Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Pregnant Vitamins: Are Prenatal Vitamins Really Essential For Me?

Prenatal Vitamins: Are they essential?
It doesn't matter whether you are already pregnant or you are ready to take the leap, your Doctor will have prescribed prenatal vitamins. A lot of women feel nervous about this. The experts seem to keep changing their minds. One study results in Doctors recommending something. The next study seems to be about how too much of any given vitamin can be harmful. So what's a Mum-to-be to do?

Are prenatal vitamins really essential for a healthy pregnancy? Are all prenatal vitamins the same - or are some better than others?

Prenatal vitamins are not necessarily essential for the health of your newborn, but they can be a good safety measure to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs during this especially important time.

Providing that you are eating a well balanced diet then prenatal vitamins may not be essential but they are there to fill in the gaps when you are missing out on any specific vitamin or mineral. Between  the morning sickness, the suddenly very super-sensitive sense of smell (especially for all things nauseating), cravings (usually for all things sweet and unhealthy) and overwhelming bouts of "I'm too tired to cook dinner" it's a wonder any mum-to-be is able to eat at all, let alone maintain a healthy, well balanced diet.

And so the prenatal vitamin can top up your recommended daily intake should you find yourself struggling to keep up with a healthy diet, making sure your baby gets all the vitamins he or she needs to grow and thrive.

Among the benefits of a prenatal vitamin is the fact that it ensures your body gets an adequate amount of iron.

The results are in...studies have proved that the majority of women don't consume enough iron during their pregnancies. Iron deficiency can and sometimes does result in anemia, a condition that can easily be avoided by taking a proper prenatal vitamin. Anemia leaves you feeling tired and unmotivated - not a good combination when the pregnancy itself is starting to take its  toll on you.

Another important component of prenatal vitamins is folic acid. Important in pregnancy, folic acid has been found to reduce the risk of birth defects, namely neural tube defects. In fact, the vast majority of doctors recommend that women who are trying to fall pregnant should begin taking a folic acid supplement or boosting their folic acid consumption at least 1 month before trying to get pregnant.

So how much folic acid do I need each day, you may ask. Great question and one that too many women fail to ask. Providing that there is no history of neural tube defects like spina bifida in the family, then the recommended daily dose of folic acid is 400mcg (micrograms). IF you do have a family history of spina bifida then the recommended does goes all the way up to 5mg (milligrams) each day. To this end, there are different levels of vitamins and minerals in prenatal vitamins - you should discuss your needs with your Doctor.

Although prenatal vitamins are not a necessity, they certainly contain many benefits. With one dose a day, you can rest assured that your baby-to-be is getting all the vitamins and minerals he or she needs, keeping his or her development and growth right on track and increasing your chances of having a healthy newborn.

We would like to take this chance to wish you a swift and trouble free pregnancy. Congratulations!

PLEASE NOTE: This article is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as professional medical advice. The information contained herein should not be used in place of, or in conjunction with, a doctor's recommendation. Prior to starting or ceasing ANY medications (including those designed to be taken prenatally), the expectant mother must consult a licensed physician for proper recommendation.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Childbirth: I'm Thinking About Natural Children

Know you natural childbirth options
Natural childbirth is defined as a birth that seeks to minimize the intervention of modern medicine, which also includes using medications and/or surgical procedures.

There are some experts who believe that natural childbirth is beneficial to both the mother and child and they feel that anaesthetics will increase the possibility of complications during birth. They feel that the woman might not be capable of pushing properly during the concluding stages of delivery or could result in complications such as breathing difficulties in the newborn.

The evidence is debatable and it is up to YOU to decide what is best for you and your family in consultation with your doctor. If this is your first pregnancy then I cannot stress upon you enough - babies seldom come as per the birth plan. Things change - your body, the baby, your tolerance to the contractions or frustration.

Be prepared to have a back up plan. Know your pain relief options - even if you don't want to use them now. Nearly 10% of deliveries end in a caeserean section - this is an extreme option however very few Doctors properly prepare their patients for the possibility.

But back to the process of a natural childbirth.

Mothers have been giving birth naturally since the the beginning of time. Birth trends in the Western world seemed to have altered the rules somewhat. A lot of Doctors are prompt to intervene or have zero tolerance towards any sign of fetal distress when  close monitoring of the baby is possibly all that is needed. Its interesting to have discovered that in far flung parts of the world, there are much lower rates of problems like post natal depression - in part due to women being exposed to childbirth through female relatives in addition to being supported by those dearest to them and being in a comfy "homely" environment.

In regions of Australia, the Indigenous Australians are still giving birth to beautiful, healthy children in the outback.

Natural childbirth often promotes a healthier delivery overall because it eliminates the risks associated with caesarean sections and possible side effects from particular medications. Lamaze is a technique that is designed to help women who choose to deliver via natural childbirth and provides instruction in breathing and relaxation. Regular classes are given at local hospitals or clinics by a qualified instructor. The Dad-to-be is welcome to be present for each class in order to provide support for the mother. This is wonderful preparation because in the majority of cases, the father of the child will also be in the delivery room - this is why it is so important that he also be present to help learn how to coach the mother on breathing and relaxation exercises.

Not all physicians believe that natural childbirth is a positive experience, noting the pain involved as being sometimes extremely difficult for the mother. Others believe that it is beneficial as the process of natural childbirth leaves the new mother feeling empowered and also permits her to be alert as the child is brought into the world and placed in her arms.

Depending on the expectant mother's overall health, particular medical intervention may often be required in order to ensure a successful and safe childbirth. In a lot of cases, having access to pain relief reduces the stress that the mother feels and makes for an easier delivery.

Whether or not a natural childbirth is an option will be assessed by the physician and the expectant mother. Unless it is a matter of life and death or extreme concern as to the health of the mother or child, the choice will ultimately be left up to the mother as she will have the final say in the delivery method. Keep in mind that it is your physician who has been through years of schooling and you should make this decision and informed one with his/her assistance.

The biggest concern about a natural childbirth is that when things do go wrong, they can go wrong VERY QUICKLY. Safely is the number one priority.

This article is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as professional medical advice. The information contained herein should not be used in place of, or in conjunction with, a doctor's recommendation . Prior to deciding either for or against natural childbirth, the expectant mother must consult a licensed physician for proper diagnosis and a recommendation.

The Pill & Fertility: I'm Ready To Have A Baby

Getting pregnant after the pill - fertility facts
Okay, I think I'm ready to have a baby but I'm still on the pill. Is there anything that I have to know? For the majority of couples, infertility will never be a problem. For other couples, infertility a very real and difficult problem to live with - it affects every aspect of their lives. If you're thinking about getting pregnant after the pill, then there are a few things you need to think about first.

The first thing you should do is make an appointment with you doctor for a pre-conception exam. Providing you are given the go ahead you can start trying to immediately.

