Natural Labor Induction Methods That Work

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If you’re approaching or have surpassed your expected due date, you may be eager to finally meet your baby. As if your hormones aren’t working hard enough, your feelings of uneasiness continue to grow. The thought of hospital inducement is also a scary topic that many women hope to avoid. However, there are natural labor induction methods that work. Whatever you may be experiencing, inducing your labor naturally at home is very possible and isn’t as scary as you think. There are various natural induction methods that can assist to initiate labor in a natural and safe way. You may have heard everything from exercising, having sex, or ingesting castor oil will help labor start naturally. However, what is genuinely fact, vs what is fiction? Here are several natural induction methods we’ve advised our patients here at Midwife 360 for your pregnancy.

Let’s Talk About Sex

Many women have had success with natural labor induction with sex. This is due to the presence of prostaglandins in sperm. These are the same estrogen molecules present in cervical ripening drugs such as Cervidil. Partaking in sex frequently increases the effectiveness of inducing labor. “Third times the charm” is the natural labor induction strategy motto. For example, the amount of sperm from three ejaculations has the same quantity of prostaglandins as Cervidil. Now routine sex at 40+ weeks can come as a shock to some, it sure beats the alternatives of Cervidil and Pitocin. These medical alternatives can cause more painful contractions and even ruptured membranes or fetal distress.

Self Care

Pampering yourself is a wonderful way to unwind and refocus before the arrival of the baby. While prenatal massages aren’t bad, you might want to concentrate on the feet. Foot massages contain trigger points that have the power to induce labor. Try an assortment of natural treatments like a foot massage, reflexology, and even a pedicure.

Natural Herbs

Midwives and elder medical practitioners have traditionally utilized herbs for induction. Clinical induction approaches incorporate some of the same lines of therapy as traditional herbs. Although these herbs are natural and used for medicinal purposes, they should only be provided by a medical professional or midwife. The safety and effectiveness have not yet been proven for use on their own. However, may utilize a mix of the following herbs/remedies: Evening primrose oil, Caulophyllum, and Cohosh

Keep Things Spicy

Experimenting with spices is a great way to induce labor. Keep in mind these methods are not scientifically proven but have worked for many as a natural approach. Spicy dishes encourage the gastrointestinal system to generate prostaglandins, which cause uterine contractions. Although spicing things up can induce labor, keep in mind that spicy intake can generate unwanted side effects such as heartburn. It is always best practice to discuss with your health care provider if you are unsure of any activity or method you wish to partake in.

Meet the Midwives at Midwife360

Midwife360 was founded in 2014 and has since been a mainstay in women’s health care in South Florida. Midwife360 provides both holistic gynecology and midwifery services such as regular women’s care, family planning, and prenatal care and childbirth. This group of lovely and clever ladies all has a love for combining traditional and modern medical care practices. Importantly, they bring together a practice focused on a strong bond between physician and patient, personalized requirements, and genuine healing.

Dos and Don’ts For Your Third Trimester

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Congratulations, you’re nose’s away from the finish line! From counting kicks to choosing a name for your baby, the third trimester has much to offer. Midwife 360 has curated a handy guide to guarantee a healthy and pleasant birth. Below are the dos and don’ts for your third trimester. 

Fetal Development 

While you may feel enormous, your baby still has a lot of growing to do, meaning you do too! A baby’s bones, skin, hair, teeth, digestive system, brain, and five senses completely mature throughout the last three months. Babies will start turning upside down eight- full term in preparation for delivery.

Symptoms

With so much happening within your body, aches are bound to happen. Bodily functions like the bladder will become uncontrollable. You will experience significant stomach discomfort, exhaustion, heartburns, and body aches. 

The body will begin to warm up in preparation for nursing, which means your breasts will leak at the most inconvenient times. Although as a dedicated future Mother it’s important to persevere and know the delivery will be so much more rewarding. 

You also must call your midwife if you suspect something is wrong with you or the baby, even if you are unsure what it is. In pregnancy, it’s key to follow your intuition.

Do Stay Active 

You may believe that going to work is the greatest approach to divert yourself if you are experiencing mood swings. However, avoid hunching over your desk or sitting for extended periods of time. In just a few hours, it can cause back discomfort and exhaustion. Standing up will give the baby more space and allow you to breathe easier.

It is better to stay active throughout the last trimester of pregnancy in order to increase blood circulation for both you and your baby. So, limit the amount of time you sit, and if it’s difficult for you, set time intervals. These time intervals train your body and get you into the habit of staying active. Start as soon as you can even if it’s only standing for a few minutes at a time.

Maintain your fitness routine if you did it before becoming pregnant. Discuss and document any changes to your routine with your specialist, especially as you enter your second and third trimesters.

