Thursday, February 20, 2014

What to expect in early pregnancy.

For a lot of women who had previously been full of energy, suddenly find they become very tired in early pregnancy (and towards the end), many experience morning sickness and breast tenderness, also headaches are very common as your blood volume expands.  The symptoms do improve and usually by about 12-14 weeks most have been resolved.  

This article explains why.

"The first several weeks of pregnancy can be strange to say the least. At times you might feel completely normal; your jeans still fit, and no one can tell you're pregnant. Other times you might feel like you're moving in slow motion and about to fall asleep on your feet. And although the side effects of early pregnancy may seem freaky, rest assured that what you're feeling is almost certainly normal. How many of these classic signs and symptoms of early pregnancy do you have?
Happiness! And then sadness. And then happiness again.
Women who get PMS are more likely to have severe mood swings during pregnancy, but most women can expect some level of ricocheting emotions. Swirling and soaring hormones can make you irritable, giddy, or weepy, sometimes all at once! These mood swings are most frequent in the first trimester, and later one toward the end of your last trimester.
An aching head
Headaches are one of the biggest complaints women have during the first trimester, likely caused by hormonal changes and increased blood volume in early pregnancy. (Stress or anxiety can trigger them, too). Wait it out and they'll fade, but if you need relief now, try cold or warm compresses or a neck and shoulder massage which has been shown to relieve headache pain. And also be sure you're eating small meals regularly. Fluctuating blood sugar can trigger pregnancy headaches as well.
Breast swelling and tenderness
If you're like many women, sore breasts may have been the first clue you were pregnant! The hormones that are preparing your milk ducts for breastfeeding can also make them achey or sensitive. Investing in a larger size, very supportive bra can make you more comfy."
If you have any concerns about you or your pregnancy, please speak with your midwife.  


Monday, February 17, 2014

Oxytocin - The love or cuddle hormone

As midwives, we LOVE oxytocin which has also been called the love hormone, or the cuddle hormone in this article.  At birth, your baby will be put on your abdomen for skin to skin contact and we leave mum and baby alone to get to know each other.  

"Everyone knows not to go anywhere near a mama bear and her cubs. The maternal bond is truly fierce, and not just in animals! Human moms share a strong bond with their babies, too (so strong that particularly protective mothers are often compared to their furry animal counterparts!) There is a biological reason for the ferocity of the maternal bond: oxytocin. During childbirth, the mother’s pituitary gland, which is a tiny almond sized gland towards the back of the brain, produces oxytocin, pumping it throughout the body. 

As the mother’s brain is flooded with oxytocin, a number of fascinating things happen. Oxytocin acts as a muscle contractor, speeding up labor. It plays a role in preparing the mother’s body to breastfeed. Finally, it fosters an emotional bond between mom and baby that is so strong, researchers say it actually dims the memory of the pain of childbirth. Oxytocin has always been thought of as a childbirth hormone. But oxytocin is actually responsible for the sense of bonding in any relationship, not just the relationship between moms and their children.

Even men produce oxytocin. In fact, oxytocin is referred to as the love or cuddle hormone because it is released during any type of physical touch. Believe it or not, even petting an animal can cause your body to produce the hormone! If you’re not a new parent, how do you benefit when your body produces oxytocin? You’ll be glad to know that oxytocin lowers stress, brings down blood pressure, and reinforces feelings of love, trust and generosity.  In honor of Valentine’s Day this month, naturally increase your levels of the love hormone with physical touch. Hugs and kisses are always a great idea, but even a rub on the back can boost your oxytocin production. 

And if you’re lacking in the “significant other” department, spend time petting an animal or even flipping through an old photo album and reminiscing about people you love. All these things can cause your “love hormone” meter to spike, nurturing the biological factor that brings us all together.  -

Link to this article here
Read our leaflet on the importance of skin to skin here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Historical images that normalise breast feeding

Women have been breastfeeding their baby's in public since time immemorial, so why is there, in our so called era of enlightenment is there such a public outcry to ban breastfeeding in public? These fantastic photographs normalise breastfeeding has always been done in public.  


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Giving birth in nature

"The movie ‘Birth Into Being’ inspired this woman to give birth in nature.

So a week to her due date she took a trip to a rainforest; a perfect location for the outdoor birth she had long desired.

As she went into labour she went down the creek to have her baby in the serenity of the fresh water."

Inspired by the sounds of nature, the gentle warm creek running through the rain forest, this brave lady birthed her baby in this beautiful setting.  I think is is a wonderful video and when women are unobtrusively observed, they labour well, notice how she walks around, swaying her body, she is in her own space and in control of her labour and birth.    

WARNING : The video is graphic!  So I will not put the video here but have pasted the link.

Birth in Nature

Birth in Nature - website link

Monday, February 3, 2014

A blast from the past, Liverpool Maternity hospital

A fascinating series of photographs from the 30's,40's,50's and 60's giving us an insight to to childbirth at that time.  Women were in bed for 10 days after giving birth (let alone the risks of a deep vein thrombosis), there were strict visiting hours, no partners/husbands (they had to pace the corridors) during labour and adhere to visiting hours only.  The midwives wore masks and women were confined to their beds until the Doctors had done their rounds.  