There are some things that both partners can do to help improve your fertility and chances of conceiving quickly.

If you are currently still on the pill then you will need to stop taking it. You may have heard that its a good idea to wait a 3 months before trying to get pregnant. However as far as your fertility is concerned, you are more like to be more fertile in the first three months after stopping the pill than in the next three months after that.

The best way to improve you fertility is by making sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs and is not being exposed to huge amounts of junk foods. Your reproductive health may need some care and attention after all this time so pay attention to what you are eating and make sure you get plenty of amino acids, vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamins B and C. Iron and magnesium are important, so stock up on green vegetables, lean red meat, eggs, nuts, beans and rye. Folic acid reduces birth defects, so eat lots of green leafy vegies.

Don't think you are getting out of it that easy, Dad-to-be! You also play a role in conception and you can help your partner to get pregnant sooner rather than later by wearing cotton boxer shorts and avoiding overheating in jacuzzi's, saunas and hot tubs. Just like Mummy-in-the-making, you should also attempt to minimize stress (ha! If only it was that easy), alcohol & smoking. Antioxidants are also important for improving male fertility chances, so eat foods rich in vitamins C & E. Don't forget zinc and beta-carotene as well. Concentrate on eating fruit, grains, oily fish, and dark green vegetables.

If either of you have any dirty little habits...now is the time to stop - specifically, I'm talking about smoking. Detoxifying your body to ensure both you and your baby will be healthy is essential not just for your long term health but also for your reproductive health. Alcohol, caffeine and pre-processed foods - they don't necessarily need to be on your banned substance list at this time but you should know that it is vital that you start minimizing your intake immediately so that when you do conceive, stopping these things will not be an problem for you. Please be aware that they do interfere with fertility so if you have any concerns then you ought to avoid them completely.

Concentrate instead on eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid sugar, salt and orange juice. (You should always talk to your doctor before removing any food from your diet in its entirety.) And don't underestimate drinking plenty of water, preferably

Regular exercise is also very important when trying to begin a family. Try walking in the evening together. After all, once your baby is here you won't have that special time together - so take advantage of it!

Remember, conception may take a bit of time. So stay healthy, exercise, eat right and relax. And if you have questions regarding you or your partner's fertility, your physician is just a phone call away.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Early Pregnancy: Conception

The moment of conception
Early pregnancy explained. Conception is one of those amazing, life changing events in every woman's life. We are going to examine what goes on inside your body in early pregnancy before you even discover you have conceived.

Some women have mixed feelings about their pregnancy but if you have been trying to get pregnant for quite a while now you will be overwhelmed with a combination of joy and relief. All the same, you still have a long way to go. Lets start at the very beginning. The first week of pregnancy.

This is the week that your egg will be fertilized and start its amazing process of becoming your baby.

When the sperm and egg meet, an explosion of new cells begin to form. It moves down the fallopian tube, and in about 5 days it implants itself into the uterus.

You probably don't even know you are pregnant, unless you have been keeping track of your cycles and know when you ovulated. Your baby is now known as a zygote and in two weeks it will an embryo.

This is the end of your baby's first week of a long journey towards birth. And what an exciting journey it will be!

This is the week of implantation. Implantation is much easier in theory - in fact, an enormous number of miscarriages happen at this point but they are unrecognized and brushed off as an unusually heavy (sometimes a little late) period. Implantation usually takes place more or less 5 days after conception.

At this point in time, the embryo (currently called a blastocyst) reaches the uterus and looks for a place to tunnel itself beneath surface. After finding that perfect spot, the cells then split into two groups: a cluster of cells which will become your beautiful little baby and a cluster of cells which will become the placenta.

You possibly don't realize your pregnant just yet. You possibly be a touch tired or queasy...or possibly not. A lot of women feel as though they have PMS because this is about the time she is supposed to start her period. Your breasts may feel tender and you may also experience some mild pain in the pelvic area.

By the end of this second week, your baby's backbone, spinal column and nervous system are well on their way to forming. Kidneys, liver and intestines are starting to take shape. Facial features are emerging although you baby will still look almost alien and unrecognizable at this moment.

Wow, this miracle of life is really beginning. Your baby will continue to develop until very soon that magical heartbeat will begin! This is your time - take care of yourself and let others spoil you. Let somebody else worry about the dishes and laundry for now. Pregnancy is all about the new life growing inside YOU...so look after yourself, there is a long and sometimes arduous journey ahead until that special day you welcome your baby into the world.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Infertility: What Is Infertility?

There are now many options available to couples suffering infertility
If you have been trying to fall pregnant for some time now and still haven't been successful, then you may be suffering from infertility. By definition, infertility means that a woman is unable to get pregnant after one year of trying or has an inability to carry her baby to term.

Infertility affects approximately 1 in 6 couples in The states today. That's 10 million people who know exactly what its like to want something beyond their clutch. In some area's, the decision to post pone childbirth (for career purposes) would make 1 in 6 a very conservative number. It's a sad truth, infertility is seldom discussed openly among friends and family and unless you have had personal experience with infertility, it is understood even less.

Its not an easy thought for couples to try and come to terms with. It a shock that is difficult to understand much less learn to live with. And it comes as little surprise. Secondary infertility is especially hard for couples to understand - it seems impossible that after conceiving one perfect child (or several) that a woman is suddenly unable to have anymore. Secondary Infertility is something that you cannot explain to friends or family who reply with hurtful yet well intended comments like "At least you already have one" or "Your body knows what to do - its done it before...you just have to be patient."

Although infertility can affect people of all backgrounds, the childless poor usually have neither the time nor the money to undergo a lengthy series of tests - commonly called an infertility work-up - to determine the cause of the problem. When you are thinking about starting a family, you should always begin with a pre-conception check up at your local Dr surgery. If your Dr has any concerns or you have been trying for more than a year or you are in your 30s you will be referred to a Fertility Specialist. There are many tests that will help to determine the source of the problem and many treatments that can range from something as simple as lifestyle changes, to medications to "minor" corrective surgery (its called minor up until you're lying on the table panicking!) to the very costly and invasive IVF treatment.

The anguish of infertility will strike increasing numbers of couples in the next few years, however, as the children of the baby boom reach their late twenties and early thirties. Others who till now have postponed marriage and childbearing for their careers will turn to both to round out their lives - and find conceiving a child is not possible.

The men, after years of enjoying what they consider a sizable sex drive, will be dismayed to discover that their sperm are too few in number or perhaps not active enough to result in a conception. The women may be diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition in which parts of the uterine lining seed themselves in various places along the reproductive tract. Unknown in cultures where women marry young, it is a common finding in American women past 30. Or the women may be part of the 10.9 million who took the Pill every day despite having pre-existing gynecological abnormalities which should have warned the physician against the prescription.