If you weren’t active prior to finding out you were pregnant, seek medical advice about introducing a fitness program into your normal schedule. Professional advice can help you choose a regimen that is both safe and pleasant for you and your developing child.

Do Practice Lactation

Your gynecologist will instruct you to condition your nipples for breastfeeding by the third trimester. The notion of breastfeeding can be daunting for most first-time mothers. You will come to realize that it is the best thing that could happen if you go forward with it. Following 36 weeks, you can begin stimulating your nipples to reduce pain and prepare your breasts for the baby.

Massaging or stroking your nipples stimulates the body’s production of oxytocin. Oxytocin is involved in alertness, labor induction, and intimacy between the delivering parent and child. This hormone also causes uterine contractions after delivery, allowing it to readjust to its pre-pregnancy shape.

Stimulating the breasts may also assist to induce complete labor by generating stronger and longer contractions. In clinical settings, healthcare workers frequently use the medication Pitocin, which is the manufactured type of oxytocin.

Sleep

Do : 

As you know, sleeping while pregnant is very tasking. Between finding the right position, kicking, and waking up in the middle of the night. You may have realized by now that it isn’t only about getting enough sleep. Your sleeping posture is extremely important in guaranteeing your child’s safety. 

We’ve found that sleeping sideways with a pillow is something you should try. It’s not only cozy, but it’s also safe for the infant. Sleeping sideways, according to physicians, also enhances blood flow to the placenta.

Don’t : 

There’s terrible news for those of you who like to sleep on your back, avoid it. The pressure increases backaches and hemorrhoids. Furthermore, it can impair digestion, and produce hypotension which can cause dizziness.

Nevertheless, don’t be alarmed if you suddenly find that you’ve turned onto your back overnight. Very few individuals sleep in the same position all night. There is no severe damage done, however, try to avoid this when possible.

The fact that you woke up in the first place is most likely your body’s way of signaling you to shift positions or to just use the bathroom…again.  

Do Take Vitamins 

Choosing a well-balanced diet high in essential nutrients is the greatest approach to give your body all of the required nutrients it requires to support a developing baby. Simply abiding by a balanced diet, on the other hand, may not be sufficient for pregnancy. 

Integrating prenatal vitamins include increased quantities of key nutrients that pregnant mothers need in higher doses, such as folic acid, calcium, and iron (although this should be done throughout your entire pregnancy).

These vitamins aid in the optimal stages of fetal development and help to avoid birth complications. 

Don’t Eat Raw Food

Raw or undercooked meat and eggs put you at risk of contracting E.coli and salmonella. Food poisoning is another concern. These illnesses are associated with major, life-threatening infections, which can result in severe birth abnormalities and even miscarriage. Ensure that all of the eggs and meat you consume at this time are fully cooked

Don’t Clean Kitty Litter 

Touch and caress your cat as often as you like, but steer clear from cleaning their litter box.

Billions of germs and parasites live in cat feces. One specifically is Toxoplasma gondii. This Toxin is particularly harmful to expecting mothers. 

Initial contact with this will pose issues with your pregnancy, issues such as miscarriage or stillbirth are common. Babies infected with this parasite may have major health issues, such as convulsions and mental abnormalities.

Further Questions

If you have any more questions about your baby’s health throughout pregnancy or your mental health, please contact Midwife360. P. Fadwah Halaby, owner, and trained midwife, and her team of midwives provide a comprehensive approach to gynecological and prenatal care. 

We firmly believe in empowering and educating each woman and family we serve. If you have any concerns or would like to make an appointment, please contact Midwife360 today.

Dos and Don’ts for Your Second Trimester

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What is the Second Trimester?

There are many dos and don’ts for your second trimester, but what exactly is it? The second trimester is known as a turning point for mother and baby. Your second trimester begins on week fourteen and ends on week 26, thus starting the third trimester.

During this trimester, there are many things you can do to ensure you have the most healthy baby and pregnancy possible. This trimester is where pregnancy becomes a reality as you grow and expand, and feel your baby kick. It is also when the hard to manage symptoms you experienced during the first trimester become less severe.

Physical and Physiological Changes

There are a lot of physical and physiological changes that occur during the second trimester for you and your baby. For you, second-trimester symptoms will begin to develop as you expand and grow your child. During the second trimester, you can begin to experience symptoms and changes such as:

  • Appetite increase
  • Leg cramps 
  • Feeling the movement of the fetus 
  • Uterus/stomach expansion
  • The skin on the stomach may itch as it expands 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Heartburn
  • Backaches
  • Vaginal Discharge 

As with all symptoms, they can be more or less severe for certain women. Read on to learn the dos and don’ts of your second trimester 

 The Dos

There are many things that you do in your first trimester that should be habits into your second and thirds. This includes taking your prenatal vitamins and fueling your body with nutrient-enriched foods and high in protein. Although this is one of the safest and the best times of pregnancy, there are some things to make sure you are doing.

