The Hartford Courant : Doula Develops Pillow System To Help Pregnant Mothers Sleep Better

The stomach muscles pull and, oh, the ankle swelling won't subside. "My husband, for about half the pregnancy, has slept on the couch because I'm just constantly tossing and turning," says Ashley Pine of Milford, due to give birth to a baby boy in the next few weeks. "I wake-up, my back hurts, my hip hurts." She decided to try the Lotus Leaf, an eco-friendly pillow system, invented by her licensed prenatal massage therapist, Julie Robbins. This doula, who teaches a Birth Partner Massage class at Yale-New Haven Hospital, is turning to Kickstarter, the online funding platform, to market her product and help women find the rest they need during this precious time.

"All of my clients would come to me and they would say 'Julie, I'm so uncomfortable. I hurt here, I hurt there, all because of the way I sleep at night'," says Robbins from her office in Woodbridge. "The design started with the idea of really aligning a pregnant body exactly how it should be so that there's no strain on any particular part." With 15 years experience, Robbins looked at the physiology of pregnancy. Her prototype adapts to different body sizes and stages of pregnancy. Nine ergonomic pillows fit together symmetrically, some in the same case, on top of a sloped base cushion, placed under a fitted sheet. "It has just enough rise to help with heartburn," says Robbins, pointing out a contoured head pillow and wedge to fit under the belly. "It's got two angles, a steeper angle, or you can turn it over if you want a lower angle." Robbins designed an "arm-channel" to promote good circulation and support that keeps legs parallel to the bed: "That helps relieve all those muscles in your hips that cause the problem of sciatica."

A mother-of-two, Robbins hopes a successful Kickstarter campaign will make the Lotus Leaf available for sale to expectant moms, with a planned retail price of $199. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 78 percent of women report the worst sleep of their lives occurred during pregnancy. Research by the University of California-San Francisco School of Nursing shows that women who sleep less than 6 hours a night are 4.5 times more likely to have Cesarean deliveries. "I'd like to change those numbers," says Robbins.

Pine now believes in the Lotus Leaf. "My first reaction was, 'Where has this been for the last nine months?'" says this teacher, noting that the pillows help her stay on her left side, the recommended sleep position during pregnancy. "This system really contributes to the mother's overall well-being. It can only mean positive things for the baby."

CTNOW: Hope For 'Lotus Leaf' After Disappointing Kickstarter Campaign

SARAH CODYMommy Minute
7:03 a.m. EDTAugust 22, 2014

A few weeks ago, I profiled Julie Robbins, a pre-natal massage therapist and creator of a pillow-based sleeping system for expectant moms, in this Mommy Minute report.

A Kickstarter campaign, aimed at making this design, called the Lotus Leaf, a reality for women who have trouble sleeping during pregnancy, did not reach it's goal by August 13th.

From her Woodbridge practice, Robbins is not deterred: "We had a lot of support from people...but, what we discovered is that pregnant women want it now.  They don't want it six weeks from now." 

Her prototype adapts to different body sizes and stages of pregnancy.  Nine ergonomic pillows fit together symmetrically, some in the same case, on top of a sloped base cushion, placed under a fitted sheet.  The system supports a changing body while helping to reduce swelling and heartburn.

For a pregnant woman, it's not just about comfort.  Research by the University of California-San Francisco School of Nursing shows that women who sleep less than 6 hours a night are 4.5 times more likely to have cesarean deliveries.  Robbins believes quality sleep during this precious time helps the health of mom and baby.

The fundraising effort yielded some surprising results.  "A lot of people who did back us for the Kickstarter campaign were people who wanted it for other reasons," says Robbins.  "I had someone whose wife had a heart condition and someone else who was suffering from cancer, an elderly woman."

"We have a plan.  We are working on alternate funding and we have the good problem of having multliple sources of possible funding.  In fact, some of it is because of the Kickstarter campaign and the exposure it brought in," says Robbins, confident that production will only be delayed a few weeks.  She hopes to re-launch the Lotus Leaf in October.

The pillows are made from eco-friendly material and will retail for $199.00.

FOXCT: Doula Develops Pillow System To Help Pregnant Mothers Sleep Better

 
 

The stomach muscles pull and, oh, the ankle swelling won’t subside. “My husband, for about half the pregnancy, has slept on the couch because I’m just constantly tossing and turning,” says Ashley Pine of Milford, due to give birth to a baby boy in the next few weeks. “I wake-up, my back hurts, my hip hurts.” She decided to try the Lotus Leaf, an eco-friendly pillow system, invented by her licensed prenatal massage therapist, Julie Robbins. This doula, who teaches a Birth Partner Massage class at Yale-New Haven Hospital, is turning to Kickstarter, the online funding platform, to market her product and help women find the rest they need during this precious time.