You should always discuss your options with an sympathetic doctor - do not waste time with a doctor who Refuses take your concerns seriously. Seek a second opinion. A generation ago, before the current explosion in medical technology, couples had few options. However today we are blessed with many options that have brought thousands healthy children into the arms of their ecstatic parents. My advice is to work closely with your Doctor who can instruct you on the best options you have at your disposal be that a holistic approach or medical intervention.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Peanuts During Pregnancy

 Peanut allergies although common can be one of the most fatal allergies a child could suffer from. Some children are so sensitive to their peanut allergy that if they come into contact with peanuts just from someone else's skin, their life can be at risk. Peanut allergies can lead to anaphylactic shock which is a sever allergic reaction that can be fatal.

Ask any parent who has a child who is allegeric to peanuts how difficult their live has become. Food shopping can take hours because every food label must be read it and studied to make sure it contains no traces of peanuts. Arrangements for peanut free foods must be made with the child's school ahead of time and other children's birthdays parties can be a parent's worse nightmare.

Peanut allergies are usually not diagnosed until a child reaches the age of 2 or even three years old. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that parents who have a peanut allergy in the family should wait until their child is at least three years old before giving them peanuts or anything containing peanuts.

There are even some conservative obgyns who advise their pregnant patients not to eat peanuts especially if when they are in their third trimester regardless of if there is a history of peanut allergy in the family or not.

The reason for this is because in order for a peanut allergy to develop, the child has to come into contact with small traces of a peanut. This contact sensitizes the child so that they later have a severe allergic reaction. Some experts believe that this first sensitization can occur during pregnancy.

It is believed that a tiny amount of peanut protein can cross the placenta.

In fact a recent study showed that if a women ate peanuts or peanut butter while pregnant their baby could be four times more likely to develop a peanut allergy than a child whose mother didn't eat any peanuts during her pregnancy.

This isn't to say though that if you have a no history of nut allergies you should avoid peanuts at all costs. In fact, peanuts and peanut butter are very beneficial to you and your baby. Peanuts are a useful source of folic acid and protein, both which are very important to your and your growing baby.

Peanuts and peanut butter has been said to help some women get through the first trimester morning sickness. Keep in mind however that there have been some instances when women who had no history of peanut allegeries in their family and ate a over whelming amount of peanuts or even peanut butter through out their pregnancies wound up with children who had a peanut allergy.

Before you decide to throw out all your peanuts and say good bye to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, talk to your doctor. Give your doctor a detailed family history and let him know if there are any peanut allergies in your family.

With your doctors help you will be able to create a healthy peanut eating plan for your pregnancy. If you do not feel comfortable at all eating peanuts due to the risk do not let anyone change your mind. At the end f the day, it is your body and your child and you have the right to make that decision.

Treating Acne During Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings with it many changes in the body and many women will notice that their hair, nails and skin radiate with the change in hormones. Other women are not so lucky. Instaed of glowing in the spotlight of pregnancy, they shy away from it (and the camera) no thanks to ance.

As wonderful as it is to know that a new life is growing within, you can't help but feeling a little resentful when you're staring back at the mirror to a face full of bright red, painful blemishes. It's hurtful to know that while other women are enjoying better skin, you're facing the worst case of acne you've ever had. So what can we do about it?

 Acne is most likely to develop in the first trimester of the pregnancy due to changing hormonal levels that take place in the body. The most difficult problem that you'll face is finding a treatment because many of the medicated ance treatments available on the market are not suitable for use during pregnancy and can cause harm to a fetus. Some over-the-counter drugs for treating acne can even cause birth defects in the baby.

Treatments to be avoided during pregnancy:

Acne treatment which contains Accutane : Studies have revealed that when this ingredient is used, it might be very dangerous to the baby causing birth defects. In some cases, it might lead to miscarriage. This ingredient should also be avoided during the breast feeding period.

Tetracycline not recommended: Tetracycline is an oral antibiotic used in the treatment of adults and teenagers, but not recommended during pregnancy as it has been linked ti cases of poor bone development in the baby. It is also said to cause teeth discoloration in the infant (when they are a little older, of course).

Medications containing female hormones: Researchers are still debating this one and the information is inconclusive on this subject. These hormones, which are related with the development of the fetus and the female hormones, can be passed on to the baby either during breast feeding or during pregnancy. But then, it is thought large quantities can cause birth defects in the baby.

So it all looks pretty darn hopeless, doesn't it? Although prenatal acne is rather common, it does still pose a difficult challenge to treat and using any sort of topical treatment can be a great cause of stress for many expectant Moms.

By following a simple and easy- to-follow methods, women can avoid and control acne during pregnancy without any side effect:s. If you're thinking that you've heard them all before...that's because they work, given the chance.

Drink plenty of water, for a clear skin.

Mild exercises during pregnancy can stimulate the blood circulation to all the parts of the body preventing from the outbreak of acne.

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed after a thorough wash.

Pregnant women should minimize junk foods and foods prepared in the microwave oven.

Cleanliness is the secret in the prevention of acne, hence pillows covers can be changed often,

Hair brushes and combs should be free from dirt, face could be washed with mild soap and cold water, if possible massaging and steaming can be done to get a clearer skin.

Remove your make-up carefully at night. Make-up...the anti-anti-wrinkle treatment!

Wash you're face with a gentle cleanser, (those with micro-beads are less likely to scratch and irritate the skin than those with ground up apricot stones which have jagged uneven edges) both in the morning and at night.

Gently apply a toner to your skin with a clean cotton or make-up pad.

Moisturize - if your skin thinks that it is dry, then it starts to produce even more oil to combat the dry areas.

A simple three step wash routine both at night and in the morning along with low or no oil based make-up will go a long way to treating acne naturally during pregnancy.


You must also keep in mind the first rule of beauty during this period....

"I am waaaay to busy caring about what I look like to care about what you look like!"

I have taught my son this little gem of advice since he was old enough to answer "How do I look?" and it's so very true. People are far too self-conscious about their own faults to notice your own so take heart and know that with a precious new life growing inside you, you are more beautiful today than you have ever been.

Not At All "Morning" Sickness

Morning sickness, also known as morning "suckness" is one of those things seasoned mothers don't talk about until it's too late - you're pregnant...now they can tell you the truth!! Unfortunately, it's not exactly "morning" sickness, the nausea can strike at any time - morning, noon or night and although it isn't always the first sign of pregnancy, it's definitely the most notable one! Perhaps the strangest fact about morning sickness is that there are remote regions of the world where it is virtually non-existent. The women in these far flung place's haven't been pre-conditioned by the film and tv industry to believe that every woman must suffer from it. Combined with healthy eating habits, very few of them are even aware of morning sickness.