Exercise

If you haven’t started already, implementing a regular “pregnancy safe” exercise routine into your schedule is important. Regular exercise during the second trimester will help reduce stress, fatigue, excess weight gain, and improve sleep. Some pregnancy-safe exercise options include:

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Swimming
  • Lifting light weights
  • Light jogging/ running

Moisturize

During the second trimester is when your baby bump is not so baby anymore. You will experience the most growth during these weeks. For many women, stretch marks and itchy skin occur which is why is important to moisturize.

Using moisturizers and oils can help reduce the signs of stretch marks and prevent the uncomfortable itch from your stretching skin. Check with your provider to make sure the products are safe for you and your baby.

Look into Birth Classes

Although it is recommended to take birth classes during your final trimester, these classes do fill up fast. Start your research now and find the best options for you. Talk to your provider to see if they offer any resources or classes, or can give you a referral.

In this day in age with social media, there is a huge group of moms and moms to be sharing tips and information about their pregnancy and motherhood. This is a perfect resource to take advantage of to join a community and learn about classes to take.

Some ideas for types of birth classes available to you are:

Continue to Hydrate and Get Enough Sleep

Making sure you stay hydrated throughout your entire pregnancy is important. It helps prevent pregnancy conditions like headaches, dizziness, kidney stones, constipation, and premature labor. It is recommended to drink between 8-12 cups of water a day.

Additionally, continuing to get enough sleep is also something to stay on top of. During the first trimester is when many expecting mothers feel exhausted and only want to rest. However, during the second trimester, many women get their energy back. Although this may be apparent, getting 8-9 hours of sleep and setting aside time to nap and rest is helpful.

It is important to listen to your body and not push yourself, if you are tired, sleep. If you are hungry, eat and if you are thirst, drink.

Don’ts

As for the don’ts of the second trimester, they have not changed from the first. Read the Dos and Don’ts for Your First Trimester to learn about the important things to avoid during pregnancy. However, for a recap, you should steer clear from:

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Eating uncooked seafood, eggs, or meat
  • Unwashed fruits or vegetables
  • Unpasteurized dairy
  • Processed meat
  • Weight loss diets/ supplements
  • Hot tubs or saunas
  • Cleaning your cat’s litter box
  • Tattoo/ piercing

Learn More About The Dos and Don’ts for Your Second Trimester with Midwife360

If you have questions or are looking for midwifery services in the South Florida area contact Midwife360. Our practice is designed to empower and educate women and families about their healthcare options for routine care, family planning, and birthing. 

Midwife360 offers services such as:

  • Midwifery
  • Pregnancy care
  • Labor and delivery
  • Doula services
  • Postpartum care
  • Family planning
  • Women’s care

For more information contact the team at Midwife360 today.

Dos and Don’ts for Your First Trimester

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What is the First Trimester?

There are many dos and don’ts for your first trimester, but what exactly is it? The first trimester is the first of three phases of pregnancy. Your first trimester begins on week one and ends on week twelve, thus starting the second trimester. During the first trimester, there are several things to implement into your day-to-day and others to avoid. This is a critical stage in your pregnancy and the development of your baby.

Although it may not seem like a whole lot is going on during this time,  a lot is happening for both you and your baby. For you, first trimester symptoms may occur as early as a few days to weeks after conception. During the first trimester, you can begin to experience discomforts or changes such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Tender Breasts/ soreness in the chest area
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Cramping
  • Increased urination
  • Constipation
  • Food aversion or cravings
  • Change in sexual desire

While all first trimester symptoms are temporary for everyone, they can vary from mild to severe across individuals. Continue reading to learn some of the dos and don’ts for your first trimester.

The Dos

Food is Fuel

As with most things, you will need to fuel your body first, thus fueling your babies. Without proper nutrition in the first trimester, this could lead to poor fetal development. However, eating is not just about quantity; it is also important to focus on the quality of food and ensure that all needed nutrients are consumed.

Folic Acid Supplements

Folic acid is a nutrient that you should take during the first trimester. This vitamin helps to produce and maintain new cells and prevent changes in the DNA. There are many things folic acid does for your body, such as:

prenatal_vitamin_jars

Prenatal Vitamins

In addition to folic acid supplements, one should take prenatal vitamins daily. Prenatal vitamins contain specific nutrients for fetal development and help to replace the nutrients needed during the first trimester. These nutrients include calcium, iron, zinc, as well as omega-3 fats which help the baby’s brain development.

