Monday, November 25, 2013

Why pregnant women should not sleep on their back.

"During pregnancy you will often hear that sleeping on your back is a bad idea. The reason has to do with your anatomy. When you lay on your back after about the fourth month of pregnancy, the weight from your pregnant uterus can decrease the blood flow in the vena cava, the vein that brings blood form the lower part of your body to the heart. If this were to happen, there is a risk of decreasing the blood flow to your uterus and baby and make you feel dizzy and faint.
The vena cava runs slightly to the right of your spine. This is why you may hear that laying on your left side is the best option. The key is really not laying on your back, either side is usually fine.
So what happens when you wake up in the middle of the night and you're laying on your back? Don't worry. Just roll over onto a side or prop your body with a pillow to turn you one direction or the other.
Using pillows between your legs while you sleep can be more comfortable. It can also help you remember not to roll over on your back, even when you are asleep. Any pillow will work, but there are special pillows made for pregnant women."

Your baby's development in the womb from conception to 37 weeks.

These are an excellent series of videos that shows the stages of your baby's development in the womb.  We hope you enjoy watching them.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

No drinks rule for pregnancy

We advise women not to drink any amount of alcohol during their pregnancy because it is unsure just how much is a safe limit and there is evidence to suggest that any amount can affect your baby.

CHILDREN exposed to alcohol in the womb are at risk of low birth weight, abnormal facial features, heart defects, behavioural problems and intellectual disability, a researcher has warned.

Prue Walker, who presented her paper to a foetal alcohol spectrum disorder conference in Brisbane yesterday, warned alcohol abuse among parents was a serious health hazard.

Her study, which examined the files of 230 children involved with the child protection system in 2011-12, found one in five had been exposed to alcohol before birth.

This rose to two in five for children ordered into care by the court.

There were seven deaths among the 230 children, with a mother's harmful alcohol use identified in six of the cases.

"This is not just a health issue but a social issue that affects the long-term welfare of children," Ms Walker said.

The Hunter Medical Research Institute's Amy Anderson told the conference her research had found eight out of 10 pregnant women indulged in alcohol despite guidelines advising otherwise.

Australian guidelines on alcohol intake during pregnancy were revised in 2009 to a strictly no-alcohol policy.

A University of Newcastle team had begun research on the subject in 2001 and had recently expanded the project to include 2009 data, she said.

"Women were more likely to drink under the low-alcohol guidelines as opposed to the no-alcohol guidelines, which suggests a no-drinking message should be maintained."

The advice to not drink during pregnancy was something that Merewether resident Karen Bambach followed during her pregnancy with son Cooper Whitehorn, now 13 months.

Ms Bambach said she didn't drink before falling pregnant anyway.

"I wasn't a drinker in the first place and I didn't drink during my pregnancy," she said yesterday.

"I just thought it wasn't healthy for me or my baby."


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Maori and Pasifika women waiting too long to seek maternity care.

This is an interesting article on Radio New Zealand News regarding Maori and Pasifika women leaving it later in their pregnancies to seek out a midwife or Lead Maternity Carer.  
At Otaika Road Midwives we encourage all women to arrange a meeting with a midwife as soon as they know they are pregnant because we can gather as much information as possible on the pregnancy, previous pregnancies and any medical and surgical care they may have had. The midwife can then create a plan of care involving the woman to specifically address their needs from the information gathered at the first meeting. It is also a good time to discuss pregnancy blood tests, ultrasound scans and offer maternal screening screening.
"Parliament's health select committee has found pregnant Maori and Pasifika women are waiting too long before they seek maternity care.
It has released a range of recommendations to the Government to improve the well-being of Maori children.
The report says more Maori and Pasifika women register with a Lead Maternity Carer in the second trimester of pregnancy, or after at least 12 weeks' gestation.
The health committee is pushing for the Government to take measures to ensure most pregnant women receive a maternal assessment by 10 weeks.
It order to target Maori, it supports boosting the number of lead maternity carers in vulnerable populations and making them more accessible.
It also suggests making maternity services more culturally relevant, and developing multimedia education material for Maori stressing the importance of early access to maternity care."

Please call Marie or Maureen on 027 472 0077 or 0800 the midwife if you would like any advice.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How pregnancy affects the skin

If you have any concerns, please speak with your midwife.

"Another major skin change that many women experience is melasma. Also known as chloasma or "pregnancy mask," melasma causes patches of darker skin to appear on the face, especially the cheeks and forehead, because of a change in hormones affecting your skin's pigmentation [source:U.S. News & World Report]. This condition can occur in up to 70 percent of pregnant women, and it's most common in women with darker complexions [source: Tunzi and Gray]. You can lessen the effects by avoiding direct sunlight and wearing sunscreen. Melasma almost always goes away after the baby is born [source:Tunzi and Gray].
More commonly known side effects of pregnancy include stretch marks on your abdomen or breasts, in addition to varicose and spider veins caused by increased blood circulation. There is a wide variety of creams and treatments available that claim to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but they never go away completely [source: Tunzi and Gray].
Many women also experience severely dry skin during pregnancy. The worst area can be the stomach, where the dryness is caused by stretching skin and changing hormones. One of the most common dry-skin conditions is called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP), a rash that normally starts near the belly button but can spread over nearby areas. If you have an overall itchiness, that's normal, too; seek out a soothing calamine lotion or moisturizer for relief [source: Bouchez]."