Morning sickness will normally start at any point in the first trimester of your pregnancy and often finishes around 12 weeks but each pregnancy, like each woman is different and morning sickness is quite unpredictable. It's not entirely unusual for morning sickness to continue throughout the pregnancy. Whilst fasting for my scheduled caesarean, I remember hoping that I would make it through the surgery without vomiting (too much info!) but what surprised me most was how quickly it stopped. By the time I was back in my hospital bed, the symptoms had vanished. A wonderful relief after the previous 8 months were spent fighting morning sickness. Following pregnancies were easier to cope with because I knew my triggers and knew how to deal with them.

Nausea can happen immediately or you may get lucky and have no morning sickness at all. No one is for certain what causes morning sickness however the sudden changes in hormones and your body are bound to have some influence. Many women seem to get sick after taking the prenatal pill, so if you're one of them try taking it later in the day. Your doctor may even advise you to take some other form of vitamin instead of the pill. NOTE: Always consult your Doctor about any medications and treatments during pregnancy, even those designed for pre-natal use.

I've put together a few of the most common natural morning sickness remedies that will work to calm the tummies of most women however each woman is different. What works for one of us may have no effect on others. A little bit of trial and error is in order but I do suggest talking to the women who share your genes - find out what worked for your Mom or your sisters...it will give you a great starting point.
  • Try keeping for favorite crackers on hand, salty one's seem to be popular.
  • Try drinking some ginger ale (or your favorite soft drink), it calms the stomach down.
  • Dry cereal is another good thing to eat, it's one of those things you can have just a little snack on until you're feeling up to having a meal
  • Small portions are helpful - they are a lot easier to bring up again...too much info again!
  • Get plenty of rest - you will need to tune into your body throughout your pregnancy, now's a good time to start.
  •  Keep yourself hydrated, dehydration will trigger more morning sickness which can lead into a vicious cycle which finishes in the Emergency Room of your local hospital
On a personal note...
  • I found the dried crystallized ginger sweets to be helpful. Ginger is an age old remedy for morning sickness but not something that you can easily work into your diet and 7am - which is why I always had a stash of crystallized ginger within arms reach.
  • I also suggest taking note of your triggers - long distance driving would always set  me off, as did particular smells. Once you know your triggers you can minimize your contact with them.
  • Find out what your "fall-back food" is. We all have a favorite food that we can always eat, even if we are full to the point of exploding, we can make room for this one fall-back food. It's possibly the first food you crave for after a bout of gastro or when you're unwell.
MY BIGGEST TIP OF ALL...was making sure I never had an empty stomach. When I could feel myself sliding, I would try to eat just a little bit of my "fall-back food" (mine is vegemite on raisin toast btw!).

After it's had a little time to digest (10-20min) I could go ahead and eat a full portion. For me, morning sickness was my body's way of saying "Hey! Your blood sugar is low and this baby is stealing you nourishment reserves....keep the food coming woman!"

 There is no fool proof morning sickness cure but there are plenty of options out there to try. Morning sickness bracelets are available in most drug stores these days. They work just like the motion sickness bracelets do. You will also find morning sickness tablets in your local drug store that are based on natural ingredients - with your Doctors consent, of course..

For more natural morning sickness remedy's, ginger is an age old treatment however nothing is more successful than tuning into your body and sleeping when you need to sleep, eating when you need to eat, taking a load off when you need to take a load off.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Time Saving Tips For Surviving a Newborn

There's no doubt about it. Newborns are hard work. But there are a few shortcuts that will make life that little bit easier. Let's face it, the sleep deprivation, the stinky diapers, the wheel barrow full of baby goods you have to carry with you every time you walk out the door with baby are bad enough, if there's a way to save yourself some time to catch some sorely needed Zzz's then you want to hear about it, right?

Refuse nothing but blows...
This was something that my Scottish Grandfather used to say and it's a great motto when you're having baby. In this case we want to accept every offer of help. Doesn't matter if it's a sincere offer from your Mom or if it's a polite offer by your neighbor - it's their own fault for asking!

There's one phrase in particular that people seem to use instead of saying goodbye... "Let me know if there's anything I can do to help." Don't let these people get away Scot free. Put them to work. When you have had a good nights sleep and you don't have a newborn baby in your arms, it takes a few minutes to go through and straighten out the bathroom or move a load of clean clothes from the washing machine into the dryer. But if you were to try and do it in between feeds and resettling baby then you could easily spend half the day trying to get around to it.

In my experience, when people make the offer, they are politely saying "You poor thing, you look so tired. I wish you would let me help you." Seriously, take advantage of these offers and don't feel that people are making them just to be polite. They think it's a huge honor when you ask them to hold the baby while you go and have a shower. Use them but don't abuse them.

Plastic Plates
I know we're all heading toward a sustainable living but if ever there was a time to break open a packet of plastic plates and cutlery then the time is now. When we find ourselves in high pressure situations the housework is the first thing to go flying out the window - there's more pressing things to deal with, right? And when you are housebound with a newborn baby there is nothing worse than that ever increasing pile of dishes growing at the sink.

Having some plastic cutlery and plates on hand for when you are having a lazy day (which might just be everyday) will save time by cutting down on the amount of time you spend at the sink and also help to relieve that sinking feeling new mothers get when they see the housework is getting the better of them. Using plastics for just one meal a day will save you five minutes worth of washing up and you can spend that time with your feet in the air and your bum on the sofa.

Give your sheets sheets
Now this one is just pure laziness and I debated whether or not to include it! There are few things more frustrating then putting new sheets on your bed to have baby bunk in with you and wet them. Using a folded bed sheet to put under baby's bum will spare you from having to change the whole bed in the event of diaper failure. Of course the sheet will need changing regularly and it won't cut down on the amount of washing that needs doing but it will save time by not having to strip down the whole bed and redress it.Towels are another more absorbent options but I find them uncomfortable to sleep on. You can also purchase plastic backed sheets if you have money to burn. Just make sure that one side is very absorbent otherwise you'll end up with puddles...ew.

Calling all near and dear...
Arranging with you friends and family before the birth to give you a hand after the birth is a sensible course of action. Family and friends can help you with all those regular chores like taking the older children to school or cooking a few meals for you to freeze and reheat. By making arrangements with people ahead of time you give them the opportunity to work their designated chore (the school drop, laundry duty etc) onto their own schedule.

We have a saying around here. It takes two people to make a child but a whole village to raise them. It's so true. In the first week alone baby meets Doctors, nurses, uncles, aunties, grandparents, who each play a different yet equally important role. Not to mention when baby grows - teachers, farmers, butchers, dressmaker, cobblers, and the list goes on and on - I don't think we could ever comprehend the fullest extent of this network of people that influence our lives. The point to all of this rambling is that you should never feel embarrassed to ask for help - it's perfectly expected by your friends and family who are happy to swoop in and rescue you as soon as you give the signal

So there you are folks. A few time saving, sanity saving tip to help you survive the first trialsome months of getting to know your baby

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Subutex vs Suboxone

I have in the past covered this topic of Subutex vs Suboxone during pregnancy but I think we need to go over it again. There have been only 21 published reports into Buprenorphine in pregnancy and those studies have involved the voluntary collection of information from expectant mother to be. Approximately 350 infants were observed in the studies.

