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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pregnancy and the Disorder Trap – Avoid Being Labeled as a Disease During Labor

If you read any of the books that are available today about the modern practices of obstetrics, you are likely to notice a trend among obstetricians. This trend has gained momentum since the latter part of the last century, somewhere around the 1970s. That was around the time when certain technologies became perfected. Technologies like the cesarean section, electronic fetal monitoring, and other gadgets and gizmos to make birth more high tech.
There is a great deal of disagreement among experts as to whether these new technologies have actually made things better or have just given the perception of making things better. One of the better books I have read on the topic is The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. This book was heavily researched (to the point where she was able to create another book just with the research she gathered while writing this book). Intelligent research is what this author performed.

Much of the research that the author performed found that many of the new technologies that have been used in most labors and deliveries have no basis in scientific fact. So, just as an example, the practice of continuous electronic fetal monitoring was put into use without any research showing its efficacy. In fact, the little research that is available showed that this type of monitoring gives little improvement over intermittent monitoring, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated that there is no benefit of one over the other.

In fact, other research studies showed that the continuous internal monitoring may be causing harm by introducing a route of infection. As in any situation, although even more so during labor, infection is a serious problem. Babies born who are suspected of being infected are taken from their mothers and subjected to a battery of blood and tissue tests to ensure their safety. This can have damaging effects in the short term and the long term with regard to bonding and breastfeeding. These babies will often be bottle fed, further disrupting nursing. Since infection is very serious, it is understandable that these tests and precautions are done. However, the research showed that EFM may have exacerbated this situation by introducing infection where previously there was none.

The point of this small digression is to give just one example of research showing that one of the technologies used in most births may not be beneficial to the mother or baby. EFM, in the example above, is generally used because it limits the liability of the physician and the hospital, not because it has any benefit. However, this particular technology is not the only one that research has shown no benefit for. There are other technologies and interventions beyond the scope of this article to discuss that are also not helpful to the mother or the baby, but have questionable usefulness. In light of this, it is better to be forewarned that when entering a hospital you are likely to be subjected to technologies that will not provide you or your baby with any benefit.

So the question posed by the headline of this article would appear to be a challenge. Since the obstetricians and the medical staff in the hospital want the new parents to have a perception of safety, they may be using technologies that look good but have no scientific basis for their use. So how do you avoid having your labor and delivery seen as a disorder that has to be cured rather than as the natural process that it is?

The first thing to do is to be informed. Read as many books about modern pregnancy and obstetrics as you can. Read the book mentioned above, as well as the book Pushed. Read articles on BellyBelly, American Pregnancy, Baby Center, and more. Understand that no matter how well you plan for your birth, you may not be able to have the birth experience that you want, and you need to be able to accept that. However, you can still contribute in meaningful ways.

Secondly, avoid seeing your own pregnancy as a disease or disorder to be cured. Some ways to help with this would be hire a doula for yourself or to use a midwife in a birthing center. Studies have shown that with a doula (you can find a certified doula at, you are likely to have fewer interventions, fewer complications, and a better birth outcome overall. This is probably because you have someone with you who is familiar with hospitals and procedures. She will notice and inform you of impending procedures such as episiotomy or fetal monitoring. If you want to avoid these procedures, that would help you to say no at the time when the intervention is about to happen. Without a doula, while you may have your partner with you, they are unlikely to be familiar with what is about to happen. The obstetrician or hospital staff may consider such interventions as so routine that they would not mention it to you, thus removing your opportunity to refuse such procedures. So, if you are interested in avoiding interventions, a doula can be a great help.

Prenatal massage therapy has also been shown in numerous studies to reduce the number of interventions, although the reasons are not understood. Massage during pregnancy also resulted in a better birth outcome and better neonatal scores. Postnatal depression was also reduced by massage therapy. So if you are looking to avoid interventions, a massage during the pregnancy, especially shortly before the birth, may offer benefits to you that do not seem obvious.

Another way to avoid being labeled as a disease is to perform thorough interviews for your hospital and obstetrician before you choose to go with them. While some women are willing to have their birth with a midwife, many are uncomfortable with having a birth outside of a hospital. They perceive that there would be less safety in a birth center than in a hospital. While this is not actually accurate (and a tour of a freestanding birth center will show you this for yourself), it is still a perception that pervades this society. So if the doctor or hospital you are interviewing has a C-section rate of 70%, you can expect that you would be highly likely to have a C-section if you went with that doctor/ hospital (see my previous article here for some of the dangers of elective C-sections). If you find an obstetrician whose rate is 20% and the hospital’s C-section rate is 15% (which you can find if you look – even in New Jersey, central NJ hospitals have low C-section rates, whereas northern hospitals have higher rates), then you can be confident that if you have a C-section, it was really necessary, i.e. a last resort instead of a first resort. Since a C-section is the ultimate culmination of seeing labor and delivery as a disease to be cured, this would be the rate that would be most helpful to know.

However, you should also ask about the hospital’s rate of epidural, episiotomy, electronic fetal monitoring, etc., to have a well-rounded picture of how that hospital views birth. Perhaps even more importantly, you need to know if there are arbitrary time limits imposed. The average time for a labor of a first time mother can be 26 hours or more. If the hospital has placed a time limit of 24 hours on every labor and birth, their intervention rates would likely be higher as they would begin giving women oxytocin to stimulate labor rather than patiently waiting for the woman’s body to give birth. Usually, patient waiting is practiced by midwife led births, although some hospitals will also practice patient waiting if they have a large enough staff and enough beds to provide this service.

So what you need to remember is that your birth is an experience that you will remember forever. The suggestions above can help you to have a pleasant birth with a good outcome for you and your baby. Do not hesitate to ask questions, and try to avoid caregivers who would patronize you instead of being honest with you. As mentioned above, give some thought to hiring a doula or having a midwife lead your birth. If you have a doula or midwife, you will at the very least be supported, and that can make your birth an experience that is pleasant and memorable regardless of interventions and technologies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pregnancy Tips For A Better, Healthier, Easier Birth With Fewer Interventions

Pregnancy can be a time of great confusion for many women. There is so much conflicting advice from care givers that it is easy to become overwhelmed. So here are just a few things that may be most helpful in letting you have the birth you want, especially if you want a natural or conscious birth where you are more in control of your birth and your body.
First, hire a doula. DONA International at is great place to start. This is someone who will be there to support you during the birth, as well as act as your advocate and liaison with the hospital staff. No matter what type of caregiver you have during your pregnancy, a doula can help you. A doula will tell you the facts about every procedure your caregiver recommends, including episiotomy, forceps, pitocin, and others. If your doctor asks if you want a procedure, the doula will be there to explain it to you. They will explain what each procedure is and what it is for, as well as its potential hazards and alternatives.

Second, have one or more prenatal massage sessions. Prenatal massage has been positively associated with many benefits. Some of these include a shorter, less painful labor with fewer interventions, better birth outcomes, and less prematurity. Then there are the usual massage benefits such as reducing lower back pain and depression.

