Mom & Baby
PLEASE NOTE: Motion Center director Kaeli Sutton, the head of the perinatal programs, will be on leave until December 2013. Many of the workshops and classes will not resume until that time. Prenatal Yoga classes and Mom + Baby classes will resume in the New Year. Pleaes feel free to contact us for referrals in the meantime.
Our location, in Providence Rhode Island’s Jewelry District, offers prenatal yoga, Mom + Baby yoga, Mom + Baby World Dance, partner yoga for birth, prenatal massage therapy, postnatal massage therapy, infant massage, labor support instruction, childbirth workshops and parent sharing circles. Visit our FAQ's for answers to commonly asked questions. Our resource page (coming soon) provides referrals to other local prenatal and postnatal practitioners and resources.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage Therapy, Yoga and Dance
- Reduce stress and anxiety through specialized massage techniques, movements/postures, awareness exercises and breathing practices
- Support the physiological processes of pregnancy by increasing blood and lymph circulation
- Relieve musculoskeletal tension and pain, especially in the back, neck, hips and legs
- Strengthen the body, thereby decreasing stress on weight-bearing joints & supporting comfortable posture
- Enhance kinesthetic awareness, allowing for greater ease of movement and more supportive posture and body usage
- Help prepare the body for labor by strengthening and stretching muscles, building kinesthetic awareness and breath awareness
- Assists postpartum restoration of abdomen and weight-bearing muscles and joints
- Promote healing, including healing in post-cesarean scars
- Help prevent repetitive stress injuries and the physical discomforts common to new mothers
- Provide prenatal and postpartum emotional support by providing a safe, non-judgemental space for mother’s to experience all emotions and thoughts associated with their pregnancy, childbirth and mothering
- Group classes build supportive friendships and community
Prenatal Yoga (group and private)
Expectant mothers explore the changes their bodies are undergoing, and prepare for the brilliant and intense experience of childbirth and mothering. Classes focus on providing structural support during pregnancy and preparing for labor. They incorporate gentle strengthening, stretching, kinesthetic awareness and breath exercises. Special emphasis is placed on building pelvic floor and core strength to support the body through natural structural changes, and on developing mental focus and calm through breath and awareness practices.
Schedule | More Info
Mom + Baby Yoga (group and private)
Mom+Baby yoga classes provide moms (or dads/caregivers) a relaxed space to connect with other parents. Classes explore the physical and emotional joys and headaches of caring for an infant. Yoga postures and breathwork focus on supporting postpartum healing and easing physical and emotional strain caused by round-the-clock infant care. While classes focus on the mother/father, infant massage and movement exercises are included to support infant health and parent-infant bonding.
Schedule | Register
Mom + Baby World Dance
Moms will dance to Latin American and African rhythms with babies safely in a wrap. Babies will experience the brain-maturing power of rhythmic movement as well as the comfort and assurance of being close to mom's heartbeat. Please bring your front or back carrier and we will help evaluate if it will work for class. Optimal carriers are soft carriers of the Moby Wrap style. With Kaeli and Simone
•learn how to support baby in a sling in a way that is safe for both mom's back and baby's developing body-structure.
•move in ways that provide baby with a "massage-like" movement experience reminiscent of their world in utero.
•move in ways that stimulate the integration of baby's base senses (vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile), which is an essential pre-requisite for most kinds of learning.
•learn how to access and exercise deep abdominal muscles (those that hold the belly in, pregnant or not) in a fun and stimulating way.
•sweat, have fun and dance, dance, dance...
Schedule | Register
Therapeutic Prenatal and Postnatal Massage
Massage sessions help decrease the common physical discomforts of pregnancy, prepare the body for labor, and support faster healing after labor. Sessions incorporate numerous massage therapy techniques, breath and postural education, and labor preparation exercises. Each session is modified to address the specific physical, mental and emotional goals, of the client. In addition to the physical benefits of prenatal massage, mothers are offered a safe and quiet space in which to connect to their growing baby and to be present with the excitement, fears and hopes that arise throughout pregnancy and childbearing.
Private Partner Labor Support Instruction
Pregnant Women and their partners attend one or more sessions to learn and practice a variety of labor support techniques. Classes and techniques strive to support connected, peaceful, and effective birthing. Partners can choose 1-3 topics from the longer 6-week birthing class syllabus, or work directly with Kaeli to tailor the sessions to their interests and needs.
Labor of Love: Partner Yoga for Birth
Bring your partner and join other expecting parents as we explore movements and postures that support the birth process. We will learn how and why different movements can make labor more manageable and effective. In addition, we will practice breathwork and meditation exercises to help build mindfulness and connection between mother and birth partner.
Next workshops: December 7 2013
A Baby! Now What?
