Tag Archives: Baby

Breastfeeding…Part 1: The Basics…

So this blog has been a long time coming…This is going to be an entire series as there is a lot that goes into breastfeeding…as simple as it seems…and I want you to be completely informed.  I will try to keep it as short and sweet as possible…I’m starting this very late as my LO is just over 24 months old…that being said, it has been a very interesting adventure, so here we go.

During my entire pregnancy I knew that I was going to breastfeed for at least the first year.  It only makes sense…our bodies are designed very ingeniously, as I’m sure you are well aware…especially if you have ever grown or are currently growing a miniature human inside of you.  Since my body makes milk for a baby human, why would I ever steal another mama’s milk unless it was the only way for my child to survive…Survival is why you often times see dogs, cats, pigs and other animals being nurtured by another species…its only out of necessity…not because it is natural.  That is what we are trying to get back to…the way our bodies naturally & optimally function.

Let me give you a disclaimer before I get too deep into my opinions on the subject…

I am not judging you…if you have tried to feed your child and they couldn’t latch or if you couldn’t produce milk (although there are great ways to increase milk flow…another blog in the making.).  I’m not even judging you if you went straight to formula without even trying to breastfeed.  It is only my place to inform…all I am trying to do is make sure that as many mamas are informed as possible and make the right decision for themselves and their lil ones…since the benefits to you both will be vast and I really believe this is a way to heal the species…by FEEDING our BABIES & BODIES…RIGHT from the START!!…

So How Does It All Work??

So you have this baby that you created and now it is here, waiting for food…love and diaper changes too but mostly food.  Well just like every other function of your body, hormones play a big role in ensuring your milk production.  Prompted by the hormone prolactin, the alveoli take proteins, sugars, and fat from your blood supply and make breast milk.   A network of cells surrounding the alveoli squeeze the glands and push the colostrum and then milk out into the ductules, which lead to a bigger duct.

Your baby stimulates nerve endings by suckling at your breast. This causes the hormone oxytocin to be released into your bloodstream. Oxytocin then makes the muscles around the milk-making (glandular) tissue in your breasts contract, pushing the milk into the milk ducts, and out through the nipple openings in your nipple.. This causes the hormone oxytocin to be released into your bloodstream. Oxytocin then makes the muscles around the milk-making (glandular) tissue in your breasts contract, pushing the milk into the milk ducts, and out through the nipple openings in your nipple.  The oxytocin also helps mom to be calm and relaxed through the feeding process.

Colostrum…at the very least…

Colostrum is the perfect nutrition tailored to the needs of your newborn.  Your breasts produce colostrum during pregnancy (if you noticed any leaking…it was colostrum) and continuing for about 2-4 days after birth. It is yellow to orange in color and thick and sticky.  Colostrum is extremely easy to digest, low in fat, and high in carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies to help keep your baby healthy.  While there isn’t much of it, it is high in concentrated nutrition and very important for your newborn. Colostrum has a gentle laxative effect that helps your LO pass stool and also aids in the prevention of jaundice.

It is extremely important to breastfeed your newborn at least 8-12 times (approximately every 2-2.5 hours) for the first few days, and more is even better. This allows your baby to get all the benefits of the colostrum and also stimulates production of a plentiful supply of mature milk. Frequent breastfeeding also helps prevent engorgement.  I will talk more about engorgement later but trust me…it is to be avoided if at all possible…it is not pleasant.

Better than any vaccine colostrum contains large quantities of the antibody IgA and actually works as a natural and 100% safe immune booster.  Colostrum also plays an important role in the baby’s gastrointestinal tract. A newborn’s intestines are very permeable. Colostrum seals the holes of the gastrointestinal tract with a barrier that  prevents foreign substances from penetrating and sensitizing a baby to foods the mother has eaten.  Colostrum also contains high concentrations of leukocytes, protective white cells which can destroy disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

During the first two weeks, as the colostrum changes to mature milk, the concentration of antibodies in your milk will decrease and the volume of milk will increase.  Even though the colostrum decreases the disease-fighting properties do not.

As long as your baby is drinking human milk, they will receive immunological protection against many viruses and bacteria.

That is the scientific way it all works…as for my experience it has been a very interesting roller coaster of emotions and physical changes.   Luckily I understand what my body is doing and I understand the importance to my growing LO…so I make adjustments and I sacrifice…something that you will come to discover goes along with parenting…

So that is how it works…but how does it benefit you and your LO?

NEXT BLOG IN SERIES:  Breastfeeding…Part 2: Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mama

 

 

BABY KIHRE’S BIRTHING TIME

So this blog is way over due.  I was actually hoping to have a video blog done.  To be completely honest the only reason I have not is because I barely have time to do my hair let alone put on make-up for a video.  Since the story is way too cool not to share, here we go…

As most of you know my due dates were all over the place.  Two sonograms at the OB gave a date of date of September 9th and the Hospital sonogram gave me a date of August 28 (which matched my last menstrual cycle)…needless to say…it is all up in the air.  It’s usually difficult to determine the time of conception if you are in a relationship and not writing down every time you get frisky.  We had been dating for years and living together for years.  I calculated closer to Early September because I think the actual conception was while Papa Bear and I were on vacation after the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I saw the rainbow in the sky that I have been seeing for our entire relationship.   You can kinda see it reflecting off the clouds in the photo below.  Papa Bear would tell me later that he saw the same rainbow the day before Kihre was born.

RAINBOW

My intention was to have the baby in my oasis on the back porch.  I had everything ready for his arrival: the birth tub, the sheers, lots of potted plants, mats & everything you could possibly need for a comfortable birth.  Everything was set and ready to go by August 21st…now we waited…and waited…and tried lots of other stuff.  Sad part is that even though I didn’t birth in my oasis, I could see it from my actual birth location.