The depression reducing effect is especially beneficial, because it can extend past the time of birth, and post natal depression can have many negative effects on the newborn. The scale used to measure neonatal development has been studied with relation to depression in the mother, and negative effects have been shown with babies born to depressed mothers whose depression continues. Similarly, this scale was used on newborns whose mothers had received prenatal massage, and the measurements showed improvement for the newborn's development.

Third, find a prenatal class in your area and register.BirthArts International, Lamaze, and The Bradley Method all offer classes in most areas. You can get to their websites by clicking on their name in the preceding sentence. Look for a class with positive reviews and ratings online, and for a teacher who shares your philosophy of birth. Even if you are planning a cesarean, you can find a teacher who will be supportive while educating you about your decision.

However, most teachers do feel that birth is a natural physiological process, and that nearly all women are able to give birth naturally if they learn ahead of time what to expect and how to deal with the pain of labor using relaxation techniques, breathing, baths, etc. They will also explain to you what you can expect in a hospital, and what interventions have been studied and shown to be necessary. For example, continuous fetal monitoring is practiced in most hospitals, but has not been shown to be of greater benefit than intermittent monitoring. Some hospitals, however, will not allow the patient to reject this intervention, since it limits their liability and can be used in court to justify other interventions later.

Fourth and last on this list is prenatal yoga. Find yoga teachers at Prenatal yoga has been shown to have some of the same benefits as massage, and it can also help in other ways. Most importantly, it can help to make your hips looser and more open, so that it is then easier for the baby to pass through your pelvis. Yoga also can help you to be more relaxed during labor and delivery, so that you are more present and able to deal with any issues that may come up. Prenatal yoga is most effective if you also have a doula to support you in labor and an obstetrician who performs more natural births than c-sections. Having a midwife instead of an OB has begun to become more popular in recent years, since your chances of an unmedicated intervention free birth are higher with a midwife in a free standing birth center.

One difficulty in choosing a doctor and hospital is that they are not required to disclose their statistics to you regarding the number of c-sections they perform, nor are they required to record them at all. This can make it impossible to verify whether a doctor or hospital is likely to give you the type of birth you want.

However, if you are not satisfied with the care you are likely to get at your hospital, New Jersey and New York both have quite a few free standing birth centers, as well as a number of homebirth midwives. If this seems like a better environment for your birth, it will not be hard to find help. Prior blogs here have discussed the benefits of both home births and midwives. Most insurance companies today have begun to cover midwife births in a birth center, so long as they have a relationship with a hospital for any emergency (nearly every one does).

So, if you want to have an easier birth, these four tips can help you to be successful in fulfilling that desire. Don't forget to have several postnatal massage sessions afterward, as this has been shown to speed recovery. For more information on prenatal massage, please click here.

Pregnant Women Can Do Something - Almost Anything- And Improve Their Birth Outcomes

So the title might seem like a strange statement. However, after reading through studies and articles in pregnancy magazines, I find that the same theme comes up over again and again.
For example, an article on prenatal chiropractic in Midwifery Today's Summer 2014 issue stated that mothers and infants had better outcomes including higher fetal weight, less prematurity, and fewer interventions. After reading many studies of massage during pregnancy, that article could have had the word chiropractic replaced with the word massage, since the results were the same. Since prenatal chiropractic is a special certification, you can find a chiropractor at by clicking here.

In a studyon our website about prenatal yoga compared with massage, the attendants of prenatal yoga classes had similar results to those mentioned for chiropractic. Prenatal massage has also been show to reduce prematurity, improve birth outcomes, and significantly shorten labor times. Many other alternative practices have similar results, shown in other studies.

So I started to realize that if a pregnant woman does just one thing from a choice of many, she improves her chances of having an uncomplicated birth with a stronger infant. I think a study should be done to show what happens when more than one of these things are combined. Are the effects cumulative? Considering that the benefits of massage have been shown in another study to be cumulative, I suspect that the benefits of all of these alternative healthcare methods are.

So what does this mean for pregnant women? Basically, it should be recommended that every pregnant woman do at least ONE of these things during and possibly after her pregnancy. But the best advice would be that every pregnant woman should do as many of these things as her budget and time will allow.

Every pregnant woman who wants to go through labor and avoid a C section should take a childbirth class. In addition, every pregnant woman should have at least one massage, chiropractic session, or acupuncture session, depending on her preference. She should also sign up for and take a series of prenatal yoga classes. This will help her to have the best birth outcome possible for her and her baby. Many midwives and obstetricians are beginning to realize the benefits of alternative care for pregnant women. This is likely to increase in the future, since an uncomplicated pregnancy makes their job easier.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fundal Massage After Birth To Reduce Risk of Post Natal Hemorrhage

As a pre and post natal massage therapist, I was taught the technique of fundal massage. Fundal massage is most useful in the first hours and days following labor. Fundal massage loses its effectiveness two weeks after delivery.

According to several articles published in medical journals and consumer magazines, fundal massage has long been known as a technique to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. Varying techniques are used in hospitals and by medical practitioners, and they are similar to the technique used by massage therapists certified in pre and post natal massage. Fundal massage in a gentle manner is also beneficial during the pregnancy, and has been traditionally performed by midwives, doulas, and certified massage therapists.

Several techniques of fundal massage have been used by obstetricians after the birth. Some physicians use an internal and external technique, where the uterus is massage posteriorly from inside the vagina, and anteriorly from the upper abdomen. This type of massage is performed if there appears to be excess bleeding after birth.

Another technique is a much less invasive one that would be used more often by labor and delivery nurses, midwives, doulas, and massage therapists. One hand is placed toward the pubic bone under the bulge of the fundus. The other hand is placed directly on the bulge of the fundus, and circular kneading is performed until the uterus is felt by the therapist to harden or by the patient to contract.

This technique is used to help facilitate uterine involution and prevent hemorrhage in the days following birth. Studies cited in the articles that will be linked to at the end of this article mention that this has been an effective technique to reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage. In many hospitals, this technique will be performed at least once, although if there is greater blood loss than normal it may be done every fifteen minutes or every hour for several days until release. Release may be delayed if there is excess blood loss for monitoring of the patient. The continuation of this massage after hospital release extends the benefits of the technique.

Since most births happen in hospitals, it helps postpartum women to receive this type of massage after their birth since they often leave the hospital within a day or two. For women who have a doula or a midwife, these techniques will often be performed by those caregivers as they are generally experienced with it. For those women whose midwives are more medically orientede, they may need to receive this technique from their doula or postnatal massage therapist (see this link also shared below for more on touch in and after pregnancy).

Read more about this technique, as well as how it is used in hospitals in conjunction with oxytocin and other medications, in the articles below. For those women who prefer a nonmedicated birth and after birth period (especially since many medications can be transferred to the baby during breastfeeding), manual fundal massage is an excellent way to prevent hemorrhage by itself without medication. If you would like more information about prenatal and postnatal massage in general, please visit our prenatal page by clicking here, and our postnatal page by clicking here.
(see comments)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Top Benefits of Having a Post Partum Doula

A doula is a relatively new profession in the US. There are two types of doulas: those who assist the pregnant woman during labor and birth and those who assist afterwards. The doula I am referring to here is the type that assists after birth.
In many cultures, the new mother is assisted for the first few weeks at home by her mother or sisters. This is true of Indian cultures, Chinese culture, as well as others. In the US, however, the new mom is often left to fend for herself, with no one to help. Her husband generally returns to work after a few weeks, and she is on her own. This often makes caring for the new baby difficult.

