- It’s ok I am wearing really big knickers.
If you have not already converted to the Bridget Jones style pants then now is the time to hop over. Larger pants that you can pull over your scar will stop the elastic rubbing across your scar. If you do find clothes are rubbing you can pop a sanitary pad across your scar.
2. Keep it dry
It is ok to bath and shower as normal just keep it to just water and ensure that the area is dry after (pat dry with a towel). Keeping the area dry will prevent any infection.
3. Watch out for signs of infection.
When you get discharged home contact your GP or tell your midwife if you feel feverish or fluey, if you notice your scar is red, smelly, really painful or is oozing as these can all be signs of infection
4. Family, friends & hospital staff
Accept peoples help while they are over. Let them make the cups of tea and don’t be afraid in asking someone to pass the baby up to you or to change a nappy as bending over may be painful. In the hospital your partner will go home whilst you stay the night on the ward. Your ward midwives and maternity care assistants will be happy to help you, you will have a call bell that we (as midwives) encourage you to use on your first night after a cesarean. You will need help changing the nappy and having baby passed up to you after your cesarean. It is there for YOU so make use of it.
5. Move around
By the following day you should be able to get out of bed into the chair. Take it slow but getting out of bed will help get your blood circulating, even if it is just from the bed to the chair. Stay on top of your pain relief by taking it at regular intervals.
For an honest story about one mamas cesarean section experience from Gloucestershire hospital see the birth story from local girl Kate. Too posh to push..? You can decide.
Sit like a queen and scrub like a peasant. Optimum Fetal Positioning.
We have more than likely all heard the position ‘back to back’ baby, and the phrase is not usually one we jump for joy about. Back to back is more officially known as the Occiput Posterior position or OP. The occiput is the back of baby’s head, just above the nape of the neck. This is the heaviest part so depending on which way you are leaning to the most in your day to day life is usually (other factors do play a part) where the heaviest part will fall… Are you with me so far?
OP baby’s are more commonly seen in todays society because of our lifestyle. Take driving in the car as an example, the seats are very deep so our pelvis sinks backwards. Same as our amazingly comfortable, slouchy sofas. It is great after a days work when you can slump into it with your feet up. Yet putting your feet up, same as crossing your legs, encourages baby’s head to swing to your back instead of the optimum front.
Why does it matter I hear you say? So when the baby is FACING your back (occiput anterior aka OA), so the occiput (heaviest part of baby’s head) has rolled to the front, due to our not quite rounded human heads this means that the smallest part of the head will be delivered first. So makes for an optimum position for childbirth. Now I only say OPTIMUM, as other positions of your baby, such as back to back, work too. Back to back is associated with longer labours as baby has to turn during labour to get into the optimum position.
So my advice to you
- Sit like a Queen. Thrones are nice and straight so your pelvis doesn’t slouch back. You also sit with your legs lower than your pelvis giving your baby lots of room to be comfortably leaning to the front.
- Scrub like a poorper. Hands and knees and clean the floor. Perfect position to get baby’s occiput (heaviest part of head) to swing to the front.
With these images you should get the idea of ways to encourage your baby into the optimum fetal position. You can use the ‘scrubbing the floor’ position when you’re watching tv. Try and use a dining room chair to sit on or a birthing ball. However, if you do have a throne lying around the house, now is your time to work it.
Beth: I for one have been brooding over your puppy. Little Ruby is just the cutest. Other than a walk in the woods with your new pooch, what do you do to stay calm and relaxed?
Sit or lie down with the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and stomach relaxed.
Squeeze the ring of muscle around the back passage as if you are trying to stop yourself from farting in front of your hunky crush. Now relax this muscle. Squeeze and let go a couple of times until you are sure you have found the right muscles. Try not to squeeze your buttocks.
When sitting on the toilet to have a wee, try to stop the stream of urine, then start it again. Do this to learn which muscles are the right ones to use – but only once a week. Your bladder may not empty the way it should if you stop and start your stream more often than that.
Repeat “squeeze and lift” and let go. It is best to rest for about 4 seconds in between each lift up of the muscles. If you can’t hold for 10, just hold for as long as you can. Your endurance will improve over time and with practice holding for 10 seconds will get easier.