12003415_10153604891169583_7868655025962858870_n

11986498_10153604891274583_2007886351814183566_n

12006325_10153604891224583_435386496701742283_n

As all moms know…the baby comes when the baby wants to come.  “Normal” Gestation for human infants is anywhere between 38-42 weeks.  This is important because when having a home birth, the midwife is only allowed to deliver in that 4 week time frame.  She stands the chance of losing her license if she delivers out side of that time.  This because of possible complications to mother and baby that can arise when the baby comes too early or too late.  So to be safe, we went with the September 9th date to make sure that we “complied”.  Although we knew it could be anytime around the two dates.

To help tone my uterus for my lil guys birthing time I drank Eden’s Balance Feminine Toner Tea.  I sat on the balance ball.  I saw the chiropractor 2x a week.  I never reclined in a chair.  I always slept on my left side…blah, blah, blah…everything you are supposed to do to help the baby get into position & stay in the perfect LOA (Left Occiput Anterior) position.

I did have to discontinue the Feminine Toner Tea because my body is very sensitive to the Red Raspberry and caused me to start losing my mucus plug at 32 weeks.  This isn’t abnormal but isn’t uncommon either.  I continued the rest of my routine and managed to keep him in the right position from week 35 to 40…

That’s right…he was still in there at 40 weeks.  So what does this mean for mom & baby.  Well mom is probably really, really ready to meet her little one & really, really ready to pop.  I know I was, I felt like every day I was putting on more pounds and craving more cake.  As for baby it means that the vernix caseosa (cottage cheesy substance that forms in week 18 and protects the baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid) starts to come off and the baby’s skin is no longer protected.  This will cause the baby to come out “cleaner” when delivered & with dry flaking skin.  The earlier the baby is born, the more vernix will still be on the baby.  Below is a picture of a baby born at 38 weeks gestation with most of its vernix still in tact.  You will see in later pics of Kihre how “clean” he came out compared to the baby pictured below.

Vernix is a white substance that protects the baby's skin from the amniotic fluid & even infection.
Vernix is a white substance that protects the baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid & even infection.

Your little one is also getting heavier & longer.  Don’t worry though, he is just as happy as can be.  Just pay attention to movements, be aware that they will be smaller because he has no space left to move.  He should still be moving.

At approximately 41 weeks I was ready to have the baby by myself in the middle of my bedroom floor if necessary to avoid the hospital.   I decided to start holistic methods of labor induction since going to the hospital was not an option.  After getting the ok from my Midwife, I visited my Acupuncturist, Dr. Choi, for an acupuncture induction.  I can barely understand the guy but I love the results I get everytime I see him…this time was no different.  I went to the office around 12pm on September 11th and had the procedure and went home to continue circles on my balance ball.

By 6pm I started to have pressure waves (contractions), I would only describe them as medium on the intensity scale.  They were 30 minutes apart but what I thought were intense enough to call my birthing team.  I had my Midwife, Doula on standby & two of my girlfriends at the house for comfort.  I was ready to get this baby out!  By this time Papa Bear & I had not been together for 4 months and we had decided to only peacefully co-parent.  For reasons that I will not get into in this blog I wasn’t planning on him being there for the delivery so I didn’t tell him that I was trying to induce naturally.  Little did I know, Kihre had other plans…because he waited until Papa Bear got back from his business trip to arrive.

By 12pm the pressure waves were still 30 minutes apart & I was exhausted.  Since I was able, I decided to get some rest and see what happened.  By 11am the next morning they had stopped completely and my lower back was killing me.  My Doula, Amy with Rosebud Doula, informed me that this was because the baby had adjusted his position and was no longer in the optimal position.

The best advice that my Doula gave me: When you feel pressure waves in your lower back, simply lift up your tummy firmly and tuck your pelvis.  It helps the baby position himself easier.  Thank you for this bit of info Amy!  It actually ended up starting my birthing time but I am getting ahead of myself.

I had only a few pressure waves over the next day.  Then SURPRISE! On Sunday morning guess who was watching TV on the couch when I woke…yep…Papa Bear.  I was kind of fuming that news of my coming birthing time had gotten out.  I am however very glad that it did, but I will get to why shortly.  The rest of the day I only had approximately 5-7 pressure waves, all only mildly intense.

My next course of action was to see the Chiropractor, Jill with Momentum Chiropractic on Liberia Ave  (love my Chiropractor).  Chiropractic adjustments are known to help the baby get into the LOA position.  I figured even if it didn’t get him out, it would surely help put my rib back into place (he kicked it every day for the last 6 weeks he was in there…owe).  My appointment with Jill was at 11am.  I had my normal adjustment and went home to wait again.

By 4pm there was no change so I decided to lay down and take a nap.  I remember thinking that nothing was going to get this kid out.  I woke up abruptly at 4:48 and headed to the bathroom, which was my most unfavorite place in the world since I spent to so much time peeing.  I went potty as usual but this time there was a huge glob of mucus plug, not streaks or even spots like in the previous weeks.  Anytime now I thought.  Still no strong pressure waves.  I washed my hands and headed out to my bedroom.  I looked at the clock and it was 4:50.

Right then I had the strongest pressure wave that I had had so far.  I lifted my belly & tucked my pelvis.  Immediately his head locked & loaded into position.  All I could do was drop down to my hands & knees…and crawl to my balance ball.  I laid my head on my ball for support and looked at the clock again…4:55 uhoh…another wave was coming….”OHHHHHHHHH, AHHHHHHH, OHHHHHHHHHH” were the only sounds I could get out.

By this time it was 5:20 and I remember thinking oh god…how will anyone know what is going on if I can’t even say anything…My oldest son was in his bedroom right next to mine and Papa Bear was in the living room.  I figured my best bet was to yell my son’s name as loud as I could.  Luckily he got Papa Bear before he came to me.

I managed say with labored breathing “Call Parveen, It’s Time, Now!”.

