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The Bump Chapter | The Bump to Baby Chapter
Baby’s Movements

Baby’s Movements

💥Baby’s Movement 💥

💥Home Dopplers are dangerous. Period. If you listen in to baby’s heart rate and you hear a nice normal heart rate sound because you’ve googled a normal heart rate for a baby, you may get false reassurance from this. There are many things that we look for on a baby’s heart rate and the number is just a small part of this. Don’t get false reassurance from a home Doppler.

💥 Don’t drink a cold drink to make baby move… if you are ill with an infection in bed, you move less because you are conserving your energy. If someone makes you cold by pouring coldness onto you, you will move. It doesn’t make you well, but you will move.

💥The risk of catching the Coronavirus from going into your hospital/unit should not outweigh your need to go into get checked. Remember, a maternity unit is filled with women who, like you have been self isolating for the last 2months. It is a safe place to be.

💥 It is usual for movements to be felt between 16 and 24 weeks. As you first start to feel baby move you may not notice movements all the time as you start to realise what they feel like. This is really normal. This is why if you report reduced movements before this time, you may be invited in for reassurance or given advice over the phone.

💥 From when you start to feel movements regularly, about 24weeks, they should increase over the weeks till about 32 weeks when from this time they stay about the same every day. They don’t reduce as you get closer to your due date.

💕Baby’s don’t run out of space to move.
💕It is not a sign that labour is starting.
💕 It is not what baby’s do as they get closer to their due date.

💥Please remember, if you ever are worried about baby’s movements, always call your local triage/assessment unit or maternity advice line. You should all have a number to ring on the front of your notes that is a number to call for things like reduced movements and any concerns that you have.

💥When you get reduced movements or a change in your movements , your Triage/assessment unit/local midwife unit is the place to call usually. Your community midwife is not usually the person to call as they will advise you to call triage as with reduced movements, at a hospital unit they can assess you properly with a CTG/CEFM machine to pick up a trace of baby’s heart rate (these machines are used from 28weeks). These CTG machines show a longer recording of baby’s heart rate and are much more helpful to determine the well being of a baby compared to a snap shot that a Doppler provides.

Good websites to go on for questions about movements are Kicks Count and Tommy’s.

What is Hypnobirthing? Facts or Fantasy.

What is Hypnobirthing? Facts or Fantasy.

If you’ve landed on this page then I’m sure you’ve heard this term thrown around many times … I’m sure you have heard it talked about amongst those positive birth stories but wonder whether it is all too good to be true. A good birth is something that only happens in your imagination right? So let’s look at the facts…

Clock swaying and Derren Brown type voodoo is definitely what it’s not, even though the name suggests. Without dumbing down it’s marvellousnous…it’s just science. So let’s throw it back to secondary school biology.

Fight or flight? Neither possible for birth.

So you hear a buzz of a bee, or see a spider, or you have to do a presentation at work. All these things create a reaction in our body, our heart rate increases, palms get sweaty and we get that sticky feeling in our tummy. This is a programmed response that would have served us well in the Stone Age times. Blood shunts away from our major organs to the arms and legs, our breathing increases and heart rate increases as we prepare to fight or run from a sabre tooth tiger or woolly mammoths. It would have helped us survive tricky situations.

The same would have happened for women giving birth in the Stone Age times. Imagine they’d be in their birth cave, doing their birth thing and in walks a sabre tooth tiger. That birthing Mum would have seen that tiger, thought, “Oh crap. I’m not safe” and triggered the fight or flight response. Her heart rate would increase, her blood would shunt away from her uterus causing her contractions to slow and her labour to stop and this would give her some more time to move away from the tiger and find another safe place to have her baby. As you can see, this bodily response is a great thing, it helped her body stop labour so that she could give birth in a safe birth cave. Us women, are like lionesses when it comes to their baby’s and giving birth when feeling safe is a massive priority in our thoughts. But, the difference in this situation to that of now, is that we are not cavegirls. We do not have sabre tooth tigers coming into our environments. We do not have to deal with these kind of threats …. so why does this response still happen?

Well…

The problem that we have is our thoughts. The thoughts of bad things happening. We are basically always thinking about sabre tooth tigers coming into our birth caves- but the modern day equivalent.

