Blessing the Belly with Henna

Like a brilliant piece of music or a grand flower, you have changed and blossomed into a miraculous new form; you are pregnant. You may find yourself reaching for a way to celebrate this time in your life but may be unsure of what to do. Traditionally within western culture the existence of a rite-of-passage for pregnancy and motherhood rests primarily in the form of gift registries and baby showers packed with cake and gifts and games to decipher which flavor of baby-food is in the diaper. You may have done a belly cast to immortalize your pregnant form, or held a Blessingway with ceremony and blessings from close friends, midwives, and family.

You might also have considered adorning your belly with henna, an ancient form of body art. Henna, or Mehndi, has been used for centuries to adorn those in preparation for rite-of- passage ceremonies; it is believed that henna repels the evil-eye, and wards off malevolent spirits. But, did you know that henna has also been used historically both prenatally and during postpartum? Various South Asian, Middle Eastern, and North African cultures adorn expectant mothers; within Indian culture a great celebration and Mother Blessing is held where the mother to be is rubbed with spices and oils and adorned with henna on her hands and feet; songs are sung to her by the women of her family about the journey of motherhood. Henna is then applied postpartum to assist in the bonding process with Momma and Baby, and to initiate the new mother into her new role within the community. Cultures that practice postpartum henna have markedly lower rates of postpartum depression.

Contemporary western Prenatal Henna is applied to the belly; symbols that are resonant within your pregnancy can be incorporated within the design to create a motif that is both aesthetically pleasing and spiritually profound; common symbols include a Tree of Life or a Mandala. Henna Bellies are often done in tandem with Blessingways and can be applied by a Professional Henna Artist (insert hyperlink: http://www.bloominglotushenna.com), Midwife, Doula, or family member. The design will last an average of two weeks depending on the duration of application and aftercare; 100% natural, body-art-quality henna paste that is mixed freshly with care to prenatal tolerance should be the only henna used. To create a pregnancy-safe henna-paste, the only ingredients needed are all-natural henna powder, water, and sugar; some essential oils may also be used assuming they are safe for use prenatally. Pre-made henna cones/tubes or henna-paste containing irritating and potentially toxic essential oil blends should be avoided at all cost; this henna has to potential to cause dermal blistering and scarring, and possible preterm labor. If you are mixing your own paste or hiring a pro, be sure to do your research about the safety of essential oils during pregnancy and remember to ask your professional artist what oils are used in their henna.

It is important to note also, that some individuals may not tolerate the application of henna to any extent as it may cause serious physiological complications; those who suffer from Advanced Anemia, Hyperbilirubinemia, a G6DP Deficiency, or a significantly repressed immune system should not receive henna. For more information about the traditions and possible risks of Prenatal and Postpartum Henna, visit the Henna Page.

Henna can be the perfect way to celebrate your pregnancy; it’s 100% natural and botanical, temporary, and customized specifically to you and your preferences. The application of a Henna Belly can help bring strength and reassurance as you journey towards birth, reviving your attention to the beauty of your body and of your relationship with your new baby.

Perhaps, it’s just what you were looking for?

Ana Warren is the owner/operator of Blooming Lotus Henna (insert hyperlink: http://www.bloominglotushenna.com), specializing in Prenatal Henna; her work has been featured in The Mother and Sacred Pregnancy Magaine. She offers monthly Henna Belly Discount Days at the Alma Education and Moment Space and her work can be seen in the Madrona room at the Alma Birth Center. When not painting bellies, she survives as a photographer at Ana Warren Photography, and works hard at raising the next generation of empowered women in her 4 year old daughter, Nora Ember.

Updated Ultrasound Services at Alma Midwifery!

We are very excited to bring you updated information about our ultrasound services!

We currently offer the following services on Tuesdays from 9 am – 5 pm at our clinic, located at 1608 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214.  These services are open to both Alma clients and non-Alma clients (if you have a referral from your provider)!  To schedule an appointment, please call our front desk at 503-233-3001.  Our ultrasound “menu” will give families many choices and as always, in the absence of any complications, it is still perfectly fine to have an “ultrasound-free pregnancy”.  Laura Erickson, director at Alma wanted to add this to our good news about the ultrasound program: If you are an Alma client, please discuss ultrasound options with your midwife, she will assist you in strategizing the best time for a scan and give you a form (fancily named reacquisition form) the front desk needs that form to schedule your ultrasound and Marian needs it to guide her in the proper type of scan to provide to you.

ultrasound2-page-001

Also, please welcome our new ultrasound technician, Marian Packer!  Marian’s bio and photo are below:
Hello! 

