For as long as I can remember, as a childbirth educator I have been encouraging birthing people to adopt upright, forward, and open positions. Around five years ago, peanut balls (like a yoga/exercise ball, but shaped like a peanut) began appearing in labour rooms with great success in helping encourage dilation and baby's descent (moving down). After all, holding the peanut ball between the thighs keeps the knees apart, can be used with or without an epidural, and allows baby to descend into a welcoming, wide pelvis. Pushing baby out in those same kinds of positions has always been the norm.
Skin-to-skin care after a caesarean has many benefits for mothers and babies. However, mothers recovering from a caesarean can’t do skin-to-skin if they are routinely separated from their babies. In order to do skin-to-skin, mothers and newborns must stay together - a process known as “couplet care.” Why don’t more people receive couplet care? Is it possible for hospitals to make the switch from routine separation to routine couplet care after a caesarean? Keep reading to find out.
A milk blister, or blocked nipple pore, is also called a bleb or nipple blister, or simply “milk under the skin.” It occurs when a tiny bit of skin overgrows a milk duct opening and milk backs up behind it. A milk blister usually shows up as a painful white, clear or yellow dot on the nipple or areola, and the pain tends to be focused at that spot and just behind it.
You’ve just brought your new baby home, and everything is going well. Baby is latching on and drinking beautifully, no nipple pain, no problems. “Why does everyone say breastfeeding is so hard?” you wonder. And then, within a day, disaster strikes: your breasts are the size and consistency of boulders, your milk seems to be stuck in there, your breasts are in agony, your nipples feel like they’re about to fall off and your baby is one unhappy chap. How could so much go so wrong so quickly? Welcome to postpartum engorgement.
You probably always think your kids are the best age possible. When you have a newborn, you sit in cafes with your baby snuggled up asleep in your arms, and look on in horror as a group of toddlers run rampage around the tables. They spill their drinks, shriek loudly and throw horrific tantrums. Urgh, babies are definitely the best. Then your baby learns to toddle, and you realise how wonderful toddlers are. They are so funny, inquisitive and loving. And life is so much easier now they can communicate a little better…
Every parent makes mistakes. As kind, nurturing and understanding as we want to be with our children, there are times when we lose it or say and do things that we later regret. The issue isn’t whether we make mistakes in our quest to be competent parents but how we go about resolving these mistakes and repairing any damage that may result.
I was recently asked how childbirth educators can help reduce fear in expecting families during these stressful times. Pregnancy is often anxiety-filled, even in the best of seasons. With rising sociopolitical instability and a global pandemic in full swing, pregnant women are experiencing unusually high levels of fear and anxiety (Saccone et al., 2020). In addition to birth fears, families are now dealing with added stressors such as isolation, financial insecurity, and fear of the coronavirus.
Fear not only influences psychological well-being, it activates a hormonal stress response that can produce unfavourable birth and long-term health outcomes (King et al., 2012; Kramer et al., 2009). It can lead to longer labours and increased risk for caesarean section, preterm births, and lower infant birth weights (Adams et al., 2012; Loomans et al., 2013; Lima et al., 2018). Childbirth educators are in a unique position to help families reduce and manage fear because we are experts in the three E’s: Education, Empowerment, and Encouragement.
It has been a while since we published a comprehensive update on the evidence on COVID-19 and its effects on pregnancy. So Anna Bertone, our research editor at Evidence Based Birth®, and I, decided it was time to put together a thorough overview of what we now know about COVID-19 and pregnancy. And we know a lot more than we did a year ago.
So now let’s talk about the updated research on COVID-19 and pregnancy. It’s interesting to think how we all have been so impacted by this pandemic and how much has changed in the last year. I know many of you have been personally impacted or the indirect impacts of economies, schools and other businesses being shut down. A lot has changed in the last year. And one thing that we have now that we didn’t have a lot of a year ago, is information.