Friday, September 27, 2013

Infectious laughter

This wonderful video of a baby who is sleeping on his mother's tummy and laughing in his dreams.  

He is just adorable and you cant help but laugh along with him, I wonder what he is dreaming about?.  Sweet dreams baby.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why pregnant women having a nesting instinct

Quite a few women have a sudden burst of energy towards the end of their pregnancy and try and get the house ready and in order for baby.  This is an interesting article that appeared in the daily mail, for more information just click on the link provided.

'We have found it peaks in the third trimester as the birth draws near and is an important task that probably serves the same purpose in women as it does in other animals.  'It ties us to our ancestral past. Providing a safe environment helps to promote bonding and attachment between both the mother and infant.'
Females of the animal kingdom are all equipped with this same need. Just as you see birds making their nests, mothers to be do exactly the same.

They may become a homebody and want to retreat into the comfort of home and familiar company, like a brooding hen. 
The nesting urge can even be a sign of the onset of labour when it occurs close to 40 weeks of pregnancy.
Women have reported throwing away perfectly good sheets and towels because they felt the strong need to have 'brand new, clean' ones in their home.
They have also reported doing things like taking apart the knobs on kitchen cupboards, just so they could disinfect the screws attached. 
Women have discussed taking on cleaning their entire house, armed with a toothbrush. 
There seems to be no end to the lengths a nesting mother will go.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A beautiful poetic reflection of birth.

I came across this beautiful poetic reflection of birth and just had to share it with you.  To be privileged to attend a woman's birth is so very humbling - this sums up one of the reasons why I became a midwife and it never fails to touch my heart just how amazing women are.

     “If you are privileged enough to have witnessed a woman giving birth unaided in a place she has chosen, what will you have seen?  You will first be in awe of her strength.  Her thighs stand strong and mighty like those of a warrior as she stands, sways and squats to find the best position to ease her baby out.  Then you will hear the deep primal cries she makes as she does her work, sounds that come not from her throat but from her belly as she grunts and moans with her exertion:sounds seldom heard except in the most uninhibited of love-making.  Maybe you will notice the glistening river of mucous tinged with blood and waters than run down her thighs unheeded: she is beyond noticing such things, moved as she has done into another plane of existence.  And then finally you will be stuck by her beauty: her face softened with the flow of oxytocin, her eyes wide and shining, her pupils dark, deep and open.  And you will think – for how could you not – what a phenomenal creature is a woman.

But you will have only seen this astonishing sight if you understand that if you disturb her in her work, she will be thrown off course.  Like a zoologist you must first learn how to behave, how to sit quietly and patiently, almost invisible, breathing with her, not disturbing her mighty internal rhythm.  And you will see the pain of labour seldom overwhelms her.  Nature would not have organised labour to be intolerable.”

Leap and Anderson, 2004. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Celebrating our body in pregnancy and motherhood

Woman have beautiful bodies and we should celebrate them whether pregnant or not or just had a baby. 

These are two photographs from a collection that we would love to share with you. 

Our body does an amazing job during pregnancy and motherhood and we should be celebrating our achievements.  There are more photographs from the link below

Celebrating moterhood

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What is the 'latent' phase of labour?

What is the latent stage of labour?

Labour has 3 stages
·         The first stage is when the neck of the womb (cervix) opens to 10 centimetres
·         The second stage is when the baby moves down through the vagina and is born
·         The third stage is when the afterbirth (placenta/whenua) is delivered

Labour is a journey, which can take a long time and every woman is different.  This leaflet gives you suggestions to help with the early part of the first stage.

What is the ‘latent’ (early) stage of labour?

Before labour starts, the neck of the womb (cervix) is long, firm and closed.  During this ‘latent’ phase, the muscles of the uterus (womb) contracts and makes the cervix become softer, at the same time it opens to 3-4cms.  This is also called ‘effacement’ or ‘thinning’ of your cervix.

