Pregnant and over the limit

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.

 

STARBUCKS

http://globalassets.starbucks.com/assets/9b09abcb336d40cb8315c5806fb3c07e.pdf

COSTA

http://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffeine-content/costa-coffee

 

http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/limit-caffeine-during-pregnancy.aspx?categoryid=54&subcategoryid=130

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/rcog-statement-on-fsa-guidance-on-caffeine-consumption-during-pregnancy/

Amy Walker of Lennie & Co Birth Story 

Hi I’m Amy, I am the most impatient person on earth. So waiting 9 whole months until I could meet my baby was a big ask.

I found out I was pregnant after an extremely boozey New Year in Madrid with my, then husband. I was 26 and drank far too much tequila whilst welcoming in 2012. We weren’t ‘trying’ but I had come off the pill in the October and with my husband in the forces he had only come home for Christmas 2 weeks before as was based in Germany.

 

On the 5th of January I asked him to get a pregnancy test, ‘you know one of the ones that tell you early’ was my description as my boobs were sore. So when I arrived home from work there was a First Response test on the side ( still have it tucked at the back of my wardrobe, weird maybe but hey) So I pottered to the bathroom and waited for the lines and sure enough, tad da, my magic boobs were correct!

 

So that is how I knew, boobs. They’re great aren’t they. Lucky for my husband he returned back to Germany in the New Year as I was a tired mess. I would go to work and on return, open the front door and undress whilst walking up two flights of stairs to get into bed. Yep 5:45pm was my bedtime; well I’d arise for a feeding and go back up. This happens pretty much until 17 weeks.

 

I then got some energy back until 22 weeks when I was diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis, which didn’t need any of my new found energy as I struggled to walk very far at all. It was so uncomfortable. I went to physio in Gloucester to help, it was unfortunately a short-lived aid as the general weight of the baby and misalignment of my pelvis left me in pain. Anyway I’ve literally forgotten about that part of pregnancy!

 

I was a giant when I was pregnant. Everyone said ‘Blimey you can’t tell from the back’ Liars. I was huge but it was nice of them to pretend. I ate a Crunchie religiously everyday and enjoyed everything I wanted everyday on the food chart. I had such a sweet tooth when pregnant, probably why Lennie looked like a sumo wrestler when he arrived.

 

So impatient Amy tried everything to get this baby out from about 37 weeks. Raspberry tea.. Check. Clove Oil in bath… Check (man that stuff stinks) I rubbed it in my feet too. I even drank Castor Oil, I did, so bad I know and once you taste it you’ll never do it again. But ‘peanut’ I called the baby was so comfy.

 

I had 3 stretch and sweeps before ‘peanut’ came. The first one wasn’t painful at all and my cervix was tucked away very tightly, the second one made me wince and the third I just didn’t care. When at home I bounced on my ball at every chance I could.

 

I went for reflexology on day 7 of being over due and it seemed the button in my feet relating to my nipples were causing ‘Peanut’ to wriggle. So I was sent home and told to massage my nipples. A little odd but as above I’d try anything, I probably did it whilst inhaling Clove Oil.

 

8 days overdue whilst bouncing on my ball and watching the British Bake Off that evening I felt something I’d never felt before and they were happening every 7 minutes. BOOM! Then of course I was impatient for them to speed up…. Obviously.

 

4 baths later and at 5:30am the next morning we headed to the Cheltenham Birth Unit. We got a room with a bath, something I would have liked but didn’t get my hopes up about as I understood you only got one if there was one free. I managed to scoff some toast, I had eaten all of my ‘hospital snacks’ at home before we left for the hospital. I decided early on that I wouldn’t have any pain relief other than Gas & Air. My nan had said to me ‘if a woman can give birth in a field in Africa with no pain relief you can in hospital’ She was right! I was doing this.

 

I felt warm water helped lots, I had had 4 baths at home and carried on in the normal bath in my room in hospital. To my amazement my body was also taking me to the loo to empty, I know this doesn’t happen in a lot of cases. I had a friend that poo’d everywhere. In all honestly YOU WILL NOT CARE. I promise, dignity leaves you when you begin to push. You just want this thing out ASAP.