Part 1: Preparing for the Postpartum Time
Spend an afternoon with other expecting couples to engage in discussion and activities that can help you can make your adjustment into parenthood less stressful and more supportive of the new family. Simple but effective ways of creating support around the family in the 4-6 weeks after birth can profoundly impact the whole family's physical and emotional health during this both precious and challenging time
Next workshops: December 14
Part 2: Realities of Postpartum - Physical, Emotional and Relationship Changes
Often we know much more about our pregnancy and birth, than we do what happens after. And then our baby arrives and we realize birth was only the doorway into a new life. What does a newborn really look like? What happens to mom's body in the weeks after birth? How do we support each other and our partnership through these changes? Who do we call for help? Come and learn about what happens once your baby is born.
Next workshops: December 15
Infant Massage Instruction
Over the course of 1 hour, parents are taught a simple massage routine that they can practice on their baby. During class, the instructor uses a doll to teach massage techniques while the parents practice on their baby. The benefits of infant massage are numerous and profound, and include: supporting bonding between infant and parents, digestive and cardiovascular support and sensory integration.
Contemplative Birthing Workshops: Body, Breath, Heart and Mind
Preparing for labor is to prepare for the unknown. For most of us, this instills a sense of fear, loss of control, and powerlessness. In turn, these emotions take away our ability to be deeply present in the moment of birth and to use our awareness of the moment to make the best choices for ourselves and our babies. Contemplative Birthing Workshops teach mindfulness practices that support our ability to relate directly to the physical, emotional and mental experiences of labor. Given this opportunity, laboring women discover a safety in the unknown--the empowering knowledge that birth does not need to be fought, and that whatever comes to pass in their own birth, they can chose to be fully present with self-compassion and internal strength.
Schedule | More Info
Mother’s and Father’s Sharing Circles
Hosted by Motion Center along with local doulas and prenatal practitioners, sharing circles are offered a number of times a year for both mothers and fathers. These community gatherings, open to all parents free of charge, provide a space in which birth and parenting stories can be shared amongst a group of supportive peers.
Schedule | More Info
Kaeli Abrahams Sutton, RYT, LMT, is the founder and co-director of Motion Center. Over the past 8 years, she has worked with hundreds of expecting mothers and families. A mother herself, her most demanding and in depth training has taken place through her own pregnancy and ongoing study of motherhood. A Rhode Island licensed and Nationally Certified Massage Therapist, Kaeli holds advanced certification in Prenatal, Labor and Postnatal Massage, and in Thai Yoga Massage. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher with training in Pre- and Postnatal Yoga, and is a birth Doula and childbirth education teacher. Kaeli is committed to supporting women and familieis through the deeply breathtaking, challenging and comical journey of motherhood.
"Kaeli supported me through every step of my pregnancy – she’s not just an experienced and responsive massage therapist but an attentive listener, a restorative healer and a teacher. She helped me to relax, build my confidence in preparation for birth, and connect with my body during this crazy and magical time." ~ A.G., Providence, R.I.
"Kaeli’s wonderful work was a godsend during my pregnancy. She enabled me to feel a blissful sense of wellbeing and she resolved my backaches too." ~ C.P., Providence, R.I.
"Prenatal yoga and prenatal massage at the Motion Center made my pregnancy significantly more comfortable." ~ L.H., Providence
"I love this prenatal/mom & baby yoga class where I'm able to come with my baby and enjoy stretching and breathing with him around. Is a good body-mind break and a great way to start the day. Kaeli is the best." ~ C. D., Providence, RI
How is prenatal or postnatal massage different from other types of massage?
Because of the physical changes that take place during pregnancy, prenatal massage involves different positioning on the massage table. During sessions, specific precautions must be taken to keep the mother and baby safe, and specific techniques can be used to address the common discomforts that arise during pregnancy and after giving birth. With this in mind, most massage modalities (deep tissue, myo-fascial, Swedish, etc.) can be modified and applied to prenatal massage.
Do practitioners have specialized certification?
At Motion Center, all therapists working with prenatal clients have specialized certification in pre- and postnatal massage therapy. While most licensed massage therapists touch on basic precautions for prenatal massage in their initial training, the majority have not studied working with pregnant or postpartum women in any detail. We strongly recommended that you find a practitioner with advanced certification in prenatal and postnatal massage. These practitioners will not only know how to modify sessions to be safe for you and your baby, they will also be trained in specific techniques to address the common discomforts associated with pregnancy and to prepare the body for labor.
Can I lie on my stomach?
During much of the first trimester, women are often able to lie comfortably and safely on their stomach,. After this time, because of both comfort and safety issues, we place women on their sides with pillow supports and bolsters. This allows full access to the back in a comfortable, safe position.
Do you have one of those tables with a hole cut out for the belly?
There is ongoing debate in the prenatal massage field about whether these tables are actually good and safe for the mother and baby. At Motion Center, we do not use tables with cut-outs, as we believe they potentially create strain on uterine ligaments and increase intrauterine pressure.
Can I lie on my back?