Repeat this “squeeze and lift” as many times as you can, up to a limit of 8 to 12 squeezes.
Try to do three sets of 8 to 12 squeezes each, with a rest in between.
Aim to do a set of slow contractions (exercise 1) followed by a set of quick contractions (exercise 2) 3-4 times each day. It takes time for exercise to make muscles stronger. You are unlikely to notice any improvement for several weeks – so stick at it! You will need to exercise regularly for at least 3 months before the muscles gain their full strength.
Going out for coffee has to be one of my favourite things to do. It feels like a little mid morning treat especially after a sleepless night with Noodle. It means I get to stock up on my daily caffeine fix, and as Noodle is still a baby, she is very portable and normally just sleeps the whole time whilst I get to catch up on the latest revelations from my care free, child free friends.
And now not being pregnant, I can enjoy a coffee guilt free without worrying about the effects it may be having on baby bump. So, according to the NHS website when your pregnant it is advisable to drink no more than 200mg of caffeine a day. But who knows what that means??!! When you go into your local coffee shop you can see how many calories are in your grande caramel latte but not how much caffeine your happily going to be sipping away.
But a coffee is a coffee I hear you say. No no sista. A lot of recommendations advise that 1 cup of filter coffee will keep you within your limits. Whilst this may be true, you can enjoy your smooth Flat White from Starbucks, comfortably staying within your limits with 150mg caffeine. If you ventured over the road for the same coffee drink and catch up at Costa, it would put you over your limit by 77mg, with a massive 277mg of caffeine.
Here are a rundown of the differences between other drinks (all medium sizes)…
COSTA vs. STARBUCKS
CAPPUCCINO 277mg vs. 150mg
LATTE 185mg vs. 150mg
MOCHA 287mg vs. 175mg
For more info or to find out the caffeine content of your fave coffee then check out the sites below.
Here are some of our other caffeine containing comforts…
a mug of tea 75mg
a can of cola 40mg
most 50g bars of plain chocolate have less than 25mg
most 50g bar of milk chocolate have less than 10mg
There has been lots of research into caffeine and pregnancy. With the current research advising to avoid caffeine within the first trimester due to risk of miscarriage.
After this time, it is to stay within 200mg p/day. The risks being miscarriage and/or fetal growth restriction, resulting in low birth weight babies, which has been linked to higher risks of health problems later in life.
So, I’m not saying ditch your favourite drink and avoid all high street coffee shops. But if you are lucky enough to have coffees out regularly check the caffeine content with the supplier. And if in doubt decaf it out.
I have been mulling over how to tackle the topic of Postnatal depression for weeks, what seemed a straight forward request has raised my awareness to the fact that we seem to know what post natal depression is, but do we really understand it?
I think its fair to say every mother feels low at some point post birth. A minor injury of a stubbed toe prompts woes of discomfort, so surrendering your body to pregnancy to then have a tiny human removed vaginally or surgically, is going to have an impact both physically and emotionally.
To begin I think its useful to give a formal definition for Postnatal depression: depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood and fatigue.
So what are the baby blues? Do they differ? The Baby Blues tend to start day three post birth with the sudden change in hormones making you feel teary and overwhelmed, it tends to peak at week one with feelings of weariness, fatigue, anxiety and isolation, but then as the hormones settle by week three the high emotions begin to taper and should subside. Does this mean those first few weeks of Baby Blues do not require emotional attention? The baby blues look less blue and more grey to me, a limbo land; not being ok but not being classified as depressed.
In this picture by Anna Lewis, @sketchymuma gracefully summarises the first week and its hardship, does any parent really know what’s going on? You have a new house guest, who isn’t leaving anytime soon, and you are on a crash course of getting to know each other combined with a rush of hormones, depleted vitamin and mineral reserves and little sleep.
Research shows a lack of sleep can create clinical depression in the healthiest of people, during a study it was discovered that healthy adults when woken continually over a period of a month, without the demands of a baby or birth, were almost all diagnosed with clinical depression. Without pregnancy or a baby?! So who is responsible for the first few weeks being deemed ‘blue’ ? Somewhere around the 1940’s the experiences post birth were coined as baby blues. In his best-selling baby book Expectant Motherhood, 1940, Nicholson J. Eastman wrote:
“Most common among such reactions, perhaps, is what is colloquially called the ‘Baby Blues’.” Does this term now undermine the experience? Thankfully we’ve outgrown Eastman’s other advice on how to reduce baby blues, he helpfully advised women to limit themselves to 10 cigarette daily during pregnancy. Jeez!