 

Then it seemed all of a sudden I was ready, the midwife got me into the birthing bath as I wanted to start pushing. The gas and air had been really helping too. I found it great for my breathing and it was great to bite on the nozzle. If you’ve ever been scuba diving you know how calm you have to be with your breathing. Kind of the same idea but you are attempting to push a watermelon out of your vagina and be calm at the same time. In between contractions is your resting time. They help, they are an amazing break between the chaos. I don’t remember making much noise but my senses were heightened. I wouldn’t let the midwife’s run the taps to warm the water up in the bath as the noise bothered me, so they bought water in buckets to fill the bath. My most Diva-ish moment to date but I didn’t care.

 

The head came out and I thought ‘Peanut’ was here but no no I still had the body to come. Then another few pushes and out he came. We didn’t know whether he was a boy or a girl. He was passed up through my legs and he looked squashed and round. He looked like a baby to me, I had no idea how big they were meant to look, feel or be but the midwifes were saying ‘wow he’s a big boy’

 

They took him from me to weigh him and that is when I remember feeling the pain. It stung, it stung like mad. Lenn was 9lb 13oz, I was pretty proud of myself and I had torn, naturally.

 

I had also opted for the injection to make you placenta come along but after seeing the size of Lenn the midwife opted not to give it too me, as due to his size it should’ve ‘fallen out’. 45 minutes later I was still on Gas & Air trying to get the damn thing out. They almost pulled it out, it just didn’t want to come. Should’ve given me the injection hey! Then the stitches, I won’t bore you with that but I was still enjoying the Gas & Air with my legs in stirrups.

 

At that point my midwife came in, the one I had seen for all my appointments. She was so excited to see me, as I was to see her and then she said ‘I knew you were going to have a big baby’

 

Christ I wish she had told me. After that my parents arrived later in the afternoon with my request of a Double Pepperoni Stuffed Crust pizza, our first family meal as 3 on a hospital sofa bed.

 

They say you forget the pain, but I’ll be honest it took me till Lennie was 3!

 

Turns out, Lennox was totally worth waiting 9 months for and was the best surprise on earth.


Amy is mother to Lennie. She works as a Graphics designer but also has another baby Lennie & co. selling award winning happy unisex kidswear. If you’re like us and all about supporting mum bosses and small businesses then go and take a peek at the gorgeous, happy collection.

It’s never as bad as they say it is!

I’m a positive thinker, I always have been. I haven’t read any self help books to teach me to do so, I’ve just always preferred to think things will go right rather than what will go wrong.  Going into pregnancy I was really positive, I’d never watched one born every minute or thought much about pregnancy or birth before, I knew that if I did my picture perfect vision of what it would be like would be ruined. However, as soon as I was pregnant it’s almost as if it gave every woman who had ever had a baby a license to tell me every possible thing that could go wrong, why do people do that?

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I wouldn’t say I loved being pregnant, but I definitely didn’t hate it either. Yes, I felt sick occasionally and not fitting into clothes and getting swollen ankles is annoying but did I want to moan about at every occasion? Definitely not.  

Every pregnancy appointment I was about to attend, other Mum’s would warn me how terrible it was going to be and each time I came out think ‘it wasn’t as bad as they said!’

During my pregnancy I did everything I wanted to do. I went on a couple of holidays and on nights out with friends as long as I felt okay in myself I would still do it.

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As my pregnancy went on, I was constantly told ‘you must be so fed up, you poor thing!’ Fed up? Why would I be fed up? I was anything but. I was just a few days/weeks away from meeting a tiny human that my husband and I had created, what did I have to be fed up about? Yes, I was a couple of stone heavier and noticing that I was getting tired a little bit quicker, but nothing that an early night in some snuggly pyjamas couldn’t solve.

 

My birth story is more of the same. I had to be induced; you can imagine what scaremongering that provoked. Looks of panic on every woman’s face I told. ‘It’s five times more painful than natural labour’, but I had nothing to compare it to I thought.  I went into hospital with freshly blow-dried hair, new nails and a new outfit ready to take on the challenge. Fourty five minutes after the pessary was given, my contractions were coming in thick and fast but my waters hadn’t broken. An hour or so later the pain was pretty bad so I asked for an epidural only to be told I needed to be at 4cm. The next time the midwife came round I was 9cm, I hadn’t screamed, cried or sworn at all? But they told me I would have wanted to kill my husband and shouted several expletives at the midwife by this stage. After convincing the midwife to still give me an epidural, the Sister in charge came in to see how my labour was going. Fuming that I’d be given the magic injection she told me I’d done the hard part and my labour was finished (I couldn’t see a baby, I thought!) and warned that my contractions would slow down and I probably wouldn’t be able to push. I began to push (with her help!) and my waters broke without having to be broken like ‘they’d said’ and within half an hour baby Axel was with us, I turned to my husband and said, ‘That definitely wasn’t as bad as they said it would be.’image2-5

Maybe I struck lucky? Or maybe I just don’t want to think of all the things that could have been luckier. I think of my pregnancy and birth as ‘not as bad as they said it would be’.

