Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure).
Pregnancy can be a cause for a great mixture of emotions. Whether it is planned or unplanned, doubts may creep in whether your are able to care for a baby be it physically, financially, or emotionally. Fear of lack of support to help you care for the baby. Physical changes that you are not looking forward to. Concerns about your career. Or how will this new person in your life affect your relationship you your partner. Fatigue, morning sickness, headaches, aches body, lack of sleep, and perhaps other physical illnesses during pregnancy can lead to stress.
When we are stressed the body creates more blood catecholamines. These are stress hormones. In pregnancy if you have elevated levels, you are at risk of developing trouble sleeping, fatigue, high blood pressure, lowered immune system, anxiety, etc. These hormones can slow labor down. It can decrease circulation to the placenta decreasing baby’s ability to be nourished in utero. The effects of postpartum stressors can be a decrease in oxytocin production which is important in mother baby bonding and is helpful in mothers ability to heal, and increases the risk for postpartum mental health problems. The effects of stress on baby’s health are lower birth weights, premature delivery. There have even been studies down that have correlated low birth weights with high blood pressure in adults.
First on my list of course is massage therapy! So many studies have been done proving over and over massages ability to soothe and restore the nervous system. It helps the body to know what needs correction and helps it to reach a balanced state. The Touch Research Institute has done some amazing research on the effects of massage therapy and pregnancy. Here is one case study showing the enormous benefits of massage in pregnancy.
Field, T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage therapy. Expert Review of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5, 177-181.
In essence, massage works! It is well worth it to put massage therapy in your plan of care during pregnancy. You will feel the benefits now and see them well into labor and your baby will too. As for postpartum, I will discuss that another time. What are some other stress reducers you can implement in between you massage appointments?
So if you are feeling stressed or anxious, know that it is okay to take some time for yourself. It is okay to ask for help. You are not being selfish but you are caring for the wellbeing of yourself and your unborn baby. If you have other recommendations that helped you to lower your stress during pregnancy, please share in the comments.
Hi all. If you’re a member of the Buffalo Mom Squad Facebook group, head on over to see your exclusive deal for massage services. If you’re not a member, I highly suggest you join this fabulous group. Meet with likeminded moms for fun meetups, recommendations for local businesses and special walks just for their members.
Having mom friends is so important. Buffalo mom and real estate agent Ashley Tundo created the group so that moms could meet in Western New York for mon dates, play dates and to find a sisterhood in motherhood. It’s a non-judgements space for moms to support and uplift one another.
We are fortunate to have a dedicated online space and someone who organizes fun events for moms with local businesses.
Water. Why is it such a struggle for many of us to keep up with our water intake? It is so easy to reach for a latte, juice or soda. But what we all need more of is good old-fashioned H20. So for motivation let’s look at some benefits of increasing your water drinking habit.
So how much should you drink? A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150 lbs, then drink at least 75 ounces a day. If you are doing physical activities or its a hot day, then obviously drink a bit more than that. So drink up your water and you’ll feel and look your best!
Amniotic fluid is the liquid that is within the amnion or the membrane that holds the baby. Also known as waters. So when you hear the term her water broke, that is amniotic fluids. It serves as a cushioning to protect baby from external movements for shock absorbtion. This fluid also does a lot more. It also a source of nutrients, water, and biochemicals from mom to baby. As the baby grows, the fluid allows free movement allowing baby to do those acrobatic acts they like to do in utero. This helps their muscles and bones to develop. Also, when baby swallows this assists in the baby’s gastrointestinal development. It also helps keep baby’s body temperature just right.
It’s made mostly of water and electrolytes early in pregnancy. Later on it also contains, proteins, carbs, lipids, phospholipids, and urea. These “ingredients” help your baby in its development. So your body is making baby Gatorade of sorts. Plus it that’s where the baby’s urine comes from along with meconium (black sticky first poo after birth). Yes there is pee in there. It’s totally fine. How much is in there? Well, it increases with the growth of baby. It peaks at about 800 ml and decreases to 400 ml by week 42.