We think about that episode of one born every minute when the woman was screaming in pain.

We think of the story that our Mum or Auntie told us about what giving birth was like when we were 11 years old.

We think of the story that our bestie told us, about how nothing went to plan, and she had a tear and it was all very dramatic.

And when we haven’t done birth ourself, we only have our imagination and snippets of what we have seen from the TV and heard from stories, to piece together what may happen. And often it is on the dramatic side, as one born every minute wouldn’t be on its 6th series without a bit of drama to feed our drama craving minds, and a story wouldn’t be a good story without that shock factor.

So what happens when we go into labour and we feel those contractions? Our mind says,

“Ah ha… I know what happens here, I’ve seen this lots on the TV, this is when the drama happens, there’s going to be pain.”

Then our other part of the brain says,

“Did someone say PAIN? Holy crap, let’s get out of this situation. Now!”

Cue the fight or flight response…

So your feeling more pain, because that’s what you’re telling yourself is happening. You feel more fear, because you’re mind is telling you that what is happening is exactly the drama that you expected. Then because of the fight or flight response, your labour stalls, intervention is recommended so it reinforces your initial thoughts that something is in fact going wrong. You then feel more fear, more pain, more tension and more intervention…. And the cycle continues.

So now, to answer the ‘What is Hypnobirthing?’ question.

Well, it’s actually just a different type of birth prep with the focus on having a positive birth. It’s main focus is reducing the fight or flight and increasing oxytocin. And here is how, as a midwife, I teach it over here at The Bump to Baby Chapter.

1. Change your thoughts and rewrite the way you think about birth. This isn’t done by doing anything wacky… just watching positive birth stories, birth affirmations, some relaxations and a whole lot of understanding. Lots of birth stories often come with wrong information. When in fact, the more you know, the less that is unknown. This goes for what contractions are actually like, what vaginal tears are like (not as scary as how you’ve read it on MumsNet), what cesareans are like… etc? All the things that you might be pushing far down now, are only going to come to full surface if that happens bringing fear. Knowledge is power 🙌🏼🙌🏼 Always.

2. Learn ways that will help you stop the trigger of the fight or flight. How to keep yourself calm, how to cope with contractions etc. Learn what to do when you think you might be losing it. You know when you breathe out for a long time ( for example in for 4 seconds, out for 7 seconds), you actually trigger the calming response in your body that will stop the fight or flight response. Meaning that oxytocin will increase, endorphins will increase (your body’s natural pain relief) , you feel happy with oxytocin, calm, you bond with your baby more when she’s arrived, your breastfeeding is encouraged. Learning ways that will help increase your oxytocin and reduce your fight or flight is the key to a positive birth. This section of Hypnobirthing is great for birth partners too as it gives them tips on how they can help too.

3. Extra things you need to know. This is practical things that can help your birth go smoother. Things like positions that help labour go quicker, eating and drinking because your uterus is in fact a muscle that won’t work as effectively if it’s not being watered and sugared- think lucozade, jelly babies, water etc.

I think the main thing that can be learnt from Hypnobirthing is that the more you know, the more things you can do to increase that oxytocin. Oxytocin isn’t just important to help your birth go smoothly. But it’s the hormone that will encourage bonding between you and baby, it will encourage your breast milk production, but most of all it will mean that in years to come it will be a time that you look back on with fondness, love and happiness, rather than experience tainted with fear.

So what do you think? Not as whacky as you once thought!

For everything you need to do Hypnobirthing then you can enroll in The Bump to Baby Chapter’s Antenatal and Hypnobirthing online course, for the duration of the lockdown it is only £27 to give everyone the opportunity to have a great birth. This course is led by a midwife, includes antenatal education birth prep, Hypnobirthing and access to post natal sessions later down the line for baby sleep help, colic and reflux and weaning.

PHOTO CREDITS @KALINORTON @HEADYGRIMM

Creating An Ideal Birth Environment

Creating An Ideal Birth Environment

Your Birth Environment – Why is Birth Environment So Important?

Have you ever noticed how much you act from your environmental cues.

Your Mum pops over with a plate of cookies and she leaves them on your dining room table. You weren’t hungry, but now you’re eating a cookie.