Proper Sleep and Exercise 

During your first trimester, your body is experiencing extreme changes which can play a big role in how tired you are. Your hormones and emotions are on a rollercoaster which can take a toll on expecting mothers. That being said, proper sleep, as well as frequent naps throughout the day, are essential. Your body needs between eight to nine hours of sleep each night.

When it comes to exercise, if you are someone who exercises regularly pre-pregnancy, keep it up! A regular exercise routine can help with hormone changes and restlessness. Before continuing your regular workout routine, check with your health care provider for the green light, or other options to move your body.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for you and your baby’s health, as well as helping to prevent preterm labor. Keeping your body hydrated with water as well as vegetables helps to prevent headaches, kidney stones, and dizziness.

Choose a Doctor or Midwife

Choosing the perfect healthcare provider can seem like a stressful task because you want the best for yourself and your baby. You’ll want to find someone in a timely manner to ensure booking your first prenatal appointment. However, do your research and find someone whose beliefs and practices line up with yours and someone you can trust.

The Don’ts

No Smoking or Drinking

It is important to avoid smoking during pregnancy because women who smoke during pregnancy are more at risk of miscarriage. Furthermore, your baby is at greater risk for birth defects if you are smoking while pregnant. As for alcohol, there is no amount that is safe during pregnancy, it is important to stay away from it. Consuming alcohol while pregnant can also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, and behavioral, as well as intellectual, disabilities.

No Raw Meat

Eating raw or undercooked meat and eggs is a big no-no during the first trimester. Consuming raw foods puts you at a higher risk of contracting listeriosis which can lead to miscarriage and life-threatening illness. Furthermore, toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that can easily become life-threatening as well as cause severe birth defects if not treated.

Avoid Caffeine

Although this may seem like an impossible task because of how tired you feel during your first trimester, try avoiding caffeine as best as you can.  Caffeine, although not always consumed by drinking coffee, is often found in chocolate as well as soda drinks. Caffeine does cross the placenta and can affect your growing baby’s heart rate. Some caffeine is safe in the first trimester and expecting mothers can consume up to 200 milligrams a day. However, this should not be exceeded.

Saunas and Hot Tubs are a No

Hot tubs, saunas, as well as steam rooms are out of the question during your first trimester. You should avoid these areas because it increases the risk of overheating, dehydration and fainting. A significant rise in your core temperature can affect your baby’s development.

Ask The Experts at Midwife360 about The Dos and Don’ts for Your First Trimester

If you need more information or are looking for a trusted midwife with years of experience, contact Midwife360. Opening the doors in 2014, Midwife360 quickly became a staple to women’s care in South Florida. Founder, P. Fedwah Halaby CNM, created Midwife360 as a holistic evidence-based practice for all midwifery services. This includes routine women’s care, family planning, pregnancy care, as well as home and water birthing.

Contact South Florida’s trusted midwives today to set up an appointment!

Breech Birth: No Cesarean Needed

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Breech birth is one of the most misunderstood and controversial subjects when it comes to women’s pregnancy and delivery. A breech birth occurs when the baby has its head positioned up instead of down in the uterus. Therefore, coming into the world butt or feet first. Most women will never have the option to decide what they want to do when faced with a breech baby. A planned cesarean section is performed for 94% of all breech babies.

If your provider is an OB, DO, or hospital CNM, you most likely will not be given a choice. Breech births can be successfully carried out without a cesarean. In this blog, we will be discussing the different methods used to deliver these babies without a forced cesarian section. 

How Breech Birth Can Be Fixed Internally 

You may be given the option to try to turn your baby in a procedure called ‘external cephalic version’, or ECV. (This is a procedure where the provider attempts to shift the baby from head up to head down using a deep massage technique.) It can be quite painful, or not, depending on the provider’s technique and how difficult it is.

This procedure is about 74% successful and most people who have a successful ECV will go on to have a vaginal birth. For those whose baby doesn’t turn, the majority (88%) will have a cesarean birth – either by choice or because they are forced as they cannot find a provider willing or able to help them birth their breech baby vaginally.

Most hospital providers have not been trained in physiologic breech birth. Rather, they may have been trained in a procedure called “vaginal breech extraction”. This is where the pregnant person is on their back and the baby is pulled out using various maneuvers and ending with a forceps delivery of the head. This is dangerous and often results in damage to the baby, mother, or both. No wonder most providers are unwilling to provide vaginal birth as an option for clients with a breech baby.

How Breech Birth Can Be Done by Changing Position 

In contrast, there is a technique that uses the gravity of the baby moving naturally through the mother’s pelvis. Called “physiologic upright breech birth”. As the name implies, the client is either standing, kneeling, squatting, or on hands and knees. The baby births itself most of the time. A skilled provider will know if the baby needs any help and when to apply which maneuver.