My name is Marian and I am so excited to be a part of the team at Alma. Ultrasound is something that I’m very passionate about and I can’t wait to meet you and your family and scan your little one(s)!
I consider myself an Oregon native although I traveled around quite a bit while my dad was in the military. After he retired my family settled in Klamath Falls, OR (also home to quite a few of my relatives) where I attended high school and college.  I graduated from Oregon Institute of Technology with a BS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography and minor in Psychology. Shortly after graduation I was registered with ARDMS, the national governing board of ultrasound, and became certified in OB/GYN as well as Abdomen and Superficial Structures. 
In my free time I enjoy ice skating, cross country skiing, hiking, and trying to explore all that Portland has to offer.  Most evenings you can find me curled up on the couch reading a good book with my husband and our cat, Olive. 

marian

Meet our new baby! Alma’s ultrasound machine.

us

 

Alma Midwifery is now able to offer in-house ultrasound services at our Ankeny site. With the addition of Shantell and Dennis Dejesus to our Alma family (please see below), and also the purchase of a brand new Doppler ultrasound unit, we can now offer ultrasounds at Alma. Our ultrasound “menu” will give clients many choices and as always, in the absence of any complications, it is still perfectly fine to have an “ultrasound-free pregnancy”. Here is a partial list of ultrasounds available to Alma Clients:

First trimester ultrasound including nuchal translucency, number of babies, size & dates

Mid-pregnancy anatomy scans

Follow-up scans as needed

Biophysical profile (a check-in recommended for babies cooking longer than 41 weeks and 3 days).

At this point we will be doing ultrasounds on Fridays, but will expand to other days as needed.

Dennis DeJesus MD

Dr. Dejesus earned his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Mass. After completing a year in a general surgery internship, he completed his diagnostic radiology residency at SUNY Buffalo and completed a fellowship program in interventional radiology at University of Miami and University of Florida Gainesville. Dr. DeJesus is double board certified in Diagnostic and Interventional radiology and has been in practice since 1993.

Dr. DeJesus is known for taking a special interest in his patients, spending extra time to make his patients feel comfortable, listening to their needs, explaining procedures and results thoroughly, which in turn ensures that the best care possible is provided.

Dr. DeJesus is a proud sponsor of Doctors without Borders and OX-FAM, both are pro-patient organizations providing healthcare to poverty stricken areas in the world. He is also a member of the following organizations:

* American College of Radiology / American Board of Radiology

* Society of Interventional Radiologists

* Radiologic Society of North America

* American Institute Ultrasound in Medicine

Dr. DeJesus is an avid cyclist and frequently does century rides. If he’s not out riding his bike, then he’s usually found at home with his wife and 4 children (21, 16, 4, and 1). Dr. DeJesus and his wife had a home birth made possible by two midwives in Oklahoma in 2009 and found it incredible. He is very supportive of midwives and the precious work that you do, but also understands the struggles of working in today’s medical climate. He is excited to join Alma and work together with providers to provide an excellent experience and outcome for your patients.

Shantell DeJesus BS RVT RDMS

I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself and to thank you for trusting me with your patients care. I am an Oregonian through and through. I grew up in the suburbs of Portland. I went to Tigard High school and then on to the University of Oregon where I received my bachelors of science in Psychology. I graduated from high school, and subsequently college very young and went on to sonography school in southern California. I was fortunate to have excellent training at UCLA and Huntington Memorial Hospital for diagnostic medical sonography.

I have been a sonographer since 2003, and am registered by the ultrasound governing board ARDMS in OB/GYN and Vascular ultrasound. I am boarded by the state of Oregon to practice sonography as well. In recent years, I have been in a changing role from staff sonographer to teacher/mentor. I have taught sonography to both new and seasoned individuals, developed protocols and achieved accreditation standards for major medical centers.

So, enough of that…Bottom line, I really enjoy sonography and love working with your very special pregnant population. I am usually described as approachable, but shy, and meticulous. My husband and I had the pleasure of having our now four year old at home with two excellent midwives. The experience was unforgettable. They were the most patient, calm women I’ve ever met. Now that I have worked in medicine and have been a patient on both sides of this (both hospital and home birth) I bring a special, empathetic compassion to your patients that they wouldn’t receive elsewhere.

Thank you again,

Shantell DeJesus BD RVT RDMS

 

Blessing the Belly with Henna

72650002c

Guest post by Ana Warren

Like a brilliant piece of music or a grand flower, you have changed and blossomed into a miraculous new form; you are pregnant. You may find yourself reaching for a way to celebrate this time in your life but may be unsure of what to do.  Traditionally within western culture the existence of a rite-of-passage for pregnancy and motherhood rests primarily in the form of gift registries and baby showers packed with cake and gifts and games to decipher which flavor of baby-food is in the diaper.  You may have done a belly cast to immortalize your pregnant form, or held a Blessingway with ceremony and blessings from close friends, midwives, and family.  You might also have considered adorning your belly with henna, an ancient form of body art.

