Medicinal Herbs for a Safe Holistic Pregnancy

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The midwives at MidWife360 in West Palm Beach, Florida have gathered our collective knowledge and experience in order to provide you with an introduction to using herbs during pregnancy.

Initial Thoughts on Modern Medicine

As a certified nurse midwife, I’m forever grateful for the medical advancements in obstetric gynecology. Thanks to these technologies, the outcomes of high-risk pregnancies and complications in birth and pregnancy have vastly improved. This has saved countless lives. 

There are two sides to every coin, and unfortunately some of these advancements have been, and are continuing to be overused. For example, about 1 in 3 women in the United States gives birth via cesarean delivery. Many experts agree that this is far too high.

Furthermore, the use of pharmaceutical medications for pregnant women is also excessive, and carries risks like cesarean deliver. Many medications that were thought to be safe, like Tylenol and common yeast infection medications, have been found to carry significant risks. 

Are Herbs Safe?

In comparison, the usage of herbs during pregnancy appears mild and safe. Just like anything, it’s important to be extra informed and safe when using any herbs or medications during pregnancy. The desire toward more natural and holistic solutions has been growing. At MidWife360 we aim to incorporate more gentle and herbal solutions whenever necessary. 

Using herbs for common pregnancy symptoms and discomforts is very commonplace. Using herbs for medicinal purposes dates back to the ancient Egyptians.  In all fairness, scientific research and formal evaluations of many herbs are not available or priority. 

However, pharmaceutical medications are often in the same boat. In the U.S. almost 90% of all pregnant women will be prescribed some kind of medication during their pregnancy. 

As far as herbal and botanical medicine, most of what we know is based on historical, empirical, and observational evidence. There have been some formal and animal studies. Generally, most herbs have no evidence of harm and natural remedies may be safer than typical prescription medications. 

Adverse effects are few and far between, and when they do happen it is often because the individual is uninformed. Some herbs can be toxic or are only appropriate in small doses. Keep in mind, many experts have different opinions on the use of herbs. Just because something does not have proven adverse effects, does not mean it is proven to be safe. 

Some symptoms or illnesses should always call for prompt medical care, and should not be treated at home with herbs. They are as follows:

  • Continuous bleeding
  • Initial herpes blisters or outbreak 
  • Serious pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Continuous serious mid-back pain
  • Hand and face edema
  • Membranes rupture before 37 weeks
  • Regular contractions before 37 weeks
  • Serious headaches, blurred vision, and epigastric pain
  • Fetal movement stopping

Commonly Used Herbs in Pregnancy

There are different lists and opinions among medical professionals. Some of the most common herbs used for pregnancy concerns are: raspberry leaf, evening primrose, garlic, aloe, chamomile, peppermint, ginger, echinacea, St. John’s wort, fennel, wild yam, meadowsweet, pumpkin seeds and ginseng. 

Common ailments pregnant women seek complimentary or natural remedies for are anxiety, nausea or vomiting, urinary tract problems, or lower GI problems. 

This chart is a helpful tool but always work with your doctor or midwife to be safe. The midwives at MidWife360 are well-versed in the safety and use of herbal remedies. 

Herbs for Birth Preparation

Red raspberry leaf tea and red dates are common for birth preparation. Two cups of red raspberry tea daily is safe in pregnancy. 

Additionally, studies have shown the tea causes labor to be more comfortable and reduces need for medical interventions. There are even benefits for babies! Newborns are less likely to require resuscitation. 

Red dates consumed regularly in the last trimester are safe, and also cause labor to be more comfortable. 

The good news is, both the tea and dates are delicious. Making it easy to incorporate into your daily diet and routine. This vegan red raspberry tea latte is a great way to enjoy the tea. Snacking on dates by themselves or adding a few in a smoothie is an easy way to eat them. 

Final Thoughts

Herbal remedies can offer significant relief and benefits for some common discomforts and symptoms of pregnancy and childbirth. Just like anything during pregnancy, use herbs with caution and under the supervision of your midwife or doctor. 

At MidWife360 in West Palm Beach, Florida we offer herbal recommendations for our patients when needed. Though nothing can replace a healthy diet, exercise, positive mindset, and support system. 

A Complete Guide to Miscarriage at Home

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Is Miscarriage Normal?

Pregnancy and miscarriage carry a ton of emotions, and one may feel devastated or uneasy when going through a natural miscarriage. Although this is can be an extremely tough time mentally and physically, it may be comforting to know you’re not alone. 