One matter worth noting -- although Subutex and Suboxone are officially unreccommended during pregnancy, the initial observations have shown them to be not only safe but a better alternative than Methadone. Because Buprenorphine is such a new drug, there simply hasn't been enough time to accurately study the effects on the fetus.

Both Subutex and Suboxone are made from the same parent drug - Buprenorphine. The only difference is that Naloxone which is added to Suboxone in an effort to curb the blatant misuse of Subutex patients who were trying to inject it. Both Subutex and Suboxone are partial agonists which means that they work by coating the opiate receptors in the brain whilst stimulating it slightly at the same time.

Subutex and Suboxone are consumed sub-lingually meaning that the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream through the blood vessels under the tongue. When Subutex or Suboxone is swallowed it loses it's potency as the stomach acids break it down. Following this line of reasoning, many Doctors will now overlook the tiny amount of Buprenorphine that does make it's way into breast milk and unofficially support breastfeeding in lactating mothers on Subutex or Suboxone.

Most Doctors will switch a mother-to-be onto Subutex throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding because the Naloxone found in Suboxone has been linked to an increased chance of seizures in the baby once born.

Statistically, while as many as 95% of Methadone or Opiate babies will experience withdrawals known as  NAS -- Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

Compare that to around 60% of Subutex babies who experience NAS  or the 45% of babies who experience symptoms severe enough to require hospitalization and medicating. Treatment may involve environmental treatments such as

  • providing a low stimuli environment, 
  • swaddling,
  • lots of cuddles 
  • and tending to baby in a dark, temperate room
To more drastic measures that involve treating baby with very low volumes of Morphine. The dose is calculated by baby's birth weight and is administered four times per day. During this time baby is closely monitored in a special cares nursery for signs of cardio and/or respiratory distress.

The Finnegan Scoring System is implemented to monitor baby's comfort and progress - high scores may require the Paediatrician
 to increase the dose, low scores indicate that baby is ready to begin a slow process of weaning.

Given the choice, Subutex should always be preferred over Suboxone during pregnancy. 

Once again, I would like to invite mothers (or families) or healthcare providers to contact me in regards to a support network for families during this time of uncertainty. Leave your details below or contact me at eliz.nesbitt@gmail.com

Visit the

Some useful references include:
==> Finnegan Scoring Chart (print it out if you're expecting...congrat's btw)
==> Printable NAS Brochure - provided by King Edward Memorial Hospital (Maternal health hospital in Western Australia which is responsible for the gathering of much info)

My other posts on this matter can be found at:
==> Opiates in Pregnacy Subutax, Suboxone Methadone (This is a great one to start with...very detailed , lots of facts and info)

Secondary Infertility? Vent Here (For The Mum's TTC <#2)

For all the Mum's TTC again, you are going to love this! Need to scream at the world? Want to confess all those feelings  and thoughts that you can't tell your hubby? Your best friend? Then welcome home sweetheart....you are in the right place.

After answering a question about caesareans in a forum I belong to, I  realized that the problem of Secondary Infertility needs addressing (btw, that's the last time I'm spelling that with capital letters).  Feel free to vent. Blow off some steam and know that you will not be judged by the mothers who are yet to have their first (though we wish them all the luck in the world) or the friends that tell you to be grateful for one.

TTC = Trying To Conceive
DH = Darling hubby
DD = Darling daughter
DS = Darling son

Should I start? Great. Hi, My name is Elizabeth and I spent years TTC with number two.

I hated the circle of fertile's that I was surrounded by at the DS's school.
I hated the Mum carrying her new baby out to the car without socks on...it's the middle of winter, what the hell is she thinking!!
I hated that woman in the shops screaming at her 3 year old.
I hated the fact that "At least I had one DS"
I felt like a failure
I daydreamed about just pulling over the car and grabbing that baby out of the pram - her Mum was to busy talking to notice
I hated just about everyone and everything.

Right gal's, now it's your turn. Completely judgment free and anonymous

Blow the vent sky high!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Getting Pregnant After A Miscarriage - The Statistics

There's a huge question that faces women after a miscarriage. It's a question that effects the entire duration of the following pregnancy and prevents Mom's (and Dad's) from enjoying the new miracle that is growing within. While there is no way of telling if the next pregnancy will be more successful than the last, the odds are in your favor.

If you are a glass half empty person...you can go ahead and leave right now. Thanks for coming. Come back soon.

If there are any health or environmental concerns that were present in the past pregnancy then you should take whatever action necessary to ensure that they are either a) they are no longer present in this pregnancy (ie. infections) or b) if they cannot be avoided (such as mis-shaped uterus, weak cervix etc) then every effort should  be made to ensure that the problem is minimized and closely managed with the help of your Doctor or OB.

If you have a history of miscarriage, the odds are slightly higher that you may suffer another...but...the odds are still in your favor. I thought we could go through some numbers today and I hope that you will find them comforting. 

If yours was one of the vast majority of miscarriages that cannot be explained then the odds also favor you.

As a basis to compare against, women with no history of miscarriage have approximately 80% chance of having a successful pregnancy.

One miscarriage - The statistics show that this number drops to 80%
Two miscarriages - The odds drop even more to around 70%
Three or more - May drop to as little as 50%

On the other hand, even women who have experienced a series of miscarriages can still go on to have a healthy & pregnancy and an uneventful birth.

Are you really ready?

It really doesn't matter if you were six weeks or sixteen weeks when you miscarried you have just lost a child, along with all the hopes and dreams that you had for that child. When you are thinking about getting pregnant after a miscarriage, you really need to take your time and ensure that you have given yourself enough time to heal.

By rushing into the next pregnancy to soon you are setting yourself up for additional stress and worry that you really don't need. Be patient, forgive yourself and give yourself the gift of time to ensure that you can enjoy the next pregnancy for what it is.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Think You're Showing Signs Of Secondary Infertility?

When you begin to wonder if you are showing the signs and symptoms of secondary infertility it is easy to become overwhelmed. The reason being that there are many ingredients involved in a successful conception. One of the most frustrating things about secondary infertility is that you won't know if you or your partner is infertile until you visit a doctor. There are several medical tests that your Doctor can do to detect secondary infertility. There are also methods and products that the doctor can prescribe to help in conceiving another child. 