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Georgia is a new mum to her baby boy Axel. She is a newby to Gloucestershire as she has recently moved from London to Cheltenham. She writes her experiences of pregnancy and parenthood on her blog Georgia Not Just A Mum from ‘What they don’t tell you during pregnancy’ and her ‘If you buy only one thing…’ selection. Go have a browse you won’t regret it.

 

The Magic of the S

 

No we’re not talking about the S that put baby there in the first place, or the old fashioned ‘Shower, Shit, Shave’ moto. If anyone’s not heard of this and thinks its some kind of backward cleansing routine this was the norm back in the day for what to do before going into labour; Have a shower, an enema (something in your back passage to make you poo) and a bikini line shave, preferably not in that order.

 

We are talking about the magical S’s that comfort babies when all else seems to fail. We’ve been there- considering all sorts of reasons why baby is crying; too hot, too cold, hungry, sore bum, who knows?! Sometimes baby’s just realise they are out of the comforts of their mummy’s tummy and they just don’t like it. It’s what we call the fourth trimester. There is this theory that us baby humans have heads so big that we have to be born before we’re quite ready. Just think most other mammals come out walking… Now imagine pushing out a walking , talking 1 year old… No thanks, I will take the sleepless nights.

 

Skin to skin- I always try this first. It can also help if baby is so upset that he/she doesn’t want to feed. It regulates their breathing, heart rate and temperature. Just don’t forget to keep the nappy on. The only thing that can be worse with a crying baby, is to be covered in wee and baby poo.. holding a crying baby.

 

Sssssshhhh- The sssshh sound creates the sound of being back in the room. If baby is crying really loud you need to Ssssh louder than them and then reduce it as they are quiet. We posted last week about an app that does all your Ssshing for you. I used to try hairdryers and also the vacuum cleaner. This was the only type of cleaning I did with a newborn, hoovering my baby to sleep. My bedroom carpet has never been so clean.

 

Swaddle- If skin to skin isn’t working then go for the swaddle. There are lots of youtube videos on how to swaddle. We can also show you how to swaddle at antenatal class. Thin sheets are always better to swaddle as you don’t want your baby getting too hot. This makes baby feel all cocooned like they did in the womb. Have a look on our Facebook page for more safe swaddling tips.

 

Suck- Babies find comfort in sucking so either let your baby stay at the breast for comfort or try a dummy if you’ve chosen to use one.

 

Sway- So this is where you cuddle your baby in your arms and sway, walk, swing, jog lightly on the spot. Create any movement that will make your baby feel like she has the motion of being back in your womb whilst you walk around Mothercare. You know you’ve nailed the sway when its so ingrained into you that you don’t even have to be holding your baby to be swaying. You just stand… talking… swaying.

 

And now mamas do all at the same time… ! You feel a bit crazy but with these little magic S’s you will have your baby settled, soothed and soundly sleeping in no time. Now spread these tips like wildfire, as you never know who you might save from ‘The Witching Hour’.

 

For more ways to prepare for life with a newborn come and join us at our antenatal classes.

A burst pipe, a jäger bomb and a baby.