“All of my clients would come to me and they would say ‘Julie, I’m so uncomfortable. I hurt here, I hurt there, all because of the way I sleep at night’,” says Robbins from her office in Woodbridge. “The design started with the idea of really aligning a pregnant body exactly how it should be so that there’s no strain on any particular part.” With 15 years experience, Robbins looked at the physiology of pregnancy. Her prototype adapts to different body sizes and stages of pregnancy. Nine ergonomic pillows fit together symmetrically, some in the same case, on top of a sloped base cushion, placed under a fitted sheet. “It has just enough rise to help with heartburn,” says Robbins, pointing out a contoured head pillow and wedge to fit under the belly. “It’s got two angles, a steeper angle, or you can turn it over if you want a lower angle.” Robbins designed an “arm-channel” to promote good circulation and support that keeps legs parallel to the bed: “That helps relieve all those muscles in your hips that cause the problem of sciatica.”

A mother-of-two, Robbins hopes a successful Kickstarter campaign will make the Lotus Leaf available for sale to expectant moms, with a planned retail price of $199. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 78 percent of women report the worst sleep of their lives occurred during pregnancy. Research by the University of California-San Francisco School of Nursing shows that women who sleep less than 6 hours a night are 4.5 times more likely to have Cesarean deliveries. “I’d like to change those numbers,” says Robbins.

Pine now believes in the Lotus Leaf. “My first reaction was, ‘Where has this been for the last nine months?'” says this teacher, noting that the pillows help her stay on her left side, the recommended sleep position during pregnancy. “This system really contributes to the mother’s overall well-being. It can only mean positive things for the baby.”

 

WNPR News: Prenatal Massage, Hypnobirthing, And Other Ways To Manage Having A Baby

Home birthing? Doulas? Midwives? Hypnobirthing? Prenatal massage? Today, we’re talking about alternative birthing.

Fifty years ago, it was pretty simple: you went to the hospital, they knocked you out, and you had your baby — while dad smoked a cigar in the waiting room. Or if no hospital was nearby, you gave birth at home and hoped a savvy neighborhood lady could to help out. In later years, the question became home birth versus hospital birth.

Today, dozens of professionals want to assist in your birthing process. They’ll massage you, hypnotize you, acupuncture you, coach you, prop you up, put you under, even bring a backyard pool into your house so the baby can drop into a nice warm tub — thus postponing for another few minutes the harsh reality of world outside the womb.

Today, I’ll be joined by a doctor, a massage therapist, a midwife, and more, as we talk about varieties of birth experience.

You can join the conversation. E-mail colin@wnpr.org or tweet us@wnprcolin.

Massage Magazine: Massage Therapy and High-Risk Pregnancies

When a woman gets pregnant, while generally an exciting time, there is a possibility she may be at risk for developing a health-related problem. Women who already have medical issues, such as high-blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, heart problems or some other chronic condition, must be monitored more closely. Even if your client does present with some of these issues, she can still benefit from massage therapy, with a few modifications.

First, your intake form will serve as the basis for treatment. Asking your client why she is considered high risk helps you determine if there are contraindications, according to Julie Robbins, a prenatal massage specialist in Woodbridge, Connecticut. “Make sure your intake form and verbal questions cover all the concerns,” she says.

Knowing the reason your client is considered high risk will also help guide you as you formulate the most appropriate treatment plan and take necessary precautions. Robbins notes that if the client is diabetic, have some candy, juice boxes or granola bars on hand. “Massage as usual, but avoid abdominal massage,” she adds. The same philosophy applies to women with a history of pregnancy loss. “Avoid abdominal massage, mostly to reduce her stress of receiving massage, but also to avoid any chance of contributing to placental disorders.”

Some clients present with high-blood pressure, but when that condition advances into preeclampsia, you should encourage your client to see her doctor or midwife for evaluation immediately. “Common symptoms [of preeclampsia] include pitting edema, severe headaches and visual disturbances, among others. This is perhaps the most important issue to look for in women close to their due date, because a timely response is crucial for the health and/or survival of both the woman and baby,” says Robbins.

Robbins notes, “Many of the issues that create the label ‘high risk’ are unrelated to massage: women over 35 have an increased risk of genetic disorders or stillbirth after 42 weeks, but it doesn’t make massage more or less risky for them. Teens have a greater risk for poor nutrition and, therefore, a less-healthy pregnancy, but their ability to receive a massage is not affected.”

She adds pregnant teens have a higher incidence of sexual abuse, so it is important to reassure them of their safety and their control in the session. “Be very aware of draping, touching and emotional boundaries,” Robbins notes. All regular precautions with HIV-positive people should be observed with pregnant women.

If you are called to provide in-home massage for a pregnant client, avoid any deep pressure since she may be on bed rest or generally inactive. “During pregnancy, the blood’s clotting capacity increases four to five times higher than nonpregnant women. Inactive women have an increased risk for deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), especially in the medial extremities,” says Robbins. “Also, women on bed rest often have muscle atrophy that usually indicates more gentle pressure.”

Robbins advises massage therapists to strike a balance between being condescending and providing so many details about the results of improper massage that the client becomes anxious about unlikely possibilities. “Your client is there to relax. Listen to her concerns carefully and respond with compassion, relevant information and a plan to address her personal issues.”

By asking the right questions, listening carefully to your client and observing any changes, you can bring reassurance and relaxation to your high-risk clients through massage.

- See more at: http://www.massagemag.com/massage-therapy-and-high-risk-pregnancies-13354/#sthash.fVkAJEl6.dpuf