Tag Archive for: prenatal

Belly Birth – Remy’s Birth Story

I am a proud belly birther.

When I was preparing for my birth, a cesarean was the absolute last thing I wanted to do.

However, as the day of Remy’s birth drew near, and I thought more and more about our options, I decided that if a cesarean was needed then I would go with the flow.

As it turned out, we had a cesarean. I told the doctors as they were getting the paperwork ready for the operation that I wanted it to be called a “surprise cesarean” rather than an emergency cesarean because, there was no emergency or life-threatening factors attached to the cesarean. The simple fact was my waters had broken hours ago and risk of infection was increasing, Remy was stuck, I was at 6cm and we were all exhausted and wanted him here already.

I was wheeled up the theatre, dosed up on drugs and waited for my baby to be born.

I had my favorite artist playing over the stereo, and I tuned into the music as the doctors did their thing.

I heard Remy’s cry and I teared up. He was finally here, and it was over. Nine months of waiting all brought down to a single moment. They bundled him up and handed him to us to hold while I was stitched up.

My baby was in my arms and that is all I needed. How he got here did not matter.

Having a cesarean is not an event it’s a journey. It is major surgery and takes time to recovery, physically and emotionally. There are days where I feel tenderness and pain around the scar. And there are days where I look at myself in the mirror and feel disgusted by my body. And then, there are days where I have freedom of movement and am proud of myself and my strength and my ability to birth my baby.

If you were to look at me nurturing, feeding, playing with, and loving my baby, you would never know the birth journey we had.  You would only see and happy mum and a thriving bub.

Be proud and stand strong, my fellow belly birthers . You are warrior women!

Welcoming Olivia – A Birth Story

Pregnancy Massage Practitioner Clare Houston, shares the story of birthing her second daughter, Olivia.

It is hard for me to believe but darling daughter #2 is turning 5 in two weeks. Olivia is strong-willed and passionate, and I cannot believe she will be in prep next year. With that in mind, I thought I would share Olivia’s birth story. Every birth story is unique, and I hope my story can help some other women who may be experiencing a similar situation.

I was desperate to have this baby to be out and, in the world. The pregnancy itself was good, the only “problem” was that she was tracking big. But with having a toddler who climbed all over me all day, pelvic instability which made moving in bed or even walking very hard, but I had done this once before so I could do it again.  I wanted her out as soon as possible. I was still overdue though when contractions started.

Eventually the hospital set a date to be induced, I was relieved to say the least. I was even starting to show signs of labour, which was great, it meant my body was doing what it was designed to do. This fact even helped me while talking to the insurance company about a recent bingle. While I was talking to them over the phone, I mentioned I was having a contraction and we didn’t pay a cent!

The day before the induction, at about 2am I felt the strongest pains I had felt yet and knew that this was the day. My partner Macgregor helped me to attach the TENS machine at home and we called the hospital. The contractions were about 3 mins apart. They suggested we come in.

We knew from attending our childbirth preparation class that the transition to hospital can slow contractions. Macgregor and I were confident that the contractions would return soon. The midwives set me up in the birth suite and of course, my contractions slowed. Half an hour later the midwives came back in and told me I wasn’t in labour and should go home.

I was livid! I trusted my body and knew the contractions would return.  For one of the few times in my life I stood my ground and said I would be coming back in 24 hours anyway.  I said “I am not leaving, can you break my waters and see what happens.” I was all but crying to get them to agree. I was planning to sit in the waiting room all day if need be. I couldn’t go home and stress dearest darling daughter #1 (she can be a worry wart) and mother-in-law had come in at 3am to look after her. And did I mention I was so done with this pregnancy!

So finally, after a staff change, they agreed and put in the cannula and attached the monitors, all “just in case”, then they broke my waters. The contractions did start to pick up again. I spent a lot of time on the Swiss ball, trying to find comfort in the waves.

