Petition to allow partners into delivery rooms in Japan

As many of you know, because of the Coronavirus many hospitals across Japan (but very specifically in and around Tokyo) decided to restrict birth support and no longer allow husbands or doulas to be there for women in labour.  Obviously this goes against the WHO that states a woman has a birth to birth support of choice and is  violation of human rights.  Some hospitals have lifted some of the restrictions recently, but in other places they remain in place very unfairly.  As a result, a petition was created to hopefully help address this.  You can see the petition here.  Please consider signing it!

The Mental Side of Birth Preparation

In  recent Doula Cafe, we focused on the topic preparing mentally for labour. There are 2 aspects to this:

💫The practical side and the physical side💫

With the practical side, knowing beforehand what policies and procedures are in place in your hospital/clinic can be very important. This can range from asking your doctor or midwives questions about flexibility with movement in labour/for pushing, what clinical aspects to expect (such as monitoring, IVs etc), rates of episiotomies so that you can be mentally prepared that they may suggest one (or not) and have your birth partner ready to help advocate for you if they do, to what happens in the event of an unplanned c-section (can you have support with you, what kind of cut do they do, can you spend time with baby immediately after), and post-partum policies – rooming-in vs baby staying in the nursery. Knowing what to potentially expect in different circumstances can relieve any potential anxieties and also gives you the chance to consider other hospital/clinic options if you find that your current place does things differently to what you hope for. The environment you’re in can make a huge difference in labour and feeling confident and relaxed with it can help labour go more smoothly in some cases.

With the physical side, understanding and embracing – one of my favourite words for labour – what your body is doing is crucial. Knowing that contractions are a normal and natural process and the increasing strength of them is a wonderful sign of labour progression and not a sign that your body is working against you is vital. Using certain breathing techniques can make a huge positive impact in keeping us mentally and physically more relaxed – not fighting the intensity but breathing through it and using your breathing and vocalisation also to breathe the contraction out. This stops us tensing up physically which, in turn, keeps us calmer and less panicked – keeping stress hormones out and leaving more room so to speak for our natural endorphins to help us and also letting oxytocin do its job more effectively.

Hypnobirthing and Mindful Birthing can be 2 useful books or “ways to prepare for birth” that can really help with mindset with all of this. Understand the natural birth process so that you can appreciate it rather than fear it and how to work with your mind, breathing and body to have a smoother and more positive experience. Also, Childbirth Without Fear by a British obstetrician called Grantly Dick-Read is a very worthwhile book to read. It was published in the 1940s originally and considered ground-breaking at the time with its focus on women-led natural childbirth (a revolution of sorts that is still going on to this day).

I love preparing couples for birth (and beyond), so please get in touch if you want a Birthing with Confidence preparation session (to fully understand the process and learn some tools and techniques to get you through both physically and mentally), or to take one of my separate classes on breathing.

We left the Doula Cafe today sharing some words that come to mind about labour and here are a selection of some that a few women come up with:

💕Closer
💕Love
💕Trust

What words are in your mind when you think of labour?

Breathing for Birth Classes – July, August & September

In-person Weekday Classes: 

In-person preparation is so important for birth.  Because of this, I will continue my in-person breathing classes BUT they will be limited to 2-5 women to make sure there is plenty of space between attendees.  The studio room is well ventilated with open windows and doors to maintain good airflow during the classes, too.  Each class is one hour and they are a great way to practice useful breathing techniques to manage labour more effectively.

The schedule for these classes is as follows:

July 22nd Wednesday  11am-12pm

August 26th Wednesday  11am-12pm

September 9th 23rd Wednesday 11am-12pm

Updated fee for September: 2,000 yen per class

Minimum of 2 attendees, maximum of 5

At My Body My Pilates https://www.mybodymypilates.com/contact

Online Zoom Classes:

For those who feel more comfortable staying at home, I am offering Zoom classes for Breathing.  These classes will be 40 minutes long and will hopefully provide attendees with enough knowledge about how the way you breathe can help in labour along with some practical practice.

The schedule for these classes is as follows:

July 10th & 24th Friday 9:30-10:10am

August 14th & 28th Friday 9:30-10:10am

September 11th & 25th Friday 9:30-10:10am

Cost per class per attendee: 1,000 yen

Minimum of 3 attendees, maximum of 8

Couples Zoom Breathing for Birth Classes:

July 25th Saturday 9:30-10:30am

August 22nd Saturday 9:30-10:30am

September 26th Saturday 9:30-10:30am

Cost per couple: 2,000 yen

In-person Couples Birthing With Confidence Classes: 

Fully comprehensive birth preparation – private options at home and semi-private options for 2 couples available.

CONTENTS:

Late Pregnancy & Overview of Labour

Breathing for Labour and Birth

Positions/Activities during Labour

Massage and Other Comfort Techniques

Interventions

What to Expect in Japan and your Specific Hospital

Useful Japanese Terms

The post-partum period

Breastfeeding

Cost per couple for semi-private: 13,000 yen (one session of approx 3 hours)

Private session: 18,000 yen (can be split over 2 sessions of 1.5-2hours each)

Group class: 10,000 yen (minimum of 3 couples, maximum of 5)

Birth prep flyer

Introducing – Baby Cafe

Starting from this month, I will be holding a new once or twice a month support meeting for mothers/parents of newborn babies up to about 3 months of age.