The latent phase can last several days or weeks before active labour starts.  Some women can feel backache or cramps during this phase.  Some women will have bouts of contractions lasting a few hours which then stops and starts up again the next day. 

Braxton Hicks’ contractions occur all through pregnancy.  They are tightening of the muscle of the uterus and last for about 30 seconds.  They are usually painless.  During the ‘latent’ phase, Braxton Hicks contractions may become more noticeable and more frequent, lasting 35-45 seconds.  However, some women may not notice anything happening at all.

Before labour begins, the cervix becomes thinner and softer. 
The ‘latent’ phase of labour is the very first part of your labour – the early part of the first stage.  During this phase, the neck of womb thins and opens up to about 3-4 cms.


What can I do in the ‘latent phase’ of labour?

It is not possible to say when active labour begins.  It could start in a couple of hours or in several days, so try to stay as relaxed as you can and distract yourself from focusing on the contractions.

Things you can do to help yourself
  • Potter around the house
  • Take a walk
  • Watch a DVD
  • Have a nap (sleep is important in the early stages of labour)
  • Do some relaxation
  • Keep as mobile as you can BUT remember to save you energy for the active phase of labour
  • You can take two paracetamol every four hours to help with the pain BUT no more than 8 tablets in 24 hours
  • Put a hot water bottle or heat pack on the areas that hurt, eg., your lower back or your tummy under your bump.  Make sure it is not too hot
  • Drink plenty of fluids, eg., water, juice or isotonic sports drinks to keep your body well hydrated
  • Eat little and often
  • A TENS machine may be applied at this stage of your labour
  • SEX will help produce oxytocins (see the love hormone in this blog).  This hormone is produced in labour and makes your uterus contract.
  • Listen to your favourite music

Partners and support people

Lots of cuddles and encouragement
Massage – YUMMY
Reminding you to drink
Keep you company and making you laugh

  • Bright lights, subdued lighting helps to aid relaxation
  • People asking you questions where you have to think to answer
  • People talking to you during a contraction
  • Feeling as if people are watching you
By having privacy, peace and a darkened room, helps you feel safe and it means your 'rational' brain will be less stimulated and your body can labour well.

If you have any concerns or would like to ask any questions please call Maureen or Marie on 027 472 0077 or 0800 the midwife and we are here to support and advise you.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

7 Awesome things your body does

You and your body are amazing!

But women's bodies do incredibly mind-blowing things in service of their growing babies, and we think that deserves a bit of celebration.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Only two US hospitals will allow nitrous oxide (entonox) for pain relief

Nitrous oxide or entonox as it is commonly called is used in labour to help with the pain of the contractions.  The woman controls the apparatus and inhales the gas through a mouth piece at the start of the contraction and when the contraction has finished, takes the mouth piece away.  A lot of women find entonox very helpful in the relief of pain, while others do not like its taste or its effects.  

"This is one of those news stories where my biases show, like woah, and I'm happy to admit it. In the UK, 50% of laboring women take advantage of nitrous oxide (good ol' dentist's office laughing gas) for pain relief. The rates of usage are about the same in Canada and even higher in countries like Finland. If you read up on the stuff, this isn't terribly surprising. Nitrous oxide gas doesn't totally eliminate childbirth pain, but studies show it does a great job of taking the edge off and without the long-term loopiness of injected narcotics or the limitations on movement (and the whole needle-in-your-spine bit) that goes along with epidurals. Plus, it's pain relief that's controlled by the woman, herself. You just take a hit off the gas whenever you find your contraction warrants it. No anesthesiologist necessary."

This article appeared in Boing-Boing.  Unfortunately the link to the page where it explains why entonox is not commonly used in the US is not working.  I did some research of my own to find out why and apparently it did not catch on in the US as it did in Europe and over here in New Zealand, also there appears to be insufficient evidence as to the effectiveness of the analgesia and the affects on the fetus.  The American College of Nurse Midwives recognizes the use of nitrous oxide in labour and its safe administration.

Nitrous Oxide use in the US