62360003

Henna, or Mehndi, has been used for centuries to adorn those in preparation for rite-of-passage ceremonies; it is believed that henna repels the evil-eye, and wards off malevolent spirits.  But, did you know that henna has also been used historically both prenatally and during postpartum?  Various South Asian, Middle Eastern, and North African cultures adorn expectant mothers; within Indian culture a great celebration and Mother Blessing is held where the mother to be is rubbed with spices and oils and adorned with henna on her hands and feet; songs are sung to her by the women of her family about the journey of motherhood.  Henna is then applied postpartum to assist in the bonding process with Momma and Baby, and to initiate the new mother into her new role within the community.  Cultures that practice postpartum henna have markedly lower rates of postpartum depression.

79520008

Contemporary western Prenatal Henna is applied to the belly; symbols that are resonant within your pregnancy can be incorporated within the design to create a motif that is both aesthetically pleasing and spiritually profound; common symbols include a Tree of Life or a Mandala.  Henna Bellies are often done in tandem with Blessingways and can be applied by a Professional Henna Artist (insert hyperlink: http://www.bloominglotushenna.com), Midwife, Doula, or family member.  The design will last an average of two weeks depending on the duration of application and aftercare; 100% natural, body-art-quality henna paste that is mixed freshly with care to prenatal tolerance should be the only henna used.  To create a pregnancy-safe henna-paste, the only ingredients needed are all-natural henna powder, water, and sugar; some essential oils may also be used assuming http://gopunt.com/cheap/propecia-online-pharmacy.php they are safe for use prenatally.  Pre-made henna cones/tubes or henna-paste containing irritating and potentially toxic essential oil blends should be avoided at all cost; this henna has to potential to cause dermal blistering and scarring, and possible preterm labor.  If you are mixing your own paste or hiring a pro, be sure to do your research about the safety of essential oils during pregnancy and remember to ask your professional artist what oils are used in their henna.

It is important to note also, that some individuals may not tolerate the application of henna to any extent as it may cause serious physiological complications; those who suffer from Advanced Anemia, Hyperbilirubinemia, a G6DP Deficiency, or a significantly repressed immune system should not receive henna.  For more information about the traditions and possible risks of Prenatal and Postpartum Henna, visit the Henna Page.

63790012

Henna can be the perfect way to celebrate your pregnancy; it’s 100% natural and botanical, temporary, and customized specifically to you and your preferences.  The application of a Henna Belly can help bring strength and reassurance as you journey towards birth, reviving your attention to the beauty of your body and of your relationship with your new baby.  Perhaps, it’s just what you were looking for?

Ana Warren is the owner/operator of Blooming Lotus Henna, specializing in Prenatal Henna; her work has been featured in The Mother and Sacred Pregnancy Magazine.  She offers monthly Henna Belly Discount Days at the Alma Education and Moment Space and her work can be seen in the Madrona room at the Alma Birth Center.  When not painting bellies, she survives as a photographer at Ana Warren Photography, and works hard at raising the next generation of empowered women in her 4 year old daughter, Nora Ember.

25% of Childbearing Aged Women Will Choose A Birth Center as Their Place to Give Birth–and other Good News

The fact that a quarter of all women will choose to birth at a birth center is not a surprise to the midwives of Alma. We have become steadily busier every year and the phone keeps ringing! Women on the other end of the phone are asking all sorts of questions about our care. “There is a tremendous curiosity about birth centers”. Said Laura Erickson owner of Alma Midwifery. “It is not uncommon for people passing by to want to come in and look at our birth rooms. We have hired more midwives to keep up with the demand. It is within the midwifery philosophy to keep the midwife to client ratio low. We also added another birth room in case four babies want to all jump on the same birthday. We are well stocked and ready to keep up with this incredible surge of births”!
The Journal of Midwifery & Woman’s Health published a study in January highlighting the benefits to women who choose to give birth in midwifery-run birth centers. The findings reinforce the evidence that midwives provided safe and effective care for pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. The rising number of surgical births, and the costs related to that also mean that birth centers are cost effective for insurance companies.
This is just win/win for families that choose birth centers. Since the theme of this blog is “Good News for Birthing Families” I must go on…recently the Affordable Care Act has mandated that Medicaid Reimburse licensed birth center for facility fees. There is still a lot to work out and Medicaid is still trying to find a way for this NOT to happen in Oregon. We may need to call upon consumers to become politically active on this front. Stay tuned! At this point they are not allowing birth centers to receive payment for our facility fees.
As midwives we work hard to advocate for your right to birth where you choose for all these reasons and so many more, but it is much more powerful for consumers to advocate for their rights! Let us know if you have time and energy to devote to this, and we may call on you later!