Nine months. That’s how long it takes for us ‘mums to be’ to bake something up that even Paul Hollywood would be unable to criticise; a perfect little human being. As soon as you see those digital lines spring up on the pregnancy test, you embark on the best, most daunting and utterly beautiful white knuckle ride of your life. If you’re flukey like me, you even get to enjoy the ride with your hands up in the air and escape the vom that sometimes accompanies such pleasures.
My nine months went fast. Really fast. I’m pretty sure I ate my way through the first trimester and put Hoffmann’s pies out of business along the way. The tiredness came in waves but I soon got used to putting my feet up and letting the husband run around after me. What a chore.
Before we knew it, I was tucking into my leaving fuddle at work (yes, pork pies were on the menu) and waddling my way into maternity. I had hoped to plough on with work a little longer but when you’re carrying the child of  a 6’4 ex rugby player, it’s time to let someone else score the tries.
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Mother Nature had it all planned out. Naively, I assumed the start of my maternity would consist of nesting, drinking copious amounts of raspberry tea and going for long walks in meadows with bluebirds circling around my head. But no, mother sodding  nature had other plans, in the form of a nice dose of flu that confined me to bed for what felt like an eternity. I was supposed to be getting a pedicure to impress the midwife and instead I was shrivelling up in a den of soggy tissues and self pity.
Now, you mums to be know what it’s like when you’re faced with a hacking cough in those final days of pregnancy. Let’s not pretend here. One wee cough and, well, wee is precisely what happens. Little old me saw the funny side in this, I even enjoyed the husband heckling me, comparing me to an old woman. However, when the wee seemed to be taking the piss, I soon started asking questions.
The hubster told me to ring the Triage team, just to be sure that all was a-ok. I remember telling him not to be so stupid for thinking our little one was on the way. I had two weeks left yet darn it and I already felt cheated out of my time being Lady Muck thanks to the flu that had so kindly graced me with its presence. Nonetheless, hospital bags were packed and the car seat (still boxed up) was chucked in the boot of the car.
Before I knew it, I was being hooked up to a monitor and examined to see if my waters had leaked. Like the muppet I am, Big Bird here was still completely in denial that our baby was on route via the fastest route on mummy maps. “Your hind waters have broken, we need to induce you” were the words uttered between my unmanicured feet. Shit the bed (yes, this can also happen in labour) bambino was making an early appearance.
I quickly became bessies with gas and air as my “fake” contractions started coming in thick and fast. Be warned though gals, those canisters run out and you’ll need that replacement fast. It’s all shits and giggles when you’re puffing away on the good stuff but when that little bugger packs in, you’re screwed.
After what felt like days, we were finally moved into a labour room where I was met by two smiling faces who were to very swiftly become my new BFFs. Move over gas and air, I’ve been upgraded.
My midwives rocked. They were like the perfect tag team; organised, efficient and calm. Having endured 24 hours of gas and air, I started to struggle and along came the mini breakdown on the husband. I remember sobbing that I couldn’t do it anymore and needed an epidural but due to my waters breaking and me being a plank and not knowing, it was off the cards until my bloods had come back. My new BFFs offered me alternate pain relief and diamorphine joined my circle of friends.
Now, when the last thing you watched on tv was The Jungle Book and you’re now under the influence of morphine, things get a little cray cray. Genuinely, I told my midwife that she reminded me of Baloo and asked her to fetch me a jäger bomb. The party continued when my bloods came back and I got the green light for an epidural. Life was good.
My funniest memories of my hubster happened whilst I was drifting in and out of glorious sleep under the beautiful spell of the epidural. Every time I opened my eyes, I would glance across to his bolt upright chair and see him tucking into yet another sandwich. He was a lean, mean Subway machine.
The hours were now really stacking up and were totting up to 34 on the radar. Having had the progress of a snail carrying the kitchen sink, I was absolutely delighted to hear that I’d finally reached 9cm.
“Time to push” I was told and by God, was I ready. It’s amazing how you find the strength and energy to push after such a long and exhausting process, but somehow, some way, I was pushing like a trooper.
Half an hour passed and our little one was still hanging on in there. “Push another half hour” I was told. I gritted my teeth and followed orders. Still no joy. Now, being the wuss that I am, I had written on my birth plan that I wanted to avoid the forceps in whichever way was possible but alas, like all things in labour, you just do as you’re bloody told.
I will never be able to use salad spoons again. After this experience, tossing of any sort is firmly off the menu. Nonetheless, had it not been for those weapons of torture, our little one would still be dining for one in her favourite snug.
When she finally arrived, she was placed on my chest and we were told that we had a gorgeous little girl. It’s true what they say; when that baby arrives the blood, sweat and tears all become a distant memory, even as you’re sat with your legs akimbo with five doctors between your legs playing dot to dot with your third degree tear.
The very next day, I turned to my husband and told him I was ready to do it all again. Yes it had been tough, yes it had even been scary but when Amélie looked up at me with those big brown eyes, completely and utterly dependable on me for survival, I knew it had all been totally worthwhile. I was ready to be strapped back into that wonderful ride and go again. Yes, maybe I am a little  loop to loop but hey, that’s the joy of motherhood.
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Rachael aka the mummy blagger is a UK parent blogger and mother to Amelie. She blags her way through parenthood one step at a time. To read more of her blogs visit her page here.