An estimated 10%-20% of women who know they are pregnant will have a miscarriage. Also, most women (87%) who do experience a miscarriage will have a successful pregnancy and birth following that miscarriage. 

Maybe your pregnancy test was positive after missing your period, or some women have that gut feeling without having missed a period yet. Feeling excited, scared, happy, nervous, or just numb are all in the normal range of emotions when you first discover a pregnancy. Or maybe you’ve been trying for months to get pregnant and now you finally are. 

Just when you feel like you are beginning to get comfortable with your pregnancy, you start to have some spotting, maybe a little red bleeding, and then some light cramping. 

Next Steps

Contacting your health care provider and making them aware of what is going on is important. They may offer to have an ultrasound or blood work done. The bleeding becomes heavier and the cramping gets stronger and you no longer have the pregnancy symptoms you were starting to feel prior. Unfortunately, you are most likely experiencing a miscarriage. 

If your body is already starting to bleed and cramp, this is a sign your body is getting ready to expel the products of conception. Sometimes there’s not an actual fetus present. This means it could be a chemical pregnancy with no fetus, just a gestational sac. 

If there are no complications, you can safely miscarry at home. You may want to have some ibuprofen on hand and a hot water bottle. Soaking in a warm bath can also be very soothing. The worst of it can take about 2 hours with some pretty intense cramping and heavy bleeding. 

When to Seek Help

You would need to seek out medical care if you have pain that you cannot tolerate, or if you begin to hemorrhage. The definition of a hemorrhage is, soaking a maxi pad to where you can wring it out, and doing this for 2 hours. Of course, if the bleeding is much heavier than that or you feel unsafe, don’t wait to get medical help. 

Missed Miscarriage

A ‘missed miscarriage’ is where the fetus stops growing but there’s no signs of bleeding or cramping right away. It’s usually during the first ultrasound that this will be diagnosed. Or if you were following the beta HCG hormone, and it isn’t doubling or rising appropriately in the first 10 weeks, a miscarriage can be diagnosed this way, as well. 

If you do have a missed miscarriage, do not wait before seeing your provider for an intervention. It is dangerous for the pregnancy to sit in your womb for months, as it can cause some dangerous bleeding when the natural miscarriage begins. You will most likely be given several options, depending on the preference of the provider. It is always best to be informed ahead of time, in case your provider does not offer all the common or available options. 

Intervention Options for Missed Miscarriage

  • D&C or Dilation and Curettage

A D&C is a fairly common procedure to eliminate uterine lining and pregnancy contents. This procedure is very safe and complications are rare. Light spotting and cramping is common in the first few days after a D&C. 

  • Medications

Medications like Misoprostol are also an option, which cause your uterus to cramp. This process usually takes about 24 hours to complete. This option is also very safe and complications are rare.  

Miscarriage is Common

Miscarriage is very common, you would have to have 3 in a row before it is considered a medical problem. An option is to see a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor to have a consult regarding any specific blood tests needed to determine if you have a genetic predisposition to miscarriage. These may include: Anticardiolipin, TSH, Lupus anticoagulant, beta 2 glycoprotein, and maternal karyotype. 

Some providers will recommend taking a baby aspirin every day to reduce the risk of miscarriage. And sometimes they may recommend taking progesterone to help you maintain the pregnancy. These all depend on the results of the blood tests and the actual medical diagnosis that is causing the miscarriages.

Next Cycle and/or Pregnancy After Miscarriage 

You can have your beta HCG levels checked, or simply wait for your next cycle. You should have a period by 4-6 weeks after the miscarriage. If you don’t have your cycle within 4-6 weeks, contact your care provider for further testing or ultrasounds. It is recommended to actively prevent pregnancy for 2 cycles following a miscarriage to lower your risk of having another miscarriage right away.

Holistic Gynecology and Pregnancy Services

If you are looking for holistic gynecology and pregnancy services, including home birth and water birth in South Florida, contact Midwife 360 for all of your questions and needs.

Headaches During Pregnancy

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Headaches are one of the most common discomforts during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimester. As a pregnant woman, our bodies go through so much physical and mental change. During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences changes in hormone levels and heightened blood volume. These changes can trigger more frequent headaches. Other triggers can also bring on headaches like stress, dehydration, lack of sleep and not having your normal cup of joe each morning.  