These meetings will be free and relatively casual, although we may focus on more specific topics from time to time.

In the newborn period, it can be quite overwhelming at times as you learn to adjust to your new family dynamic, get to know your baby, get used to breastfeeding and other aspects of baby care, and figure out who this new “you” is.  These Baby Cafe meetings are a chance for new mothers/parents to meet others, talk about motherhood/parenthood and baby topics, feel less isolated, and get some support if you’re finding things tough.

I’ll be posting the dates of each meeting in advance and the first one will be on July 22nd via Zoom at 4pm (although hopefully in the future we may be able to have some in-person gatherings).

If you’d like to join, please send me an email!

July Class Schedule

Happy Tanabata!  Today is July 7th and Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival.  I hope everyone is having a good day and a good start to July!

Here is my July class schedule.  While we are no longer under a State of Emergency, the virus numbers have been increasing in Tokyo again recently.  So, as a result, I’ll continue to keep the majority of my group classes online so that nobody needs to worry and can still get prepared well for labour.  With any classes that are in person, health precautions and proper distancing will continue to stay in place.

As always, for anyone who would like to arrange a private or semi-private fully comprehensive childbirth preparation class – Birthing With Confidence, please get in touch.  And, I’ll continue to offer private sessions in person and online for birth plan consultations, Infant Care classes, Breastfeeding support and post-partum help.

Please get in touch if you’d like to book a class or if you have any questions.  I also still have a little space left this year for birth doula clients (in-person and virtual support options)

Don’t forget, for ONLINE options, I have a ticket system available too (which includes a small discount).

July 10th – AM – Zoom Breathing for Birth class

July 11th – AM – Aiiku Hospital Virtual Tour (open only to those who are patients of the Aiiku Clinic International Unit unfortunately)

July 12th – AM – Private class opening (at client’s home)

July 17th – AM – Zoom Infant Care class

July 18th – AM – Zoom Positions & Massage class

July 18th – PM – Semi-private Birthing with Confidence class

July 22nd – AM – In-person Breathing for Birth class (in Azabu)

July 22nd – PM – Baby Cafe – NEW FREE SUPPORT SESSION for mothers with babies up to 3 months old

July 25th – AM – Zoom Couples Breathing for Birth class

July 25th – PM – Private class opening (at client’s home)

July 26th – PM – Private class opening (at client’s home)

*Weekdays are also possible for private classes/sessions at depending on the day/time*

July Doula Cafe

The next Zoom Doula Cafe will be on Thursday, July 2nd from 10-11am.  If you’d like to join, please email me here and I’ll send you the link!  The topic of this meeting will be about mental preparation for labour.  Grab yourself a drink of choice, relax in the comfort of your own home, and let’s talk!  If anyone is interested in finding out about my work as a doula and how I can support you, I’m always very happy to talk about that, too.

These Doula Cafe meetings are FREE and something I enjoy doing very much.  I am planning to start holding in-person Doula Cafes again from later this month but will probably still keep an online option, too.

Normal Newborn Behaviour

I did a post recently on my Facebook page about how normal newborn behaviour may not quite be what we expect, especially when it’s your first baby and you have no frame of reference at all.  It can really take you quite by surprise just how “hands on” you need to be and how babies just “are”, even if you have been told or know more or less what to expect beforehand.

If you need a post-partum consult for anything in the first few months, I’m right here 🙂

Here’s is what I wrote on my Facebook page for anyone who isn’t following me on there yet:

Normal newborn behaviour…sometimes understanding what is actually very normal behaviour in newborns can be a challenge (particularly with a first baby).

You may have a baby that wants to feed so frequently round the clock that you’re physically unable to move from the sofa or bed. You may have a baby that will happily fall asleep and stay asleep in your arms but the second you try and put them down, they wake up again. You may have a baby that will only settle if you’re walking around rocking or bouncing them. You may have a baby that seems fussy and so you start to search all about colic, reflux and solutions.

The sheer amount of physical hands-on work that goes along with normal newborn behaviour can be completely exhausting and leave us questioning ourselves – wondering if what we are doing is correct or if there is a solution or way to “fix” things.  In the vast majority of cases, it is all completely normal. It doesn’t make is easy…but it is normal.

If ever anyone needs to talk about what’s going on in the newborn period with them and their babies, I’m here to listen – message me.  If you’d like a more in depth consult, get in touch.  If you want some physical hands-on help with baby, we can arrange that, too.

Although it seems overwhelming and too much at times, remember that there is support out there.  Not just from me but from all the other wonderful networks that exist (Tokyo Mothers Group, Tokyo Pregnancy Group, your birth club groups and so on).