Barre, Pilates & Pregnancy Fusion

Sunday 20th November 3-5pm the Acorn Unit Wholefoods Cheltenham is having an all female takeover.
Join me, Lottie, (I’ll be 20 weeks pregnant at this stage eek!) for an hour of Barre and Pilates fusion specifically designed for us preggos to take part and enjoy. After an hour of exercise we will then be treated to a live Cooking demo from the fabulous foodie, trained chef, and barrister (!) Lottie Elvidge who will add a Christmas theme to proceedings with a Christmas canapé bake off. There will be lots to try and beautiful scents to fill the room. Please feel free to invite husbands and other hungry mouths along to join us at this point!
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Next, Boston Tea Party have laid on a delectable feast of gluten free chocolate brownies, scrumble and flapjacks and Wholefoods will provide goody bags to die for.
So… if you fancy an afternoon of health and indulgence, meeting like minded women who are all going through the same thing as you then book your ticket now. Tickets are £22 and are strictly limited, so please book quick to avoid disappointment. Bring a friend or make new ones, it’s a very sociable and friendly afternoon of fun and feasting.
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To book your space email Lottie Keble-Wyatt directly at llkeble@hotmail.com or if you have any questions drop me a line or call me on 07771587053. I also provide personal training and group work to help strengthen ready for birth and to make you feel a little bit more like you again!
Do checkout my website www.keblewyattstudios.com to find out more.

Cranial Osteopathy

 

So what how does cranial work with children, what is it we actually do? 

 

The cranial bones of the head are designed to be soft and mobile so that the circumference of the skull can be reduced for a safer and ‘easier’ pathway through the birth canal.  During this process these bones can become twisted and compressed causing obstruction to their normal intended growth and development as well as impacting the passage of vital nerves and blood vessels to and from the head to the rest of the body, the gut for example, and above all this can be painful leading to upset and unnecessary crying. Other twists and compressions can happen in the whole of the body particularly the spine and pelvis either from the birth or else in a lot on instances from being cramped upside mummy during pregnancy.

 

It is important to also remember the emotional elements too.  Remember that before the cord is cut (and in my opinion for a long while thereafter), the baby feels what you feel, so stress whilst pregnant and certainly during long and difficult labours can all add to a heightened level of adrenaline and urgency in children, this is also the case in caesarean section babies where the transition from lovely snug, warm, wet and dark environment to bright lights and noise can leave the child startled and distressed – how did you feel when you were last really stressed, did you sleep well, eat well, feel like smiling for the world?

 

So in both cases of physical or emotional traumas, cranial osteopathy looks to restore a balance in the tissues, to gentle support and correct any strain patterns and to inhibit the side of the nervous system that has got caught up in all the stresses mentioned above.  Like a plant that naturally reaches for the light, the inherent health within your children is amazing, they want to be healthy and well, sometimes though they just need a little support and guidance to get there.

 

Cranial Osteopathy, whether treating new born babies or children (adults too) has a lot to offer the natural pursuit of health by treating traumas in a non-traumatic way.

 

BCOP (Baby & Children’s Osteopathy Practice) in Cheltenham provides help for many issues on a daily basis from colic & reflux, fractious and unsettled behaviours, feeding issues, sleep disturbances and achievement of developmental milestones in babies, to glue ear, speech difficulties, growing pains, again behavioural issues, tummy pains and more in older children.

 

Cranial osteopathy had its foundations set in 1902 and our understanding of how the physical traumas of pregnancy, birth and life’s knocks/illnesses, combined with the emotional upset of these events, helps us to help our patients reach and maintain their health.

 

Treatment is extremely light and non-invasive and time is spent to explain how ill health has arrived and how we can stop and prevent it happening again.

 

More information on the free baby sessions can be found here – http://www.thefamilyosteopath.co.uk/treatments/bcop/

 

I’m always happy to help answer any questions or queries so please feel free to contact me, Ben and I’ll help where I can either care@thefamilyosteopath.co.uk or call/text 07894 707745.

 

Baby blues or something more

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.

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Tips- Hospital bag

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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!