Friday, November 15, 2013

A new tool to ease birth

This is a very interesting instrument to help ease birth of a baby that has become wedged in the birth canal.  The WHO (World Health Organisation) is considering to use the instrument instead of forceps or ventouse, it is suggested that midwives could operate it, it is reported to be easy and safe to use according to trials.

"The current options in those cases are forceps — large, rounded pliers — or suction cups attached to the baby’s scalp. In untrained hands, either can cause hemorrhages, crush the baby’s head or twist its spine.
Although more testing is planned on the Odón Device, doctors said it appeared to be safe for midwives with minimal training to use.
Along the way, it has won research grants from the United States Agency for International Development and from Grand Challenges Canada. “We’ve given out $32 million for 61 different innovations, and this one is the farthest along,” said Dr. Peter A. Singer, the chief executive of Grand Challenges Canada.
The device will be manufactured by Becton, Dickinson and Company, or BD, of Franklin Lakes, N.J., which is better known for making syringes.
“My first reaction, as soon as I saw it, was positive,” said Gary M. Cohen, the company’s executive vice president for global health. It was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that Dr. Merialdi asked him to consider taking it on.
“Many inventions get to the prototype stage, but that’s maybe 15 percent of what needs to be done,” Mr. Cohen said. “There’s finalizing the design for manufacture, quality control, the regulatory work and clinical studies. Absent that, they don’t see the light of day.”
So far, the device has been safety-tested only on 30 Argentine women, all of whom were in hospitals, had given birth before and were in normal labor."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Is Call the Midwife, anything like the profession today.

I can remember the district nurse riding around on her bicycle, dinging her bell when the kids got in her way, her little black bag perched neatly on the back of her bag.  It was intriguing to me, who have always wanted to be a midwife since I was very small and before I knew the meaning of the word.  Her black bag was off limits to anyone but the midwife, I could hear jingling and rattling and it was a complete mystery.

Now we have a car which has a trunk full of equipment we may need, sonicaids, stethoscopes, ambu-bags in case baby needs oxygen, emergency IV fluids and drips etc., we carry so much more than midwives portrayed in the series 'Call the Midwife."

This interesting article is taken from the Guardian newspaper and I enjoyed watched the series very much.

"Being a midwife today is very different to how it is on Call the Midwife," says one community midwife from the east Midlands. "We don't go out on bikes for a start." Although if you do fancy a bike, some midwives in London's East End have electric bikes for quick home visits. Longer visits need lots of equipment: Sonicaid and pinards to listen to the baby's heartbeat, resuscitation and emergency equipment, oxygen cylinders, entonox cylinders, the sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure, blood forms, urine sticks, leaflets to give out and lots and lots of paperwork. "I look more at forms than I do at people," says another midwife who works in a large hospital in Cambridgeshire. Get that lot into your Pashley wicker basket and your back wheel wouldn't touch the tarmac.
In Call the Midwife, when a baby is due every passing person gets involved: the police officer, a random delivery boy, perhaps even the milkman. But today, mobile phones have largely put paid to that community involvement (although the Guardian did recently feature a woman who gave birth outside Waitrose, where lots of people did get involved).
Midwives today also don't live in nursing homes, or usually wear uniforms outside of hospitals. "But the camaraderie among my colleagues is exactly the same as in the programme," says the Cambridgeshire midwife (none of the midwives I spoke to could talk to me on the record without prior permission and, very likely, more form-filling). The threat of litigation has also, largely, put paid to a midwife presiding over a breech or a twin birth, far less a twin breech birth.
Finally heed this: "People go into midwifery thinking: it's about babies," says one midwife. "It's not. It's about pregnant women giving birth. You don't get to cuddle babies very often." The good news is that you're with women at the most intense, exhilarating, mind-blowing time of their lives. And "there's far fewer pubic lice than in the 1950s. There was a lot of that in the episode I watched," she adds."

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Babies remember melodies in the womb

"Newborn babies can remember melodies played to them while they were in the womb, according to a study.
Scientists found that the brains of babies who heard a specific melody just before birth reacted more strongly to the tune immediately after they were born and at four months.
In the study involving 24 women in the final few months of pregnancy, half were asked to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to their foetuses for five days a week. The scientists then played the tune to the babies after they were born and measured their brain activity using electroencephalography.
Their results, published in the journal PLoS One, showed that the babies who were played the song in the womb had a stronger electrical response in their brain to the song after birth, when compared with a control group of babies.
"Even though our earlier research indicated that foetuses could learn minor details of speech, we did not know how long they could retain the information," said Eino Partanen, at the cognitive brain research unit of the University of Helsinki. "These results show that babies are capable of learning at a very young age, and that the effects of the learning remain apparent in the brain for a long time."