A baby brings a host of new responsibilities. They must be fed, and with the new recommendations about breastfeeding, as well as the new baby's tiny stomach, that often occurs every twenty minutes during the first few days or weeks of life. Add to that the need to change diapers, clean the house, wash dishes, do laundry, and other household chores that were easy before, and it is easy to see how the new mom can become overwhelmed.

So this is where a post partum doula can be of great help. Post Partum doulas are trained to help the new mom care for her baby, as well as assist with the household chores of cleaning dishes, doing laundry, as well as cleaning in general. This can make the new mom's life much less stressful, as well as help her to focus on the task of bonding and breastfeeding her new baby.

When a baby is just born, they may need to feed every twenty minutes or more to grow properly. When a woman is breastfeeding, this can be a challenge in general. Even more so when she is left to do it all alone.

In addition, a post partum doula is trained in the care of the new mom. If she is not a massage therapist herself, she is likely to recommend massage therapy for the new mom. Post natal massage has been shown to speed recovery from birth, increase milk production, reduce post partum depression, along with many other benefits. Your doula is likely to help you find a therapist to come to your home, as generally the baby cannot go outside by order of their pediatrician.

In addition, your doula can help with anxiety about the baby getting enough food, as well as other concerns you may have about caring for the new member of your family. Post natal depression is a real concern, and a doula can help with this. Often this type of depression stems from the new mom being alone to take care of the baby and the home, so having someone to help can go a long way in alleviating this type of depression. According to Mothering the Mother by Klaus et al, these doulas have been shown to help with depression in a number of studies.

In all, a post partum doula would be a worthwhile investment for you and your family. You can find these doulas listed on the DONA website, the doula match website, and the Childbirth International Find A Doula website (Click on each of the site names to link to their sites). For more info about post natal massage, please visit our website at by clicking here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Pregnant Woman’s Guide to Preventing C-Section

We live in a day and age where planned cesarean sections are routine, and are even recommended for all women. However, this is not a desirable procedure for many women today. There has been a push in recent years for a return to the natural methods of childbirth. This is indicated by the growing popularity of midwives, the burgeoning relatively new field of birth and post-partum doulas, as well as an overall general shift towards being healthy and living a natural life.
There are many reasons to prevent a C-section. There are financial reasons, since the cost of a C-section coupled with the hospital stay required afterwards can cost a new mother and father out of pocket in the tens of thousands of dollars, especially if they have a not-so-great health insurance policy. When compared to the cost of a natural birth (which is more in the area of one to two thousand in deductible or out of pocket), there is a big difference.

A natural birth requires a shorter hospital stay, often only a couple of days. A C-section can cause a woman to be in the hospital for a week or more afterward, especially if there were complications to the woman or the newborn. This can create a significant increase in cost, and for some women it can become a real financial burden.

Another reason to prevent a C-section has to do with the possible long term consequences to the mother in future pregnancies. As mentioned in a previous article, improper placental implantation has been positively linked to previous C-section. A Wikipedia entry about cesarean sections (linked to here ) speaks about several complications that are higher with C-sections, and apply to later births. “Women who delivered their first child by Caesarean delivery had increased risks for malpresentation, placenta previa, antepartum hemorrhage, placenta accreta, prolonged labor, uterine rupture, preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth in their second deliveries.” These same risks were echoed by GynoGab (linked to here )

Some of these risks can lead to maternal mortality, especially placenta accreta. In most cases placenta accreta will lead to hemorrhage since the placenta must detach from the uterus and be expelled after the birth. This is a fact of every birth. With placenta accreta, the placenta is essentially tied to the body through the previous C-section scar, so it cannot be expelled. The article states that women who plan to have larger families should not have elective C-sections. An elective C-section is performed for the convenience of the mother and the hospital staff, rather than in an emergency situation where the mother or baby is at risk.

It should also be noted that in Ina May‘s Guide to Childbirth, she states that these placental implantation problems have become an issue in recent years because surgeons have elected to use a single layer stitch when closing the wound in the uterus, whereas in the past the stitching was done in multiple layers. These multiple layers did not lead to such an increased risk of placental mal-implantation. Women who know they are at high risk can discuss the type of stitching they would prefer if they have a C-section with their surgeon to reduce their risk of these problems.

When placenta accreta occurs, the surgeon attending the birth will often have to perform a complete hysterectomy in order to save the mother’s life. This should indicate how serious of a problem this can become. When this happens, the mother can have no more children.
In addition to these types of complications, there is also a three times higher rate of maternal mortality with a C-section in general over having a natural birth. While natural births can sometimes result in death, the rate of death from a C-section is higher than that in a normal birth. Considering that birth is a natural part of life, and that the female body was designed to give birth, this makes sense.

So, how can the pregnant woman prevent a C-section? Possibly one of the best ways to prevent this would be to have a midwife for your prenatal care provider. A midwife is experienced in taking care of many of the problems that would otherwise lead to a C-section. For example, nuchal cord births (where the umbilical cord is wrapped around the neck), breech births, and twins, can often be naturally delivered by an experienced midwife. For this reason, having a midwife with experience is very important.

Another way to help prevent C-section is to hire a birth doula. This person is knowledgeable about childbirth and can help to calm you if you feel that the labor is lasting too long or that there is a problem. She will likely be able to tell you if there is an actual problem, or if there is actually no reason to panic.

Another way to help prevent C-section is to have frequent pre-natal massages. Multiple studies have shown that prenatal massage can help to prevent complications, interventions, prematurity, and other problems. When complications are reduced, so is the rate of C-section since emergency C-sections are performed due to complications. While the reasons massage helps in this way are not understood, it is worthwhile to try prenatal massage while you are pregnant. For more information on prenatal massage, please click here.

Prenatal chiropractic can also help in similar ways, and you can find a chiropractor trained in prenatal care by clicking here. Prenatal yoga has also been shown to have similar benefits. You can do prenatal yoga in a classroom setting, or by purchasing one of the many DVDs available. Prenatal yoga has become very popular in recent years, as many midwives and even OBs have been recommending it. Consequently, it is likely that you can find a yoga studio offering prenatal yoga in your area. Low impact exercise during pregnancy, such as walking, has also been shown to help prevent complications.

If you have a high risk pregnancy, there may be no way for you to prevent having a C-section when the time comes for your child to be born. In such a case, it is better for you to be informed about all of your options. If you have tried all of the above measures, including massage, chiropractic, yoga, etc., and you must have a C-section, you can still ask your obstetrician to stitch your uterus in multiple layers to prevent future implantation problems. That way, you may be able to have a vaginal birth after your C-section, and continue having more children naturally if that is what you choose. However, as with everything, going into this procedure informed will be the best way to have a successful outcome for you and your children.