Private and Semi-private Birth Preparation

Do you and your partner want to be as fully prepared both mentally and physically for labour and birth?  Do you want to know what to expect in your Japanese hospital?  Do you want to know more about the post-partum period and breastfeeding?  My comprehensive Birthing with Confidence sessions can provide you with the hands-on tools you need to approach your upcoming labour and life with a newborn with more calmness and positivity, knowing that “you’ve got this”.

Over the next few months, I’ll be able to take on up to 3 couples per month for private Birthing with Confidence sessions in the comfort of your own homes, and I’m also offering one semi-private session per month for 2 couples at a studio location in Azabu.

You can see in the flyer below exactly what we cover in these sessions.  Questions are always welcome.  I draw upon my own personal experiences (having had 3 children here) as well as my vast experience in Japan with over 120 births and many different hospitals, and countless more couples who have come to me for consultations both before and after birth.

If you’d like to book a session with me, please send me an email!

Online options are also available

Birth prep flyer

June Doula Cafe

June’s Zoom Doula Cafe will be on Wednesday, June 3rd from 11-11:40am.  If you’d like to join, please email me here and I’ll send you the link!  The topic of this meeting will be about preparing for labour at your hospital – what to bring and what to expect 🙂  Grab yourself a drink of choice, relax in the comfort of your own home, and let’s talk!  If anyone is interested in finding out about my work as a doula and interested in working wth me, I’m always very happy to talk about that, too.

These Doula Cafe meetings are FREE and something I enjoy doing very much.  I’ll continue these Zoom meetings for June and see if we’ll be able to hold them in person in summer.

June classes & online and in-person options

I hope everyone has continued to stay healthy and well.  Now that the State of Emergency has been lifted in Tokyo and the rest of Japan, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with birth support during labour in hospitals.  Some places have already started saying that they may start to ease up on some of the current restrictions.  Let’s see what happens.  Yet again, I can’t say strongly enough how much these very severe restrictions should not have been put in place to begin with…but hopefully more women and their support people can stand up for the right to birth support more strongly now there is no “reason” of State of Emergency to somewhat justify restricting it in hospitals’ eyes.

So this brings me to what will happen with my own classes and support during June (and beyond).  Included below is also  it of info about upcoming private and semi-private birth prep options, too, although I’ll make a separate post for them later.

I have decided that I’ll be keeping a lot of classes online as I’ve found that I’ve really enjoyed dong them online.  Plus, women who normally live too far to travel to my classes have been able to attend them which is great!  I love that online platforms have made things more accessible to all.  The schedule for these classes may be slightly different to what I have currently been doing, but I’ll be posting up the info about each class as the time approaches on all my various FB group/pages.  Hopefully over time, the schedule can become more fixed again.  This month will be very much a “trial” with how things go.

You are all also very welcome as always to contact me anytime if you want to check what’s going ahead or want to book for one of them.

In addition to the online classes, I’ll start to offer an in-person option for each class, too – with limits on numbers to allow for proper distancing.  But that will begin from the middle of June and this can be adjusted depending on how the numbers go with the coronavirus (hopefully continuing to stay down rather than going up again).  For all in-person classes/sessions, I will continue to wear a mask.

My June Doula Cafe will stay online and I’ll see how July is looking for holding it as an in-person meeting.  Also, I’ll continue to support as many women and their partners as needed as a distance doula (which has gone better than I expected over the past couple of months) until I’m allowed back in the LDR again!

SO…please take a look below for a tentative schedule for June regarding classes (including schedule openings for private classes – Birthing With Confidence, Infant Care, post-partum and breastfeeding support etc) and please contact me if you’d like to book or have any questions 🙂

Don’t forget, for ONLINE options, I have a ticket system available too (which includes a small discount).

June 3rd – AM – Zoom Doula Cafe (FREE meeting) – Preparing for labour at your hospital

June 6th – AM – Private class opening (client’s home or Online)

June 7th – PM – Private class opening (client’s home or Online)

June 10th – AM – In-person Breathing for Birth class (location: Azabu) 3-4 women max

June 12th – AM – Zoom Breathing for Birth class

June 13th – AM – Aiiku Hospital Virtual Tour (open only to those who are patients of the Aiiku Clinic International Unit unfortunately)

June 13th – PM – Semi-private in-person Birthing with Confidence class for 2 couples only (location: Azabu)

June 14th – PM – Private class opening (client’s home or Online)

June 17th – AM – In-person Infant Care class (location Azabu)  3-4 women max

June 19th – AM – Zoom Infant Care class

June 20th – AM – Zoom Positions & Massage class

June 20th – PM – Private class opening (client’s home or Online)

June 21st – PM – Private class opening (client’s home or Online)

June 24th – AM – In-person Breathing for Birth class (location: Azabu) 3-4 women max

June 27th – AM – Zoom Couples Breathing for Birth class

June 27th – PM – Private class opening (client’s home or Online)

June 28th – PM – Private class opening (client’s home or Online)

*Weekdays are also possible for private classes/sessions at depending on the day/time*