Summer Safety For Pregnant Folk!

Pregnancy, swimming while pregnant, doula tips, hot summer in Buffalo, NY

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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!?

 

  1. Stay covered:  Despite the urge to strip it all off in the middle of the playground, keeping covered will protect you from the rays of the sun.  Keep the clothing light in color and stick to natural fabrics like cotton or linen.  Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn!  28BDB7B9-B201-4D57-851F-CC5DA3933FCBWear a hat for added protection.  Straw or cotton is great, so again, keep it natural in material and light in color.  Dark colors attract the heat.  If you are at the beach or pool, have an umbrella to stay under so you are not constantly in the sun.
  2. Schedule outside time right:  The peak hours for the sun is 11 am to 3 pm.  So try to get your fun or errands done early in the day or wait for the sun to be setting to enjoy the outdoors.  Save the midday activities for the air-conditioned  places.
  3. Hit the pool:  Swimming is great for cooling you off.  We are also blessed in Buffalo to have splash pads in most parts of the city.  They were opened today so check out if there is one close by.
  4. Guzzle the water:  It’s important to stay hydrated when pregnant to begin with, so when you add heat to the mix you’ve got to really keep track.  Always have a bottle with you.  If you are not a natural water drinker, try adding fruits, veggies, and herbs.  Strawberry  and lemon perhaps or watermelon mint and cucumber.  So many options that you could play with.  You could even add a few drops of red raspberry tincture.
  5. Block the sun:  Get a good sunblock.  The higher the SPF the better.  If you go swimming you should reapply.  Most last a few hours.  If you have a favorite please comment below. I’m in the market for a new one.
  6. Adventurer look:  Wet a bandana with cool water and wrap it around your neck to keep cool.

 

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!

June Treaments

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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!

BOOK

Water Birth – Is it for you?

 

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Preparing For Your Water Birth

It can’t be denied that when in labor water can become your best friend.  It is common to be in and out of the shower or tub and sometimes, not even wanting to get out of the water.  This speaks volumes about the benefits of water in the birthing tool kit.   This is especially true in the instance of water birth.  Birth in the water?  Why would I want to birth in the water?  Is that safe?  How does one go about having a water birth?

 

What’s So Great About Water Birth?

 

According to Water Birth International the benefits of a water birth are:

 

  • Water facilitates mobility and enables the mother to assume any position that is comfortable for labor and birth

  • Speeds up labor

  • Reduces blood pressure

  • Gives mother feelings of control

  • Provides significant pain relief

  • Promotes relaxation

  • Conserves mother’s energy

  • Reduces the need for drugs and interventions

  • Gives mother a private protected space

  • Reduces perineal trauma and eliminates episiotomies

  • Reduces cesarean section rates

  • Is highly rated by mothers – typically stating they would consider giving birth in water again; some even stating they would never give birth any other way!

  • Is highly rated by experienced providers

  • Encourages an easier birth for mother and a gentler welcome for baby

 

Movement is so important in labor and laboring in water can help you to move freely into any position you feel is comfortable.  That gives us another benefit.  You move into what position is comfortable for you, not what is convenient for the care provider.  Water birth can give you a sense of control. With regards to speeding up labor, Michele Odent a pioneer of water birth in the 1980’s in France, found that women whose labors were not progressing beyond 5 cm, quickly dilated once immersed.  He attributes this to the reduction in catecholamines, which have been associated to slowed or stalled labor, due to pain relief from water immersion.  Michele Odent felt that when these levels go down it allows a release of oxytocin and cervical dilation.  The reason for reduced pain in labor with water immersion may be because the warm water causes peripheral vasodilation and improved blood flow which provides pain relief. Penny Simkin (1989) attributed the pain relief to “ cutaneous nerve endings causing vasodilation in the skin, relaxation of tiny muscles in the hair follicles and generally a reversal of the sympathetic nervous system response flight or fight response.”  As a massage therapist, I’ve seen this to be true in my work with nurturing massage.  