The birth of Jasmine- A homebirth by Nicki Ryder

I had my first baby 10 years ago and the whole experience was so traumatising that I vowed that if I ever had another baby, I was going to be one of those ‘too-posh-to-push’ mums and have baby extracted via the sunroof. I went into the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, where we lived at the time, at 4am. At 7am, I was put on a drip to speed up contractions. My contractions sped up too much so I had NO respite between them and I’m also told that I’m one of the small percentage of women that the epidural doesn’t work on – how marvellous! To speed up this birthing story, I told them baby was stuck, they disagreed, I refused to push, the registrar came in and said, “baby’s stuck get her into theatre,” I had a spinal block, baby was born at 9.30pm. I also sprained my coccyx which took nearly a year to heal. Ugh! What an experience. BUT Olivia was just perfect in every single way and of course, totally worth it!

I met my now husband, James, in 2009. We got married in May 2015 and I was pregnant by August. We were absolutely over the moon. This time, I decided that I was going to completely embrace being pregnant; I was going to look after myself, carry on working out and contrary to the first sentence of this post, I was going to plan to give birth naturally BUT I was going to do something about the fear I still held onto and decided to enrol hubby and me onto a hypnobirthing course.

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The hypnobirthing course was fab and made it real for James too. I wasn’t overly convinced by the ‘no pain’ ethos but I was totally bought into all of the breathing techniques and the course was worth it just for those. It was also worth it because our tutor empowered us to ask the right questions with the medical staff looking after us. For example, during my first labour, I would have asked them why they needed to intervene and speed up my contractions when I had been getting on just fine? As a result of the course, I also decided on a homebirth… yes, away from all the medical intervention, surgeons and drugs! We moved to Cheltenham from Berkshire when I was 8 months pregnant and I immediately noticed how amazing the midwifery care was here compared to where I had moved from. My desire to have a homebirth and use hypnobirthing terminology, like saying “surge” instead of “contraction,” was fully supported. I felt excited about the impending arrival of our second baby girl!

We got the spare bedroom ready for the birth and 3 days after my due date, I started feeling tightening in tummy. I went to sleep that night and woke up to the same tightening. I had breakfast and decided to take a warm bubble bath. Whilst in the bath, the tightening felt stronger and I felt I had to breathe through it. I called Cheltenham birthing centre and had to stop talking when another ‘surge’ came – the lovely lady said, “If you couldn’t talk just then, you’re in labour my love.” I put on the music that I’d listened to during the hypnobirthing relaxation sessions and sat on a swiss ball, gently bouncing. The first midwife arrived at about 10am and asked me if I wanted her to check how things were progressing. I said yes and found out that I was already 6 to 7cm dilated. The surges started to come in stronger and I used my breathing techniques to breathe through them. I wouldn’t say they were pain free, far from it, but the breathing really did help. I buried my head in hubby’s neck which I found really comforting and hubby didn’t speak… also comforting. 😉 Two more midwives arrived and they were all fantastic – kind, patient, friendly, chatty – everything I could have wished for. I got to 10cm dilated with no pain relief but it was becoming unbearable so I asked for the gas and air. My water’s still hadn’t broken and I didn’t really feel the need to push but they told me to start pushing. I felt exhausted and just wanted to sleep. I felt like I had nothing left in me. I then heard the midwives saying that they were calling for an ambulance as the baby’s heart rate wasn’t recovering quickly enough between surges. I remember lying there thinking, “Wait a minute. If an ambulance comes, I’m going to have to get downstairs (there’s no way I could have walked), get into the ambulance, travel to Gloucester hospital – all the while with no pain relief – and our baby was going to be pulled out with forceps or worse, I was going to end up having a C-section.” Within seconds of hearing this, I put my chin to my chest, closed my eyes, breathed down and gave it everything I had. Before I knew it, I heard the midwives saying, “Cancel the ambulance, the baby’s coming!” And come she did at 1.19pm – my waters broke as she arrived! Gosh the relief was dizzying and I was ecstatic that baby girl and I had made it. We left the umbilical cord pulsing for nearly 30 minutes before James cut it and I delivered the placenta naturally too. The midwives stayed for nearly 2 hours after the birth and left me, James, baby Jasmine and the room I’d given birth in, all clean, fresh and ready to start our new adventure together. We relocated to our bedroom and ordered Chinese takeaway at 6pm. Hands down the most delicious meal I’ve ever eaten!

If you’re low risk, I can’t recommend a homebirth more. Not having to worry about when you can or can’t go into a hospital was brilliant and I genuinely felt excited about being at home, amongst our things. When friends come to stay, I love saying, “I gave birth to Jasmine in the room you’re staying in.” ☺

 

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