Struggles at 34 Weeks

On December 28, 2016, I reached my 34th week of pregnancy with only 42 days till my due date. Baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (about the size of a cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. My sweet niece that is now 5 years old was born at 34 weeks and I think back at that 5lb baby and I cant believe that is was it rocking and rolling inside me.

Sleep has become a challenge as finding a comfortable position is harder then ever. Muscles are feeling tight and sore in many areas of my body and when people say that February is so soon I can’t seem to agree wen I am laying a wake at 3am. Perhaps this lack of rest is our bodies’ way of preparing me for the many nightly wake up calls that are rapidly approaching.

Breathlessness. This baby seems to like pushing against my lungs, diaphragm and rib cage. There really isn’t anything you can do however, f you’re pregnant for the first time, your baby is likely to drop down into your pelvis around 36 weeks, this is when the breathlessness might ease. The only other thing that I find works a bit is holding your hands over your head when you try to take a big deep breathe.

Nesting. I want to get everything clean, put away and organized. I know this is a normal part of getting ready for your little one but I’m sure I don’t need to fold the same sleepers 5 times. Some say an increase in the amount of adrenaline coursing through your system around 37 – 39 weeks of your pregnancy probably contributes to this final frenzy, but the emotional factors are just as strong and its productive, But don’t be upset if the nesting urge doesn’t strike you at all. That’s perfectly normal, as well, and doesn’t at all indicate a problem.

nesting

 

Your Optimal Labour and Delivery

Most people know that you need to be completely informed about all your pregnancy care options but did you know that you have labor and delivery options that need your knowledge just as much?

When I comes to labour and delivery most people seem to expect their prenatal care provider to inform them of their option and what will work best for you, but shouldn’t you know what’s best of you and your baby? In todays society it seems there is still fear and anxiety around labor and delivery, especially with natural care, labour and delivery options.   Fear and its associated stress can also cause more serious problems that may contribute to both early and late deliveries, smaller babies, a higher risk for an emergency Cesarean section. Why not get out there and find the information that can save your labor and delivery from the horror section of recaps?

Most women who have there births in the hospital think that the nurses or doctors will tell you how to labour properly and they know best when it comes to happy mom and baby, but why? You know your body and baby best, don’t you? Most hospital practices are meant as a general for everyone but you can have a say in how you want your experience to be. Here are some things that most women don’t know:

Did you know you could turn down the lights in your hospital room?
The main hormone that helps you to labour effectively is called oxytocin. It shapes the frequency, length and strength of your contractions, and works best if you feel calm, safe and relaxed.
**Labour Partners – Even just being near your wife during labour can help with natural flow of oxytocin. Want to be more helpful? find out how your partner likes to be touch while experiencing their painful contractions and use supportive language.

Did you know you could limit vaginal exams?
Stress and anxiety make your body produce fight-or-flight hormones, such as adrenaline. Vagina exams can make your body feel vulnerable and actually stopping the oxytocin flow and in turn slowing down your progression in labour.

Hospitals only look at dilation as progression but did you know that other factors are just as important?
Hospital staff will offer you medications and C-sections based on failure to dilate in the labouring hours but there are other questions you can ask to determine for yourself if you are progressing in other aspects. Before you make a decision you can ask, has my effacement improvement? This refers to the thinning of your cervix; if it has improved then yes you have made some progress. What is the station of my baby? This refers to the depth of your baby in your pelvis, if you baby is deeper, then yes you have made progress. Has my baby moved position? This refers to the position of how you baby is facing.
Of course everyones main focus is health baby and mom, if your baby isn’t reacting poorly to the contractions then you are safe to say that you want to continue to labour natural before having interventions.

Did you know most moms go to the hospital to early?
Most parents are eagerly waiting for the day labour begins but you will labour better in your home environment. Most women show up at the hospital only 2cm dilated, most are thinking they need to be at the hospital to be monitored and this is a safer environment for labour. Your labour will slow once you are at the hospital due to many factors that your body does automatically. As a general rule, you don’t need to travel to your place of birth until contractions are 4 minutes apart; lasting 1 minute and it has been that way for 1 hour. Telling signs from the mother includes mom in the zone and non-verbal, moaning in the contractions, losing modesty (clothes are coming off) and she has no desire to eat anymore.
In doing the early labour at home you can progress you labour nicely with a better chance of avoiding hospital intereventions.

Did you know that hydration and urination are key?
A hydrated cervix is a happy cervix! During labour the cervix is the largest muscle in your body and its working very hard to push your baby down into a good position. Reward your self with a drink after every contraction. This can be a simple sip of water or you can go for a low sugar electrolyte options like coconut water or Ener-C packs.

During labour a women wont feel the need to pee so partners need to be there to remind her go to the washroom every 30-60 mins. Think this is excessive? Maybe but can you imagine the pain of a full bladder being pushed on by a baby and your cervix? Plus most women are happy to avoid having catheters inserted when its discovered how full your bladder is but you can’t urinate on your own due to baby’s position.

By being a little more informed about your choices during labour, you could make decisions that you feel informed in turning your delivery story into a positive memory.

birth
Have a Happy Labour Day !

 

 

Have you heard about…. ?

There are a lot of new, modern and crazy things that people are doing when I comes to childbirth. Everyone is going to have a personal preference when I comes to the known or strange items people hear about now a days. I have heard a range of my weird and known decisions other people have made but I wanted to research for my self to find out what was weird and what could be very beneficial to my baby and me. Below are some decisions that could be a great choice for you and you family if you do the research:

Delayed Cord Clamping/ Cutting- What is it?