You walk into a garden centre at Christmas time and smell the candles of cinnamon, frankincense & winter berry and it immediately gets you feeling excited for Christmas.

You see water by the tills at the cafe. You’ll feel thirsty looking at it. There’s juice in the fridge but you’ll choose the water as it’s right there. The next time you go there, there’s juice at the tills, you pick up the juice without giving it a second thought. You choose what’s in your environment.

If you see a chair you’ll sit on it. If there’s no chair you won’t even notice your legs are tired.

If you walk into your lounge do you pick up the TV remote? If you walk into the kitchen do you open a cupboard or wipe a side?

What do you do when you walk into work? How do you act in that environment… do you always put your bag in the same place, or automatically click the kettle on, warm up your computer or open your notebook. Do you bite your nails on the way there, call your partner on the drive home? What do you do as a result of walking into your work environment?

We are the products of our environments and respond to the cues that surround us. We respond either internally, like the feelings of excitement when we smell Christmas candles or externally by sitting on a chair that was placed in a room.

BOTH these reactions matter in a birth environment.

 

Just stay off the bed

If you see a bed, you’re more likely to get on it. If you see a floor mat, you’re more likely to sit or crouch or lean on that. If there’s a counter, you’re more likely to stand next to it to lean on it.

Why does this matter? If you’re upright in labour (or basically any other position other than your back) then the research shows that

– Your labour time is significantly shorter.

⁃ Your less likely to have an instrumental (forceps or ventouse) birth by 23%

⁃ Your 29% less likely to have a cesarean.

⁃ Your 21% less likely to have an episiotomy.

Your environment matters. The environment could be as subtle as a low bed or a high bed. A low bed- you’re more likely to get on to lie down. But, one of the hospital beds set to the highest setting you’re more likely to lean on it. Leaning on the bed compared to lying on the bed could make a massive positive difference to your birth.

 

Sight, smells & sound of a hospital.

If you walked into a room where there were bright lights, clinical smells and white coats. How would this make you feel? Often our bodies pick up on these environmental cues without us even being aware. Especially, when usually the only time we are surrounded by white coats & clinical environments are when we are ill and we visit the doctors, or visiting a poorly relative in hospital. It’s not usually associated with fun times.

Ever heard of white coat syndrome? It’s when your blood pressure rises only in a clinical setting. You don’t often know that you feel nervous, but your blood pressure is raised in the Drs. But if you do your blood pressure at home it’s normal. It’s thought that between 15-30% of all raised blood pressure at the Drs is because of white coat syndrome. This is your body picking up on environmental cues and saying “May Day! May Day! Someone’s sick” without you even being aware that it’s happening.

So why does this matter in birth?

⁃ If your body is feeling stressed then it’s signalling that it’s not in a safe place to have a baby. So labour can stall and intervention can be advised, plus it becomes more painful as pain is stronger when you feel stressed.

Some simple ways to make your body respond better to your birth environment- especially if it’s in a hospital or birth unit environment. This right here is nest building at its finest…

⁃ Turn off the lights. Dim lights are more relaxing than bright ones. Fairy lights and tea lights (although your hospital may only allow battery ones) are great for providing that magic.

⁃ Bring a familiar or relaxing smell. Think essential oils or nothing says familiar like your own pillow. Anything that doesn’t make you think you’re in a squeaky clean hospital.

⁃ Bring some things that make it feel more homely. Your pillow, comfy clothes, maybe a photo or picture or even a string of them like in the above photo. I’ve known women to bring bunting in made of photos or affirmations.

 

⁃ Music- having some music on will not only remind you of happy times and make you feel all zen, but it can also drown out the noise of a bustling hospital or other labouring women next door.

You can pack all this stuff in your hospital bag and let your birth partner know that this is the plan. He/she can then be in charge of dimming the lights and setting up your room to make it homely.

Lastly, knowing how important your environment is, really consider where you’d like to give birth. Your home is going going to give you all the relaxing cues as, it’s your home, it’s your familiar, and that’s a good thing to feel when you’re giving birth. If a midwife led unit or a consultant led unit is chosen/advised for you then think about ways that you can make your environment as comforting as possible. Also think about what’s on offer and whether that’s something you want. If you don’t want an epidural then don’t choose to birth somewhere where it’s on offer. It’s like the cookie analogy- if it’s on the menu where you’re giving birth then you’re more likely to choose it. If it’s not, then it won’t even enter your mind.