 

So many benefits to water birth.  There needs to be more research to give water birth more credit.  Many of these are observed findings by countless physicians and midwives.  Though there is no formal bodies of scientific research there is a plethora of observational evidence in the safety and benefits of water birth.  According to Evidence Based Birth’s website over 20,000 water births have been documented in some manner.  So if you are having or have had a water birth consider sending your experience into Water Birth International’s Registry.  They have been building a database since 2004.  Well now that we’ve talked about benefits let’s look at safety.

 

Is Water Birth Really Safe?

 

One of the first concern you  may have about water birth is, what if the baby breathes in.  Well, let’s get a little technical on how amazing our bodies are.  When the baby is in utero, the baby makes a breathing movement intermittently, about 40% of the time.  The baby does not breath as such in utero.  It’s more of practicing since baby’s lungs are filled with fluid that keeps the lungs protected and open to get ready for the real breathing work.  This fluid’s presence will keep any other fluids from entering due to its viscosity.  Also, there is low blood supply to the lungs and this causes high pressure in the lungs making it difficult for any other fluid to enter.  When the time nears for labor to begin, prostaglandin E2 levels released from the placenta increase which slows or ceases fetal breathing movements.  As the baby is being born, the levels of prostaglandin E2 remain high and this keeps the lungs from functioning which is the first inhibitory response.  Another mechanism in place to help the baby is baby’s are born with low oxygen levels, which causes an absence of breathing, and thus the baby’s first reflex is to first swallow not breath.  There are other physiologic mechanisms in place that would keep the baby safe during a water birth.  There is a more thorough paper on this that I highly recommend parents to read regarding the safety of water birth at Evidence Based Birth.

 

When Is It Not Advisable?

 

The following are a few contraindications to birthing in the water:

 

  • Amnionitis

  • Maternal fever greater than 100° F or suspected maternal infection

  • Active genital herpes

  • Fetal distress

  • Rupture of membranes greater than 24 hours

  • Thick meconium-stained amniotic fluid

  • Excessive vaginal bleeding

 

 

Setting Up For Your Water Birth

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So you have decided a water birth is definitely for you.  So how do you do this?  Well the first thing is look at your space that your birthing in.  If you are in a birthing center, the setup is already designed just right.  If you are birthing in home, you want to have a birth pool set up within a hose distant of a faucet.  Be sure that your faucet is compatible with the adapters for the hose.  You want to make sure there is enough space all around the pool for the support team to access you or your partner.  Once you’ve found the right space, you’ll need to choose the right birth pool.  Considerations are the size of your space or if your partner is going to be getting in the water with you will you both fit.  Most pools are spacious enough for two.  There are many sources to buy or rent a pool.  Yourwaterbirth.com has many supplies for water birth and homebirth and you may find that your midwife or doula has an account and recommended supply list.  Ask them and if they do they will be able to give you a 10% discount.  If you would rather not purchase a pool many midwives or doulas offer birth pools for rent along with the needed supplies to go along with the pool.

 

It takes about 20 minutes to inflate your pool and it is a good idea to inflate it before the big day to make sure there are no tears causing leak in the pool.  Something you don’t want to find out while you’re laboring.  It’s also good to practice different positions in the pool ahead of time before it is filled with water to see all the possibilities.  The next important thing is to make sure that the pool’s temperature stays between 92-100 ° F (32-38° C) but not exceed 101° F (38° C).  We don’t want your core temperature to increase because that can adversely affect the baby.  You can find a thermometer that floats in the pool to keep track of  your pool’s temperature.  It’s important to keep the water comfortable and keep it warm.  With that said, being in the warm water, make sure you stay hydrated and use a cool cloth on your forehead or neck.  