There have been multiple studies that have found no differences in the long-term outcomes between planned CS or planned VBB. Some studies have found a slightly higher risk for the baby between pVBB and pCS. Although, some studies found no difference. The unknown factor is the skill level of the provider

Why Breech Birth is Usually Solved by a Cesarean 

There is almost no option for having a pVBB in the hospital, in the United States. Many people seek alternative options for the birth of their breech baby. Even though this is not their first choice. Home breech birth has been shown to have poorer short-term neonatal outcomes compared to hospital breech birth. But, we don’t know what really causes these poorer outcomes. Anything from an inexperienced provider, possible congenital anomalies, delays, or miscommunication during transfers are all potentially at fault. It’s very possible that home pVBB outcomes could be significantly improved by improving provider training for breech birth.

By eliminating the option for a hospital birth for pVBB, lawmakers, hospital administrators, and Obstetricians are effectively forcing people to have cesareans. This goes against state and federal rulings that protect a person’s right to refuse surgery, as well as moral and ethical mandates to respect bodily autonomy.

Breech Without Borders 

At Midwife360, Fadwah has been trained in the art of VBB and has attended a handful of pVBB in and out of the hospital setting, as well as several breech births in the hospital during twin births where the second baby is coming breech. She has attended and is working with Breech Without Borders Breech Pro Workshop to add to her skill level and to bring this valuable training to other providers in our community. All birth providers – CPM, CNM, OB, DO – are welcome to attend.

As a birth worker, there is always a risk of a person showing up in advanced labor with a breech baby. Rather than trying to rush into the OR for a cesarean that carries its own set of risks (not only for this birth but for the next birth and baby) why not learn the art of physiologic vaginal breech birth to assist the process safely? Go to midwife360.com to learn more about the upcoming Breech Without Borders workshop.

Antidepressants During Pregnancy

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The use of antidepressants during pregnancy is a controversial topic when considering the mental health of the mother, as well as the physical health of the baby. Women with depression may have an increased risk of harming the fetus if they continue to take certain antidepressants during pregnancy. However, depression itself can also harm your baby.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your health care provider about all of your options.

Depression and Pregnancy

Many women battling with depression are prescribed antidepressants by their doctor to help manage symptoms. For years, it was thought that pregnancy protected against depression. This mentality was due to the shifting hormones in a woman’s body. However, scientists now understand that this is not the case; nearly one out of every 20 women who take antidepressants has taken them three months before they became pregnant or during the pregnancy.

The use of antidepressants during pregnancy is a topic that remains controversial because it is unknown what effects these drugs can have during fetal development. Antidepressants are known to cross the placenta, entering your baby’s bloodstream. It is also unknown whether or not some antidepressants remain in your child’s body after they are born.

Antidepressants and Pregnancy

Many doctors and health care providers recommend avoiding antidepressant use during pregnancy if at all possible. Although this may be the recommendation, this can sadly not be the case for each woman suffering from depression. The reality is, some severe cases of depression require medication to help keep the person alive. If you need to stay on antidepressants during pregnancy your doctor or provider will monitor your baby’s growth and development closely throughout the pregnancy.

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory in regard to the use of antidepressants during pregnancy. This advisory talked about the possible risks of birth defects associated with antidepressant use. This prompted many women to stop using antidepressants altogether. However, studies show that up to one-third of pregnant women experience depression symptoms in the first trimester of pregnancy, beginning before they even realize they are pregnant.

Risks

During pregnancy, blood volume nearly doubles. This means that antidepressants are distributed to the baby through the placenta, which can lead to higher concentrations of medication in your baby’s body than their mother’s system.

There are many potential risks involved with anti-depressant use during pregnancy. If you take antidepressants, it is important to speak with your health care provider about the benefits and potential risks for yourself and your baby.

Some of the possible side effects associated with antidepressant use during pregnancy:

  • May lead to miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Can cause muscle problems in newborns.
  • Restrict fetal growth, resulting in small or underweight babies
  • Increased risk of birth defects such as cleft palate, heart problems, and limb malformations

In addition, babies exposed to antidepressants in the womb may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  •  Breathing problems
  • Jitteriness
  • Irritability
  • Trouble feeding
  •  Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Poor tone

Alternative Ways to Help Cope with Depression During Pregnancy

If you struggle with depression and are looking to steer clear of antidepressants during your pregnancy there are ways to help cope with your depression.

Some of these natural approached to depression include:

  •  Exercise more
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Practice yoga and meditation
  • Minimize your stress
  • Eat healthy
  • Get plenty of sleep

More Questions?

If you have more questions regarding the health of your baby during pregnancy and your mental health contact Midwife360. Owner and certified midwife P. Fadwah Halaby and her team of midwives strive to take the holistic approach to gynecology and pregnancy services. We truly believe in empowering and educating each woman and family we care for. Contact Midwife360 with any questions or to schedule an appointment today.