Unfortunately, when most will gravitate towards using over the counter headache medication, pregnant women are normally hesitant. If you are experiencing severe or frequent headaches, always consult with your doctor. There are different types of headaches that you may experience during your pregnancy. Continue reading to learn more about these and how you can treat these headaches in the safest way for you and your baby. 

Different Types of Headaches

More times than not, the headaches women may experience during pregnancy are primary headaches, meaning that the pain doesn’t come from another underlying issue. Experiencing these during pregnancy are common and should not bring alarm. Letting your doctor know you are frequently experiencing headache pain is important to find out what can best help relieve your discomfort. 

 The three most common types of headaches experienced during pregnancy are:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines
  • Sinus headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache you will experience. This can be brought on by stress, hunger or if you are carrying tension in your neck and shoulders. When suffering from a tension headache, you may experience mild or moderate dull pain behind the eyes on both sides of the head. Oftentimes, tension headaches will go away within an hour or two. 

Migraines are a more intense sensation of pain that throbs, and can be felt on one side of the head and neck. These types of headaches tend to last for hours and sometimes days. Migraines can also bring on other symptoms like blurred vision, light sensitivity, numbness and nausea. 

Lastly, some women can experience sinus headaches during pregnancy. With a sinus headache, women will experience intense pressure around the eyes, cheeks and forehead area. These types of headaches can also trigger a stuffy nose and occur when someone has a sinus infection. Like migraines, these headaches get worse with more movement and light exposure. 

Is Tylenol Safe?

When most people experience headaches or muscle pain, oftentimes, without second thought, they grab a bottle of Tylenol to relieve this pain. Tylenol contains the drug acetaminophen or paracetamol. Most doctors recommend the use of Tylenol rather than other over the counter medications like Ibuprofen and Aspirin. If your doctor recommends the use of Tylenol during your pregnancy to relieve headache pain, it is important to only take the dose recommended. 

Due to the fact that you are now fueling two bodies, many pregnant women choose to take the holistic route. They make healthy changes in their diet and exercise habits to ensure the health of their baby throughout their pregnancy. Oftentimes, women choose to opt out from putting things like Tylenol into their bodies to stay as natural as possible, but what are alternative options to dealing with the pain?

What Are Safe/Holistic Remedies? 

Many people choose to avoid medication if they can, especially women who are pregnant. What happens when a pesky headache comes on and the pain is not bearable? Here are some home remedies that can help relieve headache pain without all the pills. 

  • Lying in a dark room with eyes closed and minimal light
  • Cold compress over eyes and neck
  • Heating pad/ steam to relieve any pain
  • Drinking plenty of water and eating enough protein
  • Getting an ample amount of sleep 
  • Taking a warm bath with Epsom salt
  • Essential oils
  • Drinking tea (without caffeine) 
  • Meditation
  • Pregnancy massages 

These home remedies are known to help relieve headaches whether you are pregnant or not. If your pain becomes more severe or too frequent, consult with your doctor or OBGYN and discuss what the best and healthiest options are. If you are looking for holistic gynecology and pregnancy services, including home birth and water birth in South Florida, visit Midwife 360 for all of your questions and needs.

Can the COVID-19 Vaccine Affect Your Period?

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It seems like in these past few months hundreds of thousands have rushed to receive their COVID-19 vaccines. In the United States alone, over 119 million people have been fully vaccinated with over 267 million who have received their first dose. Today, it is as easy as walking into your local Publix with no appointment to get your vaccination. With a vaccine that is so new, how can we possibly know all of the side effects?

Many women have been hesitant to jump on this bandwagon right away before hearing all the research and side effects. One question that has gone unanswered is if the COVID vaccine can affect your period. This is an important question that we need answered. On average, women have their period for 40 years of their life. These types of questions can not go unanswered. 

Has There Been Research on This Topic?

Some women who have already received their COVID vaccine have noticed changes in their periods. They can’t help but wonder if the vaccine is the cause. We can’t get ahead of ourselves and presume this is the reason, but asking questions is a great place to start. 

Women have also noticed some abnormal bleeding following their dose of the COVID vaccine. Due to the uterus lining being an immune responsive tissue, and putting something like the COVID vaccine in your body with these antibodies, can cause instability and fluctuations in your menstrual cycle. These, however, are not facts because unfortunately there has not been any studies done with concrete evidence on this claim.

Many other factors can cause a woman’s menstrual cycle to become heavier, like stress. This can especially be the case during this global pandemic. The only knowledge we do have from studies done is that 25% of women who had the COVID virus reported changes in their period pattern. This only lasted for one or two cycles and then returned back to normal.   