10 Reasons to Have a Midwife-Led or Midwife-Assisted Childbirth

When you are considering your options for labor and birth, you might wish to consider having a midwife lead or assist at your birth. This article details ten reasons for having a midwife at your birth. There are certain medical conditions, described below the list, that may prevent you from having a midwife led birth, but some of the benefits below will also apply to a midwife assisted birth (where you have a midwife work with your obstetrician at your labor and birth).

So, if you are interested in having a midwife but are unsure of the benefits to you, here are the top 10 reasons to have a midwife led or assisted labor and birth.

1) Lower maternity care costs. This may not apply if your deductible is very low or waived for pregnancy. However, you are likely to still pay about $2-3,000 for your co-pay or deductible depending on your insurance if you have a natural birth in a hospital. If you have an elective or necessary C-section, your co-pay is likely to be closer to $7,000.

2) Reduced mortality and morbidity rates due to a lower rate of cesaereans and other interventions.

3) Lower rate of interventions, including forceps and vacuum assisted delivery rates.

4) Fewer recovery complications

5) Flat rate pricing, which will often include gynecological exams, preconception care, labor and delivery support, newborn care, as well as birth and labor education and breastfeeding education. This flat rate is often lower than your co-pay or deductible out of pocket expenses for a hospital birth. Those co-pays do not include the cost of your hospital stay.

6) Provides hands on assistance and support during labor and birth. The midwife will also monitor the physical, emotional, and overall wellness of the mother throughout labor and birth.

7) The midwife will provide post-partum support, such as counseling and breastfeeding education.

8) The midwife can help reduce pain in the laboring mother by making suggestions for non-pharmacological interventions such as a warm bath, chaning positions, certain herbs and juices, etc.

9) A midwife led birth held out of a hospital will not be subjected to the same time limits as a hospital birth often is. In many hospitals, labors have a set time limit, after which interventions will begin. Such interventions can include induction of labor (where certain of the induction medications can cause their own complications including uterine rupture and fetal distress), forceps and vacuum extractor deliveries, as well as C-sections. As indicated above, C-sections can lead to complications in later births, and may be best avoided in situations where they are not medically necessary.

10) A midwife is also likely to suggest certain pre and post birth activities that will reduce later pain during labor as well as pregnancy itself. Such suggestions are likely to include pre-natal massage, pre-natal yoga, as well as post-natal massage. Post-natal massage has been known in other countries such as India to speed recovery time, enhance milk production, as well as enhance the bonding of the newborn with its mother. Pre-natal massage and yoga have both been shown to reduce complications and interventions.

The medical conditions that generally require obstetric assistance or intervention are the following: preeclampsia (which means high blood pressure in the mother); epilepsy, heart disease, and non-gestational diabetes are also conditions which will make your pregnancy be considered high risk; placenta accreta, percreta, and increta (where the placenta implants too deeply into the uterine wall), and placenta previa where the placenta covers the opening of the cervix.

While placenta previa is not necessarily a complication requiring a surgical delivery (as many midwives have attended these births), the former three types of placental implantation require surgical intervention and have been positively linked to one or more previous C-sections. See the page about placental problems on the American Pregnancy website here . In addition, most obstetricians will tell you that the presence of multiples (i.e. twins) is also a reason to have a cesarean section. However, the latest Summer issue of Midwifery Today is centered on the topic of twins, with many stories of twins being successfully delivered by midwives.

The decision to have a midwife or an obstetrician be responsible for your childbirth and prenatal care is a very personal one. However, there are also medical and physical reasons to consider having a midwife involved in your birth. A future article will discuss the benefits of a doula, so that if a midwife is out of your price range, you can also have a doula, who is a birth assistant there to help you.

This article referenced several websites that speak about the benefits of having a midwife for your birth. American Pregnancy’s article can be viewed here, the BabyCenter webpage can be found here, and Pregnancy Corner’s website can be found here.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Informing Yourself About the Dangers of Induction Of Labor in Pregnant Women

When you are pregnant, you have a great many decisions to make. You need to think about a birth plan for yourself, you need to find the best midwife or obstetrician for your birth, and you need to consider where you want to have your baby. You also need to think a lot about your pre- and post-natal care, for example, will you have a midwife and a doula, an obstetrician and a doula, an OB only?

Will you have prenatal massages, or will you have a series of post-natal massage sessions after the baby is born to help you recover? Or will you have both? Do you understand why these decisions are important, and are you clear as to why you have made the choices you have?

In the midst of all of these decisions, you may be neglecting informing yourself about a very important decision that can have consequences for your and your baby: the decision of whether to induce labor or to let nature take its course.

It is helpful to understand that obstetricians working in hospitals are generally quick to try to get a pregnant woman to induce labor. They have a view that the pregnant woman’s body is somehow defective and will not induce labor when it is ready, on its own. However, this view is not borne out in the research, which has shown that women will labor when the time is right. (see midwifethinking for a more holistic view of birth and labor)(Also see the article on Clinic Advisor located here )

Many times when a woman has an induced labor, there are unintended consequences. The rates of caesarean sections after an induction are twice those of non-induced women. For many women today, this type of birth is undesirable. Additionally, for conditions like gestational diabetes where the baby is assumed to be very large based on ultrasounds and other monitoring, when born the baby is often underweight or premature.

Thus, many inductions were unnecessary. The problem here seems to be one of a missing feedback loop. In other words, a feedback loop would mean that: a hospital performs a certain number of inductions, many of those inductions turned out to be unnecessary or even dangerous for the baby or mother, thus fewer inductions would be performed in the future. However, this feedback loop is actually missing in most hospitals since most of them continue to perform just as many inductions, and the number is on the rise.

All of these facts are aside from the actual dangers to mothers and babies from inductions. When a woman is induced to have labor, it is an unnatural event. Thus, there is an actual risk of rupturing or tearing the uterine wall because the contractions are unnaturally strong. This leads to a higher rate of C-sections, and can also cause long term incontinence. (See this website for more information) A higher risk of post-partum bleeding has also been observed with the use of these drugs. (Belghiti J, Kayem G, Dupont C, et al. Oxytocin during labour and risk of severe postpartum haemorrhage: a population-based cohort-nested case-control study. BMJ Open 2011;1:)

With regard to the infant, brain damage, increased fetal heart rate (leading to a C-section), permanent CNS, as well as fetal death have all been reported. The rates for these conditions in the infant are higher than in those born to mothers who are not induced. In addition to these issues with newborns, they have been generally underweight or premature when born through induction, even though their ultrasounds had indicated a larger than appropriate for gestational age baby. See the pages here and here for more information.

It should also be remembered that a due date is a guess at best, since most women do not know the exact date on which they conceived. They may know the date of their last period, from which the due date is estimated. These possibilities have actually caused the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to state on their own website that caution should be used when inducing labor, as quoted in the bellybelly webpage above. However, hospitals and obstetricians continue to use these procedures regularly.
In addition to the reasons mentioned, it is also helpful to note that when a woman is admitted to a hospital as being in labor, there is a time limit for that labor, regardless of what her body believes is the time limit. When that time limit has passed, the OB will generally insist on induction. When the induction occurs, if the fetal heart rate drops, or the fetus appears to be in distress, an emergency C-section will be performed. For further reading on this topic, see Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, a midwife practicing since the 1970s.