One routine procedure a doctor can perform is to test the cervical mucus. Cervical mucus plays an essential role in conception, as it enables the sperm to make it all the way to the egg. The sperm are unable to do this if there is little or no cervical mucus present. Another factor involving cervical mucus is that it could be too acidic. It is necessary for the mucus to be alkaline. If it is acidic, it will kill the sperm before they reach the egg.

When a doctor checks the cervical mucus, he/she will look at the whether it is clear or curdled. If it is curdled, there is little to no chance of conception. If the mucus is clear and somewhat sticky, chances of conception are good.

Develop a thick skin. Your family and friends won't understand the rawness and depth your desire to have another baby unless they too have suffered from secondary infertility. If you are trying to get pregnant after 30 then you should see your Doctor immediately as the chances of conception begin to decline soon. You will be referred to a fertility specialist and can begin exploring options and experimenting with treatments almost straight away.

Before you start to think about the possibility that you or your partner might be infertile, make sure that you have been having unprotected (natural method) sex over several months, or as long as a year. Conception can and often does take a long time, even for couples who have been able to have other successful pregnancies. It's not unusual for a couple may have unprotected sex for 8 or 10 months before conception takes place. 

Be patient, if you still haven't conceived after this period of time, ask your doctor for what steps you should take next. Try not to worry - stress is a huge obstacle with those who suffer secondary infertility and it has been known to pull marriages (and friendships) apart.

Concentrate on the fact that you have already conceived (at least) once and for this reason the odds of falling pregnant again are in your favour. Concentrate on the fact that you have a great opportunity to provide your child (or children) with many things that mothers of large families just don't have the time or money to do.

If you suspect that there is a serious problem then you should always consult your Doctor immediately. 

If you would like more information about secondary infertility you should visit us here to 

Friday, 27 May 2011

Caesarean Recovery: Fastest Way To Recover From a Caesarean

Tried and True

After three of my own I wanted to share with you the experience based information that I have leaned about recovering after a caesarean. After my first terrible recovery and upon finding out that I would require another, I thought there has to be a better way. So I began investigating the biggest mistakes that women make (and learned that I had made them all) and why some women recover so much faster than others. It's not fair!

Need a little encouragement? Three weeks after my first caesarean, I was walking through the shops, stooped forwards taking little baby steps. One week after my third caesaren, I was driving my own car to the shops - not recommended and probably illegal, but you see my point. When you are in that amount of pain, the last thing you want is to stay in that amount of pain for a moment longer than you have to.

Before we go on, you need to understand that this info is based on personal experience and you need to discuss your recovery with your nurses and healthcare providers.

My number one piece of advice is to ask your Doctor and each shift of nurses what you can do to speed your recovery. Ask everyone you come across - they will all have different idea's, all based on different experience and by doing so, you will get the whole picture.

Sabotaging Your Recovery
(and what you should be doing instead)

PAIN RELIEF - This may seem obvious but many women try to be martyrs. Some are scared that they will become addicted to the medications when really, you aren't on them long enough to develop a habit. Most hospitals provide morphine or pethidine for the first few days then encourage slow weaning. 

Other women have a bad reaction to the morphine/pethidine that is prescribed - like any medication, it does have a long list of side effects from life endangering allergic reactions to the more common problems like constipation. 

If these drugs don't sit well with you for whatever reasons, there are dozens of alternatives. Most commonly, an epidural can be left in place for the first 48 hours post-op. Some will require you to call the nurse for a top up, others are self administered. No matter what you are offered, make sure you use it! 

Pain is an enormous hindrance to recovery - if you are in pain, you will be scared to move at the risk of more pain. By failing to move, you are putting yourself at risk of blood clots, slowing your recovery and making it harder on yourself than it really has to be. Mobility is a vital key to recovering from your caesarean and you should do all you can to prevent pain from standing in the way of moving.

You may wonder what on earth has Paracetamol have to do with a caesarean and how can it possibly help? Take it anyway. All of these drugs interact together and work in different ways to give you maximum coverage. Like it or not, from a managerial perspective hospitals are a business, they have budgets, they don't like to waste money, they want people to recover and be discharged as early as possible. If Paracetamol didn't work, it wouldn't be offered to every patient post-op.  

 Did you know? When treating any pain you should always begin with mild treatments like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen then build your way up to the stronger medications like Codeine then Morphine. After your recovery, work in
the opposite direction by omitting the strongest painkillers first then until you are left with only the mildest forms of pain relief.

You can discuss your options with your nurses, some will prefer that you ask when you need pain relief, others suggest that you stay ahead of the pain and take it as often as prescribed. I fall in the latter group. If you explain your reasons (that you want to stay ahead of your  pain so that you can become mobile sooner rather than later) and ask for a little note to be made on your med's chart, most hospitals are willing to oblige especially if the note was made by your Doctor.

Many hospitals have a "Pain Patrol" team of Doctor's who visit after your surgery if not every day. These are the people who check that you were adequately covered during your surgery and afterwards. These are also the people who have a brilliant understanding of all of your options so if you are struggling with your reaction  to morphine, they can provide you with alternatives. Be sure to pick their brains - learn your options and discuss a schedule.

EARLY MOBILITY - This is possibly the most important thing you will learn today so listen carefully. The longer you postpone movement, the longer your recovery will take. I have heard of women who have been forced out of bed within hours of their caesarean (because of their epidural headaches) so it is possible.

This sort of exercise should be done
early (day 2) and done often. 
Your nurse will actually have a bit of schedule for you to follow. Day one - bed rest. Day two, catheter comes out, shower, toilet. Day three - Take the epidural out. Encourage a more active role in caring for baby, (bathing, changing etc) Get mum walking further and so on. 

However, this schedule is based on the average woman - the way you cope with and feel pain is nothing like the way I dealt with or felt it nor is it like the next woman's way of coping with it. 

So what's the solution? You have to tune into your body and push it to the point of near pain...and just a little bit further. If you stay ahead of your pain (with your medication) you will feel more tenderness and awkwardness rather than real "OMG I can't move" pain. Don't get me wrong - on a scale of 1-10 many women say that day 2 post-caesarean is about a 12. You will hurt but if you manage the pain properly it should have a minimal effect on your movement as long as you move slowly

The longer you stay inactive the higher the risk of developing blood clots. And have you ever broken a bone? Remember how funny your limb felt when you finally got the cast off? It takes a long time to recover normal movement after that, doesn't it? After a caesarean there's a lot of lying still.

You can avoid that feeling by moving your toes and feet as soon as you can feel them again after surgery and as often as you remember. Try rotating your feet and stretching your ankles. Wiggle your toes. Take as deeper breath as you can comfortably muster (good for several reasons). The next morning, your nurse is going to come for you and she is going to get you in the shower - like it or not. If you haven't wiggled your toes since before your spinal anesthetic then you are going to have trouble with this. If you have been wiggling your feet and trying to move your knees in bed, then you are going to be fine - sore, dizzy, a little scared but fine.

