At about 30 weeks I made a list of everything I wanted to get done before baby came. I wanted to prepare, as I knew I wouldn’t have the energy to do most of the things I normally get done in a day. Here are some of the items I did before hand that was actually helpful.
Freezer meals – the hype is true. It was so much easier not to worry about what to make every night. Start small and do a couple meals a day for a week or two and you will feel better. I don’t love some of the pinterest blogs that have 50 meals in a day, that’s too much. I also made different healthy muffin recipes and froze them for snacks to have out for whenever I felt hungry.
Cleaning crew– it was a good idea to have a cleaning company come in a couple weeks before baby. It wasn’t like I didn’t have to clean at all after baby but it did help with only having to do very little in the first few weeks.
Haircut and color – I might not get my hair cut as often as others so going this chore before the baby came was a good way to keep it off my to do list in the few months after baby was born.
Addresses for birth announcement – I got together all the addresses of the family and friends I wanted to send baby announcements to in the few weeks before baby came. I printed them out on labels so all I had to do is stick them on the envelopes. Perfect time saver.
Stock up on house hold items – I took a day a couple weeks before baby’s due date to stock up on items around the house like COFFEE, laundry detergent, toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, pads, diapers, wipes, shampoo and conditioner. If you don’t have time to do this, usually it’s easy enough to find friends or family to do a shop for you in the first couple weeks after birth.
Look into/ Contacted Newborn Photographers – Most newborn photographers like having your session 7-14 days after your baby is born. I didn’t really know how a lot of people felt up to taking photos such a short time after birth yet alone doing all the research just days after birth. Once we decided on a photographer I contracted her to let her know of the date and find out what to do next. I specifically wanted my photos out of the house so I mentioned my preferences at this time as well.
Try thinking of labour and delivery as along marathon that you want to fuel your body for. You want to make sure you give your body the food it needs to substance itself for hours. When a women is in labour, her uterus is the largest and hardest working muscle in your body. When it comes to food choices bland but sustaining is a good place to start, it’ll give you a good low release energy kick. Choose foods that go down easy, as well as offer the energy boost you’ll need for those more-challenging delivery moments. Try focusing on High dietary protein, high fibre but low in sugars.
After some research on the type of foods I should be fuelling my body with to help my body to perform well, I found some get muffin recipes that freeze well so they’re easy to have on hand.
Fuel to Go Muffins
2 cups multi grain flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup raisins/dried cranberries/dried blueberries (or any kind of dried fruit (figs,apricots etc) about 1 ½ to 2 cups total
2 cups grated carrots
1 apple shredded
8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup hemp seeds
⅔ cups olive oil (can also use vegetable oil)
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Add dried fruit, coconut, seeds,raisins, crushed pineapple, apple and carrots. Stir to combine.
In separate bowl whisk eggs with oil and vanilla.
Combine this mixture with dry ingredients and blend well. This will be very thick.
Fill 12 cupcake baking cups heaping full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes
Morning Glory Muffins(Carrot, Raisin, Coconut and Pineapple)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour ( I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 1/4 cups of all- purpose)
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple (including juices)
1½ cups shredded carrots (2-3 medium)
½ cup raisins
½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
½ cup walnuts (or pecans)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat together oil, eggs, and pineapple (including pineapple can juices). Stir egg mixture into the flour mixture, just until combined.
Stir in the carrot, raisins, coconut, and walnuts. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 –