It is also useful to remember that most independent midwives do not perform labor inductions. They prefer to consider the woman’s body as wise enough to know when the baby is ready to be born. The normal labor of a pregnant woman releases small amounts of induction hormones into her blood, so spontaneous uterine rupture is rare. A midwife will generally allow a woman to labor until the baby is born. Many midwives have the experience to know when a fetus is in distress, and have a hospital birth contingency plan in place before the birth takes place. (See Ina May’s book above, as well as current and past issues of Midwifery Today for further details)

Massage therapy in the prenatal period has also been shown to reduce the incidence of prematurity, as well as the incidence of complications during labor. This is another factor to consider when creating your prenatal care team. A doula is also helpful to have with you at birth, as they are another educated care provider, who can help you to be informed about the decisions you are making with your body and your baby.

The best time to learn about labor induction, using chemical or mechanical methods (such as breaking waters, which often leads to chemical induction if ineffective), is before you are scheduled to deliver your baby. Researching the possibilities will give you the best chance of having the birth experience that is best for you and your baby.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Choosing A Home Birth – Your Pregnancy Can End At Home With Proper Preparation

When you are pregnant, you have many different people offering you so many suggestions that it can be confusing to know what the right choice is for you and your baby. Most of your friends and relatives have given birth in a hospital, and they argue that this is the safest way. However, more women than ever in the United States are choosing to have home births, and most of those births are uneventful in terms of complications. They also create a deeper bond and a more lasting memory for the woman giving birth.

If you read stories about home births online (such as on the forum located here), you will find that almost universally, women were extremely happy with their choice. If you think about it, it is easy to see why. A birth at home is in the most comfortable environment for you. You can shower if you would like, and you can move around your home freely. The lighting is the type of lighting that you like best (no harsh overhead fluorescent lighting), and you bed is there for you right after you have given birth. In addition, it is going to become the most familiar place for your baby once he is born, so why not start him out in the place where he will be spending most of his time and life.

So, if a home birth sounds like a good choice for you, there are some things that you can do to ensure that you are able to have one. Of course, it is not possible to prepare in advance for every eventuality, and some women are not able to have a home birth even if they want one. Conditions such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and placenta Previa are certain to prevent a home birth, since they are complications that are much more likely to require the intervention of a hospital medical team.

However, for those women who are having a normal pregnancy, with no complications, who are at low risk, there are a number of things that you can do so that your wishes can be honored. First, be sure you are getting adequate nutrition. Following the basic food groups, having good portion sizes, and eating whole grains and healthy fruits and vegetables can help ensure you are having good nutrition. The baby’s weight is also a good indicator, so be sure your doctor agrees that your weight gain and the baby’s are appropriately progressing.

Second, you should ensure that you are taking the proper pre-natal vitamins. For the most part, doctors and midwives today have been recommending pre-natal vitamins based on the favorable results of many studies, including those performed by the March Of Dimes. Certain vitamins have been definitively shown to prevent birth defects, and increase fetal health.

Third, you may wish to consider having a pre-natal massage session or a series of sessions before you give birth, and then continuing after you have given birth, preferably in your home. Due to limitations to mobility, getting yourself to a spa may become impossible, and massage therapy can be crucial for your pregnancy. Rather than allowing the lack of mobility to stop you from having one, it is best to have one in your home. Evidence is mounting with each passing month and year on the incredible benefits to both mother and baby of prenatal massage therapy.
Fourth, it is advisable to sign up for a pre-natal yoga class, or to obtain a prenatal yoga video, such as can be found on amazon by clicking here. Pre-natal yoga has demonstrated beneficial effects for every stage of pregnancy, and many physicians and midwives heartily recommend the practice. Like massage, it can help your body be prepared for labor by loosening and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, making pushing during labor easier.

Fifth, it is strongly advised that you hire a doula, in addition to a skilled and experienced midwife. The doula will help the laboring woman with emotional support, as well as helping to calm the laboring woman and her partner. Having a doula is almost certainly a must if one wants to have a natural childbirth at home. You can check the links here and here to help you find a certified doula in the New Jersey area.

While there are risks of a home birth, the risks are generally small. Usually, the risks involve complications during the birth that were not foreseen, leading to the need to be transferred to a hospital. Prior to the 1900s, nearly all births were home births. Advances in modern medical treatment have made even home births safer, with midwives generally bringing fetal monitoring equipment with them, along with oxygen for the mother or baby. With proper preparation, it has been found that home births are nearly as safe as those in a hospital or birthing center, and their popularity is on the rise. Research for this article was performed on The Mayo Clinic's home birth page, the American Pregnancy Association’s page, and a recent Huffington Post article detailing the results of a study of home births in America.

Since more and more modern women are choosing to insist on a natural childbirth, feeling that their decision matters and that they have a say, it is only natural that home births are following in the footsteps of this growing trend. Just as C-sections come with many risks, but are performed routinely, perhaps there will come a time when births are routinely performed at home even though there are some risks to this. If you are considering a home birth, then you are paving the way for future women just like yourself to make the same decision. You are treating pregnancy and birth as a natural process rather than a medical condition, and this is to be applauded. We can only hope that more women in the future will follow in these footsteps toward a more integrated approach to their own labor and birth.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Why Every Pregnant Woman Should Educate Herself About Pregnancy

Every pregnant woman should read at least one book about her pregnancy. I would state, actually, that every pregnant woman should read every book and internet article about pregnancy that she can. It is very important to be informed. In the introduction to the book Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn, by Simkin et al., the author states that “…expectant parents [should] have a portable, comprehensive, and unbiased source of factual information and sound advice…” about their pregnancy, as well as how to care for the new baby once it is born.

While this is an excellent book, and every pregnant woman should obtain a copy, there are many other books, websites, scientific studies, and scholarly articles that one should research upon becoming pregnant. Since the evolution of the e-reading device, as well as magazines available on Google’s newsstand app for smart devices, it is not difficult to get most of the information you need right on your smartphone or tablet device, thus making it easier than ever to make informed decisions about your birth plan, your medical care, and the desired outcome of your labor.

Some of the decisions to make involve medications such as epidurals, whether you want a natural birth or C-section (this desire cannot always be honored, although it is best to know what each option entails beforehand), and whether you want a hospital birth, home birth, birthing center birth, or a water birth. Each of these decisions required careful research on the risks and benefits, the statistics regarding success rates, and possible side effects or harmful effects on you and the baby for each decision.

While pregnancy is a completely natural event, there have been advances in medical science that every woman should know about. There is also a lot of knowledge among the general public about certain advances and interventions, but some are not fully understood. There are procedures that bring with them a certain level of higher risk, but many women may not be aware of these risks.

For example, an epidural and an amniocentesis are both rather routine in this day and age. However, there are some women who would not want either of them if they were aware of the risks and possible damage that can occur to mother or fetus. In the case of an epidural, there is a 1 in 1,000 risk of temporary nerve damage, and a 1 in 13,000 risk of permanent nerve damage in the leg, foot, or stomach. This nerve damage can result in numb patches on these body parts. Permanent urinary incontinence can rarely result from this procedure as well.

