Tuesday, November 2, 2010

From the womb to the world...It is 'sense'-ational.

While your baby is safe in your womb, they are used to very different sensations than they experience in the daily routines after they are born! Understanding what was comforting for your baby in the womb may help in making baby's transition to the real world more smooth. We all need to be touched and for most people touch (the right kind of touch) is very comforting. In the womb a baby is not exposed to light touch instead they are hugged in a squishy tight space with the constant reassuring sound of mom's heart beat and regular gurgling from whatever mom is digesting. The womb provides the perfect amount of pressure and vibration to calm and comfort baby.

After that the sensory real world can feel quite hostile and uncomfortable! Bright lights, different textured cloths, water, doors slamming, dog barking, unpredictable touches and the cold wet wipes!! Is it any wonder why some babies do not want to come out!

When I baby is having a difficult time settling think about the sensory environment and how can you recreate some of the same sensations that baby experienced in the womb.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Week Eighteen

Your Baby's Development

Ears move to their final position and they stand out from the head. And start brushing up on your lullabies — in the coming weeks, your baby will probably be able to hear! The bones of the middle ear and the nerve endings from the brain are developing so that your baby will hear sounds such as your heartbeat and blood moving through the umbilical cord. He or she may even be startled by loud noises! Your baby's eyes are also developing — they're now facing forward rather than to the sides, and the retinas may be able to detect the beam of a flashlight if you hold it to your abdomen.

Until now, your baby's bones had been developing but were still soft. This week, they begin to harden, or ossify. Some of the first bones to ossify are those in the clavicles and the legs.

Your Body

You're probably beginning to prepare for life with baby. Your preparations should extend beyond gathering the layette and decorating the nursery, though. This is a good week to begin your search for a pediatrician or other health care provider for your child. Schedule visits to meet with potential doctors to discuss issues such as appointment availability, immunization scheduling, and when to call in an emergency. You'll also want to learn as much as you can about their practices and procedures.

Some good questions to ask: How many health care providers are in the practice? Who covers nights and weekends? What is their policy on phone calls? Which hospitals are they affiliated with? What insurance do they accept? What specialists do they work with? How are emergencies handled?

It's important that you feel comfortable with your child's doctor, so do your homework and make your decision carefully.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Breast Changes in Pregnancy

You may have heard that one of the first pregnancy symptoms many women have is changes to their breast tissue. It is true that your breasts will respond to you being pregnant by changing in preparation for breastfeeding. Here are some of the more common changes in your breasts during pregnancy:

* Sore Breasts

Early in the first trimester you may notice that your breasts are sore or tender. For some women this is also a sign of an impending period, so it may go unnoticed. You may have a slight tenderness when you touch your breasts or you can have the severe pain whenever you wear a bra. Both variants are normal and are usually most intense in the first trimester. This is one of the reasons that sex in the first trimester is often avoided by some women. Sex in pregnancy is safe, you may just want to avoid having anyone touch your nipples.

* Nipple Changes

Your nipples may become larger and darker as your pregnancy progresses. You may also notice small, goose bump or pimple like white areas on your areola. These are normal. They are called Montgomery's tubercules.

* Larger Breasts

Towards the end of the first trimester or the beginning of the second trimester you may notice that your breasts begin to grow. This is again the tissues inside the breast preparing for nursing. Towards the end of pregnancy you will want to be fitted for a nursing bra to help accommodate the larger breasts.

* Leaking Colostrum

Colostrum is the first milk your body makes. It will provide your baby with everything he or she needs to start life, including a dose of immunities and protection from jaundice. Towards the end of pregnancy some women may find that their breasts leak this golden color fluid. Or you may notice that your nipples have a film or caked substance, this is all colostrum. You can use a breast pad if it becomes noticeable or if it makes you feel more comfortable.

* No Breast Changes

You may be one of the women who have only slight symptoms or no symptoms of breast changes in pregnancy. Don't panic. It has nothing to do with your ability to have a successful pregnancy or breastfeeding relationship.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Week Seventeen

Your Baby's Development

At about 5.1 inches (13 cm) from crown to rump and weighing 4.9 ounces (140 grams), your baby is still very tiny.

The placenta, which nourishes the fetus with nutrients and oxygen and removes wastes, is growing to accommodate your baby. It now contains thousands of blood vessels that bring nutrients and oxygen from your body to your baby's developing body.

