What happened to the importance of the breath in antenatal classes? Today unfortunately the importance of the breath is somewhat lost amongst the wealth of information given to new mums. I had a little reminder recently that breath preparation can make all the difference to a woman's birthing experience especially when the woman and her birth partner have made it a focus together antenatally. Here is a tip from a new dad's experience "When Sarah was in labour one of the key things that made it easier was her breathing, fast and slow through the contractions made a huge difference and try not to hold your breath it makes it so much worse" . Here as the surges (contractions) became stronger her breathing increased at the peak of the surge and then became slow and deep in-between the surges increasing oxygen and calm to the baby and renewed focus for the mother.
Practising nose breathing in and out by placing your hands on your lower abdomen and notice your hands rise as you breath in and lower as you breath out, your upper body should feel relaxed and still. Slow quiet breathing in this way stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system of relax and calm, this is known as breathing from the diaphragm and is used a lot in yoga practices.
I've found, the birthing ball is an excellent choice for sitting on during pregnancy. Most importantly you are sitting slightly forwards on the front of your sitz bones with your hips higher than your knees, your legs open wide, your knees in alignment with your ankles and your feet firmly connected to the earth. The free movement of the ball allows the muscles that stabilise the pelvis to be switched on, the natural curve of your spine to be maintained and your sacrum to be free. Gravity and movement on the ball encourages your baby into a better position reducing hip and back pain, and essentially assists you in preparing an easier passage for birth. So I encourage you to have one even if your just using it to sit on instead of the couch, at your desk, or at your table.
Making sure you're getting enough omega-3 essential fatty acids during pregnancy may help reduce your risk of pre-eclampsia, premature birth (delivery before 34 weeks), perinatal anxiety and depression, and improve breast milk supply. For your growing baby Omega-3 contains DHA (docosaphexaenoic acid) which supports their visual and cognitive development and central nervous system, whilst EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) supports their immune system, heart, inflammatory response and reduces allergy IgE eczema at 1 year old.
The current recommended daily intake of DHA during pregnancy is 800mgs per day from 14 to 34 weeks gestation as a minimum requirement, this is a lot more than previously recommended as research has shown taking 400mgs of DHA had no effect in reducing preterm birth. High quality fish oils are the easiest and safest way to achieve this requirement as eating lots of fish during pregnancy is not recommended due to the increased risks of mercury and other metals.
We at BabyBumpCare recommend Omega-3 Concentrate by Herbs of Gold as they use sustainably sourced fish oil, that undergoes a multiple molecularly distillation and purification process. This results in clean, ODOURLESS, LOW REFLUX, heavy metal tested, highly concentrated Omega-3 essential fatty acid capsules that may be burst and added to juice or milk, great for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children.
Information sourced from
The Role of Omega 3's in Pregnancy by Dr Carmel Collins
My sister was born on Father's Day, so today is a very special day.
Today father's are encouraged to be part of the birthing process but are not always fully informed of what their role is or what to expect, and why this role is important. Building the bond between both parents will have a beneficial effect for when the baby arrives and on family life as a whole. The transition to parenthood is life transforming and men are less likely to ask for support than women. Support is available through SMS, at sms4dads.com, there is a facebook group Becoming Dad or the website www.fatherstobe.org that has a wealth of information to help new dads. Postnatally there are also dad groups for baby massage classes, go to iaim.org.au or visit your local early childhood centre or library for parenting groups available. The Gidget Foundation also has great information for dads who are experiencing perinatal anxiety or depression.
The hidden struggle of parenthood
The perinatal period is from pregnancy to 1 year after birth. Around 20% of mothers and 10% of fathers experience perinatal anxiety and depression. I would like to introduce you to The Gidget Foundation, a not for profit organisation to raise awareness of perinatal anxiety and depression, aswell as other conditions experienced in the postnatal period (after birth) such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and very few women who experience Postnatal Pyschosis. Its a great resource for support and information. When sadness or stress become overwhelming and interfere with your everyday life during pregnancy or after birth reach out for support don't suffer behind the mask.
In 2005 I was very lucky to meet Sarah Budd, an Acupuncturist and a Midwife who came to my local university in the UK to give a talk on the use of acupuncture in pregnancy and childbirth. During this time I was completing my acupuncture studies and was so inspired that I embarked on becoming a Midwife and an Acupuncturist.
Many people don't realise that acupuncture can be used to treat many ailments during pregnancy, not just what its more commonly known for..... inducing labour. To improve your chances of going into labour naturally, your acupuncturist will teach you and your birth partner acupressure points to activate often each day once you go past your due date and also during your labour.
I recently was given a beautiful reminder of the wonder of waterbirth in a hospital setting. What's great about birthing pools is they create a calm, warm, private space for a labouring woman to be. As they enter the pool everything suddenly becomes less intense due to the buoyancy effect and increased ease of movement. This often gives a feeling of relief and relaxation enabling women to be in 'the zone'. Some women choose to use the pool for pain relief and then get out to birth their baby, others choose to stay in the pool and birth in the water. What is very clear to me is those babies who are born in the water have the most gentle of transitions to the outside world and are usually very calm and peaceful afterwards. Its often very difficult to have an undisturbed birth in a hospital setting for a variety of reasons, and birthing pools are by far the best way this can be achieved combined with a birthing team that you know and trust as being on the same page as you.