Parveen is my Midwife with Birth Traditions Midwifery.  I knew by that time it was already way past time to call.  Luckily he had heard the intensity of my moans & had already sprung into action calling all the numbers on the call list.  Unfortunately he called the Midwifes home number and not her cell phone.  Luckily he did get through to the Doula who was able to contact the Midwife and another backup Doula, this was all just in the nick of time since my the birth was progressing along very quickly.

The whole time my awesome & amazing oldest boy was sitting by my side with a cold wash cloth and holding my hand.  He was so calm and I am so proud that he was able to see the things that he did and still remain clam & in control.  He was a great help.

IMG_6464

At 5:45 my water broke. I still had on my yoga pants when I felt this huge gush that in my mind sounded like a gigantic balloon popping.  I later asked the kiddo if he heard it and he said no he didn’t hear anything.  I guess it was the sensation that gave me the impression of the noise.  By this time I was in a totally different place than anyone else in the room.  I could feel that it was almost time to start pushing.  Here we were…go time and it was still just the boys & I…that was the only terrifying part.  Especially since Papa Bear was frantic even though he really did try to remain calm.  I was fine with the thought of getting him out by myself (I had to do that anyways) but none of us were prepared for what to do once the baby actually came out.

Around 6:00 I had to push, it couldn’t wait any longer.  I reached my hand around and felt his head along with some other gooey substance that I am glad that I did not see (later they said it was just membrane from the amniotic sac).  Papa Bear had washed his hands & arms and was ready to delivery the baby himself.  He later told me that he wanted to put me in the car and take me to the ER.  Hah…good luck getting a pregnant woman into a car in the late stages of labor, I couldn’t even make it to my back porch.

I recall thinking how lucky that I had previously given birth and remembered the sensation of burning when you push and your skin is not ready.  I had to slow down even though the sensation to push was so strong.  This is what prevented me from tearing my perineum.

All I could say was “PLEASE, SOMEBODY HELP ME!”. I was so worried that Papa Bear would have to catch my lil guy when he popped out.  Although he has lots of birth experience it has never been this hands on.  He would say later that this one will go down in the record books as the most exciting, fascinating & frightening.

One more push and his head was out.  By this time I was swimming in the euphoric cocktail of hormones that were being produced by my body.  This was something that I had not felt when I gave birth the first time.  Unfortunately when medically induced and on epidural the body isn’t able to create the correct mix of hormones to put you in LaLa land.  I was in a place of complete Vulnerability & total Power.  It is a feeling that is very hard to describe and I recommend that every woman experience it if she is able…Very Empowering!

At this time the Doula arrived.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect because the baby’s hand was stuck on my pelvis.  She had to insert her fingers to help it move through.  That was most possibly the most intense part of the birthing time outside of the initial burning.  Once she moved his hand, I pushed and he slid right out at 6:22.

By this time I was exhausted.  I had been on my hands & knees for the entire 82 minutes.  This was the moment that I actually noticed that the Doula was not Amy and a back up named Marilyn.  Luckily it was Marilyn since she was well versed in how to get his little hand out of the way.  The delivery could have been much longer had she not been there.  I had to apologize to Marilyn since I called her Amy the entire time.  Told you I was in LaLa Land.

The Midwife arrived shortly after he came out.  It was a great relief for me when she arrived.  I knew everything was fine but having her there to check everything gave me peace of mind.  I don’t remember who but Papa Bear or the Midwife passed my little guy to me under my legs as I sat on the floor.   It was the first time I had rested and the first time I saw him…the most precious little old soul.  It is amazing how you fall in love immediately and any pain that you were in melts away.  I held him in my arms and stared down on this little perfect combination of me and his father.

I moved from the floor to the bed with assistance from Papa Bear.  I wasn’t sore or in pain just very tired so I did need help.  My little guy was still connected to me for a while as the placenta continued to beat.  I held him for what seems like 30 minutes but time had stopped for me so I don’t know if that is accurate.  It was so nice to take my time with our first introduction.  My oldest had been taken from my arms minutes after being born and the placenta cut while still beating.  I will get into the importance in another blog…

FullSizeRender10

After the placenta stopped beating, Papa Bear had the honor of cutting the cord.

FullSizeRender

He got to hold the baby for the first time when It was time for me to deliver the placenta.  He is so proud to have a son that is his spitting image.

FullSizeRender1

I did have some trouble getting my placenta out.  It is amazing how tired your body is after birth, it is like you just ran a marathon while standing in place.  I finally just imagined pushing and it falling out.  It worked even though everything was numb and I couldn’t even feel the sensation of the pushing.  It is in the deep freezer now waiting to be dehydrated & encapsulated.

Everything from that evening was pretty much a blur…overall our birthing time was perfect.  Little man came out weighting 7.5lbs & measuring a whopping 22″ long.  His APGAR Score was 8 at delivery and 5 minutes after he was a 9.  He had only minor symptoms of his late arrival.  He was very clean when he came out since the vernix had all come off.  His skin was a bit cracked on the creases (fixed that right up with olive oil.  They also attribute his length to his extra time in the womb. Most babies are between 19″-21″ when born.

FullSizeRender2

So although I did not birth in the water as expected and I almost birthed unassisted, everything was perfect.   During my Hypnobabies studies they emphasize that your birthing time will be exactly perfect for you and your baby.  If you keep that in mind and remain flexible with your birthing plans everything will go much smoother.  I would have loved to be able to tell everyone what it is like to have the baby outside and in the water…I even wanted to have pictures and video but since he came out in 82 minutes from start to finish, none of that happened.  All I have is a perfect little angel and a cool birthing story.