Your Body

You may notice that your breasts have changed considerably since your pregnancy began. Hormones are preparing your breasts for milk production — more blood is flowing to the breasts, and the glands that produce milk are growing in preparation for breastfeeding. This can increase your breast size (many women increase one to two cup sizes) and cause veins to become visible. Buy supportive bras in a variety of sizes to accommodate your breast growth during pregnancy.

Monday, April 5, 2010

10 ways to survive stress in pregnancy

The sources of stress during pregnancy can be wide ranging, from concern about your baby's health and wellbeing, or the impending labour, through to how you'll manage after the birth. It could be that your journey to work is exhausting, or you're anxious about finances and how you are going to afford all the costs involved with a new baby. Whatever it is that's worrying you, there are many positive steps you can take to overcome these feelings.

1. Make time to rest

It's a simple thing, but sometimes so difficult to take time out for yourself. Not only is this good for you, but also extremely good for your baby - so don't feel guilty about 'doing nothing'.

At work, find somewhere to put your feet up and relax during your lunch break and, in the evenings, try to cut down on chores. Leave the laundry until the weekend, and forget about housework for a while. Obviously, if you have a child already it can be hard to find the time to rest, so why not get your partner, a friend or grandparents to amuse them for an afternoon, while you have a well-earned break?

2. Prenatal yoga

Yoga during pregnancy not only helps tone your body, but the relaxation techniques that will assist you in labour can have a beneficial effect during pregnancy. If you are prone to feelings of anxiety or have experienced panic attacks, practising your breathing techniques can really help.

3. Talk about it

If you are worried about whether your baby is healthy or whether he will be born safely, you're certainly not alone. Talking about these concerns will really help, whether it's with your partner, mother or a friend who already has children. Other women at the same stage of pregnancy as you, perhaps at your prenatal class, will undoubtedly share your concerns, and your midwife, doctor or prenatal teacher can also reassure you.

4. Relaxation and complementary therapies

Massage in pregnancy is a fantastic way to de-stress. The cost of a registered massage therapist is covered by many health plans in Canada and there are lots of books available with tips and advice on how massage can help you relax.

If you are using aromatherapy or essential oils, it's important to make sure they are safe for use in pregnancy as some are not suitable for the first or third trimester. Oils safe for use after 20 weeks include most lavender oils, citrus oils and ylang ylang, but you should check with a qualified aromatherapist.

Reflexology is also a great way to relax, but make sure the therapist is qualified in working with pregnant women.

Some moms-to-be find that Bach Flower Remedies, available from health food shops or pharmacies, can help with feelings of stress or panic, particularly the Walnut Remedy and the Rescue Remedy.

Meditation and positive visualization techniques can also help. Meditation is a way of relaxing by concentrating on a mental focus, and positive visualization is a technique for releasing anxieties by creating an inner picture of a peaceful scene. You can find books in your library that show you how to relax in this way if you haven't tried it before. Buy some special relaxation tapes to play in the background - great for helping your mind switch off. Choose a time when you know you won't be disturbed and try to give yourself at least 30 minutes.

5. Preparing for the birth

You may be worrying about the impending labour and how you will cope with the pain, whether you will make a fool of yourself or how your partner will cope. Find out about the mechanics of labour as well as the physical and emotional aspects of each phase by signing up for antenatal classes, reading books and magazines and gathering information from online. Being informed will help you feel more confident and in control.

If you are having your baby in hospital, it will also help to visit the labour and delivery rooms beforehand, so that you know what to expect.

For a few women, the fear of childbirth can be so overwhelming that they would rather have a caesarean section than a normal delivery. This fear is known as 'tocophobia' and is not uncommon. Tell your midwife or doctor about your fears. Research has shown this can be helped with the right counselling and support; cognitive behavioural therapy is one of options available which might help.

6. Relationship changes

It's perfectly understandable to worry about how having a baby will affect your relationship with your partner or how you will cope as a parent. Parenting is something you learn along the way and often there is no right or wrong way to do things, you just have to do what feels right for you. Try and spend some time with a friend who has a young baby to pick up some useful tips and ideas. If you have any anxieties about your finances, job, relationship or housing, speak to your midwife as she will know which local organizations or support groups you can contact for advice.

