Friday, October 26, 2012

Restless leg syndrome in pregnancy.

I have suffered from restless leg syndrome (RLS) myself in pregnancy and quite a few ladies have asked me about .  This article explains the research done on RLS and some practical advice if you have the symptoms.  Always speak to your midwife or your G.P. if you have any concerns.

     “Most of the time, when a woman experiences RLS in pregnancy, it disappears after the baby is born,” said Dr. Mauro Marconi, the study’s author and a researcher at Vita-Salute University in Milan, Italy. However, our results show that having the condition during pregnancy is a significant risk factor for a future chronic form or the short-term form in other pregnancies down the road.”

There is a lot you can do to take care of restless legs syndrome yourself. Mild restless legs syndrome (RLS) can often be treated with lifestyle changes alone. The following daytime habits can help reduce the frequency and severity of your restless legs symptoms.

Sleep better by sticking to a regular sleep schedule.  Fatigue can worsen the symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS), so doing what it takes to get enough sleep is crucial. Try hitting the sack at the same time every night, allowing plenty of time for winding down (try warm baths or reading in bed).  

Exercise in moderation. Daily activity, including moderate aerobic exercise and lower-body resistance training, can significantly reduce the symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS). Swim, go for a walk, take the stairs, or spend a few minutes doing jumping jacks. Keep in mind that excessive exercise—like training for a marathon—can actually make restless legs syndrome worse.

Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine often makes the symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS) worse. Try reducing or eliminating your consumption of coffee, tea, soft drinks, and caffeine-containing foods such as chocolate.

Avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Many people with restless legs syndrome find that their symptoms improve when they stop drinking and smoking.

Consider dietary supplements. Check with a doctor or nutritionist to find out if you’re low on iron, vitamin B, folic acid, or magnesium. Deficiencies can bring on restless legs syndrome (RLS).

Lose weight. If you’re overweight, dropping the extra pounds can often relieve or lessen the symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS).

Try practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation. Stress can make RLS symptoms worse. Daily stretching and meditation can promote relaxation and alleviate restless legs syndrome (RLS).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Birthing Traditions from around the world

I have been very privileged to assist many women to birth their babies from all cultures and backgrounds.  One story in particular from when I was in the UK, I was caring for an Asian lady in labour.  Present in the delivery room was her mother and her sister.  The lady who was in labour did not make a sound but her mother and sister were beating their fists lightly on the wall and making quiet noises.  Later, I asked the mother what they were doing and she told me that they were taking the labouring mother's pain for her.  

This fascinated me because I had never seen anything like this, so when I told a midwifery colleague in the UK, she told me the story of a West African woman who wanted her newborn baby to be lifted up towards the heavens for the sky God to bless her baby and bring protection and good fortune to him.  

I thought I would share with you some folk lore and traditions from around the world because not only is birth a normal life event, but also a very sacred and spiritual one. I feel very honored to be a midwife and to be chosen by the woman at this very special time in their lives.

In Cambodia the baby’s placenta, which traditional Cambodian healers call “the globe of the origin of the soul,” must be buried in the right location and orientation to protect the baby.  For the Navajo (a Native American tribe),  burying a child’s placenta within the four sacred corners of the reservation ensures that he or she will be connected with the land and will always return home.   In many cultures, the women will birth surrounded by the female members of her family and she and her baby will be fed and nurtured for several weeks postpartum.

When my journey brought me to New Zealand and I began to have an understanding of Maori culture in that the whenua or placenta also means 'land' reinforces the special relationship that the newborn has with the land of his/her birth.  

I would love to hear the stories from other cultures and midwives around the world.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

A USB pregnancy test? Funny April Fools

I know we are not in April but I thought this article was so funny. 

"The cleverly named p-Teq USB Pregnancy Test Kit requires users to pee on a stick, just like all the other home pregnancy tests on the market. But that’s where the similarity ends. Uncap the other end of the wand to expose a USB connector to insert into your computer.

According to ThinkGeek, the p-Teq’s mass spectrometry software analyzes hormones including human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which rises in pregnancy; hyperglycosylated hCG (hCG-H), which aids in detecting pregnancy before a missed period; and luteinizing hormone (LH), which helps predict ovulation. P-Teq’s technology is more sensitive than existing pregnancy tests and indicates precise hormone concentrations in a woman’s urine"