In conclusion I would totally recommend a natural home birth as well as the idea of getting to the water tub in time.  Hypnobabies was very helpful, I would recommend to everyone that isn’t familiar with meditation.  Definitely look into Birth without Fear and just remember how strong and powerful you are!!  Good luck & please contact me with any questions or comments…

IMG_6508

 

 

 

 

 

THIRD TRIMESTER POSITIONS: Sitting, Standing, Sleeping, Stretching & Sex…Oh My!

Congratulations…you made it to the home stretch!  Good news is you will have your little one in your arms & your body back to yourself very soon.  Bad news is the symptoms of the Third Trimester can be very taxing as your baby continues to pack on pounds & your body adjusts for the final round of pregnancy.  Sitting, Standing, Sleeping, Stretching & Sex…OH MY… it is hard to get comfortable with a watermelon inside of you.  Here are some tips on tried & true methods to ease the physical discomfort as you wait to meet your little pumpkin!  These are also important positions that can help your body meet the upcoming demands of delivery.

PREGNANCY ANATOMY

Here is a mini anatomy lesson to help you understand where the discomforts are coming from.  As your little one grows, every other organ in your body has to shift and make room.  Everything from your diaphragm to your bladder is being squished.  Your intestines are pushed upward toward the diaphragm, with pressure on the colon in the back and the bladder in the front. The diagram below shows how this progresses through each of the three stages of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Anatomy by Trimester

In the first trimester the uterus still fits snugly inside the pelvic bone.  As you can see, there isn’t space for anything by the third trimester.  That on top of the plethora of other symptoms:

  • Shortness of Breath-Your baby is growing quickly now and competing for space with your lungs & diaphragm as well.  This will ease in the 9th month as the baby engages and moves into position.  Lift your arms when you feel out of breath.  Use extra pillows to prop you up in bed and when lying down do so on your side.  It is always recommended to lay on your left side because it is less taxing on your organs & the vein that supplies blood & nutrients to your little one.
  • Fatigue-You are carrying an extra 20-30lbs around by this stage (more or less depending on your pre-pregnancy weight).  That is very taxing on the body.  It is great to take breaks and naps whenever possible.  Light exercise such as swimming, prenatal yoga or even walking is beneficial to boost your energy.  Be sure to eat small healthy snacks through out the day.  Protein & complex carbohydrates are a must for both you and your growing baby.  If your energy is really low you need to speak to your midwife or OB as you may have an iron deficiency.
  • Back Aches-Your ever expanding belly along with the hormone relaxin will inevitably throw off your posture.  Don’ fret…there are ways to make these adjustments more bearable.  Go to the spa and get a prenatal massage.  Visit a reputable chiropractor and get a prenatal adjustment.  I’m excited to have my first chiropractic adjustment this week.  I will get back with you and let you know how it goes.  Stretching does wonders…see below in Stretching Positions for awesome back & hip stretches.  Don’t lift anything, always get assistance…you deserve all the help you can get at this stage in the game.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, everyone will be happy to help a pregnant lady…if not they will do it anyways.
  • Frequent Urination-I can’t tell you how tired I am of peeing….ahhhh, late night bathroom breaks are the worst.  As you can see from the photo above, the uterus & baby’s head are pressing down quite a bit on your bladder.  This is why you have to go so often and sometimes even leak a bit when you cough or sneeze.  Make sure you avoid caffeine as it is a diuretic.  It is very important to continue drinking the recommended eight 8oz glasses of water every day.  It will be tempting to cut back but you cannot…hydration is very important for both you and the baby.
  • Heartburn-This always seems to plague me between 1am and 3am in the morning.  No matter what time yours hits it is brutal.  I would almost rather just throw up than have it sit in my throat.  TMI…The heartburn comes from the increased hormone cocktail in your body…it relaxes everything from your bowls to the flap that keeps everything in your esophagus.  This allows the days meals to easily come up…yuck!  Try to avoid fried, fatty, spicy or highly seasoned foods.  Avoiding caffeine can help too.  Eat small meals through out the day so your stomach has time to process the food. Be sure to sit up while eating and don’t eat too close to bedtime.
  • Swollen Feet, Legs & Varicose Veins-Swelling is caused by fluid retention in the lower extremities….legs, ankles & feet.  Swelling should subside but should also be monitored by your Midwife or OB.  Varicose Veins on the other hand are blood vessel valves that become soft or weak and allow blood to pool and form bulges.  These can be painful and permanent so it is best to try and avoid them all together.  Change positions from sitting to standing and prop feet up often.  Try not to cross your legs or ankles if you are experiencing swelling or Varicose Veins.  A cobblers pose is a great alternative to sitting cross-legged and also a great hip opener.  See Sitting Positions below.  Baths are also a great way to reduce swelling.  Add some Epsom Salt and/or Himalayan Salt for added purification & swelling reduction.  Just be sure that the water is not too hot.  Consult your Midwife or OB on safe bath temperatures.

SITTING POSITIONS

When seated in a chair it is important to sit up straight with knees bent at  90deg angle and your pelvis tilted slightly forward.  Do not cross your legs or ankles, it’s bad for circulation and can lead to swelling & varicose veins.  Changing & adjusting positions frequently is imperative for good blood flow so try not to sit for too long.  Try and stand up at least every hour to do a quick stretch & then resume what you were doing.  It only takes a moment.

sitting

As comfortable as it may feel, do not slouch.  Slouching in recliners or on the bed will only encourage the baby to lay in the posterior position.  This is when the baby’s spine is closest to your spine.  Anterior is the optimal position for labor and will help to avoid back labor and make your baby’s transition into this world easier.  Remember birthing is like running a marathon for them too.

anterior & posterior (2)

When sitting on the floor is more preferable it is best to sit in cobblers pose.  Simply sit straight up with your sit bones on a mat or blanket.  Bend knees & put bottoms of feet together.  Adjust for comfort and relax.  This pose is also great for readying the hips for labor.  It will help keep you nice and flexible for birth.