I hit the point where I knew I needed to push, and it was about then they decided my contractions were not regular enough and they would start the drip to help them along. I was concerned about using the drip because during my previous birth I felt it was too intense and I had no chance to rest or catch my breath between contractions. But I was at the point where I wanted this baby out and knew I had to let go. In what felt like five minutes, Olivia was earthside and in my arms.

Because the midwives worked with me during the pushing stage, I was able to come away without tearing or any major issues. The midwives left me and Mac alone for a while to get acquainted with our little girl.

We were overjoyed and I was proud of myself for standing up and telling the midwifes and doctors what I wanted during the birth.

I hope that my birth story helps you to stand up and speak up for your needs in the delivery room. In the clinic, I hear so many stories where families did not have the birth they envisioned because they felt disempowered and unable to speak up for their needs.  And while I didn’t like giving birth and it was uncomfortable and painful, I know I did the best job I could, and you will too.

5 Easy Ways to Ditch Leg Cramps for Good

For weeks now, my legs had been threatening to seize. In bed, trying desperately for a restful night’s sleep. When the tight sensation in my legs would start, I would quickly extend my legs, press my heels down and thrust my toes upward until the sensation dissipated. It was working great. I thought I was in the clear.  Until this week.

And Holy Forking Shirt. It hurt like Heck!

My left calf was arrested in the strongest cramp I had ever experienced. I could not move or breathe!

Once the feeling eventually subsided, I gingerly got up out of bed and waddled to the bathroom to spray a liberal dose of magnesium oil onto my legs and feet.

The relief was almost instant. Or was it a placebo effect? Perhaps both. Either way, the cramp was gone, for now.

Many of my clients would complain of tight sore legs and feet, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. And it appears no one in immune.

Why are leg cramps so common during pregnancy and what can be done about it?

It is thought that legs cramps can occur due to fatigue, too much or too little activity, dehydration, magnesium deficiency and pressure from the uterus impacting blood flow to the lower half of the body.

While debilitating, leg cramps can easily be managed at home. Below I share some at-home remedies that can help ease the discomfort of leg cramps

  1. Stay Hydrated

Tight sore muscles are dehydrated muscles. If dehydration is the issue, then increasing water intake may be one easy way to ease cramps. One way to see if you are drinking enough water is to check the colour of your urine. Dark yellow suggested dehydration, while a light-yellow means that you are adequately hydrated. And if you on a lot of B vitamin, your urine may be bright fluro yellow. If you have concerns, please consult your prenatal care provider.

  1. Stretch it Out

Stretching can also ease a cramp as its occurring and potentially prevent them from cramping. An amazingly simple stretch that you can do in bed is to extend your leg, press your heel down as you pull your toes towards your face. Be careful not to pint your toes that this will contract the area that is cramping and make the cramp worse.

  1. Supplement with Magnesium

Magnesium can be beneficial in reducing leg cramps. Taken either orally as a tablet or powered supplement, applied topically as an oil or gel or soaking in a warm foot spa or bath, magnesium could relieve pain from cramping and potentially prevent cramps from occurring. While the research on using magnesium in this was is limited, anecdotal evidence suggests that it can help. Be sure to check with your prenatal care provider to see if magnesium is right for you.

  1. Gentle Exercise

If lack of exercise is the issue, then gentle exercise may help to prevent and ease cramping. Short, gentle, and slow walks or pregnancy friendly yoga postures can not only help to keep you fit and healthy during pregnancy but can increase blood flow, gently working and strengthening muscles in the lower body. Be sure to check with your prenatal care provider before starting any exercise during pregnancy.

  1. Pleasure over Pain

Have you ever stubbed your toe on something? It hurts like heck, right? And what is the first thing you do, after screaming out a few expletives? You will rub the area that has been injured. When we rub our stubbed toe, our brain floods with endorphins, the body’s “happy feel good chemical”. This type of self-soothing massage can easily be applied to calf cramps. Massage to the calves before bed may help to prevent cramps from occurring. Massage can even be applied during a cramp to ease it. Just ensure that you use pressure that is appropriate to your own needs, and do not cause further pain or discomfort.