It is a birth practice where the umbilical cord is not clamped or cut until after pulsations have ceased, or until after the placenta is delivered.

Pros: benefits for the baby include a normal, healthy blood volume for the
transition to life outside the womb; and a full count of red blood cells, stem
cells, immune cells and decreased chance of anemia at the 5-6 month mark. For the mother, it keeps the mother-baby unit intact and can prevent complications with delivering the placenta.

Common Objections: Doctors in a hospital setting just don’t have the time to wait for DCC and some say that immediate clamping can prevent severe postpartum hemorrhage.

delay-cord-cutting

Placenta Encapsulation – What is it?
It is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills. Sound gross? Did you know we are one of the only mammals that don’t consume their placenta after birth?

Pros: reported benefits include, faster physical recovery from birth, decreased postpartum bleeding, reduced chances of anemia, less physical exhaustion, increased maternal energy levels, prevention of postpartum depression, fewer mood swings and increased breast milk supply.

Cons: you have to spend the time to do it or you have to pay out of pocket. There is a company in Calgary, Alberta called Tender Touches Doula Services Inc. that charges $275+ gst.

placenta-encap

Helping Labour and Delivery

There are so many articles that talk about different ways you can make yourself go into labour; while most products can’t make you go into labour when your body isn’t ready,  there is science saying that these products can help stop you from going over due. This is important for a lot of us who are planning an out of hospital and/or natural birth.

Below are some commonly used products for pregnancy, Labour Preparation, Post-bith care and Newborn care.

Red Raspberry leaf Tea: can drink after 37 weeks to help tone the uterus in preparation for the marathon of birth
tea

Evening Primrose Oil Capsules: Can be taken after 37 weeks to aid in hormone balance and to prepare the cervix to expand as your due date approaches
primrose

EmergenC or Ener-C: drink to aid in maintaining adequate electrolyte levels during labour and post birth. Combine with coconut water for extra hydration and electrolytes.
ener-c

Epsom Salts: Add to bath to aid in healing of perineal tissues in the days after birth

Calendula Tincture: promotes healing. Can be used for vaginal ice packs for after birth and on baby’s umbilical stump to prevent infection and faster healing. Can also be used in peri bottle for after birth to spray in vaginal area. [Be sure to get the right kind. They have spray forms and creams but only Amaranth Health Food Store carries the right tincture
form]
calendula

Dates: studies have shown that women who eat 6 dates a day, starting at 36 weeks, are significantly more dilated, more like to go into labour naturally and have shorter first phase of labour. Dates contain all the following dietary benefits as well:

  • Natural sugars (fructose) that easily break down in the body and won’t spike blood sugar levels but will offer high energy, which makes dates during pregnancy or labour an excellent choice.
  • Fiber – Helps you stay full, relieves constipation, and lowers your risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
  • Potassium– One of the best electrolytes. It helps maintain water/salt balance, which helps regulate blood pressure.
  • Magnesium– Support muscular health and helps to alleviate muscle spasms and cramps in pregnancy.
  • Folate  – Getting enough folate will ensure that your baby’s spinal cord matures properly, avoiding neural tube defects.
  • Vitamin K – maintains proper blood clotting and healthy bones.

Almond Oil: Ideal for massage during labour and used for baby massage after birth

In Calgary you can find all these items Amaranth Health Food Store with three locations around the city. North location – Arbour Lake, Central – 4th Street Downtown and South Location- 130th Ave SE. Stop by on the first Wednesday of every month for customer Appreciation Day – 20% off – 

amaranth

 

Hello Third Trimester

On November 16, 2016, I officially reached 28 weeks pregnant. Everyone says your now in the home stretch but this part of pregnancy can be the most challenging.

In my 27th week I started experiencing Sciatic nerve pain or what people commonly call Sciatica. For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about, you are very lucky.

Sciatica is a pain affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg; this can be experienced on one side of the body or both. It is caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, often owing to degeneration of an intervertebral disk. Some of the symptoms I felt included constant pain on my right side of my bottom, pain that worsened when sitting or returning to stand. Weakness on my right side, and sharp pain when stepping off curbs or turning sides during sleep.
What I found worked to relieve the pain – Putting heat on the painful areas, trying to sleep on the opposite side of the pain, sitting on harder surfaces and MASSAGE.

Shortness of Breath is normal. This naturally occurs the more the uterus expands and presses up into your diaphragm below your lungs, so yes it seems like this feeling will just get worse as you move into your third trimester.
What I found helped a bit – While sleeping, prop your upper torso up on pillows to expand your airway and lifting my arms above my head when trying to take a deep breath.

Neck and Shoulder Pain is just the start of various back pains. I wake up with pain where my neck means my shoulder on the right side. Most suspect two causes: 1) the weight of my baby was pulling my whole body forward into a hunched position, which aggravated my neck and shoulder, and 2) that because I spent most night curled around my pregnancy body pillow, I had slept on my side wrong and caused inflammation.
What I found worked to relieve the pain – Putting heat on the painful areas, trying to sleep on the opposite side of the pain and MASSAGE.

Frequent Urination is the new normal for every pregnant women. The extra blood flow makes our kidneys produce up to 25% more urine  after conception. in addition, once we move further in our pregnancy urine frequently can be influenced by pressure on the bladder from her growing uterus.

unknown
Women’s anatomy in the last trimester