Sitting cross legged or indian style is a great hip opener too.  Though it may be more comfortable to sit in cobblers pose.  Either way don’t over stretch. Remember those hormones already gave your tendons & joints a chill pill and it is easy to over stretch so move slowly into positions.   Most importantly listen to your body.

My most favorite sitting position is any position that involves my balance ball.  It is my favorite must have pregnancy comfort item.  You can purchase them online or in stores easily.  Just make sure that you get one that is right for your height.

The balance ball is great for core strength and stabilizing your pelvis.  It is recommended to spend as much time sitting up on a balance ball as possible in the third trimester.  It will help to prepare your pelvis for labor & even help the baby get into just the right position.  If you have to sit at a desk you should replace your chair with a balance ball.   Some employers will even cover the cost, though it is well worth the expense to just buy on your own if they will not.

STANDING POSITIONS

Standing for long periods of time during the third trimester is not recommended for circulation reasons.  Your body is circulating over 50% more blood than normal & it is hard work on your body.  So as much as possible you want to be in an upright seated position.  Elevating your feet as much as possible is great for circulation too.  When you do need to stand, here are some tips to keep your body in alignment.

3193423

SLEEPING POSITIONS

In the first two trimesters it is a lot easier to find comfortable sleeping positions, but by the third trimester sleeping can be near impossible.  Your belly is way to big at this time to sleep on your front.  Besides the baby will definitely be kicking and punching if you put too much pressure on him.  Sleeping on your back is also a no-no.  The extra weight of your uterus will put pressure on your spine, back muscles, intestines & vena cava-a major artery that runs in between your spine and your placenta.   This can lead to muscle aches and impaired circulation, see diagram below.

circulation

Laying on your left side, some say,  is the optimal position for most mommy’s in every trimester but is especially useful in the third.  You will however need to switch from your left to right side.  If you spend too much time in one position you will cause undue aches.  Sleeping on your left side will help babies in the posterior position to re-position the mothers left side facing toward the right hip.  This is the easiest position for the baby to be in for labor.  I will further refer you to an authority on this, Spinning Babies.  This site is full of information & they have classes you can attend too.

Placing a pillow behind you will help stabilize you.  Use either an extra firm pillow or body pillow to place between your knees.  This will help keep your hips in alignment and avoid unnecessary aches.

Knee position

You can find specialized pillows for pregnancy but I have found that they tend to be super expensive and extra firm pillows work just as well.  I didn’t buy anything fancy but if I had…here are some that have gotten great reviews & I would have loved to try…maybe I will get them for the next pregnancy.

The Holo-Lilo allows you to get some tummy sleeping in.  I also think this would have been very comfy for lying on the beach or by the pool.   http://www.holo-lilo.com/

Holo

 

The Mumanu is another one that I would have liked to try.  http://www.mumanu.com/

Mamanu

STRETCHING POSITIONS

What better time than pregnancy to adapt a new, positive & wholesome approach to life?  Yoga is an awesome way to do that. Smooth pregnancy and a natural childbirth are just some of the benefits of yoga. But more importantly, yoga does wonders on the physical and mental development of the fetus.  Below are some yoga stretches that are generally considered safe in the third trimester.  Do these poses slowly, there is no rush.  If you feel any discomfort, ease out of the pose slowly and try one that is more comfortable.  Make sure you consult with your Midwife or OB before trying any new stretches or exercises during pregnancy.

HALF BUTTERFLY is an excellent practice for loosening of hip and knee joints, which shall enable faster delivery.

Sit with legs outstretched. Bend the right leg and place the right foot as far up on the left thigh as possible. Place the right hand on top of the bent right knee.

Hold the toes of the right foot with the left hand. While breathing in, gently move the right knee up towards the chest. Breathing out, gently push the knee down and try to touch the floor. The trunk should not move. Movement of leg should be achieved by the exertion of the right arm. Repeat with left leg. Slowly practice about 10 up and down movements with each leg. DO NOT STRAIN.

FULL BUTTERFLY helps remove tension & tiredness from inner thigh muscles and legs.

Sit with legs outstretched. Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together, keeping the heels as close to the body as possible. Fully relax the inner thighs. Clasp the feet with both hands. Gently bounce the knees up and down, using the elbows as levers to press the legs down.

Do not use any force. Repeat up to 20-30 times. Straighten the legs and relax.

SLEEPING ABDOMINAL STRETCH removes constipation, improves digestion. Relieves stiffness and strain of spine caused by prolonged sitting.

Lie in the back. Interlock fingers of both hands and place hands beneath the head. Bend knees, keeping the soles of feet on the floor.

At the same time move the head towards the left, giving uniform twisting stretch to the entire spine. Repeat on the other side by bending legs towards left, and head towards right.  If this is too deep of a stretch, you can look in the direction of the bent knees.

SQUATTING All over the world, women give birth squatting. It is the most natural and beneficial posture. This posture widens the pelvis and, with the help of gravity, encourages the descent of your baby in the birth canal. Squat exercise mobilizes the entire pelvic region, widening it as much as 25%!  That being said, if your baby is not in the correct position do not do deep squats.  Once the baby has engaged it is hard to back them up so don’t over do the squats.  Speak to your Midwife or OB about the baby’s position in relation to your squats.

CHAIR SQUATS-Stand upright and relaxed while facing the back of a sturdy chair. Step your feet slightly farther than hip-distance away from each other with your toes pointed out. Hold the chair back and tighten your abdominal muscles, loosen your shoulder muscles and lower your body down as if about to sit down on a chair. You will feel the tops of your thighs putting in a lot of work.  Push back up through your legs to stand back up. Repeat as often as you comfortably can.