 

Just because a symptom is common in pregnancy, does not mean you need to put up with it. These easy home-remedies may be the thing between you and a pain-free, restful sleep during pregnancy.

For more info on ways to manage pregnancy aches and pain, check out the blog archive.

 

I am the 14%

or the 8 simple ways I am regaining control of my gestational diabetes diagnosis…

I have just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and It is a huge wake up call. Because I must face the facts (that I have ignored for a long time) that I am addicted to sugar.

Before I launch into my experience of gestational diabetes, lets learn a little but more about this condition and how it can impact your pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes (GD) is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and most women will no longer have it once baby is born. In Australia, 12-14% of women will develop GD during their pregnancy.

The placenta produces hormone which aid the growth development of the baby. These same hormones can block the action of insulin and create insulin resistance. As a result, the need for insulin is 2-3 times higher than normal.

If GD is not well-managed and blood glucose levels remain high, there may be implications to the pregnancy, such as having a large baby, premature delivery and still birth.

After pregnancy, blood glucose levels usually return to normal and GD can resolve and disappear. In some cases, the insulin resistance can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Prior to my pregnancy I never had any issues with my blood sugar levels. I knew deep down though that I ate way too much sugary, carby sweet treats and my portion control for meals was out of control. Plus, I know I am an emotional/boredom eater, so this does not help.

And of course, my pregnancy has me craving all manner of unhealthy foods, such as donuts and Maccas (which I never used to eat prior to pregnancy). When my partner expressed concern for my food choices, I would reply “But I’m eating for two now!” Which is such a poor excuse for unhealthy eating, especially when I know that what I eat impacts my baby’s health. * Cue mummy guilt in 3, 2, 1*

I am taking this diagnosis as an opportunity to get my diet into order and make healthier and better choices with how I fuel my body.

With stress and pregnancy affecting my sleep patterns, my serotonin and melatonin levels are a bit out of whack, meaning that I am craving food at all hours. Which makes it hard to stabilize blood sugar levels and manage what I put into my body and when.

Add to this the fact that I must wait a few weeks for my follow up OB appointment and referral to the diabetes educator. I feel a bit lost and alone trying to manage my diet on my own when I have not been great at this before. I feel like I am failing before I even start and placing further risk on my health and my baby’s health.

Despite this, I know there are easy and simple changes I can make, without seeing a doctor. Now, I am not a dietician, or nutrition expert. All I want to do is share my story and what I am doing for myself. Please consult a health professional for advice of managing your gestational diabetes. The purpose here is to share what I am doing to enhance my health and wellbeing.

  1. I have started by cutting out those sugary, carby sweet treats. No more dounts, cakes or pastries. Period. This seems like the easiest and most obvious change I can make to make my blood glucose levels.
  2. I have boosted the number of veggies I eat with each meal. Fresh salad greens or sautéed vegetables are piled on to my plate. Packed full of fiber, vegetables have been helping me to feel fuller for longer and I know that they are good for me.
  3. I am eating more consciously. To do this, I am eating my meals at the dinner table instead of the couch. Where possible I try to focus on just eating, without other distractions. No phone, no TV. I can pay more attention to cues of “fullness” and I eat more slowly meaning that I do not have my usual sugar craving after a meal.
  4. I am swapping foods. Instead mindlessly woofing down a block of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate for dessert or after dinner snack, I have fruit and Greek yogurt with a few chopped nuts. This is helping me to recognize that dessert is not “bad”, and I can make better choices.
  5. I am focusing on portion control. I am a visual person, so when it comes to food presentation, I aim to have half of my plate full of veggies, ¼ for protein and ¼ with a carb element. I like to fill up on the veg and protein first, before starting on the carb element
  6. I am moving more. Due to self-isolation, I have been going on daily walks. Now I have done my best to up the ante with my exercise. I am walking a few times a day (this helps to alleviate that boredom eating), I have a trusty stationary exercise bike if the weather means I can’t venture outdoors and I have a space to do yoga or pilates to stretch and strengthen.
  7. Hydration is key. I already drink heaps of water and now I am even more aware of how important it is for me to stay hydrated. Drinking water helps me to negotiate whether I am hungry or thirsty as often these cues get confused.
  8. I am minding my language. I am becoming more aware of the way I talk to myself about food. By changing the way I think about food, I can more easily manage sugar cravings and my negative self-talk that is causing “mum guilt”.