Liverpools maternity hospital

Legal to ban breast feeding at work!

I find it absolutely ridiculous that a mum cannot breast feed her baby where she wants and considering it was at a store that sells sexy lingerie!  Seriously?  I guess it is OK to promote sexuality with the line of clothing but not to breast feed your baby, which is exactly what the mammary glands are designed to do.

"A Victoria's Secret customer in Texas was not allowed to breastfeed in a fitting room, Austin's KTBC-TV reports. But was it legal for the store's staff to turn her away?
Customers and business owners alike are wondering whether employers can legally ban breastfeeding.
The answer to that question is generally state-specific.
Right to Breastfeed
The legal ability to ban breastfeeding at a business depends on state-specific law. Most states grant a mother the right to breastfeed in any location -- public or private -- in which she is authorized to be. In such states, businesses cannot ban breastfeeding.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are at least 45 states with laws that protect a woman's right to breastfeed in public, but the contours of the laws vary. For example:
  • At least 24 states recognize the right to breastfeed in the workplace.
  • Some states, such as Illinois, limit the protection in certain settings such as "places of worship."
  • Other states require women to be discreet -- businesses should always bewareasking nursing mothers to cover up in states that don't require it.
It's likely the Victoria's Secret customer in Texas did have a legal right to express milk in one of the store's fitting rooms. This is because Chapter 165 of the Texas Health and Safety Code provides that "a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be."
Employees' Right to Accommodations
Under Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers with at least 50 employees must provide non-exempt nursing employees unpaid break time to express milk, for up to a year after the birth of a child. An employer must also "provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view" for the employee to express breast milk.
The law on "lactation discrimination" is a different story. For example, a federal judge in Texas dismissed an alleged discrimination case in which a Houston woman was fired for requesting permission to pump milk at work. The judge ruled there was no cause of action for "lactation discrimination" under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act because "lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition." The judge also determined lactation discrimination is not sex discrimination.
Breastfeeding laws are far from clear-cut. But as the Victoria's Secret snafu clearly demonstrates, limiting a woman's ability to breastfeed can lead to many more uncomfortable consequences than catching a glimpse of an exposed breast."

You GO Baby!


25 pregnancy beliefs from around the world

Happy New Year everyone, wow, time has flown by.  This article is about pregnancy beliefs around the world.  We find it very interesting to read about different cultures and beliefs.

"Learning about the pregnancy and childbirth beliefs from cultures around the world is nothing short of fascinating, don't you think? Whether you follow them or not, we have our "standard" ones in the U.S. -- don't tell people you're pregnant until after the first trimester, for one -- so don't you ever wonder what other unwritten protocols mamas-to-be follow? There are some truly unbelievable ones out there!
(Note: Everyone from these cultures doesn't necessarily adhere to these beliefs.)"

Pregnancy in Japan

Pregnant women in Japan are urged to use positive thinking, imagery, and listen to music.
Pregnancy in China
It is thought in China that pregnant women should avoid using glue or other adhesives, as it may cause birthing complications. Also, hammering nails is thought to cause deformity in the fetus. (Marie - probably common sense due to the fumes).

Pregnancy in the Hispanic/Latino Culture

Some pregnant women in the Hispanic/Latino culture believe that unsatisfied pregnancy cravings may cause birth marks. (Marie - cravings could be your body needing a vitamin or mineral contained with the food being craved, although the photo depicts soft whipped ice cream, it is not recommended that you eat this during pregnancy).

Pregnancy in Korea

In the Korean culture, there is an order of people that women must tell they are pregnant. She must tell the mother-in-law first. Then she tells her husband and then her own mother.

Pregnancy in Bali

Balinese mamas-to-be avoid eating octopus, as it is believed that doing so brings difficult deliveries. (Marie - eating raw seafood is not recommended).

Pregnancy in Guatemala

Pregnant women in Guatemala, particularly those of Mayan descent, may stay at home throughout the entire nine months of their gestation out of fear of exposure to illness, evil spirits, or the ill will of others.

Pregnancy in the Inuit Culture

Pregnant women avoid inflating balloons or blowing bubbles with gum while pregnant to prevent premature rupturing of the membranes.

Pregnancy in the Italian Culture

Some Italians believe that once a woman begins telling people she is pregnant, she must tell everyone else right away. It's thought that if she doesn't, the baby will never speak, or won't speak for a very long time!

Pregnancy in Portugal

In Portugal, some believe that pets, such as cats or dogs, should be kept away from a pregnant woman to avoid having a hairy baby. (Marie - changing litter trays for kittens is not a good idea and always wear gloves if gardening because of the risk of toxoplasmosis in cat and dog poo).

Pregnancy in the UK

It is believed by some in the UK that the baby's heart rate can predict the sex. A faster heart rate means the woman is carrying a girl, and a slower one means it's a boy. (Marie - a very much asked question by ladies, unfortunately baby changes their heart rate all the time so it would be difficult to predict the sex of baby).