GODDESS SQUAT-Begin standing in Mountain Pose athe top of your mat with your arms at your sides. Bring your hands to rest comfortably on your hips.  Turn to the right and step your feet wide apart, about four feet. Turn your toes out slightly, so they point to the corners of your mat.  On an exhalation, bend your knees directly over your toes and lower your hips into a squat. Work toward bringing your thighs parallel to the floor, but do not force yourself into the squat.  Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder-height with your palms facing down. Then, spiral your thumbs up toward the ceiling, so your palms face forward. Bend your elbows and point your fingertips toward the ceiling; your upper arms and forearms should be at a 90-degree angle. Tuck your tailbone in slightly and press your hips forward as you draw your thighs back. Keep your knees in line with your toes. Soften your shoulders. Gaze softly at the horizon.  Hold for up to 10 breaths. To release, slowly return your hands to your hips. Keeping your spine upright, inhale as you press firmly into your feet and straighten your legs. Step your feet together and come back to the top of your mat in Mountain Pose.

This pose can be difficult if you have not practiced it before.  If you find squatting very difficult, you can put your buttocks on a bolster or on a block or two! You can also do a squatting pose with your back resting against a wall.

  • Rest both hands on the back of a chair.
  • Rest one hand along a wall to the side of the body.
  • Do the pose with your back against a wall.

EXTENDED TRIANGLE strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, arms, and chest.  It also stretches and opens the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine.

Stand upright, then exhale and step your feet about 4 ft. apart from each other. Lift your arms out to the sides, making them parallel to the floor below and turn them palm down. Slightly turn your left foot toward your right foot, turn your right foot 90 degrees to the right, then tighten your thigh muscles and turn your right thigh until the right knee cap aligns with the right ankle. Lean your torso right, over the right leg, bending your body at the hip rather than at the waist.

Keep your balance by strengthening the left leg muscles and planting the heel onto the floor. Place your right hand on your shin or ankle, depending on what feels comfortable and turn your torso to the left. Extend your left arm straight above at the shoulder and follow it with your eyes, gazing up at your hand. Hold for 30 seconds, inhale and return to standing. Reverse foot positions and repeat on the other side.

These are only a few of the beneficial yoga poses for the third trimester.  Remember that each persons body is different so you may need to make adjustments to make sure that you are comfortable and not over stretching.  Pregnancy Yoga Resource is an amazing website that will give you tons more poses & information on yoga and its pregnancy benefits.

SEX POSITIONS

Let’s be honest, sometimes you won’t feel like doing anything, let alone having some sexy time with your partner.  However; there will be those times that you start feeling frisky.  As long as you are not high risk and you are up for it, sex in the third trimester can be awesome!!  It is also a great way to get labor moving since orgasms create the hormone Oxytocin and semen contains prostaglandins which are known to soften the cervix.  Finding a position a comfortable sexual position in the First and Second Trimester was easy…Third Trimester…not so much.   But let me tell you, it is totally possible and is just as hot and steamy as when you were making the babe in the first place.

As you can see from the graphic below the most important thing to remember is to leave plenty of space for your baby.  The baby will most certainly make adjustments so he/she is more comfortable too.  It is fine, you are not hurting him he is just readjusting to your position just like when you turn from left to right while sleeping.  My tried & true favorites are A, B & C below.  My little man doesn’t like D so he moves like crazy and it is super uncomfortable for me…may work for you though, so try ’em all.

Sexc

The best position for all three of us seems to be with my bottom to the side or foot of the bed and lie back with your knees bent and feet perched at the edge of the mattress. (After your first trimester, wedge a pillow under one side so you’re not completely flat on your back.) Your partner kneels or stands in front of you.

post4 (1)

If your partner is scared that he may hurt the baby, simply inform him that  no penis is large enough to dislodge a baby.  His ego may be touch a little bit so tell him how endowed he is first and how much you love his penis.  Then he will probably be all too ready to go.  So get to it…why not end the pregnancy with all the love & affection that got you all here in the first place…Especially since you have to wait 5-6 weeks after the baby is born to have sex again.

While sex is generally considered safe, there are some conditions or complications with pregnancy that may impact having sexual intercourse. Your health care provider may advise you to limit or avoid sex if you have one of the following conditions:

  • A history of miscarriage
  • A history of pre-term labor
  • Vaginal bleeding or cramps
  • Leakage of amniotic fluid or breaking of water
  • Incompetent cervix (the cervix or opening of the uterus is weak and opens prematurely, which increases the risk for miscarriage or premature delivery)
  • Placenta previa (the structure that provides nourishment to the baby is in front of the cervix or in the lower part of the uterus, instead of the usual location at the top of the uterus)
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Infection

 

Why I Maintain a Healthy Pregnancy Weight to Avoid Complications

Since your lifestyle before conception is so important,  I am glad that we started changing our eating habits many years ago and quit smoking over 2 years before the conception of Baby K.A.M.   We drink smoothies for breakfast, eat lots of fresh fruits & veggies,  salads,  avoiding processed & pre-packaged foods.  Now that there is a beautiful baby boy growing inside of me I know how important it is to keep up my healthy lifestyle and eating habits.  This is a great way to relive any stresses you may have about pregnancy, avoid habits that will cause complications.

fruit granola chia
Granola, Chia Seeds, Yogurt, Fresh Fruit for Breakfast
Baby K.A.M.s Brother said he wants my belly to get bigger so he grilled my favorite veggies.
Baby K.A.M.s Brother said he wants my belly to get bigger so he grilled my favorite veggies.

I will flashback for a minute to my first pregnancy since nothing was healthy about that pregnancy.  I gained 68lbs, way over the recommended 25-35lbs.  I ate everything fast & processed, hell it was easy, fast & inexpensive.  Can you believe my son was only 5lbs 13oz of that weight.  I was very lucky to have a complication free pregnancy & easy delivery.

icecream

Now I consciously make my food choices, hormones or not.  I give myself 3 sweet cheats weekly so I don’t go nuts and if I have 4, it won’t kill me.  Like yesterday when I had to have that chewy chocolate brownie for desert.  That is the beauty of having a healthy diet & lifestyle.  Occasional cheats are OK.  Its the daily cheats that become a problem.