Will the COVID Vaccine Affect Ovulation?

Despite the potential of the vaccine affecting a woman’s menstrual cycle, how does it affect our ovulation? Unfortunately, again we are left in the dark with no solid research on this question. Although, normally when a woman experiences a change in their bleeding pattern this can reduce their chance of conception during the ovulation period. 

Without answers on whether the COVID vaccine causes fluctuations in period cycles, we can’t know for sure if ovulation is affected. 

Should Pregnant Women Get Vaccinated? 

Although there has not been many studies on the potential effects of the vaccine for pregnant women, there has been studies on how a pregnant woman who contracts the virus may be affected. Studies show that some women who had the COVID virus during pregnancy experienced severe maternal and neonatal complications. Besides the fact that there has not been enough studies on the side effects of the vaccine on pregnant women, many people are in favor of pregnant women getting vaccinated.    

Is it Safe to Get the Vaccine When on Fertility Medication like IVF?

While receiving fertility treatment, first consult with a doctor before making a decision on the COVID vaccine. Due to the research on the affects of pregnant women with the virus, it is encouraged for women undergoing these treatments to get vaccinated.

Again, there has not been enough research to determine if it is 100% safe, but it can help prevent side effects from the virus. 

Where Do We Stand?

There is always a possibility that such a new vaccine can have side effects on a woman’s menstrual cycle. Yet there is not enough research to confirm that getting the COVID vaccine is the cause of period fluctuations. It is recommended for pregnant women to get the vaccine. This being due to the studies done and results of pregnant women who contract the virus. It is ultimately your decision on whether or not to get the vaccine. If you still have unanswered questions consult with your doctor and do your research before making your decision.

Finding The Optimal Fertility Diet

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If you’re considering becoming pregnant or trying to conceive, you’ll want to make sure that you’re staying healthy and fit. That doesn’t simply mean seeing a lower number on the scale or paying closer attention to how much time you’re spending on the treadmill—being your healthiest means taking a good, hard look inside your kitchen cupboards and at what you’re putting into your body. Practicing a well-rounded fertility diet is one of the first steps to successfully conceiving and carrying the healthiest child possible.

What you’re putting into your body each day is even more important than you think. Some foods may even be hurting your chances of becoming pregnant. To get pregnant and maintain a healthy pregnancy, you’ll need a fertility diet that increases your chances of conception and keeps you strong.

Fill Up on Fruits and Vegetables

You’re aiming for a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby. To be at your healthiest, you’ll need nutrients that take you there. That’s why eating enough fruits and vegetables is vital to optimizing your fertility.

Somehow those leafy greens and juicy fruits aren’t as familiar to the American diet as you would think. Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough of these essential foods when ordering on the run from their local restaurant or shopping for weekly groceries at their neighborhood grocery store. Although packaged foods tend to be the go-to items that people choose during a hectic workweek, they’re not the most nourishing foods for the body.

If you want to improve the quality of your reproductive system, start filling up your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Here’s a simple tip to remember the portion sizes you need: At each meal, make sure half of your plate is full of fruits and vegetables. Some raw fruits and vegetables contain a good supply of glutathione. This is highly important for your egg quality.

If it feels difficult to get enough fruits and vegetables in each meal, put your juicer to good use. Juice some fresh fruits and veggies rich in vitamins each morning at breakfast. Or, try making a delicious smoothie with frozen fruits and yogurt.

Switch to Healthier Fats in Your Diet

Remember to stay away from trans fats. It’s a cruel culprit in the food world that’s considered one of the worst forms of fat you can eat. Trans fats can hide in vegetable shortening, fast-food items, non-dairy coffee creamers, and even baked goods. They can clog your arteries, and they can also increase insulin resistance. When the body experiences high insulin levels, it can cause a metabolic disturbance. This can affect your ovulation cycles, as well.

From now on, try to only eat healthy fats. Not only are they better for you, but they can also help women who are having a tough time getting pregnant. That means focus on incorporating plant-based fats that give your body the nutrients it needs as well. For example, try adding more avocados, nuts, olive oil, and grapeseed oil to your diet.

The switch from trans fats to healthier fats may be tough, seeing as these items are popular in many people’s diets. These are common foods that you may want to indulge in when you’re craving something sweet during the day. Unfortunately, these foods aren’t healthy for your body or your baby.