7. Commuting strategies

Like a lot of women these days, you may plan on working until just a few weeks before your due date because you want more time off with your baby after he's born. Experts agree commuting is one of the major sources of stress for expectant moms and one which is made worse the more heavily pregnant you are.

Ask your employer if you can avoid rush hours, particularly if you use public transit. Perhaps starting work earlier and finishing earlier would be possible, or even working from home one or two days a week.

Make sure you always sit down while travelling and if you are not offered a seat you should ask for one. Don't feel embarrassed - it's really not safe to be swinging around in a train, subway or bus - and most people are more than willing to give up their seats, they just need to be reminded sometimes.

8. Money matters

The knock-on effect of having a baby is the dent it makes in your finances. If you are worried about how you are going to afford everything, make a list of the items you need - in order of priority - then decide which ones you could borrow from friends or family. It really isn't necessary to buy everything, particularly when some items are often only used for a couple of months.

Make sure you get your full entitlement of maternity leave and pay. Find out what it is from your personnel department and don't be afraid to seek further help if you need more advice.

9. Diet and exercise

Eating calming nutrients can help suppress the hormones that rise at times of stress. Foods containing B vitamins, such as yeast extract, wholegrain bread and wholegrain rice, increase your levels of the anti-stress hormone serotonin. Ensuring that you eat well in pregnancy is very important.

Physical exercise also has proven benefits in terms of relieving tension, so continue with the exercise you did before you were pregnant -- so long as it is safe for you to do so. If you're in any doubt, check with your doctor. If you attend exercise classes, always inform your teacher that you are pregnant.

Swimming is the perfect exercise for pregnancy as it keeps you toned and healthy, without being too hard on your joints, although be careful with excessive breaststroke as it may cause backache. Aquarobics classes for pregnant women are also a fun way of keeping fit.

At work, make sure you get up and walk around regularly, especially if your job is mainly desk-bound, and pop out at lunchtime for some fresh air, even if it's only for ten minutes.

10.Treat yourself

Laughter is one of the body's best ways of relaxing, so meet up with some friends or go to the movies and see the latest comedy.

Go on a weekend break and make the most of your time with just you and your partner, or treat yourself to a spa that offers treatments for pregnant women.

Pregnancy is also the perfect time to treat yourself to all those beauty treatments you never normally splash out on. When your bump gets too big for you to cut your toenails, enjoy regular pedicures, instead.

Be nice to yourself -- you deserve it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Week Sixteen

Your Baby's Development

Your baby now weighs about 3.9 ounces (110 grams) and measures about 4.7 inches (12 cm) in length from crown to rump. Your baby can hold his or her head erect, and the development of facial muscles allows for a variety of expressions, such as squinting and frowning.

Your Body

Between weeks 16 and 18 of pregnancy, your health care provider may offer you the maternal blood screening test, also known as a "triple marker" test or "triple screen," which measures the levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a protein produced by the fetus, and the pregnancy hormones hCG and estriol in the mother's blood. The test is sometimes called a quadruple screen when the level of an additional substance, called inhibin-A, is also measured. The results of these tests can tell moms whether their babies are at risk for (not whether they have) neural tube defects such as spina bifida or chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome. Out of every 1,000 women who take these tests, about 50 will have abnormal results, but only one or two women will actually have babies with a problem. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and advantages of these tests.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Week Fifteen

Your Baby's Development

Parents are often amazed by the softness of their newborn's skin. Your baby’s skin has been continuously developing, and it is so thin and translucent that you can see the blood vessels through it. Hair growth continues on the eyebrows and the head. Your baby's ears are almost in position now, although they are still set a bit low on the head.

Internally, your baby's skeletal system continues to develop. Muscle development continues too, and your baby is probably making lots of movements with his or her head, mouth, arms, wrists, hands, legs, and feet.

Your Body

Has it sunk in yet that you're pregnant? Many women say that it isn't until they trade in their jeans for maternity clothes and others start noticing their swelling abdomens that the reality of pregnancy sets in. For many, this realization is both joyful and scary. It's normal to feel as if you're on an emotional roller coaster (you have your hormones to thank). Another thing you may be feeling? Scatterbrained. Even the most organized women report that pregnancy somehow makes them forgetful, clumsy, and unable to concentrate. Try to keep the stress in your life to a minimum and take your "mental lapses" in stride — they're only temporary.