Some women are under the impression that you can eat as much and however you want when you are pregnant.  The old saying that you are “eating for two” is a common misnomer that should be addressed.  You don’t necessarily need more calories in your diet, especially in the first trimester.  In the second & third trimesters you will need to increase your nutrient intake but only about 200-300 calories per day.  You and your baby will require more of certain nutrients at different stages of your pregnancy.  Folic Acid is very important during the first trimester since the majority of the body systems are forming at that time.  Later on in pregnancy protein & iron  very important so the baby can grow larger & continue to develop.  I will get more into the development needs during each trimester in a later post.

Piling on pounds causes complications to both baby & mother,  you can see why this is so important & not just a superficial need to be a certain size…I know that with all of the hormones raging & cravings it is not easy, but be sure to have lots of healthy foods readily available.

Lots of Fresh Fruits to snack on
Lots of Fresh Fruits to snack on

Keeping junk food snacks out of the house is important too, outta sight, outta mind.  Oh yeah…and occasionally…have a cheat.  Just not everyday.  It also helps so much if your partner is on the healthy band wagon too…although Papa Bear has sweet cravings.  I’m good as long as I don’t see it, but I think it is cute that dad’s have cravings too.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS OF OBESITY FOR THE MOTHER

Being obese during pregnancy increases the risk of various pregnancy complications, including:

  • Gestational diabetes. Women who are obese are more likely to have diabetes that develops during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) than are women who have a normal weight.
  • Preeclampsia. Women who are obese are at increased risk of developing a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys (preeclampsia).
  • Infection. Women who are obese during pregnancy are at increased risk of urinary tract infections. Obesity also increases the risk of postpartum infection, whether the baby is delivered vaginally or by C-section.
  • Overdue pregnancy. Obesity increases the risk that pregnancy will continue beyond the expected due date.
  • Labor problems. Labor induction is more common in women who are obese. Obesity can also interfere with the use of certain types of pain medication, such as an epidural block.
  • C-section. Obesity during pregnancy increases the likelihood of elective and emergency C-sections. Obesity also increases the risk of C-section complications, such as wound infections. Women who are obese are also less likely to have a successful vaginal delivery after a C-section (VBAC).
  • Pregnancy loss. Obesity increases the risk of miscarriage.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS TO THE BABY

  • Macrosomia. Women who are obese are at increased risk of delivering an infant who is significantly larger than average (macrosomia) and has more body fat than normal. Research suggests that as birth weight increases, so does the risk of childhood obesity.
  • Chronic conditions. Being obese during pregnancy might increase the risk that your baby will develop heart disease or diabetes as an adult.
  • Birth defects. Research suggests that obesity during pregnancy slightly increases the risk of having a baby who’s born with a birth defect.

I am now 21 weeks and have gained 9lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight.  I am right on track for the recommended 25-35lbs.  The baby’s development is perfect & I feel so good!  I have tons of energy & am very much looking forward to meeting our little miracle.   Even more importantly helping him to stay the pure conscious soul that I know him to be.

BABY K.A.M. 21 Weeks
BABY K.A.M. 21 Weeks

Midwife vs OB: My Experience with both

Before Baby K.A.M.s conception I knew that my next child would be born naturally. Since I have led a very conscious lifestyle for quite sometime, making the decision to have a natural birth was a simple one. Ensuring that my baby has a healthy conscious entrance into this world is my number one priority. I will digress and say that I did not have the same experience with my first son. I was young and invincible. I knew nothing of being natural or healthy. I was still young and not worried about weight so I ate pretty much however I wanted. I ate meat, fast foods, processed, prepackaged meals like they were going out of style. They were cheap and I was out living on my own at 20.

This time I was sure that I wanted to have a water birth so the baby would have a smooth transition from womb to world. But that was all I really knew about natural birth, well that and that you didn’t get to use drugs. Drugs like Pitocin to induce contractions & Epidural to ease the pain. My first encounter with the OB was fine, sterile & cold but fine. Peed in a cup, got blood taken, all the basic stuff. It was still too early for a sonogram or heartbeat. All was well until I mentioned a water birth and having an all natural pregnancy. I remember her giving me a look like I was a silly child. That would be the first of many health professionals to completely discount my wishes to honor my bodies ability to grow a child and give birth with out the help of modern medicine.

After my first OB visit I started looking into getting a midwife. I did not take the plunge at that point to go from OB to Midwife but I wanted to learn more. I sent a few emails and waited for responses. In the meanwhile I started to be taken over by what I thought at first was normal morning sickness but turned out to be Hypermesis Gravidarum. 4 days into not being able to put anything my mouth, I called my OB and she immediately prescribed Zofran. I refused to take it. Zofran is a drug created to help chemotherapy patients with nausea, it is commonly used in early pregnancy to treat nausea as well.  By day 6 I thought I would die. I called the on call OB and explained my plight. Can’t eat or drink, not for days, urine is brown, dehydration symptoms set in, blah, blah. He told me that if I did not take the medicine there was nothing he could do. He even informed me that going to the emergency room was pointless, you will see later he was right. This doctor just could not understand why I would not just “help” myself by taking medication.

Four days later I thought I was going to die, 10 days, no food, no water. Needless to say I landed in Urgent Care for a moment until they immediately sent me to the ER. This after not being able to find my blood pressure (yes it was pretty bad). Both Urgent Care & the ER stressed the need to take some kind of anti-nausea medications. All I would allow them was to give me a saline (salt & water) IV so I could get some strength back. After this encounter I was done with doctors. Especially when I saw the lawsuit for Zofran on TV 2 days later: SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE: heart deformities, cleft lip & cleft pallet when taken in first trimester of pregnancy.  I went straight to nearest Midwifery center without passing go or collecting $200.