Strengthen Your Diet with Powerful Proteins

It’s not always easy to get enough of the protein you need to stay healthy. Also, not all protein is created equal.

When it comes to creating a balanced diet geared toward peak fertility, you’ll want to reconsider the protein sources you’re eating. First, you’ll want to cut out the fast-food meats that may be lurking in your diet. These convenience foods are never good for you. Keeping away from these foods is crucial to sustaining a healthy pregnancy. If you’re not already eating an organic, whole foods diet, start now.

If you’re getting a large amount of your protein from red meat sources in your diet, you may want to begin cutting back. When you’re creating a meal plan, notice how much red meat you’re eating. Switch to other protein sources that will be better for your fertility. That means more chicken, pork, and turkey. These foods will give you the protein, iron, and zinc you need.

Another source of protein to include? Coldwater fish. If that worries you, you’re not alone. Chances are, you may be worried about the mercury levels that physicians warn about ingesting before or during pregnancy. However, food items like salmon, sardines, and canned light tuna are fine to eat a couple of times a week.

Choose Better Dairy Options

Maybe you’ve heard about people filling their meal plans with low-fat dairy items. Or, perhaps a particular “no-dairy diet” has made enough magazine headlines that it’s made you reconsider your stance on cream and milk products.

The truth? Dairy items aren’t the “bad foods” people have made them out to be in recent years. It just depends on what kinds of dairy items you’re consuming. For example, milk is an excellent source of B-12. It’s essential to have adequate B-12 levels in your diet. Some studies suggest that low levels of this critical vitamin are associated with infertility in some women.

Experts recommended that you get one or two servings a day of a full-fat dairy item. When it comes to milk, make it a glass of whole milk. Full-fat yogurts are always better than low-fat yogurts when it comes to an optimal fertility diet. It’s ok to have a small dish of full-fat ice cream as well.

Complete Your Fertility Diet with Complex Carbs

Carbohydrates that contain the fiber you need are different from the carbohydrates that are in cookies and cakes.

The sugar-filled cookies and frosting-covered cakes that line the shelves behind glass containers in bakeries are the kinds of carbs that aren’t good for you. These foods will digest quickly in your body, and turn into blood sugar.

However, the good carbohydrates your body craves take time to digest. These are the carbs you should be focusing on adding more to your diet. “Slow” carbs are considered to be better carbs for your body. These good carbohydrates come from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

The fertility diet that’s best for you will include nutrient-dense foods that give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to create life. The decision to have a child is one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. It can be a challenging, and beautiful journey. To create and maintain a healthy pregnancy, you’ll need someone who can give you the guidance, compassion, and support you deserve. Whether you’re deciding on the best fertility diet to implement, or selecting the best midwife to deliver your baby, you deserve someone you trust by your side to make these decisions along with you. Midwife360 is available to guide you through every step of your pregnancy journey. Visit our website today to see our array of services.

Natural Approaches To Depression During Pregnancy

The media makes pregnancy out to be one of the happiest times in a woman’s life. Pregnant women are always portrayed as being overjoyed and looking forward to their new life with their baby. The reality is that many women develop depression during pregnancy, and it often continues after the birth of their child. There are many different factors that could lead to depression in a pregnant woman, including the fact that many prescription antidepressants aren’t safe for women to take while pregnant. When a woman has to give up her antidepressants in order to carry a healthy child to term, her mental health can suffer greatly.

Fortunately, there are many signs that can identify depression in a pregnant woman. For example, rapid mood swings or noticeable changes in her sleep patterns could be a symptom of depression. A lack of enthusiasm about the pregnancy or baby and thoughts of death and suicide are also markers for depression in a pregnant woman. If a pregnant woman speaks of having feelings of worthlessness, or if there is a noticeable change in her eating habits, these are also indicators of depression during pregnancy. If someone you know is displaying symptoms, you should encourage them to seek help within her community, or from a licensed therapist to ensure that her mental health is addressed early in her pregnancy.

Natural Remedies for Depression

 

Unfortunately, commonly prescribed antidepressants and MAOIs on the market can be harmful or fatal to the fetus. However, there are many natural remedies for depression that will have no negative impact on the mother or the unborn baby. The following list is a sampling of some of the popular natural remedies for depression.

Keep A Diary

You may find that documenting and journaling your thoughts and emotions can help you to get to the cause of the problem. You may be sad after visits from a certain family member, or after seeing particular clients at work. Keeping a diary of your activities and feelings helps to clear your mind and might even reveal what is causing your depression. 