Your environment is so important for your birth. You can be a product of your birth environment, or it’s architect.

If you want to know about ways to keep calm during your birth, ways that you can stack the odds in your favour to have a great birth and techniques that you can start practising now in your pregnancy to prep for birth, then you can get all the information from the convenience of your own home on your own time, by accessing the hypnobirthing and antenatal education online course for £27.
An online course put together by UK midwife, Beth offering both hypnobirthing and antenatal education, which has helped women across the globe feel confident and calm during their birth.

 

The Ultimate Birth Affirmations

The Ultimate Birth Affirmations

How to use Birth Affirmations in pregnancy?

Everyone has their sayings that they repeat in their head when they need a little pick me up. It might be a, “ Come on… You’ve got this!” before you stand in front of your team to do a presentation at work or “Stay calm, stay calm.” when you’re driving in the car and some douchebag has pulled out in front of you.

It’s commonly seen amongst sportsmen and women where they shout, “Come on! Come on!” when they are walking on pitch or warming up. We see it as psyching themselves up but they’re actually just telling themselves to come on. They’re telling themselves that they can do this and they have got this.

It’s the phrase that you remind yourself when you want to behave in a certain way. Now, often these phrases are so engrained in us that we now don’t even see it as an “affirmation” as that’s just SOOOOO hippy. They are phrases that are so engrained in us that t’s just something we say or do. And this kind of familiarity is what we want to achieve in pregnancy through birth affirmations.

In labour, during contractions, there will be times where they are so intense that you will feel like you can’t do it any longer. Now, if you have been practising your birth affirmations throughout pregnancy then it will be at this point where you might start repeating over in your head, “I can do anything for 60seconds, I can do anything for 60 seconds, I can do anything for 60seconds.” (FYI – 60 secs is about how long a contraction lasts). You will say it till you believe it to be true. This is easier to do if you have read them to yourself every day or couple of days in the build up to your labour. It will be even more helpful if your partner knows them too as these phrases can then be reminded to you when you need a pep talk in labour.

 If you want to learn more about birth affirmations and other techniques that you can use so that you can get through labour or your cesarean birth in the calmness way possible. Then check out TBTBC antenatal and hypnobirthing online course. Built by UK midwife, Beth to give you a tool box of techniques to be used in all birth situations…..

What can you start doing to prepare for your birth.

What can you start doing to prepare for your birth.

This is for you if you’re from 34 weeks. If that’s not quite you yet, then save this link or screen shot so you’ve got the info for in a few weeks/months time.

If this is you then these are some things that you can start doing that will improve your birth.

So, what can you do to start prepping for your birth?

With 20% of mothers in the UK having a labour that’s induced and between 10 & 25% of 1st time mothers having an instrumental birth across the UK, the possibilities of these scenarios happening are for you are very real. With this info you can do what you can to stack the odds in your favour to reduce this happening for you.

Here are a few things that now you’re 34 weeks or after, you can start doing to prepare for your birth.

1.Dates
a) the food kind
Did you know that eating 6 dates a day from 34 weeks can reduce your chances of intervention. There was research on 2 groups, one group ate the dates, the other group didn’t. The group that ate the dates were less likely to be induced, less likely to have a hormone drip in labour and also had a shorter labour time (specifically the pushing).
b) the romantic kind
Putting some regular time in for date night with you and your partner can seriously help you stay calm in labour. It reminds you of all the other things, rather than relying solely on drugs, that will keep you calm. Things like dim lights, music, essential oils, massage and a bath or shower are all things that should be utilised when you’re at home in early labour or having an induction on the ward at hospital. Practising this little date night routine weekly will mean that you are conditioning your body to associate all the above with calmness, making it more effective when early labour starts.

2. Raspberry Leaf Tea
Instead of frantically googling “Ways to naturally induce labour” when you’re a week over due and realising that you could have done things weeks ago to help yourself, buy some raspberry leaf tea now! Drinking a cup a day from 34 weeks has been associated with avoiding induction. With this one the research doesn’t actually support this theory. What it does support though is this… RLT tones your uterus, so women who drank the tea from 34 weeks had a shorter labour than those who didn’t drink it. It also assists in bringing your uterus back to its pre pregnancy size. Nb. RLT shouldn’t be drank if you are booked in for an elective cesarean, are having a VBAC or have a scar on your uterus from previous surgery.