The birthing center was fine. Comfortable atmosphere, nice nurses, midwives & staff.  I would actually recommend this setting if you don’t want to birth at home or in the water.  I got to hear Baby K.A.M.s heartbeat, did blood work, original dating sonogram (ended up being totally wrong, another blog) & got lots of questions answered.

Baby K.A.M. Approx 8 weeks
Baby K.A.M. Approx 8 weeks

I unfortunately ran into a speed bump when I found out that the Midwifery did not offer care for home appointments or births. I also found that the practices of the center were very similar to the regular OB. It was definitely more informal but I still got a very medical vibe.  I will say that if you want a more laid back experience and a medical setting makes you more comfortable, a birthing center is the way to go.  You can labor in the water there but not actually give birth.  The midwives at the practice will not attend a home birth either.  I am so glad I continued looking because I found the perfect alternative to hospitals & birthing centers, the Private Midwife. So let’s discuss the actual difference between an Obstetrician and a Midwife.

WHAT IS AN OBSTETRICIAN?

Obstetricians are physicians who have completed four years of medical school and an additional four years of an obstetric residency program.  They must take a written and oral exam to be board certified. Obstetricians deliver in hospitals and are prepared for major pregnancy complications. More often than not these complications arise from too much intervention.  Obstetricians are able to perform Caesarian sections if the need arises.  They tend to use medical interventions: induction, episiotomies, forceps, Caesarian section, etc.  Being in the hospital also means that you can have epidural, a body numbing drug that virtually removes all of the pain.  You can get Pitocin to speed along contractions if the doctor doesn’t feel like your body is moving fast enough. Only problem is when using those drugs  your bodies own natural cocktail of oxytocin & endorphins don’t kick in like they should but I’ll get more into that in another blog about pregnancy hormones.

WHAT IS A MIDWIFE?

Midwives are traditional care providers for mothers & infants. They are registered nurses and most have completed an additional two year masters degree program in midwifery.  Certification exams are required by most states.  The word Midwife comes from the old English words Mit meaning “with” and Wif meaning “woman”. Midwifery is an empowering model of maternity care that is practiced in most countries around the world. The care includes preconception, pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum care and beyond. Midwives must be certified in most states and are able to conduct physical exams and order laboratory, screening & other diagnostic tests. Midwives tend to be more holistic and a good choice if you want to have an unmedicated natural birth.  They tend to avoid using medical interventions: induction, episiotomies, forceps, Caesarian section, etc…

Midwives regard birth as a natural process that the female body is designed to handle instead of a sickness in need of a cure.  Your appointments can be conducted in the office or in the comfort of your own home. Better yet, you can give birth wherever you want to in the hospital, in birthing center or at your home.  There is a strong focus on emotional support, health & wellness.  If you want someone that has a more laid back natural approach and supports you in making your own decisions about birth, a Midwife may just be right for you.

Sculpture of women giving wirth with help of midwife & doula
Sculpture of women giving wirth with help of midwife & doula

TYPES OF MIDWIVES & REQUIRED CERTIFICATIONS

Midwives can be either Clinical or Private. Clinical Midwives tend to work in hospitals and birthing centers, your appointments will be held in a clinical office. With this option you will probably work with a midwifery team as opposed to one specific midwife.  Private Midwives can attend both hospital and birthing center deliveries; however you also have the option to give birth at home or even outdoors.  Your prenatal appointments can be in a private office, the home of the midwife or in the comfort of your own home.  Below are the types of Midwives & the required certifications.

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM): an individual trained and licensed in both nursing and midwifery. Nurse-midwives possess at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education and are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
Certified Professional Midwife (CPM): an individual trained in midwifery who meets practice standards of the North American Registry of Midwives.
Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM): an independent individual trained in midwifery through a variety of sources that can include: self-study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, or a college/university program.
Certified Midwife (CM): an individual trained and certified in midwifery. Certified midwives possess at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education and are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives
Lay Midwife: an individual who is not certified or licensed as a midwife but has been trained informally through self-study or apprenticeship.

Since I have no complications  & labor easily, this is a no brainier for me.  I made an appointment as soon as I could with my midwife. My first visit with my midwife was at my home free of charge. She spent over an hour giving me info, answering questions. She has had children of her own naturally and also has many years of experience in both hospital and home births. Her certifications include CPM, LM & CEIM.  Not only that she is half British & half Indian (she is so little & cute) both cultures that have not gotten away from the natural way of birthing.  And she lives 15 minutes from my house, how convenient is that?  Her company is Birth Traditions Midwifery, click on the link for more info.

PARVEEN-MIDWIFE
PARVEEN KELLY-BIRTH TRADITIONS MIDWIFERY

My first appointments was delayed because another mom was giving birth, you have to be flexible. Parveen, Midwife & Tone, Birthing assistant & Doula, were kind enough to meet us at our home later that afternoon to have the appointment.  I had my entire appointment on the couch. I even got to be greedy and eat.  Baby K.A.M.s brother was home for spring break and got to hear the heartbeat. The teen boys were not impressed and continued to play on the Playstation while I got my tummy measured on the couch. I got a wealth of information & tea recipes to help with nutrient intake, nausea & overall health.  I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, even Papa Bear liked the experience, though I can still tell he has his doubts a out having the baby at home.  As can be expected, fathers usually worry too much.

I feel so empowered and strong doing this process naturally.  Having a strong team of powerful women, who have given birth themselves really makes me confident in my decision.   I know that my child’s entry into this world will be be calm, peaceful & full of love. The benefits to my child will be tremendous. I plan to listen to my body and get through this challenging yet rewarding process one contraction at a time.

In the meanwhile I will be posting more on Baby K.A.M.s conscious journey into this unconscious world and tons of other healthy lifestyle & nutrition information.  So excited to change the world one mother & baby at a time.  Subscribe and check back soon. ❤️❤️