The overall complication risk, including all complications both minor and major, is 23% This is according to the website listed in the next paragraph. The rate of caesarian section increases among women who have had epidurals, by 7 percentage points. Other complications have included a drop in blood pressure, the need for assistance in delivery with forceps or vacuum, as well as fetal distress, blood vessel trauma, and punctured Dura.

Infections, high fever, and backache were also common. This list is only a brief discussion about some of the problems associated with epidurals. Every woman who is considering having one should know all of the risks. The website located here is well-referenced, with many studies about epidurals listed in the footnotes. While the pain of labor is intense, and is obviously what has prompted the popularity of this procedure, it is still best to know as much as possible before accepting it. Also, while the risks of major problems are rather small, especially compared to other medical procedures, it is still best to make such a decision with both eyes open.

Similarly, an amniocentesis is a routinely administered procedure, where doctors may minimize the risks of the procedure when discussing the procedure with a possible candidate for it. Since many miscarriages occur in the second trimester, when this test is performed, it is very hard to accurately estimate the miscarriage risk. The accepted risk for miscarriage because of an amniocentesis is between 1 in 200 and 1 in 400.

To some, that may not seem a small number. This test, however, is the best way to test for a genetic abnormality. This test is performed in the second trimester to allow a woman the option of aborting the pregnancy if a genetic abnormality which will create a significant burden to the family is discovered. The burdens of having a genetically abnormal child include financial burdens, as well as social burdens with regard to when the child is in school, as well as in normal social situations with friends and family.

There are other risks of this procedure as well, including causing uterine infections, the needle coming into contact with the baby possibly causing damage, and causing the water to break (i.e. creating a leak in the amniotic fluid). This would cause labor to be induced prematurely, since the amniotic fluid is what keeps the baby alive and nourished in the womb. Click on the website names that follow for links to discussions of the risks and benefits of an amniocentesis at Babycenter and the American Pregnancy Association.

In the case that a baby will have a genetic abnormality, if the woman is not planning to have an abortion (whether for religious, moral, or other personal reasons), then the performance of the test is questionable. At the URL located here, the doctor speaks about the increasing risk of having a baby with Down’s syndrome for people who are older adults.
The benefits of this test are significantly mitigated if they lose the baby due to the test itself. And again, if they are not planning to abort the fetus, then the advantage of having the test may be quite small since there is nothing that can be done. Amniocentesis has very accurate results with regard to predicting Down’s syndrome. However, many women feel that a 1 in 200 potential risk for miscarriage from this procedure is too high and have chosen to not have one done.

There are hundreds of other reasons to become as informed as possible about pregnancy, especially with regard to your birthing choices. Whether to have your birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home, are each choices that come with certain potential risks as well as certain potential outcomes. For example, if you choose to give birth in a hospital, you have a greater chance of having a cesarean section. Giving birth at home is nearly as safe as giving birth in a hospital or birthing center, according to recent research. An article at The Huffington Post, and another at the American Pregnancy Association go into greater details, and can be accessed by clicking on the website's name in the preceding sentence.

Home births are usually only allowed or normal pregnancies with low risk of complications. The disadvantage to a home birth is that there is no way to do a C-section if something goes wrong, and only a midwife would be willing to perform the delivery. This is probably the most important choice to make during your pregnancy, before the time of labor comes.

There are many other compelling reasons why every pregnant woman should be as informed as possible. With the evolution of smartphones and tablets, it is no longer even necessary to carry around a bunch of books to read about pregnancy and the birth experience. Kindles and e-readers, as well as other apps are available to read all about pregnancy right on your smartphone. Scientific studies and other information are available through social media sites and other apps. Every pregnant woman should learn about the procedures she will be having before undergoing them, and her birth partner should take an active role in learning to be better able to help her during the birth experience.

Such foreknowledge will make the pregnant woman feel more empowered and in control of her own pregnancy. Since much of pregnancy belongs to another (the fetus), having the most information can serve to make a woman feel that she is more of an active participant in the process, rather than just a vessel for the entrance of another being into this world. While it is certainly the case that the process is focused on the birth of a new person, it will help the pregnant woman to know that she, too, is an active participant in her own life and the creation of the life of another, since both lives will be forever changed by this experience.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reducing Pain and Duration of Labor During Pregnancy: Acupressure Point

A study conducted in 2004 has some very interesting and useful information for pregnant women, as well as their caregivers. This study describes how a very simple technique, which can be applied by anyone, can reduce the pain of labor. More importantly, this technique was found to significantly reduce the time of the first stage of labor, between 3cm cervical dilation and full dilation.
While the duration of the second stage of labor did not differ significantly, the effect on the first stage of labor is clinically significant. Due to the pregnancy, there are fewer medications that can be prescribed to assist with the duration of the first stage of labor. Additionally, even medications that are deemed safe for pregnancy can have unpredictable consequences, as each person and each pregnancy can react differently. For this reason, non-pharmacological interventions (such as pre-natal massage and acupuncture) are always preferable to pharmacological ones.

I have spoken to a number of obstetricians and gynecologists, who have stated that the results of this study would be useful to them. With regard to actually performing this technique, it is simple enough to teach to the spouse or other loved one who is present, so that they can administer the technique during all of the stages of labor. Even though the first phase of labor is the only one that showed an effective shortening, this technique was still shown to reduce pain and lessen the need for pharmacological pain-killers. (A certified pre-natal massage therapist or certified acupuncturist can also demonstrate the technique to expectant parents sometime before labor)

The most popular and effective pain-killer used during labor is an epidural. However, pregnant women are not often advised that this method can actually prolong the second phase of labor, which is the pushing stage. Click here to view the study

There are also other effects that can occur from an epidural, including the risk of temporary or permanent nerve damage, many women need to have a catheter inserted in order to eliminate, and it can make you feel itchy, shivery, or fevered. Most importantly, epidurals increase the risk of your blood pressure falling, which can increase the risk for the baby needing assistance due to improper positioning for birth. Epidurals also wear off after a certain amount of time and require the services of a specialized doctor, known as an anesthetist. When the medication wears off, the anesthetist must be called again, and they may not be readily available. This is according to the website - click here . A number of these risks may not be discussed with you by your doctor, so it is important to find out about your pain relieving options well before your labor starts.

Pregnant women and their care-givers can easily administer this technique to laboring women, and it is something that more midwives and obstetricians should be using. The SP6 acupressure point is located on the inner calf of the lower leg, four finger widths above this inner ankle, at the back border of the leg bone. A diagram or photograph could be provided to the spouse or caregiver providing the acupressure, and the acupressure is applied during each contraction for 30 seconds. Although this was the model used in the experiment, it is also possible that continued application of pressure to SP6 during labor would have a similar effect on the duration of labor and intensity of pain.

As a simple intervention that nearly anyone can apply, this acupressure massage technique can be useful for most pregnant women, whether in hospitals, birthing centers, or at home. Midwives and obstetricians may find the study useful in their own practices as well.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tactile Massage During Pregnancy To Ease Symptoms of Morning Sickness

A study conducted by Annelle Agren and Marie Berg, which can be viewed by clicking here, both registered nurses, in a clinical setting, found that there were positive benefits received by women who had tactile massage during their pregnancy. The women were suffering from nausea, vomiting, and other morning sickness symptoms. The morning sickness symptoms were severe enough to be classified as a condition in themselves, called Severe Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy (SSNVP).