PHYSIO - Physio also begins on day two. The trick here is to do it slowly and accurately. As an example, one exercise involves lying flat, legs bent with your feet flat on the bed and slowly rocking your knees one way then the other. You can do this the day after your caesarean. They recommend you do this a few times a day. Do it more. Do it as often as you remember.
Gently try lifting your bum off the bed and rearrange yourself slightly (day two)
Breastfeeding is awkward because it means rolling onto your side. It seems impossible the first time but know that hundreds of women have been before you and haven't fallen apart at the seems - pardon the pun. Support yourself with pillows and flex your legs. When you're lying in bed, try lifting your bum off the bed to straighten yourself out and lie flat again.

Focus on your technique as you do your physio, there's no point doing it if you're not going to do it properly. Never mind about how long it takes or how far  you can bend, cocentrate on recovering a normal sense of movement.

Tune into your body, take it slowly and (here's the secret again) push your self to the point where it starts being a little painful and (very slowly) just a little bit farther. Each time you do this, that point of pain will be a little further and you can push yourself a little more.

This is what gave me the confidence (or the sheer stupidity) to get behind the wheel after only eight days. The first time around, I was barely able to get in and out of bed by myself after eight days!
Post Caesarean exercise doesn't have to be strenuous.
Concentrate on technique and recovering normal movement

As for exercise itself (in the traditional meaning of the word) you should wait six to eight weeks before checking with your Doctor if you are ready to hit the gym again. There are some rules you will have to follow and a very important (case by case) "walk before you run" conversation that I'm not qualified to give.

REST - Despite everything I have just told you...


Rest is critical to your recovery. You are under strict instructions to avoid lifting anything over 3kg (or heavier than your baby) for the following six weeks. This is not a suggestion, it's an order. 

Think about this, you actually have a legitimate medical excuse (and they don't come by everyday) to use and abuse every offer of help for the next six weeks. That means you can send hubby shopping for groceries, you can get your neighbour to wash your toilet or straighten out your bathroom and you have a real reason to totally ignore the dishes and neglect the vacuuming! How great is that?

If however you have older children, you will find this instruction downright frustrating - what with prams, nappy bags, baskets full of laundry and all the other mommy jobs, you will also find it downright impossible
One word made me stop and take stock of myself - hernia. Yes, it's hard but now is the time to think outside the square. Do you really have to pick up the two year old? Or can he sit on your knee and have a cuddle? 
Is there a passerby you could ask to lift the pram in or out of the car? Can you call on your older child be your best helper and carry (drag) the nappy bag into the house?

Pushing yourself to fast to far will hinder your recovery and be the undoing of all your hard work.

Did you know? When you are exercising it is actually during the rest period between rep's that your body is burning calories and building muscles. Rest is the vital stage that is often overlooked.

OVERCOMING FEAR - Fear is one of the biggest causes of a slow recovery - it interferes with you motivation to recover. It will comfort you to talk with one of your nice nurses (because there always seems to be one that has very little patience or sympathy for you) about your specific fears. I think most womens biggest concern is tearing the wound open again. As long as you move slowly this isn't a problem - you can feel the point where it begins to hurt and you stop, it's that easy. 

Of course you do hear the horror stories but you rarely hear about the other accompanying conditions or circumstances. You never hear about the infections they also had at the time or the fact that they were on one medication or another that doesn't apply to you. I also have an unconfirmed sneaking suspicion that some of these stories are aided further along the grapevine by well meaning nurses trying to get overactive mothers to sow down and take care of themselves - would love to hear your thoughts.

Many women also fear getting pregnant again because traditionally, if you had one caesarean you could kiss goodbye to the idea of ever having another vaginal birth. Would it comfort you to know that thousands of VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) babies are born every year. To find out if you will be eligible for VBAC you will need to discuss the subject with your OB. 

The vast majority of caesarean's are brought about because of one off circumstances (breech babies, fetal distress, labour not progressing normally) and providing those circumstances don't present in the next pregnancy there is no reason you can't have a trial of labour followed by a VBAC.

I sincerely wish you a speedy recovery after your caesarean. Be sure to add your tips and experiences below, I always love hearing about them. Good luck!!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

"I Just Found Out I Need A Caesarean Section"

Caesarean Sections are surprisingly common these days with nearly 10% of births ending in the surgery. Caesarean's come in two forms; elective and emergency. Please note that a caesarean is a complex procedure and a the risk of turning this article into a book I am simply going to give you an overview of what to expect.

An emergency caesarean is obviously named so because they are required on short notice. The baby is coming and one complication or another means that baby needs to come out and come out now. Elective caesarean's aren't always "elective". They may be required because of pre-existing medical conditions or perhaps you have a mischievous baby who hasn't turned around yet.

Shaving - This varies from one hospital from the next and each Doctor has his own preferences. Many like to shave a little off the top of the pubic region to give them better access to baby. Other Doctor's don't do this because the shaved skin harbors bacteria that can cause infection.

Catheter - Your nurse may insert a catheter before or after your epidural. Not only is this necessary because you will be out of action for the following day or two, it also drains the bladder ensuring a smaller chance of it being accidentally nicked by the scalpel or scissors during the surgery.

Not to worry - you can pick your dignity up when you are discharged and the professionals who are working with you take very good care of it!

Anesthetic - No surgery is complete without anesthetic. There are two forms that are used for elective caesareans; the spinal and the epidural. Both have the same result of numbing you from the chest down. You will be required to sit still (or sometimes to lie, depending on your Dr) while a small needle is inserted into the space in your spinal column. A spinal is a one off shot. The epidural is left in place - a very fine catheter is inserted into the vertebral column and secured in place. Anesthetic is then injected into the spinal fluid - many women feel a warm tingly sensation in the area as it begins to take effect.
Many women experience a warm
tingly feeling in the area as
the spinal anesthetic begins to take effect

Epidural's are the favored option because they can be topped up if required during surgery and can stay in place for 48hours, offering you pain relief in the following days.

Yes, there is a danger of paralysis but it's very rare. More common are the monstrous headaches which sometimes occur after the needle is removed and is caused by a small amount of spinal fluids to leak. It may last a day or two before you feel any relief. Again, this is rare but it is something you should be aware of.

In the cases of an emergency caesarians, a general anaesthetic is sometimes required as it gives your OB the quickest access to a baby in distress. If you have an epidural in place during labour, your Doctors can simply increase the dose to numb the area. General anesthetics have always been high risk and are avoided unless absolutely necessary because of the effects that they have on both mother and child - babies suffer the effects of the anesthetic and mothers can have trouble bonding with baby.