Get Some Exercise

You don’t have to do high-impact aerobics in order to feel better. Yoga is an excellent choice for a pregnancy workout and is also a great postpartum program for weight loss and toning. It also has high impact rates on depression. Another healthy option is brisk walking or light jogging. Always be sure to consult with your doctor before starting a new workout routine while pregnant. 

Get Some Rest

Pregnancy alone causes women to feel exhausted, If you don’t get adequate rest, you’ll quickly feel like you’re suffering from chronic fatigue. Be sure to get plenty of rest, at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night if possible. This will greatly improve the way your pregnant body feels, and also will improve your mood. 

Women’s Peer Support Groups

Pregnancy groups on Facebook are a great example of peer support groups that could help you feel better. Many of those ladies are experiencing a lot of the same emotions that you’re also feeling. It helps to know that you aren’t alone. Wherever you can find groups of supportive women in similar situations, you may find help with your feelings of depression. 

Turn to Your Faith

Regardless of your beliefs or denomination, many people find that prayer and/or church services can help to lift them out of depression. If it is something that you regularly practice, then allow your spirituality to elevate your mood. 

Avoid Inflammatory Foods

Foods such as carbohydrates, refined sugars, and caffeine can actually make your depression worse. Stick with a healthy diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables. Include probiotics and prenatal vitamins in your daily regimen for some extra pep in your step. 

Sunlight/Lightbox

Sunlight, or a high-intensity light in a lightbox (to simulate sunshine), could be what you need to feel refreshed and add happiness to your mood. Sunlight allows your skin to produce Vitamin D, which plays an essential role in your mental health. 

 

If you’re feeling hopeless, please know that this is not abnormal for pregnant and post-partum women. Reach out to your spouse or family members to help you get the treatment you need. You want to be healthy and happy for your growing family. 

Professional help is available to you 24/7, call  1-800-273-8255

Ways to Prepare for Pregnancy as a Family

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Pregnancy is an exciting and memorable time for both the mother and father to be. There are lots of preparations and planning to do as you get ready for the child. The bliss you enjoy during gestation is determined by the preparations you make before you get pregnant. For this reason, to help you have a simple pregnancy term and successful delivery, your preparations should start as soon as you start trying to get pregnant. This helps your body get ready for the changes you are likely to go through when you conceive. Additionally, it enables you to be receptive of the inevitable lifestyle changes after gestation. Here are some of the pregnancy preparations to do as a family before you start your term.

Talk About it as a Family

Being expectant affects not only the mother but everyone else in the family. For this reason, there is a lot to talk about and critical decisions to make before you get pregnant. For instance, you need to talk with your partner about handling the issues that may change after getting pregnant. This mainly involves duties and responsibilities that you may be unable to handle when you are pregnant. Additionally, discuss issues concerning the baby after birth. This involves issues such as your priorities and expectations in parenting. Talking about these issues even before you get pregnant unites you, thus, making gestation and parenthood easier.

Make Lifestyle Changes to Prepare as a Family

There are some lifestyle changes necessary to make before you start your gestation term. For instance, you need to strive to have a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Being underweight or overweight in gestation presents some challenges that will put you or your baby at risk. Therefore, as the family, you work together to ensure that the mother-to-be has a recommendable weight for gestation. Other lifestyle changes that you need to make include quitting alcohol or smoking. Making these lifestyle changes before you get pregnant helps you prepare your body to go without these substances throughout the gestation term. It is easier to adapt to such changes if you handle them as a family.

Go for A Pre-Gestation Checkup

Before you get pregnant, you and your partner should visit a doctor together. This visit gives the doctor a chance for a pre-gestation checkup, which helps determine whether your body is ready for gestation. The doctor will then treat some of the issues that may prevent you from getting pregnant or negatively affect your gestation. Additionally, the health care provider will advise you on some ways to make conception easier to prepare for as a family. Going through these checkups as a family or with your partner will ensure they offer you the support you need throughout the pregnancy.

Prepare Your Finances as a Family

As mentioned above, the gestation term will have a great impact on all areas of your life. For this reason, the time before you get pregnant is the time to brace yourself financially and get ready for all changes. Remember that you will have an extra expense during gestation and even more after birth. Additionally, after you conceive, you may not be in a position to work sufficiently and earn as much as you do before the gestation. Therefore, take time and prepare your finances as a family. Come up with a plan to help you manage the pregnancy and raise the baby after birth without struggling financially.