The study was conducted on women who were suffering from SNVP, who had come to feel that the condition was ruling their life. The study findings were in the form of a post-treatment interview, and the results were subjective. The results of this study indicated that tactile massage is a useful therapy for women experiencing morning sickness. As a non-pharmacological alternative, it helped the women feel more in touch with their bodies, as well as more relaxed and less enslaved to the nausea they had been experiencing.

The results of this study are very encouraging, considering that many women do not necessarily want a pharmacologic alternative because of their pregnancy. Pregnancy is a time of caution always, as the fetus is in a delicate state during the first trimester, when most women experience morning sickness. Many alternative treatments that have given good results for this condition would be welcomed for women suffering from SNVP.

Certified pre-natal massage therapists could be called upon in the medical setting to provide this type of massage to women suffering from SNVP, with good results. The knowledge of this study would likely be very useful to both obstetricians and midwives, to assist them with patients suffering from this condition. In short, massage therapy could easily be recommended and integrated into the alternative health care practices of women with SNVP to help alleviate some of their suffering.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Craniosacral Therapy To Help Pregnant Women and Newborns

In a 2008 issue of Midwifery Today, the many benefits of CranioSacral Therapy to pregnant women and their newborn infants is discussed. The article I am referring to can be found here
CranioSacral Therapy administered during pregnancy can help to ease restrictions in the woman’s body that might hamper her ability for an optimal birthing experience. By healing the restrictions, especially those in the pelvis and hips, the birth can take place more easily in many cases. The relieving of these restrictions can also help to facilitate the mother infant bonding experience, which is critical to the infant’s health and well-being. CranioSacral Therapy can also help to promote the proper fetal positioning, and can be especially helpful if the baby is presenting posteriorly.

One of the most common complaints of pregnancy, low back pain, can also be alleviated by CranioSacral Therapy, as can ligament pain. Ligament pain often occurs in pregnancy because of the loosening of all of the joints in the body due to the hormone newly secreted, relaxin. This causes pain because one must still walk and do all other activities, albeit with less properly tense joints. Even though CranioSacral Therapy works through a very light touch, it is surprisingly effective. Many case studies over the years have shown dramatic improvements in a variety of conditions, even those that have no medical treatment, and no known cause.

The ideal time for the application of CranioSacral Therapy for a pregnant woman is during the actual phases of labor. This is why midwives and doulas that are certified in this therapy can be invaluable to a woman while she is giving birth. They can help to unwind the pelvis, sacrum, and uterus, and when this is occurring during the birth process, the effects can be profound. Each time the pelvis goes out of alignment during labor, the skilled therapist can help to bring it back into balance.

In the postpartum period, this article discusses the great benefit to the mother of this therapy. It assists with musculoskeletal reintegration, emotional balance, and pelvic health, along with helping to alleviate the stresses on the mother’s body of newborn infant care.
With regard to babies and children, CranioSacral Therapy can help with general health, as well as to eliminate the lasting effects of birth trauma. When a baby has had a natural childbirth, intense forces have acted on the cranium and body during the passage through the birth canal. These forces can create lasting problems for the infant, which CranioSacral Therapy works to correct. Another issue that newborns can have which this therapy has shown effectiveness for is the ability to properly nurse. This therapy can help with the sucking reflex and latching.

In addition to the reasons stated above, there are many other benefits that CranioSacral Therapy has on newborns, children, as well as adults and pregnant women. The author has offered numerous resources for midwives and doulas, as well as other health care practitioners, to learn more about, and become certified in, CranioSacral Therapy. I believe, as she seems to, that all providers of maternal and pre-maternal care can offer greater benefits to their patients through training in CranioSacral Therapy. It is a very useful and helpful modality for all women, and especially to pregnant women.

Depressed Pregnant Women and Massage Therapy: Positive Outcomes For Mother and Infant

Two studies will be discussed in this article. The first study relates to the administration of massage therapy on depressed pregnant women, and their subsequent reduction of depression symptoms. The second study discusses the effect of depression during and after pregnancy on their newborn child.

The first study was performed by Tiffany Field and associates, of the Touch Research Institute in Miami, and was titled, Massage therapy effects on depressed pregnant women. The second study was also performed by Tiffany Field and associates, and was titled Depressed mothers' infants are less responsive to faces and voices. The second study was a review of the studies previously performed by Touch Research Institute.

In the second study, newborn babies were evaluated using several different scales for their responsiveness to faces and voices of caregivers. They orient less readily to the sounds of voices, and also to the crying of other infant around them. The Brazelton scale was used to evaluate their response time, and the results were compared to the standard for infant responsiveness. They also had a delayed reaction to music, such as slowing of their heart rate, and this delayed responsiveness was both in response to vocal music and instrumental music.

The infants of depressed mothers continued to show different than normal reactions to their mother’s non-smiling and non-contingent faces. A non-contingent facial expression might mean that the infant is used to seeing a mean or angry face even when they have done nothing wrong. This suggested to the study authors that the infants had become used to their mother’s irregular behavior toward them, and no longer reacted to it in a negative way. As the study participants grew older, their mothers, who had been depressed, became more authoritarian in their parenting style, as well as more angry and anxious around their children.

On a positive note, in their studies they found that these interactions could be improved by the mothers receiving pre-natal massage to help with their depression, and later they were given postnatal coaching to help them understand more normal and effective ways to interact. Both of these interventions helped the infants to have more optimal neonatal behavior, as well as having positive effects on the growing infants’ development.

The study mentioned above, Massage therapy effects on depressed pregnant women, found that after the massage therapy treatments, they had measurable differences in their depression and anxiety, as attested to by higher dopamine and serotonin levels concurrent with lowered cortisol and norepinephrine levels. In addition, their infants had better neonatal outcomes such as a reduction in the incidence of low birth weight and prematurity. The scale mentioned above also showed more favorable outcomes in the newborns whose depressed mothers received massage therapy.

The studies mentioned here conclude, and I believe rightly so, that massage therapy is an effective, non-invasive way to reduce depression in new mothers, and to improve the outcomes for newborns. These improvements also continue as the babies grow and develop past infancy and into their first few months of life. It is likely that in the future the results of studies like these will encourage midwives and obstetricians to recommend massage therapy for patients who have shown clinical signs of or who have been diagnosed with prenatal depression.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Some of the Strange and Fun Experiences and Facts About Being Pregnant

An interesting slideshow on the Australian Mother and Baby website, which can be linked to here, talks about some of the stranger aspects of being pregnant. Some of them are very cute, so I will share some of them here.

The first interesting fact that is not widely known is that you only need 200 extra calories a day when you are pregnant in order for the baby to have enough nutrition. A normal healthy woman should gain only about 25-35 pounds, so if you are adding this amount of daily calories, it is easy to stay within the normal range. This extra caloric need can be satisfied by, for example, an extra slice of toast and a banana with your breakfast meal.