During the third trimester space starts to feel limited as your baby grows and puts on weight. You may start to feel an array of symptoms including aches and pains, heartburn, difficulty getting comfortable and to sleep well at night....This is a very important time to create more space and become more aware of how to help your baby be in a good position for the remainder of your pregnancy. One of the most helpful ways to do this is doing the Side-Lying Release an extremely beneficial stretch release and I have seen immediate results from this, to learn more go to: spinning babies com where the amazing Midwife Gail Tully shows you how.
Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis) is the only plant known to produce wax esters and these wax esters are almost identical to the wax esters that make up to 30% of healthy human skin sebum and 50% of the protective film that lubricates the surface of our eyes. For this reason Jojoba is the most effective moisturiser with naturally occurring omega 6 and 9 essential fatty acids and vitamins A,D and E. It has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties which create a hostile environment for S. aureusis, Pseudomonas, Herpes simplex virus, and C.Albicans. The molecular structure of Jojoba makes it suitable for any skin type, especially the most sensitive, including Newborn Baby's Skin. We at BabyBumpCare recommend Pure Jojoba to maintain healthy skin, hair and eyes for you and your baby. We recommend keeping it pure & simple from 0 - 6 months on baby's skin while baby's skin barrier is developing.
When we have high levels of Oxytocin often referred to as the 'Love' hormone we increase our social interaction, we become more bold, curious, calmer, have increased learning capacity, increased libido, feel less pain and develop maternal behaviour. These effects of plenty of Oxytocin on our behaviour enable us to give birth safely, to bond with, to provide warmth and to feed our babies.
Oxytocin unlike other hormones has a positive feedback system, it can build and build with no limit and unlike other cells, Oxytocin producing cells are unique as they 'sing in unison'. The electrical nerve impulses do not come one by one but become co-ordinated and cells that lie between the Oxytocin producing cells like insulation disappear and all the oxytocin producing cells begin to act in concert (Kerstin Uvnas The Oxytocin Factor).
Kerstin Uvnas's 'The Oxytocin Factor' and 'Oxytocin The Biological Guide to Motherhood' are great books to read to have a much deeper understanding of Oxytocin based on her early scientific research in the 1980's into the release and role of Oxytocin during Labour, Skin to Skin, Lactation and other types of relationships.
More recently In 2015 'Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing' By Dr Sarah Buckley a report commissioned by Childbirth Connection and supported by DONA International and Lamaze International is the most important scientific report on Maternity and Newborn Care and a MUST READ for those who wish to understand better why modern maternity care is not helping us birth better!
Being a parent myself, I remember feeling desperate to have more sleep, and confused about baby sleep training methods.There is now a body of emerging neuro-development research which may help new parents to know the facts so they do not put these pressures on themselves.
This research explains that, newborns have quiet sleep with 1 hour sleep cycles which are important for wiring the brain, REM sleep is very important for emotional health and its only at 3 months of age that a baby starts to know day and night. At 3-5 months old slow wave sleep appears and they continue to have 1 hour sleep cycles. Its only at 9 months of age does a baby start to sleep through the night! this is due to physiological changes related to glycogen storage capacity and the orexin hormone which controls sleep (Nils Bergman Skin to Skin Workshop 2016 , Thomas 2014, Schaal 2004).
There has been growing concerns of the effects of sleep training methods in early infancy. In 2013 The Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Inc (AAIMH) published a position paper on 'controlled crying' and its unintended negative impact on an infants psychological and emotional wellbeing. If you would like to read this position paper go to: https://aaimhi.sslsvc.com/key-issues/position-statements-and-guidelines/AAIMHI-Position-paper-1-Controlled-crying.pdf
I recently had the opportunity to attend Nil Bergman's Seminar on skin to skin and what the neuroscience is saying. He talked about critical periods in neuro-development, the first being to ensure that the baby is never separated from the mother during the initial 18 hours after birth. He talks about the colostrum response only being present for the first 18 hours of life and the importance of your smell, ' a mother's smell tells the baby its safe enough sleep (Schaal 2004). Nil says sleep is the most important thing for neuro-development.
This suggests your baby should be skin to skin with you most of the time and within smelling distance of you when they are not. There are however, occasions where babies need to be closely monitored in Special Care or NICU but always be aware that your presence is more important to your baby than anything else. Therefore, where possible, as Nil's research suggests, your baby needs, your smell, your touch, your voice, your colostrum and for you to be close by. If your baby is born prematurely it is even more important for your baby to be skin to skin or otherwise known as 'kangaroo care' as often as possible. One hour of skin to skin a day is not enough according to Bergman. If there is a situation where you can not do this then it is recommended that your partner be skin to skin often until you can.
Hi all, Midwife Paula here,
One of the early signs of pregnancy is tender breasts. From the 6th to 7th week you may notice raised spots on each areola. (dark area of skin around the nipple). These are Montgomery's Tubercles which secrete an oily substance to keep the nipples and areola soft and supple.
From the middle of your pregnancy onwards, you may notice tiny amounts of a yellowish substance called Colostrum (which is highly concentrated milk). At term (after 37 weeks) onwards you can begin to hand express and gradually be able to collect small amounts to freeze for storage in a sterile container.
Some women notice a change in size and texture of the breasts, and a darkening of the areola later in the pregnancy. Many are not aware that for the last 6 - 8 weeks of pregnancy you can apply nipple cream twice a day to condition the nipples in preparation for breast feeding. We at Babybumpcare recommend, Weleda's Nipple Care Cream or Natures Child Nipple Balm both of which are organic, high quality products.