Conclusion

The process of becoming a parent starts before you conceive. Every preparation that you make now determines how easy or complicated your pregnancy term will be. Going through these pre-gestation preparations as a family helps make everybody equipped for the changes ahead after conception. If you’re looking for a pre-conception coach to help you prepare as a family contact us.

Benefits of Massage During Labor

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Massage is one of the oldest healing traditions. It has therapeutic properties induced by manipulating your soft-tissue or muscles to enhance your general well-being and health. More so, it influences how a woman goes through labor as well as the progression of labor.

There are numerous benefits of the nurturing and sensitive touch of a massage to a pregnant woman during labor, especially if the masseur is in tune with the mother’s body and quickly picks up on cues.

Labor pain is often caused by the contraction of uterine muscles and pressure at the cervix. The pain can be felt as an intense cramping in the lower abdomen, back, groin, or as an achy feeling. Other women experience pain in the thighs, or their sides as well.

Massage helps relieve this pain, anxiety, and muscular discomfort. It is beneficial with low back aches and common leg cramps. Touch techniques to a pregnant woman’s lower back relieve back labor and general lower back pain.

Massage Reduces Medical Interventions

There are risks with medicinal approaches that something unwanted may happen, such as an upset stomach, liver damage, tolerance, palpitations, or nausea. These vary from one patient to another.

With the right massaging techniques, medical interventions, such as forceps, cesarean birth, and synthetic oxytocin hormone are reduced. A masseur can also increase a woman’s pain perception and threshold during labor, thus, reducing the need for pain medications.

Massage Reduces Anxiety

Anxiety is considered normal, however it may be considered a medical disorder when it reoccurs from time to time during pregnancy. Anxiety and depression prevalence in pregnancy doubled between 2015 and 2018 in the US alone. It leads to excessive fear, feeling of apprehension, nervousness, and worry.

Massage during labor is proven to decrease the chances of postpartum depression. It also provides emotional support, reassurance, and decreases fear and anxiety. Typically, after a woman in labor is massaged, they feel relaxed and have enhanced confidence in themselves, and the birth process.

Massage Reduces Labor Pain

In a research study dubbed Pregnancy and Labor massage in 2010, it was found that women who were massaged during labor experienced much less pain. Their labor lasted an average of three hours shorter and with minimal need for medication.

During the study, partners for pregnant women were instructed on how to work the legs and back. It was noted that these were the areas that experience the most pain. They were required to do it every first fifteen minutes of every hour of labor.

Massage Enhances Psychological Functioning

Vagal activity is a process that results in various effects, such as reduction of heart rate, vasoconstriction or dilation of vessels, immune system regulation, glandular activity in the lungs, heart, and digestive tract. Massages help improve oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for reduced anxiety, blood pressure, and it can have a sedative effect.

According to Tiffany Field, moderate massages elicit a significant increase in vagal activity. It increases cerebral flow in various brain regions concerned with stress and depression regulation. Psychological stressors reduce vagal activity during pregnancy, but increased vagal activity decreases blood pressure, cortisol, and heart rate.

Massage Speeds Labor

Massaging helps reduce the need for the augmentation of contractions with synthetic oxytocin. When using an effective stimulating-abdominal massaging techniques, the strength and frequency of contractions may also increase.

Final Word

Most massaging techniques are safe during pregnancy and labor, though there may be exceptions. If you have any queries about massage during labor, it is best to talk to your healthcare provider. Above all, the benefits of massaging during labor precedes ignorance of the same by far. It is a great way to reduce labor pain and ease the journey of a pregnant woman.

What to Expect During Your Second Trimester

What_To_Expect_Second_Trimester

The second trimester marks the second phase of the pregnancy journey. This trimester ranges from the 13th to the 28th week. Essentially, this trimester lasts between the fourth, fifth, and sixth months of pregnancy.

For most women, the second trimester is the easiest and most comfortable. The fatigue and morning sickness gradually begins to fade. Additionally, your energy levels are higher than in the first trimester.

Lots of body changes happen during this trimester. Your pregnancy belly begins to show as the trimester progresses. You also start to feel baby movements towards the end of this trimester. An ultrasound between the 18th and 22nd week will help determine the baby’s progress in the tummy. Here are the significant changes to expect during the second trimester.

1. Weight Gain

Typically, your weight increases as the pregnancy journey advances. The primary reason for weight gain is the increment in the size of your baby.