Something else not many people know is that when you become pregnant, and especially when you find out you are pregnant, it takes a very long time for your pregnancy to be noticeable. Then, if you don’t tell people, no one will ask you for quite a while, because they do not want to offend you if you are not pregnant.

Something that most people do know is that when you are pregnant, your hormones are totally crazy. You may burst into tears over nothing, or start fights with people over some perceived offense, when you normally would not act that way.

Another great article about fun and interesting facts of pregnancy can be found by clicking on this link. The first interesting fact they mention is that you will stop traffic whenever you cross the street when you are pregnant. Also, many people will look at your growing belly and smile, since your being pregnant has made their day brighter somehow. Of course, we all know this doesn’t happen with everyone, but it does happen sometimes.

When you are pregnant, you might notice that you can eat a whole pint of chocolate ice cream without feeling guilty. And you can repeat the same thing every night. You can also eat pickles with the ice cream, and think it tastes great! Or some other food combination that when you are not pregnant would thoroughly disgust you, but when you are pregnant, it sounds like heaven on earth.

You also take lots of naps when you are pregnant, and again, you don’t feel guilty or lazy when you do this. You also get to watch your husband turn into a daddy when “he kisses your belly goodnight, reads to the baby in utero, and stays up until 3 am putting the crib together – just in case the baby decides to come eight weeks early.” :-)

You don’t feel quite so embarrassed in a bathing suit, since you want to show off your belly instead of hiding it. You also get to imagine the possibilities. And my favorite from their list is the incredible anticipation. It is the most exciting anticipation of your life waiting for the baby to be born.
So these two lists had some really cute and interesting fun facts about pregnancy, and I hope you enjoyed reading them. For more cute and interesting pregnancy facts, you can visit our twitter page, where we tweet about pregnancy pretty often, as well as our facebook page, where more fun and cute pregnancy facts are often shared. Click here for our twitter account, and here for our facebook page. You can also visit our pregnancy massage page by clicking here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pregnancy Products Every Mom To Be Should Have

This article will present some of the best items for moms-to-be to have during their pregnancy. Some products are available on Amazon, Babies R Us, and other websites. Pregnant women can also benefit from a pre-natal or post-natal massage to help with the aches and pains that pregnancy brings, as well as to balance their hormones to make the birth easier and promote healthy lactation and nursing.
The first and most important product every pregnant woman should have is a maternity or pregnancy pillow. There are many to choose from, but some are much better than others in terms of support, firmness, and areas addressed. The most popular maternity pillow is the Boppy pillow. This link will take you to Amazon's Boppy pillow offering. This is the pillow I have used on many pregnant women. It has removable pieces, so that you only use what you actually need. The same pillow can be found at Babies R Us by clicking here. You can read reviews of this pillow by following this link or this link

Some people do not like the Boppy pillow, because it might separate at night if you are a toss and turn type of sleeper. Then you have to search for all the other parts when you wake up in the middle of the night. The concept is sound though, since some people are not comfortable sleeping on their sides, but that is all they can do when they are pregnant. So, for those who want a one piece pillow, the Snoogle might work for them. The Snoogle is a full body pillow with a part that goes behind the back to keep you on your side, as well as between your legs and next to the belly, and a separate part that goes under your head. Click here to buy it on amazon. Here is a similar product made by Babies R Us that might be slightly less expensive than the brand name Snoogle. Here are some reviews about this pillow from Babies R Us. You can also read some reviews on babycenter comparing the two pillows here.

Another must have item that has come highly recommended from both older and newer moms is the maternity support. This straps around your back, and helps to hold some of the baby's weight in a more evenly distributed manner. It can help somewhat with leg and back pain, as well as with your posture. You can find it by following this link. You can check out the reviews for this product here. Some people who used it found relief, and some just found it uncomfortable. Purchasing from Babies R Us or Amazon would give you a pretty flexible return policy if you don't like it.

This next item is by far the cutest in this article. It is a pre-natal listening system made by Summer Infant. It allows you to hear your baby's heart beat, coughs, hiccups, and any other sounds that they make. It even comes with two sets of earbuds, one for dad and one for mom! It gives you a similar effect to an ultrasound, except without the visuals. You can purchase it from Babies R Us here. You may want to buy a higher quality set of headphones than the ones included in the package, since that was the most common complaint of the reviewers.
A really cute and creative product also offered by Babies R Us is the ProudBody do it yourself pregnant belly painting kit. This kit includes everything you need to paint your rounded belly in all sorts of pretty and symbolic designs. The paints are FDA approved, water based, and non-toxic. They will not harm the mother or the baby by using them. There are eight paints in this kit, and it is a great idea for an activity your other kids can do to help them bond with the new baby before it arrives. You can find the item on Babies R Us here. You can also find it on Amazon by clicking here. The same company makes a belly casting kit, which also includes paints for after the cast has been made. This is great if you don't want to paint your belly, but still want to be creative with your growing belly, or if you want to always remember what your belly looked like as it grew. These can be linked to in the similar products area of the links above.

Psi bands acupressure wrist bands are also a mommy to be must have! They can help to relieve nausea, from motion sickness or morning sickness, or just general pregnancy nausea. The kit contains two bands, which are meant to be worn at the same time. They are no more cumbersome than a wrist watch, and have a similar design. You can find them on Babies R Us at this link (

Another alternative to help with morning sickness are the Organic Preggie Pop Drops. They are drug free with all natural and organic ingredients that have helped some women to find relief from morning sickness and general nausea. You can find them by clicking here.
And, of course, there are the ever important pre-natal vitamins. Pre-natal vitamins can also be prescribed by a doctor, but sometimes a woman needs more of a boost in the vitamins she needs during pregnancy. Some vitamins may have less of certain nutrients and more of others, so it may be a good idea to supplement with another pre-natal vitamin. A good one to try are the vitamins made by FoodScience Laboratories, and listed on Amazon's website here. You can also try Deva Vegan Prenatal Vitamins if you are a vegetarian and would like a supplement that is not sourced from animals. You can buy them from amazon here

Many times, the vitamins prescribed for you are sourced from animal products, and also contain other fillers that you might wish to avoid. The March of Dimes has found through their research that many birth defects are caused by vitamin deficiencies, particularly folic acid and other B-vitamins. Their research has played a role in gaining acceptance in the medical community for pre-natal vitamins for all women who are pregnant.

While some of the items in this list are more important and essential than others, I hope you have found this list to be helpful in determining what items you might need for your pregnancy. One thing that is often overlooked is self care for the pregnant woman. Your body needs help relaxing, and could also use some help in balancing hormones, among other things. A pre-natal massage can help with both pain and hormone balance, both during the pregnancy and after.

It has also come to be more accepted among physicians when a woman is complaining of aches and pains, or when she has a hormone profile that is not ideal. With the products listed above, as well as several pre-natal and post natal massages, a woman can have a happy, healthy pregnancy with fewer new pains developing, and with much greater ease in both the birthing and nursing process. When planning for your needs during pregnancy, these are definitely some things to take into consideration. If you found this information helpful, or would like to contact me, I would appreciate your feedback on this topic. Feel free to suggest other items that every mom to be should have that have not been mentioned in this list.