While I would prefer to have a completely healthy pregnancy with no medical issues, I am grateful that I can make some long-lasting health changes in my life. My diet was something I knew I had to change but did not know where to start. I am looking forward to the opportunity I have been given to make better choices, improving my health, and enjoying the rest of my pregnancy.

 

For  more information on Gestational Diabetes, please visit Diabetes Australia

7 Secrets For A Comfortable Pregnancy and Labour

It’s really no secret that pregnancy can be difficult at times. Aside from the morning sickness (or any time of day sickness), aches and pain, swollen feet and insomnia seem to be part and parcel of growing a tiny human from scratch.
But that doesn’t mean you need to struggle through it.

I speak to a lot of mums and couples that are anxious about labour and childbirth. I have discovered that it doesn’t matter if it’s your first pregnancy or your second or third, anxiety and apprehension can still exist.

In my latest blog post, I delve into the secrets to make pregnancy and birth a better experience, pooling together all the conversations I have had with my clients so far.

 

  1. Regular Massage (before baby comes along)

A no brainer for me, the pregnancy massage specialist. Massage during pregnancy can help reduce back and joint pain, improve circulation and blood supply for your baby, and improve sleep. But did you know that massage also reduces stress and anxiety, as it soothes the nervous system and boosts mood. Pregnancy massage is a specialized treatment that uses techniques specific to the common musculoskeletal issues that are unique to pregnancy, while also promoting relaxation and enhancing the mother-baby connection. Learn more about pregnancy massage here.

  1. Nutrition

During pregnancy proper nutrition is important. I often treat mums who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I always recommend my clients seek support from a dietitian or nutritionist if they need help during their pregnancy.  When it comes to Labour, remember its long-game. Plan and ensure that you are fueling your body with nourishing food that will go the distance. Small regular snacks can help.

  1. Pea-sized Bladder

One thing I ask my clients before their massage is if they need to go to the bathroom before we start the treatment. During pregnancy you will go to the toilet – frequently. Afterall, you do have a tiny human using your bladder as a pillow, so there’s no wonder why you have the urge to pee every 5 minutes (or less).

  1. Get More Sleep

Pregnant women are tired. Why? Well, it takes a lot of energy to create a whole new person. It’s exhausting work. Massage during pregnancy can help to improve sleep patterns. Often my clients tell me that slept well the night of their massage. During the early stages of labour It may seem like an impossible task – but try to sleep. As we are mammals, we tend to natural labour at night, when it is safest. Try to rest as much as you can. This will help to build you energy reserves as labour can last forever!

  1. Do a Poo before you bear down

Bearing down and pushing a baby from your vagina mimics the actions required to do a poo. And women can poo during birth. Simple as that. But not to worry, the doctors and nurses will ensure that your baby is not covered in poo, and the clean-up will be swift and quick. It will mean however that another boundary between you and your partner will be crossed. But hey, at the end of the day you will have a baby and what is better than that?

  1. Hang out in Down Dog

Gentle exercise during pregnancy can help support your body as it changes. Relaxing in the lead up to labour will do wonders once contractions start. Most pre-natal yoga classes focus on breathwork, as well as movement and stretching. You can use these techniques in the birth suite to help you feel comfortable and relaxed.

  1. Labour Massage

Having partner confident if giving massage can help mum to feel more relaxed, with reduced feelings of anxiety and apprehension about the birth. Physical touch can boost oxytocin, a must for labour, and massage can bring couples closer together. Massage at home and then recommencing at hospital can help to stabilize contractions, which often stall during travel from home to hospital (or other birth place). Plus, massage gives your partner a role during labour and helps them to become involved in the birth. Learn more about partner massage here.

 

If you would like more information about our services contact us or book your next appointment now!