Towards the 20th week, the body weight grows by eight to ten pounds for most women. Essentially, your body weight increases by a pound every week. In some cases, the weekly weight gain might be half a pound. The average weight increment throughout this trimester ranges from 12 to 14 pounds.

2. Backaches

Back pains become more prevalent during this trimester. Weight gain during this phase builds up pressure, mainly on your lower back.

It will help if you use a couch or chair with a stable back support feature. Most women prefer sleeping on the side to ease the back pains. Additionally, shoes with low heels are more comfortable during this phase.

If the backache becomes unbearable, consider going for a professional pregnancy massage. Alternatively, you could request your partner, friend, or caregiver to gently rub your back.

3. Abdominal Cramps

You might experience mild cramps in the lower abdomen from time to time during the second trimester. Usually, the uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby. Abdominal cramps arise due to pressure on the pelvic muscles as the uterus expands. Other causes of mild abdominal cramps include gas accumulation and constipation.

Taking a warm shower will come in handy to soothe the pain. You could place a bottle filled with warm water around your lower abdomen. Soft belly rubs also help to minimize the pain. In case you’re experiencing sharp pain, seek immediate medical attention.

4. Leg Cramps

Leg cramps are quite common in the second trimester, particularly during sleep. Often these pains occur due to the baby’s pressure on the blood vessels. Additionally, the baby may also be causing pressure buildup in the nerves connecting to the legs.

Other leading causes of leg pains include calcium and magnesium deficiency. Make sure to stick to a healthy diet rich in calcium and magnesium minerals.

5. Mild Swelling

You may experience mild swelling in your ankles, face, hands, and feet halfway through this trimester. The main reason for swelling is increased fluid retention for your growing baby. In some cases, swelling occurs due to reduced blood circulation in the body. Indulging in physical exercises is vital to control the swelling. Additionally, avoid sitting or standing for a long duration. While sleeping, make sure to change sides occasionally.

6. Dizziness

Pregnancy requires your body to pump lots of blood. Subsequently, you may experience low blood pressure. Dizziness arises due to low blood pressure or hormonal variations in the body. If you’re experiencing frequent bouts of dizziness, consider embracing a healthy diet. Moreover, take more fluids to alleviate dizziness symptoms.

Other notable changes include skin sensitivity, bleeding gums, and nasal congestion. Amid all the changes that come with pregnancy, remember to create beautiful memories during this trimester.

Have questions about your pregnancy? Contact our midwives.

8 Facts About the Placenta

The placenta is a vital organ that enables your baby to grow inside your womb. Within a few days of conception, this organ begins to grow. It takes over with the umbilical cord by the time your baby is 12 weeks old. This organ supplies antibodies, oxygen, and nutrients to your unborn child.

Here are eight interesting facts about the placenta.

1. Hormones
The placenta functions as a gland, secreting the HCG hormone that is responsible for the birthing process. It also produces estrogen and progesterone. All of these hormones are necessary in order for your baby to grow.
2. Immune System Support
This organ will transfer antibodies from the mother to the baby. It will provide around 3 to 6 months of immunity after the child is born.
3. Healing Fetal Cells
The placenta sends fetal cells to the mother in case of injury. These cells can also go to areas where there is diseased tissue in the mother, offering profound healing.
4. It Takes Two
This organ is created by both the dad and the mom. The cluster of cells formed when fertilization begins becomes the placenta and the baby. Both the sperm and the egg contribute to this process.
5. Disposable Placenta
The placenta is the only human organ that ejects itself when it is done. A new organ will be formed during each pregnancy and then is ejected when the pregnancy is over.
6. Edible
The placenta is edible. Many mothers eat this organ to help increase energy, boost milk supply, reduce postpartum bleeding, and balance hormone levels. This practice is done in many different cultures. The most common way to consume the placenta is through encapsulation. This is where the organ is cooked and dehydrated down and then put into capsules.
7. Spiritual Benefits
Many cultures believe that the placenta is sacred in pregnancy. In some cultures, it is known as an elder sibling or sacred twin. A Lotus birth will involve leaving the organ attached until the umbilical cord falls off naturally.
8. Cancer
The placenta will form in the body even if there is cancer present and will not be attacked by cancer. Researchers are trying to learn more about why this organ is not attacked by cancer. This may help in the future to protect against various cancers.

The placenta is truly a miracle organ helping your baby to grow and get adequate nutrition. The miracle of life would not happen without this amazing organ.

To learn more, reach out to us directly.