During the Surgery
Many women feel a little overwhelmed by the operating theatre, overwhelmed with nervous tension, excitement and fear of what  may happen. Unless there is a serious problem, you can invite a loved one to hold your hand throughout the event. A screen is placed between you and your tummy so you will not be able to see the team working on you. In some cases (and if requested), this screen can be lowered at the last minute for you to watch baby emerge.

There can be as few as five (often more) Doctors and nurses buzzing around but you can take comfort knowing that they are all very knowledgeable and experienced.

Some teams like to have the radio on or chat about what they have planned for the weekend - you may think that this is unprofessional or that they aren't giving their full attention to the task at hand but it's actually a good sign as it means that there are no complications. Don't fear if your don't hear any chatting though, it depends on the team involved.
Your Doctor will need to make two incisions to get to baby - one in the skin and the second in the uterus. The first into the skin, will depend on the position of the baby and the urgency in which baby has to come out. Given the choice, the vertical (or low transverse) incision is always preferred as it cuts along the grain of the muscle and therefore heals faster. At this point, some Doctors prefer to make a little incision in the uterus with the scalpel and use scissors to open the uterus.

You will feel pressure and tugging
sensations but the experience
should be painless
If you experience any pain during the surgery, all you have to do is ask! It does happen occasionally as the Anaestheseologist trys to find the balance between not enough anesthetic which will leave you in pain and too much anesthetic which can cause breathing difficulty. You will find that you can still feel all the tugging and pulling and the sensation of pressure but you should not experience any pain.

If you have had a spinal and experience a lot of pain, there will be no other option other than to give you a general aneasthetic. This is why epidural's are preferred as they can be topped up with anaesthetic as required. On the other hand, patients with an epidural have a slightly higher occurence of those monsterous headaches because the width of the catheter leaves a larger hole compared to that made with the fine needle of a spinal.
The curtain may be lowered for
 you to watch the moment your
baby enters the world.

Before you know it the bun is finally out of the oven and you get to welcome baby into the world. The Doctor's will begin putting Humpty Dumpty back together again and they are far more capable of this than all the kings soldiers and all the kings men combined. The whole procedure takes about 40 minutes from start to finish providing there are no complications along the way, however the experience is far from over.

Recovery From a Caesarean
This is the hard part. Not only have you just had a major surgery but you also have a new baby to look after. Initially, you will be wheeled off to recovery with baby in tow (providing he/she doesn't need any medical attention) where you will be kept warm and observed for about 20 minutes. Some women experience nausea as a result of the anesthesia so you may require some Maxolon (or a similar drug) at this point. Once you are given the all clear you will be transfered back to your home for the next five days on the ward. Many hospitals try to give caesarean patients a room of their own but it isn't always possible and you may find yourself sharing. This isn't always a bad thing. The last thing you need is somebody else's baby waking you throughout the night but another caesarean patient will be able to offer you empathy, encouragement and company. It also gets lonely confined to bed all by yourself.
After your surgery the wound
may be covered offer you some
extra protection.

The first day you will be heavily dependent on your nurses and the pain medication to get you through. You may be offered a light meal and will be required to stay in bed for the rest of the day. TED's will be fitted to your feet if they haven't already to ward of blood cots during this time. These are standard for the next week but cautious women will wear them for the following six weeks of limited activity during which time you are still at risk.

The following day, the catheter comes out and you are encouraged to begin walking around and take a more active role in caring for your baby. I highly recommend some support for your tummy. You may decide to purchase a bikini belt but at the very least you can also ask your nurse for some Tubi-grip to wear. The constant and even pressure not only supports your back but it help hold your tummy in place. There is no reason movement should cause the staples or sutures to rupture but you do feel very delicate and the fear of rupturing or causing yourself more pain is enough to cause you to restrict your movement - a big no-no.
A bikini belt will offer you some
 support over the following days

Tips to Speed Your Recovery

Stay ahead of the pain - You can discuss this with your nurses ahead of time, I recommend that you have your pain relief topped up every four hours or as frequently as possible. If you are in pain, you won't want to move and mobility is a vital key to healing.

Wiggle your toes - As soon as you can feel your toes again, wiggle them. Rotate your ankles, stretch your feet up and down. Do this as frequently as you remember. The earlier your start moving the earlier you will push through the pain. Movement will also ward of blood clots. You can begin light exercise the following day which involves very slow and gentle leg movements, deep breathing (which is surprisingly difficult) and lying flat while lifting your bum off the bed. All of these are very challenging but the longer you put it off, the longer your recovery. Remaining inactive is the single biggest mistake that women make to sabotage their recovery.

After my first caesarian, I was terrified that any movement would either cause me more pain or the wound to rupture. Took me months to recover. By the time I had my third, I was driving a week later (which isn't recommended by the way). I was still sore and tired and tender, but I realized that if I pushed myself a little further each day, I would get over it faster. If I stalled or limited a particular movement I would only prolong the ordeal.

Six weeks post caesarean and your
scar is  barely visible. Over the
next two years, it  will fade even more.
Request a Physio - Every hospital has them and all caesarian patients are given information about the different excersises that will assist your healing and get your body back in shape. By asking for a Phsyio to come and show you a few light exercises you will be motivated to actually do them (not just read about them) and they can also explain the exercises better in person. Technique has never been more important. Concentrate on doing the exercises correctly and frequently - as often as you remember. Whenever baby needs feeding practice taking a deep breath, rotate your ankles, wiggles your toes, try and move one leg at a time as far as you can without causing pain.

Don't push yourself - Despite what I have just said about mobility and pushing yourself through the discomfort, there is a fine line between pushing yourself and overdoing it. The absolutely vital key is to tune into your body and take frequent rests. I suppose the trick is whether you are trying to stand upright with a straight back (quite a feat at first), trying to take a deeper breath than you did last time or doing your physio, push yourself to the point where you feel a little tender and, just slowly, push a little bit further.

Your Baby Body - Most women are unhappy with the changes in their body. The weight will come and go in it's own time and you should concentrate on a well rounded and balanced diet. Drink lots of water and don't skip meals, especially if you are planning to breastfeed. Whenever you are feeling down on yourself, if you realize that you are still wearing maternity clothes six months later, whenever you don't like what you are seeing the mirror there is one and only one solution. Go and fetch your baby then go back to the mirror...now try telling me that isn't the most beautiful picture in the world!

For the following 6 weeks your activities are limited to lifting nothing heavier than your baby - which is impossible when you have prams and baths and older children that just can't be avoided. Keep this instruction in the back of your mind though, you have never had a better excuse to neglect the housework - make the most of it and rest.

If you have any queries about ceasarean's please consult your Doctor. Nurses are also an invaluable source of information - they are not only experienced with the surgery itself but they also take a more active role in caring for new mother's and babies and are positively overflowing with valuable information that they are happy to share.

I sincerely wish you all a swift and problem free recovery.