It is safe to lie on your back until around week 18-20. Up to week 20, if the woman is comfortable, we allow her to lie on her back, sometimes placing a small pillow wedge under her right side to avoid the uterus pressing on her vena cava (major blood vessel). After week 20, we massage women lying on their sides or in a semi-reclining position (sitting with the back at a 45 degree angle) to insure that we do not apply undue pressure to the vena cava.
What do I wear to an appointment?
Most therapeutic massage uses an oil or lotion over bare skin. While the therapist is outside the treatment room, clients undress down to their underwear or completely and then to get on the table and cover themselves with the sheet that is provided. During a massage, the therapist uncovers only the body part that they are working on, taking care to never expose the breasts or genitals. For clients who are uncomfortable getting undressed, there are many massage techniques that can be performed with the client fully clothed. Please let you therapist know if you would like to work fully clothed.
Can prenatal massage help me prepare for labor?
Absolutely. Prenatal massage helps lengthen and strengthen the muscles used in labor, helps women become more aware of how they use their body, and helps to build sensory awareness within the body. Additionally, the experience of deep relaxation provided by massage can be called upon while laboring. Let your therapist know if you would specifically like to work on labor preparation, as there are many exercises she will introduce to you, and specific massage techniques she will incorporate into your sessions.
Is prenatal massage only for relaxation?
While relaxation is a wonderful benefit of prenatal massage, there are many other benefits, including decreasing pain and discomfort and preparing the body for labor. Postnatal Massage:
Can I bring my baby?
Yes, you many bring your baby to your massage session. Some women like to have the baby on the table with them; others bring bouncy chairs, moses baskets or car seats. Breaks nursing, comforting and diaper changes are always supported.
It’s uncomfortable to lie on my breasts; will you be able to massage my back?
For comfort, it is often helpful to nurse just before having your massage. If lying directly on the breasts is still uncomfortable, supports can be placed under the body to decrease pressure, or you can receive massage on the back in a side-lying position.
Is postnatal massage only for relaxation?
No; In addition to facilitating relaxation, postnatal massage is also a wonderful way to rehabilitate the abdominal muscles, decrease muscular tension resulting from nursing and carrying infants, re-educate postural alignment and, in the case of cesarean sections, aid in functional scar healing.
What’s the difference between prenatal yoga and other yoga classes?
Prenatal yoga takes into account the specific structural and physiological changes that take place during pregnancy, and utilizes postures that are safe and supportive to the changes. In addition to avoiding postures that put undue strain on the body, prenatal yoga classes incorporate postures and breath practices that specifically help support the body during pregnancy and prepare the body and mind for labor.
Do I need to have practiced yoga before becoming pregnant to attend classes?
No--classes are gentle and teachers are able to modify postures for students at different levels.
I have to pee frequently; will this disrupt class?
Not at all--please use the restroom as often as you need.
Can I eat and drink during class to keep my blood sugar stable?
Absolutely--we recommend that you bring a healthy snack and something to drink to class. While this is not recommended in “regular” yoga classes, it is very important in prenatal classes.
Are classes difficult or gentle?
Classes are gentle, but do take effort. Modifications in intensity are offered for all students at different levels. Classes are never vigorously cardiovascular or taught in a heated room, as this is not recommended during pregnancy.
Mom & Baby Yoga
How soon after labor can I start to attend class?
This is different for different women. Many healthcare workers like women to have the 6-week “all clear” appointment before beginning yoga. Others suggest that women begin whenever they feel up to it. Our recommendation is to check with your healthcare provider* and to wait until you are feeling eager to move out of the house and connect with people. If the idea of making it to class feels overwhelming and like just one more things you must do, then it is most likely too soon to begin. *We require women who have had cesarean sections to consult with their healthcare provider before beginning classes.
Where is my baby during class?
Your baby will be on a blanket, in a chair/seat or in your arms throughout class. Mother’s are never more than a hand’s reach away from their babies.
What if my baby or I are disturbing the other students with noise, diaper changes, or the need to move around?
While every mother worries about this at some point in Mom & Baby classes, nursing, noise, diapers and movement are just part of the reality of Mom & Baby classes. The more you are able to attend to your own and your baby’s needs without feeling concerned about bothering others, the more relaxed everyone else in class will feel about doing the same for themselves. And there is no other group of people who will be more understanding of what it is to care for an infant!
What if I need to nurse?
You should feel free to nurse or attend to your baby at any time during class. You will get the most out of class if you allow yourself to tend to your baby as he or she needs. With this attentive tending, babies quickly become used to the class and mother’s gradually increase the amount of time they can actually participate in class.
What if my baby cries during class?
Feel free to take care of your baby in whatever way you/he/she needs, and don’t worry about the noise. We will keep moving through class, and you can rejoin us as the baby settles.
When will I be ready to take “regular” yoga classes?
This will depend on what type of class you are interested in taking, and how you, individually, are feeling and healing. We encourage you to discuss this with your Mom and Baby yoga teacher.