5 Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness

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Nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy are some of the most common symptoms that women experience. You’re not alone if morning sickness has you feeling a little under the weather. In fact, about 70% of pregnant women get morning sickness.

This article discusses five natural remedies for morning sickness during pregnancy that have been shown to be safe and effective.

Ginger

Firstly, ginger has been used in a medicinal capacity for many many years. It is used to ease morning sickness, motion sickness, as well as cancer-related nausea. Research suggests that ginger may help settle an upset stomach in pregnant women experiencing morning sickness.

Ginger comes in many forms such as:

  • Ginger tea
  • Ginger chews
  • Ginger lollipops
  • Ginger ale
  • Natural form
  • Supplements

Moms to be can take ginger supplements three to four times daily after consulting with their health care provider.

Eat Smaller and More Frequent Meals

Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help reduce morning sickness. It’s important to make sure that you’re not eating too little during the day and making up for it by overeating in one sitting later on. This will only further upset your stomach allowing your blood sugar to drop.

Eat slowly and mindfully, adding nutrients into the body. Although you may feel the temptation to skip meals because of the nausea, remember you are eating for two. Try eating foods without additives and that are easy on the stomach

Some ideas are:

  • Fruit
  • cooked sweet potatoes
  • smoothies
  • rice
  • non-processed carbohydrates

Peppermint Aromatherapy

Another natural remedy for morning sickness is peppermint aromatherapy. Studies show that it can help reduce not only nausea during pregnancy but in women who have just given birth via C-section as well. Moreover, peppermint oil is thought to help ease morning sickness by stimulating the digestive system and calming the nervous system.

Try dotting your peppermint essential oil onto these parts of the body:

  • Wrist
  • Temples
  • Under the nose
  • Neck
  • Back
  • Upper chest area

Vitamin B6 & Magnesium

Additionally, some healthy vitamins and supplements that are known to help with morning sickness and nausea are vitamin B6 and magnesium. Vitamin B, as well as magnesium, can be found in many prenatal vitamins or supplements.

Eating more protein-rich foods like:

  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Pistachios
  • Sunflower seeds

Magnesium can be taken in supplements, topically with magnesium spray, as well as mixed in a bath with Epsom salts.

Avoid Strong Smells

Lastly, and maybe a bit obvious, is avoiding strong smells that may trigger nausea. Many pregnant women experience heightened senses like smell, which you can blame on your pregnancy hormones. Due to our estrogen levels being so high, any small scent that passes our nostrils can seem like an all-out assault on our noses.

Try avoiding these items:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Perfumes
  • Chemicals in cleaners 
  • Strongly scented foods
  • Candles

If You are Experiencing Morning Sickness

If morning sickness and nausea are a problem for you during pregnancy, there are many natural and at-home remedies that can help. Many women experience it and in most cases, it goes away by week 14.  However, if the nausea is severe, you may want to consult with your health care provider.

If you are looking for or have any questions about pregnancy, birth, and family planning contact Midwife 360. We not only provide holistic gynecology but pregnancy services, which include home birth and water birth to women throughout South Florida. We are here to assist you as well as educate you every step of the way.

Postpartum Hair Loss

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Hair loss is a natural process that many people experience. However, hair loss or thinning during postpartum can be especially challenging, since it’s often accompanied by breakage, and scalp irritation. The good news is that hair grows back.

The hair loss that many new moms experience a few months after having a baby is called postpartum hair shedding. This hair loss happens because the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body are decreasing or going back to normal after spiking during pregnancy. This often causes your hair to grow slower and less full. It’s not true hair loss during postpartum because it will grow back. Dermatologists refer to hair loss as excessive hair shedding.

What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss

The hair loss most often associated with pregnancy is due to the hormonal changes during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy women notice their hair growing thicker and looking more full. The hormones during pregnancy keep your hair from falling out. However, following pregnancy, these hormones drop and the hair begins falling out and thinning.

The condition, which is also referred to as postpartum alopecia, is relatively common, affecting between 40-50% of women in the months following childbirth.

How Hormones Affect Hair Loss/ Growth

Estrogen is the leading hormone that affects hair growth during pregnancy, postpartum, as well as in menopausal women. Many women during their pregnancy experience fuller and thicker hair growth. This is due to the increase of the estrogen hormone in the body. Thus, producing more hair follicles during the growing phase of the growth cycle.

However, following the birth of your new baby, your estrogen levels drop and return back to the level pre-pregnancy. This causes the new follicles to enter the resting phase of the growth cycle. During this phase, the hair grows slower and produces fewer strands, and begins to shed. Postpartum Thyroiditis can also result in an imbalance of thyroid hormones, which can also affect hair growth.