3. Perineal Massage

Massaging your perineum (the bit between your vagina and your anus) has been shown to reduce the severity of your vaginal tear for first time mothers. Around 90% of first time mothers in the UK have a tear of some kind. To lessen this tear use some olive oil/coconut oil on your thumbs, insert them into your vagina about half an inch and massage down towards your perineum. The research doesn’t support that this makes any difference for second or more time Mums.

So what do you think? Are you going to put any of these techniques into practise or add these items to your next food shop.

If you want to know about ways to keep calm during your birth, ways that you can stack the odds in your favour to have a great birth and techniques that you can start practising now in your pregnancy to prep for birth, then you can get all the information from the convenience of your own home on your own time, by accessing the hypnobirthing and antenatal education online course for £27.
An online course put together by UK midwife, Beth offering both hypnobirthing and antenatal education, which has helped women across the globe feel confident and calm during their birth.

What you can do to reduce vaginal tears in birth?

What you can do to reduce vaginal tears in birth?

Ok ok I get it.. it’s not the most nicest of subjects to talk about and I’m sure you’re all crossing your legs as you read this 😵. But rather than focusing on how horrid this may be or worse still sticking your head in the sand, start thinking about what YOU are going to do about it!!! Because there’s lots of things that have been shown to lessen the tear, and with around 90% of first time mums having a tear that needs sutures, the more you know the more you can do to help reduce them. Knowledge is power after all. One of the biggest fears expectant mamas have about birth is vaginal tears so I thought I’d do a post on a few things that can be done to lessen the tear (number 6. is one that you can do from 34weeks pregnant.)

1. A warm compress. Having a midwife support the area with a warm compress can reduce tears.

2. Position. Pushing on your left side, all fours or semi- recumbent have been shown to have the lesser tears. Although being semi recumbent isn’t always the best position for birth for other reasons.

3. Communication- Blow and don’t push when the midwife says. This is so baby’s head can be born SLOWLY. At a specific point when baby is just being born. Your baby will tell you to blow …. like you’re blowing out individual candles one after another, this is for after a minute, maybe even less, and will mean that baby’s head will be born nice and slow which definitely reduces tears.

4. Hands on approach. Having a midwife support your perineum again, especially with a warm compress. Your midwife will pop her hands, on baby’s head and on your perineum as baby is being born, this has been shown to reduce tears. You can write on your birth preferences if you’d like this, or not.

5. Did I mention…

S-L-O-W-L-Y

6. Perineal massage- Massaging the perineum with your thumbs (or getting your partner to do it) from 34 weeks with some olive oil has been shown to lessen any tears in first time mums by 10%. For second time Mums it hasn’t been shown to make a difference but tears are less likely to occur anyway in second time Mums compared to first.

These tips are all evidence based guidelines from the RCM or from a midwife, Julie Frolich, who made a care bundle which has been shown to reduce tears.

Now, If we’re talking about tears then we need to talk about recovery and healing.

1. Change your pads regularly to reduce infection. You want to keep the area dry.

2. Stay hydrated. It’s concentrated urine that may sting your stitches.

3. A high fibre diet will help with that first post natal poo. That’s dates, prunes, bran, fruit and veg.

4. Tea tree in the bath can aid healing. Other than that you can wash as normal but don’t use soap on the area. And pat dry.

5. Arnica tablets can help with bruising in that area regardless of if you have a tear. Have a look in your local health shop for arnica tablets to take during labour and post birth.

6. Putting your sanitary pads in the fridge before you put them on can also be soothing to the area.

So you see how knowing this information will benefit your birth, ‘knowledge is power’ always trumps ‘ignorance is bliss’ 💥🙌🏼

For other ways that you can stack the odds in your favour to get the birth you want, then take a look at The Bump to Baby Chapter’s Antenatal and Hypnobirthing Online course. It was created by midwife, Beth and is filled with videos, audios, checklists, live Q and As, and post natal lives (for weaning, sleep, reflux and colic) to help you get prepared for birth and help you through the early days with baby.