I'm really pleased to welcome Shona Baxter onto the blog today. It's easy to forget that BIRTH is just the start of a very long, hugely rewarding, but often difficult road of parenthood! And one of the first things we have to comprehend is keeping our babies FED! Firstly the decisions of how we want to feed them, then the muddle of actually working out how to do that! Shona shares her breastfeeding journey with us today..
I'm really excited to welcome Helen Wright, founder of BirthWright and Placenta specialist as this week's guest blogger. Placenta encapsulation wasn't something I looked much into for my own postnatal period, but as something a lot of women are becoming more interested in, I was keen to find out more! At present there's only anecdotal evidence to describe the benefits, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't any! (Just that no one has put the money into proving it - or not). For a look into the current evidence you can click here. If you have further questions about Placenta Encapsulation you can join us in The Positively Birthing Space on Facebook for Helen's Live Q&A soon!
It’s safe to assume, that since the human race has existed for millenia, the female body is pretty capable of giving birth! In fact, it was designed to do so! From an obvious perspective- we have a uterus (home for baby) and a vagina (exit route for baby!), but it’s not quite as simple as that! What is happening physiologically in our bodies throughout pregnancy and birth, is complex, but to a point- within our control! We can do, say and think things that could stall labour in it’s tracks.. or we can do, say and think things that help it do it’s job exactly as it needs to!
The key to it all, lies in understanding the hormones!
Did you know, we are the only species of mammal that doubt our ability to give birth?
It's down to the fact that the neo-cortex (the thinking part) of our brain is so much bigger than in any other animal. Which for most of human existence is GREAT news. It enables us to make decisions, hold conversation, negotiate, empathise with others and communicate in a way not seen in other animals.. BUT it also enables to to imagine things that haven't happened, catastrophise and feel irrational fear.
Ok, maybe don't go filling your hospital bag with a pack of 'easy peelers' just yet, but I've been reading into the research behind aromatherapy use during birth this week, (you know I'm a sucker for a bit of evidence) and it's showing some exciting things. In several of the trials using aromatherapy oils, it was shown to reduce a mother's perception of both pain and anxiety (which, as we all know through hypnobirthing are directly related anyway)- and in some cases reduce the overall length of labour and bring down a raised blood pressure too! (The research has also shown that there are no current known adverse effects from using the oils below).
About a year ago, I was supporting a couple through labour when things began to stall.. contractions slowed down.. and mum and baby were both showing signs of getting tired. She’d tried changing position, going for a wee, all the oxytocin inducing techniques, but it wasn’t speeding back up.. hmm we were thinking, what next? THEN, she ate a single, mini jammy dodger… We were back in business!! Things picked back up, and within the hour, she birthed her baby naturally, in the pool, like the absolute superhero she was!
Ok, so let’s talk pain relief and Hypnobirthing. Contrary to popular belief, these two things are NOT mutually exclusive. I firmly believe, that as with any decision you make in pregnancy and birth, as long as the choice is INFORMED and YOUR OWN- it is POSITIVE and the right decision for you in that moment. Whether that be opting for gas and air, or pethedine or an epidural, if it’s the right choice for you and your baby, then you GO FOR IT! Just because you opt for pain relief, that doesn’t mean hypnobirthing hasn’t worked, and it doesn’t mean that the hypnobirthing tools aren’t still useful.. if anything, you need them now more than ever!
What I have taken most from reading this positive birth story, is that ANY birth can be positive. The support a mum has, the involvement in decisions and the control over their own experience is what makes something positive, not the way they birth their baby. This is the story of an incredibly strong and powerful Mum, who did an incredible job birthing her baby!
A discussion that comes up a lot in our classes is that around ‘water birth’. Water can be used as a comfort measure during labour, and some women choose to birth their baby in the pool too. There are HUNDREDS of studies into using water immersion during labour and birth, so in today’s post I’ll have a look at the biggest and most reliable studied around waterbirth, which will hopefully assist you when putting together your birth preferences.
I was discussing in our hypnobirthing classes earlier this week, ways to help baby move from a breech or transverse to a head down position. We got discussing various recommended techniques and conversations led to 'Moxibustion'. Now, breech presentation will get a whole blog post of it's own, as will the other suggested methods of helping baby turn, but here I'm going to be looking at moxibustion- what is it? And will it help?