It comes from moms plasma and later in the pregnancy baby contributes by urinating. This is why staying hydrated is key in pregnancy. You should drink at least 8 cups a day. You have an increase blood volume and are producing amniotic fluid. By the time of the birth you will have about 1 liter of water gushing out. Little known fact, the majority of births don’t see the waters break until baby is actually emerging. It is not as common to have a giant gush of waters and then baby. It happens, just not as often as people (the media) thinks it does.
Did you know that amniotic fluid can tell us a story. It is used to test for diseases and genetic anomalies. The amount excess or shortage can signal problems with baby or signal maternal issues. In labor, the color will signal whether baby has had a bowel movement which may or may not signal fetal distress.
Breaking of the water as mentioned before can be spontaneous in active labor or at the birth of baby. Sometimes a labor has gone on for a while with no “progress” and the provider may suggest rupturing your membranes. They may use a amnihook or amnicot. The amniohook kind of looks like a crochet hook. It is inserted and used to break the waters. The finger cot is the same except its a little finger cot with a bit of a hook on it. It does not hurt and mom may feel relief at the breaking of the waters. Some providers feel that this potentially will speed up progress. There is no real proof it actually does. It can potentially make it harder to cope with the labor pains since now instead of a cushion of water on the cervix, the baby’s head is not directly on the cervix, leading to the need for pain medication. It can be helpful if labor has been long and the provider wants to make sure there is no meconium is in the fluids. All in all though, it seems like it’s best to leave things alone if possible.
So that is it. That is a brief run down on amniotic fluids. Have a fun fact you’d like to share please comment. Did your water break before the baby came, leak during labor, or gush right at baby’s arrival?
With the hot months upon us, it’s good to go over some tips to stay cool and safe while pregnant. It’s no joke to be heavily pregnant in the summer. While you have the awesome benefits of a having great array of fresh veg and fruits in the summer, the heat can be so oppressive it can distract from the pros of having a summer baby. So what’s a hot pregnant person to do!?
So if we have a hot summer, there is no need to hide indoors. You can have fun and stay safe while pregnant. Have more tips please share with the class. You can come in and get a massage with cold stones as well. Very chill experience. Enjoy your summer and stay safe!
Try out this cool dream of an add-on for the hot months ahead. If this week is anything to go by, we are in for some hot days. Enjoy this fresh aloe vera and cucumber mask for the back to help you have a cool experience. Cold marble massage stones deepen the cooling experience. Perfect to soothe a sun-kissed back. If you are experiencing hot-flashes from menopause this is a nice break. Enjoy a green tea and fruit infused water to take with you on the go. Schedule your 60/90/120 minute massage session and add-on this treatment to give yourself a cool treat!
Once you hit your second trimester, perhaps some of the early symptoms of pregnancy have abated. You’ve got more energy. You are eating well. Feeling good. In your second trimester, some will get a sharp pain in on the sides.
So there is this hormone called relaxin and this lets connective tissues relax. Sudden movements or stretching with normal movement can cause this sharp pain on your side or even both sides. The uterus is growing and is heavy and big enough to stretch the ligaments, but not quite big enough to sit on the pelvis bones to give some relief.
First, be aware of your movements. Use those abdominal muscles to help support your movements and not put those ligaments under strain. Try to avoid sudden movement and changes of position. If you work in an office setting, be careful about going from sitting to standing suddenly. At bedtime, you are probably are all ready doing this, but laying on your side at bed time can help the round ligaments get some relief from all their hard work. You can do leg lifts. Start with the side that is in pain. Holding on to a chair or table, you use your abdominal muscles to lift the leg up a couple inches off the floor and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times. Now do the same rep on the opposite leg.
You can expect some relief once you hit the third trimester usually. Pregnancy massage to the abdomen and myofascial abdominal stretches with a pregnancy massage specialist can really help as well. Did you or are you experiencing round ligament pain? What tricks or tips do you have for other moms?