 

How deep should you fill your tub? You should fill the tub at least 20 “ of water depth to give benefits of buoyancy and to insure the baby is born into the water and not exposed to the air too early so as not to stimulate inhalation.  You don’t want it so deep so that the care provider is not able to see what is going on either.  It takes about an hour to fill the pool up and when things start moving along you can fill it about half way, so that if it cools a bit you have more space to fill it up with more warm water.  Keep it covered in between when you get in and out to lengthen your pools warmth.  Someone should stay with you at all times.  You can get in and out whenever you feel you need it.  It has been observed that it may be best to wait for immersion once your 4-5 cm dilated and have a well-established pattern.  Really though whatever helps you be comfortable and helps you manage the contractions do it.  You want to alternate between water and land to maintain the effects of the water.  Dr. Michele Odent’s research found that when entering the water early in labor (before 5cm dilated),  a surge of oxytocin happens and this increases uterine contractions and helps cervical dilation and effacement move along.  This effect, however, decrease if immersed 90-120 minutes.  So if you do get into the pool in early labor, take breaks so that labor can consistently progress.

 

Birthing In The Water

Finally you’re ready to push and as baby is born, your care provider will make sure to gently but quickly bring baby to the surface.  You finally feel the warm and slippery little person that has been a part of you for the last 9 months.  Eyes so bright looking right at you.  What an unforgettable moment.  If you are comfortable in the water and all is well, you can birth the placenta in the water.  Just have a lightweight bowl on standby to place the placenta in.  You’ve done it!  With any birth choices, do your research.  Watch water birth experiences.  There are plenty on YouTube.  Or ask your childbirth educator or doula their suggestions for water birth videos and resources as well.   I hope this article has been helpful.  Happy birthing!

 

My favorite resources:

Books

Websites

 

 

 

Birth Song

The birthing process is intense. It’s no secret that it takes every ounce of a woman’s power in your life into the world. And one of those powers is the voice. Most Birth workers are comfortable with the range of sounds birthing women make but you still run into those who are not. When woman is silenced in the birthing room and told to not scream, don’t make noise, or calm down, they’re taking one of those powers away from her. Sound can be a pain reliever, a rhythm for the mother to cope, a distraction. It also can let others know she’s not coping well. The voice in the birthing process is important. We know how healing it is to express ourselves through our voice whether in singing or spoken word.

When a woman sings her birth song, she is opening her vocal chords and is releasing tension. When tension is released in the upper body, this leads to opening and release in the pelvis area. Why would you take this power away from her? Everything  we do in the birthing room is to assist opening in releasing. So mothers, partners, birth workers, let her voice be heard!

Moan, grunt, sing, breath as loud as you want. Roar!  Roar your baby out!

Third trimester blues

        Here I am with baby three one year ago.  I am 9 months +1 and will be meeting my little guy 2 days later.  If you’re approaching the end of your pregnancy you might find this familiar.
9 months and 1 day pregnant!
9 months and 1 day pregnant!
      So, is the baby here yet?  Ugh! Here we go again.  Lets face it, when you get close to the end of your pregnancy, things are getting, lets say difficult.  You may feel tired all the time.  You dread dropping something for fear of having to actually maneuver to retrieve it.  You are always in the bathroom to pee, but forget about going poo.  You eat, you get heartburn.  You eat a little and get full, starving thirty minutes later.  Walking is good for you but man does your feet, and/or back hurt.  Then you hear those, lets call it what it is, obnoxious questions.
      Oh, the baby isn’t here yet?  (Insert sarcastic reply)
      How big is the baby now, he/she looks big?  {Insert rude comeback question, in your head of course or better yet out loud)
      Are you carrying twins?  {Use the “are you serious” facial expression of choice here}
      Hang in there girl!
      Sleep.
      Eat well and as best you can.
      Move your body how you want as often as you can.
      Did I mention sleep!
      Last, but not least, those annoying comments, don’t even dignify them.  You are beautiful, you are not too big or too small, your baby is going to come when she is ready.  Keep you head and feet up and enjoy your beautiful pregnant you!!