How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?

In most cases hair loss after postpartum is temporary. Hair will start to grow back within a few months. Excessive hair loss usually starts eight weeks after giving birth and will last for six to 12 months. If your hair does not begin growing back by your baby’s first birthday, you may consult with your dermatologist or healthcare provider. Month 15 is the lucky number where most women feel their hair is back to normal.

How To Help with Hair Loss/ Growth

There are natural and home remedies that a new mom can implement into her daily routine to help with postpartum hair loss. Some of these can include all-natural shampoos that are specifically for hair loss and helping with new growth. Fenugreek seeds are also helpful when soaked and used as a scalp/hair mask. This herb is also helpful for the production of breast milk.

Adding “hair-healthy” foods into your diet can also promote healthier and quicker hair growth. Including things like:

  • Leafy greens
  • Eggs
  • Healthy fats (avocado, nuts)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Berries
  • Sweet Potatoes

Before the consumption or use of any of these listed always check with your healthcare provider to ensure the safety of you and your baby.

If You Have Any Other Questions

For all pregnancy and women’s care needs contact the professionals at Midwife360. We provide holistic gynecology and pregnancy services, including home birth and water birth to women throughout South Florida. We support and educate women every step of the way through family planning, healthcare options, and birthing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our midwives.

What If I Have Group B Strep (GBS) While Pregnant or in Labor?

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Group B Streptococcus or GBS is a common bacterial organism found in about a third of people. This bacterial organism is most commonly found in the intestinal tract. However, it can move through the body and colonize the rectum, bladder, and vaginal tract of women. Colonize meaning the bacteria is present, but not infecting the tissues or causing symptoms.

GBS has the ability to give anyone an infection. However most adults, due to having a healthy microbiome, will keep any harmful bacteria in check and will not cause an illness. 

What’s The Big Deal About GBS During Pregnancy?

Decades ago, GBS was the leading cause of infection in newborns and infants. This infection can have devastating effects on a fragile new life, including pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis. It can cause bladder, uterine, or urinary tract infections. It can also cause miscarriage and increase the risk of premature labor and rupture of membranes. GBS can also cause stillbirth. 

Newborns can get GBS infection in utero, during birth, or even from healthcare workers and family members. Handwashing is important for anyone who will be holding a newborn baby to prevent spreading GBS or other harmful infections.

The Risks to Baby  

When a baby is exposed to GBS in labor or during birth, he or she has a 50% chance of becoming colonized with GBS. Nevertheless, a small percentage of babies exposed to GBS will become infected and sick.  

Most often, babies become infected through exposure in the birth canal during birth. As well as from bacteria migrating upwards once the water has broken. 

Testing For GBS

As of 2020, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now states that the best time to test for GBS presence is between the 36th and 37th weeks of pregnancy.  This test is done by swabbing the vagina and rectum to determine if GBS is present.

There is also an FDA-approved rapid test that can diagnose GBS in roughly an hour. 

GBS Treatment

To prevent GBS infection in babies antibiotics are used, however, there are associated risks. Many of us know antibiotics are detrimental to our microbiome. Babies receive significant benefits from their mom’s microbiome when birthed vaginally. In turn, affecting the baby’s entire life in a positive way. 

In order to mitigate infections overall, if a laboring mom has prolonged rupture of membranes, a fever, or other infection risk factors, antibiotics will be prescribed even if GBS testing was negative. The treatment is typically IV antibiotics for a minimum of 4 hours before the baby is born. Of course, the time of birth is hard to predict, so typically the hospital will start the antibiotics upon arrival to the hospital.

Treatment has been very effective for lowering the number of newborns who develop GBS infections. There is some controversy concerning antibiotic use during labor and how this can affect babies. 

Is Treatment Harmful For Baby?

Some studies suggest that antibiotics during pregnancy and delivery can decrease the presence of beneficial bacteria in a newborn. Breastfeeding and probiotics can help to boost a newborn’s microbiome. 

Antibiotics can cause problems for mom, including yeast infections or nipple infections. This can complicate and disrupt breastfeeding. Sometimes newborns can develop thrush as well. Allergic reactions are rare, as long as your healthcare provider is aware of any allergies. 

Taking a probiotic during pregnancy and after birth can help to prevent thrush or yeast infections.

Can I Reduce My Chance of Testing Positive for GBS?

Healthy vaginal and gut flora can prevent infection, which could affect the presence of GBS. 

Whether or not it will decrease your risk of GBS, there are other benefits to a healthy microbiome. Mitigating the risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, vaginal and bladder infections during labor, are all benefits. 

