe and natural treatment. It can be used alone or in combination with a medication to help reduce the frequency and intensity of the problem. Current research supports acupuncture’s efficacy with helping treat depression*, nausea and vomiting**, and labor preparation*** to name a few. I do recommend herbs as needed, in conjunction with acupuncture when necessary. Both acupuncture and herbs can be used together or separately, as each is its own stand alone therapy.

    For current patients, please feel free to contact Anna or your practitioner via email with any questions you may have regarding treatment during pregnancy.

    For new patients, to make an appointment for acupuncture please call the office at (312)321-0004 or click this link to book now with Mind Body Online at your convenience. Please make sure to complete your intake form online prior to your appointment here .

    Acupuncture for Depression: *

    Acupuncture for Nausea and Vomiting: **

    Acupuncture for Labor Preparation: ***

  • Unwind Your Mind…Either with Us, Or in Your Own Way

    by Melissa Hinshaw, LMT

    Whether you are going through IVF, an expecting mother, a current mom, or any typical person, you worry. Let’s face it, we all have things to worry about in our lives and worry feels like a natural way to go with our minds. Chronic and continued worry, also known as stress, not only does absolutely NO good in helping the issues we face, but it has many negative side effects on our bodies.

    When you worry or are stressed about something your body releases cortisol. Cortisol is important and essential. It helps when you are in your “fight or flight” response, like when you are running from a lion, or when you need to lift a car to help someone who is crushed. On the flip side, when cortisol is being released into your bloodstream continually, like what happens when you are in a high stress mode, it becomes toxic to your system. It can cause you to be exhausted. It can reek havoc on your digestive system and also effect the quantity and quality of your sleep. It can increase blood glucose levels and even cause weight gain. None of these ugly side effects can change the outcome of your stress bomb, right? That may actually make the situation worse if you get sick or run down.

    So, how can you quiet that part yourself that twists you up, both in your body and in your mind? Am I pregnant? How many eggs will I get? Is my baby going to be healthy? I just lost my job. My father passed away…these are a few things you may have on your mind’s plate. I am not suggesting that it is easy to quiet your inner worry voice, but it is a good idea to try. At Pulling Down the Moon we offer a very unique massage that addresses this exact issue. Our “Unwind the Mind” massage is specifically for the two week wait and the first trimester of pregnancy that many of you are in the middle of today. Sometimes clients come to the center to have this massage simply to “veg-out,” as they say, completely unrelated to family planning. This treatment is nurturing, quiet, and developed in order to help you relax and release and refresh. Other ways to quiet down chronic worry is through meditation and yoga. Even making a conscious choice and asking your mind to take a break from the worry can have a positive impact on your body. “OK stressors, I know you are out there but I need a break for an hour, a day, a week…” You can use your breath to help as well. Every time you exhale you are detoxing so use that detox to help filter some of your scary thoughts. Again, be conscious in your effort. Take a minute and use five nice, deep breaths. On each exhale think in your mind what you are letting go of. Say it out loud if you can. If the worry starts to creep up later, try telling the voice that it is not helping you.

    Everyone has stress. It is not going anywhere soon. But, if you can control it even just a bit and avoid the negative side effects that come along with it, your mind and your body will thank you. We hope to offer you a quiet and safe retreat at Pulling Down the Moon. Let us help you either through our services or simply by talking with us. In any case we are here to help you unwind…let’s help each other unwind.

  • Fertility Friendly Nutrition for the Holidays

    by Margaret Eich, MS, RDN

    It seems that the holidays start before Halloween and extend into the New Year. Once Halloween hits, it seems like the sweets and treats are everywhere, and it often doesn’t subside until the New Year’s resolutions hit. It can be a challenge to manage this time period, especially when you’re trying to eat healthy to support fertility.

    First of all, I recommend trying to take any guilt out of your food decisions and avoid putting too much pressure on yourself to have your eating be perfect. There really is no such thing as having perfect eating habits, so this isn’t something to strive for. Unfortunately, many people tend to have a lot of guilt around the food choices we make. As much as we might think that we can use guilt as a way to propel us into healthier choices, often the opposite is true. Banishing the guilt doesn’t mean giving ourselves a free pass to eat anything we want with abandon, but it’s about being able to move on in a productive way when we make choices that we are less than happy with. Follow these tips to change the way you approach eating over the holidays:

    1. Try to banish the “all or nothing” way of thinking. In other words, instead of feeling like your eating has to be perfect during this time period, be content with doing your best and enjoying some indulgences, which are a normal part of the holidays. When we feel guilty about overindulging, we often beat ourselves up and vow to be “perfect” the next day. This may lead to being overly restrictive. Eating restrictively usually leads back to overeating and overindulging, such that the cycle continues. Instead, be kind to yourself, move on, and return to your healthy eating habits and resist the urge to try to be “perfect” or too restrictive the next day.

    2. Practice eating slowly and mindfully, especially when you’re having treats. This allows us to savor the treats and our favorite foods. When we truly experience our food with all of our senses, we get more enjoyment and often need to eat less. Check out this post to learn more about mindful eating.

    Want to learn more on this topic? I hope you will take advantage of the $75 Wild Card special this month to meet with our in-house Registered Dietitian, Elizabeth DeAvilla, for an initial nutrition consultation (save $50)! She can set-up a plan for you for the holidays and through the New Year whether for fertility, pregnancy, postpartum, or just wellness!  She can provide this support in-person (Chicago, Highland Park), by phone, and/or video consult.  Call us at: 312-321-0004 to learn more today!