If the term Baby Blues can no longer suffice maybe Dr Oscar Serrallach a family practitioner in Australia has the answer. Dr Serrallach using modern methods identifies the demands on the body describing the process as postnatal depletion, which can develop into more severe forms of depression. To briefly summarise his work, he recognises the scientific demands to grow a baby highlighting the nutritional demands and consequences. He takes into consideration the reprogramming of the mothers brain for parenthood which shrinks by 5% to pass the enormous amounts of fats required to the baby; 7 grams of fat from the placenta travels to the baby daily, Mums zinc, iron, Vitamin B12 Vitamin B9, Iodine, omega 3 fats, and selenium stores are all tapped into (low selenium is linked to depression). Dr Oscar describes further demands beyond pregnancy each impacting how they will emotionally take a toll on the mother.
Perhaps this scientific approach educates society to accept EVERY woman will feel quite literally depleted after her birth. Perhaps through a universal responsibility to meet every mother’s needs she is free to meet the needs of her baby. Mothers are also then on the radar should moods escalate and need further attention.
OK so what can you do to help yourself? Because of course the experience of birth is not just the sorry state of affairs I have sold it as in the 600ish words above. What can we do as an expectant parent to maximise the joy it also brings?
- Getting your support system in place is the first vital step! Know who you are going to utilise and make them aware
- Learn key tools prior to the birth
- Develop skills in how to protect your relationship
- Learn to identify the six states of a baby
- Explore the kind of parent you’ll be
Investing emotionally with a professional can help reduce symptoms of PND from 67 percent to 23 percent, explore beyond your traditional birthing classes to expand your emotional intelligence, which can be learnt unlike personality or IQ such an investment will not only prepare you for the realities but help you evolve as a conscious emotionally intelligent parent who exists in the moment making life more manageable and calmer.
Jerilee is the founder of My Baby Brain. She is a clinical psychotherapist and mother. She has a wonderful outlook on the uniqueness and delicacies of life. Her mindful approach and clarity seeps through in her work. You can find out more about Jerilee and My Baby Brain here or by checking out their facebook or instagram.
- Start Packing
Start thinking about packing a hospital bag around 32 weeks, aiming to have everything sorted by around 36 weeks, just in case baby puts in an early appearance. Pop the bag (or bags) in your bedroom where it can be easily accessed, then as you think of items, they can be added easily without a last minute rush forgetting things.
- Size matters!
Choose a good sized holdall to take into hospital and an extra bag for all of baby’s things (or alternatively, one big bag or suitcase for everything). Don’t forget to have a section for partner’s stuff (or ask them to prepare their own little bag of goodies, e.g. clean underwear and clean t-shirt (labour can get hot and sweaty for partners too), snacks and drinks, toothbrush, pair of flip flops, a magazine/book, phone charger.
- What to pack for mum
There’s no strict rules as to what you should or shouldn’t pack. Take whatever you think you will need and most importantly, items make you feel comfortable and at ease. Some ideas include: lip balm or Vaseline, flip flops and/or slippers, a pillow, dressing gown, old nighties/t-shirts, socks, hairbands, music (on phone or CD), isotonic drinks, a big towel, toiletries, hairbrush, comfy bras, big old pants x5, maternity pads (lots), flannel or sponge.
- What will baby need?
There’s no need to pack the kitchen sink and the changing station too! Some essentials to pack for baby include: baby grows (long sleeves x5), baby vests (short sleeve x5), cardigan, pack of nappies, a couple of hats, blanket, going home outfit, cotton wool balls or wipes.
Don’t forget to pack a couple of plastic bags for dirty washing.
- Lastly . . .
As your due date approaches, ensure you always have your hospital notes to hand, should you need to grab them quickly. Double check the parking facilities at your local hospital and even do a ‘practice run’ with partner. It’s always a good idea to have some change in your bag for parking/vending machines.
Now put your feet up and wait until baby is ready to meet you!