Steps to boost your microbiome include:

  • Stay away from processed sugar and junk food
  • Implement 8 servings of leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables into your diet
  • Take prenatal vitamins (zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C)
  • Eat more Lacto-fermented foods (example: sauerkraut, yogurt, cucumber, sourdough bread)
  • Reduce stress
  • Use oral and vaginal probiotics throughout pregnancy

Taking all of these into consideration and doing your best to check every box may not change the status if diagnosed, however, it can help to protect against GBS-related prenatal complications. If you are doing all of the necessary steps and have not tested positive before this can help to prevent GBS colonization and the need for antibiotics.  

For More Information, Contact Midwife360

Midwife360 has been providing holistic gynecology and pregnancy services in South Florida since 2014. The founder of Midwife360, P. Fadwah Halaby CNM, takes pride in offering holistic evidence-based practice for all midwife services such as women’s care, family planning, pregnancy care, and birthing. If you have any questions contact Midwife360 today.

A Guide on Postpartum Thyroiditis for New Moms

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Women go through a lot of changes after pregnancy. Some are physical, some are emotional and others cognitive. These changes can be attributed to the pregnancy itself or postpartum depression, which is very common for women in this time period. However, what if these symptoms are actually signs of something more serious like Postpartum Thyroiditis?

Postpartum Thyroiditis is a condition that primarily affects women and it has many symptoms that overlap with pregnancy-related issues such as fatigue, weight loss struggles, hair loss, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. This article will explore all you need to know when you’re expecting.

Know the Symptoms of Postpartum Thyroiditis

It is extremely common for women, especially new mothers, to experience postpartum depression following the birth of their baby. Some of the symptoms are mood swings, withdrawal, loss of appetite, insomnia, and fatigue. Oftentimes, mothers feel extremely depressed as a result of the excess weight they may have gained during their pregnancy.

On the other hand, these symptoms are very similar to what one may feel if one is experiencing postpartum thyroiditis. Some of the common symptoms of both postpartum depression and signs of postpartum thyroiditis are; weight gain, depression, lethargy, muscle weakness, and trouble sleeping. Although it is uncommon for many women to develop postpartum thyroiditis, it can happen and be missed. Due to the similarities in symptoms, many women can have the misconception that they are only experiencing postpartum depression when something much more severe is occurring.

Can It be Detected

Postpartum thyroiditis is a condition that impacts postpartum women. This can occur after the birth of your child and most commonly arises in the first trimester or early second trimester. If you test positive with this antibody during early pregnancy, there is a 40% to 60% higher risk of developing postpartum thyroiditis. Thus, more reason to get checked by your healthcare provider early on.

Types of Postpartum Thyroiditis

It is important for mothers to be aware that they may be experiencing one of the two types of thyroiditis. These being:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism

Knowing and being aware of symptoms of both types is important to be aware of during your term. Although it is easy to miss diagnose these symptoms as something less severe, it is important to report all of them to your healthcare provider.

Hyperthyroidism

This type of postpartum thyroiditis refers to an overactive thyroid. This means the thyroid gland is producing too much thyroid hormone. Thus,  causing the body’s metabolism to speed up, in turn, speeding up other parts of the body.

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Nervousness/ anxiety
  • Spead up heartbeat/ palpitations
  • Weight loss
  • excessive sweating/ heat flashes
  • Increased appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent or loose stools

Hypothyroidism

Exactly opposite of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism is when the gland is deficient in thyroid hormones. When an expecting mother has this type of postpartum thyroiditis, the body functions a lot slower.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Decreased milk volume
  • Muscle weakness
  • Constimaption
  • Dry or brittle hair/ nails
  • Hair loss
  • High cholesterol
  • Always cold
  • Weight gain

When mothers experience either type of postpartum thyroiditis it can feel as if they aren’t able to fully enjoy their new baby. The symptoms are hard to overcome making everything feel stagnant.

Prevention

One form of therapy that has worked to help prevent postpartum thyroiditis in women who have high antibodies during pregnancy is giving selenium. Selenium is an essential trace mineral that helps to support many bodily processes. When taken during pregnancy, selenium acts as an anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce the chances of developing postpartum thyroiditis. 

Other helpful prevention ideas can include changing your diet to a more anti-inflammatory diet. Reducing or stopping gluten intake can help reduce inflammation. Choosing BPA-free, phthalate-free, and paraben-free also helps avoid toxins that can be a factor in causing thyroid issues.

More Questions?

If you are looking for more information about thyroid issues and the threats of postpartum thyroiditis, talk to your healthcare provider or give us a call at Midwife360. We are a holistic evidence-based practice for women’s care, family planning, pregnancy care, and birthing throughout South Florida. Our practice is designed to meet the individual needs of each woman and family we care for. We believe women should be informed and educated about their healthcare options and empowered to make their own choices.